The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 17 August 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500817-TC-JAC-01; CL 25: 158-159


Boverton, Saty morng, 17 Augt 1850—

My dear Brother,

Thanks for your two Notes; whh along with the two Newspapers came in due succession. I cannot think what detains the Leader from you; I suppose Jane's Cover must have given way, for it is she that sends it, direct from Chelsea, and she wd not readily forget it, I think. We get the Leader here, and the Examiner too, on our own footing. I have sent more than one Copy of the Times to my Mother; but these, it appears, have miscarried likewise. The Post, what with new Railways, what with Ashley regulations, seems to be in a confused condition hereabouts! However, there has been no Letter lost; nor between London and this has anything misgone.

The Swansea-Steamer method of travel I have now quite cast aside: the time, I find, is 30 hours, mostly by night;—a dirty sort of outlook. I intend to go by Chepstow, to which there is a railway, 11 miles off us,—time about noon there, a very handy time; then from Chepstow there is a Coach to Glo'ster, and two days in the week a Steamer as well. One way or another it will not be difficult to get to Glo'ster; and after that to Birmingham and Liverpool we have it all straight and swift. I rather incline to another trial of the Annan Steamer too: Thursday next, as you say, wd evidently do best; but I hardly think it will prove manageable; the Monday following seems at present the likeliest time.— — I did not know that G. Johnston lived in Glo'ster:1 if I knew his Address, I shd like very well to call on him; there is little use in going out of the Inn for a bed,—in his house as in the public one I shd have little chance for quietude; and it is as well to wake in the one place as in the other. However I will try for his Address: I think I will write to him beforehand. I have written to Farie also to tell me about Lodgings in Malvern if I thot of stopping there for a day or so, to look at the thing: but Farie does not answer,—I had lost his proper address, and perhaps he cannot!

Poor Redwood is abundantly disconsolate, and even angry and inclined to sulk, at the notion of my departure so soon: but it is indispensable nevertheless, and clearly demands not to be delayed beyond the covenanted time. I can get no right sleep here; I have not slept well one night, nor have I much chance to do it, in such an exposed ill-ventilated situation, with so many animals and their crowings and brayings and lowings attending me every morning! Not to say that Rd himself, one of the best of men, is of a dulness à toute èpreuve [completely reliable]; a solid, taciturn, gaunt wearisomeness nearly without its fellow in my experience. The fine sea-bathing (of which I find but little benefit), the fine pony riding (of which do do) are too dear at this price for long. Nay the beautiful seclusion, in perfect silence among green bushes and clean lawns and soughing breezes every day for six hours, even this, which is truly delightful and profitable, I must give up in favour of a little steady sleep somewhere.— I believe I am getting better however: in such fine bright air, with only dulness and imperfect sleep to fight against, one can hardly fail to get better. The people are all busy mowing (in a very coarse style) the noblest crop of wheat ever given to such tilth as their's.

On Thursday (day before yesterday) we were at Merthyr Tidvil; a busy day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.— I have decided that we make no more ‘expeditions,’ tho' I cannot regret that one: Tydvil a place of 40 or 50 thousand grimy iron-workers and no ‘aristocracy’ at all, is the most Stygian scene I ever saw! Adieu dear Brother: love to all!—

T. Carlyle