The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO ROBERT BROWNING; 10 October 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511010-TC-RB-01; CL 26: 201-202


Chelsea, 10 Octr, 1851—

Dear Browning,—As you do not write, I think I will venture a small missive to the Paris Arms, whh will probably find you somewhere in that neighbourhood, tho' doubtless you have now quitted that Address.

I got home duly on the appointed morrow after seeing you,—midnight gone a week;—after one of the horriblest days of travel, comparable to one of Jonah's days in the Whale's belly:1 safe, but worn out into the uttermost pitch of weakness, disgust and almost despair. Since that time I have done little else but sleep: whole cataracts of deep but very unambrosial sleep; not for some years, have I slept as much within a similar space. Piccadilly and the Glass-Palace regions are still roaring with mad noise; but here, thank Heaven, is a forgotten corner, where the wearied soul can cover itself as under a Diogenes’ tub,2 and contemplate with what of cynic piety is left the tumultuous delirium of the world! Really it seems to me of late as if Bedlam, in sad truth, had universally broken loose; and in this big glass soapbubble, and in other phenomena in every quarter! were dancing its saturnalia to a very high tune indeed. Let us be patient; let us try to hold our peace, and be patient!— I have seen nobody here, I rather avoid to see anybody, and will prefer to lie silent and annihilated for certain weeks.

Mazzini can at once afford you and Mrs Browning, without any difficulty, the required introduction to Madme Dudevant;3 only he says this sublime Highpriestess of anarchy is seldom now in Paris, only when there is some Play coming out or the like: so you will require to be on the outlook for her advent, if you do not like better to run out some time by railway (if there is a rail), and see her among her rustic neighbours,—within sound of the “Church Bell” she has lately christened, at her Curé's request. After all, I participate in your liking for the melody that runs thro' that strange “beautiful incontinent” soul,—a modern Magdalen, with the “seven devils”4 mostly still in her! At any rate, the introduction is most ready, the instant you write to me for it.

A certain John Chapman, Publisher of Liberalisms “Extinct-Socinianisms,” and notable ware of that kind, in the Strand, has just been here: really a meritorious, productive kind of man, did he well know his road in these times. It appears he has just effected a purchase of the Westminster Review (Friend Lombe's) and has taken Lombe along with him, and other men of cash;5 his intense purpose now is, To bring out a Review, liberal in all senses, that shall charm the world. He has capital “for four years' trial,” he says; an able Editor (name can't be given), and such an array of “talent” as was seldom gathered before. Poor soul, I really wished him well in his enterprise, and regretted I could not help him myself, being clear for silence at present. Since his departure, I have bethot me of you! There you are in Paris, there you were in Florence, with fiery interest in all manner of things, with whole libraries to write and say on this and the other thing! The man means to pay, handsomely; is indeed an honest kind of man, with a real enthusiasm (tho' a soft and slobbery) in him, which can be predicated of very few. Think of it, whether there are not many things you could send him from Paris, and so get rid of them? If you gave me signal, I wd at once set Chapmn on applying to you;—only I fear you won't!6 In which case there is nothing said, nor shall be. Adieu, dear Browning; commend me to the gentle excellent Lady, and remember me now and then. Yours ever

T. Carlyle