1824- 1825

The Collected Letters, Volume 3


JBW TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 4 August 1825; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18250804-JBW-TC-01; CL 3:361-363.


Templand 4 August [1825]

My own, best, dearest Love

I do believe I should have gone out of my senses, if your letter had been a day longer of coming. As it was they were obliged to put leeches on my temples to keep me quiet: they thought it was the fatigue of travelling which had made me ill again; and I did not take any pains to undeceive them. My God! what should I suffer, were I indeed to lose your regard, when the bare apprehension discomposes me thus? Never cease to love me, Dearest! I am not worthy of you—I know I am not: but I feel in me the power to become so, which is light in the darkness of my soul.

Leave you! obey the voice of reason! You know not what you say! “Entreat me not to leave thee; or to return from following after thee, for whither thou goest I will go; and where thou lodgest I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried.”1 This is my decision which altereth not! It is too late to think of parting, Dearest, when my fate, my being are interweaved with yours! too late to think of obeying reason when I love! Yes! you have said rightly I will save you, or we perish together. And can I not save you? Remember my German's lesson “gross ist die Macht eines Weibs in liebe” [great is the strength of a woman in love]!2 You can no longer love, you say; I hear but believe not. This is a mere delusion my Darling: you can love,—will, shall love; not Jane Welsh, perhaps, but your Wife you will love. Your heart is not dead: the icy hand of Destiny has but chilled it; and when my arms have encircled you for ever, it will find new warmth and life from mine. Oh doubt it not; “be not faithless but believing”!3 You will yet be happy! both shall be happy! And suppose we should not, what then? Asunder we cannot fail to be miserable; and if we must suffer, it is better, surlely, that we should do so together than alone. Imagine not that I overlook the objections to our union. I see them all, and feel them—am made to feel them every day of my life. Oh were we but at Weimar, or any where far hence! The worldly prudence of the people about us, is no climate for an affection like ours. better to

live, love, die alone,
Far from the cruel and the cold,
Where the bright eyes of Angels only,
Should come around us to behold
A Paradise so pure an[d] lonely!4

but this is Earth! we cannot make it Heaven.

There is much in my present circumstances, that is ill—very ill to bear; but I think of you, and am patient. My Mother has, as usual got new impressions of things; she now sighs and looks terribly cross at the least allusion to you. even my projected visit which, at first, found such ready approval, is all but openly opposed. I will come however notwithstanding. Her opinion it is my duty to respect, but not her caprice. Accordingly, I have offered a visit to my Grandmother; and only wait her answer to fix the time. When I am at Dumfries, the first step is taken; and the first step is all the difficulty. Write to me in the mean time—as briefly as you please—but write. I will come as soon as possible, shall see and hear you for a day or two, quarrel with you some dozen times, and return [to] Nithsdale to do solitary penance for my transgressions. What a life I lead! what a profitless pleasureless life! if I thought it would so continue to the end—the end should be not far off. But esperance! “le bon temps viendra” [“the good time will come”]! Is the watch pocket still in being? Shall I go to Bolton Abbey if it is put in my power? I wish it; I long to see face to face the friend who is already so dear to me unseen. Would you come? “No!” Write however—she loves you and is worthy of your love—worthier than I. “But my time is all exhausted and I must draw unto an end”; for the Minister of Hoddam is waiting for me to play at chess with him. A promising mood I am in for chess to be sure!— My kind regards to your Mother. God bless you my own friend

She whom thou knowest thine” /

Jane B Welsh

Mir ist wohl” [it is well with me] since you love me still.