August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO THOMAS STORY SPEDDING; 25 August 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460825-TC-TSS-01; CL 21:28-29.


Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan 25 Augt, 1846—

Dear Spedding,

I am here, for a week past or more; with little chance of going farther north; with a tendency rather towards Ireland, and so southward again. There is a kind of half-promise attracting me towards Dublin for a few days; promise which I failed to perform on my way hitherward; which my poor conscience, rather than any hope or other allurement, urges that I ought to endeavour after on my return. My indolence is at present beyond measure; indeed my sufferings from all kinds of travel are such as to inspire a very natural horror at locomotion; a wish, gradually becoming the one wish which swallows all others, To be allowed to lie still. Which wish, I do surely believe, is on the way of being gratified by and by!

Daily I see Skiddaw and the Mountains in unusual clearness; daily I am reminded of your old friendliness to me. Had I the wings of a dove1— But I have no wings; no tolerance for coach-drivers and noisy inns! I sit wishing I could make you a little visit; not much hoping it: I write at any rate to give myself a chance.

Pray tell me if you are at home; how you are off for room; at what hour your Coach leaves Carlisle; what conveyances you have on the Liverpool side,—it is there I could take Dublin by Steam, and perhaps get home by Cork and Bristol. Pray let me hear.— I left my Wife with her friends in Lancashire: I think she hardly meditates coming farther north, but will return shortly to Chelsea with one of her lady Cousins for companion. She was far from well; but seems to be recovering a little since we parted.

Adieu. I ought for many reasons to be the most silent of men. Daily this world and its ways become the more unutterable to me; daily my own small share in it the more Sphinx-like, unfit for the dialects of these days. If the Baconian Philosopher is with you, remember me;2 to Mrs. Spedding at any rate who is sure to be with you.3

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle