To most men, as it does to ourselves, all this will seem overcharged. We too have walked through Monmouth Street; but with little feeling of “Devotion:” probably in part because the contemplative process is so fatally broken in upon by the brood of money-changers who nestle in that Church, and importune the worshipper with merely secular proposals. Whereas Teufelsdrockh, might be in that happy middle state, which leaves to the Clothes-broker no hope either of sale or of purchase, and so be allowed to linger there without molestation.—Something we would have given to see the little philosophical figure, with its steeple-hat and loose flowing skirts, and eyes in a fine frenzy, “pacing and repacing in austerest thought” that foolish Street; which to him was a true Delphic avenue, and supernatural Whispering-gallery, where the “Ghosts of Life” rounded strange secrets in his ear. O thou philosophic Teufelsdrockh, that listenest while others only gabble, and with thy quick tympanum hearest the grass grow!
At the same time, is it not strange that, in Paper-bag Documents destined for an English work, there exists nothing like an authentic diary of this his sojourn in London; and of his Meditations among the Clothes-shops only the obscurest emblematic shadows? Neither, in conversation (for, indeed, he was not a man to pester you with his Travels), have we heard him more than allude to the subject.
For the rest, however, it cannot be uninteresting that we here find how early the significance of Clothes had dawned on the now so distinguished Clothes-Professor. Might we but fancy it to have been even in Monmouth Street, at the bottom of our own English “ink-sea,” that this remarkable Volume first took being, and shot forth its salient point in his soul,—as in Chaos did the Egg of Eros, one day to be hatched into a Universe!