July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO EDWARD FITZGERALD ; 14 September 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470914-TC-EF-01; CL 22: 70-71


Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan14 Septr, 1847—

Dear Fitzgerald,

Your Letter lay waiting me here, when I arrived, the other night: thanks for your remembrance of me, for your pleasant glimpses into life in the Southwest.1 I write a word today to satisfy you about Spedding; whom indeed I have not seen or directly communicated with, but of whom I heard lately from Marshall of Leeds, his neighbour in the North Country, and a sure hand.2 Know then that Spedding has been unwell; even dangerously so, I believe; the disorder, dysentery (if I mistake not); but is now well again, or at least out of danger: this is the fact concerning Spedding;—which, among so many rumours, may be well worth a penny stamp to you.

As for myself I have been a pilgrim, tho' a lazy one, ever since you heard from me: a visitor of Dovedale; of Buxton, with its bottomless tedium; of the Spar Caves, Tors, and the Devil's—(establishment) i'Peak: next a sojourner for some time on one of the hilltops of Yorkshire Airedale; then in Manchester for some days; and finally was flung down here, out of the Glasgow Coach and Carlisle rail, after midnight, on Thursday last; where I have rested since, the idlest of all men.

I will tell you many things about my Derbyshire Spar-Caves and etceteras, whenever I find you disposed over a pipe, and capable of such details. The Spar-Caves indeed are an indubitable bore: but Derbyshire in itself I found a really interesting country, and was well pleased to look upon it. Beautiful old grey villages, silent as churchyards; fresh green moors wild limestone cliffs and chasms;—and, above all things, a cleanly, diligent, welldoing population, in whom, as in a living Bank of England, one could trace the funded virtues of many generations of humble good men. I found the Grave of Richard Arkwright (no monument, no name or date to him); I found, at Cromford, the earliest Cotton-Mill in the world, the “Mother of all the Mills”; Richard's great-grandson has let it fall almost silent now. In the northern quarter of the Shire, I sought for James Brindley's baptismal register, and exact birthplace; but could not yet find it: no man had ever heard of Brindley, his place knew him not, knew not that it had turned England upside down! In Manchester I saw— But not a word more, except the mere names of Ex-Quaker Bright the Member, and Bamford the Radical; that you may long to meet me the more!

How long I shall be here I know not: if you were still at Bedford as I came past, it would be a great temptation to me to pause.3 We shall see.— Mrs C. parted from me at Leeds a week ago; she is now home and safe: I went the other way, half an hour after. Railways are becoming my abomination!— Adieu; and love the Man of Ross and me.4 Kind regards to Mr Browne.

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle