Novbr. 25/58.

Still one more line. Your’s retched me here (spelling adaptable to circumstances,) this morning, on my coming over from my last visit to my old sister. I don’t see any phun in the 2 coal’d pales of water on one’s bak: ― & I think your remarx on Water-worx generally are far from untrue. Seriously, I should conceive that the necessity of constant contemplation of one’s health can’t be good for the body or mind, & I don’t see but that you are right to cease the trial.

This, I suppose will find you at Ld Clarendon’s: ― of whose visit to the Montalembert-scruncher,1 I hope you will think well, ―

And hereabouts, my bilious and skrogfrodious temperament screws itself up to give you a rowing for what your enemies call a “desultory” & “dilettante” tone of life. The moral of this abrupt & angular {118} preachment is that neither you nor nobody else will do no good if you do things by halves and squittles.
My feeling is, Lord Stanley in political life, or Holman Hunt in painting are the best 2 coves to be imitated in 1858: alike in this, that what either do, they do thoroughly & well. As a set off to this beastly jerk of my temper, I do allow that you thought of me in sending Kingsley’s book by post as you did, whereby I am cutting it & some toast at the present momenx. ― also that in matters of friendship you are not a  “dilettante” but a realist & præraphaelite.

Since I left town I have suffered less from Asthma daily ― but yet a good deal. At Husey Hunts ― (Lewes) I felt, as I alway do, their extreme kindness, greatly. Thence I went to Ann at Margate: ― Sister No. 2 is coming home from New Zealand, (about April,) and I hope Ann will then live with her, as at 68, & in failing health I do not like her being so alone. ― It is always a hard task to leave the poor dear old lady, & I have to act hard-hearted to keep her at all quiet.

Arrived here, I find a most good and kind letter from Lady Isabella Proby ― on poor dear John Proby’s death.2 She says, “I send you these details of my brother John’s death, because I know you loved him.” And this was true: I did love him very much, and that fellow Bowen’s coarse ridicule of him was one among many of my causes of dislike towards him. {119}

But I myself was never kind to John Proby as I should have been, for which I suffer now, and some day shall perhaps suffer more.

Regarding money ― Gibbs writes here that he has paid in 60 odd £s to Drummings, ― & also Cramer & Beale have putchissed my 5 new songs, & the copy-rights of the old 4. So, if so be as you wants to get, (1) “Come not when I am dead” (2) “When thro’ the land,” ― (3) “The time draws near” (4) “Home they brought”3 ― (5) “O let the solid ground” ― nows your time at Cramers 201, Regent Street. I could tell you a kind doing of Lord Stanley, but have no thyme now.

Goodbye once more: my dear Chichester Fortescue.

Lord Lyons’4 death has just come to me also. You know I think that he saved my life when at Thebes 18485 by sending promptly out two doctors in a coach & four: ― had they not arrived I should not be writing to you now.

A pretty go this of the Montalembert decision in Paris. {120}

  1. The fiery debate which took place in Parliament in March on the subject of Lord Canning’s Indian proclamation, was the occasion for the issue of the Comte de Montalembert’s celebrated pamphlet “Un Debat sur I’Inde au Parlement Anglais,” in which he contrasted the political freedom in England with the conditions prevailing in France. For this he was prosecuted by the French Government. []
  2. Lord Proby, heir to the Earldom of Carysfort, died at the age of 35. Lady Isabella was his sister. []
  3. Twelve of Lear’s songs from Tennyson were included in this series, and afterwards were published by Hutchins and Romer. The following extract from a letter of Lear’s in 1882 on the death of Archbishop Tait will give some idea of Lear’s singing: “The latter was always very kind to me, and once said in a big party when I had been singing ‘Home they brought her warrior,’ and people were crying : ‘Sir, you ought to have half the Laureateship.’ That was in ‘51, when he was Dean of Carlisle.” []
  4. At Arundel Castle when he held the post of Minister at Athens. He was practical commander of the Fleet throughout the Crimean War. []
  5. See letter of July 19, 1848, from Athens, p. 10. []