Supplementary Appendix 244a.1

Synopsis and Review of anonymous (Sophie Bernhardi),
Julie Saint Albain: Zwei Theile (1801) [*]

The heroine of [this novel] is, mutates mutants, a new version of Eulalia Meinau. Volume 1 of her story is set in France, volume 2 in Germany. A Parisian coquette, Countess Villars, falls in love with Julie’s husband, Marquis Saint Albain, and succeeds in drawing him into her net. Although this affair does make Julie jealous, the countess’s intrigues now also draw Julie herself into an affair.

To wit, an Italian, Fernando del Franco, persuades Julie to become unfaithful to her husband, and she flees with this new lover to Germany after explaining to her husband in a letter that her love for him was merely self-deception, and that only now has she found the love of her life.

She lives contentedly with her seducer for a while in Germany, but also discovers by chance that Fernando’s love for her is merely the result of the intrigues of her Parisian rival. This discovery prompts her decision to leave her seducer as well. A lady friend in Germany encourages her decision and gives her a letter of reference to a brother in Dresden, to whose protection she commends the unfortunate woman.

Although she is received quite well there, to her great misfortune her protector’s son now falls in love with her without eliciting her love in return. That notwithstanding, he kidnaps her during a carriage ride. Julie escapes and flees to Leipzig, where, now constrained by her dire financial circumstances, she joins a German-speaking theater. To disguise herself, she wears a black wig, which, because she is a natural blonde, now gives her a completely different physiognomy.

In the meantime, in Paris the marquis also learns what her fate has been and about the intrigues that have robbed him of his wife. He leaves the coquette, his earlier love for Julie reawakens, and he embarks on a journey to find her, to punish her seducer, and to reconcile with her. He discovers her present circumstances in Dresden from Julie’s German lady friend and sets out to find her.

He arrives just as she is kidnapped and discovers her kidnapper, who admits that Julie is innocent; what emerges is that he has kidnapped his own sister. The marquis learns to his considerable chagrin that Julie has, however, escaped, and no one knows whither. But he is soon on her trail again, arrives in Leipzig, goes to the theater, and discovers his wife in the role of Eulalia despite the black wig.

He comes up with the bold idea to engage himself as well for a while as an actor at the theater and to gain access to Eulalia by taking on the role of Herr Meinau in the play. And he does indeed carry out this plan. Because a slight indisposition prevents Julie from attending the rehearsal, they do not come together in the same locale until the performance itself. But because they are only momentarily on the stage at the same time except in the closing scene, they are not really together for any length of time until that final scene of reconciliation.

Julie, who previously has intimated the presence of her spouse only from the tone of his voice, now recognizes him and performs her role in this scene accordingly — as does Meinau — with an element of veracity that exceedingly delights the audience. At the words, “I forgive you,” the marquis mentions her real name, and Julie, overcome by her emotions, faints on stage. The consequences of this scene result not only in their poetic, but also in their real reconciliation. They reunite, leave the theater, remain in Germany, and live happily ever after.

There is hardly any need to point out how improbable and unnatural this genuine catastrophe of genius really is. It becomes excessively absurd, however, when these two adventurers recognize each other and reconcile, are then applauded by the audience, and address the audience accordingly. If one additionally considers that most of this novel consists of extraordinarily boring, generally utterly colorless letters, and that the entire portrayal lacks as much in the way of life as of truth — then the sheer loss of time one invests in reading such an utterly ordinary hackwork becomes all the more significant, and one’s wish all the more ardently that in the future the author might devise a better use of his own time than to waste it producing a book that does not even fulfill the most modest requirements for the simplest entertainment.


[*] Review and synopsis of anonymous (Sophie Bernhardi), Julie Saint Albain: Zwei Theile, Neue allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek 71 (1802) 80–84.

The reviewer’s allusion to Eulalia Meinau in the first sentence would have been immediately understood by contemporaries as referring to the protagonist in August von Kotzebue’s play Menschenhass und Reue. Schauspiel in fünf Aufzügen (Berlin 1790). The allusion extends, however, to the final scenes in both the play and the novel, concerning the former of which see the collective review of two translations in The Analytical Review (New Series) or History of Literature, Domestic and Foreign (1799) 1 (January to June 1799), 528–31, art. xxxv, xxxvi (orthography as in original; illustrations: [1] frontispiece to the edition Leipzig 1797; [2] frontispiece to the edition Berlin 1790; [3] frontispiece to the edition in Theater von August von Kotzebue, vol. 1 [Vienna 1825]):

Review of The Stranger, a Comedy, freely translated from Kotzebue’s German Comedy of Misanthropy and Repentance, 7th ed. (1799); The Stranger, or Misanthropy and Repentance, a Drama in five Acts, trans. George Papendick, 2nd ed. (1798).

By some accident, this pathetic drama, whose deserved popularity on our own stage, has given birth to so many translations from Kotzebue, has lain by unnoticed whilst we have had occasion repeatedly to introduce the author to our readers’ attention. Kotzebue’s characteristic excellencies are warmth and delicacy of sentiment, simplicity of style, and felicity in the choice of his subjects, and in dramatic situations.

By felicity we mean to express the fortunate success of an author, who has not sought for novelty in the elaborate windings of art, but has seised a subject, obvious, yet neglected by all his predecessors.

A repentant adultress laments her crime in solitude, and there displays the purest principles of honor and integrity, and the most acute sensibility of her own degraded condition. The husband sinks a prey to a gloomy misanthropy; but his bosom still beats with the strongest vibrations of sympathy towards the sufferings of mankind.

These are the characters, which it, surely, required but little actual observation of the world, and but a slight familiarity with the drama to describe. Our author’s portraits of them, that of the misanthrope particularly, display exquisite feeling. This couple reside, unknown to each other, in the same village. They see each other by accident, and meet by design, to take a solemn farewell. C’est tout!. [Fr., “and that is all!”]

Yet from this single incident, simple as it is, from their several histories, as related by themselves, and the characteristic episodical dialogue throughout, the liveliest sympathy arises. The other characters are unworthy of notice. After all, perhaps, the author should rather be envied for his success than applauded for his talent.

However this may be, the play certainly deserves an honorable place among those dramas which the French, in derision, call La Comedie larmoyante, and we, Sentimental Comedy. We much prefer the faithful to the free translation, and extract from it the concluding scene. — P. 92.

Scene ix
Eulalia, Countess, Major, Meinau

Eulalia. [Who moves forward sowly, supported between the Countess and the Major] Allow me, Countess. I once had strength enough to sin. God will support the penitent now. [She approacbes Meinau, who with averted face awaits her address in great emotion.] Meinau!

Meinau. [With a soft tremulous tone, and still averted face.] What do you say, Eulalia?

Eulalia. [Much moved.] No, for heaven’s sake! I was not prepared for that. That tone of kindness cuts me to the soul. That Eulalia, that familiar friendly mode of address — No, generous man! a rigid, stern, untempered tone suits best the guilty ear.

Meinau. [Endeavouring to give his voice more firmness.] Well, Madam.

Eulalia. Ah, if you would ease my heart, would condescend to use reproaches to me —

Meinau. Reproaches! here they are; here in my pallid cheeks; here in my sunken eyes, my meagre form. These reproaches I could not withhold from you. My tongue shall utter none.

Eulalia. Were I a hardened criminal, this forbearance might be gratifying to me; but I am a real penitent, and your generous silence sinks me to the earth. Ah! must I then myself declare my shame? It shall be so. There is no rest for me till my swollen heart has relieved itself by confession.

Meinau. No confession, Madam! I know all, and dispense you from every kind of humiliation. I cannot see you bent so low. But you must be sensible that, after what has happened, we must part for ever.

Eulalia. I know it. Neither did I come here to claim forgiveness: I dared not hope for it. There are crimes which doubly weigh on the criminal who can think that they should be pardoned. All that I venture to hope is, that from your own lips I may be assured you will not curse the remembrance of me.

Meinau. [Mildly.] No, Eulalia., I will not curse you. Your love has in happier days afforded me so many sweet hours. — — No, I will not curse you.

Eulalia. [In great emotion.] Fully sensible that I had become unworthy of your name, I have these three years past assumed another, under which I could not be known. You must have a letter of divorce, which will enable you to chuse a worthier wife, in whose arms may God dispense his choicest blessings on you. To that end this paper [takes out a folded paper] will be necessary. It contains a written confession of my crimes. [She gives it him with a trembling hand.]

Meinau. [Takes and tears it.) Be it for ever cancelled! No, Eulalia, you alone have reigned within my heart, and — — I am not ashamed to own it — — you will reign there for ever. Your own sense of honour and virtue forbids you to take advantage of this weakness — — But never could another wife be to me dear as Eulalia.

Eulalia. [Tremulous.] Well then, it only now remains for me to take my leave.

Meinau. Stay; yet a moment stay. We have for some months lived very near together without knowing it. I have heard much good of you. You have a heart filled with sympathy for the misery of your pour fellow-creatures. I am glad of that. You must never want the means of obeying the dictates of such a heart; and above all, you must never know want yourself. This paper secures you an income of five hundred a year, which my banker will pay at such periods as may be most convenient to yourself.

Eulalia. Never. The labour of my hands shall maintain me. A morsel of bread moistened with a repentant tear will more secure my peace, than the consciousness that I am idly battening on the fortune of a man, whose honour I have polluted, and whose happiness I have destroyed.

Meinau. Madam, take it, I beseech you.

Eulalia. I have deserved this humiliation. But to your generosity I appeal. Spare me this painful moment.

Meinau. [Aside.] God, God! Of what a wife has that villain deprived me! (Puts the paper in his pocket.] Well, Madam, I respect your sentiments of delicacy, and withdraw my request; but on this condition only, that, if ever you should require assistance, I may be the first and only person to whom you shall apply: ay, frankly apply.

Eulalia. I promise.

Meinau. And now I may confidently entreat you to take back what is your own, your jewels. [Tenders her a small case.]

Eulalia. [Much moved, takes and opens it; her tears fall on it.] Ah, to my weeping eyes this case recals the evening on which you presented me with this brilliant knot. It was that very evening when my father joined our hands together, and when with rapture I pronounced the vow of endless faith. That vow is broken. At that time my heart was spotless as the new fallen snow. Alas! to that state no penitence can ever restore it. Of this necklace you made me a present on my birth-day five years ago. That was a happy day. You had arranged a small entertainment in the country; O how cheerful were we all together! This pin I received at the birth of my William. How heavily weighs the recollection of past joys by our own hands destroyed ! No; this casket of jewels I cannot accept, unless you wish to put into my possession a perpetual reproach. [Takes out only the pin, and then returns the box. Meinau, in as great emotion, but endeavouring to conceal it, takes the box with averted face and puts it by.] The pin only I take as a memento of my William’s birth.

Meinau. No; I can withstand no longer. [Turns toward her; his tone neither stern nor soft, neither firm nor tremulous, but fluctuating between all.] Farewell!

Eulalia. O, but one moment longer! An answer to yet one question more, to ease a mother’s heart! Are my children yet alive?

Meinau. They are.

Eulalia. And are they well?

Meinau. And well.

Eulalia. God, receive a mother’s thanks! My William, I imagine, must be grown pretty tall.

Meinau. I believe he is.

Eulalia. And Emilia: — Is she still your favourite? [Meinau, greatly agitated by this scene, is struggling between the emotions of honour and love.] O noble-minded generous man! allow me once to see my children before we part, that I may press them to my bosom, give them my blessing, and kiss the features of their father in them! [Meinau is silent.) Ah, if you knew how, these three dreary years, my heart has panted after my infants; how instantly my tears have burst from me whenever I saw a boy or girl of the same age with mine; how sometimes I have sat in darkness in my chamber, and solitarily indulged my mind with the magic pictures which fancy painted to my sight. Now on my lap sat William, now Emilia! Oh permit me to see them once, to take one last maternal embrace; and then we separate for ever.

Meinau. You shall, Eulalia; and this very evening. I expect them every moment. They were brought up at the little town just by here. I have sent my servant for them, who might have been back ere this time. I give you my word, that as soon as they come I will send them to you; and they may stay with you, if you please, till the dawn of day to-morrow: then I take them with me.

[A pause. — The Countess and her brother, who, at a small distance in the back ground have witnessed the whole scene, exchange some significant glances. The Major goes into the hut, and soon after comes out with John and the two children, He gives the Boy to his Sister, who places herself behind Eulalia, while he stands with the Girl at the back of Meinau.]

Eulalia. Then we have no more to say to each other in this world. [Collecting all her resolution.) Farewell thou noble man! [Takes his hand.] Forget an unfortunate woman, who will never forget you. [Kneels.] Allow me once more to press this hand to my lips, this hand that once was mine!

Meinau. [Raising her.] No humiliation, Eulalia. [He shakes her hand.] Farewell!

Eulalia. For ever.

Meinau. For ever!

Eulalia. We part without animosity.

Meinau. Certainly, without animosity.

Eulalia. And when my sufferings shall have an end; when we shall meet again in another world —

Meinau. There reigns no prejudice. Then you are mine again. [Their hands are folded in each other’s, their eyes meet, they stammer out once more a Farewell! and separate; but in going Eulalia turns on William, and Meinau on Emilia.]

Emilia. Father!

William. Mother!

[They press the children in their arms, in speechless rapture.]

Emilia. Dear Father!

William. Dear Mother!

[The Father and Mother quit the Children, look on each other, open their arms, and embrace fervently.]


[Meinau.] I forgive you.


[The Countess and the Major lift the Children up, who, cling to the necks of their Parents, and cry, Dear Father! Dear Mother!]


The Curtain drops. Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott