TC TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON; 25 August 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510825-TC-RWE-01; CL 26: 140-142
TC TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON
Great Malvern, Worcestershire 25 Augt, 1851—
Many thanks for your Letter,1 which found me here about a week ago, and gave a full solution to my bibliopolic difficulties. However sore your eyes, or however taciturn your mood, there is no delay of writing when any service is to be done by it! In fact you are very good to me, and always were, in all manner of ways; for which I do, as I ought, thank the Upper Powers and you. That truly has been and is one of the possessions of my life in this perverse epoch of the world.
No tidings have yet arrived from E. P. Clark himself; but I have settled the affair and despatched everything just as if he had written: namely I have sent off by John Chapman a Copy of the Life of Sterling, which is all printed and ready, but is not to appear till the first week of October; and by the same Steamer, which left Liverpool 3 days ago for Boston direct, a Letter to the said E. P. Clark announcing the advent of such a Parcel, and emphatically authorizing him to make whatever bargain he finds with Phps & Sampson or with any other Publisher or Publishers: the Letter, I understand, went in P. & Sampson's Parcel from Chapman; the Corpus delicti itself, namely the Sheets of the Book, went to a House called Crosby & Nichols or some such name: that was my Brother's management, who is now in Chelsea in our house, looking after Dante manuscripts &c, and who underwent these troubles for me in my absence.2 Along with the Sheets was a poor little French Book for you,—Book of a poor naval Mississippi Frenchman, one “Bossu” I think; written only a century ago, yet which already seemed old as the Pyramids in reference to those strange fast-growing countries. I read it as a kind of defaced romance; very thin and lean, but all true, and very marvellous as such. Clark will give you that; and manage all the rest of the affair, I doubt not, with the due energy and success; to whom accordingly let us leave it with full faith of assurance.
It is above 3 weeks since my wife and I left London (the Printer having done), and came hither with the purpose of a month of what is called “Water-Cure”; for which this place, otherwise extremely pleasant and wholesome, has become celebrated of late years. Dr Gully, the pontiff of the business in our Island, warmly encouraged my purpose so soon as he heard of it; nay urgently offered at once that both of us should become his own guests till the experiment were tried: and here accordingly we are; I water-curing, assiduously walking on the sunny mountains, drinking of the clear wells, not to speak of wet wrappages, solitary sad steepages, and other singular procedures; my Wife not meddling for her own behoof, but only seeing me do it. These have been three of the idlest weeks I ever spent, and there is still one to come: after which we go northward to Lancashire, and across the Border where my good old Mother still expects me; and so, after some little visiting and dawdling hope to find ourselves home again before September end, and the inexpressible Glass Palace with its noisy inanity have taken itself quite away again. It was no increase of ill-health that drove me hither, rather the reverse: but I have long been minded to try this thing: and now I think the results will be,—zero pretty nearly, and one imagination the less. My long walks, my strenuous idleness have certainly done me good; nor has the “water” done me any ill, which perhaps is much to say of it. For the rest it is a strange quasi-monastic,—godless and yet devotional,—way of life whh human creatures have here; and useful to them beyond doubt. I foresee, this “Water-Cure,” under better forms, will become the Ramadhan3 of the overworked unbelieving English in time coming; an institution they were dreadfully in want of this long while!— We had Twistleton here (often speaking of you), who is off to America again; will sail, I think, along with this Letter; a semi-articulate but solid-minded worthy man.4 We have other officials and other Litterateurs (T. B. Macaulay5 in his hired villa for one): but the mind rather shuns than seeks them; one finds solitary quasi-devotion preferable, and [water is better] as Pindar had it!6
Richard Milnes is married, about two weeks ago, and gone to Vienna for jaunt.7 His Wife, a Miss Crewe (Ld Lord8 Crewe's sister), about 40, pleasant intelligent and rather rich: that is the end of Richard's long first act. Alfred Tennyson, perhaps you heard, is gone to Italy with his Wife:9 their baby died or was dead-born; they found England wearisome: Alfred has been taken up on the top of the wave, and a good deal jumbled about since you were here. Item Thackeray; who is coming over to lecture to you: a mad world, my Masters!10
Your Letter to Mazzini was duly despatched; and we hear from him that he will write to you, on the subject required witht delay. Browning and his Wife, home from Florence, are both in London at present; mean to live in Paris henceforth for some time. They had seen something both of Margaret and her d'Ossoli, and appeared to have a true and lively interest in them; Brg spoke a long while to me, with emphasis, on the subject: I think it was I that had introduced poor Margaret to them. I said he ought to send those reminiscences to America,—that was the night before we left London, three weeks ago; his answer gave the impression there had been some hindrance somewhere. Accordingly when your Letter, and Mazzini's reached me here, I wrote to Browning urgently on the subject: but he informs me that they have sent all their reminiscences, at the request of Mr Story;11 so that it is already all well.—— Dear Emerson, you see I am at the bottom of my paper. I will write to you again before long; we cannot let you lie fallow in that manner altogether. Have you got proper spectacles for your eyes? I have adopted that beautiful symbol of old age, and feel myself very venerable: take care of your eyes! Yours ever