April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO [ARY SCHEFFER] ; 23 December 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18441223-TC-ASC-01; CL 18: 296-297


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea London, 23 decr, 1844

My dear Sir

Mrs Rich delivered me the Mask of Goethe which you were so very kind as send me by her. I have fixed it advantageously on one of my Bookshelves, where daily, for a long while I hope, it will remind me in a beneficent manner of you and of him. Many thanks are due from me. This is, of all the portraits, medals &c which I have seen of Goethe, by far the most eloquent representation of him to me: a strange shadow of the very face itself, as it looked and lived in this world; a veritable fragment of the Past Appearances (to me the most important of them all for some centuries), strangely surviving here, now when they are gone, all melted into Formlessness again, into the Still Sea again! It is very tragic, very significant to me.

I return you many thanks; all the more grateful as I have not yet the happiness of being personally known to you. Your great Art with all its resources could hardly have furnished me a more interesting Product than this very simple one. For one does ask of your Art this fundamental question: How did great Men, and great Phenomena which we have never seen, look? This answered, if it ever could be completely answered, all were answered that the Plastic Artist has in charge. Your Gift is very valuable, and greatly enhanced by the kindness of your procedure to me in respect of it.

If you ever come to England I shall bespeak the pleasure of making acquaintance with you; as certainly, if I ever come again to Paris, I will not fail to go in quest of one so favourably shadowed forth to me in this and in many more important ways.

A benevolent Lady Madame Baudrand1 is a friend of yours; to whom I will desire you to offer my regards.

Wishing you right good speed in your noble enterprises, “Ohne Hast aber ohne Rast [Without haste yet without rest]”:2

I remain, / Most sincerely Yours / T. Carlyle