From Thomas Walker to William Kemp   [autumn 1843?]



My Dear Sir

It is now an awful ⁠⟨⁠time⁠⟩⁠ since I had a letter from you and really I am wearying very much to hear your news—⁠⟨⁠You⁠⟩⁠ will swear that you have not much waste time more than I have, still I hope you will favour me with a letter at your earliest convenience. Tell me particularly about your plants and what further notice has been taken of your discovery by your English friends. Are you getting well on with your Water-Works or are you [busy] Geologizing [away] now? I am still living in hope of having the pleasure of spending a week with among the curiosities of Fife— The country is delightful in present—fully arrayed in its rich Summer garb. I was at the village of Strathmiglo about 12 miles west from this, a little to the north side of the Westernmost of the two Lomonds. I Walked along the north side of the fertile and spacious valley, called the “Howe of Fife” evidently the head of an immense estuary with the Lomond hills on the south side, and the Old Palace of Falkland among gloomy looking woods on their northern declivity— I was altogether pleased with the view, but what delighted me most was the beautiful and conspicuous terraces along the breast of the mountains— What a scene, thought I, for Wm. Kemp! I have scarcely ever seen the Sea beaches more strikingly marked. There was also a number of curious looking irregularities and mounds all under cultivation, along the southern side of the valley, all of which you would have explained to me— No doubt, these and many other appearances which I have seen in this quarter are the traces of that distant period when often glens were filled with glacial masses of snow and ice— There is a number of antiquities also connected with that village— It is some five or seven miles from Loch Leven so justly famed in Scottish story, but which you know more about than I do. There is a number of Sandstone quarries in this district all of which would be highly interesting to one capable of deciphering their rugged characters. There is also a Limework within five or six miles which I intend visiting soon and will be happy to give you an account of it by way of inducement to make you cross the Ferry. I daresay I told you before that the sail along the coast from Kirkcaldy to Largo is very pleasant. We pass a number of small towns and Gentlemans seats and then there is a series of curious caves and projecting rocks which give the scenery quite a romantic appearance. St. Andrews too is a place well worthing visiting 10 miles distant—full of ecclesiastical antiquities and splendid ruins and vocal with tales of Cardinal Beaton, John Know and Patrick Hamilton—

I may tell you now that we are liking Cupar pretty well. I have rather been annoyed with a slight cold for some time, but always able to do a little— It is a terrible affair when you are forced to write and feel stupidly unwell. It is wonderful however what one will do when driven to desperation. Try to get a spare hour some day soon to write a long letter for me giving me all the details of your Galashiels Movements. What is our old friend Dr Macdougal doing? He has taken some ill will at me. I cannot learn the reason of it, but I have written him three times now I think and he will not condescend to answer me, which I cannot help feeling a little. What he has taken into his head I do not know, but I know very well that such unkind treatment is scarcely his bent. Though it was never it my power to favour him anything, yet frequently I have taken his part in very delicate circumstances which I need not here explain. However, he must just please himself—

Our kind respects to Minny—Yours truly | Thomas Walker

Please cite as “KEMP48,” in Ɛpsilon: The William Kemp Collection accessed on 29 February 2024,