August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO DAVID LAING ; 10 February 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440210-TC-DL-01; CL 17: 260-262


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea 10 feby, 1844—

My dear Sir,

Your Letter has come; and the Book, which, next time I passed Rodd's quarters,1 was found waiting there,—waiting, I suppose, because the “Cheyne Row” was unprovided with a “No 5,” which would have enabled the Parcels Company to do its duty without misgivings. This valuable Company carries all manner of Parcels for us from side to side of London, in swift jingling vehicles, the light Parcels at the rate of 6d each; they are punctual too, but not quite so handy as the Postman at divining addresses when there is room for doubt in them.— I have written to thank Mr Macknight, whose Father I remember very well, whose Gift I like very well:2 and now, with thanks to yourself, this lets you loose from the transaction.

Lochiel's Memoirs, I expect, will give me some instruction about Glencairn's and Monk's Highland campaignings3 and the nature of the “Mosstroopers” of those old days; indeed it promises to be worth reading for general purposes;—a Book that really deserved its types and paper. Printing Societies multiply very strangely on all hands of us; and will grow by and by, I think, into something new and useful in our times,—when the old Bookselling Guild (in the sense of a Publishing one) seems nodding towards Chaos, and can ‘publish’ nothing but Pickwickeries and Tomfooleries and Harry Lorrequers4 and such like: but they really ought, these Printing Societies, to consider their ways a little, and edit their Books as well as print them; otherwise they too may become a nuisance! To judge by their outcome, I think your Scotch Societies seem to perform better than our London ones here: I read a very respectable Maitland Book, Clotness Collections, not long since; here seems a respectable Abbotsford one;—and I know one Ballantyne Book that is more than respectable!5

Can you, at some leisure moment, for there is no haste about it, tell me whether the lost volume of Nicoll's Diary has not been found and printed somewhere?6 Whether the ‘Gordon's History’ (or some such title) printed by the Spalding Club is the Gordon that Napier quotes from in that Book he wrote tumultunante calamo [with all-too-hasty pen]?7— Or perhaps these Spalding and other Clubs have printed lists of their Publications, attainable somewhere?— I am still on Cromwell and his time; sunk in a world of rubbish, wide as the British Empire, deep as the Kingdoms of the Dead: you may be thankful I am not near you in such a case!

Yours always truly /

T. Carlyle