May 1, 1859.

Here’s a pretty kettle of fishes! ain’t it? Everybody here is trying to get away, but they can’t, for the roads thro’ Tuscany are more or less uncertain, & no one chooses to risk horses being taken for troops. While, the same panic fills all the boats at Naples, & not a place is to be got at C. Vecchia, where several hundred English are staying, ― on dit, ― like to poor folk about the pool of Bethesda. The last 3 or 4 days are indeed very full of thunder clouds, ― & no one knows what is to follow. (The P[rince] of W[ales] goes to-morrow). ― As for myself, I do not know which way to turn. Should the war continue, or spread in new directions, it is clear that no strangers will come here, & the place will be utterly odious; yet I have taken expensive rooms for 2 years & a half, and have spent every farthing I have in fitting them up as a winter home. Possibly, if things grow much worse, I may come [to England], & publish some of my tours by subscription, living obskewerly & cheaply. In less than 10 days I hope to send off Baring’s & the other pictures. Next to make the studies for Gibbs, Heywood,1 & Stamfield’s pictures in the Campagna. This will bring me to June, by which time I must decide some way or other.

If I ever come to England I must see you at Red {134} House, but I should mainly have to poke about London, & therefore I had half as rather not come this year, all the more that the N.Z. sister comes over for 2 years ― & at first family matters won’t be happy, as there has been much bother of late, & I always keep out of these messes, though I have come down with £20 in the winter for the amiable relatives here and there, as is right & fit. My money affairs are, au plus bas: but I don’t like giving up, ― so I shall hold on.

I hope you have not been over-bothered by the Election2 ― but, do you know I rather like you to have to do the work, because it stirs you up, & your nature requires that, I take it now and then. Lord D[erby]’s speech about the Indian heroes was good: ― but I don’t think his Govt., or Lord S[tanley] in particular have acted well to Lord Canning, whose career has been one of the utmost difficulty, and needed no ungenerosity to embitter it further: the Earldom & the praise do not tally with the Ellenborough Stanley dispatches.3

Yes indeed, I do feel “sick of time” here. I am convinced of this more and more: ― if you have a {135} wife, or are in love with a woman, (both phases of the same state of self division, the only real and proper state of life in this world) if I say such be your condition, ὤ ἄνθρωπε!4 then you may stay in any place & in any circumstances: you are raised out of the necessity of contemplating the cussed nuisances of poverty or bores by sympathy: ― but if you are absolutely alone in the world, & likely to be so, then move about continually & never stand still. I therefore think I shall be compulsed & more especially by the appearance of things on the horizon, ― to go to Japan & New York, or Paraguay, or anywhere before long.

  1. Arthur Heywood, of Stanley Hall, Yorks. []
  2. The defeat of Lord Derby’s Government over Mr. Disraeli’s Reform Bill led to a Dissolution of Parliament in May. []
  3. On March 3, 1858, Lord Canning, then Governor-General of India, issued his famous Proclamation practically confiscating the whole of Oude. This was condemned by Lord Derby’s Government, and Lord Ellenborough, then President of the Board of Control, sent a despatch disapproving of it in the most violent terms. Lord Canning received an earldom on May 21, 1859. []
  4. “O man!” []