4 February 2012

An Enormous Power of Enjoyment

Gabrielle Fleury reports on George Gissing's final days, from The Collected Letters of George Gissing: 1901-1903, Vol. 9 (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1990), p. 281:
In one of the dreadful nights of the last week, after dolorous moaning, he said: "Oh, but I must not give way to these feelings, it is unworthy of me, unmanly, and besides unphilosophical. If I am to die, well, it is by law of Nature; I must not rebel against it. And I have to remember that there are some things in my life for which I must be thankful. I have had an enormous power of enjoyment, so that, in spite of all my poverty and miseries, I have enjoyed life more than more fortunate people. And I have done work which, I think, will not be forgotten tomorrow. Then I have known you, my girlie..."
In her recollections (Id., p. 314) Fleury records one of Gissing's frequent sayings:
When something troubles or worries you, only think of the importance it will have in some fifty years hence, and you will feel how futile these things in fact are.