Letter 335h

335h. Dorothea Veit to Rahel Levin and Händel Levin in Berlin: Jena, turn of the year 1801/02 [*]

[Jena, turn of the year 1801/02]

My dear friend, I greet you from the most profound depths of my heart and soul. [1] You have already announced to me three times that you intended to write me, so just imagine my eagerness, after all that — all that — to receive something from you to read.

You would like to write to me about oeconomie, you say? [2] Probably something concerning Paris and our shared existence there? [3] Everything will turn out fine and wonderful. Just pray for me.

Let me commend to you my Friedrich, whom I worship, the man of my heart, if, that is, he even yet needs to be commended to you. Is it not true, is he not a divine person? No, my love, apart from him there is no other man to whom one might thus entrust one’s soul and happiness!

Hence do be quite open toward him, he deserves it; more than — I! But no, I will assuredly never allow anyone to persuade me of anything concerning you, and Friedrich also understands you far too well for that.

But, dear, please do not keep him too long from me. And even in general, please do not be too perfide toward me. [4] You absolutely do not yet realize how utterly devoted and committed I am to this person! Let me hear a great deal from you. But please also hear my one request, and send along a fairly long letter with Friedrich for me. I often suffer the misfortune of not properly understanding letters. (You more than anyone are familiar with the fate of letters in general.) Friedrich will then function as the commentary to it. Your respect touches me, your love delights me. Please stay kindly disposed to me.

If I recognize the hand and signature, [5] then the greeting is from your sister-in-law. I send you my warmest regards, dear Madame Levin; and thank you profusely for the cordial gesture of your remembrance. Perhaps we will all have the opportunity once more to see one another more often under pleasant circumstances, and to enjoy one another more intimately. I think quite often about you, and your children, and I am enormously looking forward to receiving news of you in person from my friend. [6]

Stay well, dear lady, and do keep a place for me in your kind remembrance.


Stay well, beloved girl, dear Rahel. Let me wish you a happy New Year.


[*] Sources: Wieneke (1914) 347–49; KFSA 25:320–21. Back.

[1] Dorothea’s effusive words here to Rahel (shared with a third party, Händel Levin) and equally effusive praise for and description of her attachment to Friedrich likely reflect her suspicion that Friedrich’s interest in Rahel may have inclined toward the romantic and erotic, and this letter along with that in January 1802 (letter 339c) her attempt to prompt Rahel herself to exercise restraint (Romanen-Kalender für das Jahr 1799; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


See Friedrich’s letters to Rahel since his arrival in Berlin in early December 1801 (letters 335c, d, g). Back.

[2] Here: household management, household economics. Back.

[3] KFSA 25:646n2 points out that Friedrich was possibly interested in Rahel Levin accompanying Dorothea and him to Paris. See Dorothea’s letter to Rahel in January 1802 (letter 339c) and Friedrich’s closing lines to Rahel in a letter to her on 8 February 1802 (KFSA 25:330): “Warm regards from Dorothea, who also greatly wishes that we could travel together.” Rahel had already lived in Paris and would thus be familiar with the financial side of living there (oeconomie). Back.

[4] In French in original; here: “false, false-hearted; treacherous.” Back.

[5] I.e., on the letter from Berlin Dorothea had received. Back.

[6] I.e., from Friedrich. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott