October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO JOSEPH NEUBERG ; 28 March 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570328-TC-JN-01; CL 32: 114-116


[28 March 1857]

Dear Neuberg,—You are evidently taking far too much pains with that imbroglio of Scrawlings. I merely wanted you to run over the masses with your fresh (undigusted)1 eye; to judge what passages were worth the chance implied in having them copied by Wagner;2 to mark with a pencil stroke on the margin what he was to copy,—and send him home to do it. With strict and strictest charge to bring every line of the original back to me.— He has not done that in the case of George II;3 and I have sat, for 3 days, over that Piece, in the uttermost wretchedness, not knowing what on Earth to do with it,—or where to begin upon it,—owing to that want! But we will be patient: I do myself immeasurable mischief by the want of that virtue. No use asking Wagner what has become of the George II things: he will ‘drop a tear over himself’ (a very bad habit!)4—and that is all we shall get.

Please do not meddle with Soissons5 at all: send that home by him tomorrow straight hither;—and what of the other you have ready (not hurrying yourself) he is to commence copying (sworn to bring the original all back, and at least put it as he found it here)

My Wife is but little better,—improving I do however think. The Decker Books6 are not quite witht value: please ask Who wrote that Prinz Heinrich7 (rather a solid piece that), and those other Büchlein [little books] abt Ziethen,8 the Old-Dessauer &c, whh are of very flaccid quality, I fear. Berenhorst is by far the ablest man I have yet communicated with on Prussian Soldier-matters: unluckily an ill-tempered perverse kind of nature withal, whh much twists his judgements upon all manner of things.9 His hatred to Fritz is a kind of elixir of hatreds,—distilled to invisibility or nearly so, but felt in every page. I read him witht disgust,—tho’ slowly, his style too partaking of his temper, and being dreadfully screwed and twisted. I begin to see Frh may have had him in aversion, especially his “sympathy” on the disaster in Torgau Fight,—and have impatiently ordered him to go and mind his work elsewhere: “Er sammle Fuyards [Go and round up deserters]!”—

We are at home Tomorrow evg10 to you, at least I am

Yours always truly /

T. Carlyle

I believe it wd be a very thrifty thing if I took all these Papers and cast them into the fire at once. Perhaps I shall have virtue to do that one day;—it was always my plan hitherto11