The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO [BAPTIST WRIOTHESLEY NOEL] ; 23 September 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410923-TC-BWN-01; CL 13: 259-260


Chelsea, 23 Septr, 1841—

My dear Sir,

Returning from a long rustication in the North, I find your two Packets lying here; for which pray accept my thanks. Your two Oxford Dignitaries are very interesting scarecrows; hard to say which is uglier,—Pusey with his prying suffering contracted weazel-countenance, Sewel with his small triumphant ferret one.1 The world and Oxford are rarely off for Prophets at present.

Emerson has written no Books except the one you now have. His other publications are separate “Orations,” I think three in number; a little pamphlet called “Nature”; and scattered pieces in reviews, nowhere collected or clearly indicated. The “Orations” and “Nature” can be had, I suppose, by sending to Boston or New York; hardly otherwise: a certain Bookseller, Green, in Newgate street here,2 communicates almost weekly with that country, and I doubt not with all Booksellers in this. Perhaps, on the whole, your readiest way of learning what Emerson means will be to re-read that Book of Essays till you see clearly what is in it: the figure of the man is nowhere so distinctly shadowed as there. The figure of his School (for he begins to have a School) is best traceable in the Dial, a small quarterly publication,3 which I imagine Green regularly imports. A most shadowy shadow this latter;—the opposite pole of Puseyism, not less notable and far less miserable than it: a real living soul, but without body, and obliged to go about as ghost; contrasted with an arrogant suit of clothes pretending to exist comfortably without either body or soul!———

I never came to visit the Bodleian; it is now doubtful whether I shall come for the original purpose. I have found many Portraits and Illustrated Graingers4 here, and can derive but little profit from them.

It gives me pleasure to learn that you are about being settled in your own country in the way that pleases you, in the profession you find a call for. In all professions, on all courses of life, the true and diligent man infinitely differs from the false and slothful. I bid you go on zealously, and do your best with good omens.

Yours with true wishes /

T. Carlyle