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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! 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 gods 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 as my day of sailing. Mrs. Carlyle purposes, in a day or two after, to set out for Scotland and some secluded visiting among friends. Forster may now, for what I know, appear in Dublin about the same time; his perennial cheerfulness, intelligent, hearty, and active habits would render him a very useful element in such an expedition, I believe. But at any rate I am delighted that you go with me, and I really anticipate a little good from the business for myself and for all of us.
Certainly I mean to avail myself of your guidance, of your proffered company, if it will at all suit; and we will take "the three weeks" in whatever quarter your resources can best profit the common enterprise. Meanwhile, as to time-though I feel that there ought now to be no delay on my part (for in fact I must soon go to Ireland, or elsewhither), there has yet been no day fixed, and my speculations and inquiries, which still continue, yield me scattered points of interest all over Ireland; but except the "famine districts," which one must see, but would not quite hasten to see, there is no point I am decisively attracted to beyond all others; so that the voyage hitherto is still in nubibus as to all its details. As to the day of its commencement, which is the first indispensable detail, A. de Vere advises that I should wait a little till the cholera abate in those sad regions. I myself think of coming by steam from London at once, speculate on starting second Thursday hence, sometimes (in sanguine moments) even first Thursday! To-morrow I am to consult with Twistleton (an excellent man, who loves Ireland, whom you would have loved had you known him); to-day I go for the Penny Cyclopædia affairs you spoke of. I read Fraser too, with the map; and much else. I must see Glendalough, Ferns, Enniscorthy, Doneraile (Mouser's House there); in fact I am getting fondest of Wexford I find. Write to me what your times are, so far as they are fixed. Yours, ever truly,
But to get a philosopher afloat on seas which he had not explored was no ordinary enterprise, and it needed several additional despatches before he set sail.
CHELSEA, June 16, 1849. Ever since Sunday last I have had a despicable snivelling cold hanging about me; fruit of these grim north winds, which we enjoy here in the grey condition with almost no sun. Add to this a most wearisome miniature painter, who (with almost no effect) has cut out the flower of every morning for me; and has not yet ended, though he is now reduced to after-dinner hours- and, in fact, may end when he like, for he will never manage his affair, I perceive.
So that I have been obliged to give up
Twistleton, whom I see again to-morrow, will furnish the introductions you suggest. If the agent of any English estate, or indeed, I suppose, of any chief Irish one, could prove serviceable, most probably some of my friends here could procure it for me; but that, at any rate, can be managed from Ireland quite as well. Of Irish aristocrats I remember only Stafford O'Brien, Lord Bessborough, Castlereagh, &c., none of whom, by the aspect of him, had much promise for me. I suppose the Imperial Hotel is as good as any? Please say, and consider of tours, and of methods, &c., for two persons, and for third Kildare, Maynooth, &c., and then southward along the coast. Three days in Dublin, or even two. Yours ever truly,
T. CARLYLE. CHELSEA, June 24, 1849. DEAR DUFFY, Your Dublin agent for ships is right, and I am wrong: for Dublin the days of sailing are Wednesday and Saturday (if one looks narrowly, with spectacles, into the corners of the thing); and what is more, their hour of sailing seems to be variable, sometimes so early in the morning as would not suit me at all! Add to which, I am sunk over head and ears in a new avalanche of Cromwell rubbish all this day (the last, I do hope, of that particular species of employment !), and I have barely time to save the post, and send you a word postponing the exact decision. On the whole, Holyhead and the railway still survive. My attraction for the other route was partly that I might see once the southern shores of England; also that I might be left entirely alone, which, for two days in a returning Dublin steamer, I calculated might well be my lot. Alone, and very miserable, it will beseem me to be, a good deal in this the most original of my "tours." Brief, on Monday I will try to settle it, and then tell you.
Forster does not come with me; will join me when I like after, &c. &c. I mean that you shall initiate me into the methods of Irish travel, and keep me company so far as our routes, once fixed upon, will go together. Your friendly cheerfulness, your knowledge of Ireland, all your goodness to me, I must make available. Define to yourself what it is you specially aim towards in travelling, that I may see how far without straining I can draw upon you.
People are giving me letters, &c.; Aubrey de Vere has undertaken for "six good Irish landlords," vehemently protesting that "six' (suggested by me) is not the maximum number. He wishes to send me across direct to Kilkee (Clare County), where his friends now are. A day or two of peace at some nice bathing-place, to swim about, and then sit silent looking out on the divine salt flood, is very inviting to my fancy; but Kilkee all at once will not be the place, I find.
Twistleton brought his successor Power down with him last night; I hoped Power might have been an Irishman; but I do not think he is. Twistleton is decidedly a loss to Ireland, I reckon, as niatters now stand; a man of much loyalty, pious affection, stout intelligence, and manful capability every way. I have read a good many of your friend Ferguson's "Irish Counties," which is slow work, if one hold fast by the map; but is very instructive. I wish these articles existed as a separate book.* I would take them with me as the best vade mecum on such a journey. Have you got the book "Facts from Gudore"? I never could see it yet, but consider it well worth seeing. Irish songs you also
A Mr. Miley, a Catholic priest of your city, was to have come to me one day; but I think the unfortunate painter must have deterred Lucas and him; at all events, they did not
CHELSEA, June 26, 1849. DEAR DUFFY, On Wednesday, by the Athlone, or by something else better if I fail in the Athlone (of which you shall have notice); expect me, therefore, not later than that day; and so let one point, the preliminary of all, be fixed at last."
A stock of letters, to be used or not, for Dublin and other places, especially for the ruined West, is accumulating on me; in Dublin I have a Dr. Stokes, Dr. Kennedy, Chambers, Walker, and various military and official people; certainly longer than "two days" will be needed in Dublin if I am to get much good of these people; but I will make what despatch proves possible.
Probably Sir Samuel Ferguson's topographical papers in the Dublin University Magazine.
You have your "routes" in a state of readi ness that we may be able at once to get to business. At present, Maynooth, Kildare town, and then some march across to Glendalough, or through Wicklow, is figuring in my imagination; after which Wexford, Ross, Waterford, &c. But in my present state of insight all hangs in the clouds. I wish only I were fairly among the hills and green places, with the summer breeze blowing round me, and a friendly soul to guide and cheer me in my pilgrimage. Kildare, I repeat, for Bridget's sake-Bridekirk (her kirk, I suppose) was almost the place of my birth; and Bridget herself, under the oaks 1400 years ago, is for her own sake beautiful to me. One Fitzgerald, a Suffolk Irish friend of long standing, offers me introduction to some specifically Irish family of his kindred in that region - on the Curragh itself, if I remember. We shall see.
All kinds of business vet remain for me, and not a minute to spare. People say the Queen is coming to look at Ireland, foolish creature! Yours ever truly, T. CARLYLE.
Carlyle reached Dublin on the 3rd of July, and spent a week in accepting hospitalities from a few of his original friends of 1846 who remained, and from various official personages, to whom he brought introductions from London. He left behind some hasty notes of his Irish journey, which have unhappily been published since his death. He gave them to his amanuensis soon after they were written; they passed through several hands, and finally reached a firm of publishers, who printed them, and sent proofs to certain of Carlyle's friends for consideration. recommended that the proposed volume should be suppressed, out of respect for his memory; but Mr. Froude, who could speak with more authority in the premises, was of opinion that the publishers were free to do what they pleased with what had become their property, and he saw no objection to their giving it to the world. Carlyle describes himself as setting out from Scotland, "in sad health and sad humor," and this temporary gloom discolors the book. Though he is universally courteous in his reference to the friends to whom I presented him in Dublin and during the subsequent journey, some of them country gentlemen, barristers, and doctors, who a few months before had been political prisoners, or inscribed in the Castle list of suspects, he writes of notable persons of both sexes in Dublin who received him with lavish hospitality with a license of language which I am persuaded he himself would neither have 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 is transacted as the phantom land of the 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.
"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.
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."
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.' Of his manner, I ought, perhaps, to say ... Jerpoint Abbey, huge distressing mass a word. In a tête-à-tête he did not deciaim of ruins, huts leaning on the back of itme nothing worth at all, or less than nothing but conversed. His talk was a clear, ripif dilettantism must join with it. Rest of the pling stream that flowed on without interroad singularly forgotten; Duffy keeping me so ruption, except when he acted the scene busy at talk, I suppose. Carrickshock he was describing, or mimicked the perfarm on the west, where "18 police," seizing son he was citing. With the play of for tithes, were set upon and all killed some hands and head he was not a bad mimic, eighteen or more years ago. And next? but his countenance and voice, which exVacancy, not even our talk remembered in pressed wrath or authority with singular the least-probably of questions which I had power, were clumsy instruments for badito answer. Duffy, &c. nage. But his attempts were more enjoy. Sometimes we seem th have got on dan-able than skilful acting, he entered so gerously explosive topics. "This after- frankly into the farce himself, laughing 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 pro- him. 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 not 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, much less judgments which are often profoundly wise and always substantially fair, like those uttered by Carlyle.
ON our first day's journey, the casual mention of Edmund Burke induced me to ask Carlyle who was the best talker he had met among notable people in London. He said that when he met Wordsworth first he had been assured that he talked better than any man in England. It was his habit to talk whatever was in his mind at the time, with total indifference to the impression it produced on his hearers; on this occasion he kept discoursing on how far you could get carried out of London on this side and on that for sixpence. One was disappointed perhaps, but, after all, this was the only healthy way of talking to say what is actually in your mind, and let sane creatures who listen make what they can of it. Whether they understood or not, Wordsworth maintained a stern composure, and went his way, content that the world went quite another road. When he knew him better, he found that no man gave you so faithful and vivid a picture of any person or thing which he had seen with his own eyes.
I inquired if Wordsworth came up to this description he had heard of him as the best talker in England.
Well, he replied, it was true you could get more meaning out of what Wordsworth had to say to you than from anybody else. Leigh Hunt would emit more pretty, pleasant, ingenious flashes in an hour than Wordsworth in a day. But in the end you would find, if well considered, that you VOL. LXXVII. 3983
Carlyle said, no, not so; all he had got to say in that way was like a few driblets from the great ocean of German speculation on kindred subjects by Goethe and others. Coleridge, who had been in Germany, brought it over with him, and they translated Teutonic thought into a poor, disjointed, whitey-brown sort of English, and that was nearly all. But Wordsworth, after all, was the man of most practical mind of any of the persons connected with literature whom he had encountered; though his pastoral pipings were far from being of the importance his admirers imagined. He was essentially a cold, hard, silent, practical man, who, if he had not fallen into poetry, would have done effectual work of some sort in the world. This was the impression one got of him as he looked out of his stern blue eyes, superior to men and circumstances.
I said I had expected to hear of a man of softer mood, more sympathetic and less taciturn.
Carlyle said, no, not at all; he was a man quite other than that; a man of an immense head and great jaws like a crocodile's, cast in a mould designed for prodigious work.
AFTER a pause he resumed. As far as talk might be regarded as simply a recreation, not an inquiry after truth and sense, Jeffrey said more brilliant and interesting things than any man he had met in the world. He was a bright-eyed, lively, ingenious little fellow, with something fascinating and radiant in him when he got into his drawing-room tribune. He was