January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO JOHN FORSTER ; 26 October 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18591026-TC-JF-01; CL 35: 241-242


Chelsea, 26 Octr, 1859

Dear Forster,

Your Letter was a bright little phenomenon here; and brought us reminiscences and prospects of a pleasant nature,—news even, new to us, for we see hardly anybody, and hear of little that is passing in these foggy times.

For the rest, we are in tolerable heart; and can give rather a good account of ourselves, in answer to your kind inquiries. My Wife decidedly gained strength in the second half of our Fife rustication,—the first half was passed by the sea-side;1 the second in a Country House2 some miles inland; a much better lodging this latter, whh suited the female nerves (“excellent quiet place, so roomy and airy!”)—and there began an evident improvement. Which, I am happy to say, still lasts; some visible increase of strength, sleep &c; and better omens to face the coming winter with. Alas, there is nothing yet to brag of; far enough from that: but one is thankful for never so little.

As to me I did no farther good after quitting my friend the Sea: but I went dreaming about doing nothing, at least; in that way my heartbreaking Prussian Concern (comparable to poor Christian's “Burden” in the Pilgrim's Progress) lay in abeyance; so that I could, in some slight degree, better see it, and judge a little where (if anywhere) the true handles of it might be groped for. In fine I too feel slightly (very slightly) better, or fancy myself so; and am at work again, daily with what strength I have left, on that same thrice-disgusting Business,—much wishing I were either dead or else had done with it! In which humble alternative I hope to be indulged one way or the other, by the Upper Powers and the Under! Pity me, dear F.; you may really, if you are benignly given: I never in all my life—— But in short I have a kind of hope to begin printing abt Newyears-day, and to be chaced thro’ it in perhaps a twelvemonth if I can live so long.

Poor Hunt, poor Stephen!3 The ranks are getting thin to one's right and to one's left:—it is an evident suggestion, “Close, then; rank closer, & stick to one another, ye that still stand!”—

We are delighted to hear of Macready's Cheltenham purpose: my Wife says it will lift a choking incubus, and shadow of death, from himself and his.4 Ut fiat [So let it be done].— Poor Landor, with his white beard;5 with his strong old heart! If you ever write to him, say I am still true (backed by my Wife); and know better than the rumouring Newspapers and barking Doggery of this world!6— I wish Craik were in his Principalship;7 I too can be of little help. When you go to Dickens, our best regards. Tale of Two Cities is wonderful!8 Adieu dear F; our duty to the Lady.9 Come & see us whenever you return. Yours ever T. Carlyle