The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 1 September 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410901-TC-JAC-01; CL 13: 237-238


Greta Bank, Keswick / 1 Septr, 1841—

Dear Brother,

Your Letter found me at Scotsbrig; mine1 I hope has reached you on the Sussex coast, and apprised you that I was bent hither.

Monday proved so dreadfully wet, there was no stirring out; but yesterday we had one of the finest days of the year, and so I managed the adventure. Jamie drove me along to Carlisle, then at 2 O'clock a lumbering monster of a waggon-coach brought me along hither, by Wigton and round by Cockermouth: some 40 miles by that road (perhaps some 30 direct) in 7 hours. To any other man the adventure would have been of unmixed pleasure; to me it was pleasant but not unmixed. Alas, I have such a set of nerves: there is such a head on me today!

Your cigars were and still continue to be assaulted with terrible effect! I have nothing else since yesterday: but today I will find myself a pipe; I long for one even as a matter of taste (not aesthetic taste!)

We had the beautefullest widest views yesterday: from Cairnsmoor (all the three Cairnsmoors2) Dunscore Black Crag, Queensberry, Hartfell, Ettrick Pen, all Dumfshire spread out as on a map;—this Earth is God's; and one's natal land; one's cradle, one's table, one's everlasting bed of rest. O my brother, my brother!3

Spedding's place here is a very nice thing, a good roomy ashlar house, white-painted well-furnished, among trim lawns, close by the roar of the Greta (Great-Aa, Big water) which rushes swiftly far below; half a mile from Keswick towards the south: in one of the noblest amphitheatres of crag and shaggy verdure,—married together sweetly, like Eternity to Time in a healthy Life (as Jean Paul would say). Positively I care little about scenery. Yet this surely is worth looking at. Today we are to go and ride: that, I hope, will still this head of mine a little.

Having arrived so very lately I know not my whereabout altogether; that is, tho' I must try to see Miss Fenwick at Ambleside and the Marshalls at Hallsteads,4 I yet know not when or how I shall or can go, or whether at all. This is to be my head-quarters. I engaged to be back in Annandale again, probably about Monday. I will write to you again before I go.

Meanwhile I will beg you to send me again a little tinder (matches, I mean): one of your matches is worth two of mine in this damp atmosphere, and at any rate I know not where to get more here and and5 am fast ebbing. James S. the younger Brother, who is coming today, will probably have some. Never mind the cigars: them I can buy here,—and indeed I will and must have pipes till I begin travelling again.— Adieu dear Brother: I have written nothing; I am not at all in good case for writing; but I could not but say a word to you of announcement that I was here.— Jean had not got better (on Saturday last); Jenny was coming back to my Mother, last night. A puddle of a business!