The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO DAVID LAING ; 11 May 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410511-TC-DL-01; CL 13: 129-130


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea, 11 May, 1841—

My dear Sir,

Accept many hearty thanks for your benevolent attention to my queries.1 It is something to understand that no history of these things does now exist. We must rest patient in ignorance of them. Nay at bottom, since it is so, why wish it very greatly to be otherwise? How many nobler things have vanished even to the last echo of them, since this Earth began its voyage,—so that we do not now so much as ask If they had a history! It is sooner or later the lot of all things.

You must forgive me nevertheless if I perhaps trouble you some other time with still other queries of mine. A man that knows, what is the use of him if not to instruct those that do not know!—

If the Post will carry this unfortunate Marquis of Huntly,2 I will beg you to give him room in some of your Baillies or Napier Montroses. The poor scrap of paper, with its autograph too, seemed to me a singular waif, lying stranded here on an old-book stall! “Countryman,” it seemed to say, “wilt thou not have pity on me?”

Believe me always / My dear Sir / Your obliged

T. Carlyle