The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO CHARLES REDWOOD ; 8 December 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18401208-TC-CR-01; CL 12: 349-350


Chelsea, 8 Decr, 1840

My dear Sir,

This morning by the Postman there was a Letter from you left here;1 and about an hour afterwards, another Functionary, mounted on wheels, made his appearance with the Box which your Letter had predicted: all safe, and in perfect order: a right kind message, delicately sent; for which, and for the feelings it proceeded from, take many thankful acknowledgements. I judge from the style of your appearances here that I ought to reckon you among my possessions in this world. Cornelia had no precious stones; but she said, pointing to certain living souls, “These are my jewels.”2 I have sought out Llandough on the map, know now to distinguish it from Llandow not far off; and shall understand that there also is a good household belonging to me.

What you say of being an Attorney brings a laugh into my face: Destiny seems to take a kind of satirical pleasure in practically quizzing me for what I have heedlessly written under that rubric,3—really little or nothing more than a convenient piece of nomenclature for me. You are not the first estimable and honest man, who with a sardonic triumph has announced himself to me as an Attorney; nay it so happens that precisely all the Attornies I know are of that category. “They have but one fault; but that one is a thumper!”— Well, I must bear your triumph and Destiny's.

What you say of your venerable Quaker Mother, of your quiet village Household, in the hollow of the Welsh Mountains, near by the shore of the many-sounding everlasting sea,—is full of beauty to me. My own daily prayer is that my lot too might be cast in such a locality. It is not impossible but you may see me some time or other at Cowbridge; were I not the worst of travellers, I should say it was not even unlikely.

As to your two questions, I answer, of Goethe's marriage, Yes, he was married; tho' some have told me, it was a kind of afterthought—a little while later than one could have wished and his Wife not altogether the pattern of women!4. They had a son, who proved a drunkard and sensualist as I have heard; and died at Rome, sent thither to be out of the way, about a year before his Father.5

With regard to lecturing I can only answer, Not except on compulsion,—and this year I trust in Heaven not. The whole element of Lecturing is foreign to me; a detestable mixture of “Prophecy and Playacting,” in which I have never yet found any right bottom; and would not unless compelled to it seek farther for one.

If you come again to this Babylon and have an hour to spare, pray seek me out.——— With thanks and good wishes

Yours very truly /

T. Carlyle