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SARTOR RESARTUS: The Life and Opinions of Herr Teufelsdrockh
By Thomas Carlyle.



Considering our present advanced state of culture, and how the Torch of
Science has now been brandished and borne about, with more or less effect,
for five thousand years and upwards; how, in these times especially, not
only the Torch still burns, and perhaps more fiercely than ever, but
innumerable Rushlights, and Sulphur-matches, kindled thereat, are also
glancing in every direction, so that not the smallest cranny or dog-hole in
Nature or Art can remain unilluminated,--it might strike the reflective
mind with some surprise that hitherto little or nothing of a fundamental
character, whether in the way of Philosophy or History, has been written on
the subject of Clothes.

Our Theory of Gravitation is as good as perfect: Lagrange, it is well
known, has proved that the Planetary System, on this scheme, will endure
forever; Laplace, still more cunningly, even guesses that it could not have
been made on any other scheme. Whereby, at least, our nautical Logbooks
can be better kept; and water-transport of all kinds has grown more
commodious. Of Geology and Geognosy we know enough: what with the labors
of our Werners and Huttons, what with the ardent genius of their disciples,
it has come about that now, to many a Royal Society, the Creation of a
World is little more mysterious than the cooking of a dumpling; concerning
which last, indeed, there have been minds to whom the question, _How the
apples were got in_, presented difficulties. Why mention our disquisitions
on the Social Contract, on the Standard of Taste, on the Migrations of the
Herring? Then, have we not a Doctrine of Rent, a Theory of Value;
Philosophies of Language, of History, of Pottery, of Apparitions, of
Intoxicating Liquors? Man's whole life and environment have been laid open
and elucidated; scarcely a fragment or fibre of his Soul, Body, and
Possessions, but has been probed, dissected, distilled, desiccated, and
scientifically decomposed: our spiritual Faculties, of which it appears
there are not a few, have their Stewarts, Cousins, Royer Collards: every
cellular, vascular, muscular Tissue glories in its Lawrences, Majendies,

How, then, comes it, may the reflective mind repeat, that the grand Tissue
of all Tissues, the only real Tissue, should have been quite overlooked by
Science,--the vestural Tissue, namely, of woollen or other cloth; which
Man's Soul wears as its outmost wrappage and overall; wherein his whole
other Tissues are included and screened, his whole Faculties work, his
whole Self lives, moves, and has its being? For if, now and then, some
straggling broken-winged thinker has cast an owl's glance into this obscure
region, the most have soared over it altogether heedless; regarding Clothes
as a property, not an accident, as quite natural and spontaneous, like the
leaves of trees, like the plumage of birds. In all speculations they have
tacitly figured man as _a Clothed Animal_; whereas he is by nature a _Naked
Animal_; and only in certain circumstances, by purpose and device, masks
himself in Clothes. Shakespeare says, we are creatures that look before
and after: the more surprising that we do not look round a little, and see
what is passing under our very eyes.

But here, as in so many other cases, Germany, learned, indefatigable,
deep-thinking Germany comes to our aid. It is, after all, a blessing that,
in these revolutionary times, there should be one country where abstract
Thought can still take shelter; that while the din and frenzy of Catholic
Emancipations, and Rotten Boroughs, and Revolts of Paris, deafen every
French and every English ear, the German can stand peaceful on his
scientific watch-tower; and, to the raging, struggling multitude here and
elsewhere, solemnly, from hour to hour, with preparatory blast of cow-horn,
emit his _Horet ihr Herren und lasset's Euch sagen_; in other words, tell
the Universe, which so often forgets that fact, what o'clock it really is.
Not unfrequently the Germans have been blamed for an unprofitable
diligence; as if they struck into devious courses, where nothing was to be
had but the toil of a rough journey; as if, forsaking the gold-mines of
finance and that political slaughter of fat oxen whereby a man himself
grows fat, they were apt to run goose-hunting into regions of bilberries
and crowberries, and be swallowed up at last in remote peat-bogs. Of that
unwise science, which, as our Humorist expresses it,

"By geometric scale
Doth take the size of pots of ale;"

still more, of that altogether misdirected industry, which is seen
vigorously thrashing mere straw, there can nothing defensive be said. In
so far as the Germans are chargeable with such, let them take the
consequence. Nevertheless be it remarked, that even a Russian steppe has
tumult and gold ornaments; also many a scene that looks desert and
rock-bound from the distance, will unfold itself, when visited, into rare
valleys. Nay, in any case, would Criticism erect not only finger-posts and
turnpikes, but spiked gates and impassable barriers, for the mind of man?
It is written, "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be
increased." Surely the plain rule is, Let each considerate person have his
way, and see what it will lead to. For not this man and that man, but all
men make up mankind, and their united tasks the task of mankind. How often
have we seen some such adventurous, and perhaps much-censured wanderer
light on some out-lying, neglected, yet vitally momentous province; the
hidden treasures of which he first discovered, and kept proclaiming till
the general eye and effort were directed thither, and the conquest was
completed;--thereby, in these his seemingly so aimless rambles, planting
new standards, founding new habitable colonies, in the immeasurable
circumambient realm of Nothingness and Night! Wise man was he who
counselled that Speculation should have free course, and look fearlessly
towards all the thirty-two points of the compass, whithersoever and
howsoever it listed.

Perhaps it is proof of the stunted condition in which pure Science,
especially pure moral Science, languishes among us English; and how our
mercantile greatness, and invaluable Constitution, impressing a political
or other immediately practical tendency on all English culture and
endeavor, cramps the free flight of Thought,--that this, not Philosophy of
Clothes, but recognition even that we have no such Philosophy, stands here
for the first time published in our language. What English intellect could
have chosen such a topic, or by chance stumbled on it? But for that same
unshackled, and even sequestered condition of the German Learned, which
permits and induces them to fish in all manner of waters, with all manner
of nets, it seems probable enough, this abtruse Inquiry might, in spite of
the results it leads to, have continued dormant for indefinite periods.
The Editor of these sheets, though otherwise boasting himself a man of
confirmed speculative habits, and perhaps discursive enough, is free to
confess, that never, till these last months, did the above very plain
considerations, on our total want of a Philosophy of Clothes, occur to him;
and then, by quite foreign suggestion. By the arrival, namely, of a new
Book from Professor Teufelsdrockh of Weissnichtwo; treating expressly of
this subject, and in a style which, whether understood or not, could not
even by the blindest be overlooked. In the present Editor's way of
thought, this remarkable Treatise, with its Doctrines, whether as
judicially acceded to, or judicially denied, has not remained without

"_Die Kleider, ihr Werden und Wirken_ (Clothes, their Origin and
Influence): _von Diog. Teufelsdrockh, J. U. D. etc. Stillschweigen und
Cognie. Weissnichtwo_, 1831.

"Here," says the _Weissnichtwo'sche Anzeiger_, "comes a Volume of that
extensive, close-printed, close-meditated sort, which, be it spoken with
pride, is seen only in Germany, perhaps only in Weissnichtwo. Issuing from
the hitherto irreproachable Firm of Stillschweigen and Company, with every
external furtherance, it is of such internal quality as to set Neglect at
defiance.... A work," concludes the well-nigh enthusiastic Reviewer,
"interesting alike to the antiquary, the historian, and the philosophic
thinker; a masterpiece of boldness, lynx-eyed acuteness, and rugged
independent Germanism and Philanthropy (_derber Kerndeutschheit und
Menschenliebe_); which will not, assuredly, pass current without opposition
in high places; but must and will exalt the almost new name of
Teufelsdrockh to the first ranks of Philosophy, in our German Temple of

Mindful of old friendship, the distinguished Professor, in this the first
blaze of his fame, which however does not dazzle him, sends hither a
Presentation-copy of his Book; with compliments and encomiums which modesty
forbids the present Editor to rehearse; yet without indicated wish or hope
of any kind, except what may be implied in the concluding phrase: _Mochte
es_ (this remarkable Treatise) _auch im Brittischen Boden gedeihen_!


If for a speculative man, "whose seedfield," in the sublime words of the
Poet, "is Time," no conquest is important but that of new ideas, then might
the arrival of Professor Teufelsdrockh's Book be marked with chalk in the
Editor's calendar. It is indeed an "extensive Volume," of boundless,
almost formless contents, a very Sea of Thought; neither calm nor clear, if
you will; yet wherein the toughest pearl-diver may dive to his utmost
depth, and return not only with sea-wreck but with true orients.

Directly on the first perusal, almost on the first deliberate inspection,
it became apparent that here a quite new Branch of Philosophy, leading to
as yet undescried ulterior results, was disclosed; farther, what seemed
scarcely less interesting, a quite new human Individuality, an almost
unexampled personal character, that, namely, of Professor Teufelsdrockh the
Discloser. Of both which novelties, as far as might be possible, we
resolved to master the significance. But as man is emphatically a
proselytizing creature, no sooner was such mastery even fairly attempted,
than the new question arose: How might this acquired good be imparted to
others, perhaps in equal need thereof; how could the Philosophy of Clothes,
and the Author of such Philosophy, be brought home, in any measure, to the
business and bosoms of our own English Nation? For if new-got gold is said
to burn the pockets till it be cast forth into circulation, much more may
new truth.

Here, however, difficulties occurred. The first thought naturally was to
publish Article after Article on this remarkable Volume, in such widely
circulating Critical Journals as the Editor might stand connected with, or
by money or love procure access to. But, on the other hand, was it not
clear that such matter as must here be revealed, and treated of, might
endanger the circulation of any Journal extant? If, indeed, all
party-divisions in the State could have been abolished, Whig, Tory, and
Radical, embracing in discrepant union; and all the Journals of the Nation
could have been jumbled into one Journal, and the Philosophy of Clothes
poured forth in incessant torrents therefrom, the attempt had seemed
possible. But, alas, what vehicle of that sort have we, except _Fraser's
Magazine_? A vehicle all strewed (figuratively speaking) with the maddest
Waterloo-Crackers, exploding distractively and destructively, wheresoever
the mystified passenger stands or sits; nay, in any case, understood to be,
of late years, a vehicle full to overflowing, and inexorably shut!
Besides, to state the Philosophy of Clothes without the Philosopher, the
ideas of Teufelsdrockh without something of his personality, was it not to
insure both of entire misapprehension? Now for Biography, had it been
otherwise admissible, there were no adequate documents, no hope of
obtaining such, but rather, owing to circumstances, a special despair.
Thus did the Editor see himself, for the while, shut out from all public
utterance of these extraordinary Doctrines, and constrained to revolve
them, not without disquietude, in the dark depths of his own mind.

So had it lasted for some months; and now the Volume on Clothes, read and
again read, was in several points becoming lucid and lucent; the
personality of its Author more and more surprising, but, in spite of all
that memory and conjecture could do, more and more enigmatic; whereby the
old disquietude seemed fast settling into fixed discontent,--when
altogether unexpectedly arrives a Letter from Herr Hofrath Heuschrecke, our
Professor's chief friend and associate in Weissnichtwo, with whom we had
not previously corresponded. The Hofrath, after much quite extraneous
matter, began dilating largely on the "agitation and attention" which the
Philosophy of Clothes was exciting in its own German Republic of Letters;
on the deep significance and tendency of his Friend's Volume; and then, at
length, with great circumlocution, hinted at the practicability of
conveying "some knowledge of it, and of him, to England, and through
England to the distant West:" a work on Professor Teufelsdrockh "were
undoubtedly welcome to the _Family_, the _National_, or any other of those
patriotic _Libraries_, at present the glory of British Literature;" might
work revolutions in Thought; and so forth;--in conclusion, intimating not
obscurely, that should the present Editor feel disposed to undertake a
Biography of Teufelsdrockh, he, Hofrath Heuschrecke, had it in his power to
furnish the requisite Documents.

As in some chemical mixture, that has stood long evaporating, but would not
crystallize, instantly when the wire or other fixed substance is
introduced, crystallization commences, and rapidly proceeds till the whole
is finished, so was it with the Editor's mind and this offer of
Heuschrecke's. Form rose out of void solution and discontinuity; like
united itself with like in definite arrangement: and soon either in actual
vision and possession, or in fixed reasonable hope, the image of the whole
Enterprise had shaped itself, so to speak, into a solid mass. Cautiously
yet courageously, through the twopenny post, application to the famed
redoubtable OLIVER YORKE was now made: an interview, interviews with that
singular man have taken place; with more of assurance on our side, with
less of satire (at least of open satire) on his, than we anticipated; for
the rest, with such issue as is now visible. As to those same "patriotic
_Libraries_," the Hofrath's counsel could only be viewed with silent
amazement; but with his offer of Documents we joyfully and almost
instantaneously closed. Thus, too, in the sure expectation of these, we
already see our task begun; and this our _Sartor Resartus_, which is
properly a "Life and Opinions of Herr Teufelsdrockh," hourly advancing.

Of our fitness for the Enterprise, to which we have such title and
vocation, it were perhaps uninteresting to say more. Let the British
reader study and enjoy, in simplicity of heart, what is here presented him,
and with whatever metaphysical acumen and talent for meditation he is
possessed of. Let him strive to keep a free, open sense; cleared from the
mists of prejudice, above all from the paralysis of cant; and directed
rather to the Book itself than to the Editor of the Book. Who or what such
Editor may be, must remain conjectural, and even insignificant:* it is a
voice publishing tidings of the Philosophy of Clothes; undoubtedly a Spirit
addressing Spirits: whoso hath ears, let him hear.

*With us even he still communicates in some sort of mask, or muffler; and,
we have reason to think, under a feigned name!--O. Y.

On one other point the Editor thinks it needful to give warning: namely,
that he is animated with a true though perhaps a feeble attachment to the
Institutions of our Ancestors; and minded to defend these, according to
ability, at all hazards; nay, it was partly with a view to such defence
that he engaged in this undertaking. To stem, or if that be impossible,
profitably to divert the current of Innovation, such a Volume as
Teufelsdrockh's, if cunningly planted down, were no despicable pile, or
floodgate, in the logical wear.

For the rest, be it nowise apprehended, that any personal connection of
ours with Teufelsdrockh, Heuschrecke or this Philosophy of Clothes, can
pervert our judgment, or sway us to extenuate or exaggerate. Powerless, we
venture to promise, are those private Compliments themselves. Grateful
they may well be; as generous illusions of friendship; as fair mementos of
bygone unions, of those nights and suppers of the gods, when, lapped in the
symphonies and harmonies of Philosophic Eloquence, though with baser
accompaniments, the present Editor revelled in that feast of reason, never
since vouchsafed him in so full measure! But what then? _Amicus Plato,
magis amica veritas_; Teufelsdrockh is our friend, Truth is our divinity.
In our historical and critical capacity, we hope we are strangers to all
the world; have feud or favor with no one,--save indeed the Devil, with
whom, as with the Prince of Lies and Darkness, we do at all times wage
internecine war. This assurance, at an epoch when puffery and quackery
have reached a height unexampled in the annals of mankind, and even English
Editors, like Chinese Shopkeepers, must write on their door-lintels _No
cheating here_,--we thought it good to premise.


To the Author's private circle the appearance of this singular Work on
Clothes must have occasioned little less surprise than it has to the rest
of the world. For ourselves, at least, few things have been more
unexpected. Professor Teufelsdrockh, at the period of our acquaintance
with him, seemed to lead a quite still and self-contained life: a man
devoted to the higher Philosophies, indeed; yet more likely, if he
published at all, to publish a refutation of Hegel and Bardili, both of
whom, strangely enough, he included under a common ban; than to descend, as
he has here done, into the angry noisy Forum, with an Argument that cannot
but exasperate and divide. Not, that we can remember, was the Philosophy
of Clothes once touched upon between us. If through the high, silent,
meditative Transcendentalism of our Friend we detected any practical
tendency whatever, it was at most Political, and towards a certain
prospective, and for the present quite speculative, Radicalism; as indeed
some correspondence, on his part, with Herr Oken of Jena was now and then
suspected; though his special contributions to the _Isis_ could never be
more than surmised at. But, at all events, nothing Moral, still less
anything Didactico-Religious, was looked for from him.

Well do we recollect the last words he spoke in our hearing; which indeed,
with the Night they were uttered in, are to be forever remembered. Lifting
his huge tumbler of _Gukguk_,* and for a moment lowering his tobacco-pipe,
he stood up in full Coffee-house (it was _Zur Grunen Gans_, the largest in
Weissnichtwo, where all the Virtuosity, and nearly all the Intellect of the
place assembled of an evening); and there, with low, soul-stirring tone,
and the look truly of an angel, though whether of a white or of a black one
might be dubious, proposed this toast: _Die Sache der Armen in Gottes und
Teufels Namen_ (The Cause of the Poor, in Heaven's name and --'s)! One
full shout, breaking the leaden silence; then a gurgle of innumerable
emptying bumpers, again followed by universal cheering, returned him loud
acclaim. It was the finale of the night: resuming their pipes; in the
highest enthusiasm, amid volumes of tobacco-smoke; triumphant, cloud-capt
without and within, the assembly broke up, each to his thoughtful pillow.
_Bleibt doch ein echter Spass_- _und Galgen-vogel_, said several; meaning
thereby that, one day, he would probably be hanged for his democratic
sentiments. _Wo steckt doch der Schalk_? added they, looking round: but
Teufelsdrockh had retired by private alleys, and the Compiler of these
pages beheld him no more.

*Gukguk is unhappily only an academical-beer.

In such scenes has it been our lot to live with this Philosopher, such
estimate to form of his purposes and powers. And yet, thou brave
Teufelsdrockh, who could tell what lurked in thee? Under those thick locks
of thine, so long and lank, overlapping roof-wise the gravest face we ever
in this world saw, there dwelt a most busy brain. In thy eyes too, deep
under their shaggy brows, and looking out so still and dreamy, have we not
noticed gleams of an ethereal or else a diabolic fire, and half fancied
that their stillness was but the rest of infinite motion, the _sleep_ of a
spinning-top? Thy little figure, there as, in loose ill-brushed threadbare
habiliments, thou sattest, amid litter and lumber, whole days, to "think
and smoke tobacco," held in it a mighty heart. The secrets of man's Life
were laid open to thee; thou sawest into the mystery of the Universe,
farther than another; thou hadst _in petto_ thy remarkable Volume on
Clothes. Nay, was there not in that clear logically founded
Transcendentalism of thine; still more, in thy meek, silent, deep-seated
Sansculottism, combined with a true princely Courtesy of inward nature, the
visible rudiments of such speculation? But great men are too often
unknown, or what is worse, misknown. Already, when we dreamed not of it,
the warp of thy remarkable Volume lay on the loom; and silently, mysterious
shuttles were putting in the woof.

How the Hofrath Heuschrecke is to furnish biographical data, in this case,
may be a curious question; the answer of which, however, is happily not our
concern, but his. To us it appeared, after repeated trial, that in
Weissnichtwo, from the archives or memories of the best-informed classes,
no Biography of Teufelsdrockh was to be gathered; not so much as a false
one. He was a stranger there, wafted thither by what is called the course
of circumstances; concerning whose parentage, birthplace, prospects, or
pursuits, curiosity had indeed made inquiries, but satisfied herself with
the most indistinct replies. For himself, he was a man so still and
altogether unparticipating, that to question him even afar off on such
particulars was a thing of more than usual delicacy: besides, in his sly
way, he had ever some quaint turn, not without its satirical edge,
wherewith to divert such intrusions, and deter you from the like. Wits
spoke of him secretly as if he were a kind of Melchizedek, without father
or mother of any kind; sometimes, with reference to his great historic and
statistic knowledge, and the vivid way he had of expressing himself like an
eye-witness of distant transactions and scenes, they called him the _Ewige
Jude_, Everlasting, or as we say, Wandering Jew.

To the most, indeed, he had become not so much a Man as a Thing; which
Thing doubtless they were accustomed to see, and with satisfaction; but no
more thought of accounting for than for the fabrication of their daily
_Allgemeine Zeitung_, or the domestic habits of the Sun. Both were there
and welcome; the world enjoyed what good was in them, and thought no more
of the matter. The man Teufelsdrockh passed and repassed, in his little
circle, as one of those originals and nondescripts, more frequent in German
Universities than elsewhere; of whom, though you see them alive, and feel
certain enough that they must have a History, no History seems to be
discoverable; or only such as men give of mountain rocks and antediluvian
ruins: That they have been created by unknown agencies, are in a state of
gradual decay, and for the present reflect light and resist pressure; that
is, are visible and tangible objects in this phantasm world, where so much
other mystery is.

It was to be remarked that though, by title and diploma, _Professor der
Allerley-Wissenschaft_, or as we should say in English, "Professor of
Things in General," he had never delivered any Course; perhaps never been
incited thereto by any public furtherance or requisition. To all
appearance, the enlightened Government of Weissnichtwo, in founding their
New University, imagined they had done enough, if "in times like ours," as
the half-official Program expressed it, "when all things are, rapidly or
slowly, resolving themselves into Chaos, a Professorship of this kind had
been established; whereby, as occasion called, the task of bodying somewhat
forth again from such Chaos might be, even slightly, facilitated." That
actual Lectures should be held, and Public Classes for the "Science of
Things in General," they doubtless considered premature; on which ground
too they had only established the Professorship, nowise endowed it; so that
Teufelsdrockh, "recommended by the highest Names," had been promoted
thereby to a Name merely.

Great, among the more enlightened classes, was the admiration of this new
Professorship: how an enlightened Government had seen into the Want of the
Age (_Zeitbedurfniss_); how at length, instead of Denial and Destruction,
we were to have a science of Affirmation and Reconstruction; and Germany
and Weissnichtwo were where they should be, in the vanguard of the world.
Considerable also was the wonder at the new Professor, dropt opportunely
enough into the nascent University; so able to lecture, should occasion
call; so ready to hold his peace for indefinite periods, should an
enlightened Government consider that occasion did not call. But such
admiration and such wonder, being followed by no act to keep them living,
could last only nine days; and, long before our visit to that scene, had
quite died away. The more cunning heads thought it was all an expiring
clutch at popularity, on the part of a Minister, whom domestic
embarrassments, court intrigues, old age, and dropsy soon afterwards
finally drove from the helm.

As for Teufelsdrockh, except by his nightly appearances at the _Grune
Gans_, Weissnichtwo saw little of him, felt little of him. Here, over his
tumbler of Gukguk, he sat reading Journals; sometimes contemplatively
looking into the clouds of his tobacco-pipe, without other visible
employment: always, from his mild ways, an agreeable phenomenon there;
more especially when he opened his lips for speech; on which occasions the
whole Coffee-house would hush itself into silence, as if sure to hear
something noteworthy. Nay, perhaps to hear a whole series and river of the
most memorable utterances; such as, when once thawed, he would for hours
indulge in, with fit audience: and the more memorable, as issuing from a
head apparently not more interested in them, not more conscious of them,
than is the sculptured stone head of some public fountain, which through
its brass mouth-tube emits water to the worthy and the unworthy; careless
whether it be for cooking victuals or quenching conflagrations; indeed,
maintains the same earnest assiduous look, whether any water be flowing or

To the Editor of these sheets, as to a young enthusiastic Englishman,
however unworthy, Teufelsdrockh opened himself perhaps more than to the
most. Pity only that we could not then half guess his importance, and
scrutinize him with due power of vision! We enjoyed, what not three men
Weissnichtwo could boast of, a certain degree of access to the Professor's
private domicile. It was the attic floor of the highest house in the
Wahngasse; and might truly be called the pinnacle of Weissnichtwo, for it
rose sheer up above the contiguous roofs, themselves rising from elevated
ground. Moreover, with its windows it looked towards all the four _Orte_
or as the Scotch say, and we ought to say, _Airts_: the sitting room
itself commanded three; another came to view in the _Schlafgemach_
(bedroom) at the opposite end; to say nothing of the kitchen, which offered
two, as it were, _duplicates_, showing nothing new. So that it was in fact
the speculum or watch-tower of Teufelsdrockh; wherefrom, sitting at ease he
might see the whole life-circulation of that considerable City; the streets
and lanes of which, with all their doing and driving (_Thun und Treiben_),
were for the most part visible there.

"I look down into all that wasp-nest or bee-hive," we have heard him say,
"and witness their wax-laying and honey-making, and poison-brewing, and
choking by sulphur. From the Palace esplanade, where music plays while
Serene Highness is pleased to eat his victuals, down to the low lane, where
in her door-sill the aged widow, knitting for a thin livelihood sits to
feel the afternoon sun, I see it all; for, except Schlosskirche
weather-cock, no biped stands so high. Couriers arrive bestrapped and
bebooted, bearing Joy and Sorrow bagged up in pouches of leather: there,
top-laden, and with four swift horses, rolls in the country Baron and his
household; here, on timber-leg, the lamed Soldier hops painfully along,
begging alms: a thousand carriages, and wains, cars, come tumbling in with
Food, with young Rusticity, and other Raw Produce, inanimate or animate,
and go tumbling out again with produce manufactured. That living flood,
pouring through these streets, of all qualities and ages, knowest thou
whence it is coming, whither it is going? _Aus der Ewigkeit, zu der
Ewigkeit hin_: From Eternity, onwards to Eternity! These are Apparitions:
what else? Are they not Souls rendered visible: in Bodies, that took
shape and will lose it, melting into air? Their solid Pavement is a
Picture of the Sense; they walk on the bosom of Nothing, blank Time is
behind them and before them. Or fanciest thou, the red and yellow
Clothes-screen yonder, with spurs on its heels and feather in its crown, is
but of To-day, without a Yesterday or a To-morrow; and had not rather its
Ancestor alive when Hengst and Horsa overran thy Island? Friend, thou
seest here a living link in that Tissue of History, which inweaves all
Being: watch well, or it will be past thee, and seen no more."

"_Ach, mein Lieber_!" said he once, at midnight, when we had returned from
the Coffee-house in rather earnest talk, "it is a true sublimity to dwell
here. These fringes of lamplight, struggling up through smoke and
thousand-fold exhalation, some fathoms into the ancient reign of Night,
what thinks Bootes of them, as he leads his Hunting-Dogs over the Zenith in
their leash of sidereal fire? That stifled hum of Midnight, when Traffic
has lain down to rest; and the chariot-wheels of Vanity, still rolling here
and there through distant streets, are bearing her to Halls roofed in, and
lighted to the due pitch for her; and only Vice and Misery, to prowl or to
moan like nightbirds, are abroad: that hum, I say, like the stertorous,
unquiet slumber of sick Life, is heard in Heaven! Oh, under that hideous
coverlet of vapors, and putrefactions, and unimaginable gases, what a
Fermenting-vat lies simmering and hid! The joyful and the sorrowful are
there; men are dying there, men are being born; men are praying,--on the
other side of a brick partition, men are cursing; and around them all is
the vast, void Night. The proud Grandee still lingers in his perfumed
saloons, or reposes within damask curtains; Wretchedness cowers into
buckle-beds, or shivers hunger-stricken into its lair of straw: in obscure
cellars, _Rouge-et-Noir_ languidly emits its voice-of-destiny to haggard
hungry Villains; while Councillors of State sit plotting, and playing their
high chess-game, whereof the pawns are Men. The Lover whispers his
mistress that the coach is ready; and she, full of hope and fear, glides
down, to fly with him over the borders: the Thief, still more silently,
sets to his picklocks and crowbars, or lurks in wait till the watchmen
first snore in their boxes. Gay mansions, with supper-rooms and
dancing-rooms, are full of light and music and high-swelling hearts; but,
in the Condemned Cells, the pulse of life beats tremulous and faint, and
bloodshot eyes look out through the darkness, which is around and within,
for the light of a stern last morning. Six men are to be hanged on the
morrow: comes no hammering from the _Rabenstein_?--their gallows must even
now be o' building. Upwards of five hundred thousand two-legged animals
without feathers lie round us, in horizontal position; their heads all in
nightcaps, and full of the foolishest dreams. Riot cries aloud, and
staggers and swaggers in his rank dens of shame; and the Mother, with
streaming hair, kneels over her pallid dying infant, whose cracked lips
only her tears now moisten.-- All these heaped and huddled together, with
nothing but a little carpentry and masonry between them;--crammed in, like
salted fish in their barrel;--or weltering, shall I say, like an Egyptian
pitcher of tamed vipers, each struggling to get its _head above_ the
others: _such_ work goes on under that smoke-counterpane!--But I, _mein
Werther_, sit above it all; I am alone with the stars."

We looked in his face to see whether, in the utterance of such
extraordinary Night-thoughts, no feeling might be traced there; but with
the light we had, which indeed was only a single tallow-light, and far
enough from the window, nothing save that old calmness and fixedness was

These were the Professor's talking seasons: most commonly he spoke in mere
monosyllables, or sat altogether silent and smoked; while the visitor had
liberty either to say what he listed, receiving for answer an occasional
grunt; or to look round for a space, and then take himself away. It was a
strange apartment; full of books and tattered papers, and miscellaneous
shreds of all conceivable substances, "united in a common element of dust."
Books lay on tables, and below tables; here fluttered a sheet of
manuscript, there a torn handkerchief, or nightcap hastily thrown aside;
ink-bottles alternated with bread-crusts, coffee-pots, tobacco-boxes,
Periodical Literature, and Blucher Boots. Old Lieschen (Lisekin, 'Liza),
who was his bed-maker and stove-lighter, his washer and wringer, cook,
errand-maid, and general lion's-provider, and for the rest a very orderly
creature, had no sovereign authority in this last citadel of Teufelsdrockh;
only some once in the month she half-forcibly made her way thither, with
broom and duster, and (Teufelsdrockh hastily saving his manuscripts)
effected a partial clearance, a jail-delivery of such lumber as was not
Literary. These were her _Erdbeben_ (earthquakes), which Teufelsdrockh
dreaded worse than the pestilence; nevertheless, to such length he had been
forced to comply. Glad would he have been to sit here philosophizing
forever, or till the litter, by accumulation, drove him out of doors: but
Lieschen was his right-arm, and spoon, and necessary of life, and would not
be flatly gainsayed. We can still remember the ancient woman; so silent
that some thought her dumb; deaf also you would often have supposed her;
for Teufelsdrockh, and Teufelsdrockh only, would she serve or give heed to;
and with him she seemed to communicate chiefly by signs; if it were not
rather by some secret divination that she guessed all his wants, and
supplied them. Assiduous old dame! she scoured, and sorted, and swept, in
her kitchen, with the least possible violence to the ear; yet all was tight
and right there: hot and black came the coffee ever at the due moment; and
the speechless Lieschen herself looked out on you, from under her clean
white coif with its lappets, through her clean withered face and wrinkles,
with a look of helpful intelligence, almost of benevolence.

Few strangers, as above hinted, had admittance hither: the only one we
ever saw there, ourselves excepted, was the Hofrath Heuschrecke, already
known, by name and expectation, to the readers of these pages. To us, at
that period, Herr Heuschrecke seemed one of those purse-mouthed,
crane-necked, clean-brushed, pacific individuals, perhaps sufficiently
distinguished in society by this fact, that, in dry weather or in wet,
"they never appear without their umbrella." Had we not known with what
"little wisdom" the world is governed; and how, in Germany as elsewhere,
the ninety-and-nine Public Men can for most part be but mute train-bearers
to the hundredth, perhaps but stalking-horses and willing or unwilling
dupes,-- it might have seemed wonderful how Herr Heuschrecke should be
named a _Rath_, or Councillor, and Counsellor, even in Weissnichtwo. What
counsel to any man, or to any woman, could this particular Hofrath give; in
whose loose, zigzag figure; in whose thin visage, as it went jerking to and
fro, in minute incessant fluctuation,--you traced rather confusion worse
confounded; at most, Timidity and physical Cold? Some indeed said withal,
he was "the very Spirit of Love embodied:" blue earnest eyes, full of
sadness and kindness; purse ever open, and so forth; the whole of which, we
shall now hope, for many reasons, was not quite groundless. Nevertheless
friend Teufelsdrockh's outline, who indeed handled the burin like few in
these cases, was probably the best: _Er hat Gemuth und Geist, hat
wenigstens gehabt, doch ohne Organ, ohne Schicksals-Gunst; ist gegenwartig
aber halb-zerruttet, halb-erstarrt_, "He has heart and talent, at least has
had such, yet without fit mode of utterance, or favor of Fortune; and so is
now half-cracked, half-congealed."--What the Hofrath shall think of this
when he sees it, readers may wonder; we, safe in the stronghold of
Historical Fidelity, are careless.

The main point, doubtless, for us all, is his love of Teufelsdrockh, which
indeed was also by far the most decisive feature of Heuschrecke himself.
We are enabled to assert that he hung on the Professor with the fondness of
a Boswell for his Johnson. And perhaps with the like return; for
Teufelsdrockh treated his gaunt admirer with little outward regard, as some
half-rational or altogether irrational friend, and at best loved him out of
gratitude and by habit. On the other hand, it was curious to observe with
what reverent kindness, and a sort of fatherly protection, our Hofrath,
being the elder, richer, and as he fondly imagined far more practically
influential of the two, looked and tended on his little Sage, whom he
seemed to consider as a living oracle. Let but Teufelsdrockh open his
mouth, Heuschrecke's also unpuckered itself into a free doorway, besides
his being all eye and all ear, so that nothing might be lost: and then, at
every pause in the harangue, he gurgled out his pursy chuckle of a
cough-laugh (for the machinery of laughter took some time to get in motion,
and seemed crank and slack), or else his twanging nasal, _Bravo! Das
glaub' ich_; in either case, by way of heartiest approval. In short, if
Teufelsdrockh was Dalai-Lama, of which, except perhaps in his
self-seclusion, and godlike indifference, there was no symptom, then might
Heuschrecke pass for his chief Talapoin, to whom no dough-pill he could
knead and publish was other than medicinal and sacred.

In such environment, social, domestic, physical, did Teufelsdrockh, at the
time of our acquaintance, and most likely does he still, live and meditate.
Here, perched up in his high Wahngasse watch-tower, and often, in solitude,
outwatching the Bear, it was that the indomitable Inquirer fought all his
battles with Dulness and Darkness; here, in all probability, that he wrote
this surprising Volume on _Clothes_. Additional particulars: of his age,
which was of that standing middle sort you could only guess at; of his wide
surtout; the color of his trousers, fashion of his broad-brimmed
steeple-hat, and so forth, we might report, but do not. The Wisest truly
is, in these times, the Greatest; so that an enlightened curiosity leaving
Kings and such like to rest very much on their own basis, turns more and
more to the Philosophic Class: nevertheless, what reader expects that,
with all our writing and reporting, Teufelsdrockh could be brought home to
him, till once the Documents arrive? His Life, Fortunes, and Bodily
Presence, are as yet hidden from us, or matter only of faint conjecture.
But, on the other hand, does not his Soul lie enclosed in this remarkable
Volume, much more truly than Pedro Garcia's did in the buried Bag of
Doubloons? To the soul of Diogenes Teufelsdrockh, to his opinions, namely,
on the "Origin and Influence of Clothes," we for the present gladly return.


It were a piece of vain flattery to pretend that this Work on Clothes
entirely contents us; that it is not, like all works of genius, like the
very Sun, which, though the highest published creation, or work of genius,
has nevertheless black spots and troubled nebulosities amid its
effulgence,--a mixture of insight, inspiration, with dulness,
double-vision, and even utter blindness.

Without committing ourselves to those enthusiastic praises and prophesyings
of the _Weissnichtwo'sche Anzeiger_, we admitted that the Book had in a
high degree excited us to self-activity, which is the best effect of any
book; that it had even operated changes in our way of thought; nay, that it
promised to prove, as it were, the opening of a new mine-shaft, wherein the
whole world of Speculation might henceforth dig to unknown depths. More
specially may it now be declared that Professor Teufelsdrockh's
acquirements, patience of research, philosophic and even poetic vigor, are
here made indisputably manifest; and unhappily no less his prolixity and
tortuosity and manifold ineptitude; that, on the whole, as in opening new
mine-shafts is not unreasonable, there is much rubbish in his Book, though
likewise specimens of almost invaluable ore. A paramount popularity in
England we cannot promise him. Apart from the choice of such a topic as
Clothes, too often the manner of treating it betokens in the Author a
rusticity and academic seclusion, unblamable, indeed inevitable in a
German, but fatal to his success with our public.

Of good society Teufelsdrockh appears to have seen little, or has mostly
forgotten what he saw. He speaks out with a strange plainness; calls many
things by their mere dictionary names. To him the Upholsterer is no
Pontiff, neither is any Drawing-room a Temple, were it never so begilt and
overhung: "a whole immensity of Brussels carpets, and pier-glasses, and
ormolu," as he himself expresses it, "cannot hide from me that such
Drawing-room is simply a section of Infinite Space, where so many
God-created Souls do for the time meet together." To Teufelsdrockh the
highest Duchess is respectable, is venerable; but nowise for her pearl
bracelets and Malines laces: in his eyes, the star of a Lord is little
less and little more than the broad button of Birmingham spelter in a
Clown's smock; "each is an implement," he says, "in its kind; a tag for
_hooking-together_; and, for the rest, was dug from the earth, and hammered
on a stithy before smith's fingers." Thus does the Professor look in men's
faces with a strange impartiality, a strange scientific freedom; like a man
unversed in the higher circles, like a man dropped thither from the Moon.
Rightly considered, it is in this peculiarity, running through his whole
system of thought, that all these shortcomings, over-shootings, and
multiform perversities, take rise: if indeed they have not a second
source, also natural enough, in his Transcendental Philosophies, and humor
of looking at all Matter and Material things as Spirit; whereby truly his
case were but the more hopeless, the more lamentable.

To the Thinkers of this nation, however, of which class it is firmly
believed there are individuals yet extant, we can safely recommend the
Work: nay, who knows but among the fashionable ranks too, if it be true,
as Teufelsdrockh maintains, that "within the most starched cravat there
passes a windpipe and weasand, and under the thickliest embroidered
waistcoat beats a heart,"--the force of that rapt earnestness may be felt,
and here and there an arrow of the soul pierce through? In our wild Seer,
shaggy, unkempt, like a Baptist living on locusts and wild honey, there is
an untutored energy, a silent, as it were unconscious, strength, which,
except in the higher walks of Literature, must be rare. Many a deep
glance, and often with unspeakable precision, has he cast into mysterious
Nature, and the still more mysterious Life of Man. Wonderful it is with
what cutting words, now and then, he severs asunder the confusion; sheers
down, were it furlongs deep; into the true centre of the matter; and there
not only hits the nail on the head, but with crushing force smites it home,
and buries it.--On the other hand, let us be free to admit, he is the most
unequal writer breathing. Often after some such feat, he will play truant
for long pages, and go dawdling and dreaming, and mumbling and maundering
the merest commonplaces, as if he were asleep with eyes open, which indeed
he is.

Of his boundless Learning, and how all reading and literature in most known
tongues, from _Sanchoniathon_ to _Dr. Lingard_, from your Oriental
_Shasters_, and _Talmuds_, and _Korans_, with Cassini's _Siamese fables_,
and Laplace's _Mecanique Celeste_, down to _Robinson Crusoe_ and the
_Belfast Town and Country Almanack_, are familiar to him,--we shall say
nothing: for unexampled as it is with us, to the Germans such universality
of study passes without wonder, as a thing commendable, indeed, but
natural, indispensable, and there of course. A man that devotes his life
to learning, shall he not be learned?

In respect of style our Author manifests the same genial capability, marred
too often by the same rudeness, inequality, and apparent want of
intercourse with the higher classes. Occasionally, as above hinted, we
find consummate vigor, a true inspiration; his burning thoughts step forth
in fit burning words, like so many full-formed Minervas, issuing amid flame
and splendor from Jove's head; a rich, idiomatic diction, picturesque
allusions, fiery poetic emphasis, or quaint tricksy turns; all the graces
and terrors of a wild Imagination, wedded to the clearest Intellect,
alternate in beautiful vicissitude. Were it not that sheer sleeping and
soporific passages; circumlocutions, repetitions, touches even of pure
doting jargon, so often intervene! On the whole, Professor Teufelsdrockh,
is not a cultivated writer. Of his sentences perhaps not more than
nine-tenths stand straight on their legs; the remainder are in quite
angular attitudes, buttressed up by props (of parentheses and dashes), and
ever with this or the other tagrag hanging from them; a few even sprawl out
helplessly on all sides, quite broken-backed and dismembered.
Nevertheless, in almost his very worst moods, there lies in him a singular
attraction. A wild tone pervades the whole utterance of the man, like its
keynote and regulator; now screwing itself aloft as into the Song of
Spirits, or else the shrill mockery of Fiends; now sinking in cadences, not
without melodious heartiness, though sometimes abrupt enough, into the
common pitch, when we hear it only as a monotonous hum; of which hum the
true character is extremely difficult to fix. Up to this hour we have
never fully satisfied ourselves whether it is a tone and hum of real Humor,
which we reckon among the very highest qualities of genius, or some echo of
mere Insanity and Inanity, which doubtless ranks below the very lowest.

Under a like difficulty, in spite even of our personal intercourse, do we
still lie with regard to the Professor's moral feeling. Gleams of an
ethereal love burst forth from him, soft wailings of infinite pity; he
could clasp the whole Universe into his bosom, and keep it warm; it seems
as if under that rude exterior there dwelt a very seraph. Then again he is
so sly and still, so imperturbably saturnine; shows such indifference,
malign coolness towards all that men strive after; and ever with some
half-visible wrinkle of a bitter sardonic humor, if indeed it be not mere
stolid callousness,--that you look on him almost with a shudder, as on some
incarnate Mephistopheles, to whom this great terrestrial and celestial
Round, after all, were but some huge foolish Whirligig, where kings and
beggars, and angels and demons, and stars and street-sweepings, were
chaotically whirled, in which only children could take interest. His look,
as we mentioned, is probably the gravest ever seen: yet it is not of that
cast-iron gravity frequent enough among our own Chancery suitors; but
rather the gravity as of some silent, high-encircled mountain-pool, perhaps
the crater of an extinct volcano; into whose black deeps you fear to gaze:
those eyes, those lights that sparkle in it, may indeed be reflexes of the
heavenly Stars, but perhaps also glances from the region of Nether Fire.

Certainly a most involved, self-secluded, altogether enigmatic nature, this
of Teufelsdrockh! Here, however, we gladly recall to mind that once we saw
him _laugh_; once only, perhaps it was the first and last time in his life;
but then such a peal of laughter, enough to have awakened the Seven
Sleepers! It was of Jean Paul's doing: some single billow in that vast
World-Mahlstrom of Humor, with its heaven-kissing coruscations, which is
now, alas, all congealed in the frost of death! The large-bodied Poet and
the small, both large enough in soul, sat talking miscellaneously together,
the present Editor being privileged to listen; and now Paul, in his serious
way, was giving one of those inimitable "Extra-Harangues;" and, as it
chanced, On the Proposal for a _Cast-metal King_: gradually a light
kindled in our Professor's eyes and face, a beaming, mantling, loveliest
light; through those murky features, a radiant ever-young Apollo looked;
and he burst forth like the neighing of all Tattersall's,--tears streaming
down his cheeks, pipe held aloft, foot clutched into the air,--loud,
long-continuing, uncontrollable; a laugh not of the face and diaphragm
only, but of the whole man from head to heel. The present Editor, who
laughed indeed, yet with measure, began to fear all was not right:
however, Teufelsdrockh, composed himself, and sank into his old stillness;
on his inscrutable countenance there was, if anything, a slight look of
shame; and Richter himself could not rouse him again. Readers who have any
tincture of Psychology know how much is to be inferred from this; and that
no man who has once heartily and wholly laughed can be altogether
irreclaimably bad. How much lies in Laughter: the cipher-key, wherewith
we decipher the whole man! Some men wear an everlasting barren simper; in
the smile of others lies a cold glitter as of ice: the fewest are able to
laugh, what can be called laughing, but only sniff and titter and snigger
from the throat outwards; or at best, produce some whiffling husky
cachinnation, as if they were laughing through wool: of none such comes
good. The man who cannot laugh is not only fit for treasons, stratagems,
and spoils; but his whole life is already a treason and a stratagem.

Considered as an Author, Herr Teufelsdrockh has one scarcely pardonable
fault, doubtless his worst: an almost total want of arrangement. In this
remarkable Volume, it is true, his adherence to the mere course of Time
produces, through the Narrative portions, a certain show of outward method;
but of true logical method and sequence there is too little. Apart from
its multifarious sections and subdivisions, the Work naturally falls into
two Parts; a Historical-Descriptive, and a Philosophical-Speculative: but
falls, unhappily, by no firm line of demarcation; in that labyrinthic
combination, each Part overlaps, and indents, and indeed runs quite through
the other. Many sections are of a debatable rubric, or even quite
nondescript and unnamable; whereby the Book not only loses in
accessibility, but too often distresses us like some mad banquet, wherein
all courses had been confounded, and fish and flesh, soup and solid,
oyster-sauce, lettuces, Rhine-wine and French mustard, were hurled into one
huge tureen or trough, and the hungry Public invited to help itself. To
bring what order we can out of this Chaos shall be part of our endeavor.


"As Montesquieu wrote a _Spirit of Laws_," observes our Professor, "so
could I write a _Spirit of Clothes_; thus, with an _Esprit des Lois_,
properly an _Esprit de Coutumes_, we should have an _Esprit de Costumes_.
For neither in tailoring nor in legislating does man proceed by mere
Accident, but the hand is ever guided on by mysterious operations of the
mind. In all his Modes, and habilatory endeavors, an Architectural Idea
will be found lurking; his Body and the Cloth are the site and materials
whereon and whereby his beautified edifice, of a Person, is to be built.
Whether he flow gracefully out in folded mantles, based on light sandals;
tower up in high headgear, from amid peaks, spangles and bell-girdles;
swell out in starched ruffs, buckram stuffings, and monstrous tuberosities;
or girth himself into separate sections, and front the world an
Agglomeration of four limbs,--will depend on the nature of such
Architectural Idea: whether Grecian, Gothic, Later Gothic, or altogether
Modern, and Parisian or Anglo-Dandiacal. Again, what meaning lies in
Color! From the soberest drab to the high-flaming scarlet, spiritual
idiosyncrasies unfold themselves in choice of Color: if the Cut betoken
Intellect and Talent, so does the Color betoken Temper and Heart. In all
which, among nations as among individuals, there is an incessant,
indubitable, though infinitely complex working of Cause and Effect: every
snip of the Scissors has been regulated and prescribed by ever-active
Influences, which doubtless to Intelligences of a superior order are
neither invisible nor illegible.

"For such superior Intelligences a Cause-and-Effect Philosophy of Clothes,
as of Laws, were probably a comfortable winter-evening entertainment:
nevertheless, for inferior Intelligences, like men, such Philosophies have
always seemed to me uninstructive enough. Nay, what is your Montesquieu
himself but a clever infant spelling Letters from a hieroglyphical
prophetic Book, the lexicon of which lies in Eternity, in Heaven?--Let any
Cause-and-Effect Philosopher explain, not why I wear such and such a
Garment, obey such and such a Law; but even why I am _here_, to wear and
obey anything!-- Much, therefore, if not the whole, of that same _Spirit of
Clothes_ I shall suppress, as hypothetical, ineffectual, and even
impertinent: naked Facts, and Deductions drawn therefrom in quite another
than that omniscient style, are my humbler and proper province."

Acting on which prudent restriction, Teufelsdrockh, has nevertheless
contrived to take in a well-nigh boundless extent of field; at least, the
boundaries too often lie quite beyond our horizon. Selection being
indispensable, we shall here glance over his First Part only in the most
cursory manner. This First Part is, no doubt, distinguished by omnivorous
learning, and utmost patience and fairness: at the same time, in its
results and delineations, it is much more likely to interest the Compilers
of some _Library_ of General, Entertaining, Useful, or even Useless
Knowledge than the miscellaneous readers of these pages. Was it this Part
of the Book which Heuschrecke had in view, when he recommended us to that
joint-stock vehicle of publication, "at present the glory of British
Literature"? If so, the Library Editors are welcome to dig in it for their
own behoof.

To the First Chapter, which turns on Paradise and Fig-leaves, and leads us
into interminable disquisitions of a mythological, metaphorical,
cabalistico-sartorial and quite antediluvian cast, we shall content
ourselves with giving an unconcerned approval. Still less have we to do
with "Lilis, Adam's first wife, whom, according to the Talmudists, he had
before Eve, and who bore him, in that wedlock, the whole progeny of aerial,
aquatic, and terrestrial Devils,"--very needlessly, we think. On this
portion of the Work, with its profound glances into the _Adam-Kadmon_, or
Primeval Element, here strangely brought into relation with the _Nifl_ and
_Muspel_ (Darkness and Light) of the antique North, it may be enough to
say, that its correctness of deduction, and depth of Talmudic and
Rabbinical lore have filled perhaps not the worst Hebraist in Britain with
something like astonishment.

But, quitting this twilight region, Teufelsdrockh hastens from the Tower of
Babel, to follow the dispersion of Mankind over the whole habitable and
habilable globe. Walking by the light of Oriental, Pelasgic, Scandinavian,
Egyptian, Otaheitean, Ancient and Modern researches of every conceivable
kind, he strives to give us in compressed shape (as the Nurnbergers give an
_Orbis Pictus_) an _Orbis Vestitus_; or view of the costumes of all
mankind, in all countries, in all times. It is here that to the
Antiquarian, to the Historian, we can triumphantly say: Fall to! Here is
learning: an irregular Treasury, if you will; but inexhaustible as the
Hoard of King Nibelung, which twelve wagons in twelve days, at the rate of
three journeys a day, could not carry off. Sheepskin cloaks and wampum
belts; phylacteries, stoles, albs; chlamydes, togas, Chinese silks, Afghaun
shawls, trunk-hose, leather breeches, Celtic hilibegs (though breeches, as
the name _Gallia Braccata_ indicates, are the more ancient), Hussar cloaks,
Vandyke tippets, ruffs, fardingales, are brought vividly before us,--even
the Kilmarnock nightcap is not forgotten. For most part, too, we must
admit that the Learning, heterogeneous as it is, and tumbled down quite
pell-mell, is true concentrated and purified Learning, the drossy parts
smelted out and thrown aside.

Philosophical reflections intervene, and sometimes touching pictures of
human life. Of this sort the following has surprised us. The first
purpose of Clothes, as our Professor imagines, was not warmth or decency,
but ornament. "Miserable indeed," says he, "was the condition of the
Aboriginal Savage, glaring fiercely from under his fleece of hair, which
with the beard reached down to his loins, and hung round him like a matted
cloak; the rest of his body sheeted in its thick natural fell. He loitered
in the sunny glades of the forest, living on wild-fruits; or, as the
ancient Caledonian, squatted himself in morasses, lurking for his bestial
or human prey; without implements, without arms, save the ball of heavy
Flint, to which, that his sole possession and defence might not be lost, he
had attached a long cord of plaited thongs; thereby recovering as well as
hurling it with deadly unerring skill. Nevertheless, the pains of Hunger
and Revenge once satisfied, his next care was not Comfort but Decoration
(_Putz_). Warmth he found in the toils of the chase; or amid dried leaves,
in his hollow tree, in his bark shed, or natural grotto: but for
Decoration he must have Clothes. Nay, among wild people, we find tattooing
and painting even prior to Clothes. The first spiritual want of a
barbarous man is Decoration, as indeed we still see among the barbarous
classes in civilized countries.

"Reader, the heaven-inspired melodious Singer; loftiest Serene Highness;
nay thy own amber-locked, snow-and-rosebloom Maiden, worthy to glide
sylph-like almost on air, whom thou lovest, worshippest as a divine
Presence, which, indeed, symbolically taken, she is,--has descended, like
thyself, from that same hair-mantled, flint-hurling Aboriginal
Anthropophagus! Out of the eater cometh forth meat; out of the strong
cometh forth sweetness. What changes are wrought, not by Time, yet in
Time! For not Mankind only, but all that Mankind does or beholds, is in
continual growth, re-genesis and self-perfecting vitality. Cast forth thy
Act, thy Word, into the ever-living, ever-working Universe: it is a
seed-grain that cannot die; unnoticed to-day (says one), it will be found
flourishing as a Banyan-grove (perhaps, alas, as a Hemlock-forest!) after a
thousand years.

"He who first shortened the labor of Copyists by device of _Movable Types_
was disbanding hired Armies, and cashiering most Kings and Senates, and
creating a whole new Democratic world: he had invented the Art of
Printing. The first ground handful of Nitre, Sulphur, and Charcoal drove
Monk Schwartz's pestle through the ceiling: what will the last do?
Achieve the final undisputed prostration of Force under Thought, of Animal
courage under Spiritual. A simple invention it was in the old-world
Grazier,--sick of lugging his slow Ox about the country till he got it
bartered for corn or oil,--to take a piece of Leather, and thereon scratch
or stamp the mere Figure of an Ox (or _Pecus_); put it in his pocket, and
call it _Pecunia_, Money. Yet hereby did Barter grow Sale, the Leather
Money is now Golden and Paper, and all miracles have been out-miracled:
for there are Rothschilds and English National Debts; and whoso has
sixpence is sovereign (to the length of sixpence) over all men; commands
cooks to feed him, philosophers to teach him, kings to mount guard over
him,--to the length of sixpence.--Clothes too, which began in foolishest
love of Ornament, what have they not become! Increased Security and
pleasurable Heat soon followed: but what of these? Shame, divine Shame
(_Schaam_, Modesty), as yet a stranger to the Anthropophagous bosom, arose
there mysteriously under Clothes; a mystic grove-encircled shrine for the
Holy in man. Clothes gave us individuality, distinctions, social polity;
Clothes have made Men of us; they are threatening to make Clothes-screens
of us.

"But, on the whole," continues our eloquent Professor, "Man is a Tool-using
Animal (_Handthierendes Thier_). Weak in himself, and of small stature, he
stands on a basis, at most for the flattest-soled, of some half-square
foot, insecurely enough; has to straddle out his legs, lest the very wind
supplant him. Feeblest of bipeds! Three quintals are a crushing load for
him; the steer of the meadow tosses him aloft, like a waste rag.
Nevertheless he can use Tools; can devise Tools: with these the granite
mountain melts into light dust before him; he kneads glowing iron, as if it
were soft paste; seas are his smooth highway, winds and fire his unwearying
steeds. Nowhere do you find him without Tools; without Tools he is
nothing, with Tools he is all."

Here may we not, for a moment, interrupt the stream of Oratory with a
remark, that this Definition of the Tool-using Animal appears to us, of all
that Animal-sort, considerably the precisest and best? Man is called a
Laughing Animal: but do not the apes also laugh, or attempt to do it; and
is the manliest man the greatest and oftenest laugher? Teufelsdrockh
himself, as we said, laughed only once. Still less do we make of that
other French Definition of the Cooking Animal; which, indeed, for rigorous
scientific purposes, is as good as useless. Can a Tartar be said to cook,
when he only readies his steak by riding on it? Again, what Cookery does
the Greenlander use, beyond stowing up his whale-blubber, as a marmot, in
the like case, might do? Or how would Monsieur Ude prosper among those
Orinoco Indians who, according to Humboldt, lodge in crow-nests, on the
branches of trees; and, for half the year, have no victuals but pipe-clay,
the whole country being under water? But, on the other hand, show us the
human being, of any period or climate, without his Tools: those very
Caledonians, as we saw, had their Flint-ball, and Thong to it, such as no
brute has or can have.

"Man is a Tool-using Animal," concludes Teufelsdrockh, in his abrupt way;
"of which truth Clothes are but one example: and surely if we consider the
interval between the first wooden Dibble fashioned by man, and those
Liverpool Steam-carriages, or the British House of Commons, we shall note
what progress he has made. He digs up certain black stones from the bosom
of the earth, and says to them, _Transport me and this luggage at the rate
of file-and-thirty miles an hour_; and they do it: he collects, apparently
by lot, six hundred and fifty-eight miscellaneous individuals, and says to
them, _Make this nation toil for us, bleed for us, hunger and, sorrow and
sin for us_; and they do it."


One of the most unsatisfactory Sections in the whole Volume is that on
_Aprons_. What though stout old Gao, the Persian Blacksmith, "whose Apron,
now indeed hidden under jewels, because raised in revolt which proved
successful, is still the royal standard of that country;" what though John
Knox's Daughter, "who threatened Sovereign Majesty that she would catch her
husband's head in her Apron, rather than he should lie and be a bishop;"
what though the Landgravine Elizabeth, with many other Apron
worthies,--figure here? An idle wire-drawing spirit, sometimes even a tone
of levity, approaching to conventional satire, is too clearly discernible.
What, for example, are we to make of such sentences as the following?

"Aprons are Defences; against injury to cleanliness, to safety, to modesty,
sometimes to roguery. From the thin slip of notched silk (as it were, the
emblem and beatified ghost of an Apron), which some highest-bred housewife,
sitting at Nurnberg Work-boxes and Toy-boxes, has gracefully fastened on;
to the thick-tanned hide, girt round him with thongs, wherein the Builder
builds, and at evening sticks his trowel; or to those jingling sheet-iron
Aprons, wherein your otherwise half-naked Vulcans hammer and smelt in their
smelt-furnace,--is there not range enough in the fashion and uses of this
Vestment? How much has been concealed, how much has been defended in
Aprons! Nay, rightly considered, what is your whole Military and Police
Establishment, charged at uncalculated millions, but a huge
scarlet-colored, iron-fastened Apron, wherein Society works (uneasily
enough); guarding itself from some soil and stithy-sparks, in this
Devil's-smithy (_Teufels-schmiede_) of a world? But of all Aprons the most
puzzling to me hitherto has been the Episcopal or Cassock. Wherein
consists the usefulness of this Apron? The Overseer (_Episcopus_) of
Souls, I notice, has tucked in the corner of it, as if his day's work were
done: what does he shadow forth thereby?" &c. &c.

Or again, has it often been the lot of our readers to read such stuff as we
shall now quote?

"I consider those printed Paper Aprons, worn by the Parisian Cooks, as a
new vent, though a slight one, for Typography; therefore as an
encouragement to modern Literature, and deserving of approval: nor is it
without satisfaction that I hear of a celebrated London Firm having in view
to introduce the same fashion, with important extensions, in England."--We
who are on the spot hear of no such thing; and indeed have reason to be
thankful that hitherto there are other vents for our Literature, exuberant
as it is.--Teufelsdrockh continues: "If such supply of printed Paper
should rise so far as to choke up the highways and public thoroughfares,
new means must of necessity be had recourse to. In a world existing by
Industry, we grudge to employ fire as a destroying element, and not as a
creating one. However, Heaven is omnipotent, and will find us an outlet.
In the mean while, is it not beautiful to see five million quintals of Rags
picked annually from the Laystall; and annually, after being macerated,
hot-pressed, printed on, and sold,--returned thither; filling so many
hungry mouths by the way? Thus is the Laystall, especially with its Rags
or Clothes-rubbish, the grand Electric Battery, and Fountain-of-motion,
from which and to which the Social Activities (like vitreous and resinous
Electricities) circulate, in larger or smaller circles, through the mighty,
billowy, storm-tost chaos of Life, which they keep alive!"--Such passages
fill us, who love the man, and partly esteem him, with a very mixed

Farther down we meet with this: "The Journalists are now the true Kings
and Clergy: henceforth Historians, unless they are fools, must write not
of Bourbon Dynasties, and Tudors and Hapsburgs; but of Stamped Broad-sheet
Dynasties, and quite new successive Names, according as this or the other
Able Editor, or Combination of Able Editors, gains the world's ear. Of the
British Newspaper Press, perhaps the most important of all, and wonderful
enough in its secret constitution and procedure, a valuable descriptive
History already exists, in that language, under the title of _Satan's
Invisible World Displayed_; which, however, by search in all the
Weissnichtwo Libraries, I have not yet succeeded in procuring (_vermochte
night aufzutreiben_)."

Thus does the good Homer not only nod, but snore. Thus does Teufelsdrockh,
wandering in regions where he had little business, confound the old
authentic Presbyterian Witchfinder with a new, spurious, imaginary
Historian of the _Brittische Journalistik_; and so stumble on perhaps the
most egregious blunder in Modern Literature!


Happier is our Professor, and more purely scientific and historic, when he
reaches the Middle Ages in Europe, and down to the end of the Seventeenth
Century; the true era of extravagance in Costume. It is here that the
Antiquary and Student of Modes comes upon his richest harvest. Fantastic
garbs, beggaring all fancy of a Teniers or a Callot, succeed each other,
like monster devouring monster in a Dream. The whole too in brief
authentic strokes, and touched not seldom with that breath of genius which
makes even old raiment live. Indeed, so learned, precise, graphical, and
every way interesting have we found these Chapters, that it may be thrown
out as a pertinent question for parties concerned, Whether or not a good
English Translation thereof might henceforth be profitably incorporated
with Mr. Merrick's valuable Work _On Ancient Armor_? Take, by way of
example, the following sketch; as authority for which Paulinus's
_Zeitkurzende Lust_ (ii. 678) is, with seeming confidence, referred to:

"Did we behold the German fashionable dress of the Fifteenth Century, we
might smile; as perhaps those bygone Germans, were they to rise again, and
see our haberdashery, would cross themselves, and invoke the Virgin. But
happily no bygone German, or man, rises again; thus the Present is not
needlessly trammelled with the Past; and only grows out of it, like a Tree,
whose roots are not intertangled with its branches, but lie peaceably
underground. Nay it is very mournful, yet not useless, to see and know,
how the Greatest and Dearest, in a short while, would find his place quite
filled up here, and no room for him; the very Napoleon, the very Byron, in
some seven years, has become obsolete, and were now a foreigner to his
Europe. Thus is the Law of Progress secured; and in Clothes, as in all
other external things whatsoever, no fashion will continue.

"Of the military classes in those old times, whose buff-belts, complicated
chains and gorgets, huge churn-boots, and other riding and fighting gear
have been bepainted in modern Romance, till the whole has acquired somewhat
of a sign-post character,--I shall here say nothing: the civil and pacific
classes, less touched upon, are wonderful enough for us.

"Rich men, I find, have _Teusinke_ [a perhaps untranslatable article]; also
a silver girdle, whereat hang little bells; so that when a man walks, it is
with continual jingling. Some few, of musical turn, have a whole chime of
bells (_Glockenspiel_) fastened there; which, especially in sudden whirls,
and the other accidents of walking, has a grateful effect. Observe too how
fond they are of peaks, and Gothic-arch intersections. The male world
wears peaked caps, an ell long, which hang bobbing over the side
(_schief_): their shoes are peaked in front, also to the length of an ell,
and laced on the side with tags; even the wooden shoes have their ell-long
noses: some also clap bells on the peak. Further, according to my
authority, the men have breeches without seat (_ohne Gesass_): these they
fasten peakwise to their shirts; and the long round doublet must overlap

"Rich maidens, again, flit abroad in gowns scolloped out behind and before,
so that back and breast are almost bare. Wives of quality, on the other
hand, have train-gowns four or five ells in length; which trains there are
boys to carry. Brave Cleopatras, sailing in their silk-cloth Galley, with
a Cupid for steersman! Consider their welts, a handbreadth thick, which
waver round them by way of hem; the long flood of silver buttons, or rather
silver shells, from throat to shoe, wherewith these same welt-gowns are
buttoned. The maidens have bound silver snoods about their hair, with gold
spangles, and pendent flames (_Flammen_), that is, sparkling hair-drops:
but of their mother's head-gear who shall speak? Neither in love of grace
is comfort forgotten. In winter weather you behold the whole fair creation
(that can afford it) in long mantles, with skirts wide below, and, for hem,
not one but two sufficient hand-broad welts; all ending atop in a thick
well-starched Ruff, some twenty inches broad: these are their Ruff-mantles

"As yet among the womankind hoop-petticoats are not; but the men have
doublets of fustian, under which lie multiple ruffs of cloth, pasted
together with batter (_mit Teig zusammengekleistert_), which create
protuberance enough. Thus do the two sexes vie with each other in the art
of Decoration; and as usual the stronger carries it."

Our Professor, whether he have humor himself or not, manifests a certain
feeling of the Ludicrous, a sly observance of it which, could emotion of
any kind be confidently predicated of so still a man, we might call a real
love. None of those bell-girdles, bushel-breeches, counted shoes, or other
the like phenomena, of which the History of Dress offers so many, escape
him: more especially the mischances, or striking adventures, incident to
the wearers of such, are noticed with due fidelity. Sir Walter Raleigh's
fine mantle, which he spread in the mud under Queen Elizabeth's feet,
appears to provoke little enthusiasm in him; he merely asks, Whether at
that period the Maiden Queen "was red-painted on the nose, and
white-painted on the cheeks, as her tire-women, when from spleen and
wrinkles she would no longer look in any glass, were wont to serve her"?
We can answer that Sir Walter knew well what he was doing, and had the
Maiden Queen been stuffed parchment dyed in verdigris, would have done the

Thus too, treating of those enormous habiliments, that were not only
slashed and gallooned, but artificially swollen out on the broader parts of
the body, by introduction of Bran,--our Professor fails not to comment on
that luckless Courtier, who having seated himself on a chair with some
projecting nail on it, and therefrom rising, to pay his _devoir_ on the
entrance of Majesty, instantaneously emitted several pecks of dry
wheat-dust: and stood there diminished to a spindle, his galloons and
slashes dangling sorrowful and flabby round him. Whereupon the Professor
publishes this reflection:--

"By what strange chances do we live in History? Erostratus by a torch;
Milo by a bullock; Henry Darnley, an unfledged booby and bustard, by his
limbs; most Kings and Queens by being born under such and such a
bed-tester; Boileau Despreaux (according to Helvetius) by the peck of a
turkey; and this ill-starred individual by a rent in his breeches,--for no
Memoirist of Kaiser Otto's Court omits him. Vain was the prayer of
Themistocles for a talent of Forgetting: my Friends, yield cheerfully to
Destiny, and read since it is written."--Has Teufelsdrockh, to be put in
mind that, nearly related to the impossible talent of Forgetting, stands
that talent of Silence, which even travelling Englishmen manifest?

"The simplest costume," observes our Professor, "which I anywhere find
alluded to in History, is that used as regimental, by Bolivar's Cavalry, in
the late Colombian wars. A square Blanket, twelve feet in diagonal, is
provided (some were wont to cut off the corners, and make it circular): in
the centre a slit is effected eighteen inches long; through this the
mother-naked Trooper introduces his head and neck; and so rides shielded
from all weather, and in battle from many strokes (for he rolls it about
his left arm); and not only dressed, but harnessed and draperied."

With which picture of a State of Nature, affecting by its singularity, and
Old-Roman contempt of the superfluous, we shall quit this part of our


If in the Descriptive-Historical portion of this Volume, Teufelsdrockh,
discussing merely the _Werden_ (Origin and successive Improvement) of
Clothes, has astonished many a reader, much more will he in the
Speculative-Philosophical portion, which treats of their _Wirken_, or
Influences. It is here that thc present Editor first feels the pressure of
his task; for here properly the higher and new Philosophy of Clothes
commences: all untried, almost inconceivable region, or chaos; in
venturing upon which, how difficult, yet how unspeakably important is it to
know what course, of survey and conquest, is the true one; where the
footing is firm substance and will bear us, where it is hollow, or mere
cloud, and may engulf us! Teufelsdrockh undertakes no less than to expound
the moral, political, even religious Influences of Clothes; he undertakes
to make manifest, in its thousand-fold bearings, this grand Proposition,
that Man's earthly interests "are all hooked and buttoned together, and
held up, by Clothes." He says in so many words, "Society is founded upon
Cloth;" and again, "Society sails through the Infinitude on Cloth, as on a
Faust's Mantle, or rather like the Sheet of clean and unclean beasts in the
Apostle's Dream; and without such Sheet or Mantle, would sink to endless
depths, or mount to inane limbos, and in either case be no more."

By what chains, or indeed infinitely complected tissues, of Meditation this
grand Theorem is here unfolded, and innumerable practical Corollaries are
drawn therefrom, it were perhaps a mad ambition to attempt exhibiting. Our
Professor's method is not, in any case, that of common school Logic, where
the truths all stand in a row, each holding by the skirts of the other; but
at best that of practical Reason' proceeding by large Intuition over whole
systematic groups and kingdoms; whereby, we might say, a noble complexity,
almost like that of Nature, reigns in his Philosophy, or spiritual Picture
of Nature: a mighty maze, yet, as faith whispers, not without a plan. Nay
we complained above, that a certain ignoble complexity, what we must call
mere confusion, was also discernible. Often, also, we have to exclaim:
Would to Heaven those same Biographical Documents were come! For it seems
as if the demonstration lay much in the Author's individuality; as if it
were not Argument that had taught him, but Experience. At present it is
only in local glimpses, and by significant fragments, picked often at
wide-enough intervals from the original Volume, and carefully collated,
that we can hope to impart some outline or foreshadow of this Doctrine.
Readers of any intelligence are once more invited to favor us with their
most concentrated attention: let these, after intense consideration, and
not till then, pronounce, Whether on the utmost verge of our actual horizon
there is not a looming as of Land; a promise of new Fortunate Islands,
perhaps whole undiscovered Americas, for such as have canvas to sail
thither?--As exordium to the whole, stand here the following long

"With men of a speculative turn," writes Teufelsdrockh, "there come
seasons, meditative, sweet, yet awful hours, when in wonder and fear you
ask yourself that unanswerable question: Who am I; the thing that can say
'I' (_das Wesen das sich ICH nennt_)? The world, with its loud
trafficking, retires into the distance; and, through the paper-hangings,
and stonewalls, and thick-plied tissues of Commerce and Polity, and all the
living and lifeless integuments (of Society and a Body), wherewith your
Existence sits surrounded,--the sight reaches forth into the void Deep, and
you are alone with the Universe, and silently commune with it, as one
mysterious Presence with another.

"Who am I; what is this ME? A Voice, a Motion, an Appearance;--some
embodied, visualized Idea in the Eternal Mind? _Cogito, ergo sum_. Alas,
poor Cogitator, this takes us but a little way. Sure enough, I am; and
lately was not: but Whence? How? Whereto? The answer lies around,
written in all colors and motions, uttered in all tones of jubilee and
wail, in thousand-figured, thousand-voiced, harmonious Nature: but where
is the cunning eye and ear to whom that God-written Apocalypse will yield
articulate meaning? We sit as in a boundless Phantasmagoria and
Dream-grotto; boundless, for the faintest star, the remotest century, lies
not even nearer the verge thereof: sounds and many-colored visions flit
round our sense; but Him, the Unslumbering, whose work both Dream and
Dreamer are, we see not; except in rare half-waking moments, suspect not.
Creation, says one, lies before us, like a glorious Rainbow; but the Sun
that made it lies behind us, hidden from us. Then, in that strange Dream,
how we clutch at shadows as if they were substances; and sleep deepest
while fancying ourselves most awake! Which of your Philosophical Systems
is other than a dream-theorem; a net quotient, confidently given out, where
divisor and dividend are both unknown? What are all your national Wars,
with their Moscow Retreats, and sanguinary hate-filled Revolutions, but the
Somnambulism of uneasy Sleepers? This Dreaming, this Somnambulism is what
we on Earth call Life; wherein the most indeed undoubtingly wander, as if
they knew right hand from left; yet they only are wise who know that they
know nothing.

"Pity that all Metaphysics had hitherto proved so inexpressibly
unproductive! The secret of Man's Being is still like the Sphinx's secret:
a riddle that he cannot rede; and for ignorance of which he suffers death,
the worst death, a spiritual. What are your Axioms, and Categories, and
Systems, and Aphorisms? Words, words. High Air-castles are cunningly
built of Words, the Words well bedded also in good Logic-mortar; wherein,
however, no Knowledge will come to lodge. _The whole is greater than the
part_: how exceedingly true! _Nature abhors a vacuum_: how exceedingly
false and calumnious! Again, _Nothing can act but where it is_: with all
my heart; only, WHERE is it? Be not the slave of Words: is not the
Distant, the Dead, while I love it, and long for it, and mourn for it,
Here, in the genuine sense, as truly as the floor I stand on? But that
same WHERE, with its brother WHEN, are from the first the master-colors of
our Dream-grotto; say rather, the Canvas (the warp and woof thereof)
whereon all our Dreams and Life-visions are painted. Nevertheless, has not
a deeper meditation taught certain of every climate and age, that the WHERE
and WHEN, so mysteriously inseparable from all our thoughts, are but
superficial terrestrial adhesions to thought; that the Seer may discern
them where they mount up out of the celestial EVERYWHERE and FOREVER: have
not all nations conceived their God as Omnipresent and Eternal; as existing
in a universal HERE, an everlasting Now? Think well, thou too wilt find
that Space is but a mode of our human Sense, so likewise Time; there _is_
no Space and no Time: WE are--we know not what;--light-sparkles floating
in the ether of Deity!

"So that this so solid-seeming World, after all, were but an air-image, our
ME the only reality: and Nature, with its thousand-fold production and
destruction, but the reflex of our own inward Force, the 'phantasy of our
Dream;' or what the Earth-Spirit in _Faust_ names it, _the living visible
Garment of God_:--

"'In Being's floods, in Action's storm,
I walk and work, above, beneath,
Work and weave in endless motion!
Birth and Death,
An infinite ocean;
A seizing and giving
The fire of Living:
'Tis thus at the roaring Loom of Time I ply,
And weave for God the Garment thou seest Him by.'

Of twenty millions that have read and spouted this thunder-speech of the
_Erdgeist_, are there yet twenty units of us that have learned the meaning

"It was in some such mood, when wearied and fordone with these high
speculations, that I first came upon the question of Clothes. Strange
enough, it strikes me, is this same fact of there being Tailors and
Tailored. The Horse I ride has his own whole fell: strip him of the
girths and flaps and extraneous tags I have fastened round him, and the
noble creature is his own sempster and weaver and spinner; nay his own
boot-maker, jeweller, and man-milliner; he bounds free through the valleys,
with a perennial rain-proof court-suit on his body; wherein warmth and
easiness of fit have reached perfection; nay, the graces also have been
considered, and frills and fringes, with gay variety of color, featly
appended, and ever in the right place, are not wanting. While I--good
Heaven!-- have thatched myself over with the dead fleeces of sheep, the
bark of vegetables, the entrails of worms, the hides of oxen or seals, the
felt of furred beasts; and walk abroad a moving Rag-screen, overheaped with
shreds and tatters raked from the Charnel-house of Nature, where they would
have rotted, to rot on me more slowly! Day after day, I must thatch myself
anew; day after day, this despicable thatch must lose some film of its
thickness; some film of it, frayed away by tear and wear, must be brushed
off into the Ashpit, into the Laystall; till by degrees the whole has been
brushed thither, and I, the dust-making, patent Rat-grinder, get new
material to grind down. O subter-brutish! vile! most vile! For have not I
too a compact all-enclosing Skin, whiter or dingier? Am I a botched mass
of tailors' and cobblers' shreds, then; or a tightly articulated,
homogeneous little Figure, automatic, nay alive?

"Strange enough how creatures of the human-kind shut their eyes to plainest
facts; and by the mere inertia of Oblivion and Stupidity, live at ease in
the midst of Wonders and Terrors. But indeed man is, and was always, a
blockhead and dullard; much readier to feel and digest, than to think and
consider. Prejudice, which he pretends to hate, is his absolute lawgiver;
mere use-and-wont everywhere leads him by the nose; thus let but a Rising
of the Sun, let but a Creation of the World happen _twice_, and it ceases
to be marvellous, to be noteworthy, or noticeable. Perhaps not once in a
lifetime does it occur to your ordinary biped, of any country or
generation, be he gold-mantled Prince or russet-jerkined Peasant, that his
Vestments and his Self are not one and indivisible; that _he_ is naked,
without vestments, till he buy or steal such, and by forethought sew and
button them.

"For my own part, these considerations, of our Clothes-thatch, and how,
reaching inwards even to our heart of hearts, it tailorizes and demoralizes
us, fill me with a certain horror at myself and mankind; almost as one
feels at those Dutch Cows, which, during the wet season, you see grazing
deliberately with jackets and petticoats (of striped sacking), in the
meadows of Gouda. Nevertheless there is something great in the moment when
a man first strips himself of adventitious wrappages; and sees indeed that
he is naked, and, as Swift has it, 'a forked straddling animal with bandy
legs;' yet also a Spirit, and unutterable Mystery of Mysteries."


Let no courteous reader take offence at the opinions broached in the
conclusion of the last Chapter. The Editor himself, on first glancing over
that singular passage, was inclined to exclaim: What, have we got not only
a Sansculottist, but an enemy to Clothes in the abstract? A new Adamite,
in this century, which flatters itself that it is the Nineteenth, and
destructive both to Superstition and Enthusiasm?

Consider, thou foolish Teufelsdrockh, what benefits unspeakable all ages
and sexes derive from Clothes. For example, when thou thyself, a watery,
pulpy, slobbery freshman and new-comer in this Planet, sattest muling and
puking in thy nurse's arms; sucking thy coral, and looking forth into the
world in the blankest manner, what hadst thou been without thy blankets,
and bibs, and other nameless hulls? A terror to thyself and mankind! Or
hast thou forgotten the day when thou first receivedst breeches, and thy
long clothes became short? The village where thou livedst was all apprised
of the fact; and neighbor after neighbor kissed thy pudding-cheek, and gave
thee, as handsel, silver or copper coins, on that the first gala-day of thy
existence. Again, wert not thou, at one period of life, a Buck, or Blood,
or Macaroni, or Incroyable, or Dandy, or by whatever name, according to
year and place, such phenomenon is distinguished? In that one word lie
included mysterious volumes. Nay, now when the reign of folly is over, or
altered, and thy clothes are not for triumph but for defence, hast thou
always worn them perforce, and as a consequence of Man's Fall; never
rejoiced in them as in a warm movable House, a Body round thy Body, wherein
that strange THEE of thine sat snug, defying all variations of Climate?
Girt with thick double-milled kerseys; half buried under shawls and
broadbrims, and overalls and mudboots, thy very fingers cased in doeskin
and mittens, thou hast bestrode that "Horse I ride;" and, though it were in
wild winter, dashed through the world, glorying in it as if thou wert its
lord. In vain did the sleet beat round thy temples; it lighted only on thy
impenetrable, felted or woven, case of wool. In vain did the winds
howl,--forests sounding and creaking, deep calling unto deep,--and the
storms heap themselves together into one huge Arctic whirlpool: thou
flewest through the middle thereof, striking fire from the highway; wild
music hummed in thy ears, thou too wert as a "sailor of the air;" the wreck
of matter and the crash of worlds was thy element and propitiously wafting
tide. Without Clothes, without bit or saddle, what hadst thou been; what
had thy fleet quadruped been?--Nature is good, but she is not the best:
here truly was the victory of Art over Nature. A thunderbolt indeed might
have pierced thee; all short of this thou couldst defy.

Or, cries the courteous reader, has your Teufelsdrockh forgotten what he
said lately about "Aboriginal Savages," and their "condition miserable
indeed"? Would he have all this unsaid; and us betake ourselves again to
the "matted cloak," and go sheeted in a "thick natural fell"?

Nowise, courteous reader! The Professor knows full well what he is saying;
and both thou and we, in our haste, do him wrong. If Clothes, in these
times, "so tailorize and demoralize us," have they no redeeming value; can
they not be altered to serve better; must they of necessity be thrown to
the dogs? The truth is, Teufelsdrockh, though a Sansculottist, is no
Adamite; and much perhaps as he might wish to go forth before this
degenerate age "as a Sign," would nowise wish to do it, as those old
Adamites did, in a state of Nakedness. The utility of Clothes is
altogether apparent to him: nay perhaps he has an insight into their more
recondite, and almost mystic qualities, what we might call the omnipotent
virtue of Clothes, such as was never before vouchsafed to any man. For

"You see two individuals," he writes, "one dressed in fine Red, the other
in coarse threadbare Blue: Red says to Blue, 'Be hanged and anatomized;'
Blue hears with a shudder, and (O wonder of wonders!) marches sorrowfully
to the gallows; is there noosed up, vibrates his hour, and the surgeons
dissect him, and fit his bones into a skeleton for medical purposes. How
is this; or what make ye of your _Nothing can act but where it is_? Red
has no physical hold of Blue, no _clutch_ of him, is nowise in _contact_
with him: neither are those ministering Sheriffs and Lord-Lieutenants and
Hangmen and Tipstaves so related to commanding Red, that he can tug them
hither and thither; but each stands distinct within his own skin.
Nevertheless, as it is spoken, so is it done: the articulated Word sets
all hands in Action; and Rope and Improved-drop perform their work.

"Thinking reader, the reason seems to me twofold: First, that _Man is a
Spirit_, and bound by invisible bonds to _All Men_; secondly, that _he
wears Clothes_, which are the visible emblems of that fact. Has not your
Red hanging-individual a horsehair wig, squirrel-skins, and a plush-gown;
whereby all mortals know that he is a JUDGE?--Society, which the more I
think of it astonishes me the more, is founded upon Cloth.

"Often in my atrabiliar moods, when I read of pompous ceremonials,
Frankfort Coronations, Royal Drawing-rooms, Levees, Couchees; and how the
ushers and macers and pursuivants are all in waiting; how Duke this is
presented by Archduke that, and Colonel A by General B, and innumerable
Bishops, Admirals, and miscellaneous Functionaries, are advancing gallantly
to the Anointed Presence; and I strive, in my remote privacy, to form a
clear picture of that solemnity,--on a sudden, as by some enchanter's wand,
the--shall I speak it?--the Clothes fly off the whole dramatic corps; and
Dukes, Grandees, Bishops, Generals, Anointed Presence itself, every
mother's son of them, stand straddling there, not a shirt on them; and I
know not whether to laugh or weep. This physical or psychical infirmity,
in which perhaps I am not singular, I have, after hesitation, thought right
to publish, for the solace of those afflicted with the like."

Would to Heaven, say we, thou hadst thought right to keep it secret! Who
is there now that can read the five columns of Presentations in his Morning
Newspaper without a shudder? Hypochondriac men, and all men are to a
certain extent hypochondriac, should be more gently treated. With what
readiness our fancy, in this shattered state of the nerves, follows out the
consequences which Teufelsdrockh, with a devilish coolness, goes on to

"What would Majesty do, could such an accident befall in reality; should
the buttons all simultaneously start, and the solid wool evaporate, in very
Deed, as here in Dream? _Ach Gott_! How each skulks into the nearest
hiding-place; their high State Tragedy (_Haupt- und Staats-Action_) becomes
a Pickleherring-Farce to weep at, which is the worst kind of Farce; _the
tables_ (according to Horace), and with them, the whole fabric of
Government, Legislation, Property, Police, and Civilized Society, _are
dissolved_, in wails and howls."

Lives the man that can figure a naked Duke of Windlestraw addressing a
naked House of Lords? Imagination, choked as in mephitic air, recoils on
itself, and will not forward with the picture. The Woolsack, the
Ministerial, the Opposition Benches--_infandum! infandum_! And yet why is
the thing impossible? Was not every soul, or rather every body, of these
Guardians of our Liberties, naked, or nearly so, last night; "a forked
Radish with a head fantastically carved"? And why might he not, did our
stern fate so order it, walk out to St. Stephen's, as well as into bed, in
that no-fashion; and there, with other similar Radishes, hold a Bed of
Justice? "Solace of those afflicted with the like!" Unhappy
Teufelsdrockh, had man ever such a "physical or psychical infirmity"
before? And now how many, perhaps, may thy unparalleled confession (which
we, even to the sounder British world, and goaded on by Critical and
Biographical duty, grudge to reimpart) incurably infect therewith! Art
thou the malignest of Sansculottists, or only the maddest?

"It will remain to be examined," adds the inexorable Teufelsdrockh, "in how
far the SCARECROW, as a Clothed Person, is not also entitled to benefit of
clergy, and English trial by jury: nay perhaps, considering his high
function (for is not he too a Defender of Property, and Sovereign armed
with the _terrors_ of the Law?), to a certain royal Immunity and
Inviolability; which, however, misers and the meaner class of persons are
not always voluntarily disposed to grant him."

"O my Friends, we are [in Yorick Sterne's words] but as 'turkeys driven,
with a stick and red clout, to the market:' or if some drivers, as they do
in Norfolk, take a dried bladder and put peas in it, the rattle thereof
terrifies the boldest!"


It must now be apparent enough that our Professor, as above hinted, is a
speculative Radical, and of the very darkest tinge; acknowledging, for most
part, in the solemnities and paraphernalia of civilized Life, which we make
so much of, nothing but so many Cloth-rags, turkey-poles, and "bladders
with dried peas." To linger among such speculations, longer than mere
Science requires, a discerning public can have no wish. For our purposes
the simple fact that such a _Naked World_ is possible, nay actually exists
(under the Clothed one), will be sufficient. Much, therefore, we omit
about "Kings wrestling naked on the green with Carmen," and the Kings being
thrown: "dissect them with scalpels," says Teufelsdrockh; "the same
viscera, tissues, livers, lights, and other life-tackle, are there:
examine their spiritual mechanism; the same great Need, great Greed, and
little Faculty; nay ten to one but the Carman, who understands
draught-cattle, the rimming of wheels, something of the laws of unstable
and stable equilibrium, with other branches of wagon-science, and has
actually put forth his hand and operated on Nature, is the more cunningly
gifted of the two. Whence, then, their so unspeakable difference? From
Clothes." Much also we shall omit about confusion of Ranks, and Joan and
My Lady, and how it would be everywhere "Hail fellow well met," and Chaos
were come again: all which to any one that has once fairly pictured out
the grand mother-idea, _Society in a state of Nakedness_, will
spontaneously suggest itself. Should some sceptical individual still
entertain doubts whether in a world without Clothes, the smallest
Politeness, Polity, or even Police, could exist, let him turn to the
original Volume, and view there the boundless Serbonian Bog of
Sansculottism, stretching sour and pestilential: over which we have
lightly flown; where not only whole armies but whole nations might sink!
If indeed the following argument, in its brief riveting emphasis, be not of
itself incontrovertible and final:--

"Are we Opossums; have we natural Pouches, like the Kangaroo? Or how,
without Clothes, could we possess the master-organ, soul's seat, and true
pineal gland of the Body Social: I mean, a PURSE?"

Nevertheless it is impossible to hate Professor Teufelsdrockh; at worst,
one knows not whether to hate or to love him. For though, in looking at
the fair tapestry of human Life, with its royal and even sacred figures, he
dwells not on the obverse alone, but here chiefly on the reverse; and
indeed turns out the rough seams, tatters, and manifold thrums of that
unsightly wrong-side, with an almost diabolic patience and indifference,
which must have sunk him in the estimation of most readers, --there is that
within which unspeakably distinguishes him from all other past and present
Sansculottists. The grand unparalleled peculiarity of Teufelsdrockh is,
that with all this Descendentalism, he combines a Transcendentalism, no
less superlative; whereby if on the one hand he degrade man below most
animals, except those jacketed Gouda Cows, he, on the other, exalts him
beyond the visible Heavens, almost to an equality with the Gods.

"To the eye of vulgar Logic," says he, "what is man? An omnivorous Biped
that wears Breeches. To the eye of Pure Reason what is he? A Soul, a
Spirit, and divine Apparition. Round his mysterious ME, there lies, under
all those wool-rags, a Garment of Flesh (or of Senses), contextured in the
Loom of Heaven; whereby he is revealed to his like, and dwells with them in
UNION and DIVISION; and sees and fashions for himself a Universe, with
azure Starry Spaces, and long Thousands of Years. Deep-hidden is he under
that strange Garment; amid Sounds and Colors and Forms, as it were, swathed
in, and inextricably over-shrouded: yet it is sky-woven, and worthy of a
God. Stands he not thereby in the centre of Immensities, in the conflux of
Eternities? He feels; power has been given him to know, to believe; nay
does not the spirit of Love, free in its celestial primeval brightness,
even here, though but for moments, look through? Well said Saint
Chrysostom, with his lips of gold, 'the true SHEKINAH is Man:' where else
is the GOD'S-PRESENCE manifested not to our eyes only, but to our hearts,
as in our fellow-man?"

In such passages, unhappily too rare, the high Platonic Mysticism of our
Author, which is perhaps the fundamental element of his nature, bursts
forth, as it were, in full flood: and, through all the vapor and tarnish
of what is often so perverse, so mean in his exterior and environment, we
seem to look into a whole inward Sea of Light and Love;--though, alas, the
grim coppery clouds soon roll together again, and hide it from view.

Such tendency to Mysticism is everywhere traceable in this man; and indeed,
to attentive readers, must have been long ago apparent. Nothing that he
sees but has more than a common meaning, but has two meanings: thus, if in
the highest Imperial Sceptre and Charlemagne-Mantle, as well as in the
poorest Ox-goad and Gypsy-Blanket, he finds Prose, Decay, Contemptibility;
there is in each sort Poetry also, and a reverend Worth. For Matter, were
it never so despicable, is Spirit, the manifestation of Spirit: were it
never so honorable, can it be more? The thing Visible, nay the thing
Imagined, the thing in any way conceived as Visible, what is it but a
Garment, a Clothing of the higher, celestial Invisible, "unimaginable
formless, dark with excess of bright"? Under which point of view the
following passage, so strange in purport, so strange in phrase, seems
characteristic enough:--

"The beginning of all Wisdom is to look fixedly on Clothes, or even with
armed eyesight, till they become _transparent_. 'The Philosopher,' says
the wisest of this age, 'must station himself in the middle:' how true!
The Philosopher is he to whom the Highest has descended, and the Lowest has
mounted up; who is the equal and kindly brother of all.

"Shall we tremble before clothwebs and cobwebs, whether woven in Arkwright
looms, or by the silent Arachnes that weave unrestingly in our Imagination?
Or, on the other hand, what is there that we cannot love; since all was
created by God?

"Happy he who can look through the Clothes of a Man (the woollen, and
fleshly, and official Bank-paper and State-paper Clothes) into the Man
himself; and discern, it may be, in this or the other Dread Potentate, a
more or less incompetent Digestive-apparatus; yet also an inscrutable
venerable Mystery, in the meanest Tinker that sees with eyes!"

For the rest, as is natural to a man of this kind, he deals much in the
feeling of Wonder; insists on the necessity and high worth of universal
Wonder; which he holds to be the only reasonable temper for the denizen of
so singular a Planet as ours. "Wonder," says he, "is the basis of Worship:
the reign of wonder is perennial, indestructible in Man; only at certain
stages (as the present), it is, for some short season, a reign _in partibus
infidelium_." That progress of Science, which is to destroy Wonder, and in
its stead substitute Mensuration and Numeration, finds small favor with
Teufelsdrockh, much as he otherwise venerates these two latter processes.

"Shall your Science," exclaims he, "proceed in the small chink-lighted, or
even oil-lighted, underground workshop of Logic alone; and man's mind
become an Arithmetical Mill, whereof Memory is the Hopper, and mere Tables
of Sines and Tangents, Codification, and Treatises of what you call
Political Economy, are the Meal? And what is that Science, which the
scientific head alone, were it screwed off, and (like the Doctor's in the
Arabian Tale) set in a basin to keep it alive, could prosecute without
shadow of a heart,--but one other of the mechanical and menial handicrafts,
for which the Scientific Head (having a Soul in it) is too noble an organ?
I mean that Thought without Reverence is barren, perhaps poisonous; at
best, dies like cookery with the day that called it forth; does not live,
like sowing, in successive tilths and wider-spreading harvests, bringing
food and plenteous increase to all Time."

In such wise does Teufelsdrockh deal hits, harder or softer, according to
ability; yet ever, as we would fain persuade ourselves, with charitable
intent. Above all, that class of "Logic-choppers, and treble-pipe
Scoffers, and professed Enemies to Wonder; who, in these days, so
numerously patrol as night-constables about the Mechanics' Institute of
Science, and cackle, like true Old-Roman geese and goslings round their
Capitol, on any alarm, or on none; nay who often, as illuminated Sceptics,
walk abroad into peaceable society, in full daylight, with rattle and
lantern, and insist on guiding you and guarding you therewith, though the
Sun is shining, and the street populous with mere justice-loving men:"
that whole class is inexpressibly wearisome to him. Hear with what
uncommon animation he perorates:--

"The man who cannot wonder, who does not habitually wonder (and worship),
were he President of innumerable Royal Societies, and carried the whole
_Mecanique Celeste_ and _Hegel's Philosophy_, and the epitome of all
Laboratories and Observatories with their results, in his single head,--is
but a Pair of Spectacles behind which there is no Eye. Let those who have
Eyes look through him, then he may be useful.

"Thou wilt have no Mystery and Mysticism; wilt walk through thy world by
the sunshine of what thou callest Truth, or even by the hand-lamp of what I
call Attorney-Logic; and 'explain' all, 'account' for all, or believe
nothing of it? Nay, thou wilt attempt laughter; whoso recognizes the
unfathomable, all-pervading domain of Mystery, which is everywhere under
our feet and among our hands; to whom the Universe is an Oracle and Temple,
as well as a Kitchen and Cattle-stall,--he shall be a delirious Mystic; to
him thou, with sniffing charity, wilt protrusively proffer thy hand-lamp,
and shriek, as one injured, when he kicks his foot through it?--_Armer
Teufel_! Doth not thy cow calve, doth not thy bull gender? Thou thyself,
wert thou not born, wilt thou not die? 'Explain' me all this, or do one of
two things: Retire into private places with thy foolish cackle; or, what
were better, give it up, and weep, not that the reign of wonder is done,
and God's world all disembellished and prosaic, but that thou hitherto art
a Dilettante and sand-blind Pedant."


The Philosophy of Clothes is now to all readers, as we predicted it would
do, unfolding itself into new boundless expansions, of a cloud-capt, almost
chimerical aspect, yet not without azure loomings in the far distance, and
streaks as of an Elysian brightness; the highly questionable purport and
promise of which it is becoming more and more important for us to
ascertain. Is that a real Elysian brightness, cries many a timid wayfarer,
or the reflex of Pandemonian lava? Is it of a truth leading us into
beatific Asphodel meadows, or the yellow-burning marl of a Hell-on-Earth?

Our Professor, like other Mystics, whether delirious or inspired, gives an
Editor enough to do. Ever higher and dizzier are the heights he leads us
to; more piercing, all-comprehending, all-confounding are his views and
glances. For example, this of Nature being not an Aggregate but a Whole:--

"Well sang the Hebrew Psalmist: 'If I take the wings of the morning and
dwell in the uttermost parts of the Universe, God is there.' Thou thyself,
O cultivated reader, who too probably art no Psalmist, but a Prosaist,
knowing GOD only by tradition, knowest thou any corner of the world where
at least FORCE is not? The drop which thou shakest from thy wet hand,
rests not where it falls, but to-morrow thou findest it swept away; already
on the wings of the North-wind, it is nearing the Tropic of Cancer. How
came it to evaporate, and not lie motionless? Thinkest thou there is aught
motionless; without Force, and utterly dead?

"As I rode through the Schwarzwald, I said to myself: That little fire
which glows star-like across the dark-growing (_nachtende_) moor, where the
sooty smith bends over his anvil, and thou hopest to replace thy lost
horse-shoe,--is it a detached, separated speck, cut off from the whole
Universe; or indissolubly joined to the whole? Thou fool, that smithy-fire
was (primarily) kindled at the Sun; is fed by air that circulates from
before Noah's Deluge, from beyond the Dog-star; therein, with Iron Force,
and Coal Force, and the far stranger Force of Man, are cunning affinities
and battles and victories of Force brought about; it is a little ganglion,
or nervous centre, in the great vital system of Immensity. Call it, if
thou wilt, an unconscious Altar, kindled on the bosom of the All; whose
iron sacrifice, whose iron smoke and influence reach quite through the All;
whose dingy Priest, not by word, yet by brain and sinew, preaches forth the
mystery of Force; nay preaches forth (exoterically enough) one little
textlet from the Gospel of Freedom, the Gospel of Man's Force, commanding,
and one day to be all-commanding.

"Detached, separated! I say there is no such separation: nothing hitherto
was ever stranded, cast aside; but all, were it only a withered leaf, works
together with all; is borne forward on the bottomless, shoreless flood of
Action, and lives through perpetual metamorphoses. The withered leaf is
not dead and lost, there are Forces in it and around it, though working in
inverse order; else how could it rot? Despise not the rag from which man
makes Paper, or the litter from which the earth makes Corn. Rightly viewed
no meanest object is insignificant; all objects are as windows, through
which the philosophic eye looks into Infinitude itself."

Again, leaving that wondrous Schwarzwald Smithy-Altar, what vacant,
high-sailing air-ships are these, and whither will they sail with us?

"All visible things are emblems; what thou seest is not there on its own
account; strictly taken, is not there at all: Matter exists only
spiritually, and to represent some Idea, and _body_ it forth. Hence
Clothes, as despicable as we think them, are so unspeakably significant.
Clothes, from the King's mantle downwards, are emblematic, not of want
only, but of a manifold cunning Victory over Want. On the other hand, all
Emblematic things are properly Clothes, thought-woven or hand-woven: must
not the Imagination weave Garments, visible Bodies, wherein the else
invisible creations and inspirations of our Reason are, like Spirits,
revealed, and first become all-powerful; the rather if, as we often see,
the Hand too aid her, and (by wool Clothes or otherwise) reveal such even
to the outward eye?

"Men are properly said to be clothed with Authority, clothed with Beauty,
with Curses, and the like. Nay, if you consider it, what is Man himself,
and his whole terrestrial Life, but an Emblem; a Clothing or visible
Garment for that divine ME of his, cast hither, like a light-particle, down
from Heaven? Thus is he said also to be clothed with a Body.

"Language is called the Garment of Thought: however, it should rather be,
Language is the Flesh-Garment, the Body, of Thought. I said that
Imagination wove this Flesh-Garment; and does not she? Metaphors are her
stuff: examine Language; what, if you except some few primitive elements
(of natural sound), what is it all but Metaphors, recognized as such, or no
longer recognized; still fluid and florid, or now solid-grown and
colorless? If those same primitive elements are the osseous fixtures in
the Flesh-Garment, Language,--then are Metaphors its muscles and tissues
and living integuments. An unmetaphorical style you shall in vain seek
for: is not your very _Attention_ a _Stretching-to_? The difference lies
here: some styles are lean, adust, wiry, the muscle itself seems osseous;
some are even quite pallid, hunger-bitten and dead-looking; while others
again glow in the flush of health and vigorous self-growth, sometimes (as
in my own case) not without an apoplectic tendency. Moreover, there are
sham Metaphors, which overhanging that same Thought's-Body (best naked),
and deceptively bedizening, or bolstering it out, may be called its false
stuffings, superfluous show-cloaks (_Putz-Mantel_), and tawdry woollen
rags: whereof he that runs and reads may gather whole hampers,--and burn

Than which paragraph on Metaphors did the reader ever chance to see a more
surprisingly metaphorical? However, that is not our chief grievance; the
Professor continues:--

"Why multiply instances? It is written, the Heavens and the Earth shall
fade away like a Vesture; which indeed they are: the Time-vesture of the
Eternal. Whatsoever sensibly exists, whatsoever represents Spirit to
Spirit, is properly a Clothing, a suit of Raiment, put on for a season, and
to be laid off. Thus in this one pregnant subject of CLOTHES, rightly
understood, is included all that men have thought, dreamed, done, and been:
the whole External Universe and what it holds is but Clothing; and the
essence of all Science lies in the PHILOSOPHY OF CLOTHES."

Towards these dim infinitely expanded regions, close-bordering on the
impalpable Inane, it is not without apprehension, and perpetual
difficulties, that the Editor sees himself journeying and struggling. Till
lately a cheerful daystar of hope hung before him, in the expected Aid of
Hofrath Heuschrecke; which daystar, however, melts now, not into the red of
morning, but into a vague, gray half-light, uncertain whether dawn of day
or dusk of utter darkness. For the last week, these so-called Biographical
Documents are in his hand. By the kindness of a Scottish Hamburg Merchant,
whose name, known to the whole mercantile world, he must not mention; but
whose honorable courtesy, now and often before spontaneously manifested to
him, a mere literary stranger, he cannot soon forget,--the bulky
Weissnichtwo Packet, with all its Custom-house seals, foreign hieroglyphs,
and miscellaneous tokens of Travel, arrived here in perfect safety, and
free of cost. The reader shall now fancy with what hot haste it was broken
up, with what breathless expectation glanced over; and, alas, with what
unquiet disappointment it has, since then, been often thrown down, and
again taken up.

Hofrath Heuschrecke, in a too long-winded Letter, full of compliments,
Weissnichtwo politics, dinners, dining repartees, and other ephemeral
trivialities, proceeds to remind us of what we knew well already: that
however it may be with Metaphysics, and other abstract Science originating
in the Head (_Verstand_) alone, no Life-Philosophy (_Lebensphilosophie_),
such as this of Clothes pretends to be, which originates equally in the
Character (_Gemuth_), and equally speaks thereto, can attain its
significance till the Character itself is known and seen; "till the
Author's View of the World (_Weltansicht_), and how he actively and
passively came by such view, are clear: in short till a Biography of him
has been philosophico-poetically written, and philosophico-poetically
read.... Nay," adds he, "were the speculative scientific Truth even known,
you still, in this inquiring age, ask yourself, Whence came it, and Why,
and How?--and rest not, till, if no better may be, Fancy have shaped out an
answer; and either in the authentic lineaments of Fact, or the forged ones
of Fiction, a complete picture and Genetical History of the Man and his
spiritual Endeavor lies before you. But why," says the Hofrath, and indeed
say we, "do I dilate on the uses of our Teufelsdrockh's Biography? The
great Herr Minister von Goethe has penetratingly remarked that Man is
properly the _only_ object that interests man:' thus I too have noted,
that in Weissnichtwo our whole conversation is little or nothing else but
Biography or Autobiography; ever humano-anecdotical
(_menschlich-anekdotisch_). Biography is by nature the most universally
profitable, universally pleasant of all things: especially Biography of
distinguished individuals.

"By this time, _mein Verehrtester_ (my Most Esteemed)," continues he, with
an eloquence which, unless the words be purloined from Teufelsdrockh, or
some trick of his, as we suspect, is well-nigh unaccountable, "by this time
you are fairly plunged (_vertieft_) in that mighty forest of
Clothes-Philosophy; and looking round, as all readers do, with astonishment
enough. Such portions and passages as you have already mastered, and
brought to paper, could not but awaken a strange curiosity touching the
mind they issued from; the perhaps unparalleled psychical mechanism, which
manufactured such matter, and emitted it to the light of day. Had
Teufelsdrockh also a father and mother; did he, at one time, wear
drivel-bibs, and live on spoon-meat? Did he ever, in rapture and tears,
clasp a friend's bosom to his; looks he also wistfully into the long
burial-aisle of the Past, where only winds, and their low harsh moan, give
inarticulate answer? Has he fought duels;--good Heaven! how did he comport
himself when in Love? By what singular stair-steps, in short, and
subterranean passages, and sloughs of Despair, and steep Pisgah hills, has
he reached this wonderful prophetic Hebron (a true Old-Clothes Jewry) where
he now dwells?

"To all these natural questions the voice of public History is as yet
silent. Certain only that he has been, and is, a Pilgrim, and Traveller
from a far Country; more or less footsore and travel-soiled; has parted
with road-companions; fallen among thieves, been poisoned by bad cookery,
blistered with bug-bites; nevertheless, at every stage (for they have let
him pass), has had the Bill to discharge. But the whole particulars of his
Route, his Weather-observations, the picturesque Sketches he took, though
all regularly jotted down (in indelible sympathetic-ink by an invisible
interior Penman), are these nowhere forthcoming? Perhaps quite lost: one
other leaf of that mighty Volume (of human Memory) left to fly abroad,
unprinted, unpublished, unbound up, as waste paper; and to rot, the sport
of rainy winds?

"No, _verehrtester Herr Herausgeber_, in no wise! I here, by the
unexampled favor you stand in with our Sage, send not a Biography only, but
an Autobiography: at least the materials for such; wherefrom, if I
misreckon not, your perspicacity will draw fullest insight: and so the
whole Philosophy and Philosopher of Clothes will stand clear to the
wondering eyes of England, nay thence, through America, through Hindostan,
and the antipodal New Holland, finally conquer (_einnehmen_) great part of
this terrestrial Planet!"

And now let the sympathizing reader judge of our feeling when, in place of
this same Autobiography with "fullest insight," we find--Six considerable
PAPER-BAGS, carefully sealed, and marked successively, in gilt China-ink,
with the symbols of the Six southern Zodiacal Signs, beginning at Libra; in
the inside of which sealed Bags lie miscellaneous masses of Sheets, and
oftener Shreds and Snips, written in Professor Teufelsdrockh's scarce
legible _cursiv-schrift_; and treating of all imaginable things under the
Zodiac and above it, but of his own personal history only at rare
intervals, and then in the most enigmatic manner.

Whole fascicles there are, wherein the Professor, or, as he here, speaking
in the third person, calls himself, "the Wanderer," is not once named.
Then again, amidst what seems to be a Metaphysico-theological Disquisition,
"Detached Thoughts on the Steam-engine," or, "The continued Possibility of
Prophecy," we shall meet with some quite private, not unimportant
Biographical fact. On certain sheets stand Dreams, authentic or not, while
the circumjacent waking Actions are omitted. Anecdotes, oftenest without
date of place or time, fly loosely on separate slips, like Sibylline
leaves. Interspersed also are long purely Autobiographical delineations;
yet without connection, without recognizable coherence; so unimportant, so
superfluously minute, they almost remind us of "P.P. Clerk of this Parish."
Thus does famine of intelligence alternate with waste. Selection, order,
appears to be unknown to the Professor. In all Bags the same imbroglio;
only perhaps in the Bag _Capricorn_, and those near it, the confusion a
little worse confounded. Close by a rather eloquent Oration, "On receiving
the Doctor's-Hat," lie wash-bills, marked _bezahlt_ (settled). His Travels
are indicated by the Street-Advertisements of the various cities he has
visited; of which Street-Advertisements, in most living tongues, here is
perhaps the completest collection extant.

So that if the Clothes-Volume itself was too like a Chaos, we have now
instead of the solar Luminary that should still it, the airy Limbo which by
intermixture will farther volatilize and discompose it! As we shall
perhaps see it our duty ultimately to deposit these Six Paper-Bags in the
British Museum, farther description, and all vituperation of them, may be
spared. Biography or Autobiography of Teufelsdrockh there is, clearly
enough, none to be gleaned here: at most some sketchy, shadowy fugitive
likeness of him may, by unheard-of efforts, partly of intellect, partly of
imagination, on the side of Editor and of Reader, rise up between them.
Only as a gaseous-chaotic Appendix to that aqueous-chaotic Volume can the
contents of the Six Bags hover round us, and portions thereof be
incorporated with our delineation of it.

Daily and nightly does the Editor sit (with green spectacles) deciphering
these unimaginable Documents from their perplexed _cursiv-schrift_;
collating them with the almost equally unimaginable Volume, which stands in
legible print. Over such a universal medley of high and low, of hot, cold,
moist and dry, is he here struggling (by union of like with like, which is
Method) to build a firm Bridge for British travellers. Never perhaps since
our first Bridge-builders, Sin and Death, built that stupendous Arch from
Hell-gate to the Earth, did any Pontifex, or Pontiff, undertake such a task
as the present Editor. For in this Arch too, leading, as we humbly
presume, far otherwards than that grand primeval one, the materials are to
be fished up from the weltering deep, and down from the simmering air, here
one mass, there another, and cunningly cemented, while the elements boil
beneath: nor is there any supernatural force to do it with; but simply the
Diligence and feeble thinking Faculty of an English Editor, endeavoring to
evolve printed Creation out of a German printed and written Chaos, wherein,
as he shoots to and fro in it, gathering, clutching, piecing the Why to the
far-distant Wherefore, his whole Faculty and Self are like to be swallowed

Patiently, under these incessant toils and agitations, does the Editor,
dismissing all anger, see his otherwise robust health declining; some
fraction of his allotted natural sleep nightly leaving him, and little but
an inflamed nervous-system to be looked for. What is the use of health, or
of life, if not to do some work therewith? And what work nobler than
transplanting foreign Thought into the barren domestic soil; except indeed
planting Thought of your own, which the fewest are privileged to do? Wild
as it looks, this Philosophy of Clothes, can we ever reach its real
meaning, promises to reveal new-coming Eras, the first dim rudiments and
already-budding germs of a nobler Era, in Universal History. Is not such a
prize worth some striving? Forward with us, courageous reader; be it
towards failure, or towards success! The latter thou sharest with us; the
former also is not all our own.



In a psychological point of view, it is perhaps questionable whether from
birth and genealogy, how closely scrutinized soever, much insight is to be
gained. Nevertheless, as in every phenomenon the Beginning remains always
the most notable moment; so, with regard to any great man, we rest not
till, for our scientific profit or not, the whole circumstances of his
first appearance in this Planet, and what manner of Public Entry he made,
are with utmost completeness rendered manifest. To the Genesis of our
Clothes-Philosopher, then, be this First Chapter consecrated. Unhappily,
indeed, he seems to be of quite obscure extraction; uncertain, we might
almost say, whether of any: so that this Genesis of his can properly be
nothing but an Exodus (or transit out of Invisibility into Visibility);
whereof the preliminary portion is nowhere forthcoming.

"In the village of Entepfuhl," thus writes he, in the Bag _Libra_, on
various Papers, which we arrange with difficulty, "dwelt Andreas Futteral
and his wife; childless, in still seclusion, and cheerful though now
verging towards old age. Andreas had been grenadier Sergeant, and even
regimental Schoolmaster under Frederick the Great; but now, quitting the
halbert and ferule for the spade and pruning-hook, cultivated a little
Orchard, on the produce of which he, Cincinnatus-like, lived not without
dignity. Fruits, the peach, the apple, the grape, with other varieties
came in their season; all which Andreas knew how to sell: on evenings he

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