The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO [MARGARET A. CARLYLE] ; 24 August 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400824-TC-MAC-01; CL 12: 232-233


Chelsea 24th August 1840

I think always some time or other I shall get myself a little house by the seaside; and live far away from all the noise of London. But one must “follow his star.” I seem to have considerable work cut out for me here; and I ought to feel I was greatly blessed in getting it put forward. London does not seduce me in any way; but I grow more accustomed to it, see much in it one might learn to like. On the whole I compare myself to the Cats; I am dreadfully ill to heft [become accustomed]to a place; and then dreadfully difficult to stir when once hefted.

No work is yet lying disengaged on the stithy with a hammer in one's hand freely striking it! Work I do imagine goes on; but alas, I think it may be a long while yet before much of it get fairly to the stithy, for the nature of it indeed is a little abstruse. Nothing hurries me from without, nothing,—I have grown also lately not to care one penny about all the fame &c &c that such a generation as the present could give me, or withhold from me—or indeed any generation of Adam's posterity, it seems a mighty small matter to me; and for the rest I have money to buy meal and broadcloth, with; and I do not know what else, particularly “the world” has in it that could be superlatively useful to me! Really one feels that with one's head getting grey, and one's heart long tempered in the Stygian waters, very independent indeed, and quite as a kind of secret emperor among these beggarly population, all hunting like ravens, and as hungry as ravens, though with heaps of ill-smelling carrion piled round them! So let us be quiet, let us be pious-minded, listen to the Silences—to “the small still voices”1—ourselves silent.