January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 19 July 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430719-TC-JWC-01; CL 16: 292-294


Abergwili, 19 july 1843 (Wednesday)

My dearest,

I am very consciencious in writing to you! Here, for example, I have missed viewing the City of Carmarthen for your sake, having by candid computation when I got hither to my own room, found that I could not write to you if I went. What a favour! you will say. Yes, you gipsey; and a favour to myself too!— Your Letter of last night was a real consolation to me. I have lost my liberty, I have lost my sleep; I am in a baddish way here: but it will soon be done. From vacuum I have got into plenum with a vengeance: what with chapel-duty, riding to see views, talking with the brave Bishop, late dining, limited tobacco and flunkies awakening you at seven in the morning (the very terror of whom awakens you at six), it is a business one needs to be trained to; and that is not worth while at present.

We sallied out yesterday in the midst of thick rain, on two horses,—mine was the highest I ever rode; bigger fully than Darwin's Cabhorse. We rode for four mortal hours; no trotting permitted, except when I contrary to all politeness, burst off into a voluntario [willfully fast pace], and then had soon to lie-to for my Host, who rides somewhat ecclesiastically. What was worse too, my high horse was in the temper fiercest humour for riding, and I longed immensely to take the temper out of him; but no; we plodded along, and saw a circle of views. Views very good; vallies, scrubby or woody hills, old churches, and ragged Welsh characters in torn hats: all very good; but tho' the rain abated, and finally subsided into mud, and soapy dimness, I was glad enough to get home! And today again, while the weather is bright we are to renew the operation at 3 o'clock. Well,—and yet I am very glad I came in by this establishment, even at the expense of sleep. Nothing similar had ever before fallen in my way; and it was worth seeing once. Do but think of a wretched scarecrow face of Laud looking down on us, from Laud's own house that once was, as we sit at meat! And there is much good in all that I see; a perfection of Form, which is not without its value. With the Bishop himself I, keeping a strict guard on my mode of utterance, not mode of thinking, get on extremely well; find him a right solid, simplehearted, robust man, very strangely swathed; on the whole right good company; and so we fare along, in all manner of discourse, and even laugh a good deal together. Could I but sleep;— but then I never can! I had according to the original program decided to be off tomorrow morning: but the worthy host insists with such an earnestness, that I by way of handsome finish shall be obliged to put off till Friday morning, and see two other sleeps still before me. Then however it is up; I see my route, and am off!

By the maturest calculation, it seems my far best route will be Northeastward thro' Brecknockshire and Monmouthshire to Glo'ster, Wor'ster, Birmingham and Liverpool. A coach passes us here to Glo'ster in one day; the rest of it is railway. I could have gone to the Crawfords; and now, alas, I cannot! You did send me their address; but tho' I rigorously kept every scrap of your writing, that individual Note seems to have gone to ruin somehow or somewhere in my chaotic drawerless state; and tho' I have read and re-read all your Letters three times, I cannot now find it at all. “Ross” is all I remember; and we go thro' Ross: there I might have staid all night. But perhaps it is just as well! I am about done with my capacity of visiting for this heat; I shall like about as well to take my ease at my inn. Spending the night at Glo'ster, I shall view the City in the morning: a Cromwellian place that I wanted this long while to see.1 Then Wor'ster in like manner;2 till the new railway train come that will take me on to Birmingham and Liverpool: that will be the best. On Saturday night, I think I shall be there.— John it seems is arriving there from Annandale tomorrow morning. He is to see Arbuckle &c: then perhaps we may take another little stroll in Wales; in the Northern or Hill part of it. That will all do, as we like it to do: and so dabei bleib' es [it is settled].

Forster has paid very handsomely.3 Give Darwin his checque to change into cash for you; and you may send five pounds of it on to me by the Post Office to Maryland Street Liverpool. There is no haste about that; for one of my five-pound Notes is still unchanged: but the expense of these visitings is very great; dearer I think than moderate board at an inn would be. Never mind!— If a Letter come today, and another tomorrow even, I shall rejoice. But I must not bid you write hither any more. Write to Liverpool; that will be the best; and I shall get it on Saturday night. Write at large, my Duckie; I too have a kind of admiration of thy letters, especially of those to myself!— I will write a word, if I anywhere can, by the road: once more at any rate you shall hear from me before Sunday.

That of Harriet Martineau is flat distraction: I am more and more content that we had nothing whatever to do with it.4 Alas, it is a very sad business that of setting up to be “one and somewhat.”5 Let us pity the poor white woman,6—and take care of ourselves!

I find here a Letter from Mrs Mudie which has had written on the outside of it “send this back.” Here it comes accordingly,—tho' I have just the one stamp left for it! I am writing far too much. I will end now.

What a blessed rustle among these green trees, on that sunny lawn, with woods and fields and hills in the distance! How happy could I be, would all the world, except one small cooks-assistant, fall asleep; and leave me alone with Tieck's Vogelscheuche [The Scarecrow]!7 We are and excellent building: long galleries, spacious quiet rooms, all softly carpeted, furnished; room enough for the biggest Duke. The mitre does not exclude soft carpeting, good cheer, or any contrivance for comfort to the outer man.— A dreadful “chaplain” is here, tho' a good-humoured entirely polite one.8 A man à la Terrot, without Terrot's sense; Drinks well, eats well, toadies as far as permitted; turned of forty; lean and yellow; has boiled big eyes; a neck head and nose giving you a notion of a gigantic human snipe. Is not that a beauty? I have had to look into about a thousand Books: the good Bishop is simple as a child, as a College recluse. We are alone all but this Sucker-Chaplain or Snipe. Tomorrow there is talk of a Judge dining with us:—hang it perhaps that is one of the reasons why I am to be kept here!

O Goody I send thee a hundred kisses; I have much need to be kissed myself—by a Goody's lips!— Is there no hope for Helps then, thinkest thou? Never! Poor Helps, his fate with that small beauty9 is rather painful.

Adieu Dearest, adieu! Ever affectionate

T. Carlyle