July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON ; 28 February 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480228-TC-RWE-01; CL 22: 256-257


Chelsea, 28 feby, 1848—

Dear Emerson,

We are delighted to hear of you again at first hand: our last traditions represented you at Edinburgh,1 and left the prospect of your return hither very vague. I have only time for one word tonight: to say that your room is standing vacant ever since you quitted it,—ready to be lighted up with all manner of physical and moral fires that the place will yield; and is in fact your room, and expects to be accounted such. I know not specially what your operations in this quarter are to be; but whatever they are, or the arrangements necessary for them, surely it is here that you must alight again in the big Babel, and deliberately adjust what farther is to be done. Write to us what day you are to arrive; and the rest is all already managed.2

Jane has never yet got out since the cold took her; but she has at no time been so ill as is frequent with her in these winter disorders; she is now steadily improving, and we expect will come out with the Sun and the green leaves,—as she usually does. I too caught an ugly cold, and, what is very uncommon with me, a kind of cough, while down in Hampshire; which, with other inarticulate matters, has kept me in a very mute abstruse condition all this while; so that, for many weeks past, I have properly had no history,—except such as trees in winter, and other merely passive objects may have. That is not an agreeable side of the page;—but I find it indissolubly attached to the other: no historical leaf with me but has them both! Reading does next to nothing for me at present, neither will thinking or even dreaming rightly prosper; of no province can I be quite master except of the silent one, in such a case. One feels there, at last, as if quite annihilated; and takes up arms again (the poor goose-quill is no great things of a weapon to arm with!) as if in a kind of sacred despair.

All people are in a sort of joy-dance over the new French Republic, which has descended suddenly (or shall we say, ascended, alas?) out of the Immensities upon us; shewing once again that the righteous Gods do yet live and reign! It is long years since I have felt any such deep-seated pious satisfaction at a public event.3 Adieu: come soon; and warn us when. Yours ever

T. Carlyle 4