The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON ; 21 May 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410521-TC-RWE-01; CL 13: 140-142


Chelsea, London, 21 May, 1841—

My dear Emerson,

About a week ago I wrote to you, after too long a silence. Since that, there has another Letter come,1 with a Draught of one hundred pounds in it, and other comfortable items not pecuniary; a line in acknowledgement of the money is again very clearly among my duties. Yesterday, on my first expedition up to Town, I gave the Paper to Fraser; who is to present the result to me in the shape of cash tomorrow. Thanks, and again thanks. This £100, I think, nearly clears off for me the outlay of the second F. Revolution; an ill-printed, ill-conditioned publication, the prime cost of which, once all lying saved from the Atlantic whirlpools and hard and fast in my own hand, it was not perhaps well-done to venture thitherward again.2 To the new trouble of my friends withal! We will now let the rest of the game play itself out as it can; and my friends, and my one friend, must not take more trouble than their own kind feelings towards me will reward.

The Books, the Dial No 4, and Appleton's pirated Lectures, are still expected from Green.3 In a day or two he will send them: if not, we will jog him into wakefulness, and remind him of the Parcels Delivery Company, which carries luggage of all kinds, like mere letters, many times a day, over all corners of our Babylon. In this, in the universal British Penny Post, and a thing or two of that sort, men begin to take advantage of their crowded ever-whirling condition in these days, which brings such enormous disadvantages along with it unsought for.— Bibliopolist Appleton does not seem to be a “Hero,”—except after his own fashion.4 He is one of those of whom the Scotch say, “Thou wouldst do little for God if the Devil were dead!” The Devil is unhappily dead, in that international bibliopolic province, and little hope of his reviving for some time; whereupon this is what Squire Appleton does. My respects to him: even in the Bedouin department I like to see a complete man, a clear decisive Bedouin.— For the rest, there is one man who ought to be apprised that I can now stand robbery a little better; that I am no longer so very poor as I once was. In Fraser himself there do now lie vestiges of money! I feel it a great relief to see, for a year or two at least, the despicable bugbear of Beggary driven out of my sight; for which small mercy, at any rate, be the Heavens thanked. Fraser himself for these two editions, 1000 copies each, of the Lectures and Sartor, pays me down on the nail £150; consider that miracle! Of the other Books which he is selling on a joint-stock basis, the poor man likewise promises something, tho' as yet ever since Newyearsday I cannot learn what, owing to a grievous sickness of his,—for which otherwise I cannot but be sorry, poor Fraser within the Cockney limits being really a worthy, accurate and rather friendly creature. So you see me here provided with bread and water, for a season,—it is but for a season one needs either water or bread,—and rejoice with me accordingly. It is the one useful, nay I will say the one innoxious, result of all this trumpeting, reviewing, and dinner-invitationing; from which I feel it indispensable to withdraw myself more and more resolutely, and altogether count it as a thing not there. Solitude is what I long and pray for. In the babble of men my own soul goes all to babble: like soil you were forever screening, tumbling over with shovels and riddles; in which soil no fruit can grow! My trust in Heaven is, I shall yet get away, “to some cottage by the sea-shore”;5 far enough from all the mad and mad-making things that dance round me here, which I shall then look on only as a theatrical phantasmagory, with an eye only to the meaning that lies hidden in it. You, friend Emerson, are to be a Farmer, you say, and di[g the] Earth for your living?6 Well; I envy you that as much as any other [of] your blessednesses. Meanwhile I sit shrunk together here, in a small dressing-closet, aloft in the back part of the house, excluding all cackle and cockneys; and, looking out over the similitude of a May grove (with little brick in it, and only the minarets of Westminster and gilt cross of St Pauls visible in the distance, and the enormous roar of London softened into an enormous hum), endeavour to await what will betide. I am busy with Luther in one Marheinecke's very long-winded Book.7 I think of innumerable things; steal out westward at sunset among the Kensington lanes: would this May weather last, I might be as well here as in any attainable place. But June comes; the rabid dogs get muzzles; all is brown-parched, dirty, suffocating, desperate and I shall have to run! Enough of all that. On my paper there comes, or promises to come, as yet simply nothing at all. Patience;—and yet who can be patient?—

Had you the happiness to see yourself not long ago, in Fraser's Magazine, classed nominatim [by name] by an emphatic earnest man, not without a kind of splayfooted strength and sincerity,—among the chief Heresiarchs of the world? Perfectly right. Fraser was very anxious to know what I thought of the Paper,—“by an entirely unknown man in the country.”8 I counselled, “That there was something in him, which he ought to improve by holding his peace for the next five years.”—

Adieu, dear Emerson; there is not a scrape more of paper. All copies of your Essays are out at use; with what result we shall perhaps see. As for me I love the Book and man, and their noble rustic herohood and manhood:—one voice as of a living man amid such jabberings of galvanised corpses: ach Gott!

Yours evermore /

T. Carlyle