The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 12 August 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500812-TC-JWC-01; CL 25: 150-152


Boverton, 12 Augt, 1850

Poor little soul, what a bother with that Paper! and with Elizth and so many other things! I can fancy it all too well; and I can do nothing to help thee in it. But I see it has been, or will be, got thro',—“with an honourable thro'-bearing.”1 So courage, courage.— That of the nasty splashing whitewasher, after such precautions taken to get a right safe artist, is one of the most vexatious things one could imagine of such a sort.— — Your Letter has hardly come, when I have to send the answer (unless I like to ride seven miles to and from with it, in two hours hence); nay the Post calls only once, and to get this sent away at all, I have to despatch the man to our chief village in these parts, a mile and a half off. So I am utterly hurried; and of innumerable things can say only the fewest few. Add to all, that my hand shakes at no allowance, and the vile flat table is so unlike my own massive sloping one;—and even my eyes seem to be dim and dazzly. In fact I never had less aptitude for writing than here; and today especially must put you off with a mere word.

On the “health and comfort” side, things go not well with me here: sleep is not easy to be had in these parts! I have got another Cock imprisoned; but what are Cocks among the general animal creatures? Ten cuddies young and old lifted up their psalmody this morning under the rearward window of my wing of the house; looking out, I think I saw about ten,—and they seemed rather to have taken cold, and be asthmatically given! Happily I was already awake, making ready for the sea; and did not mind them. Nay independently of noises I some nights cannot get to sleep almost at all. My little room too is ineradicably close, tho' I have had a fire in it &c &c, and the bed is one of these scandalous uncurtained ones; tho' it has posts, and I have got sheets hung up between me and the light. On the whole I have fared ill as to sleep; and do not expect to fall into a prosperous condition on that side while I continue here. Often have I thot of my poor little Chelsea room; how comfortable it is, and to whom I owe it:—one use of all this is to make one more content with such possessions when one gets back to them. By way of finish to my tribulations, yesterday morning on coming down stairs I took to shove up the big window in the sittingroom; too lustily, I suppose, for at the first shove, there darted across my back—a beautiful rheumatism; and all day I walked and stood with great uneasiness, if at all, and twisted round upon my axis, and making an ang[l]e2 of 75° with the upper and under half of me! Was not there a beauty? Poor Redwood, the friendliest of men, was in consternation to see me: I proposed that we should ride all the same; that by hard riding I shd try to “work out the rheumatism.” Well, we did so; the day was brisk wind with dashes of shower: I came home, after 3 hours trotting, decidedly better; had better sleep too;—went this morning at 7 to the sea in spite of showers, and sore back (still sorish), and now I do think it is fairly got under, and will go about its business altogether this night. Fair passage to it!— I ought to wind up all these medicalia, however, with this decided assurance, to comfort thy poor heart, That I feel actually better in general health, and perceptibly so, than when I left Chelsea. I have bathed every day (except yesterday, when lameness of back forbade),—before breakfast; rode almost every day, before dinner; walked in the evening, and had six hours of deliciously perfect solitude, in the purest air in the world: decidedly it must have a good effect on me, and has. But the low and lowest conditn in which I was cannot be escaped from into a better, without tumbles and wrigglings by the path upward.

Redwood is friendliness itself, poor fellow; discloses a great quantity of passive intelligence amid his great profundity of dulness; nay a kind of humour at times; and certainly excels in good temper all the human creatures I have been near lately. Several times his fussiness and fikery have brought angry growlings out of me, and spurts of fierce impatience; whh he has taken more like an angel than a Welshman! Perfection of temper;—and his pony is very swift and good; and his household is hospitably furnished; and all that he has is at my disposal!— On the whole, I shall handsomely make out my three weeks here; and hope to get profit from it after all. I have taken into Welsh reading, of late days; and find some really interesting things to charm my memory with in these parts. Llantwit, namely (where this letter is posted), a miserable bewildered little Village half the size of Ecclefechan, and with no shape in it at all,—I find indisputably was, above 1300 years ago, a grand Christian College, the Iona of these southern parts, a truly memorable spot on the Earth's surface!3 And other Welsh things, whh you shall hear of by and by.— My six hours of solitude (from 11 to 5) are excellent beyond measure. I sit on chairs under the bushes or trees, and read and smoke,—well is me! Since the last little Note to you, I have not till now put pen to paper: the day before that, I had in a kind of dead-light written four or five due scraps or Notes, to Strachey, to Farie, to Mrs Austin, to Lady Ashburton,—and perhaps others.

Unhappily that very day of our grand ride, whh was beautiful exceedingly at our departure, grew bleak and windy and wet on our return, and the weather ever since is broken. It does not so much matter when one had bad clothes and a white hat: besides they are but showers of more or less continuance, and then the sky breaks out bright again and blue.— Enough, O Jeanny, Jeanny; surely enough, all about my own precious self and my ailments and destinies!

I positively forbid you to put up with any more bother or insolence from Elizabeth. It is entirely out of the question. Why not pay her off at once, and go and leave the House? You have visits enough possible for you; or if you like I will meet you anywhere, and we will go and have a few weeks of bathing? In short there are many things that can be done; and there is no doing with that! End it, I beg of you

Jack wrote me “all well from Scotsbrig”; nothing else in his Letter, except that they too liked Jesuitm best of all the Pampts4 Well, if you don't write soon again, I will. And so Adieu, dearest, and take care of thyself for my sake. God bless thee ever.

T. Carlyle

I have not yet read Lewald.5 Here are the Leader and Examiner both waiting; and plenty of tobacco with bright sun. Farewell again.