July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


TC TO JOSEPH NEUBERG ; 22 July 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580722-TC-JN-01; CL 34: 61-63


The Gill, 22 july, 1858—

Dear Neuberg,

I am glad to hear you have got your work so far advanced, and are about getting deliverance from the element of London for a while. You seem to stand it much better than I; tho' of course it is wholesome for no mortal.

I have spent here one of the idlest months that I can remember in my life,—just four weeks this day since I arrived in these solitudes;—utterly and steadfastly idle; yet far enough from easy; and not even left alone from talking, and jolting about on small errands, far more than I wished: in short I fear a disgracefully useless time,—if there be not, on the side of health (as is possible) some stock of improvement laid in, under a disguised form, whh is not always palpable to one's feelings at the present moment. I am so thoroughly smashed to pieces in late times, it is difficult to set me up again in any measure! My poor Wife's case too gives me great distress.— But we must still try to hope, in this “place of hope.”1 I consider for most part, I must really set myself to finish that unutterable business I have taken up; get my hands fairly washed of that; and leave the rest to follow as it can.

Thank you for your continual helpfulness to me. There are some Books perhaps you might manage to pick up for me; one old French Book there is, on the 7-Years War, whh I sent for a long time since without effect: I unluckily, in this scene, cannot recover the name of it; Bourchet2 is something like it, but not it (in Biographie Universelle3 I cd find the right name out again; but that chance is not yielded me here); I understood it to be a Book mainly of Official Documents, in 3 or 4 not very big volumes (Paris, 1768 or so?): I suppose if we even did know it, you cd not be expected to find it in your hasty transit thro' Paris. In a big Library Catalogue, recollecting “Bour”, whh strikes me as pretty likely the initial syllable, you mt have a chance to find the name, if that were of much use! I asked also, with passion, for any account of Maréschal Belleisle and Brother;4 but witht result. One Montalembert,5 on the Russian part of the 7-ys War, I already have; good for little. There must surely be some French Books on the Two First Silesian Wars; but except Dernière Guerre de Bohème6 (a very poor performance) I have found nothing whatever from their side.— Alas, I am aware withal what a melancholy poverty of help lies in all such Books as are conceivably extant; not to speak of probably attainable:—do not bother yourself much with anything of that.

I am also beginning to see that if I by any means could, an actual sight of the Battlefields wd be of real value, beyond any other likelihood there is! That is indisputable;—a certain Welsh Foxton7 offers himself as escort, if I had not that already. In short I am often painfully turning the matter over. But the “zwei ruhige Zimmer [two quiet rooms],” the &c &c!— I have not even Maps abt me (Larkin's Darstellung [reproduction]8 has not yielded hitherto, tho' it will soon): I enclose you a jotting of what names I can recollect; you may think abt it at Kissingen (thinking will do no ill!) & how, by a minimum of “ruhige Zimmer,” a poor seeing creature might get his eye run over those localities!— This Address, or Chelsea, is always good. Meanwhile a right happy voyage to you. Adieu. T. Carlyle