TC TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON ; 7 November 1838; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18381107-TC-RWE-01; CL 10: 209-214
TC TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON
5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London / 7th Novr, 1838—
My dear Friend,
It is all right; all your Letters with their inclosures have arrived in due succession: the last, inquiring after the fate of the others, came this morning.1 I was in Scotland, as you partly conjecture; I wrote to you already (tho' not without blameable delay), from my Mother's house in Annandale, a confused scrawl, which I hope has already got to hand, and quieted your kind anxieties: I am as well as usual in health, my Wife better than usual; nothing is amiss, except my negligence and indolence, which has put you to this superfluous solicitude on my account. However, I have an additional Letter by it; you must pardon me, you must not grudge me that undeserved pleasure, the reward of evil-doing. I may well say, you are a blessing to me on this Earth; no Letter comes from you with other than good tidings,—or can come while you live there to love me.
The Bill was thrust duly into Baring's2 brass slit “for acceptance,” on my return hither some three weeks ago; and will, no doubt, were the days of grace run, come out in the shape of Fifty Pounds Sterling: a very curious product indeed. Do you know what I think of doing with it? Dyspepsia, my constant attendant in London, is incapable of help in my case by any medicine or appliance except one only, Riding on horseback. With a good horse to whirl me over the world for two hours daily, I used to keep myself supportably well. Here, the maintenance of a Horse far transcends my means; yet it seems hard I should not for one little while be in a kind of approximate health in this Babylon where I have my bread to seek: it is like swimming with a millstone round your neck,—ah me! In brief, I am about half resolved to buy myself a sharp little nag with twenty of these Transatlantic Pounds, and ride him till the other thirty be eaten: I will call the creature “Yankee,” and kind thoughts of those far away shall be with me every time I mount him.3 Will not that do? My Wife says, it is the best plan I have had for years, and strongly urges it on. My kind friends!
As to those copies of the Carlyle Miscellanies, I unfortunately still can say nothing, except what was said in the former (Scotch) letter, that you must proceed in the business with an eye to America and not to us. My Booksellers Saunders and Ottley [sic] have no money for me, no definite offer in money to make for those 200 copies, of which you seem likely to make money if we simply leave them alone. I have asked these Booksellers, I have asked Fraser too: What will you give me in ready money for 250 copies of that book, sell it afterwards as you can?4 They answer always, We must see it first. Now the copy long ago sent me has never come to hand; I have asked for it of Kennet,5 but without success; I have nothing for it but to wait the winds and chances. Meanwhile S. and Otley want forsooth a “Sketches of German Literature” in three volumes; then a “Miscellanies in three volumes”: that is their plan of publishing an English edition; and the outlook they hold out for me is certain trouble in this matter, and recompense entirely uncertain. I think on the whole it is extremely likely I shall apply to you for 250 copies (that is their favourite number) of these 4 volumes (nay if it be of any moment, you can bind me down to it now, and take it for sure): but I cannot yet send you the titlepage; no bookseller purchasing till “we see it first.” But after all, will it suit America to print an unequal number of your two pairs of volumes?. Do not the two together make one work? On the whole, consider that I shall in all likelihood want 250 copies, and consider it certain if that will serve the enterprise: we must leave it here today. I will stir in it now however, and take no rest till in one way or other you do get a titlepage from me, or some definite deliverance on the matter. O Athenians what a trouble I give, having got your applauses!6
Kennet the Bookseller gave me yesterday (on my way to “the City” with that Brother of mine the Italian Doctor who is here at present and a great lover of yours) ten Copies of your Dartmouth Oration:7 we read it over dinner in a chophouse in Bucklersbury, amid the clatter of some fifty stand of knives and forks; and a second time more leisurely at Chelsea here. A right brave Speech; announcing, in its own way, with emphasis of full conviction, to all whom it may concern, that great forgotten truth, Man is still Man.8 May it awaken a pulsation under the ribs of Death! I believe the time is come for such a Gospel. They must speak it out who have it,—with what audience there may be. I have given away two copies this morning; I will take care of the rest. Go on, and speed.— And now where is the heterodox Divinity one; which awakens such “tempest in a washbowl”; br[ings] Goethe, Transcendentalism and Carlyle into question, and on the whole evinces “what di[fference] New England also makes between Pantheism and Pot-theism”? I long to see that; I expect to congratulate you on that too. Meanwhile we will let the washbowl storm itself out; and Emerson at Concord shall recognize it for a washbowl storming, and hold on his way. As to my share in it, grieve not for half an instant. Pantheism, Pottheism, Mydoxy, Thydoxy are nothing at all to me; a weariness the whole jargon, which I avoid speaking of, decline listening to: Live, for God's sake, with what Faith thou couldst get; leave off speaking about Faith! Thou knowest it not. Be silent, do not speak.— As to you, my friend, you are even to go on, giving still harder shocks if need be; and should I come into censure by means of you, there or here, think that I am proud of my company;9 that, as the boy Hazlitt said after hearing Coleridge, “I will go with that man”;10 or as our wild Burns has it: “Wi' sic as he where'er he be || May I be saved or damned!”11—Oime! What a foolish goose of a world this is. If it were not here and there an articulate-speaking man, one would be all-too lonely.
This is nothing at all like the Letter I meant to write you; but I will write again I trust in few days, and the first paragraph shall if possible hold all the business. I have much to tell you—which perhaps is as well not written. O that I did see you face to face! But the time shall come, if Heaven will. Why not you come over, since I cannot?12 There is a room here, there is welcome here, and two friends always. It must be done one way or the other.
I will take care of your messages to Sterling.13 He is in Florence; he was the Author of Montaigne.14 The F.Q. Reviewer of Strauss15 I take to be one Blackie an Advocate in Edinr, a frothy semi-confused disciple of mine and other men's; I guess this, but I have not read the Article: the man Blackie is from Aberdeen, has been roaming over Europe, and carries more sail than ballast.16 Brother John, spoken of above, is knocking at the door even now; he is for Italy again we expect in few days, on a better appointment: Know that you have a third friend in him under this roof,—a man who quarrels with me all day in a small way, and loves me with the whole soul of him. My Wife demanded to have “room for one line.” What she is to write I know not, except it be what she has said, holding up the pamphlet, “Is it not a noble thing? None of them all but he” &c &c. I will write again without delay when the stray volumes arrive; before that if they linger. Commend me to all the kind household of Concord:17 wife mother18 and son. Ever yours
“Forgotten you”?19 O no indeed! If there were nothing else to remember you by, I should never forget the Visitor, who years ago in the Desert descend on us out of the clouds, as it were, and made one day there look like enchantment for us, and left me weeping that it was only one day.20 When I think of America, it is of you—neither Harriet Martineau nor any one else succeeds in giving me a more extended idea of it. When I wish to see America it is still you—and those that are yours— I read all that you write with an interest which I feel in no other writing but my Husbands—or it were nearer the truth to say there is no other writing of living men but yours and his that I can read. God bless you and Weib und Kind [wife and child]—Surely I shall some day see you all[.]
your affectionate /