Throughout the journal until this point Thomas has appeared inexhaustibly energetic and buoyant. But 18 months into his work at Palé he finds himself exhausted. His employer and new-found friends combined to address the situation with a holiday by the sea.
During last month I became very ill with debility. I have been very faint and weak. I have brought it on by over-work – I have been so anxious to make Palé nice and satisfactory , both to Mr. Robertson and myself. Dr. Hughes ordered me to the sea side, so that my wife, baby and myself left here for Towyn on 22 August, Monday. Towyn is a quiet, nice watering place, so that we had a pleasant time of it, but I was too weak to enjoy myself much. We lodged at the farmhouse of Tyddyndu with John Roberts, an acquaintance of Mr. Ellis. [ Mr Ellis shown in 1881 Census as farmer of Brynbwlan – where TR lodged before moving into his house in Palé gardens.] During my stay I botanised along the seaside from near Aberdovey to the river Dysini, and a good deal of Towyn Marsh. I found many plants new to me too numerous to mention. We stayed for a week which gave me much strength.
See here for a contemporary view of Towyn [Tywyn]
Thomas was concerned to get the garden ready for the Robertson family, who had not yet moved from Croggen to Palé. The hothouses had already been built, as Mr and Mrs Robertson planted vines in January 1870. As well as the new post – to which Thomas seemed from the outset to be more committed than any he had previously accepted – he had the added new responsibilities of being a new husband and father.
This is the only time I have so far come across the mention of any illness save a trivial passing mention in the journal.