April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO WILLIAM STIRLING ; 20 June 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480620-TC-WS-01; CL 23: 55-56


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea20 june, 1848—

My dear Sir,

You are very kind; and do not forget us, tho' we see nothing of you. Certainly I will accept with thankfulness your Book on Spanish Art;1 and endeavour to instruct myself a little in regard to those remote products of this opulent universe, and ascertain whether I have any heritage at all among them, under your guidance, which is understood to be the best. Many thanks to you beforehand.

Greenwich on Sunday would also be a most tempting proposal to any but a wretched Dyspeptic like myself,—who, alas, am obliged to decline all dinners, and to picture Heaven as a place where eating will be no longer needed! Not to say that I have a kind of regular engagement here at home (rendezvous with my Brother &c on that day of the week); and am at present, moreover, in quite unusually unfit condition for an adventure like yours.

This is the fact: and I the more regret it, as I also have a desire to know Mr Ford, whose Spanish Book I have decided to read some day (a great distinction in this particular house);2 and whose face and appearance, one day when I saw him with you, seemed decidedly promising. Cannot I meet such a man without an indigestion, then; wretch that I am? I will come any evening, and smoke a cigar with you and him, in Clarges Street3 (he must be up to cigars); or if you will bring him down hither any evg he shall have our best welcome. That seems the best method.

On the whole, why don't you come and see us oftener, you? We are not out one evening in twenty; but sit here quietly reading books,—perhaps idly listening to a little music (Coolun, Gilderoy,4 or such like) from the piano, now and then;—and in silence, as beseems the genus homo, “looking before and after”5 thro' this huge whirlpool of an Existence,—not with too much profit, I fear! In fact, we are by no means busy in the evenings; and are glad to see the human face divine,6 when there seems to dwell any sense and friendliness behind it.— That is exactly the truth; and I would have you believe it,—and me

Yours very sincerely /

T. Carlyle