January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO WILLIAM CONINGHAM ; 4 January 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590104-TC-WC-01; CL 35: 3


Chelsea, 4 jany, 1859—

Dear Conyngham,—The thing you call an “idle tale” was properly a gratuitous calumny, of the ugliest description, flung on the spotless character of a Lady,1 who yields in purity and heroism of mind to none of her sex; as perfectly baseless, total and abominable a Lie as one human creature could readily utter about another: and no “friend” or no enemy, not ignorant of every circumstance great and little connected with her history or with mine would have dreamed, for one moment, of inventing or believing or repeating such a platitude in any assemblage not similarly situated. It is not very long since I first heard of this fine utterance of human speech; nor, knowing how men's tongues go on some occasions, have I ever borne much grudge (or seriously any grudge) to you individually upon it. But I write today to request that you will not touch upon it again at all, at least not again in this house2 or circle,—where it naturally creates some irritation in the mind of an honourable woman, and the contempt for it cannot so well be, as in an honourable man's case, a silent one. Enough of this nasty bit of mud.

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle

W. Conyngham Esq M.P.