August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO SIR EDWARD BULWER LYTTON ; 28 March 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440328-TC-SEBL-01; CL 17: 321


Chelsea, 28 March, 1844—

My dear Sir,

It was not till this morning that I received my Book, after all. I called yesterday at Blackwood's shop;1 the shopman was arraigned, the sub-shopman, and finally the porter, with the corpus delicti before him, the parcel namely all wrapped and rightly addressed above a week ago: he, scratching his rough head, could only allege “that—that—he was not sure of finding my house there.” He should have tried! The Footguards at Waterloo, getting order to fire, were not sure that the triggers would act, but they made the experiment.

In fine, I return you many thanks for my good Book; and mean to enjoy myself upon it this very evening.

The thing I said about humour and Schiller needs many modifications, explanations, and lies open to canvassing on every side.2 I believe it first of all came to me from Jean Paul;3 who, for his own benefit, has said many things about Humour,—with depth enough, but often not with precision enough. Laughter and tears (if they are true, but often enough they are both false) seem to me to lie very near together in all men; and for avoiding Fanaticism, Rousseauship &c &c I would have them go on pari passu [on equal terms], if they could.

You will do me a real pleasure and kindness if you call here any day, and talk with me a while. I am at home generally till three; accessible to anybody between two and three, and to you at all hours. A mouthful of rational human speech is certainly the very elixir of life to a human soul;—and, alas, it seems to be a very rare possibility for mankind in these epochs!

With many kind regards, many thanks and good wishes, I remain always / Sincerely Yours,

T. Carlyle.