Letter 197

• 197. Caroline to Luise Gotter in Gotha: Sunday Jena, February/March 1798

Sunday [Jena, February/March 1798]

|448| [Cäcilie ailing.] [1] Hence you will permit that I not yet send her back home in three weeks, something I believe that she, too, does not really want yet . . .

There will be sufficient opportunity, and Tischbein himself, e.g., is going from here to Gotha. We are expecting him here soon, and Cecile would really like the chance to be around him. Even if her own talent is not sufficient for becoming an artist, I would still always advise her to spend a great deal of time on it and to accomplish whatever she might, |449| since she does, after all, get so much pleasure from it, and one can never foresee whether it might not also prove useful. [2] I would let her spend the rest of her time, however, on domestic agility. Only do not let her ineptitude in earthly matters, as we used to call it, simply continue thus, since when all is said and done she will not be well [scil. “situated etc.”] . . .


[1] Concerning Luise and Cäcilie Gotter’s visit in Jena, see Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 11 February 1798 (letter 195) with note 2, there also remarks about Cäcilie not feeling well; similarly Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 21 February 1798 (letter 196). In that letter to Luise on 11 February, Caroline mentions her wish that Johann Friedrich August Tischbein might assess Cäcilie’s talent during his visit “before Easter.” The Tischbein family spent time in both Weimar and Jena during the spring of 1798.

Tischbein was still in Jena on 3 April 1798 (Easter fell on 8 April in 1798); see Goethe’s undated letter to Schiller (prior to 3 April 1798) with its allusion to the rift between Schiller and the Schlegels (Correspondence Between Goethe and Schiller 2:74):

I must again ask you about Schlegel, whom I have spoken of in a previous letter. If you have firmly determined to exclude him for the future also, we will leave matters as they are, and I shall act accordingly.

Should you feel inclined to grant him access upon certain conditions, however, the present would be the best opportunity, for Tischbein wishes to pay you a visit, and, as Schlegel leaves after Easter [for Berlin, thence to Dresden], you would not need to fear any pressing advances from him throughout the summer.

As I shall have to see both men, and cannot avoid calling upon Tischbein, I should like to hear what you have to say in the matter, as I am always expected to act as a mediator. I also wish you good progress with your work.

Goethe dined with both Wilhelm (and Caroline?) and Tischbein on the evening of 3 April 1798 (see his letter to Wilhelm on 24 February 1798 [letter 196a], note 1) (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, “Die Abendgesellschaft bei Pastor Bocquet,” Von Berlin nach Danzig: Eine Künstlerfahrt im Jahre 1773, von Daniel Chodowiecki. 108 Lichtdrucke nach den originalen in der Staatl. akademie der künste in Berlin, mit erläuterndem text und einer einführung von Wolfgang von Oettingen [Leipzig 1923], plate 76):



[2] “The Drawing Lesson” by W. M. Obreen (cordial communication from Alessandra Reeves; De tekenles [1700–1800]; Rijksmuseum; Set “Social Life 1800”; Verzamelingen Alessandra Reeves):



Translation © 2012 Doug Stott