candlestick

August 1846-June 1847


The Collected Letters, Volume 21


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TC TO C. G. DUFFY; 15 March 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470315-TC-CGD-01; CL 21:180-181.


TC TO C. G. DUFFY

Chelsea, March 15 1847

DEAR DUFFY,—I am delighted to hear of your good fortune!1 From a phrase in your former letter I had been anticipating something of this kind, which now it seems has happily arrived. I noticed the young beauty, among the others, that day in Bagot Street;2 but had I then known what was coming I should have taken a much closer survey. Pray give her my best regards; my true wishes that this new union may be blessed to you both, that you may have many happy, and, what is much more, many brave and noble years together in this world. If it be the will of the Fates, I shall be right glad to make farther acquaintance with this lady, perhaps under better auspices, some time by-and-by. The site of your new house (for we went by so many routes to Dundrum) is not at present very clear to me; may I know it better one day, and see with satisfaction what a temple of the Muses and stronghold of the heroisms and veracities you have made of it, even in these dark times! A man in all “times” makes his own world: this in the darkest condition of the elements is a gospel that should never forsake us.

I am very idle here at present; but surely, if I live, shall not always be “idle.” The world, mainly a wretched world of imposture from zenith to nadir, seems as if threatening to fall rapidly to pieces in huge ruin about one's ears; it seems as if in this loss of the poor Irish potato the last beggarly film that hid the abyss from us were snatched away, and now its black throat lay yawning, visible even to fools! How to demean oneself in these new circumstances is rather a question. We shall see Bocca stretta occhi sciolti [Pursed mouth, nimble eyes].3

I will say no more about “Repeal” at present.4 The “Coxcombs in London” are a dreadful sorrow to us all, and every honest soul of us is straining as he can to get rid of them in some good way—to change them and their windy spouting establishment into some real council of Amphictyons.5 But we know also that already they are not “the Government,” except in name merely; that already the real Government, and even the Acts of Parliament, for every locality, rest truly with those that have power in that locality—in Ireland with the Irish aristocracy, for example; the more is your woe! Do you think they are precious to any good man here? Adieu.

T. CARLYLE.