October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


TC TO LEIGH HUNT; 13 June 1833; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18330613-TC-JHLH-01; CL 6:398-400.


Craigenputtoch, 13th June, 1833—

My Dear Sir,

Will you read this to your young Artist;1 and let him consider it as addressed equally to himself. The unfortunate Frank is bursting, or I should give you both better measure.

Your Letter, tho' dated 28th May, was only franked for the 4th of June, and only arrived here yesternight. It has taken the longest possible time; so I lose none in saying that my friend Thornton will be welcome whenever he can set out. The following is for hi[s c]arte de route [travel guide].

The cheapest sea-passage, and perhaps in good weather the pleasantest, is by a Leith Smack: these vessels lie about the Tower wharf; ask for the London & Leith Shipping Company,2 in case there be any counterfeits. The voyager receives his berth beforehand; it is not likely to be crowded. Say four days brings him to Leith. If it is night, or towards night, he can stay on board till morning, and then equip himself there at leisure. If it is day, let him step ashore (trunk and all), and get into one of the Edinburgh “stages”; or failing that give some idle youth his luggage, and walk; it is only a mile.

Henry Inglis (pronounced Ingles and the “W. S.” means Writer to the Signet), to whom I have already spoken, and will in the interim write, is a young friend of mine with a fair young wife and household; a most pleasant, gifted, goodhearted fellow; in whom Thorton will see a Scotch Galantuomo,3 and friendly Host, whose house is to be his lodging and restingplace while he pleases so to honour it. This was Henry's own proposal, and I think ought to be accepted.— Suppose now Edinburgh seen, the Traveller finds a Coach every alternate day (Tuesday is one) starting (from 2. Princes Street) for Dumfries and Thornhill: he takes out his place for Thornhill, is landed there about 3 in the afternoon; sees me (if I be duly warned); or in the other case, asks for Templand (a little furlong off), finds my Mother-in-law there apprised of his coming; and has landed at home. Remark that our only p[ost] day is Wednesday, the Monday night of London, the Tuesday night of Edinburgh. But Templand always stands in the place.— This as the Quakers say, seems “the needful”;4 and surely nothing more. I am in boundless haste. And so Good night to all!

Ever faithfully Your's /

T. Carlyle—

P. S. A still more brief independent and direct method, whereby Edinburgh is omitted altogether (and can be seen in returning) is this: A Dumfries Mail Coach leaves Edinr every night at half past nine (the starting-place, quite in the road from Leith, and known to all); take a place in this forthwith; you are in Dumfries next morning; write [a note] there to me, which a Boy will carry for a shilling; then go to bed (if you have not slept in the leathern convenience,5 or go and see Burns's Mausoleum &c if you have); before you are well awake I am there with a gig.—— In any case “do the impossible” to give us warning of the day you are to arrive on; that will make it all smoother.—