October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO AN UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT ; 28 November 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18561128-TC-UC-01; CL 32: 34-35


Chelsea, 28 Novr., 1856.

Dear Young Lady,

You will find, done by me somewhere, a short Essay on Mirabeau and his Life;1 but I never wrote anything specially on Napoleon.

On the whole, I do not much advise, at this stage of your culture, an extensive prosecution of your enquiries into either of those Personages. The first, with all his great gifts, is fairly definable from the other side as a mutinous dissolute Blackguard set on a high place.2 The second has a great deal of the Play actor-turned-Pirate in his character and history—an immense Gambler à la Dick Turpin;3 who after all his huge reckless bettings and enormous temporary successes (more astonishing to the foolish than to the wise) ended by losing his last guinea, and by being flung out of the room headforemost

There is another kind of Heroes to be heard tell of in history, whom I would much rather recommend to an ingenuous young soul, seeking after what is great and noble.

Believe me, yours very sincerely / (tho in immense haste),