The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO LEIGH HUNT ; 27 October 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18521027-TC-JHLH-01; CL 27: 344-345


The Grange, 27 Octr 1852

Dear Hunt,

There is no good sense, I fear, to be made out of “duchtich” on any hypothesis: tüchtig does not answer well in the passages you give; and I can think of only one other German word which plausibly resembles duchtich;—this perhaps answers a little better, but this also is by no means conclusively convincing. The word “züchtig” (pronounce tz or dz) signifies well-bred, polite, discreet, also chaotic, modest, and on the whole comme il faut [as it should be]; this, perhaps once mispronounced “duchtich” by Hervey, may in “Coterie speech” have become a common word in that circle:—at all events, duchtich is clearly a coterie-word; and need not be sought after in dictionaries; nay who knows but the English Editor1 himself may have misread it (deutlich, “evident,” “clear,” wd be very like it in writing); not to say that Hervey's own Ms. does not usually spell German with propriety,—teufflish, for example, should be teuflisch [fiendish] &c. In short, I consider it impossible to guess what the word was, from such data as we have; and advise you not to chase it farther than into the hiding-places already indicated. “Sly” I do not believe it to have meant; nor on the whole will “tüchtig” do; “züchtig” I give you as my likeliest guess: but with certainty (unless by Pharoah's Soothsayers, or by the victor over them) there can nothing be given.

N.b. “Coterie-speech” is a German phrase; but I have no doubt you understand it well, and can give good account of it in an English Note. And that, I believe, will fairly help you thro' the difficulty.

Thanks for the Note on Alresford;2 which is yet true enough to Nature in its geographical part, tho' the historical (of the two burnings) has vanished from all memories that I consult. The big pond, with Swans, and the bit of Roman Road “to Alton” (properly from Winchester to London) are all still there; and a clean merry-looking market village as if no fire or disaster had ever been.

Adieu, dear Hunt. I remain faithfully,

Yours always /

T. Carlyle