Letter 120

• 120. Caroline to Luise Gotter in Gotha: Mainz, 24 January 1793 [*]

Mainz, 24 Jan[uary 17]93

|280| My dear, good Louise — that which is supposed to be will probably also come about! [1] Only keep a good goose leg ready for me. You have already cordially offered what I intended to request of you in any case, namely, to take me in during the initial days until I have made arrangements |281| — something I prefer to do myself, having found it saves others the trouble and is the best way of getting things done with less fuss.

So, my good woman — once more under your roof — but I do not yet know exactly when. I am first going to wait for news from Frankfurt, namely, whether Huber can take me along to Saxony. [2] Your husband is there — will he be staying long?

Although I am tempted to write him and ask him to pick me up in Mannheim, he will probably not be able to leave his traveling company. Reassure him that I will not be opening my mouth to say anything concerning politika once I have crossed the free border. [3]

Auguste, reckless Auguste, she who always blithely entertains rosy images of things to come and who is perpetually satisfied with the present, shouts vive la nation! and then in-between asks about your little girl. [4] Adieu, my dear. Regards to Wilhelmine.


[*] Concerning the anticipated itinerary Caroline discusses in this letter, see Erich Schmidt’s introduction to Mainz, note 5. Back.

[1] Namely, that Caroline would be leaving Mainz to come stay with the Gotters in Gotha. Back.

[2] Huber had been secretary of the Saxon legation in Electoral Mainz since 1788 and independent chargé d’affaires of the Dresden court since 1790. Although he had been inspired by the French Revolution and its democratic ideals, he, unlike Georg Forster, did not become politically involved in Mainz.

In October 1792, he and his fellow diplomats fled Mainz for Frankfurt before the advancing French troops arrived, taking the Saxon archives along. He later returned to occupied Mainz without permission from Dresden out of concern for the Forsters, presumably esp. for Therese Forster.

Georg Forster had in the meantime become president of the Jacobin Club, and Huber himself fell under suspicion of conspiracy, thereafter also seeking his dismissal from service. He found it necessary to justify his actions to the Dresden court in person (presumably the trip of which Caroline here speaks), seems to have allayed any suspicions of seditious conduct, and could have remained in his position (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):


After spending time during April and May 1793 in Dresden and Leipzig, where he personally sought his release from Saxon service, he traveled to Switzerland to unite with Therese. Concerning Therese’s movements since 7 December 1792, see Caroline’s letter to Friedrich Ludwig Wilhelm Meyer on 17 December 1792 (letter 119), note 5. Back.

[3] A revealing remark insofar as it assumes that someone — including the Gotters or at least Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter — had already mentioned to Caroline herself her inclination not to hold her tongue even when doing so might be advisable. It was precisely that loose tongue that seems to have caused trouble once she had left Mainz but not yet gotten across the border. That is, her reputation has already preceded her. Back.

[4] Presumably Pauline, the youngest (born 1786) of the three Gotter daughters (Cäcilie, born 1782; Julie, born 1783). — Auguste was seven years old at the time. Back.

Translation © 2011 Doug Stott