January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 6 July 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430706-TC-JWC-01; CL 16: 235-237


Llandough, Cowbridge Thursday Night—[6] july, 1843


The Post goes tomorrow at nine o'clock; wherefore tho' very tired I will write thee a word: it will have to lie at Bristol all day, and you will not get it till Saturday morning, as I find, at any rate. A brief word must suffice.

Your precious little billet came to me at breakfast,—for breakfast did at last come, tho' my patience was well nigh worn out waiting for it in vain. A pencil stroke on the cover would indicate the fact, according to agreement.

I got down in good time to my Cardiff Steamer; a brisk breezy morning promising well: and again after endless ringing of bells and loading of hampers, and bullying and jumbling, in which I took part only as a distant onlooker, we got off down the muddy Avon once more. I passed a most silent day, remembrances of all kinds and these only my occupation. On the Somersetshire shore we passed a bathing-establishment; hapless Mothers of families sitting on folding-stools by the beach of muddy tide-streams,—ach Gott! It is a solitary Sea the Severn one;1 we passed near only one ship, and in that there lay a cabin boy sound asleep amid ropes, and a black-visaged sailor had raised his shock-head only half a-wake, thro' the hatches, to see what we were: they lay there waiting for a wind. I smoked 2 cigars and a half; I hummed all manner of tunes, sang even portions of Psalms in a humming tone for my own behoof, reclining on my elbow; and so the day wore on, and at three o'clock we got into Cardiff Dock; and I, sharp on the outlook, descried the good Redwood waiting there. He had a tub-gig, a most indescribable thin-bodied semi-articulate but altogether helpful kind of factotum man-servant, who stept on board for my luggage, and so in few minutes, after giving a glance at Cardiff Castle,2 and buying a few cigars, we got eagerly to the road, and not long after five, had done our twelve miles and were safe here. It was the beautifullest day; a green pleasant country full of shrubby knolls and white thatched cottages: altogether a very reasonable drive. Unexpectedly in a totally solitary spot I was bidden dismount, and looking to the right, saw close by the Redwood Mansion. A house about the capacity of Craigenputtoch tho' in Welsh Style, all trim-shaven, covered with roses, hedged off from the Parish-road by invisible fences and a pa[t]ch3 of very pretty lawn. The old Lady an innocent native old Quakeress4 received me with much kind simplicity, asked for you &c: our dinner which she had carefully cooked, and kept hot for an hour and a half consisted—of VEAL!5 Nay I heard of a veal-pie for future use; I suppose they have killed a fatted calf for me, knowing my tastes! There was good ham and a dish of good boiled peas and a pudding: I did very well. And then we have been to walk since; and the place on the whole is the loveliest and most silent in all the Earth, and I think I shall learn to do very well. But here in the meanwhile are tidings of a dish of hot milk: I must off, dearest, with brief salutations. Perhaps I shall again find time tomorrow for a word. Adieu, adieu!— Sleep well, and dream of me. / T. C.

Friday morning [7 July] half past 7.— Being on my feet again too early, I will add a word till there be some likelihood of breakfast, or at lowest of shaving. All is still, here, as in a hermitage of La Trappe;6 but one dirty little yelp of a dog was sufficient to awaken me a while ago,—a messin [small dog] is as good as a lion! I am tolerably well nevertheless; and shall get better if I had broken my fast, I hope.

Things are not arranged in a very artistic way, I fear in this establishment of mine, and the servant maid seems much of a blockhead; but we will hope better things tho' we thus speak.7 The simplicity of my kind hosts verges also a little on the inane; and conversing with them does not promise to be a treat. Perhaps they will let me well alone. We shall see,—and if they do not, take our departure all the sooner!

I am come away out of the region of the Crawfords; and my Bishop is still some sixty miles inland: I know not whether I shall get to either, nor indeed what my capabilities yet are. Nor have I yet got any tidings about the independent lodging on the sea-coast; I rather think Redwood indicated last night that he had given up that place. On monday morning, you will hear farther and more distinctly about all manner of things.

This morning still if I can, at all events on Sunday (for Monday's Post) I will write to Bunsen: he is a provoking blockhead that double of mine!8

You need not send K[r]asinski's9 Iceland List into this region.— I will now set to Accoromboni, of which I have not yet read a hundred pages, promising as the whole matter looked. O dear Duckie, I wish I were near thee with thy hot coffeepot at this moment! But I could not stay there when I was so.— I will end, and go and shave at present.

Has that accursed Chimera of a Cockney not sent the umbrella yet? I could see him trailed thrice thro' the Thames for his scoundrel conduct: no man knows what breaking of his word will do for the general injury!— Adieu Dearest. I will write again by the next post, with more specific news. A thousand blessings!

T. C.