July-December 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 30


TC TO G. H. LEWES ; 7 August 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550807-TC-GHL-01; CL 30: 17-18


Chelsea, 7 Augt, 1855—

Dear Lewes,—I go into Suffolk tomorrow, and am likely to be wandering about for some time; so that I find it will only be a bother to you, and a delay without advantage, to shoot those Proofs after me in my erratic course.1 I found it an amusing thing to read them in the evening, under the cloud of a quiet pipe in the Garden here: I had, as it were, nothing to suggest; and felt that my remarks, had they even been of value, came too late.

The Book goes on rapidly (Printer and all), and promises to be a very good bit of Biography; far, far beyond the kind of stuff that usually bears that name in this country and in others.— I desiderate chiefly a little change of level now and then: that you could get upon some height, and shew us rapidly the contours of the region we are got into, from time to time,—well abhorring to be drowned in details as Viehof2 and Co are, or to swim about (not quite drowned, yet drowning) in endless lakes of small matters whh have become “great” only by being much talked about by fools for the time being.

You missed the Malefactor's Scull that was on one of the steeples of Frankfort; no great matter. I found out, the other year, who the proprietor had been (a foolish radical abt 1600 or so);3 but have already almost forgotten again: a proof there was not much for you in the story of him.

Slightly more importt for you was another thing I remembered in the reading one of the Proofs, but did not then see how you were to get in: the “visitation of Wetzlar,” thorough Overhauling (with an eye to repair) of that “German Court or Chancery,” whh had been ordered by the Diet, and was just then beginning, about the time Goethe went.4 That was thought a great chance for a young lawyer,—to witness the very dissection of Themis.5 It came as other “Visitations” had done, to nothing. If you make an Appendix, there might be some notion taken of this,—tho' whither to go for summary information I cannot at this moment direct you. Try Pfeffel's Abrégé6 (in Brit. Mus.) whh has an Index. Or let it lie altogether!— Best speed to you, dear Lewes. Yours always truly

T. Carlyle