The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JOHN FORSTER ; 29 September 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530929-TC-JF-01; CL 28: 279-280


Addiscombe Farm, Croydon 29 Septr, 1853—

Dear Forster,

I am grateful for a word from your hand again, tho' the news is very sad. Till my Wife saw Henry1 the other day, I could not guess what had become of you, and ran into all sorts of bad conjectures. Alas, the inexorable Years, that cut away from us, one after another, the true souls whom we loved, who loved us truly: that is the real bitterness of life; against which there is no remedy, and natural tears must fall!2 But we ourselves, my friend, it is not long we have to stay behind; we too shall find a shelter in the Silent Kingdoms; and much Despicability that barked and snarled incessantly round us here shall then be without the walls forevermore. “Blessed are the Dead,” I often silently say: “if we had done our work, it were good for us to be dead too,—and safe with all our loved ones round us, THERE!” God is great, say the Moslem; to which we add only, God is Good,—and have not, nor ever shall have, any more to say.

Happily you are not worse in respect of health you must take all pains (for really that is your great interest), and get better and better. I have no doubt, a thorough reform of regimen, upon which I hope you have determined, will do wonders for you. Literally wonders. It is a fact, I should not have lasted any one year of these last thirty on your terms; and, on my own, you see I am still struggling along! Attend to this, I very earnestly intreat you. We cannot do with our Forster in that sick state at all!—

This is my third week of an almost perfect Hermitism out here, such a life as I have rarely had experience of; for my Wife is mostly at Chelsea, and for days together I literally do not speak one word! I think it is to end on Saturday. Next week, drive down to Chelsea any day, you will probably find us both;—or write (to my Wife), and appoint some evening, with tea, either there or at L.I.F.3— God bless you dear F.

Yours always

T. Carlyle