April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 21 July 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490721-TC-JWC-01; CL 24: 138-141


Ballygiblin (Mallow, Coy Cork) 21 july, 1849—

Well, my little Goody, here again goes off a Note to you; but in fact it is rather to save myself from being walked about the premises farther, than to favour you with news, that I have taken to my desk just now. This is “Bally-Giblin” (the “Place of the Goslings,” so called), the place where Miss O'Neil now acts the part of Lady Beecher:1 I got here about Noon (now 5 p.m), and had I not, two hours ago, made my escape hither, I should have been walked to the stumps, instead of which I have got two hours of sleep on a sofa, and am keeping my word after all.

Killarney proved a day of frequent showers, wonderful sceneries, and sights and doings useful and agreeable, which winded itself up in a dinner of Irish Squires, and was got thro' better than could have been expected— The Lake, or rather 3 Lakes, which poor Shine Lawlor with his brother, with a catholic President of Oscott (an Irish ruin of the Harmonious Blacksmith)2 did his very best to exhibit to advantage, is really very fine of its sort: and Shine (who is a nice polite little fellow, reduced almost to extremities by the potatoe-rot) shewed me, as we went on, an Irish Farm (dairy on the barn floor &c), a sleepy dusty National School (“we're a nid-noddin!”), and various other objects as we went along. In fine it was “all well enough,” and I was glad to have seen Killarney.— Next morning (yesterday), we set off towards Limerick; but, on consultation, decided not to aim thither by the Mail-car, but to take a certain King Williams Town (a government establishment of reclaimed moorlands) along with us;3—a Mr Crosbie from whom I expected word, sent no answer whatever, tho' it was upon his invitation that I wrote; so Kg Wm's Town was the best object left. You never saw such 18 miles of moor, nor such a set of human pigsties and human scarecrows as alone inhabited it! Their very looks were as if past hope. Peats they were gathering in creels, cuddy-carts &c &c: their potatoes (their only attempt at crop here not yet eatable; and if the potatoe die they also may die. God help them: I looked into the interior of one hut; and gave the wretches a shilling, in spite of my resolve to be deaf to beggars. Of King W's Town, which is a glorious contrast to all that, and which shines in the middle of it like a paradise in Nova Zembla,4 I will tell you another time. A most remarkable Triptolemus (an Irish Mr Boyne)5 presides there for the last 17 years, and has really worked wonders. Kanturk (a place almost back at Mallow again) we found wd now combine itself with railway and be our nearest route for Limerick: we reached Kantkpaast 11,” as the poor solitary watchman was exclaiming when we entered. This morning I bethought me that our route led past the very gate of Lady Beecher; so, I made Duffy set me down, and here I am.6 Plague on't, my hand is just coming in, so that I could write abundantly to thee, when now the post-hour is close at hand, and I must close!—Tomorrow (Sunday) I have to make for Limerick, and join Duffy again: if the people had been good here, I meant partly to have staid over Sunday, and bidden Duffy adieu by writing. By speech will do perhaps better; and that I rather think I must soon do: his traitorhood7 is like to be much in my way henceforth; nor is he otherwise worth much to me.— Lady Beecher is very sententious, didactic, terribly “religious Church of England” too: I find her hitherto a perfectly laudable, intelligent, pedantic stick, doing the part of “Lady” and of “Lady Bountiful”: Sir Wm is in the background, but his Brother8 comes out; and my drawing-room (bed-room that means) is still and superb. Tomorrow at Limerick there will be a letter from you?— Here goes a “bell!”— What? voice of the post-boy I do believe. Adieu, dearest. God bless the[e]9 always.— Has Forster written?

Yours ever

T. Carlyle.

a twig of heath from Killarney—n.b. I got Goat's milk from the granddaughter of “Kate Carnie” (sic),10 in the wretchedest hut in creation.

No 2 Ballygiblin, 22 july (Sunday) 1849—

Last night when I rang the bell, the Post was “gone 10 minutes” ago; so here follows part 2d, an interval of “10 minutes” being now conceded me before Church time.

I have had an excellent sleep, the first since Chelsea; feel really well in the balmy breezy grey morning. Arrangements here are perfect; Lady Beecher I perceive imprints her own austerely correct character on all her household, circle, and estate: very good indeed, and to be loved if one could. She is evidently much surprised with me, has never had an image of me in her mind before.11 Sir Wm and two Brothers appeared at dinner; good gentlemen all, especially the Baronet, who is unfortunately lamed with some kind of palsy, but carries still the aspect of courteous benevolence, and great intelligence and human worth.— The young ladies,12 innocent gay creatures, sang me Irish and Scotch-Jacobite songs for evening amusement; and the elder Lady herself condescended to do “King of the Heeland hearts, bonny prince Cie [Charlie]” tho' with voice suffering from rust or cold.— Better still there is no train this Sunday to Limerick; so I may sleep again here, and find that an excuse for setting Duffy on his way without me. Which I do think will answer well!— Oh dear, Oh dear, I wish I knew where Goody is, and how, this morning! God keep her, poor little soul, wherever she be. Yours evermore

T. C.