The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JOHN STUART MILL ; 24 February 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410224-TC-JSM-01; CL 13: 46-47


Chelsea, 24 Feby, 1841—

Dear Mill,

It was a pity I missed you last Sunday; there are so few intersections now, our orbits running in a perverse concentric way!

I have read the first act of this Vivia Perpetua,1 and mean to go over the others before long. There is a certain genial vivacity discernible; not yet in contact with Nature,—communicating with Nature as yet at second-hand, thro' “Elder Dramatists” &c, &c but capable perhaps of getting into contact. I almost esteem it a misfortune that such a person should have got into the “Legitimate Drammar” at all; the prevailing element in which, for the present, is———Ask Horne, Heraud, Reade, Browning and Compy!2

Alas, whether a man be about to sing, or whatsoever he be about to do, it is sad for him if he have no native well to drink from; but only a purchased wash-bason containing more or less copious wringings from Ben Johnson, Charles Lamb &c.!———

Is Mrs Taylor in Town at present; and if so what is her address?3

I am fretted nearly to fiddlestrings, really a most pitiable creature; correcting Proofsheets &c &c. Thank Heaven it is nearly done now. I have thoughts of running off to the Isle of Wight for a week, where my Brother is.4

This thing on Heroes proves to be a stranger kind of Book than I thought it would. Since men do read without reflexion, this too was worth writing. For men that read otherwise, it lay mostly legible in what I had long since written. Prosit [May it be good].

Yours always affectionately

T. Carlyle