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Sartor resartus; the life and opinions of Herr Teufelsdrockh online

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his thought, though as yet it was by their mere earthly
and trivial name that he named them. But now, if on
a soul so circumstanced, some actual Air-maiden,


incorporated into tangibility and reality, should cast
any electric glance of kind eyes, saying thereby 'Thou
too mayest love and be loved ; ' and so kindle him,
good Heaven, what a volcanic, earthquake-bringing,
all-consuming fire were probably kindled ! "

Such a fire, it afterwards appears, did actually burst-
forth, with explosions more or less Vesuvian, in the
inner man of Herr Diogenes ; as indeed how could it
fail ? A nature, which, in his own figurative style, we
might say, had now not a little carbonized tinder, of
Irritability ; with so much nitre of latent Passion, and
sulphurous Humor enough ; the whole lying in such
hot neighborhood, close by "a reverberating furnace
of Fantasy : " have we not here the components of
driest Gunpowder, ready, on occasion of the smallest
spark, to blaze-up ? Neither, in this our Life-element,
are sparks anywhere wanting. Without doubt, some
Angel, whereof so many hovered round, would one
day, leaving " the outskirts of Esthetic Tea" flit nigher ;
and, by electric Promethean glance, kindle no despi-
cable firework. Happy, if it indeed proved a Firework,
and flamed-off rocketwise, in successive beautiful
bursts of splendor, each growing naturally from the
other, through the several stages of a happy Youthful
Love ; till the whole were safely burnt-out ; and the
young soul relieved with little damage ! Happy, if it
did not rather prove a Conflagration and mad Explo-
sion ; painfully lacerating- the heart itself ; nay perhaps
bursting the heart in pieces (which were Death) ; or at
best, bursting the thin walls of your "reverberating fur-
nace," so that it rage thenceforth all unchecked among
the contiguous combustibles (which were Madness) :
till of the so fair and manifold internal world of our


Diogenes, there remained Nothing, or only the "crater
of an extinct volcano ! "

From multifarious Documents in this Bag Capricor-
nus, and in the adjacent ones on both sides thereof, it
becomes manifest that our philosopher, as stoical and
cynical as he now looks, was heartily and even fran-
tically in Love : here therefore may our old doubts
whether his heart were of stone or of flesh give way.
He loved once ; not wisely but too well. And once
only : for as your Congreve needs a new case or wrap-
page for every new rocket, so each human heart can
properly exhibit but one Love, if even one ; the " First
Love which is infinite" can be followed by no second
like unto it. In more recent years, accordingly, the
Editor of these Sheets was led to regard Teufelsdrockh
as a man not only who 'vould never wed, but who
would never even flirt ; whom the grand-climacteric
itself, and St. Martin's Summer of incipient Dotage,
would crown with no new myrtle-garland. To the
Professor, women are henceforth Pieces of Art ; of
Celestial Art, indeed ; which celestial pieces he glories
to survey in galleries but has lost thought of purchasing.

Psychological readers are not without curiosity to
see how Teufelsdrockh, in this for him unexampled
predicament, demeans himself ; with what specialities
of successive configuration, splendor, and color, his
Firework blazes-off. Small, as usual, is the satisfac-
tion that such can meet with here. From amid these
confused masses of Eulogy and Elegy, with their mad
Petrarchan and Werterean ware lying madly scattered
among all sorts of quite extraneous matter, not so
much as the fair one's name can be deciphered. For,
without doubt, the title Blumine, whereby she is here
designated, and which means simply Goddess of


Flowers, must be fictitious. Was her real name Flora,
then ? But what was her surname, or had she none ?
Of what station in Life was she ; of what parentage,
fortune, aspect? Specially, by what Pre-established
Harmony of occurrences did the Lover and the Loved
meet one another in so wide a world ; how did they
behave in such meeting ? To all which questions, not
unessential in a Biographic work, mere Conjecture
must for most part return answer. "It was appointed,"
says our Philosopher, ' ' that the high celestial orbit of
Blumine should intersect the low sublunary one of our
Forlorn ; that he, looking in her empyrean eyes, should
fancy the upper Sphere of Light was come down into
this nether Sphere of Shadows ; and finding himself
mistaken, make noise enough."

We seem to gather that she was young, hazel-eyed,
beautiful and some one's Cousin ; highborn, and of
high spirit ; but unhappily dependent and insolvent ;
living, perhaps, on the not too gracious bounty of
moneyed relatives. But how came " the Wanderer"
into her circle ? Was it by the humid vehicle of ^Esthe-
tic Te. , or by the arid one of mere Business ? Was it
on the hand of Herr Towgood ; or of the Gnadige Frau,
who, as an ornamental Artist, might sometimes like to
promote flirtation, especially for young cynical Non-
descripts ? To all appearance, it was chiefly by Acci-
dent, and the grace of Nature.

"Thou fairWaldschloss," writes our Autobiographer,
" what stranger ever saw thee, were it even an absolved
Auscultator, officially bearing in his pocket the last
Relatio ex Ac/is he would ever write, but must have
paused to wonder ! Noble Mansion ! There stoodest
thou, in deep Mountain Amphitheatre, on umbrageous
lawns, in thy serene solitude ; stately, massive, all of


granite; glittering in the western sunbeams, like a
palace of El Dorado, overlaid with precious metal.
Beautiful rose up, in wavy curvature, the slope of thy
guardian Hills ; of the greenest was their sward, em-
bossed with its dark-brown frets of crag, or spotted by
some spreading solitary Tree and its shadow. To the
unconscious Wayfarer thou wert also as an Ammon's
Temple in the Libyan Waste ; where, for joy and woe,
the tablet of his Destiny lay written. Well might he
pause and gaze ; in that glance of his were prophecy
and nameless forebodings. "

But now let us conjecture that the so presentient
Ausculator has handed-in his Relatio ex Actis ; been in-
vited to a glass of Rhine-wine ; and so, instead of re-
turning dispirited and athirst to his dusty Town-home,
is ushered into the Gardenhouse, where sit the choicest
party of dames and cavaliers : if not engaged in ^Esthe-
tic Tea, yet in trustful evening conversation, and per-
haps Musical Coffee, for we hear of "harps and pure
voices making the stillness live." Scarcely, it would
seem, is the Gardenhouse inferior in respectability to
the noble Mansion itself. "Embowered amid rich
foliage, rose-clusters, and the hues and odors of thou-
sand flowers, here sat that brave company ; in front,
from the wide-opened doors, fair outlook over blossom
and bush, over grove and velvet green, stretching, un-
dulating onwards to the remote Mountain peaks : so
bright, so mild, and everywhere the melody of birds
and happy creatures : it was all as if man had stolen a
shelter from the Sun in the bosom-vesture of Summer
herself. How came it that the Wanderer advanced
thither with such .forecasting heart (ahndungsvoll), by
the side of his gay host ? Did he feel that to these soft
influences his hard bosom ought to be shut ; that here,


once more, Fate had it in view to try him ; to mock
him, and see whether there were Humor in him ?

"Next moment he finds himself presented to the
party ; and especially by name to Blumine ! Pecu-
liar among all dames and damosels glanced Blumine,
there in her modesty, like a star among earthly lights.
Noblest maiden ! whom he bent to, in body and in
soul ; yet scarcely dared look at, for the presence filled
him with painful yet sweetest embarrassment.

" Blumine's was a name well known to him ; far and
wide was the fair one heard of, for her gifts, her graces,
her caprices : from all which vague colorings of Rumor,
from the censures no less than from the praises, had
our friend painted for himself a certain imperious Queen
of Hearts, and blooming warm Earth-angel, much
more enchanting than your mere white Heaven-angels
of women, in whose placid veins circulates too little
naphtha-fire. Herself also he had seen in public
places ; that light yet so stately form ; those dark
tresses, shading a face where smiles and sunlight played
over earnest deeps : but all this he had seen only as a
magic vision, for him inaccessible, almost without
reality. Her sphere was too far from his ; how should
she ever think of him ; O Heaven ! how should they
so much as once meet together ? And now that Rose-
goddess sits in the same circle with him; the light of
her eyes has smiled on him ; if he speak, she will hear
it ! Nay, who knows, since the heavenly Sun looks
into lowest valleys, but Blumine herself might have
aforetime noted the so unnotable ; perhaps, from his
very gainsayers, as he had from hers, gathered wonder,
gathered favor for him. Was the attraction, the agita-
tion mutual, then ; pole and pole trembling towards
contact, when once brought into neighborhood ? Say


rather, heart swelling in presence of the Queen of
Hearts ; like the Sea swelling when once near its Moon !
With the Wanderer it was even so : as in heavenward
gravitation, suddenly as at the touch of a Seraph's wand,
his whole soul is roused from its deepest recesses ; and
all that was painful and that was blissful there, dim
images, vague feelings of a whole Past and a whole
Future, are heaving in unquiet eddies within him.

"Often, in far less agitating scenes, had our still
Friend shrunk forcibly together ; and shrouded-up his
tremors and flutterings, of what sort soever, in a safe
cover of silence, and perhaps of seeming Stolidity.
How was it, then, that here, when trembling to the
core of his heart, he did not sink into swoons, but rose
into strength, into fearlessness and clearness ? It was
his guiding Genius (Damon] that inspired him ; he
must go forth and meet his Destiny. Show thyself
now, whispered it, or be forever hid. Thus sometimes
it is even when your anxiety becomes transcendental,
that the soul first feels herself able to transcend it ; that
she rises above it, in fiery victory ; and borne on new-
found wings of victory, moves so calmly, even because
so rapidly, so irresistibly. Always must the Wanderer
remember, with a certain satisfaction and surprise, how
in this case he sat not silent, but struck adroitly into
the stream of conversation ; which thenceforth, to
speak with an apparent not a real vanity, he may say
that he continued to lead. Surely, in those hours, a
certain inspiration was imparted him, such inspiration
as is still possible in our late era. The self-secluded
unfolds himself in noble thoughts, in free, glowing
words ; his soul is as one sea of light, the peculiar home
of Truth and Intellect ; wherein also Fantasy bodies-
forthform after form, radiant with all prismatic hues."


It appears, in this otherwise so happy meeting, there
talked one "Philistine ; " who even now, to the general
weariness, was dominantly pouring-forth Philistinism
(Philistriositdteri) ; little witting what hero was here
entering to demolish him ! We omit the series of So-
cratic, or rather Diogenic utterances, not unhappy in
their way, whereby the monster, "persuaded into
silence," seems soon after to have withdrawn for the
night. "Of which dialectic marauder," writes our
hero, " the discomfiture was visibly felt as a benefit by
most : but what were all applauses to the glad smile,
threatening every moment to become a laugh, where-
with Blumine herself repaid the victor? He ventured
to address her, she answered with attention : nay what
if there were a slight tremor in that silver voice ; what
if the red glow of evening were hiding a transient
blush !

"The conversation took a higher tone, one fine
thought called forth another : it was one of those rare
seasons, when the soul expands with full freedom, and
man feels himself brought near to man. Gayly in light,
graceful abandonment, the friendly talk played round
that circle ; for the burden was rolled from every heart ;
the barriers of Ceremony, which are indeed the laws of
polite living, had melted as into vapor ; and the poor
claims of Me and TJiee, no longer parted by rigid fences,
now flowed softly into one another ; and Life lay all
harmonious, many-tinted, like some fair royal cham-
paign, the sovereign and owner of which were Love
only. Such music springs from kind hearts, in a kind
environment of place and time. And yet as the light
grew more aerial on the mountain-tops, and the shadows
fell longer over the valley, some faint tone of sadness
may have breathed through the heart ; and, in whispers


more or less audible, reminded every one that as this
bright day was drawing towards its close, so likewise
must the day of Man's Existence decline into dust and
darkness ; and with all its sick toilings, and joyful and
mournful noises, sink in the still Eternity.

"To our Friend the hours seemed moments ; holy
was he and happy : the words from those sweetest
lips came over him like dew on thirsty grass ; all bet-
ter feelings in his soul seemed to whisper, It is good
for us to be here. At parting, the Blumine's hand was
in his : in the balmy twilight, with the kind stars
above them, he spoke something of meeting again, which
was not contradicted; he pressed gently those small
soft fingers, and it seemed as if they were not hastily,
not angrily withdrawn."

Poor Teufelsdrockh ! it is clear to demonstration thou
art smit : the Queen of Hearts would see a "man of
genius" also sigh for her ; and there, by art-magic, in
that preternatural hour, has she bound and spell-bound
thee. "Love is not altogether a Delirium," says he
elsewhere ; "yet has it many points in common there-
with. I call it rather a discerning of the Infinite in the
Finite, of the Idea made Real ; which discerning again
may be either true or false, either seraphic or demoniac
Inspiration or Insanity. But in the former case too,
as in common Madness, it is Fantasy that superadds
itself to sight ; on the so petty domain of the Actual
plants its Archimedes-lever, whereby to move at will
the infinite Spiritual. Fantasy I might call the true
Heaven-gate and Hell-gate of man : his sensuous life
is but the small temporary stage (Zeitbuhne), whereon
thick-streaming influences from both these far yet near
regions meet visibly, and act tragedy and melodrama.
Sense can support herself handsomely, in most coua-


tries, for some eighteen pence a day ; but for Fantasy
planets and solar-systems will not suffice. Witness
your Pyrrhus conquering the world, yet drinking no
better red wine than he had before. " Alas ! witness
also your Diogenes, flame-clad, scaling the upper Heaven
and verging towards Insanity, for prize of a "high-
souled Brunette, " as if the earth held but one and not
several of these !

He says that, in Town, they met again : " day after
day, like his heart's sun, the blooming Blumine shone
on him. Ah ! a little while ago, and he was yet in
all darkness : him what Graceful (Holde) would ever
love ? Disbelieving all things, the poor youth had
never learned to believe in himself. Withdrawn, in
proud timidity, within his own fastnesses ; solitary
from men, yet baited by night-spectres enough, he saw
himself, with a sad indignation, constrained to renounce
the fairest hopes of existence. And now, O now !
' She looks on thee,' cried he : ' she the fairest, noblest ;
do not her dark eyes tell thee, thou art not despised ?
The Heaven's-Messenger ! All Heaven's blessings be
hers ! ' Thus did soft melodies flow through his heart ;
tones of an infinite gratitude : sweetest intimations that
he also was a man, that for him also unutterable joys
had been provided.

' ' In free speech, earnest or gay, amid lambent glances,
laughter, tears, and often with the inarticulate mystic
speech of Music : such was the element they now
lived in ; in such a many-tinted, radiant Aurora, and
by this fairest of Orient Light-bringers must our Friend
be blandished, and the new Apocalypse of Nature
unrolled to him. Fairest Blumine ! And, even as a
Star, all Fire and humid Softness, a very Light-ray
incarnate ! Was there so much as a fault, a ' caprice/


he could have dispensed with ? Was she not to him
in very deed a Morning-Star ; did not her presence
bring with it airs from Heaven ? As from ^Eolian
Harps in the breath of dawn, as from the Memnon's
Statue struck by the rosy finger of Aurora, unearthly
music was around him, and lapped him into untried
balmy Rest. Pale Doubt fled away to the distance ;
Life bloomed-up with happiness and hope. The past,
then, was all a haggard dream ; he had been in the
Garden of Eden, then, and could not discern it ! But
lo now ! the black walls of his prison melt away ; the
captive is alive, is free. If he loved his Disenchantress ?
Ac/i Gott ! His whole heart and soul and life were hers,
but never had he named it Love : existence was all a
Feeling, not yet shaped into a thought."

Nevertheless, into a Thought, nay into an Action, it
must be shaped ; for neither Disenchanter nor Disen-
chantress, mere "Children of Time," can abide by
Feeling alone. The Professor knows not, to this day,
"how in her soft, fervid bosom the Lovely found deter-
mination, even on hest of Necessity, to cut asunder
these so blissful bonds." He even appears surprised
at the " Duenna Cousin," whoever she may have been,
"in whose meagre, hunger-bitten philosophy, the re-
ligion of young hearts was, from the first, faintly ap-
proved of. " We, even at such distance, can explain it
without necromancy. Let the philosopher answer this
one question. What figure, at that period, was a Mrs.
Teufelsdrockh likely to make in polished society?
Could she have driven so much as a brass-bound Gig,
or even a simple iron-spring one ? Thou foolish " ab-
solved Auscultator," before whom lies no prospect of
capital, will any yet known "religion of young hearts "
keep the human kitchen warm ? Pshaw ! thy divine


Blumine, when she "resigned herself to wed some
richer, "shows more philosophy, though but "a woman
of genius," than thou, a pretended man.

Our readers have witnessed the origin of this Love-
mania, and with what royal splendor it waxes, and
rises. Let no one ask us to unfold the glories of its
dominant state ; much less the horrors of its almost in-
stantaneous dissolution. How from such inorganic
masses, henceforth madder than ever, as lie in these
Bags, can even fragments of a living delineation be
organized? Besides, of what profit were it ? We view,
with a lively pleasure, the gay silk Montgolfier start
from the ground, and shoot upwards, cleaving the liq-
uid deeps, till it dwindle to a luminous star : but what
is there to look longer on, when once, by natural
elasticity, or accident of fire, it has exploded ? A hap-
less air-navigator, plunging, amid torn parachutes,
sand-bags, and confused wreck, fast enough into the
jaws of the Devil ? Suffice it to know that Teufelsdrockh
rose into the highest regions of the Empyrean, by a
natural parabolic track, and returned thence in a quick
perpendicular one. For the rest, let any feeling reader,
who has been unhappy enough to do the like, paint it
out for himself : considering only that if he, for his per-
haps comparatively insignificant mistress, underwent
such agonies and frenzies, what must Teufelsdrockh's
have been, with a fire-heart, and for a nonpareil Blu-
mine ! We glance merely at the final scene :

" One morning, he found his Morning-star all dimmed
and dusky-red; the fair creature was silent, absent,
she seemed to have been weeping. Alas, no longer a
Morning-star, but a troublous skyey Portent, announc-
ing that the Doomsday had dawned I She said," in a
tremulous voice, They were to meet no more. " Th


thunderstruck Air-sailor is not wanting to himself in
this dread hour : but what avails it ? We omit the
passionate expostulations, entreaties, indignations,
since all was vain, and not even an explanation was
conceded him ; and hasten to the catastrophe. " ' Fare-
well, then, Madam ! ' said he, not without sternness,
for his stung pride helped him. She put her hand in
his, she looked in his face, tears started to her eyes ; in
wild audacity he clasped her to his bosom ; their lips
were joined, their two souls, like two dew-drops, rushed
into one, for the first time, and for the last ! " Thus
was Teufelsdrockh made immortal by a kiss. And
then? Why, then "thick curtains of Night rushed
over his soul, as rose the immeasurable Crash of
Doom ; and through the ruins as of a shivered Universe
was he falling, falling, towards the Abyss. "




WE have long felt that, with a man like our Professor,
matters must often be expected to take a course of their
own ; that in so multiplex, intricate a nature, there
might be channels, both for admitting and emitting,
such as the Psychologist had seldom noted ; in short,
that on no grand occasion and convulsion, neither in
the joy-storm nor in the woe-storm, could you predict
his demeanor.

To our less philosophical readers, for example, it is
now clear that the so passionate Teufelsdrockh, pre-
cipitated through "a shivered Universe " in this extraor-
dinary way, has only one of three things which he can
next do : Establish himself in Bedlam ; begin writing
Satanic poetry ; or blow-out his brains. In the progress
towards any of which consummations, do not such
readers anticipate extravagance enough ; breast-beat-
ing, brow-beating (against walls), lion-bellowings of
blasphemy and the like, stampings, smitings, break-
ages of furniture, if not arson itself?

Nowise so does Teufelsdrockh deport him. He
quietly lifts his Pilgerslab (Pilgrim-staff), " old business
being soon wound-up ; " and begins a perambulation
and circumambulation of the terraqueous Globe !
Curious it is, indeed, how with such vivacity of con-


ception, such intensity of feeling, above all, with these
unconscionable habits of Exaggeration in speech, he
combines that wonderful stillness of his, that stoicism
in external procedure. Thus, if his sudden bereave-
ment, in this matter of the Flower-goddess, is talked
of as a real Doomsday and Dissolution of Nature, in
which light doubtless it partly appeared to himself, his
own nature is nowise dissolved thereby ; but rather is
compressed closer. For once, as we might say, a
Blumine by magic appliances has unlocked that shut
heart of his, and its hidden things rush-out tumultuous,
boundless, like genii enfranchised from their glass
phial : but no sooner are your magic appliances with-
drawn, than the strange- casket of a heart springs-to
again ; and perhaps there is now no key extant that
will open it ; for a Teufelsdrockh, as we remarked, will
not love a second time. Singular Diogenes ! No
sooner has that heart-rending occurrence fairly taken
place, than he affects to regard it as a thing natural,
of which there is nothing more to be said. "One
highest hope, seemingly legible in the eyes of an
Angel, had recalled him as out of Death-shadows into
celestial Life : but a gleam of Tophet passed over the
face of his Angel ; he was rapt away in whirlwinds,
and heard the laughter of Demons. It was a Calen-
ture," adds he, "whereby the Youth saw green
Paradise-groves in the waste Ocean-waters : a lying
vision, yet not wholly a lie, for he saw it. But what
things soever passed in him, when he ceased to see it ;
what ragings and despairings soever Teufelsdro'ckh's
soul was the scene of, he has the goodness to conceal
under a quite opaque cover of Silence. We know it
well ; the first mad paroxysm past, our brave Gneschen
collected his dismembered philosophies, and buttoned


himself together ; he was meek, silent, or spoke of the
weather and the Journals : only by a transiently knit-
ting of those shaggy brows, by some deep flash of
those eyes, glancing one knew not whether with tear-
dew or with fierce fire, might you have guessed what
a Gehenna was within ; that a whole Satanic School
were spouting, though inaudibly, there. To consume
your own choler, as some chimneys consume their own
smoke ; to keep a whole Satanic School spouting, if

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Online LibraryThomas CarlyleSartor resartus; the life and opinions of Herr Teufelsdrockh → online text (page 10 of 22)