The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES ; 19 November 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18411119-TC-RMM-01; CL 13: 303-304


Chelsea, 19 Novr, 1841—

Dear Milnes,

Where in the wide earth are you? If anywhere above ground, I beg for a word from you. Those kind laughing eyes, what scene do they now look on; what mortals hear now that half-serious, half-quizzing wholly-friendly voice? Tell me whether you are at Fryston, or where you are.

I called at your house here, some days after my arrival, while Sir Peel and the National Palaver were still sitting:1 my hopes to meet you were baulked; a voice answered, “He is just gone abroad”; and as it was the Lippulus [little bleary-eyed one], Tailorkin, or whatever he is, that spake, no farther details could be drawn from him. I remembered America; I hastily concluded, America. Some one afterwards told me that it was France; then again I hear rumour of Yorkshire. Gentle Shepherd, prithee say!2— Above all, if you could tell me when I am to see you again? Sights do abound in this world; but so few of those are worth seeing,—ah me! There is but one Richard Milnes now exant in the Solar System for us.

It was a most strange discovery for me, not knowing what course the Darlington Railway would take with us to Town, that night my Wife and I set off,—to discover Castleford and the woods of Fryston; to see your white gazebo under the gleam of the stars, and think of so many things! Whirled past, rapidly off into the Night, by Destiny and Steam! It is the way the gods often have with us poor men of mould.

Rio writes to me from Viroflay near Paris. He has been versé [thrown down], he and Montalamvert, on the streets of Vannes (venetiae Britonum),3 and had his hand lamed; is full of “faith” (in the old Triple-hatted Chimera),4 of friendliness to man; is polishing his Book; reading Emerson, &c. I continue to like Rio. Poor Jeffrey, as you perhaps know, is still very poorly; out near Hertford at Empson's place; but purposed to remove into Town, and I suppose continue there, about this very time.5 No other of your men have I come athwart of late. I have lived amazingly solitary, ever since you last saw me; indeed, ever since you drove me down to the Railway, and set me adrift again, last spring. It is absolutely indispensable for me to be a good-deal alone, with my own ugly self. I hope gradually to learn the art even here in Babel,—since my life seems cast here: One has to do like the fabulous salamander: learn to live in fire! The poor salamander throws out icy effluences, they say; isolates itself, makes the furnace-temperature pretty comfortable to all feelings in the end. It is a considerable secret.

I cover much paper with ink, of late; but swiftly burn it almost all again. The world knows not how much it is obliged to me.

Emerson's Essays succeed, I understand; so much the better. The man himself I find is highly gratified with us. Poor fellow, he will now have to see, now first, what of real stuff there is in him; whether he will expand, or merely burst, as the most do! This Adelphi business I received the other day.6 If it reach you at Fryston on Sunday morning,—do not go to church, to that fat parson and his deceased formulas; stay at home, and read this of the Yankee New-Era! Really, is it not better, most poor inarticulate Doodle-doo-ish tho' it be? Let the dead bury their dead.7——— Adieu, my Friend; good be ever with you!—

T. Carlyle

Darley is writing a new Tragedy for Macready.8 Is not that well? Poor Darley, may the Fates be kind to it,—as far as they possibly can to any “Dramar”