Letter 16

To THOMAS FORBES KELSALL

Hamburg
Tuesday. 19. July 1825

MY DEAR KELSALL,–und mein lieber herr Thomas,–If you will take the sails of the Harwich packet, walk across the German Ocean, trot up the Elbe, & turn into the Roman Emperor at Hamburg be so good as to enquire for mein Herr T.L.B. No 12 up two pair of stairs, & you will find him sitting on a horse-hair sofa, looking over the Elbe with his meerschaum at his side full of Grave & abundantly prosaic.

Tomorrow, according to the prophecies of the diligence he will set out for Hanovver (we Germans (here a puff.) always spell it with 2 v’s–) & by the end of this week mein Herr Thomas will probably be a Dr of the university of Göttingen. What his intentions further may be I cannot say precisely as you & I between ourselves recollect that he is not altogether endued with the polar virtue of perseverance, & that the needle with wh he embroiders his cloth of life has not been rubbed with the magnet of steady determination. I rather think however that he will return to England with a rather quaint and unintelligible tragedy, which will set all critical pens nib upwards, a la fretful porcupine.

When he embarked from Harwich & observed that his only companions were two Oxford men, professors of genteel larking, without the depth, vivacity or heartiness wh is necessary to render such people tolerable, he instantly drew his shell over him, & remained impenetrably proud & silent every wave of the way, dropping now and then a little venom into the mixture of conversation to make it effervesce.

Hamburg, where he now is, poor young man, is a new brick built town a fit place to embellish the ugly genius of the broad flat sided muddy Elbe–The very churches of brick & emetical unto the eye–The people honest and civil, & God fill their purse for it, no custom house no passport required–but then the women are of a coarse quality–there are no pictures no sculpture & if one meets more upright & manly forms in life, than in Italy, yet you seek in vain paintings superior to signs or sculpture beyond a tobacco-stopper.

Herr Procter, the Boet as George the Second says, will tell you what a confusion was caused by your hoaxing letter to a B.A of Pemb. Coll. Oxon–what a scrawl it ilicited from his drowsy quill & how underlined was the reply. Now leb wohl–for the post leaves us soon.

Fahrend oder reitend

sein

Der Genius von T.L.B

[Addressed to]
“T.F. KELSALL Esqre
3 Houndwell Lane
Southampton”
England

[Gosse, 1894]