January-September 1845

The Collected Letters, Volume 19


TC TO KARL AUGUST VARNHAGEN VON ENSE ; 8 June 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18450608-TC-KAVE-01; CL 19: 75-76


Chelsea, 8 june, 1845—

My dear Sir,

I am still kept terribly busy without leisure at any hour: but no haste can excuse my neglecting [to]1 announce the safe arrival of your bounties, which arrive in swift succession, and ought to be acknowledged in word as well as thought.

The tiny Package of the Schiller Valuables had survived without damage the hazards of its long journey: it arrived here, after not much delay, several weeks ago, —just as the Printing of the Book was about completed: still in time. We admire much the new Portrait of Schiller. It was put at once into the hands of the Publisher; who, with all alacrity, set about engaging “the best Engraver,”—whose name I do not know;2 whose quality I much insisted on; and whom, accordingly I suppose to be busy with the operation even now. Hitherto I have heard nothing farther; my Publishers live far off in the heart of the City and its noises; and all my locomotions at this period direct themselves towards the opposite quarter. But of course I expect to see a Proof before they publish: if the Artist do his duty, it will not fail of welcome from all parties. I would thank you and the kind Madam von Kalb for all your kindness;—but you will not accept even of thanks. I suppose this must be the real Likeness of Schiller, in fact; whosoever spreads this abroad, to the gradual extrusion of the others, is doing a good thing! We have hung up the little medallions on the wall, where they shall many times remind us of you.3

Your Life of Blücher came next; which shall solace my earliest leisure;—and which in the meanwhile does not lie idle, but gets itself read with acceptance in the house. I forwarded the Copy to Mr Lockhart: I had by chance seen him the night before. He is not, and has not been, so poorly in health as your news had reported: a man of sharp humours, of leasible nerves; he complains somewhat, but is recovering;—a tough, elastic man. It is a strange element for a man, this London of ours; and the voice of what is called “Literature” in it gets more and more into the category of Jargon if you be a little in earnest in this world! Were there not something better meant than all that is said, it were a very poor affair indeed. “Verachtung, ja Nicht-Achtung [Contempt, yes disrespect]”: that really is the rule for it.

My poor Book on Cromwell will, if the Fates permit, get itself disengaged from the Abysses by and by.4 It is very torpid, after all that I can do for it; but it is authentic, indisputable; and earnest men may by patience spell out for themselves the lineaments of a very grand and now obsolete kind of man there! What else is the use of Writing? To explain and encourage grand dumb Acting, that is the whole use of speaking, and Singing, and Literaturing! That or nearly so.— Good be with you my dear Sir. With many thanks and regards Yours ever truly

T. Carlyle

I sent some Note about the Behemoth; which I hope you received, by the Ambassador's bag. Any farther inquiries on that or the like will find me prompt.