The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO WILLIAM STIRLING ; 19 June 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500619-TC-WS-01; CL 25: 98-99


Chelsea, 19 june, 1850

Dear Stirling,

I have seen Prescott,—from the distance,—who seems a very reasonable, amiable man, whom it would not be unpleasant to talk with on occasion, were his lionhood but ended! However, it is not on his score, it is on your own and Ford's1 that I lament exceedingly my inability to dine; Diana (in the shape of utter nervous misery and inanition)2 has sung and said, in a truly impressive manner, “thou shalt not!”— In fact I am getting so undeniably ill, in the hot weather and other sorrow of this dusty Babel, that a flight to Wales, or some still more secluded locality, is rising on me as an ultimatum which must not be delayed long.

If I am still in Town, as is likely, and if you wd let me come up after dinner, and sip an innocent cup of black tea with you on the Evg in question, I shd be very happy, and get no hurt but benefit only.— Do not write about it; I shall probably see you before the time come.

Are you thinking of that work on Scottish Historical Art?3 The Collection of Portraits of Scotch Worthies; with right historical Notices, such as they might be made: here really were a field worthy of you, and the only one I know in that rather barren domain of “Art” so-called: a task this which might fairly claim all your faculties, natural and accidental; it needs abundant money, long time and study and inquiry, and can in no wise dispense with abundant sense and liveliness of talent in thinking and writing,—which will by no means often go along with the other requisites before mentioned!— Really you might do an honourable feat, long worthy of mention, in that way; and precious to poor old Scotland, who should not be forsaken by her sons so fitted out by her!

Count v. Suhm was a Danish Gentleman, of sufficiently elegant equipment and existence, in the last century:4 but he hired a brave Langebek5 and others, and did himself work and superintend; and so, instead of much champagne spilt into nonsensical headaches, there is the History of Denmark (which he found of broken brick rubbish, as ours now is) brot partly to the state of marble by his means.6 I often remember that man; with a tendency to get very angry when I look around me!—

Excuse this little bit of preaching; which is not ill meant, I assure you, but well; and believe me ever

Yours very sincerely /

T. Carlyle