August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO CHARLES REDWOOD; 29 December 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18461229-TC-CR-01; CL 21:121-122.


Chelsea, 29 Decr, 1846—

Dear Redwood,

Your new Christmas Gift arrived safe on Saturday; again reminding us that we have a modest, beneficent and faithful Friend in the West; far off, but not unmindful of us. Such an assurance has its value in this world; a value which Time, so destructive elsewhere, yearly increases: let us be thankful for it.

As we did not hear of you till Christmas day was over, a sad thought had struck me that perhaps there was distress in your house,—danger of a loved life, such as I know you had long looked forward to. Alas, it now turns out that the danger is past, That sorrowful foreboding has become certainty; the thing that you greatly feared has come upon you! There is something altogether affecting in the few words you utter on that subject; which I well understand. All my life too I have trembled at precisely a similar misery; which by law of Nature I am probably destined soon to experience too. We have but one Mother;—and the Author of us has appointed, as the universal rule, that this holiest of all human relations has to be cut asunder. From the beginning of the world it was so.— Sorrow has in it something nobler than joy. Let us look to the Stars, to the Eternities,—let us look this godlike universe in the face; and not complain.

We have had a very black time of hubbub here for weeks past: my Wife fell suddenly ill of cold, our old Servant went away, visitors came, &c &c: I do not recollect any four weeks for a long while that have passed with me in a more entirely uncomfortable manner. Happily it is ceasing now; my Wife getting out of her room for about a week past: in few days more all, or nearly all, will be in its old routine again. A few weeks of Chaos are needed, I suppose, to make us prize the blessings of Cosmos duly,—from time to time.— — I am doing no work; reading Books, most part of which do nothing but disgust and irritate me. My Life amounts to a grim silence at present: lips rigorously shut; which, if one's eyes are open, may be a useful temporary arrangement.

If Boverton1 were not so far off, or if my skin were thicker against the horrors of locomotion, I might perhaps hope to see you there for a week or two, by and by. But the “nature of the beast,”—that point is an unalterable one. We shall see!— Wishing you courage, patience, heart and health— Yours ever truly— T. Carlyle

Cromwell I. 43 (s2d Edition) Note 2

“‘Egglis Newith’ is Eglwys Newydd, New Church, now called”——?


Something wrong there; which you once told me how to rectify: but I have lost the Letter.2 Pray put it right—this slip of paper I suppose will do,—slip it into a Post-Office cover; I will make the needful change, and have it off my hands for ever and a day.


No new Cromwell Letters have turned up; hardly one or two new indications, or significant vestiges, which were worth introducing as they arrived. / T.C.