The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO JANE BAILLIE WELSH; 7 January 1826; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18260107-TC-JBW-01; CL 4:6-8.


Dawson's Lodgings, 21. Salisbury-st. / Saturday-afternoon [7 January 1826].

My Dearest,

I have been in Town for two days, and cannot rest any longer without sending you a token of my existence in your vicinity, and the constant occupation of my heart about you to whom it rightfully and more and more gladly belongs. I need not tell you that I vehemently wish for some tidings of you, and still more for another sight of your kind countenance, the fairest object that for me this universe holds in its domain. It seems almost an aeon since I heard of you, tho' on reckoning by the vulgar arithmetic of this Earth, I find that it is little more than a fortnight. Do write the first hour you have leisure, and tell me all and every thing; how your health is; what you do or think in this wild furious weather; and whether you still love me, or have at length opened your ear to Prudence, and determined on expelling me from my Elysian haven in your breast, to go and seek shelter in some meaner harbour. If you do, you little gypsy, I will——die?—no, not die; but come and raise such a hurricane of tempestuous eloquence about your ears, that you shall be glad to let me in again for peace's sake. So mind never once to think of it.

After all are you got well again, and cheerful or at least composed in spirits? Alas, my poor Jane! that she should have to battle with the dire fiends of Pain, and bend her neck to their crushing influences! But it shall not always be so: when we get together into our “eight-day-clock” routine, both of us will be happy and active and alive like the other children of men. O! that were existence; a new birth into a freer and brighter world, of which this is but the dull proscenium! Would that the days were here; would that we had patience to struggle for the hastening of them or to wait for their arrival.

But when am I to see you? I do not wish to visit Haddington in the present aspect of affairs; I should give little pleasure by my presence and get little. Yet it does seem hard that I cannot see my own little kind-hearted Weibchen [little woman], and she within two hours' travel of me. It is very hard. Nevertheless I will not aggravate your share of the evil by loading you with mine. Do even as it shall seem thee good, my own Darling; and I shall be ready to obey. Jack says you told him you would be in Edinr shortly after the new-year began. It is begun now.

This Book Undine1 is worth little to you; yet I wish you to read it and tell me honestly what you think of it, for I have some purpose of introducing it into our Collection, as a Specimen of his Baronship. Scarcely half of the Tale is there, but if you care for it, I will send the whole when you return this. Or if you are engaged otherwise, or unable or disinclined for the task, throw this linsey-wolsey volume on the shelf, and think that it has already done sufficient duty, by officiating as the messenger between two such worthy souls as you and your future Helper. I know not how it is; but I fear you are not well, and I shall long to hear from you, and speak to you; for tho' these suspicions may be light as wind, they have a weight in the imagination which no logic can take from them. Therefore be kind to Undine, and write to me as she bids you.

I have also sent you Mrs Strachey's letter, the naïveté of which may amuse you, the truth and fervent simplicity of which would interest you if you knew the writer. Do you really think I love that lady much more than I love you? That were a joke indeed!

The Printers are at work to day: I will send you a copy of the first sheet whenever it is thrown [off,] perhaps towards the end of next week. Tait the [book]seller is writing to Germany for more matter: I expect to be very busy for the next three months. I pray Heaven the thing were off my hands; for it is a sorry piece of work at the best, and written nearly altogether for the “lucre of gain.”

Will you write to my Mother? She wishes it earnestly. Will you write to me “very instantly,” and love me all the days of your life? I am too long here, for the hour is come. God bless you mein Herzenskind [my darling]! I am yours forever

Th: Carlyle—

Jack, who is living with me here, sends his kindest regar[ds]: it seems he has written to you already.