April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO JOHN FORSTER; 4 April 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490404-TC-JF-01; CL 24: 12-13


Chelsea, Wednesday [4 April 1849]—

Dear Forster,

I did not recollect till yesterday that on Saturday shortly after noon I am to go out of Town, not to return till Monday. Let our meeting be on Friday, if any time that day will suit you failing that, on Monday or any following day.

With regard to the Fairfax Letters,1 at any rate, I intend decisively, such being your account of their importance, or rather of their nihility, to spit them all, like pickled herrings on a rod, and hang them up to drip, without commentary, at the end of the Appendix. Those and Donnadieu's,2 and if it please Heaven, all the other Cromwell Letters (of no importance) that may turn up;—my position otherwise threatens to become unpleasant. Equal to the Pillory or worse! But with an iron spit of the kind mentioned, which can be lengthened at will, a vast number of worthless bloaters may be strung up, and little harm done. So there is no haste about that part of our business; only moderate celerity required.

I am reading John Sterling's Letters; a strange and rather mournful occupation, too.—Alfred,3 I think, has left his umbrella here; tell the oblivious Son of Apollo that comfortable truth.

Froude's Book4 is not,—except for wretched people, strangling in white neckcloths, and Semitic thrums [loose ends],—worth its paper and ink. What on Earth is the use of a wretched mortal's vomiting up all his interior crudities, dubitations, and spiritual agonising belly-aches, into the view of the Public, and howling tragically, “See!” Let him, in the Devil's name, pass them, by the downward or other methods, in his own water-closet, and say nothing whatever! Epictetus's sheep, intending at least to grow good wool,5 was a gentleman in comparison.6

Well; shall it be Friday, Monday, or when?

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle