January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 27 July 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430727-TC-JWC-01; CL 16: 320-321


Tremadoc (Carnarvon) 27 july, 1843—


We did not perish on the summit of Snowdon today, but only gazed over precipices into whirlpools of mist; got down safe;—and are at present well lodged in the hospitable C[ott]age of the younger Chorley (the squinting one), who lives here “managing a Slate Quarry” for his own behoof; and who received me as he would an Avatar of Vishnu!1 A really hospitable excellent little man. He has made me brandy and hot-water ready with toast, pipes &c &c, and inquires most pointedly “how Mrs Carlyle is”; and will drive us to-morrow in tub-car or even pony phaeton to see the sublimities of his Slate Quarry; and otherwise do wonders: in short we are extremely well here;—and shall get back to Liverpool, I hope, about Monday, and end this Expedition more handsomely than at one time could have been hoped. I snatch a moment from amid the jingle of glasses, and leave John to talk (ach Gott!)—and write one word to my poor Goody to this effect. God bless her, poor little bairn; she is too far away from me tonight.

Our expedition over Snowdon was a most laborious walk of 14 miles; Snowdon consists, I think, of some six or seven circular winding ridges of slate precipices, soaring beyond the eagles flight; scraggy sloping on one side, sheer down on the other: the mist met us today about 1000 feet from the top, and one might as well have been in the Thames Tunnel for any sight!2 We had a guide (for the sake of Tean-gleg's3 carpetbag;—I carry no luggage but a razor, shavingbrush, shirt and pocket comb): we met at the top of the mountain two other large parties from opposite sides; like ghosts of parties escorted by their Charons:4 it was very strange, almost ghastly; I shall always remember that bitter windy mist on the pinnacle of Britain,—and will tell Goody all about it, at some better time.

The Day after tomorrow, however, I mean to get upon the Coach roof; go along the North Coast till I come in contact with a Liverpool Steamer; and there embark, and in Heaven's name end these tumblings and tourifyings: I find I do not at bottom care two pence for all the picturesqueness in the world; and really have done my picturesque affairs to a very tolerable extent now, I think. Heaven help us!

What Goody is to do; where she to go for a little country air? Dearest, there is nothing here I can invite thee to: canst thou contrive aught for thyself? Sussex coast with Macreadys, Suffolk with Bullers; anywhere, anyhow in honesty:—alas, in this endless whirl I cannot get a moment to consider of anything whatever. It does become too much. I send thee my love and my prayers. Good be ever with thee Dearest.

I hope to find a Letter in Liverpool: shall I not? No such Letters as these of mine were ever written before by any rational man—eheu [alas]!