The Collected Letters, Volume 2


TC TO JANE BAILLIE WELSH; 29 November 1823; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18231129-TC-JBW-01; CL 2:482-483.


35. Bristo-street, / [Saturday— 29 November 1823]

My dearest Jane,

Your letter met me on my way hither; the old Sack of a Postman gave it me out from his wallets, among the rocky defiles of the Tay. You are an Angel to me, if there ever was one: such letters are beyond what I deserved even to hope for.

The business now in hand is when am I to see you? I have a sharp-tempered horse that will carry me out and back, whenever you send me a safe conduct? I have much, very much to say and hear; I feel almost afraid of this interview from which at the same time I expect so much delight. You must try to get it all settled rightly, and let me know as soon as possible. You are aware of how wonderful a stock of patience I have; therefore you will not keep me waiting. I arrived last night, am to stay about a week, and have no engagement that I will not give to the winds for the sake of ours. Order me me [sic] therefore according to your own good pleasure.

It will be the cruellest thing your Mother ever did if she make objections to our meeting. Two honest-meaning very respectable creatures that have scarce another friend on the face of the Earth! Nevertheless if she act perversely, it is ours to submit. Do not quarrel about this, My own best Jane! I will love you thro' all Eternity tho' I should never see you more. But we will meet before all is done; we will; I have sworn it a hundred times. If I did not think so, I should feel inclined to run amuck at this very instant. Therefore do you lovely Damsel of the many devices1 see to put your skill in force on this occasion; and manage matters with the dexterity you have always shewn; remembering how long long it is since we have met, and how much need there is that we meet soon. I shall wait with all the patience in the world, for your news. Shall I hear from you on Monday? I know I shall, the first moment you have time.

I meant this letter to have been of even more than usual length; and behold you can hardly gather one idea from it, or even make out the few scattered words that compose it. Stupid persons have been about all the blessed day: I have only saved ten minutes (by escaping into another room) before the last of the Coaches sets off. You will understand what I mean, and that is all we need. I care not what I write to you, you are my other self.

Here is the orator's trial2 (a clever thing they say) to make you and your Mother laugh till bed-time— Did you ever see such faces? May the Devil take Irving's “intellect” and his “youth” both, for the trouble they have given you! He is one of the greatest Blockheads, with all his other qualities, that ever God made. But let the silly people say their say; their words break no bones, they pass, like the wind they are made of leaving no trace behind. “Use you ill!”— Now write immediately, directing hither. Heaven grant that you send good news! God bless you my own best Jane!

I am your's forever, /

Th: Carlyle—