The Collected Letters, Volume 4


JBW THOMAS CARLYLE; 23 May 1826; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18260523-JBW-TC-01; CL 4:97-99.


22 George Square / Tuesday night [23 May 1826]

Dear Love

I have held myself accincta ad scribendum [fully prepared to write] for three or four days back but there is so much ado about nothing in this idle city that till now I could find no opportunity to put my purpose in execution— And even now I am so hurried so distracted a thousand ways! But my Dearest will, I am sure, excuse haste and confusion more easily than a longer silence; and so here I am, all in dishabille before the person whom more than any other I like to see me to the best advantage.

Your smallest of the letter kind1 made its appearance in good time to cheer my flagging spirits. For you must know I had no sooner succeeded in fulfilling your wishes to the utmost of my power, than a new apprehension arose in my mind. may he not think I have done too much? and that I am less worth having for thus almost pressing myself upon him? Alas Men are such capricious creatures at best; there is no calculating how this one may be affected by the officiousness of my love! But I took heart again when I could not discover in the little note any falling off in kindness, so that I now feel less anxiety about telling you, the last objection to our marriage is removed.

It is indeed—my Mother has taken a house2 for us—such a one as I shall be quite content to live in, and I doubt not but that you will be so also. For it is quiet and light and dry; there [is] a pretty tree before the door, and the windows look out on green fields; while at the same time it is as humble and plain a looking dwelling as any heart could desire— In addition to these advantages the Landlord is a very worthy man whom my Mother and I are personally acquainted with, so that in as far as we have to do with him all things are likely to go fair and smooth— Whenever the said house is painted, my Mother will get it put into some sort of habitable order, and then—it is for you to arrange the rest—

And now—now that my long cherished hopes are so near their fulfillment, one would naturally expect that I should be all thankfulness and joy— But no such thing! I was never flatter in my life— The truth is, sundry disgusts and crosses3 which I have had to encounter, in the course of these discussions, and which I would not—could not have born[e] with for any sake but yours have put my whole soul most horribly out of tune. But patience yet a little while, and all will be well with me when we are once fairly married— Oh that we were, or that I could close my eyes this moment in a deep sleep and awake six months hence your Wife— Meanwhile, God knows, the preparatory steps are sufficiently disagreeable. However—there is nothing but a mixture of Heaven and Hell in the world Mother4—so there is really no use in fretting—

Address your next letter to Haddington we return thither the day after tomorrow—to Dr Fyffe's house! for it is no longer ours[.] You will cease to wonder at my obstinacy on that head when you have heard me[.] for the present I must be content to lie under the imputation of the most excessive selfwilledness5— Write immediately—

God bless you Darling I am for ever—your own Jane Welsh

The books are a gift from my Mother.