The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO JANE BAILLIE WELSH; 19 September 1826; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18260919-TC-JBW-01; CL 4:132-135.


Scotsbrig, 19th September, 1826—

Bestes Liebchen

I have been a very wicked man of late weeks, and not less so since I saw you; so splenetic, so sick, so sleepless, so void of hope, faith, charity, in short so altogether bad and worthless. I trust in Heaven I shall be better soon; a certain incident otherwise will wear a quite original aspect. I declare you might put me to shame when I think of your manner of being; in years and Understanding you are younger; but in the wisdom of the heart, in much that best deserves the name of Reason I should do well to become your scholar.

I have not been neglectful of our common interest since we parted, however I may have seemed; my evil as well as my good dispositions both incite to wish this matter were over. The evening after my return hither I wrote to Edinr in quest or rather in demand of funds (for without filthy lucre nothing can be done); and on Friday, I received for answer not a draught of £200, but intelligence that my Bibliopolist was gone to London, and not to return for a month.1 Here then was one department of research exhausted. A remnant of vanity (which it would appear I have not entirely conquered still), or perhaps it might be of something better, rendered me unwilling to borrow money from a stranger for such a purpose: so I took Alick to counsel on the matter; and after considering it a moment, I accepted his offer to withdraw from his husbandry so much capital for a month or two as will suffice us; a measure which I adopt with the less reluctance, as I can fairly calculate on being able to repay him before it will be specially wanted. About this day week, then, I shall be master of £50.

Next comes the great catastrophe of the whole drama! Tomorrow I go to Dumfries to set certain fractions of men a-cutting clothes for me; carriers must be spoken with, friends bid farewell to, and then! I think we should be proclaimed (Lord help us!) on the second sunday from this date; and wedded about the following Thursday (it answers best for carriers, unless you considerably prefer the beginning of the week); that is on Thursday fortnight, a fortnight and a day from the time when you read this scrawl. Have you the heart, good Love? Glaubst Du noch jetzt? [Do you have faith even now?] I have not found such faith, neither here nor elsewhere.2

All these dates and arrangements are still liable to alteration, of course; and but propounded here for your sanction, in case they meet your tastes, or for change if they do not. Write hither without stop, to tell me. If all goes well, my next letter to you will inclose a note to Mr Anderson3 the Minister to get us proclaimed and to come and wed us on Thursday morning. John and I will come up to Glendinning's Inn the night before; he may ride with us the first stage if you like; then come back with the chaise, and return home on the back of Larry, richer by one sister (in relations) than he ever was. Poor Jack!

One other most humble care is whether we can calculate on getting post horses and chaises all the way to Edinr without danger of let, or it would not be better to take seats in the Coach for some part of it? In this matter I suppose you can give me no light: perhaps your Mother might. At all events tell me your taste in the business; for the Coach is sure if the other is not.— Will you ask your Mother if she knows whether we should be proclaimed in this parish also? I believe it depends on the practice of the marrying clergyman: I would give two-pence that the Closeburn Parson were not rigid in this point. Here, the whole matter is next to an utter secret, or at least a most dim surmise. Write me all that you can; and do take some hand in the projection of the affair; I can have no taste in it whatever except to comply with yours.

Before ending I should say something consolatory and encouraging to my much-loved Bride, whose heart is doubtless as loaded with cares as my own, and far less fit to bear them. But what can I say in this Tartarean mood? Simply that there will be neither peace nor rest till we are one, till I have my own true Jane far away from a thousand grating circumstances, that have long oppressed her heart and that embitter mine the instant I come within their sphere. O for God's sake, be good my Darling! Good and wise; and thou w[ilt] have the happiest husband, and be the happiest wife in the world. I do not mean compliant and affectionate: that you are already; but wise, clear-sighted towards me, and towards the new sphere of life (new in rank and object and all its properties); my true guardian spirit, my soul's friend, my own forever and ever! After all, why do I doubt? Because I doubt every thing; because Faith is not among my virtues, but only Sight.4 I swear we shall be happy: for I love thee; and with all my faults can never cease to love thee in heart, and in heart to long for thy good. Believe this, for it is true; and let it be an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast, as thy love is to me:

“Was Du mir als Weib geworden,
Was Du Mir als Mädchen warst,
Magst in deinem Innern lesen
Wie Du Dir es offenbarst.”5

—Alas poor sentiment—I must stick to business henceforth.— Kiss me and say yes to all this, and kiss me again and send me away. I am ever and all thy own— T. Carlyle

You will write on Thursday?6 I shall have your answer on Saturday.— Compliments ut solet et decet [as is customary and seemly].— I am in haste and headache (are you recovered? were you at Dabton? Are you frightened, sad, joyful[,] hopeful or repentant; angry at me or fond of me?[)] God bless you! Vale et me ama [Farewell and love me.]