The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO DAVID HOPE ; 17 September 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500917-TC-DH-01; CL 25: 219-220


Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan, 17 Septr, 1850.

My Dear Sir:

For some three weeks I have been in these parts; find Grahame and all your friends and my own pretty well; and now I am thinking to pick up my staff again, and journey farther—uncertain a little witherward in the first instance.

Before returning to Chelsea, there is one problem in the way of travel which has always for some years past suggested itself as a thing that ought to be done: a deliberate sight of the Island of Iona, Icolmskill, or whatever they call it: one of the remarkablest spots to me in all her Majesty's dominions.1 Alas, I fear I have by no means strength and spirits sufficient for the enterprise just now. Nevertheless, I will give myself a chance; and so address a question or two to you, by way of making the conditions clear. You have Glasgow steamers, I believe, which call there; by a little trouble, which you will not grudge me, information enough may probably be had in your neighborhood.

First, then, please tell me when (on what days and hours) the steamers sail towards that Island; how long they naturally stop there, and what interval there is till they call on their return; item (if you can) whether one finds any public house or other place of refuge on the poor Islet,—a miserable boggy spot, I understand,—or if one has to live under the canopy till civilization and the Glasgow steamer revisit one? In short, I want to see Iona; care little about Fingal's Caves,2 the picturesque etc., etc; and will restrict myself and you to that one point. Probably there is some paltry little rag of a guide-book about it? If you cd lay hold of such a thing, and send it by post, that (in addition to your own word) wd probably be the shortest method.—— And so enough for this day: I am in great haste and confusion for the moment; but

Every yours truly, /

T. Carlyle.