January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON ; 24 March 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560324-TC-LA-01; CL 31: 55


Chelsea, 24 March, 1856—

Best Lady,— You are indeed the best and bountifullest; bountiful as Summer and the Sun! Your Letter has given me such pleasure (and will do); but, alas, it is pleasure dashed abundantly into the wholesome pitch by sorrow, almost by remorse and suppressed rage! No, I cannot come that is quite plain; must not, if I am wise: it is fit only that I continue here,—caught a cold too yesterday, which ought to be itself enough for negative. In fine I must compose myself here, and sit silent in my natural circumambient element of Chaos, Nox and Erebus;1 and only looking to my share in the Empyrean. That is my real share, it wd appear; that of a “clear view.Patientia [Patience].—

— Here is a blockheadism of an interruption come; and I cannot even get writing today. “New Tenant” (of a certain Peat Farm,—and be hanged to him!); “Letter to the Agent at Dumfries”2— Oh, yes. In fact, I am a captive, cattivo,—which may even mean caitiff3 in the new sense if you are severe upon me.— For the Post hour is just at hand too.

Early in the day I wrapt up that little Book for you,—if it can amuse an idle hour in your own room. Book of no immediate (or distant) use to me, may be burnt if you fall short of fuel. Look into it, however. It is a kind of History, not a Novel; treats of your Duchess d'Orleans's Father (Regent's grandfather, Prince Rupert's Brother);4 lineal maternal Ancestor, therefore, of the d'Aumale who is coming.5 I never saw the French original,6 nor heard of it.— — Enough, enough. The Peat Farm calls me. I shall see you on Monday? May perhaps write before that

Adieu, adieu. Yours ever / T.C.