Letter 381g

381g. Henriette von Hoven to Charlotte Schiller in Weimar: Würzburg, 2 January 1804 [*]

Würzburg, 2 January 1804

I found my husband healthy and quite satisfied with his situation. Our apartment in the seminary for the nobility was still being prepared, so I really had to make do the first weeks. My apartment is, however, comfortable and quite spacious; we have ten rooms on a single floor, I am living up three flights of stairs in quite amiable and pleasant circumstances. Paulus lives beneath us, and Schelling in a different wing of the building. [1]

I cannot yet say much about Würzburg itself because I almost never leave my apartment. Although I have already spoken with many people, I have not yet found anyone with whom I would want to form a really intimate friendship. I longingly think of my faraway friends. The native Würzburg residents I have seen till now do not please me, and the ladies from Jena — do not really fit with a Swabian housewife. [2]

So I am living entirely for myself and my family. What you said about the three women has been completely confirmed. Madam Paulus has not yet gotten arranged in her apartment, though the other two seem to be trying to live in grand style and are acting enormously genteel. I merely watch from afar, lamenting their wrongheadedness and their poor husbands. [3]

Schelling I like very much; he is a good person. A sister is just now staying with him, a fine young girl 20 years old, to whom — they are intent on imparting some measure of culture. [4]

We speak often about a trip to Weimar, my dear friend. Hoven will perhaps be seeing you soon. Count von Thürheim would like to renew his acquaintance with Schiller and come see you at some point with Hoven. [5]

Your loyal friend,
Henriette Hoven


[*] Source: Charlotte von Schiller und ihre Freunde 3:269–70. Back.

[1] Henriette von Hoven had not arrived in Würzburg until late November, when the apartment was finally ready. Caroline and Schelling had encountered the same problem. See Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter on 4 January 1804 (letter 382), where Caroline laments arriving in Würzburg in early November only to find themselves without the anticipated apartment,

since the one the government had designated for us had not yet been vacated or prepared because for several weeks they were still uncertain whether the whole university might be transferred to Bamberg.

It was not until 7 November 1803 that Count Friedrich Karl von Thürheim informed Schelling that the university was to remain in Würzburg (letter 381c). Concerning the housing arrangements for the families from Jena, see the supplementary appendix on the Schellings’ residence in Würzburg (Universität Würzburg, Universitätsarchiv):



[2] The “ladies from Jena” were Caroline, Karoline Paulus, and Luise Hufeland. Henriette von Hoven, as her husband relates (see below), eventually developed a close friendship with Karoline Paulus (Berlinischer Damen-Kalender auf das Schalt-Jahr 1804; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[3] Caroline — inadvertently prompted by Henriette von Hoven herself? — seems at some point to have picked up on the epithet “Swabian housewife” or “Swabian kitchenmaid,” although such is not documented in her own letters.

Here two illustrations of young women from different parts of Swabia, an admittedly broad enough region to prompt caution with such generalizations, though Henriette von Hoven does seem here to be invoking a type (Theodor Griesinger, Silhouetten aus Schwaben, 3rd rev. ed. [Stuttgart 1863], 192, 302; and an anonymous engraving of a Swabian couple, H.ts de la Souabe [1810]):



See in any case Friedrich von Hoven’s account of his and his wife’s initial period (she “felt quite comfortable with the simple furnishings and arrangements she had implemented in our household in Würzburg”) and transitional experiences in Würzburg, including their initial relationship with Caroline and Schelling, supplementary appendix 381g.1. Back.

[4] Frontispiece to Cytherens Kunstkabinet oder Toiletten-Hand-und Kunstbuch aus eigenen Erfahrungen für ihre Freundinnen bearbeitet (Nürnberg 1804):



[5] Count von Thürheim had known both Friedrich von Hoven and Schiller as classmates at the Academy (Hohe Karlsschule) in Stuttgart (Gustav Könnecke, Schiller: Eine Biographie in Bildern, 2nd ed. [Marburg 1905], 4):


Plans to have Schiller visit Würzburg in 1805 came to nothing because of Schiller’s death that year (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



Translation © 2017 Doug Stott