Item 84 - Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his mother

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Add. MS c/99/84

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Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his mother

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  • 10 Jul 1867 (Creation)

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1 doc

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Observes that he has left more than one of her letters unanswered. Reports that he has been seeing friends chiefly 'and walking to and fro in a great city.' Relates that he has been working at an essay for a volume, and suggests that an article of his may appear 'in next Macmillan['s Magazine]'. Fears that his work will hardly pay for his expenses. Reports that he has been inquiring into Spiritualism, but that it has not come to much. Declares that he can 'get to see and hear very astounding things in the dark with people [he does] not know', but can never get conditions to satisfy him.

Claims that he can never get enough time to read at the Museum, and although he feels well, he cannot get enough sleep. Is considering writing an essay for the Quarterly Review the following term, but does not know if it will be put in. Reports that he has plenty of work on his hands, as he has 'an entirely new subject to prepare' for the following term. Feels that he could write literature if only his mind was 'less chaotic'.

Remarks that London is a stimulating place, and that one meets stimulating people there, including Mazzini, whom he had met some nights before at dinner, and who 'attacked' him about Spiritualism, and 'bore down upon [him] with such a current of clear eager argument'; was 'overwhelmed', as people usually either treat it as a joke or have' nothing to say but the shallowest commonplace'.

Reports that he is staying in lodgings between two visits; has been staying with Symonds, whom he thinks his mother knows, as he has been at Rugby; describes him as 'also stimulating, though... a great invalid'. He is also going to stay with Cowell.

States that he will certainly come and see his mother at Wellington College: Edward [Benson] has asked him to come and that he has promised to do so. Cannot remember when, and asks her to find out when Edward is to go away. Remarks that he would just as soon come in the holidays as in the school-time, 'except for seeing [Henry Weston?] Eve.' Sends his love to all.

With regard to books, claims that he has not read any lately. States that the 'Cornhill of July is good: there is Matthew Arnold on culture, and an article on the Alps 'which makes one want to go there'.

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Publication note

Part transcription in Sidgwick, Arthur, and Sidgwick, E. M, 'Henry Sidgwick'. London: Macmillan, 1906, pp 164-165

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