The Collected Letters, Volume 2


JBW TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 15 June 1822; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18220600-JBW-TC-01; CL 2:129-131.


[Mid-June 1822]

‘Richard is himself again’!1—I am sure you will rejoice at the Phoenix-like renovation of my faculties—they have been in full force ever since I wrote you. I have learned my German and Italian lessons as usual—read several hours a-day—and regularly tortured my fingers with Beethoven's Themes for another hour—besides all this I have put feathers into a hat—written four angry notes to my dress-maker—and drawn a nose and ear to Belisarius2— I fear you will think the time I have kept Sismondi no great proof of my industry. On the very same day you sent it, I received three other parcels of books—‘Corinne’—The fortunes of Nigel—and a silly thing called ‘Happiness’3— All these I had to read before I could get at him.

I think I heard you say you did not think very highly of Corinne— You must read it again—nobody with a heart and soul can fail to admire it— I never read a book, in my life, that made such an impression on me. I cried two whole hours at the conclusion, and in all likelihood I might have been crying to this minute, but for an engagement to a party in the evening, where prudential considerations required my eyes should be visible— Have you read Nigel? I think wonderous little of it— I am exceedingly obliged to you for Sismondi. I have only read the first volume but I like it very much— I beg of you dont laugh much at my translations, or any of the silly things I send you—and do not think that it is vanity that tempts me to submit them to your inspection. Nobody can hold the trash I write, in deeper contempt than I myself do—indeed I often think I might write better if I had more conceit.

How much poetry have you written? send me every line of it—my wish4 is the most foolish little thing possible—I would not send it if I had time to write another—tho' perhaps the next might be as bad—the other lines came into my head when I was thinking about my wishes—

Read from page 211 to 219 of Sismondi and tell me if you think the seige of Carcassonna5 would afford materials for a tragedy—if you do, tell me where I will find any other particulars I ought to know—and I will try it—

I thank you for the trouble you took with my unfortunate fisher6— You have improved him greatly. I am sorry to send you such a short letter for your last deserves a longer and a better; but I cannot help it[—] today that Ass A[u]gusta Sibbald7 came in just as I commenced writing, and occupied my time till within a few minutes of the coach hour— Send me your wish immediately and believe me your sincere friend

Jane Welsh