The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 1 October 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18521001-TC-JWC-01; CL 27: 313-316


Berlin (British Hôtel, unter den / Linden), 1 Octr, 1852—

Well, my poor little Goody, here you see we are; at the summit of these wanderings; from which, I hope, there is for me a swift perpendicular return before long, not a slow parabolic one as the ascent has been. We came four-and-twenty hours ago, latish last night, from Frankfurt on the Oder, from the field of Cunersdorf (a dreadful scraggy village, where Fritz recd his worst defeat) and various toils and strapazen [hardships]; very weary in a damp kind of night; and took shelter in the readiest Inn, from which we have just (half an hour ago) removed to this better, at least far grander one,—where perhaps there are beds one can sleep in, and the butter is not bitter;—alas, such sorrows attend the wayfarer; and his first refuge is to sit down and write, if haply he have any one to whom his writing will give a feeling of pity for him! This morning I got your letter at the Poste Restante, with one from Varnhagen (mere wind-music), and one from Miss Wynne, who appeared to be here in this very Inn where I now write, and who warmly recommended us to come to the same. Alas, we called at this Inn so indicated, on our way home; “Miss Wynne ist heuter abgereist, morgens früh um 7 Uhr, nach Dresden [Miss Wynne departed today, the first thing at 7 o'clock, for Dresden]!” So ended our chace of Miss Wynne: last night we might have seen her, and would, could the letters have been got at so late an hour; but today she is gone, and our paths do not cross again at all. There was truly in Berlin nobody whom it wd have given me so much satisfaction to see. Oh Goody, Goody dear! I do wish these sleepless joyless sad and weary wanderings were at an end! As by Heaven's help they now soon shall be.

And you too, poor little weary soul, you are quite worn out with that accursed “thorough repair”: would to Heaven we had never thought of it, but lived in the old black house we had, where at least was no noise of carpenters to drive one mad, no stink of paint to poison one. Driven out of the house again, and sleeping solitary in a little lodging: I declare it quite makes me sad to think of it;—and Morgan, if Morgan is the fundamental cause of it, deserves to be, as you pray, “particularly damned.” Confound him,—and confound the whole confused business, this abominable sorrowful and shockingly expensive tour to Germany included! But no, rather let us have patience, my Dear; we shall find that the rooms will come right by and by, and all fair toil on them be repaid; nay that the shockingly expensive tour to Germany, too, may pay its expenses one day. Nevertheless I do grieve for my poor little Jeannie and her horrible dusty botherations; and if she get thro' them well,—as I know she will, after all,—it will be a double praise to her, and to me a double and a treble pleasure, when all this chaff is gone down the wind again. Ah me, ah me!— But let me narrate, as usual,—only with greater brevity.

From Lobositz to Toplitz the last Letter brot you,—letter written in the so-called “Saxon Switzld,” and posted at that empty watering place amid the Bohemian Mountains, a place truly of adventures to us; which shall be forthcoming one day. No English, scarcely any civilized traveller seems to have accomplished the 30 or 40 English miles which lie between Lobositz and Zittau (the end of the next railway): we had a strange and strangest day of it in slow German stell-wagens; and in fact were horribly tired, before the thing in general ended by a seat in the soft-going swift and certain railway carriage, and the Inn at Herrnhut where we had to wait 4 hours of the stillest life you ever saw or dreamt of! Herrnhut (Lord's Keeping) is the primitive and still central city of the Moravian brethren: a place not bigger than Annan, but beautiful, pure and quiet beyond any Town on the Earth, I dare say, and indeed more like a Saintly dream of Ideal Calvinism made real than a Town of stone and lime where London Porter (not needed by me) is to be had for money. I will tell you abt Herrnhuth too some day, for it is among the notable spots of the world, and I retain a lively memory of it. But not of it, nor of dreary moory Frankfurt and its Cunersdorf villages, and polite lieutenants (for a Prussian Lieutt Adjutant knew me there, by “fame,” and was very polite witht knowing me) not of this, nor of any other phenomenon will I now speak—in fact, I am dead stupid; my heart nearly choked out of me, and my head churned to pieces; and I can, and should, write of nothing till once I got a little sleep again.

This morning, finding lodgings the first thing to be thot of, after Letters from the Poste Restante, I sent Neuberg out on that quest, I myself staying at home to write Masson's Testimonial (whh I did, sorrow on it, and hope it will still be in time): I had not yet finished, when poor N. returned, not with news of lodgings, but (in spite of my express prohibition) with Varnhagen to pay his compliments! Varnhagen is a hale, whitehaired, sexagenarian, of sturdy figure, and official-gentlemanly aspect; fully a cleverer man than I expected, with a dash of something hard and cunning in his eyes, at least something worldly which reminded me of the late Ld Ashburton, whom otherwise with his slightly turned-up nose, melodious official voice and solid-looking but unsteady figure he a little resembled or seemed to resemble. We talked very merrily, I in bad German, understanding every word of his good, for about an hour; when he went his way, with many flourishes, and a solemn invitation to Fräulein Solmar's,1—which I have neglected preferring to write to you, and whh only Neuberg has accepted. The rest of the day passed sorrily in fiddling to and fro abt Lodgings,—poor Ng is not good at coming to an issue in such cases, tho' full of zeal and good-will; and in short after upping and downing a good deal, we decided to give up the notion of “private lodgings,” and come to this Hôtel where Miss Wynne had been, there to stay out our week, in proper state, at least with fair prospects, if the Fates are kind and the streets not too noisy. I will not close till tomorrow; and can then report what kind of night there has been.— I ordered a hat today,—was not that a feat?— and got measured for it by an ingenious man, a citizen of the French Nation; very shifty men these are. I also made a violent attempt to buy a pair of gloves; thrice I repeated the attempt, but thrice the gloves wouldn't fit, and I was foiled. This and dining in a réstauration (on bad mutton chop with bread and Bordeaux wine, amid thick volumes of tobacco smoke) is really all the work I have done today, sinner that I am.— Berlin is loud almost as London, but in no other way great among the greatest. I shd guess it abt the size of Liverpool, and more like Glasgow in the straight openness of its streets. Many grand public edifices about this eastern end of the Town; but on the whole it looks in many quarters almost shabby, in spite of its noise and paint, so low are the houses for a Capital city, more like warehouses, or malt kilns with the very chimnies wanting (for within is nothing but stores). This unter den Linden (under the lime trees) is the one good street of the place; as if another Princes-street at 300 hundred yards distance and with tree-rows between them ran parallel to the Princes street we know: it is on the north side of this we live; grand rooms indeed, and not dearer than an Edinr lodging or nearly so dear as a London one, 2 guineas a week (1 guinea each): here in Heaven's name let me consider what I can do in Berlin, and with my whole strength if any strength is left me strive to do it. Heigho! what a blotting on this unfortunate paper, the last leaf but one that I have of this good kind of paper,—blotting that will not be available for writing to you farther. Neuberg too has come in, and crept modestly away to his room; never was there a more modest patient self-denying man,—to whom I must go and speak a word before bed-going. Good night, dear Jeannie mine, God bless thee ever; and may thy bit of sleep be good in Hemus Terrace, and may it soon change to Cheyne Row again, mine too. Amen.

2d Octr (Saturday 4 p. m.— The night yielded me a handsome modicum of sleep, handsome for these parts; and the lodging promises every way to be good. Certainly the most like a human bedroom of any I have yet had in this country.— After breakfast I went to the library; introduced myself, got catalogues of Fk Books; a dreary wilderness, mountains of chaff to one grain of corn; caught headache in the bad air within abt an hour; and set off to “the British Ambassador's”2 who can procure me liberty to take Books home. Well recd by the Brh Ambr, so soon as he had read Ld A's Letter; his wife too came in, and was very kind,—a Sister of good Mrs Edd Villiers,3 who had recommended me to her. All right. Have been in the Museum Picture Gallery since; endless Christs & Marys, Venuses, and Amor; at length one excellt Portrait of Fritz. For dinner now (quite wearied), and this must go. God ever bless thee, Dearest.

T. Carlyle


“British Hotel, unter den Linden Berlin”—and oh write immediately For I am weary wae and lonely, that I am!

blots,4 caught it here hard to say exactly when. avoid them!—