The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JAMES MARSHALL ; 11 December 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18531211-TC-JMA-01; CL 28: 338-339


The Grange, Hampshire 11 decr, 1853—

Dear Marshall,

This morning I have received here your second Letter,—here in a big Country House, amid a big Christmas Party, where we are for a few days past;—and I will write you a word to that effect at once, tho' it be a brief one, owing to difficulties. I delayed always writing hitherto expecting daily that Wilson1 would signify to me the closure of your bargain: but the man has never done so, tho' he promised; nor has he yet written, but leaves me to hear the news first from the remoter extremity of the line.

However, it is at length all right, I hope; and indeed I am very glad, for the sake of both parties, that you have ended in this affirmative result. Wilson is a man of really excellent qualities, and certainly of high qualifications for the post he has now got. He is amiable to live with; he knows, and can teach; I think he may prove ornamental as well as useful among you, which latter alone he was bound to be. For one thing, if the Grand Duke is desirous, as appears, of an English connexion for behoof of his Weimar Schools, there could certainly have no one been discovered likelier for that object. Wilson is already widely known and esteemed in the English circles fit for you; and he seems to be already making movements for an English pupil-colony at Weimar, and to have high hopes on that side of the subject. He is a man of beautifully hoping temper:—I have warned him to beware of the opposite cognate extreme, and not to be too easily discouraged, if that really be (as I know not that it is at all) the weak point in him. But I know he will excite more good will from all of you; and would, were there no official relation in the case: so that after the first tumult is settled down, he will find Weimar (I expect) a very tolerably pleasant place to him.

I quite blush at the “thanks” of H.R.H. The Grand Duchess; my small service having been play not work, and a favour done to a deserving man of my own circle withal. Pray assure that high Lady that I long for an opportunity of doing something much more difficult under her orders, should that opportunity occur some day.— And so, for the present, we will wish Good-speed to Wilson and to the new Weimar Academy he is becoming part of; and hope this small negociation may answer its good end, and never be matter of repentance to any party concerned in it.

You must also speak a friendly word from me to Eckermann! The good soul Eckermann: I am truly sorry for what has happened; and take the chief blame, or the sole blame, upon myself, and my overhaste, and want of due inquiry. But I pray you assure the good Eckermann he has lost none of my friendly feeling towards him, nor anything of my real disposition to help him;—and that when the season of real distress arrives (should it unluckily ever arrive) he may count upon me, and any little faculty I might have, wholly as before this happened. And so let us forget it; there is nothing to be done with it but that.

I might write more to you; but as I said, my circumstances are bad. The very daylight is leaving me (shut out by these monstrous Ionic pillars and Greek architectures,2 sorrow on them, under these grey frozen skies!)—and there is a truly wondrous miscellany of Bishops, Foxhunters, Lords & Commons, not to speak of Ladies great and little, where by this time I am due down stairs.3— I am at heart very sad too; for certain reasons far away across the Scotch Border,—ah me!

So on the whole I will end. May you too have what they call a “merry Christmas,” and like it better than I do!— I remain

Yours always /

T. Carlyle.