The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO EDWARD STRACHEY ; 6 August 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500806-TC-ES-01; CL 25: 144-145


Boweston,1 Cowbridge, GLAMORGANSHIRE, August 6, 1850.

DEAR STRACHEY,—Your note, as you anticipated, did not come till too late, but was very welcome, as a proof of your hospitable thoughts, when it did.2 I lodged with Mr. Savage Landor all night at Bath, on my journey hither; then to Bristol next morning, and across by the Cardiff steamer, and here (twelve miles further) the same night, where I have remained with really a maximum of quietness ever since, and am still to remain for perhaps a fortnight, more or less. My kind host, a solitary man, full of loyalty to me, exclaims zealously, “Two months!” But that, clearly, will not do, admirable as the plan is for certain of my wants just now.

We look over upon Minehead, Exmoor,3 and the hills of Devonshire; commanding Watchet and Bridgewater Hill on our left, and even something that I call the ridge of Mendip,4 on clear days. The coast is of limestone boulders, with portions of clear, natural flag pavement, clean and smooth as finer kinds of marble might be, and admirable for seabathing; one of the loneliest, or perhaps the very loneliest seacoast I have ever frequented. Landward, no public road within six or seven miles; only a network of rough country lanes, interweaving a congeries of sleepy, sluttish Welsh hamlets,—good for solitary riding by a meditative man, if for few other purposes! Pieces of the soil, which is all excellent, are well cultivated, generally by English farmers, in large lots, or by natives whom they have trained; but the bulk of it still offers the image of slovenly “folding of the hands to sleep,”5 which characterizes the Cimbric populations,—populations all given to “Methodisms” or other vague enthusiasms of a drowsy nature, and nothing like sufficiently inspired with horror of dirt, weeds, and other disorder! For a week or two it will suit me to ride about in it, and recover a little strength if I can; and farther than that, what have I to do with censuring it?

My next move is toward Scotland; but how I go is still somewhat uncertain. By sea from Swansea to Liverpool, if the steamer will suit my times and hours, or else back eastward to some startingpoint on the railways: that is the alternative which I must settle by and by.

It would give me great pleasure to see you in the Mendip region, which is a country I have never seen, and long rather wished to see; but at present I fear, even in the event of returning by Bath, you are too far to the right to be attainable by me. Across the sea hereabouts there is no conveyance whatever, except you go to Cardiff and hire one on purpose. I fear the omens are not good for the Mendip expedition on this present occasion! However, we will not quite despair, but some time or other it may answer.

Will you offer my kind remembrances and thanks to Mrs. Strachey,6 and accept good wishes from me for yourself and all your household hidden behind the hills from me at present?

I remain always,

Very sincerely yours,