The Collected Letters, Volume 10


TC TO THOMAS STORY SPEDDING ; 13 September 1838; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18380913-TC-TSS-01; CL 10: 172-173


Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan, 13th September, 1838

My dear Sir,

Having arrived within sight of my old friend Skiddaw again, I naturally bethink me of the new far kinder friend who lives sheltered about the roots of Skiddaw. I have been in Fife, in Edinburgh, in Roxburghshire; I got hither on Saturday night last. My appetite for locomotion, at no time vehement, is altogether satisfied now, and more, but I should heartily grudge to leave the North Country without at least an effort towards seeing one I like so well. Pray instruct me therefore what your capabilities are; that I may compare them with mine, that we may calculate, and see what will come of it. This place, my Mother's dwelling place, is not above twenty miles from Carlisle City, the Cathedral of which in good weather is visible from any of our knolls. Carlisle is attainable any day along the Glasgow Highway without difficulty; one might be there about noon or one o'clock; nay in the afternoon (arriving, I should fancy, between three and four) there is a Coach that passes within some two miles of me. Beyond Carlisle, all is Chaos, Nox and—Elysium!1 Finally, till about this day week I could not well get away; if indeed then, or at all; for all is out of square here: my Brother belated in his return from Italy, my Mother still but expected out of Lancashire, &c. &c. Not to mention again that I myself am sated with locomotion, and sinking daily deeper into unutterable brown-study, Werterean reminiscences, torpor and far-niente [do-nothing]. This is the posture of things on my side of the Water; now what of yours? I will answer you in words; in deeds I will perform for the common cause what I can.

The Colonial secretary2 must be with you; enjoying the blessed Scotch mists. Pray remember me affectionately to him,—you may also, before my advent, inquire privily of him Whether he is provided with a tobacco-pipe. He will be, or has been, astonished to learn that John Sterling is not within the Four Seas3 now, but suddenly off to Italy for the winter.

I write no more, with this bad pen, with this pale ink, but subscribe myself, with much hearty regard, and high hopes of meeting now or afterwards,4

My dear Sir, / Very truly yours / Thomas Carlyle