July-December 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 30


TC TO EDWARD FITZGERALD ; 20 October 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18551020-TC-EF-01; CL 30: 85-86


Chelsea, 20 Octr, 1855—

Dear Fitzgerald,

I will accordingly,—as you seem to anticipate, with confidence,—leave the Cromwell relic (if it be one, as surely it must after all) wholly to Darkness and to Milnes for the time coming.1 I would not unless excessively rich give above £10 for it; I should guess that to be the value, were everything authenticated; which it is not.

Schiller's best Play I fancy is perhaps Tell; Tell, for ripeness of poetic faculty; Wallenstein for steady depth of effort: but I cannot altogether deny what you say.2 In fact the Public, in all countries, is a vulgar Blockhead; and will be found to utter great deal of nonsense, sometimes with a small alloy of truth, at other times with hardly any. Schiller had the enthusiasm, the piety of character, and very much the kind of faculty, which make a Popular Preacher, in our and I doubt not in other countries. That much explains the phenomenon he is in literature, as contrasted with Goethe and others.

Our Beccles Pipe-Artist, I find, must be requested to attend to another vital point: namely his gigantic pipes, slightly too big in the bowl (not in the stem),—have not breath enough! That is the result of my experience upon them: too little “breath”: the bore of them ought to be made with a thicker bore, as is the case with my Suffolk friends. In fact that is a very bad fault; and sends me back to the Suffolk sort (tho' of inferior clay) with great thankfulness to Alfred and Providence.3— Glazed (lead not wax) at the end; slightly bigger bore, perceptibly smaller bowl, these Beccles Pipes wd be about the best I have seen: but probably the Kunstler [artist] won't bother himself altering fixed plans; and without these changes the Woodbridge sort (whh at any rate deserve the name of good, and more than passable) will be safer for us.

Did you ever read Madame du Deffand's Letters to Horace Walpole?4 The character of that old Lady comes out in a very interesting and wholesomely natural way in what she writes there,—or rather dictates, for she was blind, and from 70 to 83. I have the Book if you care for it at any time. Few French Memoir-Books of that epoch are as good; nor indeed is the complete meaning of them made clear to us hitherto.

Tell me whenever Naseby is completed. “Pig-driving,” I often sorrowfully remark to myself, is one of the needfullest elements in the education of a man!—

A. Which way are you going today, Pat?— B (a judicious pigdriver with a pig). Husht! I'm going to Carrigoline;5 but I'm making believe it's to Cork all the while!”—

I must not put off more of your time and my own, this blessed morning of the St Martin's summer.6

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle