Letter 183

• 183. Caroline to Luise Gotter in Gotha: Jena, 28 June 1797 [*]

[Jena] 28 June [1797]

|421| Although I have continued to hope, my Louise, that I might hear some word from you yourself, you and I have not yet been so fortunate. [1] When you feel more calm and settled, you will presumably similarly avoid writing as often as it becomes impossible for you for different reasons amid various other, less settled activities.

As far as I know, there will yet remain much for you to do even after you have weathered the change of logis, but I still entreat you ardently to write to me at least through Cäcilie lest I become so much a stranger to you that you all afterward abandon the idea of coming to visit me. How often do Auguste and I talk about this hope, one that always remains hope even when mixed with tears.

It is very important to me that you come soon, at least before the summer is over, and I really would like to know how soon you might consider it possible. During the winter, as you know, Jena is not particularly attractive, whereas during the summer many of our walks could certainly cheer even a sad heart and surely also be very advantageous to your health. [2]

And so do come, my dear, follow the enticements of friendship and finally give me the opportunity to welcome under my own roof those in whose house I myself have so often been made happy. Once you have set an approximate date, we can then consider the ways and means. There have been opportunities during these past three months for you to come — if none emerges, then the plan will remain for me to pick you up.

The Lenzes [3] have probably already brought along the books to you that yet belonged in the library . . .

How much will Auguste have to tell Cäcilie! She will make the journey once more with her, and |422| I believe this reunion and time together will have a salutary effect on them both. You should come visit me even if only for Cäcilie’s sake, since such a complete change would doubtless be very good for her. [Practical matters.]

Stay well, my good Louise, I embrace you and your children warmly to my heart.


[*] Chronological note: Ca. two weeks before this present letter was written, Caroline’s review of August Wilhelm Iffland appeared in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1797) 188 (Wednesday, 14 June 1797) 681–87. The next day, her review of three plays, her review of six plays, and her review of Neujahrsgeschenk: Papiere aus dem Nachlasse eines kaiserlichen Offiziers all appeared in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1797) 189 (Thursday, 15 June 1797) 691–96. Back.

[1] Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter had died on 18 March 1797 and left the widow and her children in some financial need. Back.

[2] See August Jäger von Schlumb, Felix Schnabels Universitätsjahren oder Der deutsche Student. Ein Beitrag zur Sittengeschichte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart 1835), ed. Otto Julius Bierbaum (Berlin 1907), 238–40 (illustration: Jena from the northwest, ca. 1840, by Eduard Lobe; Bildrechte/-herkunft: Sammlung Jenaer Stadtansichten [Stadtmuseum Jena 13011]; illustration of Paradies ca. 1900: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.):

And it is indeed true: during the summer it is absolutely beautiful in Jena! The surrounding areas are charming, the change of scenery between mountains and valleys and forests and streams is unique, taking walks is an extremely pleasant pastime, and the villages and inns are all nearby and inviting even from afar!



See also the remarks on summer in Jena in Dorothea Veit’s letter to Rahel Levin on 28 April 1800 (letter 259l). Back.

[3] Unidentified. Back.

Translation © 2012 Doug Stott