The Collected Letters, Volume 2


TC TO JANE BAILLIE WELSH; 17 April 1823; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18230417-TC-JBW-01; CL 2:338-339.


3. Moray-street, Thursday—[17 April 1823]

My dear Jane,

I have not been so glad this month as when Dr Fyf[f]e poked in his little farthing-face yesterday, with such a look of glad intelligence: I knew he brought me tidings from the East.1 The Doctor absolutely seemed to me one of the prettiest dapper little gentlemen I had ever set my eyes on—the letter was so large, and he handed it in with such a grace. You cannot think how the Devil had been tempting me about you for the four preceding days: I imagined— But now we have no time for that.

It is but half an instant since I finished this wretched bundle of papers,2 at the sight of which you are turned so pall: “they will yet make you paller”—count on that. You must read them all over with the eye not of a friend, but of a critic: I must have your voice and decision and advice about twenty things before they go away. Besides I want to secure at least three readers—you, myself, and the Printer's devil: more I can do without. The thing is absolutely execrable: I have written as if I had been steeped in Lethe to the chin. “My soul is black as the middle of night Lady”—or rather grey and heavy as the middle of a Liddlesdale3 mist. But never mind: tear the ugly thing to pieces, and give me your severe and solid criticism and counsel, when you arrive. So you are to be here on Saturday! Heaven be thanked for it—I shall see my own Jane yet after all! Do contrive some reading of German or something that will bring us to meet together daily—do, if it lies within the compass of your utmost ingenuity. You are a good creature, and full of wiles: do exert them for me! We are not to leave town till about the twentieth of May after all; I am still free between 1 o'clock and seven every day: I expect all things from your kindness and neverfailing “devices.”

Here is an ass come in from Glasgow, and I must leave you. May the Devil comfort him—in his own good time: I had still half an hour to spend with you.

You will let me know the first convenient moment after you arrive. Write to me at any rate—if you cannot see me on Saturday: I shall be very fretful else. Adieu my dearest Jane! God bless you always!

I am ever your's /

Thomas Carlyle.

Excuse this haste and nonsense; I have not been so spurred for a twelvemonth. There is no hurry in nature with the Books. What a preux chevalier [gallant knight] your Teutscher [German] was!