August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO EDWARD FITZGERALD ; 28 August 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430828-TC-EF-01; CL 17: 97-98


Scotsbrig, 28 August, 1843—

Dear Fitzgerald,

If I go by Liverpool and the Railway at all, it will be directly after getting across the Solway waters on the night of Saturday first;1 that is to say, on the morning of Sunday (3d of September) I shall be in Liverpool, and disposed to start with the delay of hardly more than two days or one day. But it is not now certain that I shall go by Liverpool; for if so I lose Dunbar, whitherward as well as to Edinburgh and Fife (if the weather and my spirits would but brighten) I have a kind of call, a kind of possibility. My route homeward in that case would be, perhaps a week later, by an Edinburgh or Dundee Steamer. How to appoint in this uncertainty,—uncertain as Murphy's Almanack!2

The best way will be that you do not thwart, hurry or cramp yourself in any of your Irish movements, nor I in any of my Scotch: this in the first place. Secondly, that when you do get spontaneously to Naseby, and feel in readiness, you signify the fact to me, by a Note, which, if posted on or before the third of September, should be addressed: “Care of John Welsh Esq 20. Maryland Street, Liverpool”;—not posted until after that date, “Chelsea.” From Chelsea, or at Chelsea, it will find me; and the due steps, whatever they are, can then be taken. This straightens the thing a little, in spite of Murphy?

Francis Edgeworth when I knew him was a walking lexicon; books, and books only. Yet I can fancy him doing good service as a country gentleman, even as a judge of fat oxen. There is obstinacy enough in the man; yet another element too in singular antagonism to that.3 Poor Miss Edgeworth! One would so fain say to such a light, Burn thou forever; but it cannot be. Nature must be very opulent: she snuffs out her Suns with equal indifference as her farthing candles, and goes on her way.4

One is right glad to hear you say of Ireland that you know and see it to be quiet.5 The Irish will begin to get their thousandfold grievances redressed the instant they attain a right patient impatience6 with them,—never till that; and they have wanted it from the beginning hitherto.

If I had known you were going to Edgeworth's I would have sent my remembrances with you. I have now nothing more to say except in Irish phraseology:

“Come out of that!”7

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle