The Collected Letters, Volume 11


TC TO JAMES FRASER ; 24 August 1839; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18390824-TC-JFR-01; CL 11: 175-177


Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan, 24th August, 1839—

My dear Sir,

Your Printing Account for the 500 American Books shall be paid so soon as I get in contact with Banks and means of transmission. It proves, as most accounts do, considerably larger than was expected; but I compute that you have done what you could to keep it down to the right point; so we will pay it, and say nothing. I wish with my whole heart the Books were fairly at sea, and the other Miscellany Books fairly off sea;1 that so we might have done with that kind of transit-trade. I beg of you to use all despatch in getting the former embarked:—or perhaps you have already done it? I shall be right thankful to hear that they are past the Buoy of the Nore,2 let their voyage end where it can. Nothing, or very little, can now be made of that part of the adventure; we must look to the English 1500, which I am glad to hear you praise the appearance of. The binding in cloth is a change that I cannot but approve of very much.3

I am glad you have given the Meister to Robson;4 my imagination has all along represented him as a paragon in comparison with the others. We shall see.

As to the questions, I answer that the “Notice on Goethe” is to be printed where it now stands, namely at the beginning of the Travels; the “Translator's Preface” also where it stands, that is, at the beginning of the Apprenticeship.5 Some other slig[ht] announcement of perhaps three or four sentences in length ought possibly to precede this latter, and have reference to both.6 I could not enlarge the “Notice on Goethe” by 50 pages or conveniently alter it at all; but I could enlarge the Travels to such an extent, or even farther, tho' not without difficulty, and only with a certain hope of advantage from so doing.7

Have you got the German Romance by you? There are two other things in it well worth reprinting, and only two: Richter occupying volume 3d; Tieck occupying the half of volume 2nd. Are these things capable of being in any way gathered into this Enterprise, or incapable? At the time when Tait hesitated, I used to think we might print the Apprenticeship by itself, as one item, the first item, of “Carlyle's Translations from the German” (Apprenticeship and Travels were of course still better), the rest to follow as they could: Goethe, Richter, Tieck,— I should not care to shew myself in company with any other of them, and these are here somewhat in the proportion of their relative worth in my estimation, Goethe 3 or 4 times as large as Richter, 6 or 7 times as large as Tieck!— On the whole it was merely a vague glance or two I gave at such a scheme, nor do I care anything about it even now.8 It is only that Richter and Tieck ought not, in fairness, to sink; and the others ought, whenever they like. Perhaps you had better not mind it much, but hold by the Goethe, as at present.

It seems likely we shall be at Chelsea soon again. We have visits in Cumberland, Westmoreland; then home in a week or two. My address is here; franks will follow anywhither. No haste about my Brother's Letter; he is here safe beside me: send it by any frank.— Now, speed with your shipments!

Ever yours truly /

T. Carlyle