Letter 329v

329v. Julie Gotter to Luise Gotter in Gotha: Jena, 16 November 1801 [*]

Jena, 16 November 1801

My dearest Mother, I cannot describe for you what a sad impression your letter made on me. I read the postscript note first, which, however, so frightened me that I waited a while before deciding to read the letter itself, whose contents then upset me even more than I already was.

But my dear Mother, let me say nothing about this loss, you can easily enough imagine how it grieves my very soul, and how many pleasant and at the same time painful memories of happier times in the past it evokes! [1] — — my tears flow twofold — — but let me cease speaking about it, for I certainly do not want to upset you anew.

My wish to come to Gotha is now stronger than ever, and as heart-rending as the reunion will surely be, it will nonetheless be such a relief to be around all of you and to share our sorrow and grief.

For several days now Caroline has also not been doing well, though today she is a bit better. May God grant that she be well enough this coming winter to make the journey to Berlin. Then I can also soothe my own yearning. [2]

I am glad that the young Mayers and Carl are there now, for they will contribute not a little to your entertainment. [3] But, my good Mother, how can you reproach me for not having recognized Carl immediately? Do you believe that I observe every young man I see so carefully that I register all their features and looks immediately, at the very first glance? How could I even have suspected that a cousin was hiding in the person there in the room?

And it is simply not true that I greeted him “so fleetingly” that he felt it necessary to introduce himself by name before I recognized him myself. In any case, please give him my best regards and also my thanks for having delivered such a good report on me. I learned or rather guessed that he saw Tieck in Weimar after Tieck himself wrote, “Why did Julchen’s stupid, handsome cousin not come to Jena a day earlier that I, too, might have seen him?” [4]

I am hoping to hear something soon again from Gotha. My thanks to Cecile for her letter. Whenever I write my sisters, I do not want the letter to be so short. Today I, however, have no more time and am also not in the mood, so do please give her my warm greetings.

Please be so kind, dear Mother, to send me my black dress. Pauline is to send me the scarf. I bought a black dress for Pauline from Caroline in your name for 1 Carolin. It is practically new, she has worn it only a few times, and is made of quite excellent, crisp taffeta that can stand 2 [folds?]. She wanted to sell it to a woman here because it was too crisp for her, which I thought was a shame. I will send it to you along with the bowls from Weimar, where we will probably be going to see the performance of Nathan. [5] If you can get sausages, please forward them and the dress to Doctor Huschke; you can specify that the parcel be picked up and save on postage.

Adieu, dearest Mother. The shirts came just at the right time. [6] Because Tieck had the great misfortune of having the casts for his bust come out very ill indeed, he will yet be held up from his journey, and the shirts will be finished here. I will send Cecile’s portraits next time; I cannot pack them with sufficient care today.

Adieu, my dear Mother; warm greeting to my aunt. A thousand greetings from both Caroline and me to everyone there.



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

Concerning the background to Julie Gotter’s stay in Jena, see the editorial note to her letter to Cäcile Gotter on 8 June 1801 (letter 319b) (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[1] The reference seems to be to the same Madam Seebach whose death Caroline mentions, albeit with less emotion, in her undated letter to Luise Gotter in late (or more likely: mid-) November 1801 (letter 333); concerning the aunt’s uncertain identity, see note 3 there. Back.

[2] Caroline was not well (or inclined) enough to make the journey to Berlin until mid-March 1802, at which time Julie did indeed return to Gotha (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):


Although Caroline corresponds with Julie after their time together in Jena, they never see each other again. Back.

[3] The “young Mayers” are possibly children of Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter’s stepsister Julie, the latter of whom through marriage lived in Lyon in France. Carl is the otherwise unidentified cousin whom Julie encountered in such an awkward meeting in the Schlegels’ apartment at Leutragasse 5 but whom she did not immediately recognize, whence her protest now against her mother’s reproaches for not having recognized him immediately. For an account of the cousins’ meeting in Jena, see Julie’s letter to her mother on 10 November 1801 (letter 329u). Back.

[4] That is, before he himself, Tieck, had left Jena for Weimar. Back.

[5] Caroline mentions this anticipated performance in her letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on this same day, 16 November 1801 (letter 330). Concerning the performance at the Weimar theater: it was not performed on the coming Saturday evening, 21 November 1801, but the following Saturday, 28 November 1801 (Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 5 [Vienna 1777], plate 30):



[6] In her letter to Cecile Gotter on 11 October 1801 (letter 329l.2), Julie mentions that

Karoline is asking Mother to make the accompanying shirts, or to have them made; but they need to be ready by the end of this month. She will probably send some things along later as well. Whenever one or a couple are finished, go ahead and send them for the embroidery.

Caroline herself was intending to embroider the shirts after receiving them from Luise Gotter, a handicraft at which she was allegedly quite deft. Friedrich Tieck seems to have been designated to take them with him to Berlin for Wilhelm Schlegel. Caroline mentions one shirt in her letter to Wilhelm on 10 December 1801 (letter 335), though the shirt was to be brought to Berlin by Ludwig Friedrich Catel rather than Friedrich Tieck. Julie’s point here is that Tieck’s departure has been delayed. He did, however, depart for Berlin with Friedrich Schlegel on ca. 29 November 1801. Back.

Translation © 2021 Doug Stott