August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO EDWARD FITZGERALD ; 22 March 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440322-TC-EF-01; CL 17: 316-317


Chelsea, 22 March, 1844—

Dear Fitzgerald,

Thanks for the Plan of Winceby; which is really something, and will suffice me for that, if I even get no more!1 I have no doubt whatever that ‘Slash Field’ is the actual place: the silence of our Pamphlets as to the ‘rising ground’ is nothing, so careless are they; and the fact itself is all right, for Dalgetty (Sir John Henderson,2 who was a very cunning fellow) would naturally take the best ground he could possibly get, the night before. This ‘rotten ground’ therefore is a second hill that Oliver had to force (not without knocks); his first hill, as your memory now gone to Dr. Cookson mentions, was at Gainsborough. ‘Slash Lane’ is clearly the line of Dalgetty's flight, where a great many were killed (above 100 I think), and multitudes taken sticking in the quagmires.

The ‘bones, skeletons, and spurs’ imbedded in the marle will do extremely well; only I know not what to make of the ‘earthen jars,’3—these Cromwell of a surety did not bring to that locality! Neither does the place seem to be Roman. But it may be Norse-Pagan; Wonsby, Wodan's Town,4 and an old place of sacrifice. What kind of thing are or were the jars?

You will therefore congratulate Miss Charleston; who really is a famous girl,—and ought to be courted, I should say, by any man at liberty for such enterprises.5 If any of her slaves could by and by go to the Top of Bolingbroke Hill (where the Soldier Saints started),6 and tell us what kind of outlook there is there, what church-steeples, woods, black or drab-coloured streamlets one sees, and whether by probability the Country was fenced in those days towards Winceby, and if so what roads there were,—we should have the whole matter before us, and make a handsome end of Winceby.—If Gainsborough and Grantham turn out as well, it will be worth while to have written.

You will give us your answer to this by word of mouth?7—I am still in Cimmerian darkness8 as to my ulterior Cromwellean operations; but I hold on, and occasionally there is a glimmer as if night would by and by grow twilight or dawn,—in which at least cat's eyes, sharpened by desire, might see something.

We have not seen Thackeray yet, but hear he is in Town.9

Yours with many thanks

T. Carlyle