The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO ROBERT CHAMBERS ; 22 July 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530722-TC-RC-01; CL 28: 215-216


Chelsea, 22 july, 1853—

My dear Sir,

Many thanks for your friendly, solid, rational, and to me very interesting Paper;1 which I got, last night, and read placidly, with the accompaniment of a little good tobacco, in the open air here! I suppose I may, without shame or confusion of face, profess myself gratified by such a recommendation from such a quarter. Criticisms from two classes of people, from natural blockheads, and even from persons of talent who have not taken the pains to be sincere and make up a definite coherent judgement, are of no value to gods or men: but it is otherwise with criticisms from a certain other class of people; and to that class emphatically I value the judgement in question. Truth, practical sagacity, honest good sense speaks from every line of it;—and in fact, taking in the Writer's point of view, I have not, in the way of objection, a word to say,—only here and there a little blushing to do! I perceive farther we are a Penny Tract, and will fly extensively over the world. Better that the thing have some truth in it in such case, than that it have none!— Well, well: the citizens empty their vessels according to their pleasure; “Gare de l'eau,” [mind the water] according to Miss Jenkins,2 signifies, “May the Lord have mercy upon you.” If among so many malodorous unutterabilities, a little clean water or eau de Cologne descend, who shall say it is not to be welcomed?—

Mr Ritchie was so kind as send me enlightenment about the Hindoo Wolf-boys:3 I solicited farther some reference to the Books where he had found accounts of European wild children, as described in the Tract he wrote. Will you, on occasion (for there is no hurry), remind him of this little charity.

I am sorry you went away without our seeing more of you; I can only hope you will return before long;—the street, I can assure you, is all macadamed now,4 no navvie within sight of it; free entrance in all senses! Yours sincerely

T. Carlyle