January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JOHN FORSTER ; 26 March 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420326-TC-JF-01; CL 14: 94-95


Templand, Thornhill 26 March, 1842.

Dear Forster,

The Inclosed1 I have written in the greatest haste, without time to make a rough draught or any copy of it: judge you whether it should go to its address or not. Dickens deserves praise and support: but the claims of Authors seem to me so infinitely beyond what anybody rates them at, or what any Congress will hear of, that I can seldom speak of them without either getting into banter, or a tone inconveniently loud, which is worse. Congress will evidently throw out this proposal, and the next, and the next, and babble of the thing for many years,—and then do it.2 We are all right to shorten the years as we can.

I know Willesden3 well; my present solitude is not less beautiful, Scottish in character, with the addition of rushing streams,—and all, as you may fancy, made very solemn and sad to me by the late event. My poor Wife seems to suffer terribly; her feelings are at once vehement and tenacious: alas, her good Mother is no more, a woman whose very faults (excesses of virtue, all of them that I ever knew) render her more lovable now!— Pray call at Chelsea if you can.

This day I have spent two “stricken hours,” babbling in Scotch with two men,4 that they might agree to divide amicably a charitable boon I offered between them. Their mutual greediness rendered it impossible; we shall have to try it yet again, or think of new measures. Conceive it: my pen goes next, after I quit you, to the inditing of a Memorial to the Duke of Buccleuch about subletting &c of a Farm and House! It will be two or three weeks yet before I get away from these confusions.

Last night was such a “rocking wind” as I have hardly ever heard. Trees lie uprooted this morning, slates blown, and farm-ricks scattered into individual straws. I sat reading a despicable Life of Hildebrand,5 amid an impotent howl of all the elements, in this room, in this chair, which was lately my poor Mother's!

Adieu, dear Forster. I must now address myself, if possible in fit dialect, to “the Lord their God His Grace.”6

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle