The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JULIUS CHARLES HARE ; 20 December 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18401220-TC-JUCH-01; CL 12: 371-372


Chelsea, December 20 1840

My Dear Sir,— Many thanks for the pamphlet and kind letter which have reached me this morning. In the former, as I glance over it, I already discover many things to be glad of; the latter is wholly a glad, welcome thing. We have an honorable printed “Charge” to the spiritual troops under your captaincy; and then the written Charge to a poor non-soldado (alas!) of the guerrilla or moss-trooper species,—who hopes, nevertheless, that he perhaps fights on your side, too!1

My expedition into Sussex grows ever the pleasanter to look back upon. It was transacted, as most of my journeys are, in a strange, preternatural humor, the fruit of sleeplessness, excitability, and nerves all torn to pieces; so that the whole world looks to one, like what it partly is, a spectral vision, proscenium to Hades, and hardly differing in quality from that! Months after, this and the other clear, living figure, clear beautiful scene, dawns out on you in quiet visibility of fact, all the lovelier for such environment. Uckfield, Cuckfield, Mayfield, Maresfield,—all these fields and strange, blue-green, sunny, shady places are henceforth portion of my private picture-gallery.

That you ask me back to Hurstmonceaux2 is very gratifying to me. Why should I not say to myself, Yes, this too is possible one day? Your “inhospitality” remains forever memorable to me; how I plumped in upon you, weary, out of the waste-howling labyrinthic night, and found—one waiting to devour me! There are few things beautifuller in the world and its wayfarings than the like of that.

For several months past I sit here, perdu [lost], in a little back room, sunk to the ears, or almost deeper, in Cromwelliana, Laudisms, Covenanterisms,—the dullest, dreadfullest stuff I ever engaged with in this world. The vapidest Moniteur of the French Year One3 was Homeric in comparison with these “continents of cinders.” Ah me, aus dem wird Nichts [out of this comes nothing],—except one's own deliverance from it by and by! Hurstmonceaux has no books on this subject. I find it difficult to get books; and then wish almost it had been impossible.

Darley was here not very long since, but saw only my wife. He speaks of Hurstmonceaux as of Eldorado. Milnes passed along towards France two weeks ago; he looks happier than ever, and even threatens to grow fat,—fatter than bard beseems. We hear occasionally of Sterling. I think of late years I have noticed a book lying in him, occasioning various pains and phenomena. Lucina4 be good to him, poor fellow!

Did you see a “tragedy,” by Mrs. Gore, called Dacre of the South, or some such thing, the scene of which is your castle, Hurstmonceaux?5 It has nothing else remarkable. We are overrun with dramas at present, or “legitimate dramars,” as most of the authors call them here.

Will you commend me in all kindness of remembrance to your fair sister,6 begging for me some reciprocity, if that be possible.

All lies bound in its winding-sheet of ice and snow, and gray, moaning skies. Strange to think that the sun and the everlasting blue do exist and shine above it all!

Good be with you, in all senses of that word.

Yours very truly, /

T. Carlyle.