Irving, John to Catherine Irving (née Caddell) (1844/04/10)
Cove of Cork, April 10th, 1844.
My dear Kate,—. . . Our days are spent very much alike. We take the same walks and meet the same sort of people every day. We are the flagship, and appear likely to remain here at anchor for some time to come. You will, I daresay, see in the papers an account of a grand dinner given to O’Connell the day before yesterday, at Cork. We had some fun with the Mayor of Waterford and his Radical Corporation. They had hired a steamer to bring him round from Waterford to attend this dinner. They entered this harbour, with band playing and a flag with “Repeal” on it: this the Custom-house had made them haul down. Yesterday on their return to Waterford, they came down from Cork with band playing and large flag at their mast-head, with the Waterford arms on it. They passed close to us, and we hailed them to stop, and on their not doing so, we fired a gun, which brought them to a stop at once. We sent a boat and hauled down and brought away the flag, to the great disgust of the Mayor and body corporate, who proceeded down the river shorn of their decorations. We retain the flag, which is very large, with city of Waterford arms in the centre: viz., three lions and an indescribable thing, meant I suppose for a fort, and a Latin motto, “Urbs intacta manet Waterford.”
A large mob of the pisantry had assembled in the principal square, just abreast of our ship, to cheer the Waterford Corporation on passing. On firing the gun, the mob fancying it was meant to disperse them, and that a 32-pounder shot was at their heels, ran in all directions, tumbling over one another in their hurry, and allowing the crest-fallen Mayor and Corporation to proceed without any farewell shout. I hear that a thousand people were at the dinner; but I daresay you will see all about it in the papers.
I am looking out anxiously to get another letter from David, as the accounts by the last were so unfavourable. I more and more regret ever having gone there—so much time and money thrown away, so much hardship gone through to no purpose. However, it is of no use fretting about what is past and irrecoverable. “Enough for the day is the evil thereof” is a maxim we sailors adopt as the groundwork of our philosophy, and—but I must not scribble nonsense.
The weather here is beautiful. We have had no snow or great cold such as you in the north have had. The spring has set in, the trees are in bud, and everything green, and like what it will be with you in the end of May. We are rather curious to know what effect putting O’Connell in chokey (Botany Bay for jail) may have. We hear that two line-of-battle ships are coming before the 15th. In that case we may be sent to one of the smaller harbours on the west coast. We are glad of anything to make a little change, and call this lying in harbour doing garrison duty,—our being like little more than floating barracks, some having troops living on board.
I have inflicted a terrible long yarn upon you; but in your last you said you were solitaire. So you will have leisure to spell your way through it; and I trust you will follow the good example I have set you, and send me soon a similar infliction. —With love to all and sundry, believe me, dear K., your affectionate brother,