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Title: McMahon Glynn, Patrick to Glynn, James P., 1884
CollectionPatrick McMahon Glynn_Letters to his family (1874-1927) [Gerald Glynn O'Collins]
SenderMcMahon Glynn, Patrick
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationlawyer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginKapunda, South Australia, Australia
DestinationGort, Co. Galway, Ireland
RecipientGlynn, James P.
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count630
Genrepolitics, culture, literature
April 23rd 1884

My dear James
This is election day here and consequently unusually stirring.
Though asked to stand, I am not one of the candidates. My return
would have been highly probable, but in my present unsettled
and comparatively impecunious state the work would be too much.
To work conscientiously for certain questions would require a lot
of time, and I don't care to be a Parliamentary loafer. This Colony,
unlike Victoria, does not pay its members £300 a year. As for
Clancy, the fellow never entered my head for some time. Indeed,
he wrote a second time admitting that he only lost some of the
things, but never sent them on. I did not think it was worth while
to set the detectives on the watch for him, so don't trouble yourself
about him.
I will try to find and forward to you the last chapters of the
Sketches; they have been lent to a friend with whom I have not
yet communicated. I hope you have succeeded in getting on the
Sporting Paper you mention; but stick to the Bank nevertheless.
You will find plenty of aftertime for your pen — what I do is after
the harrass of long and wearing legal work. The recommendation
to have Joseph taught shorthand is a good one. In fact I mentioned
it before to my mother. He need not necessarily determine
his avocation by the possession of it, but it will always turn up
useful. One thing however I would like to mention. Don't let
him nourish an idea that he has any special aptitude or ability for
the literary profession. Their are hundreds of penurious fellows
hovering round it who were thus deluded in the beginning. Moderate
success is only attained by one in a million, and very few indeed
understand what real taste and culture is. This observation applies
as much to music as to literature. At one time I thought that the
Irish had not only the passion for music but that in general society
was displayed a highly cultivated taste. Of the passion I have no
doubts, but of the taste I entertain some. How little do you hear
the compositions of Beethoven played in Irish drawing rooms. Now
as compared with Beethoven a song from Pinafore is as much music
as what ordinarily passes for such is literature compared with the real stuff. The more I read the more I see of how much of what
constitutes real culture I have been ignorant. There is one thing
which I would recommend you to do. Buy Goethe's Wilhelm
Meister and study it. If you want to see what poetry is you will
find it in that touch of genius which created Mignon. Get Carlyle's
translation, which is the most forcible. In that work you will see
what Carlyle calls the "Everlasting No" and "everlasting Yea"
more wonderfully told you than in any other I know of. Such a
work is literature in the real sense of the word.
I find I have been wandering away after my thoughts, but it
may be of interest to you to know of some of my latter discoveries.
Some day, perhaps, when I have time, I may mention some reading
that I have found in my own case of advantage. There is a lot of
puzzling office business waiting for me, and this is, as I said, a
stirring day. I intended to write to Elizabeth this post, but must
defer doing so. Give my love to them all however and send the
enclosed photograph to Gort. I will send you and Elizabeth one
each when some more are struck off. Hoping to hear from you
soon, I remain

Your affectionate brother
P. McM. Glynn

J. P. Glynn Esq.