July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON ; 30 December 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18471230-TC-RWE-01; CL 22: 187-188


Chelsea, 30 decr, 1847—

My dear Emerson,

We are very glad to see your handwriting again,1 and learn that you are well, and doing well. Our news of you hitherto, from the dim Lecture-element, had been satisfactory indeed, but vague. Go on, and prosper.

I do not much think Miss Fuller would do any great good with the Pepoli's,—even if they are still in Rome, and not at Bologna as our advices here seemed to indicate.2 Madam Pepoli is an elderly Scotch Lady, of excellent commonplace vernacular qualities, hardly of more; the Count, some years younger, and a much airier man, is on all sides a beautiful Dilettante,—little suitable, I fear, to the serious mind that can recognise him as such! However, if the people are still in Rome, Miss F. can easily try: Bid Miss F. present my Wife's compliments, or mine, or even yours (for they know all our domesticities here, and are very intimate, especially Madam with My Dame); upon which the acquaintance is at once made, and can be continued if useful.

This morning, Richard Milnes writes to me for your Address; which I have sent. He is just returned out of Spain; home swiftly to “vote for the Jew Bill”; is doing hospitalities at Woburn Abbey;3 and I suppose will be in Yorkshire (home, near Pontefract) before long. See him, if you have opportunity: a man very easy to see and get into flowing talk with; a man of much sharpness of faculty, well tempered by several inches of “Christian fat” he has upon his ribs for covering. One of the idlest, cheeriest, most gifted of fat little men.

Tennyson has been here for three weeks; dining daily till he is near dead;—setting out a Poem withal.4 He came in to us on Sunday evening last, and on the preceding Sunday: a truly interesting Son of Earth, and Son of Heaven,—who has almost lost his way, among the will-o'wisps, I doubt; and may flounder ever deeper, over neck and nose at last, among the quagmires that abound! I like him well; but can do next to nothing for him. Milnes, with general cooperation, got him a Pension; and he has bread and tobacco: but that is a poor outfit for such a soul. He wants a task; and, alas, that of spinning rhymes, and naming it “Art” and “high Art,” in a Time like ours, will never furnish him.

For myself I have been entirely idle,—I dare not even say, too abstrusely occupied; for I have merely been looking at the Chaos even, not by any means working in it. I have not even read a Book,—that I liked. All “Literature” has grown inexpressibly unsatisfactory to me. Better be silent than talk farther in this mood.

We are going off, on Saturday come a week, into Hampshire, to certain Friends you have heard me speak of. Our Address, till the beginning of February, is, “Hon. W. B. Baring / Alverstoke / Gosport / Hants.”— My Wife sends you many kind regards; remember us across the Ocean too;—and be well and busy till we meet / Yours ever

T. Carlyle

Last night there arrived No 1 of the Massachusetts Review: beautiful paper and print; and very promising otherwise. In the Introduction I well recognised the hand; in the first Article too,—not in any of the others.5 Faustum sit [Good luck].