October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO LYDIA MILLER ; 15 April 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570415-TC-LMI-01; CL 32: 127-128


CHELSEA, April 15th, 1857.

My Dear Madam,—

Last night I received a Gift1 of your sending, which is at once very precious and very mournful to me.

There is for ever connected with the very title of this Book the fact that, in writing it, the cordage of a strong heart cracked in pieces; that the ink of it is a brave man's life blood!2 The Book itself, I already see, is full of grave, manly talent, clearness, eloquence, faithful conviction, inquiry, knowledge; and will teach me and others much in reading it:3 but that is already an extrinsic act which will give it a double significance to us all. For myself, a voice of friendly recognition from such a man,4 coming to me thus out of the still kingdoms, has something in it of religion; and is strange and solemn in these profane, empty, times.

In common with everybody I mourned over the late tragic catastrophe; the world's great loss, especially your irreparable and ever-lamentable one: but as for him, I confess there was always present, after the first shock, the thought that at least he was out of bondage into freedom and rest. I perceived that, for such a man there was no rest appointed except in the countries where he now is!

Dear Madam, what can we say? The ways of God are high and dark; and yet there is mercy hidden in them. Surely, if we knew anything, it is that ‘His goodness endureth for ever.’5 I will not insult your grief by pretending to lighten it. You and your little ones, yes, you have cause, as few have had, to mourn; but you have also such assuagements as not many have.

With respectful sympathy, with many true thanks and regards, I remain, sincerely yours,