Letter 374

• 374. Caroline to Julie Gotter in Gotha: Jena, 2 January 1803

[Jena] 2 January 1803

|350| Although I have long owed you a response and a word of thanks, when all is said and done you are really not so very deserving insofar as you yourself write me so seldom, as if Thomas secretly informs His Highness every time a letter is sent to me. [1] [Sausages.] [2]

You came very close indeed to having a Christmas visit from Schelling and the Hungarian magnate, Baron Podmanitzky. And you can still look forward to that visit; indeed, I myself had to promise to come along, a promise I may, however, perhaps not be able to keep. The two of them really did spend a few days in Weimar, much to their mutual and indeed utmost satisfaction. [3]

I have not seen Tiek since I last saw you; he has promised to come next week and is supposed to have done some excellent work, including an extraordinarily well-executed bust of Mademoiselle Jagemann. [4] You can rest absolutely assured that Tiek did not write the satire; people in Weimar are alleging it merely in order to cause a falling out between him and Goethe, whereas we happen to know that he cannot write at all. [5]

I myself am increasingly puzzled about who could have done it; although many people have thought it might be Herr Bode, I do not believe so. I could not find anything special about the so-called “key”; it seemed more well intentioned than appropriate, and did not really fit the right keyhole . . .

So, what did everyone receive for Christmas? You see, had you been here you would have received something very nice indeed; alas, those who are absent get nothing. I for my part truly did not get all that involved in gift-giving this time, giving Rose hers in the form of money, since otherwise I would have had to give something to the stupid cook as well, and in any case, |351| there really is no fun in it without children around, the role you yourself had to play last year. [6] I did, however, give Schelling a corkscrew along with this epigram:

You, long having found the key to sacred nature,
Lacked solely that to the bottle,
For who fathoms the spirit of the world divine
Lest he also perceive its work in golden wine?

Have I already sung the praises of the divine Tokay wine that I now have in the cellar? Podmanitzky’s sister is the primary owner of the vineyards around Tokay, and he has sworn that nevermore shall the philosophy of nature be without it. [7] Even apart from such marvelous remarks, I must seriously say that Podmanitzky is a most excellent, good, and distinguished fellow in so many ways, one whose acquaintance has given Schelling considerable joy. He is definitely coming to Gotha and is urging Schelling to accompany him and visit all the good friends there with him. [8]

Have you already heard that Himly has again been stolen away from us? The university in Göttingen enticed him away for 1200 rh., which one certainly cannot begrudge them. In the meantime, things are looking rather ill here; there is much talk about professors receiving appointments elsewhere, and now they are even saying that the beadle [9] has received one and that everyone here will be scattering to the four winds. The town sexton explicitly alluded to it in his New Year’s address. [10]

I am now awaiting the first issue of Kotzebue’s newspaper. [11] Merkel expired at the birth itself; that is, they had a falling out even before uniting, these two heroes of despicableness. So now Kotzebue is publishing the thing himself.

Schlegel has not yet written anything about it. The attendance at his lectures is almost more spectacular than the last time, only |352| this time with fewer ladies and more members of the diplomatic corps. He has been privy to a great deal of suffering in the household there. [12] Two weeks after Sophie Bernhardi gave birth, [13] her oldest boy became extremely sick, so much so that on several occasion they feared for his life, which in its own turn made his mother sick yet again, and she is recovering only very slowly.


. . . Professor Meyer is still not married, [14] but Mademoiselle Vulpius [15] gave birth to a little girl, who did, however, quickly depart this world; and thus did heaven untie the knot.

When we see each other in person again, we can laugh a bit about a different knot, namely, whether the father of the little boy for whom Paulus has to care and change diapers here is an apostle or an evangelist. [16]

. . . So, do stay well, and write and let me now how everyone in your family is doing. Give my warmest regards to your dear mother, and please do not forget me or let me vanish from your hearts.

C. S.


[1] Uncertain allusion, possibly to characters in a contemporary play. Back.

[2] Caroline mentions a parcel of sausages from Julie Gotter in her letter to her on 29 November 1802 (letter 373). Here an illustration of sausage production ca. 1777 (Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 5 [Vienna 1777], plate 12):



[3] Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete (Leipzig 1937):


See Caroline’s letter to Julie Gotter on 29 November 1802 (letter 373), note 7. Back.

[4] Friedrich Tieck sent a copy of this (plaster) bust to Goethe on 16 January 1803, remarking in the accompanying letter (Edmund Hildebrandt, Friedrich Tieck: Ein Beitrag zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte im Zeitalter Goethes und der Romantik [Leipzig 1906], 153–54) that his intention was “to approach at least to a certain extent that particular specificity of form that renders the works of antiquity so inestimable.”

The bust is identified as inventory no. GPI/00245 in the Goethehaus in Weimar, where it has been exhibited in, among other places, Büstenzimmer no. 61 (Ruth B. Emde and Achim von Heygendorff, Selbstinszenierungen im klassischen Weimar: Caroline Jagemann, 2 vols. [Göttingen 2004], 1:46; unknown photographer):



[5] Friedrich Tieck was not at all a good stylist in German, something sufficiently attested by his letters. Back.

[6] Notwithstanding the fact that Julie Gotter was eighteen years old during her Christmas in Jena in 1801 (J. E. Gailer Neuer Orbis Pictus für die Jugend oder Schauplatz der Natur der Kunst und des Menschenlebens, 5th ed. [Reutlingen 1842], plate 312):


Concerning Caroline’s decision to hire a cook despite Wilhelm’s absence in Jena, see her letters to him on 11–14 January 1802 (letter 340), 1 February 1802 (letter 345), and 1 February 1802 (letter 347); Caroline seems to have decided to retain the cook when Schelling’s plans to be absent from Jena during the summer did not materialize as expected (letter 347). Back.

[7] See Richard Bright, Travels from Vienna Through Lower Hungary: With Some Remarks on the State of Vienna During the Congress, in the Year 1814 (Edinburgh 1818), 418–19:

With respect to the Hungarian wines in general, their quality might probably be much improved, if attention were paid to the selection of good grapes, and to the separation of the ripe from the unripe fruit. This, however, is not to be expected from peasants, whose measure of a good wine year consists in the number of casks which are filled, and not in the quality of the produce.

In consequence of the vineyards being chiefly in the hands of such proprietors, the greater part of the common wine found in the inns of Hungary is very poor. It is generally a white wine, but faintly coloured from the mixture of grapes of every species. Some of the finest sorts, however, have obtained a celebrity which originally arose from the peculiar care bestowed upon the manufacture, and which has become, in its turn, a stimulus to new exertions.

Foremost amongst these wines is that which bears the name of Tokay, and which is the product of the country around the town of Tokay, called the Submontine district, or the Hégyallya, which extends over a space of about 20 English miles.

[Left to right: Wien (Vienna), Pesth (Budapest), Debrecin, then north: Tokay (Generalkarte von Europa, ed. Joseph Scheda [Vienna 1845–47]; illustration: Joris Hoefnagel, Tokay Superioris Hvngariæ natura loci munitißimum propugnaculum [1595]):]




Throughout the whole of this country, it is the custom to collect the grapes which have become dry and sweet, like raisins, whilst hanging on the trees. They are gathered one by one, and it is from them alone (which, in 1807, sold for 100 florins the cask of 180 halbes on the spot) that the prime Tokay, or, as it is termed, Tokay Ausbruch, is prepared. They are first put together in a cask, in the bottom of which holes are bored to let that portion of the juice escape, which will run from them without any pressure.

This, which is called Tokay essence, is generally in very small quantity, and very highly prized. The grapes are then put into a vat, and trampled with the bare feet, no greater pressure being permitted. To the squeezed mass is next added an equal quantity of good wine, which is allowed to stand for 24 hours, and is then strained. This juice, without farther preparation, becomes the far-famed wine of Tokay, which is difficult to be obtained, and sells in Vienna at the rate of L. 12 Sterling per dozen. The greater part of these vineyards are the property of the Emperor; several, however, are in the hands of nobles. Back.

[8] The visit to Gotha does not seem to have materialized at least for Schelling. Back.

[9] Here: mace-bearer in a university and an official who took care of various minor university and student needs (Johann Christoph Adelung, The New and Complete Dictionary of the German and English Languages, composed chiefly after the German Dictionaries of Mr. Adelung and of Mr. Schwan, 3 vols. [Leipzig 1796–99], s.v. Pedell; Eng. “bedel” illustration from Rudolph Ackermann, A History of the University of Cambridge: Its Colleges, Halls, and Public Buildings, 2 vols. [London 1815], illustration preceding 2:315):



[10] The coming year was indeed a fateful one for the university in Jena, which lost several important professors and other faculty members.

Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland had already left for Berlin.
• Both Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel had already left, as had
Anselm Feuerbach for Kiel in 1802.
H. E. G. Paulus, Schelling, and Gottlieb Hufeland all left for Würzburg in 1803.
Justus Christian Loder and even Christian Gottfried Schütz left for Halle in 1803 (the latter took along the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung).
Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer left for Würzburg in 1804,
Anton Friedrich Thibaud for Heidelberg in 1805,
Friedrich Ast for Landshut also in 1805.
Hegel left Jena after the events of October 1806.

During this period as well, and not surprisingly, the number of students also declined (Ernst Borkowsky, Das alte Jena und seine Universität: eine Jubiläumsgabe zur Universitätsfeier [Jena 1908], 222–23). See supplementary appendix 377c.1. Back.

[11] Der Freimüthige, oder berlinische Zeitung für gebildete, unbefangene Leser.

See Caroline’s letter to Julie Gotter on 29 November 1802 (letter 373), note 9, and Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm on that same day, 29 November 1802 (letter 373a, note 10. Back.

[12] That is, in the household of August Ferdinand Bernhardi, where Wilhelm was residing. Back.

[13] To Felix Theodor Bernhardi on 6 November 1802. Back.

[14] Heinrich Meyer married Amalie von Koppenfels (not “Luise,” as in [1913], 2:642), in January 1803 (Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 4 [Vienna 1776], plate 32):



[15] Christiane Vulpius and Goethe were still not married, hence Caroline quite correctly refers to her as mademoiselle. Back.

[16] R. J. Steidele, Lehrbuch der Hebammenkunst (Vienna 1791):


Caroline’s remark about the possible father of Karoline Paulus’s child is maliciously alluding to the “apostolic” name of her husband, (Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob) “Paulus,” on the one hand, and the “evangelistic” (gospel, Germ. Evangelium) name of (Adalbert Friedrich) “Marcus,” on the other, with the latter of whom Karoline Paulus had spent time in Franconia during the preceding year.

She invokes this same metaphor — and implication of Karoline Paulus as an unfaithful wife — later in her letter to Schelling on 5 May 1806 (letter 407) (illustrations: [1] Taschenbuch für Damen auf das Jahr 1801 [Tübingen 1801]; [2] “Die untreue Gattinn” [“The unfaithful wife”], Berlinischer Damen-Kalender auf das Gemein-Jahr 1809, Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



On 20 April 1801 (letter 310), Caroline wrote to Wilhelm from Braunschweig that “Madam Paulus has indeed gone to Bamberg, and to Franconia in general, for the summer” (see also note 20 there). The Pauluses’ only son, August Wilhelm Paulus, was born on 3 May 1802. Their daughter, Sophie, accompanied Karoline Paulus to Bamberg, where they “spent the winter with their family friend, the famous physician Adalbert Friedrich Marcus” (this and the following citation from Reichlin-Meldegg 1:346–48).

The pregnancy and delivery, however, and Karoline Paulus’s health in general, were not without problems. H. E. G. Paulus, who joined his family in Bocklet in the summer of 1801 and returned to Jena with Dorothea Veit, Philipp Veit, and Friedrich Schlegel (who had journeyed there to pick up Dorothea and Philipp), writes to the theologian Christian Friedrich Schnurrer in Tübingen (illustrations: [1] anonymous, O! Kinder, Kinder [ca. 1776–1800]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. Res. A: 371.9; [2] R. J. Steidele, Lehrbuch der Hebammenkunst [Vienna 1791]; [3] Friedrich Benjamin Osiander, Abhandlung von dem Nutzen und der Bequemlichkeit eines Steinischen Geburtsstuhls. Geburtshelfern, Hebammen und Gebährenden zur Belehrung [Tübingen 1790], plate 1 between pp. 43 and 44; [4] Taschenbuch auf das Jahr 1805 für edle Weiber und Mädchen; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):

Jena, 17 May 1802

. . . During and after my wife’s stay in Boklet, she felt fine until the moment when our not-so-friendly Saale River started spreading its unique, damp, and cold early winter over us. For three winters, her body has been unable to withstand this all-penetrating amalgamation of southerly winds from the snow-covered Thuringian forests and vapors from the Saale itself. Cramps, sleeplessness, anxiety, and moodiness are always the prompt results. [References to his own work load and subsequent lack of time.]

For the patient’s suffering increased daily, her physical irritability, moreover, intensifying to such a point that she could be treated gently and cautiously only by the few persons whose love and intimate friendship for her make them sufficiently careful.


Because I myself am capable of such, I often cannot avoid having to provide such assistance, though my inability to work eventually made me sick more than did the physical demands of such care. This time my assistance was doubly necessary. A tertian fever and the most excruciating headaches emerged just as the winter was half over.

For unfortunately, my good wife was pregnant after her stay at the spa. In the final weeks before delivery, she had a fever every day, her strength failed, and the closer the time of crisis approached, and two days ahead, despite my earlier belief in the strong constitution of the patient, I was unable to find any consolation in which I could truly believe.


The harbingers of delivery began early; nature was unable to hasten the process. All at once, however, hidden powers awoke; inside an extremely vehement half-hour, and with the help of a very skilled young accoucheur [Fr., “obstetrician”], Dr. Froriep (whose late father [Justus Friedrich von Froriep (1745–1800)] delivered the Suras of the Koran with much less skill), the entire process successfully took place.


A pleasing little boy now lay next to the happy mother, the latter of whom has also been recovering daily, albeit only very gradually, beginning on 3 May, since, quite fortuitously, better weather began arriving at the same time.


Caroline was not the only person suspicious of the relationship between Karoline Paulus and Adalbert Friedrich Marcus. Clemens Brentano seems to allude to this same relationship in a letter to Sophie Mereau from Neustadt on 31 October 1804 (letter 387i). Speaking about the social situation among faculty members and spouses in Würzburg, he remarks that “Markus certainly does no credit to the honor of Madam Paulus, he being in any case someone whom everyone has described to me as a filthy, extremely ugly, refined Jew.”

See in general the supplementary appendix on Karoline Paulus’s reputation. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott