The Collected Letters, Volume 4


JBW TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 26 June 1826; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18260626-JBW-JAC-01; CL 4:109-111.


Haddington / Monday [26 June 1826]

My dearest John

This looks unkind, ungrateful but really and truly I am none of these things; nothing worse than indolent, like all the rest of the world in this most oppressive heat. Have you ever felt the like of it? The farmers are crying out famine; and the townspeople crying out fever: I dread we are going to see Mrs Shelly's “Last Man”1 transacted in good earnest.

In that case, it will be little matter when Mr Buchan gets the house painted; nay, it will be little matter (so far as I can learn) even tho' we be spared to see good things yet on the earth.— My Mother has reestablished herself here, just as if she designed to abide for ever—Indeed my external situation had never more the aspect of continuance; the thing which was yesterday is that also which shall be tomorrow; not a single step is taken for the furtherance of the great work; while invitations are given and accepted ad infinitum.— Our Edinr cousins (blessings on the connection!) who were to have followed immediately are yet to come—and when they shall be gone Heaven knows—not I—In short I do not calculate on being delivered out of Haddington for two months at soonest; and it will be two months more at the same rate of progress before the Edinr house is in habitable order— But I am patient—will be patient as a lamb; undergoing my present purgatory with a willing heart, for the sake of the paradise to come—just as I used to swallow a cup of senna long ago for the sake of the white shilling that glanced to me from the bottom—

I had a long letter from your Brother the other day—the bestnatured he has written for some time back. It was wonderfully comforting to me under existing circumstances— Oh yes! with all his crumps [sharp noises], he is just the best and the cleverest and the wisest man upon the face of the whole earth— And yet, there are people who think me mad to wed with him;—because, forsooth, he is not in a high place, nor rich in gold— Poor people! I pity them from the bottom of my soul—pity them that they have neither eyes to see nor hearts to understand,—that they are doomed to eat dust all the days of their lives[.]

No truly! not in gold is my trust,—not in much fine gold my confidence, nor do I acknowledge any nobility but that which is of the heart and head. It is for those to be caught in such sorry nets who cannot help themselves; but for me, they are as the seven green with[e]s2 of the Philistines or the pack-threads of the Lilliputs— I dislike however to be the subject of their nauseous talk; and for this reason among others the matter cannot be too soon concluded—that is, now it is come so far—

In Tieck, I am at page 160; and shall be most glad to have the rest[.] “The old sinner too almost never” are the words—you are very attentive to me very, very kind,—and in return I love you as cordially as if you were my Brother born.

James Johnston is well, and seemingly, content with his lot— I see him frequently and get more good of him than he of me—for he talks to me without ceasing of those I love— What are you doing? What are you meaning to do? When shall I have the Thesis— I would really have you to set about translating some book if you will not write one—mere reading is not enough to occupy a mind so active as yours.

God bless you dear friend /[I a]m always yours /

Jane B Welsh

Has the Gardner turned the coalhouse into a pantry? and made a reformation on the kitchen-dresser? All this he engaged to do Oh mein gott!