TC TO ARTHUR HELPS ; 15 November 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18531115-TC-AH-01; CL 28: 312
TC TO ARTHUR HELPS
Chelsea, 15 Novr, 1853—
Dear Helps,—I have been drifting about, these three or four days, under stress of upholsterers (with carpets &c) and of other difficulties and hurries;—could not write even a word till now.
You may believe me I am very glad to hear of you again; glad to think I sometimes accompany you, tho' but as a phantasm of the mind, in your walks over the Hampshire heaths: I wish it were permitted me to be there in a more substantial manner. If one had no body, if one had only a pair of wings, and could sleep at night by merely roosting on the first good bough, it might be possible; but as yet, alas, that is not the method, our gifts are far short of that!
About Maurice and eternal damnation I hear a great deal, from the idle circles of mankind; but to say truth, I have of myself almost no thought about it at all. Like the Frenchmen, tired with arguments abt the being of God, I may a fortiori [for an even stronger reason] say, “Monsr je n'y prends aucun interet [Sir, I am not in the least interested]!”1— Perhaps it might do Maurice good if he were turned out of the Church altogether,—which, it appears, is not likely at present. That splitting of hairs, which he has long laboriously carried on, to prove that he belongs to her, cannot ultimately turn to good for any creature. As to the Church herself—Well, I should say, so long as she talks about damnation at all, she must make it “eternal”; there is no even extinct worth in any other kind. God help her, poor old Church! England believes now, and she herself at heart believes, in no “damnation” except ruin at your banker's (such damnn as has now fallen on Hudson, they say): and a poor church in these circumstances is ill off!
There is speech of our coming to The Grange next month: surely I may try to find or make some opportunity of seeing you if we stay long there. We will try! I am not very triumphantly well, this long while; rather in caitiff humour on the contrary, doing little & suffering much. Meanwhile “Fumamos” [“Let us smoke”]; and don't forget me. Yours