The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JOHN STERLING ; 15 April 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400415-TC-JOST-01; CL 12: 111-112


Chelsea, 15th April, 1840—

My dear Sterling,

There was nothing wrong in our correspondence, so far as the Postman stood concerned: he, poor man, had done faithfully what little duty we entrusted to him. My phraseology had misled you; it did not mean that I had written more, but that you, with your gifts, opportunities, &c, &c (had Fortune aided) should not have written so little! It meant, at bottom, that I desire excessively to be spoken to, by a character like you,—provided you would ask no speech from me; a modest desire; beseeming the Harpocrates-Stentor you were once pleased to say was my name.1

Here is a Lecture-Prospectus; sufficient to create some apprehension in the old River, I hope.2 Poor old fellow, he escapes unnumerable risks, with that ominous potentiality of his; but still remains in fact unburnt.— For avoiding ruts, and all other mischances, what hope have I! On the whole, I had rather not have you for a hearer this year; tho' I pray daily you would come and ride with me. The summer has burst forth suddenly; in a few days, the woods will all have their new jackets on; already it is a very blessedness to see the unfathomable blue above one, the young green around,—and London lying like a great black Malebolge, filling only half the Heaven, at a safe distance from one. For two hours daily I feel like the Starling that had got out.3— You will not come; it would be too pretty if you did! Heaven love you, coming or staying. We both of us salute you in all affection. Yours ever

T. Carlyle

My very kind regards to Mrs Strachey. Is not Montagu4 very much of an ass, with that loud throat of his?