The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 23 August 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500823-TC-JWC-01; CL 25: 169-171


Boverton, 23 Augt, 1850—

No news from you today, my Dear; and tomorrow at this time when the Post comes, I shall be upon the railway to Chepstow! If you have written, as I think probable, we will make an onslaught on the Post-Office at Cowbridge, and catch what there is; at lowest there will be a strict Address left;—and note, I pray thee, a Note written on Saturday at London (after you have read this, and gone about your needfullest affairs) will find me on Monday morning at Liverpool (Maryland Street): after that, the Address is Scotsbrig, and there I shall write answer, if not sooner than then. And so that one small point is settled. Thank Heaven, we are done with uncertainty here; and it was at last, in a friendly and definitive manner, agreed, this day at breakfast, that I am to start tomorrow about 10 a.m.;—the “bedroom is to be altered &c &c against my return”: ah me! Poor Redwood spoke of accompanying me to Liverpool; of poney-journies thro' the interior of Wales; and other high feats: but he has at length submitted to the plain fact in a handsome manner; and so the first portion of my present pilgrimage will now end.—— By this Post too there at length comes a Letter from George Johnstone, who has been absent from Glo'ster: it seems likely I shall see him tomorrow; but as to “going out to Sandhurst” &c, I feel in no spirits for such adventures; and it seems probable I shall not stay more than over the Saturday night with him,—if I stay with him at all. By this post too I have a Letter from John; who is now at Newfield,1 doctoring certain sick Corries there: he reports all well;—advises me now not to come by the Monday-night Steamer from Liverpool, but to wait till the Friday following, when perhaps it may be quieter. I must answer him, answer Johnstone especially; have my trunks to pack too;—and unless I look amazingly sharp there will be no time to spare! In fact I suppose it will be better to decide on riding with the Letters to Cowbridge myself, whh yields about an hour more for the Epistolary part, if less for the packing: but indeed any way the post is highly untowardly here. Oh my Dear, my Dear! Why is all this flurry and agitation appointed to one of the most quiescent of men? I wish for nothing more than a quiet seat to repose on and a quiet table to work at, at any time: and there is much locomotion appointed me in life! Eheu [Alas]. And I wish I were getting home to my own quiet bed just now;—but that too would not answer, so unlucky am I. Finding, like “Salthound”2 (as Jack's mad etymology calls him), no rest for the sole of my foot!—

The night before last, after getting wetted on the way to Cowbridge, Redd took me out after dinner with friendly constraint to a constitutional walk. The air was blustery, cold and damp; I felt myself getting mischief from it, and struggled to walk fast: to better the matter, poor R. seeing ahead of us three Welshmen speaking together on the road, insisted that we shd strike into the fields, to avoid them and their hoarse good-night; we had to leap hedges in consequence, terribly agt my will; nay the last hedge we came upon tripped me in leaping, and I landed in the ditch with my kneepan agt a stone-facing! a very helpless and pain-stricken man. There was a go! The knee was sore all evg, seemed to forbid sleep when I went to bed,—an unhappy kind of night. Sleep came however at last, in spite of feverish misery; and in the morning I had got a new rheumatism, and (thank Heaven) the pain of my knee was mostly gone. The day proved rainy, windy, cold; no letter or adventure of any kind: I lay on the sofa reading, going out to smoke between showers; snatched a ride towards dinner-time, in pilot-coat and shawl; avoided wine, or any but necessary eating;—and so today it is all pretty well again. We have again bright breezy beautiful weather; a company of poor women and children gleaning in the field hard by, reminding one of Ruth and Naomi:3—I bathed in the morning, my last bathe here; and hot solitary coffee awaited my return: surely, if I cd sleep, few places cd be so suitable to me as this! In spite of sleep, I believe I am essentially a little better:—but my last good sleep was in my own bed at Chelsea; and if I don't fare better at Scotsbrig I shall be in a bad way!—

Well, Dearest; here is the end then of my garrulities at present. Heaven knows I shd not write more than the needful! But tell me a word, many words, about poor No 5, and the poor Goody that is struggling there. I say again, Come away and leave it, if you cannot get it to answer. A little more health to your poor self will be the most important improvement of all! Tell me all about it and especially about you. What said you of Spedding in London; was it James? Is A. Sterling to go as Landlord to Ireland then? &c &c?— — We had a noise of bells and jubilation over these parishes two days ago: our ancient Squire and Parson (laird of all his parish and priest of it too), aged 53, was marrying an esteemed “Miss Bevan of Cowbridge,” age 47:4 is not there a heart?— God bless thee Dearest; I will write again soon. / T. Carlyle

It is clearly too late for Llantwit (or going to be); I will ride, and be my own post.

Have you announced me at Liverpool at all? I have not;—uncle is there, John says?—