It did not have anything about the Wilhelm Meister, but I found this buried in it. Nor do I in the smallest abandon the hope that future days will be calmer than those that have passed and are passing over us. Depend upon it, my good friend, there is a time coming, when tho' we may not be great men, we shall be placid ones; when, having mended by much toil what is capable of mending in our condition, and resigned ourselves to endure with much patience what in it is incapable of mending, we shall meet together like toilworn way-farers descending the mountain cheerily and smoothly which they climbed with danger and distress. “We will laugh and sing and tell old tales” and forget that our lot has been hard, when we think that our hearts have been firm, and our conduct true and honest to the last. This should console us whatever weather it is with us: the task is brief; and great is the reward of doing it well.
I don't know for sure that Carlyle ever found those calmer days. At least, if you believe the complaints in his letter, he didn't. He wrote how he was a slacker when in fact he worked himself into ill health. He complained about every book he wrote, from the moment of conception till it was born to the world. As I wrote in a previous post, it seems that for every book he would describe it as a sorry enterprise, one he was anxious to be rid of.
I have to take and consider this advice, however, whether Carlyle actually achieved it or not. I'm still comining that mountain, not always cheerily. The cost in time and mental energy are sometimes almost exhausting. I go from completing this post to work on China Tour, hoping to get my 1,000 words written tonight—even though it's 8:45 p.m. already.
So, I will say along with Carlyle, the tast if breif; and great is the reward of doing it well. Oh, God, help me to embrace this and carry it through.