January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO A. J. SCOTT ; 5 August 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560805-TC-AJS-01; CL 31: 150-151


Gill, Cummertrees, Annan N. B. 5 Augt, 1856—

Dear Scott,

I am very sorry to miss you again: but here I am for the last ten days, and hope to be for three weeks more, in a remote corner of the Solway shore, struggling to compose and refit myself a little; London dirt and tumult being at length grown insupportable to me. My Wife too is in these parts, tho' not at the moment with me. We tried, the other day, in Charlotte Square Edinburgh (a kind of desperate venture, grounded on some vague memory of the No, ‘No 27’ I thot it, which proved false) to get some news of Erskine and you,1 during the one hour we had; but it came to nothing, as you may suppose.

Neither is my Brother in London, from whom I could have had reports. He went, Saturday gone a week, towards Vevay in Switzerland, with a young Boy he is guardian of, and means to put in some school there: I suppose he must have already arrived; but I have heard nothing: nor did it seem to be certain whether he would return direct, or go round by Munich &c. His Address in London used to be: 48. Brompton Road, Brompton: if there is any word of his return before your leaving Town, they will know of it there.

We heard weekly of the ups and downs of your Edinburgh Candidateship, thro' the Newspapers.2 I was disappointed at last; but after all not very sorry that you had missed such an Office. If you could but discover, or begin to discover, what the real University that would suit a Manchester now in our day is, that were an achievement infinitely beyond anything that could be done in Logic either in Edinburgh or out of it! I admit, the problem is exceedingly abstruse; but it is surely not insoluble, and the need of solving it is very great.

I fear there is no chance of your being back in Scotland within the next six weeks; or of my coming athwart you anywhere during these wayfarings of mine. I am trying to pick up a little strength for dealing with frightful masses of Brandenburg and other rubbish which lie ahead of me, and indeed round me over me, nearly to suffocation, this long while! And I have no spur in the head to this Enterprize; only spurs in the heel, whh are sore upon an old horse

Yours ever truly

T. Carlyle