1824- 1825

The Collected Letters, Volume 3


TC TO BASIL MONTAGU; 15 October 1825; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18251015-TC-BM-01; CL 3:e7-442.


Hoddam Hill, Ecclefechan, 15th October, 1825—

My Dear Sir,

I have just received a letter from your son, informing me that you are now at Bolton Abbey, and would like to see me there. Charles tells me that the scenery is grander than I can form any notion of; that the walks and so forth are beyond all praise. Badams also, it appears, is with you.

Beautiful still Nature, and a kind welcome to enjoy it! Clear skies and shady walks, and the company of “my soul-curer and my body-curer”! These are indeed temptations. For the sake of this, it were a small matter to be bottled up for eight-and-forty hours in a stagecoach, with Manchester manufacturers, and to stand the greasy horrors of Yorkshire inns; in half a day I should have drunk of Lethe, and forgotten all the miseries of my pilgrimage, in the fulness of that Elysium. But alas! for me there is no Elysium there! I have spent my summer idle and asleep; my tasks are all ahead of me, and I am struggling in the midst of resolutions and regrets, like a sluggish labourer at the eleventh hour. Be thankful that I cannot come! In general I am but indifferent company in pursuit of pleasure; often you would liken me, at present, to Butler's “dog distract, or monkey sick.”1 Be happy without me: another time I hope to join you under kindlier auspices.

If it were not that you were come to Bolton Abbey to cast away remembrances and anticipations alike, and live only for the present, I would ask you to devote some rainy morning to writing me a letter. I hear little of England and my kind friends in it, and desire to hear much. Badams too is away from the metallic din of Birmingham, and owes me a full sheet. Give my very kindest compliments to him, and say that whether he write or not, I can never forget him. Is Mrs Montague well? I am her debtor, for the last eight weeks. Sinner that I am!

Believe me always, / My Dear Sir, / Your's with true regard, /

Thomas Carlyle—