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Sartor resartus; the life and opinions of Herr Teufelsdrockh online

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Generals and Fieldmarshals for killing, there should be
world-honored Dignitaries, and were it possible, true
God-ordained Priests, for teaching. But as yet, though
the Soldier wears openly, and even parades, his butcher-
ing-tool, nowhere, far as I have travelled, did the
Schoolmaster make show of his instructing-tool : nay,
were he to walk abroad with birch girt on thigh, as if
he therefrom expected honor, would there not, among
the idler class, perhaps a certain levity be excited ? "

In the third year of this Gymnasic period, Father
Andreas seems to have died : the young Scholar, other-
wise so maltreated, saw himself for the first time clad
outwardly in sables, and inwardly in quite inexpressible
melancholy. "The dark bottomless Abyss, that lies
under our feet, had yawned open ; the pale kingdoms
of Death, with all their innumerable silent nations and
generations, stood before him ; the inexorable word,
NEVER ! now first showed its meaning. My Mother
wept, and her sorrow got vent ; but in my heart lay a
whole lake of tears, pent-up in silent desolation.
Nevertheless the unworn Spirit is strong ; Life is so
healthful that it even finds nourishment in Death :
these stern experiences, planted down by Memory in
my Imagination, rose there to a whole cypress-forest,
sad but beautiful ; waving, with not unmelodious sighs,
in dark luxuriance, in the hottest sunshine, through
long years of youth : as in manhood also it does, and
will do ; for I have now pitched my tent under a
Cypress-tree ; the Tomb is now my inexpugnable For-
tress, ever close by the gate of which I look upon the
hostile armaments, and pains and penalties of tyrannous


Life placidly enough, and listen to its loudest, threaten-
ings with a still smile. O ye loved ones, that already
sleep in the noiseless Bed of Rest, whom in life I could
only weep for and never help ; and ye, who wide-
scattered still toil lonely in the monster-bearing Desert,
dyeing the flinty ground with your blood, yet a little
while, and we shall all meet THERE, and our Mother's
bosom will screen us all ; and Oppression's harness,
and Sorrow's fire-whip, and all the Gehenna Bailiffs
that patrol and inhabit ever-vexed Time, cannot thence-
forth harm us any more ! "

Close by which rather beautiful apostrophe, lies a
labored Character of the deceased Andreas Futteral ; of
his natural ability, his deserts in life (as Prussian Ser-
geant) ; with long historical inquiries into the genealogy
of the Futteral Family, here traced back as far as Henry
the Fowler : the whole of which we pass over, not
without astonishment. It only concerns us to add, that
now was the time when Mother Gretchen revealed to
her foster-son that he was not at all of this kindred ; or
indeed of any kindred, having come into historical
existence in the way already known to us. " Thus
was I doubly orphaned," says he; "bereft not only
of Possession, but even of Remembrance. Sorrow and
Wonder, here suddenly united, could not but produce
abundant fruit. Such a disclosure, in such a season,
struck its roots through my whole nature : ever till the
years of mature manhood, it mingled with my whole
thoughts, was as the stem whereon all my day-dreams
and night-dreams grew. A certain poetic elevation,
yet also a corresponding civic depression, it naturally
imparted : / was like no other ; in which fixed-idea,
leading sometimes to highest, and oftener to frightful-
lest results, may there not lie the first spring of ten den-



cies, which in my Life have become remarkable enough ?
As in birth, so in action, speculation, and social posi-
tion, my fellows are perhaps not numerous."

In the Bag Sagittarius, as we at length discover,
Teufelsdrockh has become a University man ; though
how, .when, or of what quality, will nowhere disclose
itself with the smallest certainty. Few things, in the
way of confusion and capricious indistinctness, can
now surprise our readers ; not even the total want of
dates, almost without parallel in a Biographical work.
So enigmatic, so chaotic we have always found, and
must always look to find, these scattered Leaves. In
Sagittarius, however, Teufelsdrockh begins to show
himself even more than usually Sibylline : fragments of
all sorts ; scraps of regular Memoir, College-Exercises,
Programmes, Professional Testimoniums, Milkscores,
torn Billets, sometimes to appearance of an amatory
cast ; all blown together as if by merest chance, hence-
forth bewilder the sane Historian. To combine any
picture of these University, and the subsequent, years ;
much more, to decipher therein any illustrative prim-
ordial elements of the Clothes-Philosophy becomes such
a problem as the reader may imagine.

So much we can see ; darkly, as through the foliage
of some wavering thicket : a youth of no common en-
dowment, who has passed happily through Childhood,
less happily yet still vigorously through Boyhood, now
at length perfect in "dead vocables," and set down, as
he hopes, by the living Fountain, there to superadd
Ideas and Capabilities. From such Fountain he draws,
diligently, thirstily, yet never or seldom with his whole
heart, for the water nowise suits his palate ; discourage-
ments, entanglements, aberrations are discoverable or


supposable. Nor perhaps are even pecuniary distresses
wanting; for " the good Gretchen, who in spite of
advices from not disinterested relatives has sent him
hither, must after a time withdraw her willing but too
feeble hand. " Nevertheless in an atmosphere of Pov-
erty and manifold Chagrin, the Humor of that young
Soul, what character is in him, first decisively reveals
itself; and, like strong sunshine in weeping skies, gives
out variety of colors, some of which are prismatic.
Thus, with the aid of Time and of what Time brings,
has the stripling Diogenes Teufelsdrockh waxed into
manly stature ; and into so questionable an aspect,
that we ask with new eagerness, How he specially
came by it, and regret anew that there is no more ex-
plicit answer. Certain of the intelligible and partially
significant fragments, which are few in number, shall
be extracted from that Limbo of a Paper-bag and pre-
sented with the usual preparation.

As if, in the Bag Scorpio, Teufelsdrockh had not
already expectorated his antipedagogic spleen ; as if,
from the name Sagittarius, he had thought himself
called upon to shoot arrows, we here again fall-in with
such matter as this : "The University where I was
educated still stands vivid enough in my remembrance,
and I know its name well; which name, however, I,
from tenderness to existing interests and persons, shall
in nowise divulge. It is my painful duty to say that,
out of England and Spain, ours was the worst of all
hitherto discovered Universities. This is indeed a time
when right Education is, as nearly as may be, impos-
sible : however, in degrees of wrongness there is no
limit : nay, I can conceive a worse system than that of
the Nameless itself; as poisoned victual may be worse
than absolute hunger.


"It is written, When the blind lead the blind, both
shall fall into the ditch : wherefore, in such circum-
stances, may it not sometimes be safer, if both leader
and led simply sit still? Had you, anywhere in
Crim Tartary, walled-in a square enclosure ; furnished
it with a small, ill-chosen Library ; and then turned
loose into it eleven-hundred Christian striplings, to
tumble about as they listed, from three to seven years :
certain persons, under the title of Professors, being
stationed at the gates, to declare aloud that it was a
University, and exact considerable admission-fees,
you had, not indeed in mechanical structure, yet in
spirit and result, some imperfect resemblance of our
High Seminary. I say, imperfect ; for if our mechani-
cal structure was quite other, so neither was our result
altogether the same : unhappily, we were not in Crim
Tartary, but in a corrupt European city, full of smoke
and sin ; moreover, in the middle of a Public, which,
without far costlier apparatus than that of the Square
Enclosure, and Declaration aloud, you could not be
sure of gulling.

" Gullible, however, by fit apparatus, all Publics
are ; and gulled, with the most surprising profit. To-
wards anything like a Statistics of Imposture, indeed,
little as yet has been done : with a strange indifference,
our Economists, nigh buried under Tables for minor
Branches of Industry, have altogether overlooked the
grand all-overtopping Hypocrisy Branch ; as if our
whole arts of Puffery, of Quackery, Priestcraft, King-
craft, and the innumerable other crafts and mysteries
of that genus, had not ranked in Productive Industry
at all ! Can any one, for example, so much as say,
What moneys, in Literature and Shoeblacking, are
realized by actual Instruction and actual jet Polish;


what by fictitious-persuasive Proclamation of such ;
specifying, in distinct items, the distributions, circula-
tions, disbursements, incomings of said moneys, with
the smallest approach to accuracy? But to ask. How
far, in all the several infinitely-complected departments
of social business, in government, education, in manual,
commercial, intellectual fabrication of every sort,
man's Want is supplied by true Ware ; how far by the
mere Appearance of true Ware : in other words, To
what extent, by what methods, with what effects, in
various times and countries, Deception takes the place
of wages of Performance : here truly is an Inquiry big
with results for the future time, but to which hitherto
only the vaguest answer can be given. If for the
present, in our Europe, we estimate the ratio of Ware
to Appearance of Ware so high even as at One to a
Hundred (which, considering the Wages of a Pope,
Russian Autocrat, or English Game-Preserver, is
probably not far from the .mark), what almost prodi-
gious saving may there not be anticipated, as the
Statistics of Imposture advances, and so the manufactur-
ing of Shams (that of Realities rising into clearer and
clearer distinction therefrom) gradually declines, and
at length becomes all but wholly unnecessary !

"This for the coming golden ages. What I had to
remark, for the present brazen one, is, that in several
provinces, as in Education, Polity, Religion, where so
much is wanted and indispensable, and so little can as
yet be furnished, probably Imposture is of sanative,
anodyne nature, and man's Gullibility not his worst
blessing. Suppose your sinews of war quite broken ;
I mean your military chest insolvent, forage all but
exhausted ; and that the whole army is about to
mutiny, disband, and cut your and each other's throat,


then were it not well could you, as if by miracle, pay
them in any sort of fairy-money, feed them on coagu-
lated water, or mere imagination of meat ; whereby,
till the real supply came up, they might be kept to-
gether and quiet ? Such perhaps was the aim of Nature,
who does nothing without aim, in furnishing her
favorite, Man, with this his so omnipotent or rather
omnipatient Talent of being Gulled.

" How beautifully it works, with a little mechanism ;
nay, almost makes mechanism for itself! These Pro-
fessors in the Nameless lived with ease, with safety, by
a mere Reputation, constructed in past times, and then
too with no great effort, by quite another class of
persons. Which Reputation, like a strong, brisk-going
undershot wheel, sunk into the general current, bade
fair, with only a little annual repainting on their part,
to hold long together, and of its own accord assiduously
grind for them. Happy that it was so, for the Millers !
They themselves needed not to work ; their attempts
at working, at what they called Educating, now when I
look back on it, fill me with a certain mute admiration.

" Besides all this, we boasted ourselves a Rational
University ; in the highest degree hostile to Mysticism ;
thus was the young vacant mind furnished with much
talk about Progress of the Species, Dark Ages, Prejudice,
and the like ; so that all were quickly enough blown
out into a state of windy argumentativeness ; whereby
the better sort had soon to end in sick, impotent Skep-
ticism; the worser sort explode (crepireri) in finished
Self-conceit, and to all spiritual intents become dead.
But this too is portion of mankind's lot. If our era is
the Era of Unbelief, why murmur under it ; is there not
a better coming, nay c<jme ? As in long-drawn sys-
tole and long-drawn diastole, must the period of Faith


alternate with the period of Denial ; must the vernal
growth, the summer luxuriance of all Opinions, Spirit-
ual Representations and Creations, be followed by, and
again follow, the autumnal decay, the winter dissolution.
For man lives in Time, has his whole earthly being,
endeavor and destiny shaped for him by Time : only
in the transitory Time-Symbol is the ever-motionless
Eternity we stand on made manifest. And yet, in such
winter-seasons of Denial, it is for the nobler-minded
perhaps a comparative misery to have been born, and
to be awake and work ; and for the duller a felicity, if,
like hibernating animals, safe-lodged in some Salamanca
University, or Sybaris City, or other superstitious or
voluptuous Castle of Indolence, they can slumber-
through, in stupid dreams, and only awaken when the
loud-roaring hailstorms have all done their work, and to
our prayers and martyrdoms the new Spring has been
vouchsafed. "

That in the environment here mysteriously enough
shadowed forth, Teufelsdrockh must have felt ill at
ease, cannot be doubtful. " The hungry young," he
says, "looked up to their spiritual Nurses ; and, for food,
were bidden eat the east-wind. What vain jargon of
controversial Metaphysic, Etymology, and mechanical
Manipulation falsely named Science, was current there,
I indeed learned, better perhaps than the most.
Among eleven-hundred Christian youths, there will not
be wanting some eleven eager to learn. By collision
with such, a certain warmth, a certain polish was com-
municated ; by instinct and happy accident, I took less
to rioting (renommiren) than to thinking and reading,
which latter also I was free to do. Nay from the chaos
of that Library, I succeeded in fishing-up more books
perhaps than had been known to the very keepers there-


of. The foundation of a Literary Life was hereby laid : I
learned, on my own strength, to read fluently in almost
all cultivated languages, on almost all subjects and sci-
ences ; farther, as man is ever the prime object to man,
already it was my favorite employment to read char-
acter in speculation, and from the Writing to construe
the Writer. A certain groundplan of Human Nature and
Life began to fashion itself in me ; wondrous enough,
now when I look back on it ; for my whole Universe,
physical and spiritual, was as yet a Machine ! How-
ever such a conscious, recognized groundplan, the
truest I had, was beginning to be there, and by addi-
tional experiments might be corrected and indefinitely

Thus from poverty does the strong educe nobler
wealth ; thus in the destitution of the wild desert does
our young Ishmael acquire for himself the highest of
all possessions, that of Self-help. Nevertheless a desert
this was, waste, and howling with savage monsters.
Teufelsdrockh gives us long details of his "fever-
paroxysms of Doubt ; " his Inquiries concerning
Miracles, and the Evidences of religious Faith ; and
how "in the silent night-watches, still darker in his
heart than over sky and earth, he has cast himself
before the All-seeing, and with audible prayers cried
vehemently for Light, for deliverance from Death and
the Grave. Not till after long years, and unspeakable
agonies, did the believing heart surrender; sink into
spell-bound sleep, under the nightmare, Unbelief ; and,
in this hag-ridden dream, mistake God's fair living
world for a pallid, vacant Hades and extinct Pande-
monium. But through such Purgatory pain, " continues
he, "it is appointed us to pass ; first must the dead
Letter of Religion own itself dead, and drop piecemeal


into dust, if the living Spirit of Religion, freed from this
its charnel-house, is to arise on us, newborn of Heaven,
and with new healing under its wings. "

To which Purgatory pains, seemingly severe enough,
if we add a liberal measure of Earthly distresses, want
of practical guidance, want of sympathy, want of
money, want of hope ; and all this in the fervid season
of youth, so exaggerated in imagining, so boundless in
desires, yet here so poor in means, do we not see a
strong incipient spirit oppressed and overloaded from
without and from within ; the fire of genius struggling-
up among fuel-wood of the greenest, and as yet with
more of bitter vapor than of clear flame ?

From various fragments of Letters and other docu-
mentary scraps, it is to be inferred that Teufelsdrockh,
isolated, shy, retiring as he was, had not altogether
escaped notice : certain established men are aware of
his existence ; and, if stretching-out no helpful hand,
have at least their eyes on him. He appears, though in
dreary enough humor, to be addressing himself to the
Profession of Law ; whereof, indeed, the world has
since seen him a public graduate. But omitting these
broken, unsatisfactory thrums of Economical relation,
let us present rather the following small thread of
Moral relation ; and therewith, the reader for himself
weaving it in at the right place, conclude our dim
arras-picture of these University years.

" Here also it was that I formed acquaintance with
Herr Towgood, or, as it is perhaps better written, Herr
Toughgut; a young person of quality (von Adel), from
the interior parts of England. He stood connected, by
blood and hospitality, with the Counts von Zahdarm, in
this quarter of Germany; to which noble Family I
likewise was, by his means, with all friendliness,


brought near. Towgood had a fair talent, unspeakably
ill-cultivated ; with considerable humor of character :
and, bating his total ignorance, for he knew nothing
except Boxing and a little Grammar, showed less of
that aristocratic impassivity, and silent fury, than for
most part belongs to Travellers of his nation. To him
I owe. my first practical knowledge of the English and
their ways ; perhaps also something of the partiality
with which I have ever since regarded that singular
people. Towgood was not without an eye, could he
have come at any light. Invited doubtless by the pres-
ence of the Zahdarm Family, he had travelled hither,
in the almost frantic hope of perfecting his studies ;
he, whose studies had as yet been those of infancy,
hither to a University where so much as the notion of
perfection, not to say the effort after it, no longer
existed ! Often we would condole over the hard
destiny of the Young in this era : how, after all our
toil, we were to be turned-out into the world, with
beards on our chins indeed, but with few other attributes
of manhood ; no existing thing that we were trained to
Act on, nothing that we could so much as Believe.
'How has our head on the outside a polished Hat,'
would Towgood exclaim, ' and in the inside Vacancy,
or a froth of Vocables and Attorney-Logic ! At a small
cost men are educated to make leather into shoes ; but
at a great cost, what am I educated to make ? By
Heaven, Brother ! what I have already eaten and worn,
as I came thus far, would endow a considerable
Hospital of Incurables.' 'Man, indeed,' I would
answer, 'has a Digestive Faculty, which must be kept
working, were it even partly by stealth. But as for
our Mis-education, make not bad worse ; waste not the
time yet ours, in trampling on thistles because they


have yielded us no figs. Frisch zu, Bruder ! Here are
Books, and we have brains to read them ; here is a
whole Earth and a whole Heaven, and we have eyes
to look on them : Frisch zu ! '

' ' Often also our talk was gay ; not without brilliancy,
and even fire. We looked-out on Life, with its strange
scaffolding, where all at once harlequins dance, and
men are beheaded and quartered : motley, not unter-
rific was the aspect ; but we looked on it like brave
youths. For myself, these were perhaps my most
genial hours. Towards this young warmhearted,
strongheaded and wrongheaded Herr Towgood I was
even near experiencing the now obsolete sentiment of
Friendship. Yes, foolish Heathen that I was, I felt
that, under certain conditions, I could have loved this
man, and taken him to my bosom, and been his brother
once and always. By degrees, however, I understood
the new time, and its wants. If man's Sou! is indeed,
as in the Finnish Language, and Utilitarian Philosophy,
a kind of Stomach, what else is the true meaning
of Spiritual Union but an Eating together ? Thus
we, instead of Friends, are Dinner-guests ; and here
as elsewhere have cast away chimeras."

So ends, abruptly as is usual, and enigmatically, this
little incipient romance. What henceforth becomes of
the brave Herr Towgood, or Toughgut ? He has dived-
under, in the Autobiographical Chaos, and swims we
see not where. Does any reader " in the interior parts
of England " know of such a man ?




"Tnus nevertheless," writes our Autobiographer, ap-
parently as quitting College, " was there realized Some-
what ; namely, I, Diogenes Teufelsdrockh : a visible
Temporary Figure (Zeitbild), occupying some cubic feet
of Space, and containing within it Forces both physical
and spiritual ; hopes, passions, thoughts ; the whole
wondrous furniture, in more or less perfection, belong-
ing to that mystery, a Man. Capabilities there were
in me to give battle, in some small degree, against the
great Empire of Darkness : does not the very Ditcher
and Delver, with his spade, extinguish many a thistle
and puddle ; and so leave a little Order, where he found
the opposite ? Nay, your very Daymoth has capabili-
ties in this kind ; and ever organizes something (into
its own Body, if no otherwise); which was before Inor-
ganic ; and of mute dead air makes living music, though
only of the faintest, by humming.

" How much more, one whose capabilities are spir-
itual ; who has learned, or begun learning, the grand
thaumaturgic art of Thought ! Thaumaturgic I name
it ; for hitherto all Miracles have been wrought there-
by, and henceforth innumerable will be wrought ;
whereof we, even in these days, witness some. Of
the Poet's and Prophet's inspired Message, and how it


makes and unmakes whole worlds, I shall forbear men*
tion : but cannot the dullest hear Steam-engines clank-
ing around him ? Has he not seen the Scottish Bras-
smith's IDEA (and this but a mechanical one) travelling
on fire-wings round the Cape, and across two Oceans ;
and stronger than any other Enchanter's Familiar, on
all hands unweariedly fetching and carrying : at home,
not only weaving Cloth ; but rapidly enough overturn-
ing the whole old system of Society ; and, for Feudal-
ism and Preservation of the Game, preparing us, by
indirect but sure methods, Industrialism and the Gov-
ernment of the Wisest ? Truly a Thinking Man is the
worst enemy the Prince of Darkness can have ; every
time such a one announces himself, I doubt not, there
runs a shudder through the Nether Empire ; and new
Emissaries are trained, with new tactics, to, if possible,
entrap him, and hoodwink and handcuff him.

"With such high vocation had I too, as denizen of
the Universe, been called. Unhappy it is, however,
that though born to the amplest Sovereignty, in this
way, with no less than sovereign right of Peace and
War against the Time-Prince (Zeiffiirst), or Devil, and
all his Dominions, your coronation-ceremony costs
such trouble, your sceptre is so difficult to get at, or
even to get eye on ! "

By which last wiredrawn similitude does Teufels-
drockh mean no more than that young men find obsta-
cles in what we call " getting under way?" "Not
what I Have," continues he, "but what I Do is my
Kingdom. To each is given a certain inward Talent,
a certain outward Environment of Fortune ; to each,
by wisest combination of these two, a certain maximum
of Capability. But the hardest problem were ever this
first: To find by study of yourself, and of the ground


you stand on, what your combined inward and out-
ward Capability specially is. For, alas, our young

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Online LibraryThomas CarlyleSartor resartus; the life and opinions of Herr Teufelsdrockh → online text (page 8 of 22)