April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 5 August 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490805-TC-JWC-01; CL 24: 175-177


Londonderry (Sunday) 5 Augt, 1849—

Well, best Goodikin, let us be thankful; there are you safe at Auchtertool, I here safe in Derry, at the end of my Irish journeyings. Tomorrow comes the Steamer for Glasgow at noon; in Glasgow, if all go well, at 3 a.m. of Tuesday, and thence—? Four hours will take me down to Scotsbrig; some few hours (way and manner yet unknown) would take me (or us, for F.1 sticks by me) to Auchtertool: how to do I know not yet: but in some place of rest, there to sleep for 10 days to come, I do soon hope to be! Thank Heaven. Your Letter waited me here, last night, along with a poor line from John; your third Galway Letter, the one from Haddington, is yet flying abroad; I have written for it, to both Sligo and Galway; at Scotsbrig it will certainly arrive, and I shall find it too; the only Letter I have now to desiderate, one I should little like to lose. Your news yet are not later than what I had thro' Forster at Gweedore; let me hope they are good to you, and leave you to sleep, and that a speedy meeting may be appointed us somewhere, to compare Notes after such an absence. Ah, me! I am weary, weary; and my heart, amid all this noise, remains very still, and in its sadness says nothing at all while so much speech is going on.— I wish you had spoken of the feasibilities of Auchtertool, the routes &c; above all, of the spare rooms (if any), and of your own wishes! As it is, I must try to do the wisest by guess. F. is a much merrier companion than Duffy, whom we quitted handsomely on Wedy last, and who is now safe in Dublin. Good go with him, poor fellow; for he is a good man too, and to me has been always loyal.

Lord George's visit was what we call successful; for my sake and for F.'s he was very kind to F. too; brought him along with us to Ballyare, did all things to oblige him and me to the very last moment of our stay on his shores. We parted with him yesterday on the farther coast of Lough Swilly, whither he had himself driven us and our luggage, with Plattnauer smoking in silence in the body of the carriage, I do on the box beside his Lordship,—onward thro' difficulties, mistakes and confusions, dextrously to the very deck of the Ferry-boat;—and there, at last, we took a really affecting kind of leave. I think he rather grew to like me; him I partly fell in love with at sight, and grew to like better and better. A prettier human soul I have not seen these many years. Courteous as an ancient chevalier, mild, low-voiced (beautiful kindly mellow voice), valiant, consciencious, determinate: where can one see a beautifuller man?2 His Enterprise at Gweedore appears to me as good as hopeless, under present conditions; but to himself in all ways it has been and will be blessed, if not economically profitable. The dumb pathos of poor Plattnauer was also really touching: in fact the whole business of Ballyare has been really affecting beyond what I expected; and I am glad to leave Ireland with such a taste upon my lips, con la bocca dolce [with a sweet taste in the mouth], as I said to his Lp today; for you must know my invaluable writing-case proved at the Ferry to have been forgotten, it was sent this morning over the Frith (“Lough” so-called) before breakfast, and I had to acknowledge such a last favour. Platr is grown very fat; wears [rough?] beard; and goes in grey Irish Hodden (coarse as Carrier's pack sheet) with a Pipe stuck in his Coat-pocket. [For] the rest, seems very familiar with the people, and quite domesticated in his situation. Poor fellow, after all!

11¼ p.m.— One “Captn Leach of the Royal Engineers” entered; to whom I had brought a Letter, from I really know not whom. He, intent to do the rites, took us out, driving in a Car, to see the beauties, to see especially Temple Moyle, an Agricultural school some 6 miles off,—very little worth seeing: but the man's own knowledge of this country, and of various military matters was considerable; and so the afternoon was spent till 7 p.m. and dinner, to which on slight invitation the Captn consented to attend us,—and is just gone; sorrow on him, for I had various things to do! Tomorrow is breakfast with a radical Editor,3 and I shall not then have a moment. I had written a long Letter to Ld Clarendon, about Duffy, Ireland &c, before the Capn came in,—happily. I shall have to end everything taliter qualiter [one way or another] before I go to bed. I have dined without vegetables and perhaps shall escape my full headachy condition (due to the new potatoes, the peas &c as I now discover), and sleep a little in preparation for tomorrow night's deficiency. O Goody, Goody! Oh me!—

As to my destination after Glasgow, all I can say is: If this Letter come fairly after me, what is the use of writing it! If I be not there when it comes then really there is little chance of me; for I find now, it goes round by Belfast, and I myself go a directer road. Did you ever hear of such a burble [tangle]! I wish you had written a word. In fine, I will consider well of it on board tomorrow; and not give up Auchtertoul without a struggle.— And so good night my Dearest. Forster is reading newspapers at this table, uncertain too what he will do tomorrow. Good be with thee ever.

T. Carlyle