Carlyle at His Zenith (1848-53)

By David Alec Wilson | Go to book overview

XXI
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FREDERICK (1852)

LEAVING Weimar on Wednesday, 22.9.52, Carlyle concentrated attention for the rest of this pilgrimage on the footsteps of Frederick. The next stage was Leipzig, where he saw the fair and bought some books, and drank a glass of wine in Auerbach's Cellar. They reached Dresden that night,--a change from Leipzig 'as from the tumult of Cheapside into the solitude of Bath.' There was much to see near Dresden, where Frederick had done much business both as a king and as a general, and Dresden itself was 'a very interesting old capital.' 'Miss Bölte and other sages' were expecting him eagerly, and gladly would Carlyle have stayed a week with them, 'if sleep had been attainable. But, alas! it was not.' The Dresden hotels were like a pair in contemporary Ireland, of which it was said,--"Whichever you go to, you lie awake most of the night, wishing you had gone to the other."

So on Saturday they went up the Elbe by steamer, and after climbing 'a high peak called the Bastei' found sleeping quarters at Nieder Rathen, 'in a little country inn literally washed' by the river, 'which is lying in the moonshine as clear as a mirror and as silent.' Their next stage was also up the Elbe, and on Monday morning before breakfast they walked over all the riverside battlefield of Lobositz, under the guidance of a native. To make the night's sleep secure and let him see the interior, Neuberg took him that day into beautiful quarters,--Teplitz, a watering-place 'in the so-called Saxon Switzerland, amid the Bohemian mountains,' north-west of Lobositz. Their road was the famous "Pascopol," familiar to the readers of the Frederick history.1

On Tuesday, 28.9.52, they went by road to Zittau, east of the Elbe, the town that made Prince Karl infamous

____________________
1
History of Frederick the Great, Book XVII, Chap. V, etc.

-438-

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