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with their degrees, if they cared to take and result, some imperfect resemblance any, which they rarely did, at an age when of our high seminary." Still Carlyle an English youth has not quitted a public profited much by the four years spent at school. Carlyle was barely fourteen when college. He read hard, even to the point he entered the University of Edinburgh. of injuring his health; he acquired a It was then in its glory. Some of its sound and, for his years, unusual knowlprofessors possessed a European reputa- edge of mathematics, and he might have tion. The eloquent and acute Dr. Thom. boasted with Gibbon, but without the as Brown lectured on moral philosophy; qualification which Gibbon appended, that Playfair held the chair of natural phiios- he had attained a stock of erudition that ophy; the ingenious and quarrelsome Sir would have puzzled a doctor. Having John Leslie taught mathematics; and passed through the arts curriculum of the Dunbar was professor of Greek. They university, Carlyle ought, in the natural were a group of men likely to impress course of things, to have proceeded to much a susceptible lad of genius, and the study of theology, for he had been especially one who had a strong bias to- destined' by his father to be a minister. wards matheinatical studies. But Car. There is some tradition that matters had Tyle was not so_impressed. For Dr. gone so far that it had been arranged in Brown “Miss Brown,” or “that little what church Carlyle should appear as a man who spouted poetry," as he derisively “probationer.” But he did not carry out called him — he had no liking. Against his father's intentions. “ Now that I had Playfair he had a grudge, because, after gained man's estate,"' to quote his own having worked hard at the class studies, account of this crisis in his life, “ I was on calling at Playfair's house for the cer- not sure that I believed the doctrines of tificate to which he was entitled, he found my father's kirk; and it was needful I the document worded in a somewhat nig- should now settle it. And so I entered gardly spirit. The only professor for my chamber and closed the door, and whom he seems to have had much regard around me there came a trooping throng was Sir John Leslie, who had some points of phantasms dire from the abysmal of affinity to his pupil; and the feeling depths of nethermost perdition; doubt, was returned. Carlyle made few friends fear, unbelief, mockery, and scoffing were at the university. He was lonely and there; and I wrestled with them in agony contemplative in his habits. He took no of spirit.” The end of all this storm was part in the proceedings, and his name is the settled conviction that he could not not to be found on the list of members of enter the Church. Carlyle at once turned the Speculative Society, which every his hand to work by which he could earn clever student was then expected to join. his bread, and for a year or two he taught In after years he laid it down that “the mathematics in the burgh school of Antrue university of these days is a collec-nan, where he had but lately been a pupil. tion of books," and on this principle he He remained there only two years; at acted. Not content with ransacking the their close he was appointed teacher of college library, he read all that was read. mathematics and classics in the burgh able in various circulating libraries school of Kirkcaldy. At the other end among others, one founded by Allan Ram- of “the lang toun was a private advensay and acquired knowledge which ex- ture school, called the Academy, where tended far beyond the bounds of the Edward Irving taught some of the known university course. He left the univer- tongues and mathematics. The two sity with no regret. “ Had you anywhere young men of genius were already acin Crim Tartary,” he observes with refer- quainted with each other; indeed, it was ence to the university at which Teufels- at Irving's instigation, and with a view to dröckh studied, but probably with a cov- be near him, that Carlyle went to Kirkert glance at his own Alma Mater, “walled caldy. There, however, were riveted the in a square enclosure; furnished it with bonds of a friendship destined to be tested a small, ill-chosen library; and then by trials, some of them of a very personal turned loose into it eleven hundred Chris. character. These bonds were sometimes tian striplings, to tumble.about as they list- stretched, but never broken, not even ed, from three to seven years; certain per- when Carlyle saw with sorrowfulness his sons, under the title of professors, being gifted friend pass into the regions of stationed at the gates, to declare aloud darkness and chaos whence he never rethat it was a University, and exact consid- turned. Teaching Fifeshire boys was not erable admission fees you had not, in- Carlyle's vocation. After staying about deed, in mechanical structure, yet in spirit | two years in Kirkcaldy he quitted it, leav.
ing behind him the reputation of a too | a subject to which he was so often to stern disciplinarian, to begin in Edinburgh return. For some time after leaving the task of his life as a writer of books. Kirkcaldy, and until a year or two before At that date the capital of Scotland was his marriage, he acted as tutor to the still another Weimar. Men of letters had brilliant and amiable Charles Buller, not yet deserted it for London. Maga” teaching him, if not then, at least afterwas in its glory. Lockhart, John Wilson, wards, some other things besides matheMaginn, were in their brilliant prime; Jef- matics, as those who remember Buller's frey was at the head of the Edinburgh; views on pauperism, emigration, and colo. and the stalwart form of Scott, not yet bent nization will admit. About this period of by the load of misfortune and toil, might Carlyle's life the once famous John Scott be seen occasionally in the streets. Car- was editing the London Magazine, and lyle tried his 'prentice hand in Brewster's had gathered round him a group of clever - Edinburgh Encyclopædia,” to which he writers; Hazlitt, Lamb, Croly, Cary, and contributed many articles on geographical Allan Cunningham were a few of them. and biographical subjects; among others, Carlyle joined them. Here appeared, in articles on Sir John Moore, Dr. Moore, 1823, the first part of the Life of Schil. Nelson, the elder and younger Pitt, Mon- ler." No name was attached to it. Those taigne, and Montesquieu. These first who knew that it was Carlyle's work preessays at authorship have never been dicted great things from a writer who, in republished, and they do not, perhaps, de- youth, exhibited noble simplicity and maserve to be so. They give but faint, un- turity of style, and who had conceptions of certain promise of the author's genius and criticism very rare in those times. In the of those gists which made his later works following year he published, again anonyas individual as a picture by Albert Dü-mously, a translation of " Wilhelm Meisrer or Rembrandt. But they indicate ter's Lehrjahre," with misgivings, not patient industry and research and minute strange or unjustified, as to how his counattention to details; and they show that trymen would receive a:
book so repug: the author was accumulating those stores nant in many ways to the dominant taste. of varied knowledge upon which his im- Goethe was then no prophet out of his agination was to work in after years. own country. He was known to no EnHere and there is a stroke of force and glishman but De Quincey, Coleridge, and felicity. Occasionally the confidence of a few students of German literature. The his later style is anticipated, as, for ex novel was sneered at, and the savage, ample, when he refutes Montesquieu's elaborate invectives which De Quincey theory of the influence of climate on race hurled at Goethe did not spare the transand history. We recognize the author of lator. Carlyle's style was sharply critithe “French Revolution" in the vivid cised. Maginn, in after years, comdescription of the philosopher as a cheer- plained that Goethe had been translated ful and benign sage, talking with the from the Fatherlandish dialect of High peasants under the oak at La Brède. At Dutch to the Allgemeine Mid-Lothianish the instance of Sir David Brewster he of Auld Reekie," and that Carlyle was translated Legendre's Geometry and seeking to accliinatize “the roundabout, Trigonometry,” prefixing to the treatise a hubble-bubble, rumfustianish (iübble-bubshort and modest introduction on “ Propor-blen, riimfüsteanischen), roly-poly, grotion.” Brewster's name was put to the merly of style, dear to the heart of a son of translation. Carlyle received for his work the Fatherland.” Undeterred by sneers £ 50, a sum not unimportant in those and remonstrances, Carlyle published in days. He was always proud of his essay 1827 several volumes entitled “German on“ Proportion,” and with good reason. Romance," containing translations from De Morgan pronounced it "a thoughtful the chief writers of the romantic school, and ingenious essay, as good a substitute such as Musæus, La Motte Fouqué, for the fifth book of Euclid as could be Tieck, Hoffmann, and Richter, with short given in speech;” and it is certainly clear, biographical notices. This work was, concise, and direct. Carlyle about this as he himself admitted, mere journey. time mastered German; his brother was work," not of his own suggesting or destudying in Germany, and the letters siring- mere preparation for the true from Dr. Carlyle heightened his interest occupation of his genius. Before putting in its language and its literature, which out his full strength he seems to have was then in full blossom. The first fruits felt the necessity of retiring to some seof this knowledge was an article contrib- cluded spot where he might mature and uted to the New Edinburgh on Faust,” | arrange his seething and tumultuous
thoughts. The occasion of doing so pre-everywhere, and the mountain air are the best sented itself. In 1827 he married Miss medicine for weak nerves. This daily exerJane Welsh, the only daughter of Dr. cise, to which I am much devoted, is my only Welsh, of Haddington, a descendant of recreation, for this nook of ours is the loneliest
in Britain six miles removed from any one John Knox. She had inherited a farm lying remote and high up among the hills likely to visit me. of Dumfriesshire; and there Carlyle found Carlyle toiled hard in this temple of inthe Patmos which his perturbed spiritdustrious peace. In these obscure youthneeded. To the farmhouse of Craigen- ful years, he wrote, read, and pianned puttock - a plain, gaunt, two-story dwell-much, and made incursions into many ing, with its face blankly looking towards domains of knowledge. Writing in Dethe hill, up which the little gooseberry cember of 1828 to De Quincey of his garden runs, partly sheltered on one side occupations, he says :from the fierce winds by a few badlygrown ash-trees, almost cut off from the Such a quantity of German periodical and
mystic speculation embosomed in plain Scotch world by a morass, and reached only by a
peat-moss being nowhere that I know of to be rough cart-road to this peaceful and
met with. We have no society, but who simple abode, some fifteen miles from has in the strict sense of that word? I have town or market, came Carlyle and his never had any worth speaking about since I bride in 1828. Here for six years he came into the world. . . . My wife and I are lived with this one friend and companion busy learning Spanish ; far advanced in “Don
a companion worthy of him; a woman Quixote" already. I purpose writing mystical of much character and practical wisdom, reviews for somewhat more than å twelvegiven to silence when he talked, but a month to come; have Greek to read, and the talker scarcely inferior to himself, as those whole universe to study (for I understand less
and less of it). who knew her well could testify; a woman, as he himself termed her, of“ bright In a bare, scantily-furnished room of the invincibility of spirit.” Here for these farmhouse, now shown with pride to visyears he wrote and read much “ a whole itors, he pursued this plan and wrote cartload of French, German, and Ameri- essay after essay, and did much of his can and English journals and periodicals best work. Here were composed his espiled upon his little library table ” — med says on Burns, Goethe, and Johnson, itating or holding much high converse Richter, Heyne, Novalis, Voltaire, and with his wife as they wandered on foot or Diderot. “ Sartor Resartus” was horseback over the black and silent moors posed here; the manuscript to be laid and unending hills- :- an expanse of bleak, aside until some other time. It was here, sour uplands, watered by nameless rills too, while, as Mr. Lewes remarks, Carand shadowed by mists and rolling va- lyle was rambling over the wild moors pors, yet not wholly wanting in rugged “ with thoughts at times as wild and and tender beauties congenial to his spirit. dreary as those moors,” that he conceived In a well-known letter to Goethe, Car- the notion of sending to his master at lyle describes his life at Craigenputtock. Weimar a birthday present as a token of He says :
gratitude and affection on the part of
himself and a few other English admirers Our residence is not in the town itself, but of Goethe. The memento was a seal, defifteen miles to the north-west of it, among the signed by Mrs. Carlyle; it was accompagaunt hills and black morasses which stretch nied by a letter written by Carlyle himwestward through Galloway to the Irish Sea. self. The epistle runs: In this wilderness of heath and bog, our es. tate stands forth as a green oasis, a tract of We said to ourselves, as it is always the ploughed, partly enclosed and planted ground, highest duty and pleasure to show reverence where corn ripens and trees afford a shade, where reverence is due, and our chief, and peralthough surrounded by sea-mews and rough- baps our only benefactor, is he who by act and wooled sheep. Here, with no small effort, word instructs us in wisdom; so we, the underhave we built and furnished a neat, substantial signed, feeling towards the poet Gocthe as dwelling. Here, in the absence of a profes- the spiritually taught towards their spiritual sional or other office, we live to cultivate liter- teacher, are desirous to express that sentiment ature according to our strength, and in our openly and in common ; for which end we have own peculiar way. We wish a joyful growth determined to solicit his acceptance of a small to the roses and flowers of our garden; we English gift, proceeding from us all equally, hope for health and peaceful thoughts to fur- on his approaching birthday; so that while the ther our aims. The roses, indeed, are still in venerable man still dwells among us some part to be planted, but they blossom already in memorial of the gratitude we owe him, and we anticipation. Two ponies, which carry us I think the whole world owes him, may not be
wanting.' And thus our little tribute, perhaps | very obstinate, and, I am afraid, very conamong the purest that men can offer to man, ceited.” “It is a great pity, for he is a now stands in visible shape, and begs to be received. May it be welcome and speak per-| capacity of being an elegant and impres
man of genius and industry, and with the manently of a most close relation, though wide sive writer.” Carlyle was, alas! never seas flow between the parties.
fated to become the “elegant writer" In this happy mountain home Carlyle wliom Jeffrey saw in his critical mind's was not wholly cut off from the world. eye. Jeffrey lived to see his awkward Fame came to him, though thus secluded, contributor take rank as a classic, but and thither from time to time journeyed that consummation of elegant authorship strangers desirous of seeing and holding which he desired he was never to behold. converse with a man whose written words With Professor Napier, on the other hand, in the Edinburgh and New and Foreign Carlyle's dealings were much to his satisQuarterly had made them feel that a new faction, and he preferred to write for the teacher had come into the world. Some- Edinburgh. times an Edinburgh man of letters would “Sartor Resartus,” that unique collectravel hy coach to Dumfries and walk ortion of meditations and confessions, pasride the fifteen long Scotch miles to sionate invective, solemn reflection, and Craigenputtock, making, perhaps, unex- romantic episodes from bis own life, was pected demands on the resources of the composed at Craigenputtock in 1831. It hospitable household, and compelling Mrs. had a difficulty in seeing the light. It is Carlyle to mount a pony and set out in not a little astonishing that this book, search of provisions. Thither came, every page of which is stamped with among many other strangers, Emerson, genius of the highest order, failed at first who had read and admired in New En- to find admirers or appreciators. The gland what Carlyle had written, and who publishers would have nothing to do with
full of amazement at his host's it. One declared that the author lacked bright, vivid talk, full of lively anecdote “tact,” which was probably true. Anand streaming humor, which flooded other pronounced the humor too Teutonic everything it looked upon. Carlyle con- and heavy a piece of criticism not withtributed to the Edinburgh Review, which out point. Even John Stuart Mill, who was still under the management of Jeffrey. afterwards delighted in the book, admitted The relationship was not perfectly smooth that when he saw it in manuscript he or entirely satisfactory to either editor or thought little of it. The general impreswriter, It was difficult to adjust the sion seemed to be that much genius and boundaries of the respective provinces, German had made the author mad. He Carlyle being apt to take offence at the himself was at times a little disheartened ruthless hacking and hewing of his work by repeated rebuffs. "I have given up in which Jeffrey indulged, and the latter the notion,” he says of “Sartor," in 1832, being cut to the quick by the eccentricities of hawking my little man
anuscript book of style displayed by his contributor, and about any further; for a long time it has surprised that Carlyle was not grateful lain quiet in a drawer waiting for a better for efforts to impart trim grace and polish day. The bookselling trade seems on the to his articles. Jeffrey once told Charles edge of dissolution; the force of pusing Sumner, who had made some remark can no further go, yet bankruptcy clamors about the deterioration in Carlyle's style at every door; sad faie! to serve the Devil, since the publication of the essay on and get no wages even from him! The Burns, that there had been, in fact, no poor Bookselling Guild, I often predict to change, and as much as suggested that myself, will ere long be found unfit for the the earlier writings owed their grace to strange part it now plays in our European his careful revision. In the recently world; and will give place to new and published correspondence of Professor higher arrangements, of which the coming Macvey Napier we can see the feeling of shadows are already becoming visible." Jeffrey and Carlyle toward each other. Not for seven years after its composition It was by no means unmixed friendliness. did "Sartor" appear as a volume. It "I fcar Carlyle will not do," writes the "had at last,” says its author, “to clip Aristarchus of Craigcrook to his sorely itself in pieces, and be content to struggle bullied and much-suffering successor in out, bit by bit, in some courageous maga1832, “that is, if you do not take the lib. zine that offered." erties and pains with him that I did, by Strengthening and helpful and rich in striking out freely, and writing in occa. fruit were these years in his Nithsdale sionally. The misfortune is that he is hermitage. They were the seed-bed of
his future achievements. There he un- | before Carlyle, had made himself an imravelled the tangled skein of his thoughts. mortal name, and passed away in 1822. There he laid up stores of knowledge, of Had Carlyle died thus early, what would health, of high resolutions for the work he have left but the memory among a few lying before him. There, in a solitude friends of brilliant but uncertain promise ? peopled only by books and thoughts and His genius was a fire which, slowly lit, the companionship of his wife, and con- slowly died. The first years after his verse with some congenial stranger, he coming to London were the most fruitful laid the sure foundations of a life which of his literary life. Essays, histories, was destined to be so complete. But the lectures, biographies, poured from his time came for him to leave Craigenput- brain with surprising rapidity. No booktock. A historian, a critic, a biographer, hack could have surpassed the regularity must needs have libraries within his reach. and industry with which he worked, late He must know men if he is to instruct and early, in his small attic. A walk bethem; and on a hillside or bleak moor he fore breakfast was part of the day's duties. cannot find to his hand all the materials | At ten o'clock in the morning, whether which are necessary when he essays to the spirit moved him or not, he took up write the history of the French Revolu. his pen and labored hard until three tion. Some ties which bound Carlyle to o'clock; nothing, not even the opening of Dumfriesshire had been severed. His the morning letters, was allowed to disfather had passed away full of years, and tract him. Then came walking, answerit became fit, and even necessary, that ing letters, and seeing friends. One of Carlyle should leave his mountain seclu- his favorite relaxations was riding in an sion and betake himself to London. He omnibus. In the evening he read and settled in Cheyne Row, in a small three prepared for the work of the morrow. storied house, which he never afterwards Success did not visit him at once. His quitted. The part of Chelsea which he form of genius not being readily classed chose had associations interesting to him under any of the established categories, as a man of letters. Dr. Smollett's old repelled ordinary readers of the time; he house, Don Saltero's coffee-house, and was not the mere popularizer of ideas Nell Gwynne's boudoir were close at already accepted; he had a gospel of his hand. He had Leigh Hunt as a neighbor. own to preach and disciples to convert and He was, as he himself says in a letter teach before it could be spread abroad. written shortly after he went to his new His best books were by no means instantahome, encompassed by a cloud of wit-neously successful. Even the “French nesses — good, bad, and indifferent. Revolution," with all its brilliancy and Chelsea has changed much since 1834. captivating tlan, had to wait for a pubLet any one recall the enthusiastic terms lisher. His “broad Brobdingnagian grin in which Leigh Hunt speaks of his escape of true humor” was not relished. One from the noise and dust of the New-road North British reviewer seemed inclined to the repose and quietude of a corner of to take southern opinion before commitChelsea, where the air of the country ting himself to being amused. Another came to refresh him, and where only pas- writer pronounced " Sartor Resartus” a toral cries of primroses and cowslips were “ heap of clotted nonsense.” Carlyle's to be heard in the streets. Carlyle lived style was held up as a fearful warning. He to know Chelsea in very altered circum- found his first warmest admirers on the stances. The fields which he could see other side of the Atlantic. The enthusi. from the windows of the attic, which was asm which his works excited in a few his study and place of work, were swal- minds was not always tempered with inlowed up by all-devouring brick and mor- telligence, and we have come across an tar, and hideous noises which came with American literary periodical of those increase of population vexed and dis- times which warns its readers that the tracted him, and were among the serious author of “ Sartor Resartus” is “not to discomforts of his life.
be consounded with Mr. Carlisle, now Carlyle was a man of mature years deceased, who was a confident and avowed when he removed to London. He had champion of infidelity.” Before fame in then done comparatively little. His intel- its common form had come to him, men lectual growth had been far from surpris- whose private opinions were to be future ingly fast. He was born a few months public opinion bad conceived the highest before Keats, and by 1821 Keats had sung notion of his powers and the future before his last song, and was at rest in his grave him; and the little parlor in Cheyne Row at Rome; Shelley, born only three years I had become the gathering place, the favor.