August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


JWC TO AMALIE BÖLTE; 30 September 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460930-JWC-AB-01; CL 21:64-65.


Wednesday [30 September? 1846]

My Dear!

You are too impetuous by half! Festina Lente should be one's motto even in good-doing, while one lives in ‘a co[n]ditional1 world’— Else one is apt to run one's head metaphorically and literally against many posts. One may make an “old Aunt” sit for her picture par vive force [by main force]. but Carlyle is not to be so dealt with—one may perhaps get him to do it in the end; but it must be thro gradual leading and thro other motions than sheer benevolence which you might have known by this time he does not at all go upon. For HIM, it is not enough that the artist is young and ‘handsome’ and in need of employment—he must also be sure that he can take likenesses before he would dream of sitting to him!— He has already sat to a weariness—with worst results!—and he is not so indifferent as might be expected of a Philosopher to having bad portraits of him hanging loose on society. Accordingly I have requested Mr Hartman to bring some of his pictures to show us and then I will see more clearly what can be done for him2— For your sake—and also, now that I have seen him, for his own, I will do whatever I can for him—but I must do it in my own way—not in your breakneck-way which I can make no hand of— He looks the image of innocence and modesty and ingenuousness—much too beautiful for my taste in men— but that may be no objection with the generality. Still however until I can recommend him as a [word illegible] painter, I shall make small way in recommending him on the score of his looks and necessities. Miss Keir Grant is in Paris—Mrs M Gibson in Space—Macready poor man worried out of his life3— But I design to make Capt Sterling sit on his own account—if the pictures be at all satisfactory—and I shall look out for others—

I am very busy corresponding with the four winds about a new scotch servant— Helen has had an offer to go and stay with a sort of gentleman brother she has got in Dublin—and much to my consternation has of course accepted—so I am in a little mess of practical difficulty but ever

affectionately yours /

Jane Carlyle