The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JOHN STERLING ; 10 December 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18401210-TC-JOST-01; CL 12: 360-361


Chelsea, 10 Decr, 1840—

Dear Sterling,

In a corner of your last Note, lies an interrogatory which I, punctual as I wished to be, did not answer. A most momentous interrogatory!

The Mr Richardson, who struggles vainly to vend his Book by some recommendation of mine, must be a certain David Lester Richardson, an Indian Scotch Soldier, now for the second time in Calcutta, who once, some ten years ago, as a Halfpay here made some efforts as an Editor and Critic; but not succeeding to his mind, went back to regions of the Sun again. There collecting his disjecta membra [scattered pieces] of Prose and Rhyme, he printed them on dim paper, and sent me a copy. I had never seen his face; but knew who he was; found him an affectionate, melancholy, smooth-spoken man, of decided elegance and ingenuity,—tormented seemingly not a little with many things; with the need of approbation from his fellow creatures, for one. I found him really cheerful-tragic reading; and told him so veraciously, with honest emphasis. He—unhappy man—printed my Letter, had it reprinted here, “on sweet compulsion”; and I—would write no more. He is now in his second edition, on finer paper; sends me two copies; one of which, if you will undertake to review it, you shall have straightway and my blessing to boot! The Newspaper puff, I have small doubt, is extracted from the same luckless Letter.1 This is the history of Richardson; I am not angry at him: let us pity the poor white man!2

We like your verses on Acre3 to a very considerable degree! My Wife declares them the best you ever made;—not having seen the Election; being still indeed in a kind of gentle huff about that!

Will you have Scott's Syllabus,4 to teach you farther how the world wags? Be a good boy; and say confidently, Anch' io son pittor[e] [I also am a painter], and will prove to them all (the dogs) that it is a rhyme Pittor!”5

[Adieu before the sun fall. I have yet had no walking.

Yours Ever /

T. Carlyle.]