Letter 35b

35b. Therese Heyne to Luise Mejer in Celle: Göttingen, 9 March 1783 [*]

[Göttingen, 9 March 1783]

. . . Meier had embittered everyone and made himself look foolish with the “geese in the hay” and his foolish prattle; [1] and now the boy comes up with the idea of performing a play here again, his Donna may well have tormented him to do it, along with Mademoiselle Michaelis. [2]

In a word, Chevallier Gander [3] intends to play Count Almaviva in the Barber of Seville — the invitation was for last Thursday. [4] . . .

You wanted to know what Lotte Michaelis is doing? She is currently involved in an intrigue with an extremely pitiful person. [5] The Harlequin, or rather the thing everyone is shooting their arrows at, is a completely wretched person. He lives across from them, and when he coughs she comes to her window, and then he blows her a kiss; many people are saying they have rendes-vous and are carrying on a correspondence. [6] The two girls [7] themselves reproach him so horribly that you would swear they could not stand the sight of him. It is quite pathetic the way the girl is able to find such a successor for Hockel; why, the man can hardly write his own name. . . .


[*] Therese Huber Briefe, 1:84–86. Dating according to ibid., 1:517. Back.

[1] See Therese’s letter to Luise Mejer on 1 March 1783 (letter 35a). Back.

[2] Caroline or Lotte. Back.

[3] Derisive name for Meyer presumably deriving from the story recounted in letter 35a. Back.

[4] Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, Le Barbier de Séville, ou la précaution inutile. Comédie en quatre actes (Paris 1775); Germ. Der Barbier von Sevilien, oder die unnütze Vorsicht. Lustspiel in vier Akten und mit neuer Musik von J. André (Offenbach 1776) (here the title page and dramatis personae):


Therese goes on to relate (not included here) with a different sequence of events a story also recounted by the Göttingen student Piter Poel, Bilder aus vergangener Zeit, 330–31; because Meier had invited only city notables and a few of his closest friends among the students to this amateur performance, the excluded students, allegedly led by a rather boisterous Englishman, came up with an elaborate plan to disrupt the performance by, essentially, kidnapping Meier himself on the way to the theater (who had, according to Poel, chosen the role of Figaro, not Almaviva); word of the plans leaked, however, and apparently the university rector also became involved in canceling the performance, the result of which was some rowdy scenes among students in the streets of Göttingen that night. Back.

[5] Luise Wiedemann, Erinnerungen, 87, 144 (Julius Steinberger’s annotations), identifies this person as Peter von Elze from Koblenz. Back.

[6] Goettinger Taschen Calender vom Jahr 1789; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:



[7] Caroline and Lotte Michaelis. Back.

Translation © 2011 Doug Stott