January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO LORD ASHBURTON ; 30 October 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18591030-TC-LOA-01; CL 35: 246-247


Chelsea, 30 Octr, 1859—

Dear Lord Ashburton,

We are getting very anxious to see you here, or even to hear of you in an explicit direct way.1 Ever since we returned hither (first days of the month), there has been a rumour of you, “Coming, just at hand”; and the rumour always postpones itself again, and takes up new ground, whh again proves false. “Expected on the 10th,” that what2 I heard first; then, twice, in succession, by side-chance, I heard of you as due at Linlathen “day after tomorrow”; neither of whh days held good. My horse and I have gone round by Bath House, 4 times, regardless of the slipperiness of Piccadilly, to look out for you,—Horse, I perceive, as diligent in scanning as myself, anxious he too in his way,—but it is to no purpose; all the Three Gates are scrupulously shut, windows screened; and we have to slide our ways again. Till yesterday, incidentally falling in with Dr Rous, he grieves me by the news that you have a fit of gout again, still at Brahan Castle,—“probably a bad fit, as you report yourself in bed!”— This is not good news at all. I beg a little word, the first time you can without bother: or if writing in the horizontal posture is too disagreeable, perhaps the Beneficent Lady3 will help us on the occasion? I have heard farther of your intending for Egypt again; of whh I know not what to think,—except that it will eclipse you from me for a long while to come; tho’ indeed poor “I” have hardly eyes to see with, at any rate, except in one dreary direction, & fixed on one unbeautiful object! If you can return, as last time, in improved health, it will be an expedition well worth doing. My own private theory at present is, you have been taking too much out of yourself: one has to learn that secret (and usually pay smart for not believing it quite readily) at a certain stage of life;—I myself never fairly ascertained, till in late months, that I must henceforth lay it to heart, as a fact of sure moment. Be wise, and keep an eye on this, when Deer &c tempt!—

I have no news to interest you. I see nobody,4 read no newspaper, hear of nothing; sit up here all day, to the throat in rubbish: dash out to a lonesome spectral course on horseback, in the dusk; my Wife doing all the “society” there is. She is decidedly better in health; say you soon, “Anch’ io [And I]!” And come soon, and let us see it.—

Ever yours

T. Carlyle