July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


TC TO JWC ; 27 August 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580827-TC-JWC-01; CL 34: 158-160


Carzitz, Insel Rügen, bei Stralsund, 27 Augt 1858

Oh my Dearest, how glad am I to write to the[e]1 from here: since yesterday, my prospects & situation have miraculously mended, and at present I call myself a lucky kind of man! The special details remain for quiet evenings when we are together once again; but this is the summary, all that is needful at present: I am rid of Foxton, quite ad libitum [at liberty] free of scratching on the plaster; have had again a sound good sleep; and am lodged in the prettiest strange place you ever saw, among people kind to me as possible; am going to get my enterprise deliberately made feasible,—and as a preliminary mean to have a bathe in the Baltic Sea, so soon as this Note and one to Neuberg is done! The course of things was thus:

Yesterday about 11 a.m. after two rather sleepless and miserable nights on land, whh with the 3 preceding at sea, had reduced me to a bad pitch,—I had, with poor helpless but assiduous Foxton, stept out of the railway train at Rostock (biggish Sea Capital of Mecklenburg); and was hurrying along to get a place in the Stralsund Diligence, with no prospect but eight hours of suffocation and a night to follow witht sleep, when a jolly plump Lady attended by her maid addressed me with sunny voice and look, “Was not I Mr Carlyle?” “I am the Frau von Usedom,” rejoined she on my answer; “here to seek you” (64 miles from home!) “and you must go with me henceforth!” Hardly in my life had such a manus e nubilus [hand out of the clouds]2 been extended to me. I need not say how thrice gladly I accepted;—I had in fact done with all my labour then; and was carried on thenceforth like a mere child in arms, nothing to do or care for, but all conceivable accommodations gracefully provided me up hither to this pleasant Isle of the Sea, where I now am, a considerably rested man! We posted 45 miles, I sitting mainly on the box, smoking and gazing abroad; Foxton (whom after a while I put inside to do the talking) we dropt at Stralsund (6 p.m.) other side of the little strip of sea; and he is off to Berlin, or whither he likes; and I need not recal him again, except as sour to the fat of Neuberg, who is worth a million of him for helping one on and making no noise about it. Happy journey to poor Foxton!— After Stralsund, and our little bit of sea-steaming, in one of the brightest autumn evgs, we had still almost 20 miles into the strange Interior of this Rügen, “German Isle of Wight” as they call it,—a flat, bare, but cultivated place, with endless paths but no roads, strange oak-brick, red beehives of cottages very exotic looking, a very exotic scene altogether in the moonlight, and a voluble incessantly explosively demonstrative, but thoroughly good Madam v. Usedom beside me: most strange, almost as in a mährchen [folk tale] of Mother Buch's.3 But we had four swift horse, a nice light carriage, and went spanking along roadless; and in fine I am here, and have slept. The place is like nothing you ever saw; medieval, semi-patriarchal; half a farm-house, half a palace: but that I will describe some day at leisure.4— The Herr who is at Berlin (telegraphing and be-telegraphed at a fine rate) returns this night; has made arrangts &c, oh what arrangts, and even “spoken of it to the Prince of Prussia.”5 What is also, for practice, definitely lucky, Neuberg's Letter appointed hither (from The Gill) finds me this morning by post; and he will himself be in Berlin tomorrow night, there to wait till what time I please to appoint. The Herr v. Usedom, were he once here, must appoint me the times and the ways: Ng thinks, in about 2 weeks after our meeting, the thing might be got completed. Would it were so; and I home again, out of these foreign elements, good and bad! In a word, Darling; be at ease about me; and thank Heaven that I have human room to sleep in again, am seeing strange things not quite worthless to me, and in fact am in a fair way.

When I shall hear from you—alas, it cuts me to the heart when I think of that! For perhaps now (if Ng guess right) we shall not go to Dresden first, but begin at the other end of the circle. However, your Letter can be sent for from Dresden: write thither, immediately and largely as you can; I can still give you no better place, & need not confuse you by changing. “Poste restte, Dresden Saxony,” and you need not pay unless you like:—I don't, you see, and it comes to the same.

Probably this day you are in the railway train, my poor little woman! In my confusion yesternight, as I came along, I fancied that was Friday; and pictured out Mrs Pringle's reception of you at Carlisle, while my own here was going on: but perhaps you were only at Liverpool; perhaps—Oh my poor little Jeannie, if I knew you were but well, I think I cd be almost happy here today, in the silent sunshine, on these remote Scandinavian shores. God be with thee, my little Dear; and keep thee my now one possession, pretty much, in this world! In native Nithsdale too I hope there will be good days for thee; and we shall return with something to tell one another before long!—

I wrote to you from Hamburg instantly,—only to say I had arrived safe;—Letter was inclosed to John, that he might seek you out (if already gone, whh I now find you will hardly be), and make no delay for you. The address of this is also a little uncertain to me; but I think Thornhill must be the Post-Office; at all events it is certain to find you,—perhaps about Tuesday or Wedy next.

My regards and best thanks to the beneficent Mrs Pringle: if she will nurse you I will be grateful as for no other favour;—and I again I recommend you to your own best care, first of all. God bless thee, Dearest

T. Carlyle

The wind is singing and the sun sporting in the Lindens, and I hear doos cooing: windows up—two rooms all to mysell. “Coo, coo!”