July-December 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 30


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 28 August 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550828-TC-JAC-01; CL 30: 44-47


Chelsea 28 Augt, 1855—

My dear Brother,

Your Letter has just come: I find you will be in Edinburgh tomorrow evening, and only for 24 hours; so I write immediately that I may still hit you there.1

There is nothing new with me, as good as nothing at all. The Brighton Cottage has gone to smoke,—by my own movement, that, for Tait and Jane were both very lively about it. But I durst not, for my own part, have any concern practically with such a thing; my experience of the like has been too sad, or my heart is worn now too weak. The green timber of this apartment, and the other phenomena I then struggled with from diese verdammte race [this damned race],2 have sunk heavy into me: stava bene, per star meglio &c!3 So the Cottage, and all cottages were renounced; and indeed had been before this Brighton was talked of. Monday morning gone a week, we did all set out, Jane, Tait and I, for London Bridge and Brighton; but the morning proving wet, we went no farther than the railway station; turned back there,—one of us nothing loth, being quite unfit for more tumbling. Yesterday Jane executed the thing herself, successfully; got a bathe, a stroll thro' Brighton, was home again at 10½ p.m., not so much improved, as by a former expedition of the kind,—it turns out today.

As to me I have been quite sleepless, disconsolate & good for little [or]4 nothing, ever since Suffolk; only lately have I begun to get round again. I suppose the travel, change and agitation, jumbles all the sediment up; and one is worse for the moment, tho' actually tending to a little melioration in time. Neuberg, down to Hastings, offered me his horse above a week ago; I could not be bothered actually taking it till it was half-forced on me last Sunday: I then rode to Addiscombe, and back after 3 hours silence and reading there; a beautiful quiet ride, which together with yesterday's do has done me a marked benefit. Last night, a sleep of 8 hours all in a piece: nothing like it for many months past. I will certainly keep this good little Animal till Ng need him again: he is well worth his victuals to me at that rate. Addiscombe too itself, nearly the prettiest place I ever saw, is open to us, horse and all, and we might have a gig &c &c: but owing to botherations, partly of a most insignificant kind, I fear there will no good whatever be got of that;—and in fact I wish it were all settled, one way or the other; as I anticipate, it will be, in the course of this week. House-maid cannot “cook,” this thing “cannot” and that thing “cannot”: it is really rather curious to see to what a pass things have reached in this universally “emancipated” world!— However, I can do witht more country, if more is not to be had; this excellt little Horse will itself do me good, in the solitary rotten-rows and rides I can have here;—and with a little increase of strength, perhaps I shall be able to push my unspeakable Fritz Operation forward,—and so assert myself against all men and devils once more in some small measure; which will be a great comfort indeed!—

If you find the Leith Steamer actually right, of course it is of no use undertaking new travel on this side of the water: if not, you will probably be driven on London; in which case a vacant room waits you here. We are sure not to be both in Addiscombe; most likely neither; and at any time I and my Horse could be back in an hour and half.

You will get to Cöthen by Steamer up the Elbe so far,—or perhaps by rail all the way? German river steamers are far the best of the kind I ever tried; your view too is worth getting, and to be had there alone by the modern methods of travelling. The country in that part of Germany has nothing of the picturesque, I believe; yet it is historical and worth seeing. If your Steamer bring you by the Southern channels of the Elbe, you will in the first hour from Hamburg, see Harburg, for instance (beginning of Lüneburg Heath, which I have often heard of in reference to George I and his Mother-in-law5); Lüneburg Heath is worth looking at on one hand, Mecklenburg-Schwerin6 on the other. But indeed the river does not offer much therabouts; and except Tangermünde (old residence of the Hohenzollern and prior Chiefs of Brandenburg) I remember nothing I should care much to see, all the way to Magdeburg,7—whither you come by rail, much sooner doubtless; and thence home to Cöthen in a couple of hours. Your travellings out from that, when once you are rested, will depend on circumstances. I conclude you will not neglect Dessau (Old Dessauer's place, Wallenstein at the Bridge of Dessau &c,8 for the old Dessauer's sake, glance at the Castle if you can): Rossbach will only be an hour and half from you (better read Tempelhof 7-years war abt it before you go);9 and you may see Halle (a famous place for old Books) and Giebichenstein (scene of “Ludwig the Springer's” fabulous Operation)10 as you pass,—and Lützen with the Schwenstein (of Gustaf Adolf),11 not far to eastward, when you are there. Leipzig, Dresden, &c you will not miss; Altenburg itself (scene of the Prinzenraub)12 is quite within reach; still more Eisenach (and Wartburg), Gotha &c.13— Before quitting Hamburg, go into a good Bookseller's shop, and buy, whole or part, Stieler's Map of Germany;14 this you will find a most profitable investment. It is an eminently correct and minute map; in 25 pieces, sold here for 25 /; any piece of it (yours chiefly are No 8, No 13) for 1 /.— — You will find that more didactic than all the Guides together, and indeed the Guides are a mere dead letter till you illuminate them well by something like that.— —Probably you will return by Frankfort and Maintz?15 Or you have already been there? I found nothing beautiful, little that was not scrubby and more or less uncomfortable to the English eye in that region, except always the Rhine which I found was a new sight to me, a Welt strom [universal river], and grew the nobler the longer I contemplated it.

I will answer when you write to me from Cöthen; which do not delay at all to do, or from Hamburg first if you are not in great pressure of hurry.

I want one16 old Book (or the loan of it, which I could return to any principal Town); if you fall in with it handy, buy it for me: FORMEY: Souvenirs d'un Citoyen17 (old Berlin French Clergyman; his Book is not here in Museum);—nay that is not the Book I want most; here is it. Klein: Annalen des Gesetzgebung (Preussen's, or some such adjunct), Vol. 5; which Vol V contains an account of Voltaire's Lawsuit with the Jew Hirsch, at Berlin, in 1750–51,18 and is the one of 50 accounts that has dates and proofs of exactitude in it. This, if you can anywhere find it, I will beg you at least to read & see what it will do for me. Of course all the rest of the Book will be mere dust and ashes to me; but I do much want that;—I think of borrowing it even, from some public Library, if I can get it no other way.— 3o Third Book I want, & cannot get to buy here, Margravine de Bareith's Mémoires.19 A copy that could be written upon is much wanted; very scarce here. 4o a Copy of Bielefeld: Lettres familières20 (costing a few shillings, 2 small voll. 1763),—tho' that I can dispense with; indeed do not want now except for saving of time; having had a copy of it borrowed this long while (and at length returned, to shut the inquietudes of the owner). Please make a Note of these 4 Books, and do what is convent for you in the matter. All of them, except Klein, I shd much prefer to buy: borrowing saves insignificant sums of money, and one dare not write on the margins (which is very importt to me in this hideous unindexed chaos), must not exceed time in keeping them, and so forth. I shall perhaps want other things, if you have any conveniences or success with these. Do not bother yourself with them at all.

The Blocksberg I never so much as saw, tho' I passed near it once:21 such are the picturesque capabilities of the rail! Wolfenbüttel, Brunswick22 there was a gas-lamp, man in oily blouse, and half a yard of old paling visible as representative of each city; and that was all. I might as well have been in Cheyne Row for the rest.

Well, I will now end here. Give my kind remembrances to your good Dr Hunter, whom I will wish well back from Paris.23 We shall hear a word from Edinburgh? To you brotherly adieu, and right good voyage.

Ever your affectionate Brother,

T. Carlyle