August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


TC TO JOHN STERLING ; 14 December 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18421214-TC-JOST-01; CL 15: 228-229


Chelsea, 14 Decr, 1842—

Dear Sterling,

I cannot convince you of Shakspeare at present:1 how can I? But it remains part of a very central conviction with myself, which seems to spread largely in late years, and explains many things for me. In good truth, the enormous opulence of Life in this old universe surpasses comprehension. Game Cocks fight: but the million-millionth part of them are never hatched at all; they are eaten, by the legion, at breakfast as mere eggs! A little Egyptian horse-litter, or Piccadilly steam heat had made Cocks of them:— Think, think!—

By what chance it happens I know not; but the Letter on Miner Verran, dated almost four weeks back, arrives along with the other this morning. Perhaps you have been inquiring of him that keeps the Gig? In that case too, the response, as I infer, was satisfactory.

This man Verran is evidently a hopeful person; one of those rare human beings whom it is not very difficult to help. Decidedly he ought to be tried, to a certain extent. In what way, with what precautions, pre-inquiries &c, I will leave you and our benevolent Friends altogether to decide. A sum of 40 or 50 pounds, to aid him in his noble purpose of schooling himself, might at any rate be useful. I put down my sovereign on the adjoined leaf (the Post-Office order goes along with it); do you and other kind men add what more you can, in the shape of money or of better than money: my poor faculty in regard to the matter is as good as out. But just men beholding such a thing are bound to acknowledge it,—to cherish it and the like of it as Heaven's sacred fire on the altar of this our common Earth, not too copiously supplied with fire at present! I have rarely fallen in with a more assistable-looking man than this same most meritorious Verran. Tell the Misses Fox that I specially recommend him to them. Tell all people that a man of this kind ought to be hatched; that it were shameful to eat him as a breakfast egg! And so Heaven prosper him; and you, and all the benefactors he can find: and may some blessing come out of this inquiry, and not a curse to any one.2

My Wife will go to Alicia3 tomorrow, and make more specially the investigation you require. I believe your Father's opinion is not the only one that fluctuates from clear hope to considerable shades of apprehension. Today, as Madam Pepoli informs us, your good Mother was walking in the Garden, and in a quite remarkable degree improved. My Wife, who goes up almost whenever she can go anywhither, generally reports to me a kind of mixed bulletin; never very bad, but also never altogether good. You will hear from herself very shortly.

If we had a Periodical on foot at this moment, it seems to me I should write a variety of Articles! Yet at bottom, perhaps it were only waste. The thing that will not run together as a Book, we fling it out in detached splashes as Articles. We should have made it run together; fused it, roasted, tortured it, till the divisive dross had been all tortured out of it; and then— Bonjour M. Diderot!4 Yours ever

T. C.

Mrs Lee's Life of Jean Paul, I think, must be procurable at Green's in Newgate Street. Mill has my copy, and then Darwin is to have it; after which it were much at your service.— I have seen your Mr Forster,5 and liked him well.— The Younger Edda?6 Yes.