January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO ROBERT CHAMBERS ; 3 April 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420403-TC-RC-01; CL 14: 114-116


Templand, Thornhill, Dumfries / 3 April, 1842—

My dear Sir,

Your Samaritan endeavour on behalf of Burns's Sister is worthy of all praise.1 It strikes one as a most tragical fact, this that you announce. How many tavern dinners are eaten yearly in all quarters of the globe, and froth-speeches delivered, in elegiac commemoration of the brokenhearted Robert Burns, with “Ah, the barbarously-entreated Poet; ah, if we had him here now!”—and his own Sister is yet here, and one of those tavern dinner bills would be a benefit to her; and froth-speech is still all that results! “Be you warmed, be ye fed,”2———our pockets remain buttoned, only our foolish mouths are open, to eat and to jabber. It is damnable. Such “worship of Heroes” is like much else that it holds of,—a thing requiring peremptorily to be altered. I for one thank you that you have stirred to act in this matter, instead of dining and talking!

There can be no possible objection to your use of my name in the way proposed; unless it be that a better were easily procurable: Loc[k]hart's, for example, whom I doubt not I could soon persuade, were I back again in London.

You must also take my poor guinea; a kind of widow's mite,3 which, as all authors are, it will be a luxury for me to give. I think also I can gather a few guineas more in my home circle, if you sent me a half dozen of your subscription papers up to Town.

A mournful event has brought me down hither, and still detains me here: but in some two weeks more I expect to be at Chelsea again.

With many good wishes, and even good remembrances (for your face and voice, as well as books, are known to me from of old), I remain,

Yours most truly /

T. Carlyle