The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO J. D. E. PREUSS ; 27 December 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18521227-TC-JDEP-01; CL 27: 377-378


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea London, 27 decr, 1852—

My dear Sir,

I am delighted to hear of you again; and in answering the Herrn Decker, cannot forbear to send you my compliments and acknowledgements. The kindness and frankness with which you treated me at Berlin; the ready charity with which you listened to my confused questions; and the great quantity of information and direction which I got, or perceived I could have got, from you: all this remains in vivid and grateful remembrance with me;—and I beg you to understand that it does and will do so.

I continue my studies on Frederick; but without any adequate success hitherto. So much remains obstinately dark on all sides of the luminously Great Man! The Anhalt-Dessaus, the Würtembergs, Sachsen-Gothas &c &c;1 nay the very Generals and Officers of Frederick's Armies; much more his daily companions (if one goes into practical details) and the general mode of Prussian Existence in his day,—remains fearfully chaotic after all one's inquiring; and is likely to be at last (in the words of our Milton) mere “darkness visible,”2 to a stranger! As I am reading the big noisy and empty Pauli (Berühmter Helden &c)3 at present,—swallowing ten cubic yards of wind for half a square-inch of superficial fact,—you will the better sympathize with my despondency in those respects.

I have sometimes thought of putting together a series of questions, to be addressed to you for what reply there is; and of course your Letter gives me new encouragement towards such a procedure,—which is likely enough actually to take place one day, in full confidence of finding indulgence from you at least.

With many thanks and regards, I remain

Yours sincerely obliged

T. Carlyle

Herrn Professor Preuss &c &c