August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO THOMAS STORY SPEDDING ; 9 August 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430809-TC-TSS-01; CL 17: 26-27


Scotsbrig, 9 Augt, 1843—

Dear Spedding,

It is many a day since I had your Letter;1 and often have I promised myself a pleasant hour in answering it; but the hour and the pleasure never came,—shut out by the unkind Destinies !

For the last four weeks and more I have been wandering incessantly; restless as the ancient Shoemaker of Jerusalem (whom sonnet-writers call “the Undying One”),2 and with about as much satisfaction, I suppose, as his: I have seen Rebecca turnpikes lying in wreck; orthodox wise Bishops, at least one such,3 studying to be wise in the worst of times,—and saw myself, not without surprise, kneeling as if in prayer in the Chapel of Laud! I have been on the top of Snowdon, looking into mere bottomless mist; I have encountered endless rain-deluges, distressing aspects of every kind; and seen all I wish to see of Wales, or indeed of the world at large, for some time to come! It was right pleasant to me to take refuge here, in my good Mother's cottage, once more; and fling myself down to sleep,—as I have continued doing, in a most grateful and harmless manner, ever since my arrival, I may say.

At present, reawakening to some consciousness, I can dimly see Skiddaw again; and not dimly but very clearly remember the kind of friends I have under the vapours there. Whether I shall get to see you this time is very uncertain;4 the weather is broken into continual rains, I feel myself as if broken, all locomotion, or change farther, somewhat of a horror to me. But I do wish to come, could it be done by the Fortunatus Hat.5 Alas, hoofs and carpet-bags and sorrowful etceteras are again indispensable!

Tell me at any rate where you are to be for the next fortnight. Perhaps some impossibility on your side may itself put an end to all dubieties on mine! I have a Brother, whom I parted with in Liverpool, who has or had a kind of chance to take a course thro' Yorkshire and return shortly by Carlisle: him, in my hoping moments, it sometimes seems possible that I could intercept with a gig at Penrith, and lead round by Hallsteads along Ulleswater to Greta Bank in a pleasant manner for a few days.6 Possible: and yet the Fates seem to say to me, crabbed Cockneys as they are, “Don't you wish you may get it?”7—Write you in any case: I shall be here for a week.—

With many very kind regards to Mrs Spedding,8

Yours ever truly, /

T. Carlyle