The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO ROBERT BROWNING; 21 August 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510821-TC-RB-01; CL 26: 134-135


Dr Gully's, Gt Malvern, 21 Augt, 1851—

Dear Browning,

By a Letter which I had from Emerson the other day it appears that he, assisted by “E. Channing” and some other friend, is busily engaged in doing a Life of Margaret Fuller: his Letter enclosed a Note for Mazzini which I understood to contain a request for help in that matter.1 Of course the many interesting things you had to say of poor Margaret and her Roman husband2 came vividly into my mind; and I could not but feel that it would be a great pity if Emerson, who is a man of real dignity and worth, and who doubtless is striving to do his best in this affair, should by any oversight or ill chance be deprived of the lights he might get from you and Mrs Browning in regard to the Italian part of the business. I forget what it precisely was that you said to me about having been applied to from America, or whether any refusal had already been given on your part: but my desire to help in a good enterprise one who has always been ready and eager to help me originated the notion (which I am now converting into action) of applying to you myself, in Emerson's name, without loss of time, for whatever service you can conveniently do in the matter. I apply at once, because as the Book is coming out in October, there is no time to lose; and because I wanted to report to Emerson that I had so applied, before going farther. If your answer be at all favourable, give me the privilege of gratifying Emerson by it as soon as may be: he will at once, of course, address a direct request to you on the subject; and by the time his Letter reaches you, the Paper you have to send may be in a good state of forwardness,—that is, if you do not refuse to send any Paper whatsoever; which, considering your and Mrs Browning's sentiments and opportunities both, I think will be a pity. “Reminiscences of Margaret Fuller”: I should like well to read in that American Book a frank full Narrative of all that you and Mrs B. can find to say under that head; no matter how offhand the writing, indeed it ought rather to be done in that fashion; and the faster you can write down what is already standing painted in your mind, clear and ready on the subject, it will be the fitter for this object. Pray try what you are free to do, you and Madame, either of you or both of you; and answer me soon, if you can, that you will put something in black-on-white which Emerson may apply for so soon as I give him notice.

On the other hand, if (which I will not believe till I hear it) you cannot fitly do anything in this matter, then observe there is no ill yet done; and there shall be none, for I need not even speak to Emerson about it if your answer prove unfavourable. And so enough till your answer come.3

I am now nearly three weeks deep in “Water-Cure” here; which is a strange half-ridiculous and by no means unpleasant operation: not likely to prove miraculous in my case, I apprehend; yet it does seem to produce some benefit, and indeed the immense walks and rides I take on these bright Hillsides and yellow Plains, with total idleness and a near approach to total silence, could hardly fail to do good, independently of tubs and towels. On Saturday come a week we move Northward, for another glimpse of poor old Scotland and some possessions which are still left us there. I am in general profoundly saddened by the aspects of this world; and find it good to hold my tongue that I may not get enraged as well. When do you go to Paris, and what is your address there?4 Adieu, dear Browning. Yours ever truly T. Carlyle