April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO CHARLES REDWOOD ; 21 September 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440921-TC-CR-01; CL 18: 218-219


Chelsea, 21 Septr, 1844—

My dear Sir,

About a fortnight ago, just as I was leaving Town for a short run into Hampshire, there arrived from you a beautiful Box of Peaches addressed to my Wife; which now, at my return, I am shocked to find all eaten, and never yet acknowledged by any word of thanks or recognition! My Wife trusted to me for writing; says, I promised to write: I, unconscious of promise, naturally trusted to her. Enough, the Peaches, if there be truth in testimony, were excellent; and had a grateful welcome, as I can state without testimony. Many thanks to you for your continued friendliness, your unwearied remembrance of us.

This little excursion to Lord Ashburton's place in Hampshire is all the rustication I am to have this year. I saw Winchester, the tombs of the Old Saxon, Danish and Norman kings;1 a fair expanse of downs and parks, and pleasant cottages, and high-towered mansions here and there; and various other pleasant things and persons;—and, on the whole have accomplished my little journey not unsuccessfully, nor perhaps without profit, tho' I was very sick and sleepless all the while. My work is now the one thing needful; and that, alas, lies very helpless-looking all round me! God only knows what I shall make of that; but I must really try now.

In the next Fraser's Magazine is a set of rather stupid old British-Museum Papers, which I have printed there, with some words of remark.2 They cannot interest any human creature much; but, if they come in your way, you may cast an eye over them.

My Wife came home from Lancashire, where she staid a month among Friends, rather improved by the excursion, and still continues pretty well; my Brother is still in Annandale beside his Mother. None of us thought of going to the “Burns Festival”; which indeed I am happy to see the rational part of the community did rather universally avoid, being sick of that kind of Tomfoolery.3 “Respect for Genius”: O my beloved brethren, when I look at the men whom you have paid respect to, and the men whom you have refused respect to, and hung on gibbets instead of setting on thrones, I have to declare that your “respect” smells somewhat malodorous in the human nostril; and will beg that you would on the whole carry it elsewhither! Give it all to Jamie Grant of the Random Recollections;4 try if you can fatten the ducks with it; on the whole leave me alone of it!——— So much for “genius,” and the “respect” for it. A mad world, my masters.5

Yours with a truer kind of thanks

T. Carlyle