Letter 136.4

136.4. Friedrich Schlegel to Wilhelm Schlegel in Amsterdam: Leipzig, 17 November 1793 [*]

[Leipzig] 17 November [1793]

Although you will no doubt receive something from Caroline next time, there is nothing today. She had intended to and then merely confused the day, something we discovered too late, namely, just as I was about to and indeed had to depart.

That is to say, I visited her again, found her quite well, so strong indeed that she was able to walk around the room for a fairly long time with the child on her arm, and yet a lack of strength is probably the only real ill she is suffering now. [1] Only rarely a sleepless night, headache, or cramps. The little boy is healthy and already has thick sideburns. I for my part thought I also saw traces of a moustâche. [2]

She is sending you here a copy of Therese’s letter, [3] which is completely dominated by the kind of openness that is so natural to a romantic heart of 16 years, and by a magnanimity corresponding to that openness. —

Caroline asks that you write again to Göschen. [4] She had almost resolved to reveal herself entirely to Göschen, something I persuaded her not to do. She told me last time that before she could go to Gotha she might well have to make yet another interim stop. Things have gotten too dangerous in L[uck]a because of its close connection with Altenburg and thereby also with Gotha. [5] We think Leipzig is a quite secure choice, and even if she does not acknowledge as much to me, I do hope she will be able to live here more comfortably than in L[uck]a. Although that would be extremely desirable for me, I do promise to consider everything carefully without taking that element into consideration. [6] . . .


[*] Sources: Walzel, 141; KFSA 23:157. Back.

[1] Below an illustration remarkably similar to the scene Friedrich describes; hypothetically left to right: Caroline carrying her son; a member of the elderly (now deceased) physician’s family; Friedrich himself; and Auguste (Almanach und Taschenbuch zum geselligen Vergnügen [ed. W. G. Becker] [1799]; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[2] See Friedrich’s letter to Wilhelm on 4 November 1793 (letter 136.1), in which he says that the child looked “German.” Back.

[3] Letter not extant, though Therese Forster writes Caroline a revealing letter on 25 February 1794 (letter 142). Back.

[4] Since Georg Joachim Göschen had since realized that Wilhelm was not the father of Caroline’s child, it is not certain exactly why Caroline wanted Wilhelm to write him again. Back.

[5] Concerning Altenburg as a source of problems for Caroline, see Friedrich’s letter to Wilhelm on 4–5 November 1793 (letter 136.1), note 7. Back.

[6] Caroline and Auguste seem to have left Lucka for Leipzig at the end of January 1794 but then stayed only a few days, departing for Gotha, ca. 125 km southwest of Leipzig, on 4 February 1794 and arriving on 8 February 1794 (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):



Translation © 2011 Doug Stott