Letter 319b

319b. Julie Gotter to Luise Gotter in Gotha: Jena, 8 June 1801 [*]

Jena, 8 June 1801

Thank you so much, dearest Mother, both for your letter and for all your efforts on my behalf. What you wrote could not but gladden me. I feel quite sorry indeed for Pauline and hope it is only something that will pass soon. [1] It occurred to me that it might be good for her to take advantage of the slag baths this coming summer, though Uncle Ernst will probably take care of it if necessary, since cost will doubtless not prevent it from happening. [2]

Yesterday I received news from Cecile concerning her health, probably the same you related to me. She is, however, doing better now, something attested not least by her witty letter. Thank goodness, dear Mother, that I myself am doing quite well. [3] Good weather also has returned here, and we are again enjoying this extraordinarily beautiful area; indeed, which gloomy soul could resist lingering at the sight of such beauty? [4]

The good weather is also having a salutary effect on Madam Schlegel, whose health is unfortunately not the best just now. Although she is bathing again, the changes in the weather still exert a considerable influence on the state of her health.

We are living quite domestically now. Madam Schlegel goes outside almost not at all, — we usually go over to Schelling’s garden each afternoon, and from there take a walk. [5] We recently spent an entire hour at the house of the Frommanns because the ladies wanted to pay Madam Bohn a visit. [6] I have also visited the Hufelands together with Madam Wiedemann, though apart from these people I really have not seen anyone else. [7]

I find it quite harsh of you, however, to demand that I pay Madam Schütz a visit, and I must confess that I have absolutely no desire to do so. [8] Could I take care of the entire matter simply by a single visite, I would go; but I am simply afraid that even that single visit would lead to something else. Please do tell me whether you consider it abolutely necessary; if such be the case, then I probably must go after all. And by the way, do not believe for a moment that Madam Schlegel is playing any part in my not going; she is instead leaving the whole thing to my own free choice.

As far as Madam Niedhammer is concerned, I will indeed go even though it already presents certain difficulties. She lives on an estate and is, moreover, leaving at the end of this week with Madam Hufeland to visit the mineral springs in Liebenstein. Her health is quite bad, so much so that everyone fears she will follow after her brothers; her sister as well, the lively one, is in extremely ill health, and they are already quite fearful for her life. [9] This news will surely not please our dear aunt, since she is doubtless extremely concerned for her lady friend’s children. But what an unlucky star abides over this family! [10]

But I have gone completely astray from what I wanted to relate. Madam Wiedemann has been in Weimar since the day before yesterday, [11] where she intends to remain this entire week. Hence she cannot accompany me over there. Madam Schlegel has already seen her, so if no traveling companion emerges for me in the meantime, then nothing remains for me except to embark on my journey alone, which I do not consider a pleasant prospect at all. And yet I do feel it necessary that I go.

Now that Madam Wiedemann and her child are absent, the house is extremely quiet. We (you doubtless know who “we” is referring to?) [11a] will probably pick her up on Saturday. You can imagine how delighted I will be to see Cecile.

I still have to answer some of your questions about Weimar. I simply had so much to write that I did not find it worth the trouble to mention the visits. I was unable to visit the Lucks because they were not at home. I did see Luise Herder, and she received me quite cordially; it is, however, unpardonable that she did not visit Cecile again.

I went to the theater twice; the last time, a rather weak operetta and a charming ballet were performed, which greatly entertained both my sister and me. But Cecile has probably already written more about that to you. [12]

I have spent quite a bit of money (but am keeping track of everything) and yet will still have not a few expenses; should I have some of the money remitted to me that you are receiving here? [13]

Madam Schlegel will not agree to let me have my laundry done by a laundry woman, so it will have to be taken care of here in the house. [13a]

I cannot write my dear aunt today; it is almost 6:00, the time our Cicisbéo comes to pick us up for our walk. [14] Let me thank both her and you for your good advice, which I will doubtless follow.

Adieu, dear Mother. Karoline sends her warm regards. Please commend me to everyone there, especially our aunt and Pauline, whom I heartily thank for her trouble. I tenderly embrace all of you in thought, your


p.s. Madam Hufeland and Madam Niedhammer are departing on Saturday and will be spending the night in Gotha. [15]


[*] Source: Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften; Nachlass F. W. J. v. Schelling, no. 933.

Background to Julie Gotter’s letters: Julie Gotter arrived in Jena to stay with Caroline, Luise Wiedemann, and Emma Wiedemann at Leutragasse 5 on 31 May 1801; she returned to Gotha in March 1802 concurrently with Caroline’s departure for Berlin (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):


It seems that Julie’s mother, Luise Gotter, and her sister Cecile Gotter (Caroline often uses the orthography Cäcilie, Julie usually writes it Cecile), were already present in Weimar in early May, albeit without Julie, who at that time was still in Gotha. The purpose of the Weimar visit seems to have been to place Cecile in a residential arrangement in which she might receive further training as an artist, a goal Caroline herself had long been trying to help the Gotters attain in some form. See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm Gottlieb Becker on 21 January 1802 (letter 342a), esp. with note 1, which cross references to several earlier letters in which the prospects for Cäcilie Gotter’s artistic future are discussed; those letters in their own turn contain similar cross references.

The dates of Cecile’s stay in Weimar can be approximately determined. Luise Gotter, her mother, seems already to have returned to Gotha. Julie Gotter’s letters to Cecile suggest that Cecile was still in Weimar at the end of the summer and then returned to Gotha with her mother and sister Pauline after attending several but not all of the guest performances of Friederike Unzelmann in Weimar in September and October 1801.

After the performances of Friederike Unzelmann, Julie, as indicated above, remained in Jena “over the winter,” as Caroline puts it below. In Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 5 May 1801 (letter 313), Caroline explains the Gotters’ itinerary and long-range plans at this time:

On Saturday [2 May 1801] we drove over to Weimar . . .

Madam Gotter wrote that on Saturday she would be bringing Cecile and ardently implored me to meet with her; so I went, though not merely because I wanted to hear [Mozart’s] Don Juan and the bass singer Gern, though that was indeed a pleasant addition. Schelling did not ride over until late, since he was tied down with his proofs, and arrived just in time for the performance.

I spoke with the Gotters at the house of the court physician Huschke, where Cecile will be commencing her own poetic [i.e., artistic] career amid rather prosaic surroundings but with such great enthusiasm and courage that I genuinely do have high hopes for her. Until something else has been arranged for her, this will probably be better than had she stayed in Gotha, nor is she contemplating spending the summer in Weimar if she can find better placement earlier.

I sent you Madam Gotter’s letter, my dear friend, and even if you do not have the time just now to think about these things, surely you will be so kind as to remind yourself when you are at the Tischbeins [in Leipzig; Wilhelm was in Berlin but would be coming to Jena during the summer by way of Leipzig]. 200 rh. is more than I thought Madam Gotter would be able to spend on it, but they are truly serious about it.

Julchen did not come along, otherwise I perhaps would have brought her back here with me; she has the prospect of coming here very soon, and I did not refrain from issuing the invitation since she would, after all, be a pleasant addition to the household for you as well.

Her mother’s plans for her are rather grand to say the least; she wants to send her to stay with relatives in Lyon, where she is to be cultivated and is to perfect her French, which she already speaks very well indeed — ultimately, however, all this is headed toward the wretched governess’s pis aller [“last resort”], and I would very much like to see Julchen spared this if possible. I could always take her in for the winter [which did indeed happen], and when you come let us discuss this further.

Over the next several months, letters from Julie Gotter to her family illuminate various details and cast light on Caroline’s life in Jena prior to Caroline’s departure for Berlin in March 1802. Back.

[1] Uncertain allusion to an illness. Back.

[2] Schlackenbad (Fr. le bain des scories), artificial baths used to treat various illnesses. Such baths were produced in mining by pouring cold water onto the hot iron-slag produced during copper mining; or, in the reverse fashion for therapeutic use, by placing such hot-glowing iron-slag into normal bathwater and then allowing the water to cool sufficiently for bathing. During the process, the water extracts certain sulfurous and other minerals from the iron with alleged healing properties.

See also, during the coming summer of 1801, Wilhelm Schlegel’s letter to Sophie Bernhardi on 21 August 1801 (letter 327f), note 4; Wilhelm himself was contemplating using such baths and anticipates that Caroline would use one as well.

Just where Pauline Gotter would take such mineral baths is not clear, though the allusion to costs suggests it would not be in Gotha. In her letter to Luise Gotter on 29 June 1801 (letter 322b), Julie mentions Liebenstein, which was indeed close by.

Such slag-baths were in any case available in various locales with the appropriate mining operations. One such locale accessible from Gotha was Hettstedt in the southern Harz Mountains, ca. 40 km northwest of Halle and not quite 100 km northeast of Gotha (Karte des deutschen Reichs, ed. C. Vogel [Gotha 1907], no. 14; Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



Here the slag works there ca. 1837 (Die Saigerhütte bei Hettstedt von der Abendseite, colorized lithograph by F. Giebelhausen [Berlin 1837]):


The locale to which Julie here alludes is, however, uncertain. Back.

[3] In her letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 31 May 1801 (letter 319), Caroline remarks: “I would not, I confess, be able to stand having Cécile’s sickly nature around me all the time, whereas Julchen is a healthy child.” Back.

[4] Concerning Jena’s natural beauty in the spring, see Dorothea Veit’s letter to Rahel Levin on 28 April 1800 (letter 259l), note 6. Back.

[5] Promenades and social gatherings in gardens and arbors were popular both in everyday life and in literature and drama ([1] Johann Gottlieb Böttger the Younger, Rasensitz unter Platanen. [ca. 1776–1800]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. A1: 305b; [2] Gottlieb Böttger the Elder, Mann und Frau in einem Garten [1799]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. A1: 288):



Brigitte Rossbeck, Zum Trotz glücklich: Caroline Schlegel-Schelling und die romantische Lebenskunst (Munich 2008), 206, remarks that:

the appearance evoked in her [Caroline’s] letters did not concur with the reality of the situation. While she, for example, was leading her husband [Wilhelm in Berlin] to believe that she was following all the rules of proper behavior with respect to her meetings with Schelling, her ersatz-daughter [Julie] was writing home that Madam Schlegel usually spent the afternoons in Schelling’s apartment or garden.

While Caroline may well have been spending afternoons in Schelling’s apartment or garden — Rossbeck’s implication is: alone — this remark in Julie Gotter’s letter (“we”) does not support that assertion. Back.

[6] Caroline mentions in her letter to Wilhelm on 25 May 1801 (letter 318) that Madam Bohn and Madam Fromman had just announced themselves for a visit. This visit to the Frommanns’ of which Julie here speaks was presumably the reciprocal visit. Caroline does, however, write to Wilhelm on 31 May 1801 (letter 319) that although Johann Friedrich Bohn was also in Jena, he was currently “in bed with podagra.”

The Frommanns lived in a house along the former town moat, the Fürstengraben. (1) Map: Plan der Residenz- und Universitätsstadt Jena (1884); Thüringen, Städtische Museen Jena: Stadtmuseum und Kunstsammlung. (2) Photograph of the Frommann house in 1970, reproduced by permission: Stadtmuseum Jena. (3) Illustration of leisure activity on the Fürstengraben, which the house fronted along the northern town walls, from Carl Schreiber and Alexander Färber, “Am Fürstengraben 1779,” in Jena von seinem Ursprunge bis zur neuesten Zeit, nach Adrian Beier, Wiedeburg, Spangenberg, Faselius, Zenker u. A. von Carl Schreiber u. Alexander Färber: Mit Kupfern, Karten, Lithographien u. Holzschnitten (Jena 1850), plate following p. 208.

The house is still standing today on the Fürstengraben just across from the former northern town walls. Caroline’s Jena residence at Leutragasse 5 (on the map: center) and, later, in the Asverus house next door to the inn Zum [schwarzen] Bären (on the map: top right) are also indicated:





[7] Julie visited Madam Hufeland with Luise Wiedemann but without Caroline. The Hufelands lived across the courtyard from the Schlegels; their apartment and steps are to the right, the Schlegels’ apartment to the left (photo: Stadtmuseum Jena):


Caroline and Wilhelm were long no longer really on speaking terms with the Hufelands because of the Romantics’ break with the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung back in the autumn of 1799, though the relationship had begun to warm again, and Caroline herself had received a visit from Madam Hufeland back on 25 May 1801.

Luise Wiedemann was Madam Hufeland’s sister-in-law. Concerning the thaw in Caroline’s relationship with Madam Hufeland, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 25 May 1801 (letter 318), in which she writes:

I spoke with Madam Hufeland, and did so completely without taking any initiative myself, just as I wanted. She was coming to see Luise, but we had just gone to see a merchant and met her along the way; she immediately came directly up to me, extended her hand to me, and asked about my health. Since she was unable to turn around and accompany us as Luise then suggested, I told her that she should pay us a proper visit soon, an invitation she gladly accepted and which will indeed come about this week. Back.

[8] Caroline’s relationship with Anna Henriette Schütz was strained for the same reason as with Luise Hufeland, since Gottlieb Hufeland’s co-editor at the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung was her husband, Christian Gottfried Schütz. Caroline had, however, previously attended tea gatherings at the Schütz residence; see her letter to Luise Gotter in October/November 1796 (letter 173).

The Schützes lived at Engelplatz 8 in Jena until 1804, when they left for Halle (Caroline’s residence at top on Leutra Gasse; Plan der Residenz- und Universitätsstadt Jena [1884]; Thüringen, Städtische Museen Jena: Stadtmuseum und Kunstsammlung DE-Mb112/lido/obj/12070842; Städtische Museen Jena; ISIL:DE-MUS-873714):


Here an illustration of the Engelplatz looking south, in which case the Schützes’ house would be the one with the fence partially visible at the immediate right (Carl Schreiber and Alexander Färber, Jena von seinem Ursprunge bis zur neuesten Zeit: nach Adrain Beier, Wiedeburg, Spangenberg, Faselius, Zenker u.a.; mit Kupfern Karten. Lithographien u. Holzschnitten [Jena 1850], 197):



[9] Caroline writes similarly in her letter to Wilhelm on 1 June 1801 (letter 319): “Madam Niethammer’s health is so bad that they are seriously fearing for her.”

The reference to “brothers” is uncertain and may result simply from Julie’s orthography. Madam Niethammer’s brother, Christoph Friedrich Sebastian von Eckardt, had stabbed himself to death in Jena exactly a month earlier, on 9 April 1801. Her sister Henriette Vermehren may have been quite ill (this remark seems to be the only documentation) but recovered to live a long life. The same seems to apply to her other sister, Bernhardina Dorothea Louise von Eckardt (1775–1853) — if such be the reference — who does not, however, otherwise appear in these letters. Back.

[10] The father of Rosine Niethammer and her siblings, Johann Ludwig Eckardt, had also died in 1800. Back.

[11] Saturday, 6 June 1801; in her letter to Wilhelm on 11 June 1801 (letter 320), Caroline mentions that “Luise has been in Weimar for several days now.” Back.

[11a] Presumably to Caroline, Julie herself, and Schelling. Back.

[12] Caroline, Julie, and Cecile seem to have attended the theater in Weimar on 6 June 1801, when the playbill included Der alte Leibkutscher Peter des Dritten: Eine wahre Anecdote (Leipzig 1799) by August von Kotzebue (here the frontispiece to the edition of 1818 published in Prague):


The ballet was Die geraubte Braut oder das Lager der Zigeuner, a ballet in 2 acts by Cosimo Damianus Morelli, who was ballet master in Weimar between 1801 and 1803, music by Johann Friedrich Adam Eylenstein (Das Repertoire des Weimarischen Theaters 39).

Julie Gotter had arrived in Jena on 31 May 1801 but speaks here on 8 June of having already attended the theater twice. For the second visit, they seem to have attended the theater on 3 June 1801 (rather than on 1 June 1801, the other performance day), when Kotzebue’s Die beiden Klingsberge was performed. Although Goethe’s Die Geschwister was performed on 1 June 1801, the second piece that evening was the same ballet mentioned above by Morelli, and it seems doubtful they would have attended the same ballet again on 6 June 1801. Back.

[13] Uncertain allusion. Back.

[13a] Charles-Nicolas Cochin, Le Blanchisseuse (ca. 1735–79); Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur CNCochin II AB 3.63:



[14] The Cicisbéo is Schelling. Back.

[15] The most expedient route from Jena to Liebenstein was west by way of Weimar, Erfurt, and Gotha, then southwest from Gotha to Liebenstein (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]; Karte des deutschen Reichs, ed. C. Vogel [Gotha 1907], no. 14):




Translation © 2021 Doug Stott