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it; for my whole Universe, physical and spiritual, was as yet a Machine! However, such a conscious, recognised groundplan, the truest I had, was beginning to be there, and by additional experiments might be corrected and indefinitely extended."
Carlyle's practical career, if it may be so called, began with schoolmastering. Soon after the completion of his college course, he was appointed mathematical tutor in the Annan Academy, the school in which he had formerly been a pupil. Two years later he gave up the position to accept the mastership of a school at Kirkcaldy, a town in northeastern Scotland. by the Fife sea-shore. Meanwhile he had kept up a half-hearted connection with the Divinity School at the University, out of regard for the long cherished hopes of his parents. As time went on, however, he grew farther and farther away alike from the idea of entering the ministry and from the vocation of teaching. "Finding I had objections [to entering the ministry], my father, with a magnanimity which I admired and admire, left me frankly to my own guidance in the matter, as did my mother, perhaps still more lovingly, though not so silently." And so the connection with the Divinity School and all the connection implied was severed. Schoolmastering, also, after four years of it, became intolerable. In the fall of 1818 he resigned his position at Kirk
caldy and went to Edinburgh with very indefinite prospects.
These years at Edinburgh were years of miserable, groping uncertainty, of bitter inward struggles. It was a period "on which he said that he never looked back without a kind of horror." He began the study of law, which "seemed glorious to him for its independency;" but presently gave it up in disgust as “a shapeless mass of absurdity and chicane." Dyspepsia had begun to torment him—"a rat gnawing at the pit of his stomach." He managed to eke out his savings by giving private lessons in mathematics; it was not that he had to face actual poverty or outward hardships, but that he had not yet found the work that he could do with his whole strength. "Hope hardly dwelt in me .; only fierce resolution in abundance to do my best and utmost in all honest ways and suffer as silently and stoically as might be, if it proved (as too likely!) that I could do nothing. This kind of humor, what I sometimes called of 'desperate hope,' has largely attended me all my life."
It would be difficult to over-emphasize the signifi cance, not only for his own intellectual life, but also, as it proved, for the intellectual life of England and America, that at this crisis he began the study of the German language and literature. The years 1819
1821 were chiefly devoted to mastering the language and reading deep and far into the literature. In 1820 he could write to one friend, "I could tell you much about the new Heaven and new Earth which a slight study of German literature has revealed to me." A few months later he wrote to another friend, "I have lived riotously with Schiller, Goethe, and the rest: they are the greatest men at present with me. Carlyle had found a task into which he could put, for a time at least, his whole strength, the introduction and interpretation to English thought and practice of the unifying and fructifying ideas of "Schiller, Goethe, and the rest." No man was more fit to do this than he of whom Goethe himself subsequently said, "He knows our literature better than we do ourselves." And no man than he felt more keenly the dualism into which much of contemporary English thought and literature had fallen, — the dualism of materialism versus sentiment; of things versus heart, -upon which the unifying and fructifying ideas of "Schiller, Goethe, and the rest," might exert an idealistic influence and do what Burns failed to do-"change the whole course of British literature.” 2 Carlyle's new interest soon found expression. In
1 Masson (op. cit.), p. 283.
2 Cf. the Essay on Burns, p. 59.
1822 his article on "Goethe's Faust" appeared in the New Edinburgh Review. In 1823 he began his Life of Schiller and his translation of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister, which were published the year following. During these important years he was fortunately relieved from the necessity of doing hack work of any kind, and was able to devote the best part of his time to study and writing, through a private tutorship to the sons of Mr. Charles Buller, which came to him through the recommendations of his friend, Edward Irving. It yielded a salary of two hundred pounds. He found the boys congenial and interesting. His morn ings and evenings were his own. Still, after two years, the relationship became irksome; and at his own suggestion was terminated. After a visit to London and to Paris in 1824, made possible in part by the tutorship, he returned to Annandale; and early in 1825 settled with his brother on a farm called Hoddam Hill. Here his brother farmed while Carlyle alternately toiled on his translations of German romances and rode about on horseback. It was a season of comparative peace, of growth, of renewed health, of preparation for more important work.
"With all its manifold petty troubles, this year at Hoddam Hill has a rustic beauty and dignity to me; and lies now like a not ignoble russet-coated Idyll in my memory; one of the quietest on the whole,
and perhaps the most triumphantly important of my life. I found that I had conquered all my scepticisms, agonizing doubtings, fearful wrestlings with the foul and vile and soul-murdering Mud-gods of my Epoch; . . . and was emerging, free in spirit, into the eternal blue of ether. . . I had, in effect, gained an immense victory. Once more, thank Heaven for its highest gift. I felt then, and still feel, endlessly indebted to Goethe in the business; he, in his fashion, I perceived, had travelled the steep rocky road before me, the first of the moderns." 1
We are now approaching the time when Carlyle "found out Burns." October 27, 1826, he had married Jane Baillie Welsh. After eighteen months' residence at 21 Comely Bank, Edinburgh, during which time Carlyle formed an important friendship with Francis Jeffrey, editor of the Edinburgh Review, who accepted his articles on 66 Richter " and "The State of German Literature" the beginning of a long series of famous historical and critical essays, they moved (May, 1828) to Craigenputtock,- the "Craig o' Putta," or Hill of the Hawks,- a lonely moorland farm, belonging to Mrs. Carlyle, more than a mile from the nearest house and fifteen miles from the nearest town. This was to be
1 Reminiscences, ii., p. 179.