August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JOHN STUART MILL ; 28 June 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580628-TC-JSM-01; CL 33: 259-260


The Gill, Cummertrees, Annan N.B. 28 june, 1858—

Dear Mill,

Here is an ingenuous-looking young man who applies to me on a subject I can give him no good guidance in.1 As it lies partly in your department, and your old Humanity is still memorable to me, I consider it possible you might consent to invest half an hour (not more) of your time, were it even Official time, in this speculation, of a young inquiring spirit and his bit of “progress in life,” all-important to himself at least! Upon such chance I have ventured to advise his making an attempt upon you (“middle of the day, Wednesday next, Examiner Office,2 for half an hour”); but if you cannot receive him, refuse without scruple, for I have marked it as extremely uncertain,—to make the disappointt less, if not the pleasure greater.

I have taken refuge here, out of the quasi-infernal London element, for a few weeks: one of the nearest approaches I can make to a practical Ramadhan,3 or month of (modern) Silence and Prayer, with the accompaniment of clean air, limpid water, and an old scene every square yard of whh is familiar to me, and the entire populations of whh are new, and do not know Joseph any more.4 I often think, if you were in the next cottage, half a mile of[f],5 what discoursings we shd still have, in front of the ancient Selgovian Sea,6 and the Cumberland7 Mountains rising dumb and grand to rear of it,—not grown old as some others of us. But perhaps Pythagorean silence,8 tho' painfuller, is better.— I do design some day to find out Blackheath,9 and see and hear once more. I send many unchangeable regards to Mrs Mill; and am ever Yours sincerely

T. Carlyle 10