candlestick

January-July 1843


The Collected Letters, Volume 16


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TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 27 July 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430727-TC-JWC-01; CL 16: 320-321


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE

Tremadoc (Carnarvon) 27 july, 1843—

Dearest,

We did not perish on the summit of Snowdon today, but only gazed over precipices into whirlpools of mist; got down safe;—and are at present well lodged in the hospitable C[ott]age of the younger Chorley (the squinting one), who lives here “managing a Slate Quarry” for his own behoof; and who received me as he would an Avatar of Vishnu!1 A really hospitable excellent little man. He has made me brandy and hot-water ready with toast, pipes &c &c, and inquires most pointedly “how Mrs Carlyle is”; and will drive us to-morrow in tub-car or even pony phaeton to see the sublimities of his Slate Quarry; and otherwise do wonders: in short we are extremely well here;—and shall get back to Liverpool, I hope, about Monday, and end this Expedition more handsomely than at one time could have been hoped. I snatch a moment from amid the jingle of glasses, and leave John to talk (ach Gott!)—and write one word to my poor Goody to this effect. God bless her, poor little bairn; she is too far away from me tonight.

Our expedition over Snowdon was a most laborious walk of 14 miles; Snowdon consists, I think, of some six or seven circular winding ridges of slate precipices, soaring beyond the eagles flight; scraggy sloping on one side, sheer down on the other: the mist met us today about 1000 feet from the top, and one might as well have been in the Thames Tunnel for any sight!2 We had a guide (for the sake of Tean-gleg's3 carpetbag;—I carry no luggage but a razor, shavingbrush, shirt and pocket comb): we met at the top of the mountain two other large parties from opposite sides; like ghosts of parties escorted by their Charons:4 it was very strange, almost ghastly; I shall always remember that bitter windy mist on the pinnacle of Britain,—and will tell Goody all about it, at some better time.

The Day after tomorrow, however, I mean to get upon the Coach roof; go along the North Coast till I come in contact with a Liverpool Steamer; and there embark, and in Heaven's name end these tumblings and tourifyings: I find I do not at bottom care two pence for all the picturesqueness in the world; and really have done my picturesque affairs to a very tolerable extent now, I think. Heaven help us!

What Goody is to do; where she to go for a little country air? Dearest, there is nothing here I can invite thee to: canst thou contrive aught for thyself? Sussex coast with Macreadys, Suffolk with Bullers; anywhere, anyhow in honesty:—alas, in this endless whirl I cannot get a moment to consider of anything whatever. It does become too much. I send thee my love and my prayers. Good be ever with thee Dearest.

I hope to find a Letter in Liverpool: shall I not? No such Letters as these of mine were ever written before by any rational man—eheu [alas]!

T C