Item 174 - Letter from Henry Sidgwick to F. W. H. Myers

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Add. MS c/100/174


Letter from Henry Sidgwick to F. W. H. Myers


  • 24 May 1900 (Creation)

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Reports that he went to Leckhampton that afternoon to tell Myers his news in person, but since he was away he 'must write'. Explains that he has an organic disorder of the bowels, which an expert said 'more than a fortnight ago' requires an operation. On his Cambridge doctor's advice, he is going to see the specialist again tomorrow, who may advise an operation at once. The probabilities are that he will survive the operation, but it is uncertain as to how long he will live after it; adds that 'it will be only an invalid halflife.'

Had hoped until today to defer giving Myers the news until after his brother's visit [Ernest Myers was due to be visiting the Sidgwicks], since he has 'shrunk from grieving those who love [him]', but today he is telling 'brothers and sisters' [presumably his and Nora's], 'and one or two intimate friends.' Asks Myers to tell no one. States that he and Nora may have to 'put [their] visitors off', but that if everything goes ahead as arranged he envisages that he shall probably go to the Synthetic [Society], but not to the dinner. Declares that life is now 'very strange' and 'very terrible', but that he tries to 'meet it like a man, [his] beloved wife aiding [him].' Says he is holding, or trying to hold on 'to duty and love; and through love to touch the greater hope'. Acknowledges that the letter 'may be farewell', and declares that Myers' friendship has had 'a great place' in his life; as he 'walk[s] through the Valley of the Shadow of Death' he feels Myers' affection. Asks him to pray for him.

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      Part transcription in Sidgwick, Arthur, and Sidgwick, E. M, 'Henry Sidgwick'. London: Macmillan, 1906, p 587.

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