The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO RICHARD PLATTNAUER; 18 April 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510418-TC-RP-01; CL 26: 63-65


Chelsea, 18 April, 1851—

My dear Sir,

Any of my German or other Books is always at your service: but unluckily I possess no copy of Herder nor of Jean Paul,1—nothing now but a Titan and one or two small things of the latter, and of the former nothing whatever. I was lately reading his Cid,2. with some pleasure; but never had any work of his to myself.

If you specially want any volume of Jean Paul or of Herder, or indeed almost any common German volume, I believe I could procure you a loan of it from the London Library: but if its merely for general purposes of reading, I had rather you would restrict yourself to my own stock; which, besides Titan, contains Bouterwek, Eichorn (dull “Literary Histories” both);3. Büsching (Erzählungen [Tales] &c Leben im Mittelalter), do Hans Sachs;4 Varnhagen's Books (almost all, not quite bad reading almost any of them); Preuss (Friedh der Grosse, a good Book of its sort); Rahel's Briefe; W. von Humboldt Briefe an eine Freundin); Gentz (Werke); Novalis; Flögel (Geschichte der Komischen Litteratur); Luden (Gesch. des Dn volken); Forster's Wallenstein; Ulrich von Hutten's Werke &c.5— — Furthermore there is in English a compact copy of each of the following rather eligible-looking Books: Shakspeare; Ben Jonson; Massinger & Ford; Beaumont and Fletcher; Cicero's Letters (by Melmoth);6 D'Israeli (Curiosities of Literature, and Miscellanies of Literre,—this is Ben's father, rather a readable man);7 Clarendon's History; Artists of Spain; Laing's (Snorro Sturleson's) Sea Kings of Norway &c &c,8 Which are all, as I say, much at your service.

Your best plan therefore will be to write by return of post, directing Count Reichenbach9 what he is to ask for: any one or any quantity of these here mentioned is attainable without difficulty; almost any other Book, of course, can be attained, tho' with more difficulty: if you write at once, there is still time before Lord George;10—and once knowing how to suit you within our limits, we will proceed without loss of time.

Our weather has suddenly brightened up into perfect beauty; and improved the health of very many who were suffering by Influenzas during the bad Spring season. My Wife is tolerably well; and her dog ditto. Last night the Herr Graf and your Sister came over, and we had a very social hour and half with them. Unhappily the Lady cannot speak except in German, of which there is no great stock here for her; but she is very blithe and quick, and the Count has improved greatly in his English and in more important respects, and indeed seems very cheerful for so serious a man, and makes an amiable honourable figure to any person that can judge of men. If the Lady had once learned thoroughly to speak, they might do really altogether well here,—or well enough, which one must be content with in this world.

I am not very busy;—unwilling always to be quite idle if I can help it. The “Crystal Palace,” and the multitude of noisy noodles it is threatening to collect from all quarters, gives me no manner of joy whatever; indeed I am seriously meditating, all days, how I may best escape bodily from it and from all sound of it, as, one way or other, I think I must and shall do. Das wird vorübergehen; auch Das bleibt nicht ewig [That will pass over; even that will not last forever]: thank Heaven!

I shall be glad, meanwhile, if we can fit you in Books.

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle