The Collected Letters, Volume 2


JBW TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 2 May 1823; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18230502-JBW-TC-01; CL 2:343-344.


[2 May 1823]

My dear Friend

We might as well be at the Antipodes as here under such constraint[.] It is insufferably provoking— I have a thousand things to say to you which must remain unsaid as long as I am forced to cut my sentences by rule— But esperance! I have one little glimmer of hope still— My Mother talks of going to D[umfries]shire the end of next week and then!— As to these translations settle the matter for me as you think best—you know my motives for inclining to undertake them—that I may acquire a habit of regular exertion—and greater facility of expression— I cannot write without the most excessive labour—and translating seems a medium between this labour and idleness— Above all I feel the want of something to compel my diligence—it is exposed to incessant attacks and temptations— Now what can supply this want more effectually than an agreement with a fat calculating bookseller1— if your reasons for dissuading me seem to you to counterbalance these I shall app[r]ove of them— settle it then as you will—I shall be satisfied with whatever decision you make for me— My greatest objection to the undertaking is the trouble it is like to occasion you— But I live in the hope of being able at some period of my existence to discharge all my debts of gratitude to you—at present I confess they do not lie heavy— Like Necker you “confer favours with such inimitable grace that those who receive them are extremely apt to forget them altogether[”]2— I will expect to see you on Monday evening— If you promise the translations you must make the man understand they cannot be begun for a fortnight at least—

Yours with a damnable pen / and in excessive haste /

Jane Welsh