The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 9 August 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500809-TC-JAC-01; CL 25: 146-148


Boverton, Cowbridge, 9 Augt 1850—

My dear Brother,

Thanks for your welcome little Note, which I received yesterday; the first I have got here, except from Jane. I am very glad indeed to be assured of my good Mother's being well, and that all is going on at Scotsbrig in the usual fashion. I have heard twice from Jane since I wrote to you last; she seems to be extremely busy, turning all things topsyturvy in the Cheyne Row establishment, and making a complete “earthquake” now that she has the field all to herself.

This is now my eighth day in this hospitable domicile; and I endeavour to make the most of my advantages, and in fact I suppose am doing not amiss at all, tho' the liver and nerves are too far out of order to get to composure all at once. One finds too that there are in every change certain evils as well as benefits, and in particular a modicum of new annoyances in return for the old you have escaped! I go daily and bathe, generally before breakfast; it is a walk of rather more than a mile, mostly thro' flourishing wheatfields, a very quiet pleasant flat footpath country; the beach all of limestone boulders, with smooth spots of natural rock (which one endeavours to choose according to the difft times of the tide); the water clear warm and comfortable beyond what I have experienced elsewhere. Very lively waves for most part: indeed I generally manage my bathe by sitting on some round big stone, and letting the billow tumble over my head. This morning was the wildest sea of all; very windy indeed: nevertheless I contrived to get a very comfortable washing in that way. I miss bathing no day hitherto; and hardly ever fail of a good ride too: there is an excellent little bay mare (about the size of poor old Harry) which carries me about in a very handsome style; Redwood has had me on some professed “rides,” or excursions of half a day's riding; but I do not care much for these. Today, for example, we are just waiting post-time, to be off on some such adventure; and I, for my own particular, had much rather stay at home and read!— Here is a box of excellent new pipes, too, just arrived from Cardiff;—and two Cocks have been successively imprisoned for disturbing me in the mornings. You wd think I might do excellently well: and so I should if I could sleep a little better, and if &c &c—alas, there is no limit to one's “ifs”; and we must make the thing do, without “if,” the best we can manage. Redwd is one of the kindest; but also one of the dullest of mortal men; I am ashamed to perceive how wearisome I feel him to be while he is so very friendly to me.— — I delivered him your compts last night; and he charges me to engage you not to come to London again without taking his House on your way.

Boverton is a sleepy Welsh Hamlet, half or more than half in ruins (they never mind clearing off old houses that fall, but let them lie for half a century or more); our House (a building like Scotsbrig with a wing for kitchen &c, and rather elaborately modernised and repaired, not a good House after all) is quite cut off from the Village by walls, trees &c, and we look out into a comfortable lawn with bushes and fruit trees; were it not for the “cocks” I need not have known that there was a village here at all. Indeed I think there are hardly 50 souls in it; an old ruined Castle, with its skeleton gables and chimnies is the main object: a place of poor sleepy slutti[sh] [la]bourers,—the Boviarium (Ox-town or Grange) of Cardiff Castle as it was in former times;—fully as dirty and somnolent a hamlet as those of S. Wales usually are. From the Sea-beach we look right across into Minehead, which is conspicuous as a white little object (near twenty miles off, they say); to the right we can see Lynton (where I think you have been);1 to the left Watchet and the Hill at Bridgewater. Our own coast without trade, fishing, or any other movement but that of the tidewater itself, is of all coasts the loneliest, nothing to be seen on it but grey boulders, bushes on cliff or down, and here and there a sheep or pig.—— — I have brought with me nothing but geographical books! These, it seemed to me, wd be the least disgusting. I have got some stupid Welsh History here, too. If I could be entirely left alone (which it is almost impious [to h]int at), I could do very well for a while here!—

Our weather broke on Wednesday; but seems now to be about mending again, a very windy brisk sunny day. Harvest is begun; excellent crop,—almost miraculous considering what farming there is; for the soil is fertile all of it to a degree, and treats the idle with leniency!— Enters Redwood to ask, “How long?” Ay de mi!

Three weeks was my date here; about a fortnight hence, that is. How I am to go is not yet ascertained: the Steamer from Swansea has been written about, but there is yet no answer come. A fortnight more will serve me, I should think:—some “way” will before that have become manifest.

Love to my dear Mother, and to all the rest great and small. Write again soon. I have got a Times, and will send it to my Mother in 2 days. Blessings on you all.

Your affecte /

T. Carlyle