Letter 285c

285c. Wilhelm Schlegel to Schleiermacher in Berlin: Braunschweig, 9 February 1801 [*]

Braunschweig, 9 February 1801

I have long owed you a response, my good friend, and you will no doubt be surprised still to be receiving such from here.

Indisposition, the wet and stormy weather, along with horrible road conditions, and finally also a crush of work have all conspired to keep me from traveling. And since it has now dragged on so long, I have decided not to travel by way of Jena after all, in which regard Friedrich has assisted me by taking over some of my responsibilities there.

I will thus now be traveling directly to Berlin and will be able to do so now without any risk to my health, since I will be traveling with a merchant with whom I will enjoy every convenience, and who will be departing here a week from today, namely, the 16th, or a few days later, but in any event assuredly in that same week. [1]

Would you thus be so kind as to secure for me, on a weekly or monthly basis, a chambre garnie into which I would definitely need to be able to move on 20 February? [2] I am concerned primarily with the room being located in a good section and not too far from you, the Tiecks, or the theater, if all this can be arranged together, [3] and also such that I can have access to some sort of service in the house itself for my smaller needs, breakfast, etc., even should I have to pay a soldier for brushing out clothes, shining shoes, and errands. I would prefer a room and smaller chamber or at least an alcove, though if such be impossible I could also make do with a single room with a bed. I would not, however, wish it to be too inelegant; since at least for now it seems I will be remaining in Berlin for only a few months, the price difference will not really be such an issue.

I will be much obliged if you can also have some wood delivered to the rented apartment for my initial needs. My other, smaller needs can doubtless be taken care of once I am there. I will immediately seek you out when I arrive and move directly into my apartment, or perhaps first stay over in a hotel.

I am greatly looking forward to seeing you and my other friends again; let us resolve to share our lives to the fullest. I will now definitely be staying until the Easter book fair in Leipzig, when I will be going to Jena for a while. What heaven then has in store for me, we will just have to wait and see. [4]

My regards to everyone, and tell Tieck in particular please to have something ready for the anthology, and that I myself will be bringing along various things that are already finished. . . .


[*] Sources: Aus Schleiermacher’s Leben 3:262–63 (frag.); KGA V/5 48–50.

At issue in this letter are Wilhelm’s plans finally to leave Braunschweig for Berlin and his final decision about whether to travel by way of Jena. See his letters to Schleiermacher during December 1800 and January 1801, esp., e.g., the final paragraph in that of 1 December 1800 (letter 276b), along with note 1 there. Back.

[1] Here the location of the three locales along with Leipzig, the latter of which Wilhelm mentions later (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[2] Fr., “furnished room, apartment.” Here the promenade Unter den Linden in Berlin ca. 1800 (Adolf Streckfuss and Leo Fernbach, 500 Jahre Berliner Geschichte: Vom Fischerdorf zur Weltstadt, Geschichte und Sage [Berlin 1900], 401):



[3] Concerning the location of the theater in Berlin, see Friedrich’s letter to Caroline in early March 1799 (letter 224c), note 3. See in general the supplementary appendix on Wilhelm’s residences in Berlin 1801–4. Back.

[4] Wilhelm did not return to Jena until August 1801, the last time he and Caroline resided together. He returned to Berlin in November 1801 and did not leave again until May 1804 in the entourage of Madame de Staël. That is, with Wilhelm’s departure from Braunschweig, a new period began in both his and Caroline’s lives. Back.

Translation © 2014 Doug Stott