The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JOHN FORSTER ; 2 July 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400702-TC-JF-01; CL 12: 181-182


Chelsea, Thursday [2 July 1840]—

Dear Forster,

I know not if you noticed in the Times of last week a vituperative Letter about our Library, signed Orbilius; which the able Editor volunteered to back in another part of his paper by a vituperative paragraph? Paragraph and Letter were worthy of a Scythian Jackass, rather than of any other animal.— On Saturday last, at Milnes's, some were for having the Letter answered, others not. I, after tea, jotted down a few words,—in the most speechless manner: a copy of them is here. The Times Editor, it seems “for the sake of avoiding controversy,” will not insert them. I demand them back; here they are. Can you do anything with them? Alter them, clip them, carve them, insert them in the Chronicle,1—burn them if you like: only be secret as Death or a Secretary! Sterling and my Wife are as yet my only confidants— Perhaps the cheapest and best way will be to burn the Paper: but I leave you to judge of that. If you do print, pray send me the Paper it appears in, and—Mum!

You are the prince of reporters; no other man should ever report me if I could so manage it!

The Lecture Mahomet is all written down here in full, as it might have been, if not as it was. I am now to begin the third.2 Pray do not bother yourself with Mahomet or any of the others,—at least till you are perfectly at leisure. I sincerely do wish it so. What I said was of small moment to what I should have said. You never either walk or ride hitherward now, not you!

Ever truly (and in unutterable haste)

T. Carlyle