Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Carlyle to Lockhart

On January 11, 1842, Thomas Carlyle writes a letter to John Gibson Lockhart, in which he references Walter Scott’s youngest son Charles, who died of a fever in 1841, when he was about  41 years old.


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea / 11 jany, 1842—

My dear Sir,

If you have yet got any certain intelligence about poor Charles Scott, may I claim of you to let me share in it. If not yet, then so soon as any does arrive. I have the liveliest impression of that good honest Scotch face and character, tho' never in contact with the young man but that once.1 Alas, so many histories are tragedies; or rather, all histories are! I pray you, let me know.

That is a capital Article on the Copyright Question:2a conviction in it as deep and vivid as my own, or that of any other idealist; but embodied, with excellent dexterity, in the given element of practicalities, possibilities, and existing facts—which do and will exist, let us bless them or curse them! It cannot but do great service.— I fancy I know the hand very well: a most velvet touch; truly a patte-de-velours [velvet paw], yet here and there with a terrible claw in it! Mr R. Chambers's till is infinitely obliged.

Yours always truly, /

T. Carlyle.

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