The Collected Letters, Volume 4


JBW TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 23 September 1826; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18260923-JBW-TC-01; CL 4:135-136.


Saturday [23 September 1826]

My Dearest

You desired me to answer your letter on Thursday; but I have waited another post, that I might do it better;—if indeed any good thing is to be said under such horrid circumstances. Oh my own darling, do for heavens sake get into a more benignant humour; or the incident will not only wear a very original aspect, but likewise a very heart breaking one. I see not how I am to go thro' with it—I turn quite sick at the thought— But it were Job's comfort to vex you with my anxieties and “severe affection”— I would rather set before you, by way of encouragement, that the purgatory will soon be past; and “speak peace where there is no peace”;1 only that you would easily see thro' such affected philosophy. There is nothing for us then, but, like the Annan congregation to pray to the Lord[.] I have said I delayed writing, that I might do it more satisfactorily— For this reason, I expected to know last night when my Mother is to come from—Edinr! in which case, I should have been able to name some day, tho' not so early a one as that proposed. But alas alas! my Mother is dilatory and uncertain this time as ever and the only satisfaction I can give you at this writing, is to promise I will soon write again—

What has taken her to Edinr so inopportunely? to set some fractions of women a-cutting white gowns—a thing which might have be[en] done with all convenience while we were there last month— But some people are wise and some are otherwise: and I shall be mighty glad to get the gowns in any way—for I should like ill to put you to charge in that article for a very great while— Besides you know it would be a bad omen to marry in mourning. When I put it on six years ago I thought to wear it for ever— But I have found a second Father; and it were ungrateful not to show even externally how much I rejoice in him—

I fear you must be proclaimed to your own parish (pity! since you are so ashamed of me) but I will enlighten you on that head also in my next— With respect to the journey part of the business—I loudly declare for running the risk of being stuck up by the way (which at this season of the year is next to none) rather [than] undergoing the unheard of horror of being thrown into the company of strangers, in such severe circumstances, or possibly (which would be still worse) of some acquaintance, in the stage coach— Indeed indeed Dearest I promise you to make no demonst[rations] that I can possibly help; but I am sure from the faintness and cold shudder that comes over me at the thought of that odious ceremony that I shall be in no state for at least a week after to endure any eye but yours— For this same reason I also prohibit John from going with us an inch of the road—and he must not think there is any unkindness in it— My Aunt thinks you and he would be greatly better here the night before than at Glendinnings— But [be] that as you like— If you come I shall take care that you get a room which is not over the kitchen (in case you tell me next morning you do not care whether we are married or no)—and for the rest I need not see you unless I feel “disposed”— But it will be time enough to settle how when we have settled when— In the mean time you had better write me a few lines if it is not too much trouble— But whether you write or not I will so soon as I hear again from my Mother. Did you ever see such paper? It comes from Thornhill—and I can find no knife to mend my pen— I hope your Mother is praying for me very hard. Give her my affectionate regards a kiss to Jane

Ever your own

Jane Welsh