January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON ; 4 September 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560904-TC-LA-01; CL 31: 215-216


The Gill, Thursday Evg 4 Septr 1856—

Dear Lady,

Here is still the old Comedy “Much ado about nothing,” going on at a great; happily near terminating, we hope.

I had formed again the nicest program; and was proceeding in beautiful calm towards fulfilment, by departure hence tomorrow noon; when, this morning the Murray's Time-Tables (which had been missent by way of double-speed)—arrived. The M's Time-Tables speedily taught me that the Steamer from Glasgow was not, as I had fondly thought, on Saturday morning, but on Friday,—tomorrow 7 a.m., and no mistake!

Whereupon ensued such a hurlyburly as cannot indeed have equalled the Coup d'Etat of December 2,1 but must have approached it in intensity at some points! You, I consider, never witnessed anything like it,—while the secret of fate was getting itself worked out of that thrice-abstruse Document, intelligible only to those skilled in Time and Tables!—

The result of all is, I expect to get into the Aberdeen Railway at Linlathan (Broughty Ferry station)2 about 11 a.m. on Tuesday next; to be tumbled along incessantly thenceforward by such conveyance as there is, rail or coach; and so to arrive towards midnight of the said Tuesday at the Caledonian Mrs Spicer's Inverness,—there to lie horizontal for some hours, sleeping or not; and in fine to be shaken out along with the mailbag on your kitchen floor next day (Wednesday), and so to end. That is the substance of the matter.

I had come to understand the Beauly project; but that is all now off. Thanks, thanks.—Leave me to the powers of gravitation: I expect to be found on your floor on Wedy as aforesaid.

I have to start therefore by the Caledonian Line,—from Scotsbrig, that is.3 If I get across into that quarter tonight (as I still may), Science informs me this may still reach you on Saturday,—and be No 2 to one already sent the day before yesterday.4 God help us all: truly there is need!— Yours T.C.