The Collected Letters, Volume 10


TC TO THOMAS STORY SPEDDING ; 27 September 1838; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18380927-TC-TSS-01; CL 10: 193-194


Scotsbrig, 27th September, 1838—

My dear Sir,

Things go not well with me here. My unlucky absence when you and the Secretary did these rough districts the honour of a visit,1 was but the first of a considerable series of mischances; the general sum of which, alas, is No Cumberland for me this year! It is not without far more regret than is commonly implied in the word “regret” so used, and not till the last vestige of rational feasibility has disappeared, that I make this decision. Nay now when it is made, I feel as if I had done wrong; as if, especially after such kindness shewn me, I had been fated and bound to come.2 But my Brother arrived only a week ago, and insists on being back to Town on Wednesday first, with the possibility of Italy again close behind that; so that I cannot leave him. I tried to persuade him with me; but neither, in his great haste, would that answer. The Coaches do not answer; your Wigton Coach leaves Carlisle an hour before our Glasgow one arrives; and then as for my own means of transport they are of the most elegiac description: an antique vehicle of the Gig species, very rheumatic on its springs, and drawn by a young plough-horse—entirely inadequate for long journeys! Another horse, thought to be efficient, rebelled with me in Nithsdale already:3 I said I had been unlucky every way. And I have no wings, no Fortunatus' Hat or Wishing-carpet;4 and I see the peak of your mountain, sunny, over the olive-coloured vapours of Autumn, and I cannot get to it this year, and must go far before there be hope of getting to it! I declare myself exceedingly vexed.

But if it please Heaven, there is another year coming. As Fritz the Great said, when he lost the Battle, “another time we will do better.”5 Meanwhile think of me kindly, my dear Sir, among your Hills, as I surely shall do many times of you in the Brick wilderness whither my lot leads me. Tell your Brother to announce his arrival there to me. And so farewell for this time, not for all times!

Believe me ever, / Heartily Yours / T. Carlyle.