« ElőzőTovább »
not to terminate without results that all wise | Thursday first; but do now definitely say men will rejoice at. You have an Ireland Thursday come a week; barring accidents, I ready to be taught by you, readier by you just mean to sail on that day (ten a.m.) in the now than by any other man; and God knows steamer for Dublin from this port; when the it needs teaching in all provinces of its affairs, steamer will arrive, you can perhaps tell me, in regard to all matters human and divine i for I do not yet learn here, having hitherto Consider yourself as a brand snatched from been no farther eastward than the office in the the burning, a providential man, saved by the Regent's Circus in prosecution of my inquiry: beneficent ds for doing a man's work yet, Expect me then, however, if accidents befall in this noisy, bewildered, quack-ridden and not, and if with utmost industry I do not fail devil.ridden world; and let it, this thought, to get these innumerable ragtaggeries settled in your modest ingenuous heart, rather give or suppressed in time for that morning, you fear and pious anxiety than exultation or * Thursday come a week,” which I think is rash self-confidence- - as I know it will. the twenty-eighth of the month, is announced
Certainly I mean to avail myself of your as my day of sailing. Mrs. Carlyle purposes, guidance, of your proffered company, if it will / in a day or two after, to set out for Scotland at all suit; and we will take "the three and some secluded visiting among friends. weeks” in whatever quarter your resources Forster may now, for what I know, appear in can best profit the common enterprise. Mean Dublin about the same time; his perennial while, as to time — though I feel that there cheerfulness, intelligent, hearty, and active ought now to be no delay on my part (for in habits would render him a very useful element fact I must soon go to Ireland, or else in such an dition, I believe. But at any whither), there has yet been no day fixed, and rate I am delighted that you go with me, and my speculations and inquiries, which still I really anticipate a little good from the busicontinue, yield me scattered points of interest ness for myself and for all of us. all over Ireland; but except the “ famine dis- Twistleton, whom I see again to-morrow, tricts,” which one must see, but would not will furnish the introductions you suggest. quite hasten to see, there is no point I am If the agent of any English estate, or indeed, decisively attracted to beyond all others; so I suppose, of any chief Irish one, could prove that the voyage hitherto is stiil in nubibus as serviceable, most probably some of my friends to all its details. As to the day of its com- here could procure it for me; but that, at any
; mencement, which is the first indispensable rate, can be managed from Ireland quite as detail, A. de Vere advises that I should wait a well. Of Irish aristocrats I remember only little till the cholera abate in those sad regions. Stafford O'Brien, Lord Bessborough, Castle I myself think of coming by steam from Lon reagh, &c., none of whom, by the aspect of don at once, speculate on starting second him, had much promise for me. I suppose Thursday hence, sometimes (in sanguine mo- the Imperial Hotel is as good as any? Please ments) even first Thursday! Tomorrow I am say, and consider of tours, and of methods, to consult with Twistleton (an excellent man, &c., for two persons, and for third Kildare, who loves Ireland, whom you would have Maynooth, &c., and then southward along the loved had you known him); to-day I go for coast. Three days in Dublin, or even two. the Penny Cyclopædia affairs you spoke of. I
Yours ever truly, read Fraser too, with the map; and much else.
T. CARLYLE. I must see Glendalough, Ferns, Enniscorthy,
CHELSEA, June 24, 1849. Doneraile (Mouser's House there); in fact I DEAR DUFFY, - Your Dublin agent for am getting fondest of Wexford I find. Write ships is right, and I am wrong: for Dublin to me what your times are, so far as they are the days of sailing are Wednesday and Saturfixed. Yours, ever truly,
day (if one looks narrowly, with spectacles, T. CARLYLE. into the corners of the thing); and what is
more, their hour of sailing seems to be variBut to get a philosopher afloat on seas able, sometimes so early in the morning as which he had not explored was no ordinary would not suit me at all! Add to which, I enterprise, and it needed several addi- am sunk over head and ears in a new avational despatches before he set sail. lanche of Cromwell rubbish all this day (the
last, I do hope, of that particular species of CHELSEA, June 16, 1849. employment !), and I have barely time to save Ever since Sunday last I have had a despi- the post, and send you a word postponing the cable snivelling cold hanging about me; fruit exact decision. On the whole, Holyhead and of these grim north winds, which we enjoy the railway still survive. My attraction for here in the grey condition with almost no sun. the other route was partly that I might see Add to this a most wearisome miniature once the southern shores of England; also painter, who (with almost no effect) has cut that I might be left entirely alone, which, for out the flower of every morning for me; and two days in a returning Dublin steamer, I calhas not yet ended, though he is now reduced culated might well be my lot. Alone, and to after-dinner hours — and, in fact, may end very miserable, it will beseem me to be, a when he like, for he will never manage his good deal in this the most original of my affair, I perceive.
* tours.” Brief, on Monday I will try to setSo that I have been obliged to give up | tle it, and then tell you.
Forster does not come with me; will join | You have your “routes" in a state of readime when I like after, &c. &c. I mean that ness that we may be able at once to get to you shall initiate me into the methods of Irish business. At present, Maynooth, Kildare travel, and keep me company so far as our town, and then some march across to Glendaroutes, once fixed upon, will go together. lough, or through Wicklow, is figuring in my Your friendly cheerfulness, your knowledge of imagination; after which Wexford, Ross, Ireland, all your goodness to me, I must make Waterford, &c. But in my present state of available. Detine to yourself what it is you insight all hangs in the clouds. I wish only specially aim towards in travelling, that I may I were fairly among the hills and green places, see how far without straining I can draw upon with the summer breeze blowing round me, you.
and a friendly soul to guide and cheer me in People are giving me letters, &c. ; Aubrey my pilgrimage. Kildare, I repeat, for Bridg. de Vere has undertaken for “six good Irish et's sake- Bridekirk (her kirk, I suppose) landlords,” vehemently protesting that “six " was almost the place of my birth; and Bridget (suggested by me) is not the maximum num- herself, under the oaks 1400 years ago, is for ber. He wishes to send me across direct to her own sake beautiful to me. 'One Fitzgerald, Kilkee (Clare County), where his friends now a Suffolk Irish friend of long standing, offers
A day or two of peace at some nice me introduction to some specifically Irish fambathing-place, to swim about, and then sit ily of his kindred in that region - on the Cur. silent looking out on the divine salt flood, is ragh itself, if I remember. We shall see. very inviting to my fancy; but Kilkee all at All kinds of business yet remain for me, and once will not be the place, I find.
not a minute to spare. People say the Queen Twistleton brought his successor Power is coming to look at Ireland, foolish creature ! down with him last night; I hoped Power
Yours ever truly, might have been an Irishman; but I do not
T. CARLYLE. think he is. Twistleton is decidedly a loss to Ireland, I reckon, as niatters now stand; a man of much loyalty, pious affection, stout July, and spent a week in accepting hos
Carlyle reached Dublin on the 3rd of intelligence, and manful capability every way.
I have read a good many of your friend Fer. pitalities from a few of his original friends guson's “Irish Counties," which is slow of 1846 who remained, and from various work, if one hold fast by the map; but is very official personages, to whom he brought instructive. I wish these articles existed as a introductions from London. He left beseparate book.* I would take them with me hind some hasty notes of his Irish journey, as the best vade mecum on such a journey. which have unhappily been published Have you got the book “Facts from Gu- since his death. He gave them to his dore”? I never could see it yet, but consideramanuensis soon after they were written : it well worth seeing. Irish sengs you also they passed through several hands, and remember.
A Mr. Miley, a Catholic priest of your city, finally reached a firm of publishers, who was to have come to me one day; but I think printed them, and sent proofs to certain of the unfortunate painter must have deterred Carlyle's friends for consideration. I Lucas and him; at all events, they did not recommended that the proposed volume appear.
should be suppressed, out of respect for Enough for this day; on Monday a more his memory; but Mr. Froude, who could definite prophecy, as to time at least. speak with more authority in the premises, Yours ever truly,
was of opinion that the publishers were T. CARLYLE.
free to do what they pleased with what Chelsea, June 26, 1849.
had become their property, and he saw do Dear DUFFY, — On Wednesday, by the objection to their giving it to the world. Athlone, or by something else better if I fail Carlyle describes himself as setting out in the Athlone (of which you shall have no- froin Scotland, “in sad health and sad tice); expect me, therefore, not later than humor,” and this temporary gloom dis. that day; and so let one point, the prelim- colors the book. Though he is univer. inary of all, be fixed at last.
sally courteous in his reference to the A stock of letters, to be used or not, for friends to whom I presented him in DubDublin and other places, especially for the lin and during the subsequent journey, ruined West, is accumulating on me; in Dub- some of them country gentlemen, barrislin I have a Dr. Stokes, Dr. Kennedy, Cham; ters, and doctors, who a few months before bers, Walker, and various military and official had been political prisoners, or inscribed people; certainly longer than “two days” will be needed in Dublin if I am to get much in the Castle list of suspects, he writes of good of these people; but I will make what notable persons of both sexes in Dublin despatch proves possible.
who received him with lavish hospitality
with a license of language whicho I am • Probably Sir Samuel Ferguson's topographical persuaded he himself would neither have papers in the Dublin University Magazine.
justified nor sanctioned had he lived to
have come to regard Carlyle as exacting and domineering among associates, to accept as the simple truth the fact that during those weeks of close and constant intercourse, there was not one word or act of his to the young man who accompanied him unworthy of an indulgent father. Of arrogance or impatience not a shade. In debating the arrangements of the journey, and all the questions in which fellow-trav ellers have a joint interest, instead of exercising the authority to which his age and character entitled him, he gave and took with complaisance and good fellowship.
see it in print. There is nothing which | tête. If I be a man who has entitled a man might not have written to his wife himself to be believed, I ask those who or friend without offence, but much quite unfit to be launched into publicity.† Carlyle was at this time past fifty years of age, had a strong, well-knit frame, a dark, ruddy complexion, piercing blue eyes, close-drawn lips, and an air of silent composure and authority. He was commonly dressed in a dark suit, a black stock, and a wide-brimmed hat, sometimes changed for one of soft felt. A close observer would have recognized him as a Scotchman, and probably concluded that he was a Scotchman who had filled some important employment. There was not a shade of discontent or impatience discern- I do not desire the reader to infer that ible in his countenance; if these feelings the stories of a contrary character are absoarose they were kept in check by a disci-lutely unfounded. But they have been plined will. It must be remembered that exaggerated out of reasonable relation to by this time his life had grown tranquil; fact, and have caused him to be grievously he had outlived his early struggles to ob- misunderstood. He was a man of genuine tain a footing in life, and a hearing from good nature, with deep sympathy and tenthe world; he had written the "French derness for human suffering, and of manly Revolution" and Cromwell," and his patience under troubles. In all the seriplace in literature was no longer in doubt. ous cares of life, the repeated disappointA number of young Englishmen, begin- ment of reasonable hope, in privation ning to distinguish themselves as writers bordering on penury, and in long delayed or in public life, recognized him as master, recognition by the world, he bore himself and one of the show-places which distin- with constant courage and forbearance. guished foreigners were sure to visit in He was easily disturbed, indeed, by petty London was the narrow house in a little troubles, if they interfered with his life's street off the Thames, where the philoso- work, never otherwise. Silence is the pher of Chelsea resided. necessary condition of serious thought, and he was impatient of any disturbance which interrupted it. Unexpected intrusion breaks the thread of reflection, often past repair, and he was naturally averse to such intrusion. He had sacrificed what is called success in life in order to be free to think in solitude and silence; and this precious peace, the atmosphere in which his work prospered, he guarded rigorously. At times he suffered from dyspepsia, and critics are sometimes disposed to forget that dyspepsia is as much a malady, and as little a moral blemish, as toothache or gout, and the sufferer a victim rather than an offender. I shall have occasion to return to this subject later, and I am content to say here that I have often seen a "brisk little somebody critic and whipper-snapper in a rage to set things to rights" show more temper in an hour than this mabigned man in an exhausting journey of weeks.
This is the aspect he presented among men to whom he was for the most part new. But I must speak of his relation to his fellow-traveller. If you want to know a man, says the proverb, make a solitary journey with him. We travelled for six weeks on a stretch, nearly always tête-à
This is the book known as "Reminiscences of my Irish Journey in 1849." By Thomas Carlyle. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. 1882.
† A curious pedigree of Irish discontent might be extracted from Carlyle's experience on this journey. He was the guest in Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Galway, and other towns, of men who were embodiments of a passion which had quite recently exploded in an unsuccessful insurrection. The introductions he brought from London were sometimes to men who were sons of noted rebels of a previous generation, who had conspired with Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Wolfe Tone for separation from England. Dr. Stokes, president of the College of Physicians, and a professor in the university, he notes as "son of an United Irishman." Sir Alexander MacDonnell, chief commissioner of education, as "son of an United Irishman, too;" and in a young fellow of the university he recognizes the laureate of '98. He even encountered the Irish discontent, which was ripening for an eruption twenty
years later, in the person of Isaac Butt, not yet an avowed Nationalist. "I saw, among others, Councillor Butt, brought up to me by Duffy; a terribly black, burly son of earth; talent visible in him, but still more animalism; big bison-head, black, not quite unbrutal; glad when he went off to the Galway Cir
cuit' or whithersoever."
We travelled slowly during a great part of July and August, through Leinster, Munster, and Connaught, in journeys of many hours at a time, made in the carriages of our friends, in railway trains, stage coaches, or Irish cars. There were
opportunities for continued talk, which I turned to account in a manner which Carlyle describes in his "Irish Reminiscences." Two or three extracts will sufficiently indicate how the daily tête-àtête was employed.
Waterford car at last, in the hot afternoon we rattled forth into the dust. Scrubby ill-cultivated country. Duffy talking much, that is making me talk. Kilmacthomas, clean, white village, hanging on the steep decliningly. Duffy discovered; enthusiasm of all for him, even the policeman. Driver privately whispered me he would like to give a cheer. "Don't, it would do him no good.' .. Jerpoint Abbey, huge distressing mass of ruins, huts leaning on the back of it-to me nothing worth at all, or less than nothing if dilettantism must join with it. Rest of the road singularly forgotten; Duffy keeping me so busy at talk, I suppose. Carrickshock" farm on the west, where "18 police," seizing for tithes, were set upon and all killed some eighteen or more years ago. And next? Vacancy, not even our talk remembered in the least-probably of questions which I had to answer. Duffy, &c.
is transacted as the phantom land of the Pilgrim's Progress." It is sometimes forgotten how completely posterity has pardoned in Carlyle's peers characteristics which are treated as unpardonable crimes in him. His sense of personal superiority was not so constant or so vigilant as Wordsworth's, though the poet was perhaps more cautious in the exhibition of it; Burke was far more liable to explosions of passion, and Johnson harsher and more peremptory every day of his life, than Carlyle at rare intervals in some £t of dyspepsia.
Of his manner, I ought, perhaps, to say a word. In a tête-à-tête he did not declaim but conversed. His talk was a clear, rippling stream that flowed on without interruption, except when he acted the scene he was describing, or mimicked the person he was citing. With the play of hands and head he was not a bad mimic, but his countenance and voice, which expressed wrath or authority with singular power, were clumsy instruments for badinage. But his attempts were more enjoy
frankly into the farce himself, laughing cordially, and manifestly not unmindful of the contrast his levity presented to his ordinary mood. Though he commonly spoke the ordinary tongue of educated Englishmen, if he was moved, especially if he was moved by indignation or contempt, he was apt to fall into what Mrs. Carlyle calls "very decided Annandale."
Sometimes we seem th have got on dan-able than skilful acting, he entered so gerously explosive topics. "This after noon was it I argued with Duffy about Smith O'Brien; I infinitely vilipending, he hotly eulogizing the said Smith," or "Sadly weary; Duffy reads Irish ballads to me, unmusical enough," where his temporary mood probably influences his judgment. But the talk was chiefly of eminent men whom he had known. When I named a man in whom I was interested, he spoke of him forthwith. When I named another he took up the second, and so throughout the day. I knew that one of his most notable gifts was the power of making by a few touches a likeness of a man's moral or physical aspect, not easily forgotten. His portraits were not always free from a strain of exaggeration, but they were never malicious, never intentionally caricatured; they represented his actual estimate of the person in question. It has been said of him that he had a habit which seemed instinctive of looking down upon his contemporaries, but it must not be forgotten that it was from a real, not an imaginary eminence. He insisted on a high and perhaps impossible standard of duty in the men whom he discussed, but it was a standard he lived up to himself, and it only became chimerical when it was applied indiscriminately to all who were visible above the crowd. His own life was habitually spent in work, and belonged to a moral world almost as far apart from the world in which the daily business of life
I made notes of his talk daily, and finally offered them to him to read. He playfully excused himself, but tacitly sanctioned the practice, which I continued down to his death. It is more than forty years since the earliest notes were written. I have omitted many which time has rendered obsolete, but otherwise they remain as they were set down on the day of the conversation. I more than once meditated destroying them as they had answered their original purpose, which was simply my personal instruction, but when I considered what would be the worth of Bacon or Burke's impression of his most notable contemporaries, I shrank from destroying Carlyle's judgments on men, concerning many of whom the world maintains a permanent interest. What most of us enjoy with the keenest relish in the memoirs and correspondence of men of letters is their judgment of each other. We can rarely accept it without reserve, but what Montaigne thought of Rabelais, what Ben Jonson thought of Shakespeare, Rousseau's private opinion of Voltaire, Samuel John
son's estimate of Fielding and Richardson had been drinking perfumed water in one will always be memorable. Even Byron's case, and in the other you got the sense of rash judgment on Wordsworth and Keats, a deep, earnest man, who had thought Southey's contempt for Shelley, or, to silently and painfully on many things. come lower down, Brougham's estimate There was one exception to your satisfacof Macaulay, or Macaulay's estimate of tion with the man. When he spoke of Brougham are only obiter dicta in criti- poetry he harangued about metres, cacism, but are tit-bits in literary gossip. dences, rhythms, and so forth, and one We do not regard Fielding as a blockhead could not be at the pains of listening to and a barren rascal because Johnson prohim. But on all other subjects he had nounced him to be so, or Wordsworth as more sense in him of a sound and instruca poetical charlatan and a political parasite tive sort than any other literary man in on the authority of Byron, and when England. Brougham declares that Macaulay could I suggested that Wordsworth might cot reason, and had no conception of what naturally like to speak of the instrumental an argument was, or when Macaulay af- part of his art, and consider what he had firms that Carlyle might as well take at to say very instructive, as by modifying once to Irving's unknown tongue as write the instrument, he had wrought a revolusuch an essay as “Characteristics," there tion in English poetry. He taught it to is no harm done except to the critic him- speak in unsophisticated language and of self, but we would not willingly lose even the humbler and more familiar interests of the splenetic judgments of men of genius, life. much less judgments which are often pro- Carlyle said, no, not so; all he had got foundly wise and always substantially fair, to say in that way was like a few driblets like those uttered by Carlyle.
from the great ocean of German specula
tion on kindred subjects by Goethe and WORDSWORTH.
others. Coleridge, who had been in Ger. On our first day's journey, the casual many, brought it over with him, and they mention of Edmund Burke induced me to translated Teutonic thought into a poor, ask Carlyle who was the best talker he disjointed, whitey.brown sort of English, bad met among notable people in London. and that was nearly all. But Wordsworth,
He said that when he met Wordsworth after all, was the man of most practical first he had been assured that he talked mind of any of the persons connected with better than any man in England. It was literature whom he had encountered; bis habit to talk whatever was in his mind though his pastoral pipings were far from at the time, with total indifference to the being of the importance his admirers im. impression it produced on his hearers; on agined. He was essentially a cold, hard, this occasion he kept discoursing on how silent, practical man, who, if he had not far you could get carried out of London on fallen into poetry, would have done effecthis side and on that for sixpence. One tual work of some sort in the world. was disappointed perhaps, but, after all, This was the impression one got of him this was the only healthy way of talking to as he looked out of his stern blue eyes, say what is actually in your mind, and let superior to men and circumstances. sane creatures who listen make what they I said I had expected to hear of a man can of it. Whether they understood or of softer mood, more sympathetic and less not, Wordsworth maintained a stern com- taciturn. posure, and went his way, content that the Carlyle said, no, not at all; he was a world went quite another road. When he man quite other than that; a man of an knew him better, he found that no man immense head and great jaws like a crocogave you so faithful and vivid a picture of dile's, cast in a mould designed for proany person or thing which he had seen digious work. with his own eyes. I inquired if Wordsworth came up to
FRANCIS JEFFREY. this description he had heard of him as AFTER a pause he resumed. As far as the best talker in England.
talk might be regarded as simply a recreaWell, he replied, it was true you could tion, not an inquiry after truth and sense, get more meaning out of what Wordsworth Jeffrey said more brilliant and interesting had to say to you than from anybody else. things than any man he had met in the Leigh Hunt would emit more pretty, pleas- world. He was a bright-eyed, lively, inant, ingenious flashes in an hour than genious little fellow, with something fasciWordsworth in a day. But in the end you nating and radiant in him when he got would find, if well considered, that you into his drawing-room tribune. He was
VOL. LXXVII. 3983