JBW TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 20 May 1824; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18240520-JBW-TC-01; CL 3:69-70.
JBW TO THOMAS CARLYLE
Haddington 20th May, 1824.
In the name of heaven why don't you write to me? I have waited day after day in the utmost impatience; and hope defer[r]ed has not only made my heart sick,1 but is like to drive me out of my judgement.
For God sake write the instant this reaches you, if you have not done it before: I shall learn no lesson, settle to no occupation till I have your letter. Wretch! you cannot conceive what anxiety I am in about you. One moment I imagine you ill or in trouble of some sort, the next tired of me, the next something else as bad; in short there is no end to my imaginings.
I do not think that in the whole course of our correspondence so long an interval has ever elapsed before—never but when we quarreled and this time there is no quarrel! To add to my perplexities there have I had a letter from that stupendous ass the Orator telling me such nonsensical things, and among the rest, that he is full of joy because Thomas Carlyle is to be with him this month! Can he mean you? this month! and twenty days of it are already past and gone! The man must have been delirious when he wrote such an impossible story. You can never, never mean to be in London this month! You promised to be here before you went, in words that it would be impiety to doubt[.] I have looked forward to your coming for weeks: You cannot dream of disappointing me!
What I would give to be assured this moment that excessive occupation is the sole cause of your present neglectfulness that devils are dunning you for the rest of your book, and that you are merely giving yourself all to Meister just now that you may the sooner be all for me. Is it not hard? this is the only comfortable conjecture I can form to explain your silence and yet I can never believe in it for more than a minute at a time— Were I but certain that all is really well what a devil of a rage I would be in with you[.] Write Write— I will tell you about my visit to London then— I have no heart for it now— What an idiot I was ever to think that man so estimable— but I am done with his Preachership now & for ever—
And Byron is dead! I was told it all at once in a room full of people, My God if they had said that the sun or the moon was gone out of the heavens it could not have struck me with the idea of a more awful and dreary blank in the creation than the words Byron is dead[.] I have felt quite cold and dejected ever since[.] All my thoughts have been fearful and dismal— I wish you was come.
Yours for ever Affectionately /