1824- 1825

The Collected Letters, Volume 3


TC TO JANE BAILLIE WELSH; 27 May 1824; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18240527-TC-JBW-01; CL 3:71-72.


1. Moray-street, Thursday— / 27th May, 1824

Angel! I never knew till now that you were such an adept in the art of scolding. You are in truth a charming scold; I could like to be so rated twenty times a day. How delicious it is to put you into such a glorious humour! But I will not trespass again, if I can help it; for I have still a small spark of love for you in my heart, and I would not make you unhappy whatever I might gain by it. I design to love you through the whole of this summer at any rate.

Last night I wrote you such a letter as you never read; the strangest mixture of enthusiasm and ridicule, and love and theology, and misery and rapture; such a thing as I could often write after two sleepless nights and harassed days, and as would keep you laughing for a month to come. But for this time my better genius had the upper hand; I burnt the sheet this morning, it having been too late for the post last night; and you, mistress, shall never know a jot of the matter—at least of the sublime parts of it. Thus much only I will tell you: it promised that I[,] though very sick and jaded and stupid, would come to see you on Friday evening; a promise which I here from the heart confirm. Your Mother is very good; she will take me for a patient, if I cannot be a useful or amusing friend. “Brethren I lack strength,” as the Orator said in his late four-hours sermon. But what can I do? I must see you if the life be in me: and will too whatever come of it.

Do, my bonny lassie, get done with your Rübezahl before I come, if you can; if not we will finish it together. And oh! such a harrowing as I will give it! I will be luculent as Nox, severe as Rhadamanthus. I will teach you what it is to jest with edge-tools.

To-day I revised the last proof of the preface to Meister.1 It will be altogether off my hands to-morrow; and your Mother and you shall have complete copies on Tuesday. If I can recollect I will bring the preface with me. Thank Heaven that I am done with it!

Whether Schiller is printed and come I cannot tell. The Editor body wrote me a letter several weeks ago, stating that he had been unwell and obliged to appoint another person to officiate in his stead; that my “interesting communication” had not by any means been lost from his drawer or his sight, that only it was long for their magazine &c &c &c. So we must just keep ourselves alive as we best can till the happy hour arrive. Whether it has already arrived, I will ask to-morrow, if I can think on.2

But what is the use of talking with the pen, when Friday is so near? Make my kindest compliments to your Mother, and tell her I am coming. Expect me in the evening. Will you be good? There is nothing else for you! Bist Du die meinige, bin ich der deinige? Ja, ewig, ewig! [Are you mine, am I yours? Yes, forever and ever!] I had such a fight to-day with Brewster3 and a gothic German for the memory of our poor Byron! Adieu! God bless you my Dearest! I am always Yours,

Th: Carlyle