The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO HARRIET TAYLOR ; 7 March 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410307-TC-HTA-01; CL 13: 50-51


Chelsea, 7 March, 1841—

Dear Mrs Taylor,

For the last ten days we have been labouring here under a doleful visit of Influenza; unable to do anything, not so much as live without doing mischief! It is not usual with me to meddle with these epidemics; but this time it has been my lot. I believe it is perhaps a beneficial crisis: for these many months I have been in a very bad way; and now this, were it once over, may perhaps be the beginning of improvement. Unfortunately, just as I began to recover, my Wife has taken ill. Your Note would have been answered sooner, had it not been for all this.

Vivia Perpetua seems to me to have more merit than any of the “Dramas” I have seen of late years;1 George Darley's alone excepted.2 This is not saying very much. I wish the Authoress3 would take into some other department. She wants, with whatever effort, to get down upon the rock, to fix herself there; and most of this hitherto is but loose gravel, tradition and hearsay, which will never properly suffice her. Alas, it is a terrible business that of getting down upon the rock! But it is possible for every human soul: it is pity if a gifted human soul should not at least tend thitherward, strive thitherward.

When you get back to Kent Terrace we shall surely see you. One of my most ardent hopes is to get out of London this summer; far away from it. I know not yet whitherward, and indeed care not much: but the demand for “silence” is getting very peremptory with me.

Really as Mahomet says, there ought to be “pearl houses” for us all; each his own hollow pearl of due size for living in;4 and then also we ought to “sit on seats facing one another”!—— It cannot be managed, in these sublunary parishes. Yours, dear Mrs Taylor, / with true good-wishes, / T. Carlyle.