January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 19 July 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430719-TC-MAC-01; CL 16: 296-297


Abergwili, Carmarthen, South Wales 19 july (Wednesday), 1843—

My dear Mother,

Yesterday came John's Letter; and by it I learn that today about this time (3 o'clock), you are probably set down at Gill, and the Doctor gone off towards Liverpool. I see it all here in this strange City and Bishop's House; and cannot but send you dear Mother a half word of salutation, tho' I have hardly half a minute of time! I already sent you a Newspaper the day before yesterday (and another to Gill), and a Letter to John yesterday; but both these would go to Scotsbrig, and you will have yet no news of me.

I got here safe on Monday evening; was and still am safe lodged with the Bishop,—in a grand mansion, which it is not easy to get at home in all at once! A much smaller one would serve me. Abergwili is a poor village little bigger than Middlebie, some two miles from Carmarthen, which is a straggling blae[bluish-grey]-looking old Welsh City about the size of Dumfries or smaller. Our Bishop's House and Park is the foundation of Abergwili; a sovereign palace for that little hamlet. The Bishop himself is a man I like well;—tho' were he not a Bishop I could like him far better! There is but one thing more I will add: this was Archbishop Laud's House! the portrait of that miserable chimera still hangs here; and we go every morning soon after seven o'clock to do our devotions in a Chapel established by him. The present Bishop knows how I hate him, and does not disapprove much. I attend at the “morning service” out of politeness and to avoid scandal,—but cannot boast that I pray much there. It will “do thee neither ill ne’ guid!”1

However, I will tell you about all that, dear Mother; for I hope we are soon to meet. I have just written to the Doctor to say that I expect to meet him in Liverpool on Saturday evening first. I leave this on Friday morning; stay all night at a place called Glo'ster (Gloucester), a town I wanted to see, then get into railways, to Birmingham, and finally to Liverpool, by a very easy route. I had some more visits; but give them up since John is come. The most part of Mr Welsh's people, as he himself is, are absent about Glasgow or west of that at sea-bathing: “there will be the more room for you,” says our little cousin.2 After a little pause at Liverpool I propose to Jack that we go over, and have a few days walking among the hills in North Wales. I will write to you how we get on,—if I know correctly where you are! Jenny or some of them may write a word. Stay where you are, dear Mother, and bathe quietly; you are quite safe of me for some time yet,—say two weeks almost; not till after the tides are done!

But I have to go out and ride with my Bishop; I must cease. Jane is well and cheery, still engaged among painters. I send my affectionate regards to all at Gill, Jamie, Mary, Jenny, and all the small ones: Good be with them all. Hoping soon to meet once again by God's great goodness, I bid my dear Mother farewell for this day. Dear good Mother!—

T. Carlyle