The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JOSEPH NEUBERG; 24 December 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18501224-TC-JN-01; CL 25: 318-320


Chelsea, 24 decr, 1850—

Dear Neuberg,

Many thanks for your kind and entertaining Letter, which arrived this morning, after being long expected. I have just written to Varnhagen a full and particular account of you; said that he would probably see you soon, that you had a Ms &c &c; so that, at any time, on presenting the inclosed card, or even on transmitting it by post, you will no doubt be cheerfully received: the perusal of the Ms. was hinted at, too, but not insisted on,—left wie die Gelegenheit es geben möchte [as the favorable moment occurs];—and among your other merits, uncommon in a literary character, I did not forget to mention that you were a “truly modest and practical man.” So I believe you will do very well together; and between you or otherwise, bring the matter to a good issue. Do not forget to write at least, from Berlin; and tell us how matters stand with yourself and that unruly City.

We have heard of you from time to time, thro' Wilkinson and others;—W. came here last week, one evening, with a Mr O'Doherty (or some such name) a French-Irish socialistic philosopher;1 he writes since that he has just changed his abode to “Sussex Lodge, Finchley Road,” which I think is a little nearer us than where you lived. He is as full of life and airy speculation as ever.

On the whole, you seem to have found in Bonn all that you could reasonably expect; and if you decided to continue there, whatsoever is wanting might gradually be added as well as in another place: some course of employment for your spiritual shoping2 capital; which, wherever you go, will be a restless necessity for you. A man, in all countries, has to “wait at the pool”;3 to look out assiduously for opportunities and capabilities; snatching them up as they arise, and diligently having for himself a way thro' the abyss by them. For it is an ever-fluctuating, madly boiling abyss, except so far as we can control it and subdue it, to one and all of us. Your perfect knowledge of England and things English seems to offer you some specific possibilities of function among Germans at Present. I doubt not you will keep awake; and do good work yet, while days are granted you.

Old Arndt, in your picture, looks charming; an excellent piece of Old-German stuff.4 I am delighted to hear of his vigorous delving and hoeing; but wish withal he would write us another Book: some autobiographic or other selection of his experiences in this world,—such as it beseems a πολυτλας and πολυμητις, a “many-counselled” and a “much-enduring”5 man to give in his old age!— I once read a Book of Dahlmann's on the English Civil War,6 which corresponded pretty well to your account of him. Heavy and hard as pig-iron; a solid methodic History of that Event,—with the religion, the soul of the whole business, “omitted by particular desire.” I remember he ends by saying that the good issue in such contests is so plain “a man may hit it, shooting blindfold”;—a suffrage parlt, namely; that is (or was then) the good issue according to Dahlmann.— There is a Younger Brandis, blind, who was once here, and taught me a little Danish;7 a most ingenious, vivacious, but rather fabulous man: have you seen anything of him in Bonn?

I went into Wales in the end of last july, then into Scotland, and so, after some uncomfortable roving, back to my own shop here. I was, and still am tho' to a less degree, in altogether frightful health; incapable of going farther in my angry dialogue with the world till I have gathered myself a little again. The world, with its Papal Aggressions, Crystal Palaces, and such like, is and remains a great ass. Enchanted ass,—for there is always a man imprisoned there withal, poor devil!— We like your Letters very well in the Leader.8 My Wife sends many regards. Yours ever truly T. C.