August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES ; 19 October 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18431019-TC-RMM-01; CL 17: 154-155


Chelsea, 19 Octr, 1843—

Dear Milnes,

Wherever on the face of this Earth you are, let me have a word from you once more.1 The sound of your voice has become very desirable, even the picture of the sound of it,—ah me!

I did design to send you tidings of me long ago. But I have been unfortunate; a weary, forlorn, most sickly wanderer; and could only sit silent,—looking grimly into the Infinite of Black and Bright, an in-articulate Infinite! What can be “said” of it? You remember Cowper's Crow, perched on the top of the weathercock, and therefrom taking “general views”; he looks abroad too into the general sum of things,

And says,—what says he?— Caw!2

I too might have written “Caw!” could the post have carried such a syllable with due intonation: but it could not.— — Some six weeks ago I returned home, the weariest man in all the Earth; lay down on sofas, to reading and other inanity, till the mud-whirlpools should subside again; which now at length, thank God, they begin to do; and so once more I address myself to the Hon. Member for Pomfret, and say, O Hon. Member speak to me!

To Thirlwall's for three days I did go, memorable days; saw myself kneeling in Laud's Chapel, not without reflexions, not without amazement; found the Bishop a most loveable, most considerable man; then emerged into secular life again, to Cromwell battlefields, bare Welsh wildernesses, and innumerable confusions;—and on the whole will give you no history of myself at present, my time being brief.

For in fact the cause or excuse for my writing is a question I have to put. In one of the Chaotic volumes I am reading there turns up a trace, not indubitable, yet of some promise, that a certain Henry Darley, member two hundred years ago for Malton, “took constant notes of the Long Parliament.”3 Notes of the Long Parliament—why, it were almost as if we had a Times report of the debate between Agamemnon and the divine Achilles! That was the flower of all Parliaments, the greatest that ever had been, and also the greatest that ever will be: notes of it are worth hunting like Books of the Sybil! Well, this Darley as I laboriously make out was the son of a Sir Richard Darley Kt, whose place was Buttercrambe some ten miles or so to the N.E. of York. He Sir R. had another son Richard, who at a later period of the Parliament was member for Northallerton: he himself had “suffered losses” for the Covenant's sake, and did at the end of the war get £5,000 allowed him for compensation of the same. This is all I can dig out as yet that has essential reference to the Darleys.4

Now the question is, Do you know who at present holds that same manor of Buttercrambe?5 Can you ask him if he got it by descent or otherwise from the Darleys,—and above all what in Heaven's name has become of the Darley Papers? I really wish you would make a little inquiry about this affair: it strikes me you may fall in with some Yorkshire Antiquary, failing him of Buttercrambe, who might throw light on it. Not without advantage: for as I say the Long Parliament is a forever memorable one. Let me add however that I have another trace of Long Parlt Notes; and that this Darley one is not an indubitability yet, but only a high or almost highest probability.

And so my good Friend adieu again. One never meets but to part; it is the Law of living here below. And true good souls are wrapt in such swathings and casings, each in his own wrappage, up to the very eyes, and cannot kiss and embrace with souls! God pity us!

T. Carlyle