JBW TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 8 May 1825; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18250508-JBW-TC-01; CL 3:322-324.
JBW TO THOMAS CARLYLE
The Sanctum—Sunday morning [8 May 1825]
Best and Dearest
I believe I am going to lose the faculty of writing, as I have already lost the faculty of speech. For this half hour and more, I have been trying to express to you some of the hundred things that are in my heart; and I can find no words—at least none but such as seem cold and inadequate to what I feel. Well! no matter! You know, already, that I love you with all my soul; that I am sad—very sad at parting with you, and shall not be otherwise than sad till we meet again; and, knowing this, you may easily imagine all that I would and cannot say.
I have but a sorry account to give of myself, since your departure: my head is still aching very diligently; and none of my tasks are yet commenced. Nevertheless I have been far from idle: I have papered a box for my Mother; reestablished order and elegance in the Sanctum;1 and put all things in readiness to commence operations on Monday. With the help of some unfinished drawings and other wares, I have made this the prettiest, little room you ever saw: and here I will sit four hours a day at the tasks which you have assigned me; in spite of all fools whatever. No criticisms shall prevent me from following your counsels and the dictates of my conscience. The miserable Lilliputians! They shall not bind me with their threads! I am free! Thanks to my love for you which has made me so!
I will walk, too, every day, and do all things that you bade me. Yesterday I was at Paradise2— Alas! Paradise no more; Ich bin allein [I am alone]— I sat meditating, in the arbour (not on the mind of man)3 till I nearly fell asleep; and then walked sadly home again resting at all the places where we used to rest. The sun was bright and the place looked as lovely as ever; but I no longer wished it mine—oh no! the little Fairy's box were worth twenty such residences!
Indeed I am very sad— I say to myself, every minute, “I am alone; there are leagues of distance between me and my only Friend; and who knows that I shall ever see him again?” It is very weak to be so dispirited, when every thing promises fair; when our happiness seems to depend almost wholely on ourselves: but I cannot help it— Oh for the wings of a dove!4 that I might fly away to your side, and gather consolation and courage from your lips— I would take flight this very instant— But alas! I have no wings! no wishing carpet! no fairy box! and to visit you in any ordinary fashion, would, in the present posture of affairs, be illadvised— Patience then! It cannot be many weeks before I am in Nithsdale—and there, my beloved Brother—oh more than Brother! we meet again—and you will take me home with you—and we shall be happy—happy as the day is long. Shall we not Dear?
In the mean time you will write to me often, and without constraint. No one shall (means in the third pe[rson] to promise or threaten)5 see your letters. They are the only pleasure I have; and I am determined to enjoy it to the full. I kept the last to myself, and purpose to do the same with all future ones. Moreover you will continue to love me very dearly—more dearly than you ever loved Margaret Gordon6—for with all my faults I do deserve it of you— Well! I am a great fool, and no fraction of a Philosopher: and you Mr Socrates are not overwise. But I expect we shall (in the first person simply futurity) both improve—
The letter for you is come this minute. I hope it is from Mrs Strachey—will you write to all these people the very first leisure day you have— Their affection for you is worth cherishing— I do love them for loving you so well— I forgot to give you any message to your Brother tho' it was several times in my mind. Pray tell him how much I was gratified by his book and that but for the awkwardness of beginning a correspondence with an almost stranger I would have written to me [him] ere now. By and by we shall be better acquainted I expect—and then he shall hear from me as often—perhaps oftener than he likes. You must lay the blame of my detestable writing on the new mail-coach regulations— My letter I find must be in [the] Post office by two oclock; and as I wish [several words crossed out] is to make a demonstrationin [several words crossed out] than usual.
God bless, you—Meine, Seele [my soul]— Yours, For ever and ever /