The Collected Letters, Volume 11


TC TO JOSEPH NEUBERG ; 21 December 1839; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18391221-TC-JN-01; CL 11: 231-232


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea, / 21 Decr, 1839—

My dear Sir,

Will you accept a hasty word of thanks for your two beautiful lithographs, and the altogether friendly message that accompanied them.1 The Packet came to hand, safe and in due order, last night.

I find you are an enthusiastic man, as indeed most of my best friends have a tendency to be; and that you praise me very enthusiastically. Under penalty, a most severe penalty, of seeing myself changed into an enchanted “Bottom the Weaver” (with ears long, and hairy to the scratch!), I must not believe literally a word of what you or my two fair Nottingham Titanias2 so enthusiastically say; except indeed that you do really love me; and this I will, most literally and with all thankfulness, believe. Is not this, too, good news; the best of news? This, and the like of this, as our Goethe's Theresa says, “first makes the waste empty world into a peopled garden for one!”3— Of Nottingham, Snottingham [sic] and the old and new wonders in that point of space, I, having made acquaintance in school-years with Robin Hood and the rest of them, have long had a sufficiently romantic idea; but now it seems on the sudden as if I had got three household-establishments there,—nay three heart establishments, which are not to be hired like houses! Thanks to the donors; double and treble thanks to the fair donors, to the fair donor! I accept with thanks; and will myself take charge of reducing the enthusiasm to its due sobriety,—and escaping the fate of poor Bottom.

The lithographs are beautiful; the finest work I have ever seen of that sort; more like steel-engravings than lithographs. The Artist has ideas in his head, and surely one of the daintiest hands that ever Artist had. Would he were near you! He might then send me some portrait, silhouette, or other authentic shadow of my fair Titania,—who however shall be lovely to me (tell her) as a Dream, without any shadow.

And so valete, mei memores [farewell, remember me]; believing me always,

Yours with brotherly thanks,

T. Carlyle.