The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 20 September 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520920-TC-JWC-01; CL 27: 297-300


Weimar, 20 Septr, 1852—

Dearest, I get no word from you since the Bonn Letter, recd at Frankfurt; if anything have arrived at Frankft since, it will be waiting for me at Dresden, forwarded thither, where we hope to be in two days hence: at Weimar I can find nothing yesternight nor today; so before going to bed, I will write to you, whh will be my best remaining resource in the Letter way. Last night, I sat long, till everything was quiet in this Gasthof zum Erbprinz, writing to my Mother, all about Luther's localities: those of today belong more especially to you,—or at all events a word about myself out of them belongs to you. I write within half a gunshot of the Goethe'sche Haus and of the Schiller'sche: our own early days are intertwined in a kind of pathetic manner with these two. John has yet written nothing to me. Forster's “Paget” (or whatever he was) at Dresden refuses also to write in answer hither; he is perhaps absent from Dresden,—let him take his time in returning; at Dresden I shall feel it interesting not to see him, if that is his course instead of the other. Ach Gott, there are plenty of empty headed mortals to see, at Dresden and elsewhere! But to my Work.

At Homburg we had a quieter time than could have been expected; we staid out our 2 days and 3 nights, under tolerable circumstances; I finished my Books; saw the Schloss; where are many interesting Portraits, and a whole lot of Books about Friedrich, to the whole of which I might have had access witht difficulty had it been my cue to stay, whh it was not. I also saw the Augustenburgs, and spent an interesting hour with the good Duchess and her two sons and two daughters in a very Babylonish condition as to languages, but otherwise quite pleasant and luminous: the old gentn sat mostly silent, but looking genial; the Duchess (whose French seemed bad, and whose German was not clear to me) is a fine broad motherly woman, not quite unlike Mrs Donaldson of Tavistock Square,1—a Merchantess, Mrs Carlyle!—the girls, with their stiff English, were beautiful clear-eyed fair-skinned creatures, and happy in spite of their exile; the sons do do. It was here that I first heard of Wellington's death,—the night before we came away:—I also fell in with the poor little silent Wilson, Miss W.'s brother,2 and talked sympathetically to the victim of ennui. In fine, enough of Homburg; and may none of us soon see it again.

Of Marburg the ancient mediaeval and Luther'sche Town and Castle, where we stept out of the Railway for 2 hours or 3, be nothing said here; nor of the rail itself, tho' it was curious enough, filled with Alsatian miscellanies pilgriming to the Leipzig Fair (which now is): Cassel is a large dull Town; and there, in the best inn, was such an arrangt for sleeping as—Ach Himmel! I shall not forget those cowhorns, and “Höret ihr Herren” [Hear ye, Gentlemen]3 in a hurry. It was a night productive of “pangs which were rather exquisite,”—and nevertheless of some 3 hours of sleep, upon whh one could proceed, and say, It will not come back. I had also the pleasure to see that Hassenpflug's (the tyrannous, traitorous Court-minion's) wi[n]dows4 were broken, as we drove past in the morning,—towards Eisenach, where again was halt for Luther's and the Wartburg's sake. Of all that, you shall hear enough by and by: enough at present, it was a real gain to me, and I could not witht some worship look out of Luther's indubitable window, down into the sheer abysses over the Castle wall, and far and wide out upon the woody multitude of Hills; and reflect that here was authentically a kind of great man, and a kind of holy place if there were any such. In my torn-up sick exasperated humour I could have cried; but didn't. A nice drive of 15 miles brot us to Gotha, that afternoon: interesting things at Gotha; and best of all 5 hours of a kind of sleep or half-sleep, in a room, which was Napoleon's once upon a time! What think you of that?— Next day to Erfurt, and there Luther's Monk-cell, and a picture of him, and his old ink-stand and his queer old leaden window and outlook: after whh in 2 hours more of rail in the bright sunday afternoon or evg, day before yesterday,—Weimar; a little bright enough place, smaller than Dumfries, with three steeples, and totally witht smoke; standing amid dull undulating country, flat mostly, and tending towards ugliness except for trees. We were glad to get to the inn (by the worst and slowest of clatches), and there procure some chack of dinner.— Poor Marshall had engaged me the “quietest rooms in Germany,” ricketty bare crazy rooms (and with a noisy man snoring on the other side of the deal partition) yet really quiet in comparison; where I did sleep last night, and hope to do so this. Poor Marshall truly has been unwearied; wd take me into Heaven, if it depended on him: good soul, I really am a little grateful, hard as my heart is; and ought to be ashamed that I am not more. Neuberg too, veritably he is better than six couriers, and is a friend over and above. People are very good to me!— Goethe's house (whh was opened by favour) kept us occupied in a strange mood for 2 hours or more; Schiller's for one do:5 everybody knows the Goethe'sche &c Haus, and poor Schr and Goethe here are dandled about and multiplied in miserable little bustkins and other dilettantisms, till one is sick and sad! G's house is quite like the Picture, but about ⅓ smaller: on the whole his effective lodging, I found, was small, low-roofed, and almost mean to what I had conceived,—hardly equal (nay not at all equal had my little Architect once done her work) to my own at Chelsea. On the Bookshelves I found the last Book I ever sent Goethe (Taylor's Survey of Gn Poetry),6 and a crum of Paper, torn from some scroll of my own (Johnson,7 as I conjectured) still sticking in it after 20 years! Schiller's House was still more affecting: the room where he wrote, his old table (exactly like the model),8 the bed where he died (and a portrait of his dead face in it): a poor man's house and a brave, who had fallen at his post there.9 Eheu, eheu, what a world! I have since dined at poor Marshall's with two Weimarese Moderns;—one of them is Librarian here, of whom I shall get some use.10 But oh Heaven, that I were at home again; want of sleep, and “raal mentle awgony i' my ain inside” do hold me in such pickle always! Quick, quick, and let us get it done! Tomorrow afternoon we go off to Halle, next day (Wednesday) to Dresden; and about next Monday (I shd hope) to Berlin; where—ought not a week or so to suffice? “Berlin Poste Restante”: Oh be quick, quick; and God ever bless thee Dearest. Ever T. Carlyle

I forgot the Nassau flower last time; but here it now is!