without being dissatisfied with the result, and lowering their estimate of their supposed riches. With me it has ended in the most humiliating sense of poverty; and only just enough pride is left to keep your poor friend off the parish. As it is, I have already asked items of several besides yourself; but, though they have all given what they had, it has by no means answered my purpose; and I have laid their gifts aside, with my other hoards, which gleamed so fairy bright, and are now, in the hour of trial, turned into mere slate-stones. I am not sure that even if I do find the philosopher's stone, I shall be able to transmute them into the gold they looked so like formerly. It will be long before I can give a distinct, and at the same time concise, account of my present state. I believe it is a great era. I am thinking now,—really thinking, I believe; certainly it seems as if I had never done so before. If it does not kill me, something will come of it. Never was my mind so active; and the subjects are God, the universe, immortality. But shall I be fit for anything till I have absolutely re-educated myself Am I, can I make myself, fit to write an account of half a century of the existence of one of the masterspirits of this world? It seems as if I had been very arrogant to dare to think it; yet will I not shrink back from what I have undertaken,—even by failure I shall learn much.
I am shocked to perceive you think I am writing the life of Goethe. No, indeed! I shall need a great deal of preparation before I shall have it clear in my head. I have taken a great many notes; but I shall not begin to write it, till it all lies mapped out before me. I have no materials for ten years of his life, from the time he