Letter 369e

369e.Friedrich Schlegel to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Paris, 16 September 1802 [*]

Paris, 16 September 1802

. . . I must unfortunately burden you with a petty matter. Paulus is still demanding 12⅓ Thaler from us for coffee that he secured from Leipzig through Siedler in the summer of 1800, during the time when we were alone in Jena and Caroline already in Bamberg. [1] My wife cannot at all recall whether it was taken along for you alone or, more likely, for us. [2]

What is certain is that Paulus has not yet been paid for his expenses. It is his own fault, since he himself forgot about it and did not remind me of it until after my departure.

In the meantime, I am loath to have this man think he will have to wait to be paid. If you would take care of this small expense immediately, I would then pay you half or the whole with the next remittance, depending on your own recollection.

In any event, I did want to relate this matter to you, since the order was actually made in your name.


[*] Source: Walzel, 495–98, here 496.

Although Friedrich certainly discusses other things in this letter, including a request for Wilhelm to contribute to his new periodical, Europa and to keep him updated on literary developments in Germany, he also repeats the familiar refrain concerning financial problems that continues into the future as well. It may be recalled from Wilhelm’s correspondence with Caroline during the spring and summer of 1802 that Wilhelm himself was not entirely in the clear with his own finances. Back.

[1] Siedler is presumably a merchant in Leipzig. Back.

[2] I.e., Dorothea Veit, to whom Friedrich here refers as his Frau, i.e., woman or wife, though they would not marry until 6 April 1804.

This is not the first mention of this unpaid coffee from the summer of 1800. See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 3 June 1802 (letter 362), esp. with note 2 there. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott