The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JOSEPH NEUBERG ; 6 July 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520706-TC-JN-01; CL 27: 154-156


Chelsea, 6 july, 1852—

Dear Neuberg,

It is about a fortnight since your Letter came; but I delayed answering till the arrival of the Books could be announced, which latter event did not take place till last night.1 You were in good time for Aachen of the 17th, it appears, but the Courier was already heavy-laden, so von der Hosen2 put us off till the following 1st day of the month. No damage done, except the little disappointmen[t,] none at all. Everything was delivered here in perfect order, your seal signature and pack thread still in their places; a most welcome cheap cargo of Books, which will be very useful to me, and ought to teach me thankfulness to you for many a day to come. They are truly interesting Books, so far as the titles can indicate; Büsching and the Nikolai Anekdoten I am especially glad of; old Hübner too will teach me a great many things: it is astonishing what one may learn from consorting with authentic well-instructed persons, whatever subject they may be handling; a pity indeed, that all other kinds of persons could not be quite extinguished from the Writing Guild, when their presence is as that of vile hemlocks in a garden-bed, and no better, as numerous as it fatally is in these times! Thanks for the Battle of Molwitz too, and the Second Silesian War with its plans &c,3 whh was hitherto a dim subject with me, in spite of Dandy Jomini (a very poor creature with a big name) and other helps I had. A copy of Tempelhof (plates still wanting, but sent for) has arrived at the London Library, and got hither, in company with Coniaczo (Oesterreichischer Veteran); so that having now got the Kartoffelkrieg too,4 I am well furnished on that side. Many thanks to you;—and good luck to the German Antiquars, who, when one can get their ware without carriage, seem to be among the cheapest of mankind. I have had one Grägers Catalogue (Graeger of Halle), and have marked various Books in it; some of which I may by and by consult you upon,—if I do not come myself to look after that and other things!— One of our last new Library importations (along with Tempelhof‘) was the Hildebrandt Anekdoten,5 which you recommended on somebody's authority: six tiny duodecimos, very amusing, and in some sort instructive, tho' unluckily quite unauthenticated (thro'6 probably not untrue, for most part) and published witht any editing at all. Hildebrandt seems to be some Writer on Frederic,—possibly still alive;—his own authority is good for nothing, of course, his very knowledge and natural judgt (I perceive) being good for very little.— Does anybody about you know what became of the old Frederic Hat whh Gleim begged and took to Halberstadt with him!7 It explains an allusion in Jean Paul which I never understood before.— But we must draw bridle.

The editn of Heroes is out again;8 a “copy” not to be procured witht difficulty; I have therefore copied the small totality of changes to be made; and have send9 it to you,—unluckily on most infirm thin paper; which will task your poor eyes and patience as you read it. If there is anything absolutely invincible, send me the phrase again (with the approximate page), and I will help you. I have introduced, for this fourth editn, the corrections you suggested, and all is ready on my part, but the Bookseller (in this downbreak of the old modes of trade) seems to pause in a kind of amazet, uncertain rather how to shape himself,—forecasting in the distance what he calls “a general cheap edition.” Besides we are all electing and getting elected,—the most utterly stagnant elections-humour I have ever seen;—and the Quality are all fairly gone, a month before their time; and Books are not the thing wanted at present.

Varnhagen's Letter about the conditions and capabilities of Berlin checked all speculations in that direction for the present and next month: indeed when I look practically into Berlin, it is not as a joy but as a necessity that I can much contemplate a visit thither, Aesthetic Teas in Germany10 are not likely to be much lovelier to me than the like phenomena in England—ach Gott! Cultivated men of the “silent” (practical) sort whom I might hope to meet with there, would be far more instructive and far more welcome to me. At all events the Localities are what I must see (if I persist in Frederic): the Berlin ones more essentially than any,—tho' I think the Battlefields, added to the Riesengeberg and the country of Ziska11 & Rübezahl, wd be still more interesting as a sight.— Beyond question your offer is very seductive! And I can clearly answer that we are meditating hard on it, my wife and I, and have a real desire towards it, nay at times almost an enthusiasm,—tho', alas, we dare answer nothing positive, for at least a month to come. We have masons and carpenters, namely, in the House here, a “thorough repair” going on, which cannot be trusted to itself,—not till the painting come, will the critical eye (especially the female one) consent to withdraw itself. Let us wait in hope, and see how that and other conditions will take shape! You, if you have other projects you12 in the interim, we must not bind to wait on this chance; but if you were still waiting, certainly it wd be a real temptation.— Meanwhile, here is, since the last 3 days, a blaze of insupportable hot weather; only one prayer and outlook for the sons of Adam, “Rain, Thunder, Rain!”—this morning I awoke at 4, and have now had a long day of it (in my dressing closet upstairs) with the masons raging below!— Yours ever

T. Carlyle

The Hosen Postmaster at Aachen, it seems, is out; resigned or dismissed; and Bunsen does not yet tell me who is successor there.