The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO HENRY LARKIN ; 29 March 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520329-TC-HL-01; CL 27: 78


Chelsea, 29 March, 1852

Dear Sir,

Your Letter is very kind and good; and I know very well, by old experience of my own, what it means.1 In a world so full of contradiction and confusion, I may honestly accept your loyal feeling towards me with thanks and satisfaction; and to yourself also it signifies much that you have such feelings, and have found some course for them, in days like ours. Persist in that disposition, whatever hindrances occur, so long as you can.

If I have ever taught you any truth, let me offer or reiterate this one advice about it, That you be earnest, without delay, to do it; and not at all earnest to say it,—but rather careful not to say it, till the irresistible necessity arrive. If such necessity never arrive, then understand that you are all the richer; to have the thing still circulating in your blood and life and have not thrown it out of you, it or any part of [it,] by speech. This is truer than perhaps you think [at] present; you will see it better by and by. Of all the devouring Molochs to which souls “pass thro' the fire,”—and are burnt, too truly, into phantasmal inanity and death-in-life,—there is none comparable, in horrible efficiency and all-destructiveness, to the Eloquence Moloch (called “Literature,” “Stump Oratory” &c &c) who stands crowned as a god among these poor bankrupt generations! “Do, with all thy might, what thy hand findeth to do”:2 speak of the same only to the infinitesimal few,—nay oftenest to nobody, not even to thyself!—

With many wishes and regards, I remain (sorely short of time for most part),

Yours sincerely /

T. Carlyle—