April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO CHARLES REDWOOD; 25 December 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18481225-TC-CR-01; CL 23: 186-188


Chelsea, 25 decr, 1848—

Dear Redwood,

Your Christmas Gift, punctual as the Sun to his place in the Eclyptic, arrived safe on Saturday evening; part of it, I suppose, is to be sacrificed to the ancient Gods this very day. And now with the morning's post has your kind good Letter also come. Thanks to you for all these gifts; for all the love you feel and manifest to me. Nowhere is there left to me on this Earth, a more reasonable, true and modest Friend. Thanks, thanks;—and may you live to see many kind Christmasses, if “merry” ones are not to be expected, or even much to be wished (if we knew all the secret), and may the latter end of these two men be better, and not worse, than the beginning!1 Amen.

A little Book of mine, new edition of a Book which you perhaps have but not from me,2 is gone towards you: marked for Newyearday; but I fear it will hardly have got beyond Cardiff at that date,—unless Chapman and Hall communicate direct with Cowbridge, which latter hypothesis I doubt. Consider it as on the way, at any rate: and if after the due space it do not arrive (silence shall mean that it has arrived), write me a word.

Nothing can be more appropriate than your comforting considerations on the dispiritments of Authorship. Never in my life hitherto did I feel so dumb as even in these current months and years. The nothingness of all I have said, or can say, stands sad and stern before me; most poor, most small seems every way spoken or speakable word. My heart is full of meaning, too; as if sunk, and near drowned, in black lakes of incondite meaning:—I shall get some word for them by and by; or be taught by the Gods to suppress them, which latter also is a blessed result, at times. As I grow older, this universe grows ever sterner, awfuller, to me, but also ever grander, more beautiful, diviner;—and I study to possess my soul in silence at least, if not in patience or in peace!3 Few men, in this wretched time, are sensible of the omnipresence of an Eternal Justice in this world and in their own poor lives there; the feeling of this as an actual truth, not intended for Sunday preaching only, is a thing to keep one silent now and then.

When I shall in the body see Glamorganshire again is by no means yet made out; but I do give you to understand that it often enough comes into my head as a little City of Refuge4 in these very times,—and even in that point of view, tho' I never saw it more, is a real possession to me.5 Who knows what morning I may take the resolution, suddenly pack together a portmanteau, and on the wings of steam fly thither! I know very well what welcome waits me there; so of that you need take no heed, nor indeed of anything pertaining to the adventure, except as you already wisely do, to leave it all “to Fate and Mrs Carlyle”

The latter of these two respectable Entities I rejoice to report to you as well at present; in spite of our frost, which indeed has, this morning, melted into soft calm warmth again. She loves you very well; and heartily joins me in these thanks and kindly regards. Yours ever truly / T. Carlyle