The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JOHN FORSTER ; 17 February 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500217-TC-JF-01; CL 25: 25-26


Chelsea, 17 feby, 1850

Dear Forster,

A friendly man1 (whose name I must not mention, nor must you if you even knew it) called on me today with a Letter he had written last week to the Athenaeum upon some rubbish which it seems they have been emitting about me.2 The Letter is brief, ingenious, and I believe in its way true. The Athenm, as was natural enough, had refused to insert it; the friendly man, as is likewise natural enough, wishes now to see his Letter in the Examiner.3 His wish was that I would write a word to you upon it. This I could not do, or try to do; but in the spirit of polite gratitude I did scribble on the corner of the paper some enigmatic certificate as to the qualities of the Letter itself, coupled (if I remember) with some obscure admonition to you “F.” that you were to do with it what you liked and nothing else.— I now write to say more explicitly than I could there, that such is verily the fact; that I literally know nothing at all, and care nothing at all, about the Athenaeum or any other similar “Aeum” whatsoever; and that I wish you, dear F., to do exactly with that thing (which will probably come to you tomorrow) what your own judgt and interests and notions may point out, and that I in respect of it am the Cham of Tartary or a man dead a thousand years. That is the God's truth: and so Basta [Enough] in the Devil's name!—

We are going tomorrow Evg to the Olympic again, to see the “Noble Heart,”4—more power to its elbow! Shan't we perhaps see you there?

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle