April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO C. G. DUFFY; 9 June 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490609-TC-CGD-01; CL 24: 64-65


Chelsea, 8 [9] june, 1849—

Dear Duffy,

Many thanks for your comfortable kind and instructive Letter.1 I like well to fancy you fishing in the clear waters about Bray, in the still valley of the Dargle, in this weather; and do imagine that whatever else you may catch, there is a real chance of your achieving, in such scenes and employments, some addition of health and composure both to body and mind. Fear nothing for the “12th of June”; there is, I suppose, not the slightest purpose on the part of the official persons to try that operation again;2 they know too well that if they did, they have not the least chance to succeed. If it please Heaven, you shall have passed victoriously thro' that most dangerous experiment,—dangerous not from Monahan3 alone, or even chiefly, as I read it,—and a new and clearer course will henceforth open for you, not to terminate without results that all wise men will rejoice at. You have an Ireland ready to be taught by you, readier by you just now than by any other man; and God knows, it needs teaching in all provinces of its affairs, in regard to all matters human and divine! Consider yourself as a brand snatched from the burning;4 a providential man, saved by the beneficent gods, for doing a man's work yet, in this noisy, bewildered, quack-ridden and devil-ridden world. And let it, this thought, in your modest ingenuous heart, rather give you fear and pious anxiety than exultation or rash self-confidence,—as I know it will.

Certainly I mean to avail myself of your guidance, of your proffered company if it will at all suit; and we will take the “three weeks” in whatever quarter your resources can best profit the common enterprise. Meanwhile, as to time,—tho' I feel that there ought now to be no delay on my part (for in fact I must soon go to Ireland or elsewhither), there has yet been no day fixed; and my speculations and inquiries, which still continue, yield me scattered points of interest all over Ireland; but except the “famine districts,” which one must see, but would not quite hasten to see, there is no point I am decisively attracted to beyond all others: so that the voyage hitherto is still in nubibus [vague] as to all its details,—as to the day of its commencement, which is the first indispensable detail, A. de Vere advises that I should wait a little till the cholera abate in those sad regions. I myself think of coming by steam from London at once; speculate on starting second Thursday hence, sometimes (in sanguine moments) even first Thursday!5 Tomorrow I am to consult with Twistleton (an excellent man, who loves Ireland, whom you wd have loved had you known him); today I go for the Penny Cyclopedia affairs you spoke of.6 I read Fraser7 too with the map; F[raser] and much else.8 I must see Glendalough, Ferns, Enniscorthy, Doneraile (Spenser's House there):9 in fact I am getting fondest of Wexford I find. Write to me what your times are so far as they are fixed. Ys ever truly T. Carlyle