The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JAMES MARSHALL ; 19 September 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530919-TC-JMA-01; CL 28: 273-275


Addiscome Farm (for Chelsea London), 19 Septr, 1853

Dear Marshall,

The Tieck Portrait and Ms.,1 of which I shall be very glad, has not yet been heard of at Chelsea; but your Letter found me here yesterday,—a beautiful, hospitable, and quite solitary place, near Croydon (and the Archbishop of Canterbury),2 whither I fled some days ago to escape the tumults of London, and catch a little of the [skies] of Summer under fair terms. We are again building in Cheyne Row: a perfectly sound proof apartment this time; deaf utterly, did you even fire cannon beside it, and perfect in ventilation; such is the program,—calculated to be the envy of surrounding “enraged musicians,” and an invaluable conquest to me henceforth, if it prosper!

I am very glad to hear of Her Royal Highness's munificent intentions at Weimar; and shall be proud and ready to do any little service I can towards forwarding the same. Beyond question, there could a man be procured here, able to teach the Weimar people English, on fair terms; and tho' I have not myself much acquaintance with the class of persons in question, I could easily apply to those who have, and assist in selecting a man certifiable as fit, or the fittest our market would yield at the money in these Californian times. One man I already think of, and he is the only one I can recollect among my personal circle: a young man, bred as a School-assistant in the Islington region here, who applied to me lately to help him in getting a publisher for some German Translation he had been doing; and who, as the Translation was—declared impossible, had two interviews with me about a post of amanuensis to myself, which latter is not yet entirely settled in the negative. The name of him is Ede; he possesses shrewdness, Cockney sharpness, a fair share of natural faculty; probably not much profundity of education; but has the advantage of being accustomed to teach, and of already knowing German in some fair manner. I also suppose he might be among the cheapest discoverable, if on any terms he were willing. He is wedded, tho' I think hardly above 25; has neat enough, inoffensive, quiet manners; certainly not much of a high air,—in fact, a good deal the air of a clever London shopman; but capable of taking a better if he had the example well offered him. That is my recollection of Mr Ede; whose address3 I could probably dig out again were I at home; but whom I do not apply to in the present vague stage of the business. If a man of higher general education (which doubtless would be desirable) were determined on, perhaps the best chance, since existent salaries are inadmissible, would be to apply to some of the Professors in Edinburgh: a more accomplished youth could certainly be had there, I think, on not quite oppressive terms; nor would his pronunciation, at Weimar, be much of a drawback. On the whole there are resources;—and, as above said, I will willingly help in trying to do the best with them for Weimar's sake.

But first of all, you must evidently specify very much more distinctly what the thing in question practically is: 1$DE what salary will be allowed (in English money, and with a fair estimate, on your part, of Weimar relative prices); 2$DE whether there are any other advantages beyond the money; as free house &c &c. 3$DE When is the man wanted? And for how long will his engagement be certain, supposing he should not suit as a permanency. On all these and perhaps other points, you will have to take counsel with Her Royal Highness's4 adviser and managers in this matter; and so soon as anything definite is settled as to the main points, if you let me hear again, I will communicate with friend Ede, or do what else seems feasible for catching the suitable man.

Twice lately I have heard of Eckermann; and not in the joyfullest way. A certain Clerk in the Bank sent me within the last fortnight two Letters of E.'s, and asked my advice about selling three or four Goethe Autographs, which he had been forced to send over for that object. The Letters indicated illness &c on poor E.'s part; they were dated Kiel: I gave my advice about the Autographs; and greatly lamented, and do still, that poor E. was not in some way shielded from the pinch of utter poverty at any rate. He is thrifty enough, is not he? Privately speaking, it is not considered ornamental to the opulent Court of Weimar that Goethe's Ex-secretary should be left to extremities, if he is so amiable as he looks to the distant observer! But this, you perceive, is privatissimum. I myself have been thinking, more than once, a certain peculium [sum of money] for poor E. might be collected here, by private subscription, among the friends of Goethe,—if hard came to hard, and nobody else wd do it. Of this also you must not speak (to hurt poor E.'s feelings), except in the way of elucidation and to me. I am really concerned about the good genial innocent soul: it seems his poor boy5 also was unwell.—My second notice was from Neuberg, only a few days ago; who had seen him at Kiel, seen him eating bread and butter to his coffee, and been greatly delighted with him: unfortunately he does not date the scene at Kiel, which is altogether joyful and comfortable in comparison; writes of it from the Würzburg region, merely as a thing past some time ago.

Adieu, dear Marshall: I have still many things to do; and the inexorable clock-hands, hour and minute, are turning ever round. Last year, on such a day of sunny clearness and stillness, I was in Eisenach, looking on Luther's footprints in the Wartburg,—ach Gott! But thank Heaven, I shall not be disturbed at night by dogs, asses, cocks and fatal creatures, nor have any Keilkissen [wedge-shaped bolster] put below my head to sleep upon!— Yours ever truly

T. Carlyle