The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO THOMAS STORY SPEDDING ; 2 August 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400802-TC-TSS-01; CL 12: 214-215


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea, / 2 Augt 1840—

My dear Sir,

Your very kind note has lain by me unanswered for several days;—waiting until a practical issue should have perfected itself. My manifold schemings as to rural equitation have ended in a ride over Surrey, and probably as far down as the sea-beach somewhere in Sussex: I set out today; am to return home to my work in about a week, and then sit quiet till about the beginning of next month at least. No Skiddaw therefore, no Friends about Skiddaw. I still calculate, were my work once done, I ought to go and see my Mother for a little while: but all this is cast into the prophetic region; a thing not to be diplomatised about at present. In September some time, we shall see.

My “three disciples” in your county1 ought to join with the other three in other counties, and see whether they could not bestir themselves out of speculation into some sort of activity! Unfortunately they seem to me to be almost the only souls in this generation who have any faith that the world is other than a beggarly upholstery concern, to be kept together by plaster and green paint and other such arcana,—which is threatening hourly to tremble now. I predict to them that it will; and that paint and plaster are not the methods to keep it standing, or to rebind it when down. At all events, our own life is trembling; gradually mouldering away, shorter every night than it was in the morning:—the Three, and the Four, and all sons of Adam are called to look after this. “The end of Man is an action not a thought!”

Ah me, I wish we were among the clear brooks, on the fresh hill tops of the North Country,—far, very far from this confused distracted irremediable Puddle!

Remember me affectionately to the serene soul of the Colonial Secretary;2 and keep for me, so long as possible, a place in your own.

So much by way of stirrup-saluation. The horse is at the door.

Yours ever faithfully /

T. Carlyle