April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO THOMAS STORY SPEDDING ; 19 September 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480919-TC-TSS-01; CL 23: 113-114


The Grange, Alresford, Hants.19 Septr, 1848—

Dear Spedding,

Here, selected from certain others worth nothing, is a kind of answer to your inquiry concerning the French Task-workers on the Sologne; the best answer I have yet got, which unfortunately is not worth much.1 Indeed the Enterprise seems much smaller than the Newspapers represented it; and in spite of the “impermeable blankets,” I doubt it will gradually die away, and leave not even an effective reminiscence of itself. If more news come to me on the subject, you shall have them. I find hitherto scarcely any human soul that will admit the possibility of thus dealing with Pauperism; and no official soul that does not shriek with horror at the bare mention of it. Alas, alas, the light giggling humour of almost all official and other men, in these days, makes me for one very serious! I believe that the righteous gods will make us all serious by and by.

For the last fortnight we are here, my Wife and I, in the midst of a sufficiently brilliant and totally idle circle of Society,—such as, I think, if you should describe it to an intelligent Inhabitant of the Moon, the Moonite would positively deny the possibility of. O Heavens, to think of the wild waste, madder than that of boiling potatoes by fires of cinnamon, that prevails in this distracted Earth! But I will hold my peace; in a little while I hope to be back at Chelsea again, secure in my own garret, and at liberty to sit entirely silent over the unspeakable! God mend us all: we do all need it; at least I, for one, very much do.

My regards to the champion of Bacon;2 tho' Bacon have lain among the pots, may pious Insight (if indeed Insight can) bring him forth as a moulted dove, with his wings of silver and his neck of the yellow gold!3 O Heavens, it is surely pious to do so, and the first function of an understanding artist with the pen,—if, I say, such be the truth, but not otherwise!

Laurence, before I left Town, did a new tremendous Sketch of me; for I was and am the idlest of all sons of Adam, ready to be painted,—almost to be made into sausages, if anybody could find use for me! To myself I am of none or less.— On the whole it is better that I glide out over these green sunny spaces, under the shade of a whispering ilex, and there smoke, in absolute silence, whatever my thoughts may be. Even to you I will speak no more at this time. Adieu, dear Spedding; good be with you and those dear to you, always—

Yours, /

T. Carlyle