The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO JANE BAILLIE WELSH; 20 March 1826; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18260320-TC-JBW-01; CL 4:62-63.


Hoddam Hill, Monday [20 March 1826].

My good Love— I guessed what was detaining your letter: but I scarcely dared to expect it on Saturday. It came in company with a quarter of a volume of Proofs, or I should have answered it yesterday. But the villainous sheets kept me working till midnight; and now I am to be busy beyond all measure for a week or more. You must just wait, Liebchen, till next opportunity; and in the meantime, I will keep that royal project resting in my thoughts; and who knows but it may be lighter when I come to write of it.

You are a true-hearted woman, after all, my little girl; and I love you in my inmost heart, I believe; notwithstanding my perversities— I also vote that, at all haps and hazards, we be married soon: but I love you better for your love of your Mother; and depend on it, my Dearest, your conscience is no more precious in your own eyes than in mine. These things must be reconciled. Your plan is bright as the May Morn on one side: but (alas, for the conjunction!) there are many buts. Think of it, and leave me to think of it; and I will send you my best deliverance in due time. And so keep thy heart at peace, my bonny bride; and I too will live in full hope: for in some few months, it shall go hard if thou be not lying in my bosom, never to be parted from me any more, but mine for ever and ever. O Himmel und Erde [O heaven and earth]!

This small scrap of a note I owe the opportunity of writing to an arrangement of Jane's. She has manufactured two pairs of wristikins, one for your mother and one for you; which I am to send by this parcel. She also essayed to write; but with her whole skill, it would not do; and so her Love must be content, like Neighbour Franz's, to continue Dumb.1 It is not the less true on that account.

To rejoice your heart still farther, I send you a small Sowing Song,2 which I manufactured the other night, when too sick and dull to commence the Life of Goethe. “I had better have been minding my work”? Devil take you! Is that all my thanks?

Yet you are right: for I never had more cause to work. M'Corkindale (do but consi[der wh]at a sonorous name!) the most superlative of Pr[inters is] languishing for this Life, and his thirsty soul is pant[ing] for it as the hart for water brooks.3 And the thing [is not] begun yet!— Adieu!— Ten thousand kisses!— [Truly] yours forever and ever— T. Carlyle