Letter 384

• 384. Caroline to Beate Schelling in Murrhardt: Würzburg, 17–18 July 1804

Würzburg, 17 July [1804]

|385| Happiness, good fortune, and blessings, my dear Beate, are what I now wish for you as you embark on the new path that now lies before you [1]

It was with heartfelt emotion and joy that we heard about that new path and are entertaining the most reassuring expectations with regard to your future destiny. Your brother considers himself quite the lucky one to have acquired such an upright brother-in-law, one with respect to whom, considering everything you and your parents have written about him, he may confidently believe that your lot is excellent indeed, and that your bridegroom will find it in his soul to help provide your dear parents, with whom he is so close, with all the domestic joy the more distant son is unable to bestow.

Please extend our warmest greetings to your Herr Gross and neglect not to tell him that I am particularly interested in the fact that you, little one, are now to become “Little Gross,” [2] for you doubtless have not been able to conceal from him that you are diminutive indeed.

He did well to proceed to Murrhardt when he did not find you in Winnenden; [3] I am also pleased that he seems to be a fearless rider. In a word, my opinion of him is the very best it could be. I was also very pleased that you found the little girl so charming. |386| After a husband and children, then come the house and courtyard, gardens and vineyards, and all the things of which it is written that one ought not envy them one’s neighbor and which I, too, wish for you in abundance. [4]

I am quite familiar with the area, the path up to Geisburg; [5] Fritz once led me around in circles there for several hours on the way to Kanstatt such that I did indeed have time to enjoy the view. It is magnificent. [6] Please tell me who your close relatives and acquaintances will be in Stuttgard in the future.

I am gradually confiding to our acquaintances here that loving arms were immediately there to receive you when you returned to your fatherland — For the Gärtners, that is, the mother and daughters, paid me a visit, but did so before I had received your letters; [7] I was also unable to get to the Siebolds yet [8] — but Madam Sturz and Madam Hartleben already know about it, as does Herr Köhler, who in his own inimitable way expressed his amazement at the fact that you were already thinking about such things! [9]

I must tell you about our return trip. [10] It was unfortunately much more fun than our trip there. I say “unfortunately,” for it should not have been thus. You should have been able to have a properly enjoyable day yourself, but you were not able in the first place, and then — who could have withstood the kinds of incessant knocks we suffered through during the afternoon!? [11] My own delicate machine was almost ruined, and one knock invariably prompts yet another. [12]

For our return trip, we took our old route by way of Jaxtberg, which despite the rain was neither all that arduous nor all that long and was thus traversed, as it were, in love and harmony. [13] We were in Mergentheim between 3 and 4 but were disappointed that we were unable to have a closer look at the duck village, since the rain would surely have transformed even us into wet ducks. [14]

We had already joked for quite a while about |387| how the innkeeper would now doubtless be serving us yellow peas instead of lentils, but then he rushed toward us and led us into the same room where we had eaten at midday the day before. Hardly had we had a chance to look around the room when there was a knock on the side door; it was opened, and there in front of a fully set table stood Köhler, Kieser, and Lambinon, [15] and little Fritz also jumped into the arms of his mother. [16] They had traveled there to meet us, and you can well imagine the jubilation. [17]

We stayed there for 3 glorious hours at least, going through several bottles of wine together in grand fashion. When we were ready to depart again, it turns out that our friend Köhler had, as it were, become intoxicated with his own joviality; he proved to be enormously entertaining for Fritz, and was so exuberant and witty that he shortened our trip considerably. [18]

We made one more stop at an inn and then were in Würzburg between 2 and 3 o’clock. [19] Since then as well, we have already had some great fun, in Zell, Veitshöchheim, the Aumühle, etc. [20] At one point I decided to give a souper along with gaming where there were 3 gaming tables, namely, for the Sturzes, Madam Hartleben, and all the individual gentlemen from our acquaintance along with several strangers as well.

Each evening we usually have the one or other guest eating with us, so you can easily enough believe that, in addition to the laundry and other household tasks I really have hardly a moment’s rest. [Household matters. Maidservant.] Since your father had given us so much money when we left, I immediately gave her [21] an extra Laubthaler in the name of the Herr Prelate in addition to what you had asked me to give her, and I am quite glad to have done so; she certainly also earned it by having taken such good care of you.

You attribute such infinite erudition to me with respect to curtains that now you want me to advise you even when I am not there [22] — Have no fear of simply deciding for |388| for yourself! If I have no idea of how things look, neither can I really offer any advice. You will surely be able to figure something out; why else were you at the university?

18 July

Today we had a look at the Borgias building for the first time, and I must say I was uncommonly satisfied with it. [23] Each étage has it own merits, [24] and we would be hard pressed to make a choice even were one to grant us such without any qualifications whatever. The rooms are high, nicely distributed, quite habitable, and I will undeniably be able to settle in and arrange things far more comfortably there. I believe we will remain in the first étage, which is as high above the ground as the second is in most buildings because of the not inconsiderable souterrain. [25] I am really just so sorry that you did not by chance see the inside of this house as well that you could have a more vivid idea of all the charming, modest, innocent improvements I will be making. [Furnishings.]

This coming Sunday the wife of the government counselor Liebeskind will probably be departing again; her husband is away on government business, and her two youngest children are with their grandmother. [26]

I have not yet heard anything about the departure of our housemates in the other wing. [27]

May the next weeks hasten by full of joy. Please do write and tell us about some of it after you have settled down again.

Stay well.



[1] Beate Schelling had just become engaged to the Stuttgart senior financial secretary Adolf Gross. They married in Murrhardt on 26 July 1804, just over a year after Caroline and Schelling had married in the same church on 26 June 1803 (Taschenbuch auf das Jahr 1805 für edle Weiber und Mädchen, Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[2] A play on words: Germ. gross (groß), “large, big.” Back.

[3] Uncertain allusion. The town of Winnenden is located ca. 20 km northeast of Stuttgart at the edge of the Swabian Forest and ca. 27 km southwest of Beate’s home in Murrhardt (excerpt from “Wurtemberg,” in William Shepherd, Historical Atlas [1911], 143; image: University of Texas at Austin):



[4] The “little girl” is presumably a reference to Gross’s daughter by one of his two previous marriages.

“House and courtyard, gardens and vineyards”: Although Caroline is speaking almost formulaically in the sense of “home and hearth,” Württemberg is known not least for its wines. A nineteenth-century traveler’s guide to the area around the Neckar River, which flows through and by Stuttgart and Gaisberg (see below), remarks that “the banks of the river are clothed with vineyards producing a very tolerable wine” (Handbook for Travellers in Southern Germany [London 1837], 4; illustrations: “The cultivation of the vine, and the vintage,” J. E. Gailer, Neuer Orbis Pictus für die Jugend oder Schauplatz der Natur, der Kunst und des Menschenlebens, 5th ed. [Reutlingen 1842], plates 97 and 98):



Otherwise an allusion to Exodus 20 (NRSV): “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

The following illustrations of these two commandments, from a 1799 printing of Martin Luther, Der kleine Catechismus (ca. 1799), 19–20, accompanied the typically austere and sometimes ominous reading material Auguste was facing when she herself underwent catechism training in the autumn of 1799:



[5] Geisburg (Gaisburg, Gaysburg; also Gaisberg), an originally independent village east of Stuttgart and just southwest of Cannstadt across the Neckar River, since 1901 part of Stuttgart itself. Its location on the Neckar River and the concomitant water mills early led to its industrialization (Stutgart, mit dero Gegend auf 2 Stund. 81 G. Bodenehr fecit et excudit; Recens emendavit, auxit atque divisit R. H. Stuttgardiae [1716–50]):



[6] Schelling was called “Fritz” in his family; Caroline occasionally uses Joseph as his first name. See previous note concerning Gaisburg’s location.

The eastern part of Stuttgart along the Neckar River is situated on rolling hills providing views of the hills across the river to the east as well, including the Rothenberg, originally with the ruins of the fortress Württemberg, so named allegedly after the fortress Wirdeberg of the Württemberger lineage that once occupied its peak (Stutgart, mit dero Gegend auf 2 Stund. 81 G. Bodenehr fecit et excudit; Recens emendavit, auxit atque divisit R. H. Stuttgardiae [1716–50]):


Today a mausoleum, erected in 1824, stands on the spot, but Caroline could have viewed the remnants of the earlier fortress, which was finally demolished in 1819 (Georg Friedrich Christian von Schultes, Skizze einer Wanderung durch einem Theil der Schweiz und des südlichen Deutschland [1820]):


In 1907 the mountain with its mausoleum was renamed Württemberg. The area is still known for its impressive views:

(Stuttgart mit Umgebung, ed. K. statistisch topogr. Bureau (1880):


Here a view of the mausoleum and the surrounding hills (postcard 1903):



[7] The Würzburg architect Johann Andreas Gärtner had just (15 June 1804) been appointed to a position in Munich and would be relocating his family there from Würzburg. Caroline may well not mention his presence because Gärtner was in any case in Munich for a preliminary visit back on 11 April 1804 along with Joseph Nikolaus Thomann (Münchner Anzeiger [1804] 16 [Wednesday, 18 April 1804] [no pagination]), a visit Adalbert Friedrich Marcus derisively mentions in his anonymous missive on Würzburg in the Zeitung für die elegante Welt on 19 April 1804 (see supplementary appendix 383f.1). His wife, Barbara, and their children, however, were still in Würzburg. Back.

[8] The Siebolds of Würzburg refer here and later to the “earlier” ones, namely, Karl Kaspar von Siebold, the surgeon and gynecologist. See supplementary appendix 381g.1, note 3. Back.

[9] In a letter to Schelling on 29 October 1805 (Fuhrmans 3:278), Carl Joseph Windischmann refers to Köhler as a “vagabond” and warns Schelling not to offer him accommodations in Würzburg. Back.

[10] I.e., Caroline and Schelling’s journey back to Würzburg during the last week of June after they accompanied Beate back to Murrhardt; Beate had been staying with them in Würzburg since the early autumn of 1803. Back.

[11] Perhaps an allusion to poor roads (anonymous 19th-century engraving):



[12] Caroline uses the French term Maschiene (orthography altered) in this sentence, presumably shorthand for la machine animale, “the bodily system.” Back.

[13] Jaxtberg, modern Jagstberg, a small village located in northwest Baden-Württemberg ca. 60 km northeast of Murrhardt on the Jagst River, a tributary to the Neckar River that runs through Stuttgart (Karte des deutschen Reichs, ed. C. Vogel [Gotha 1907], no. 23):


Here Jagstberg in an anonymous nineteenth-century illustration:



[14] Mergentheim, modern Bad Mergentheim, is located on the Tauber River ca. 23 km north of Jaxtberg (Karte des deutschen Reichs, ed. C. Vogel [Gotha 1907], no. 23):


In 1861, Mergentheim was still a small village (frontispiece to Franz Höring, Das Carlsbad bei Mergentheim mit seinen Heilmitteln, sowie diätetische Anleitungen zum zweckmässigen Gebrauche derselben: Ein Taschenbuch für Kurgäste [Mergentheim 1861]):


The “duck village” had been established by the Teutonic Knights (Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem) on the lake in the castle gardens in Mergentheim with scale reproductions of houses constituting a kind of “swimming village” that served as a reserve and nesting area for wild ducks (anonymous illustrations from [in order] 1812 and 1820):




[15] Uncertain identity. Back.

[16] Uncertain identities. The composition of Caroline and Schelling’s traveling party is difficult to ascertain. Back.

[17] I.e., had traveled down from Würzburg to Mergentheim, ca. 50 km to the southwest (Karte des deutschen Reichs, ed. C. Vogel [Gotha 1907], no. 23):



[18] Here a representative convivial meal from the period (Toilettenkalender für Frauenzimmer [Vienna 1801]; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[19] I.e., they stayed overnight at an otherwise unidentified inn and then arrived back in Würzburg the next afternoon. Here such a period tavern or inn located on the open highway (anonymous, Landschaft mit Wegbiegung, Bäumen und Gasthof, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur Z 3280):



[20] Zell is located ca. 5 km northwest of Würzburg, Veitshöchheim ca. 10 km northwest along the Main River (C. F. Hammer, Charte von dem Grosherzogthum Würzburg, nebst den Fürstenthum Schwarzenberg [Nürnberg 1806]):


Here Zell in 1847 with Veitshöchheim in the distance on the opposite shore (Zell am Main [1847], engraving after Fritz Bamberger, from Ludwig Braunfels, Die Mainufer und ihre nächsten Umgebungen [Würzburg 1847], plate following p. 264):


The outing to Veitshöchheim would have been pleasant indeed. The castle at Veitshöchheim, built in 1680–82 and originally the summer palace of the prince bishops of Würzburg, was expanded in 1753 to include lovely gardens with lakes, artificial water features, and sculptures. Here the castle on a postcard ca. 1900:


Here the garden layout under Friedrich von Seinsheim (after 1760), much as Caroline would have experienced it; illustration from Georg Karch, Der Königliche Hofgarten mit dem Schlosse in Veitshöchheim nach Platon’s Schule als folgerichtige Darstellung der bacchischen Weltseele u. des Falls u. der Erlösung der Einzelseelen (Würzburg 1873), final plate:


Here a statue ensemble on a Veitshöchheim pond, by Ferdinand Dietz, Apollo, the Muses, and Pegasus triumph on Parnassus after the Flood (postcard ca. 1900):


The Aumühle, driven by the Pleichach Brook and located just east of town, was one of the oldest mills in the Würzburg district. The popular tavern and dance hall alongside the mill were not built until 1806, just as Caroline and Schelling were leaving Würzburg, but it seems residents of Würzburg were already using the mill’s facilities for entertaining. The new tavern included a bakery, guestrooms, and an elegant dance hall.

The mill had in any case been the site of a vehement battle between advancing Austrians and the French on 2 September 1796. After 1806 the tavern became one of the locales frequented by Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany. It ceased operation in 1910, the tavern during the First World War, and the edifices were destroyed in 1945.

The area, covered by roads today, was still quite rural in 1840; here its location, with Caroline and Schelling’s apartment in the Old University complex at lower right (F. Harrach and F. v. Harscher, Würzburg mit Umgebung [Würzburg 1840]):


Here a lithograph of the Aumühle tavern and dance hall ca. 1840 by Sebastian Hesselbach:



[21] The maidservant. Back.

[22] That is, curtains for Beate’s new home in Gaisburg (Göttinger Taschen Calender Für das Iahr 1799; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



[23] See esp. the supplementary appendix on the Schellings’ residence in Würzburg; the Schellings lived in the west wing of the Old University quadrangle above the library. The following illustration shows the entire complex of the Old University and seminary.

The (now suspended) seminary ceded to the electorate of Bavaria as a result of secularization in 1803 is here the triangular structure to the right (east) of the Old University. The Regent’s Building forms the west (left) wing of the seminary triangle and essentially abuts the east wing of the Old University quadrangle; the main seminary building is the top (north) side; and the Borgias Building (where eventually the Pauluses and von Hovens, but not the Schellings, moved) the bottom (south) side. Each complex (Old University, Seminary) had its church (Neuester Plan der Kreishauptstadt Würzburg, mit nächster Umgebung und Angabe der Stadt Strassenbau-Projecte [n.d.]):



[24] Fr., “story, floor.” Back.

[25] Fr., “underground passage.” Caroline is presumably referring to the apartment on the second story; the building did in any case also have a cellar that Caroline was allegedly insisting having access to as an auditorium; see Henriette von Hoven’s letter to Charlotte Schiller on 4 August 1804 (letter 385a). Back.

[26] Meta Liebeskind does not seem to have departed on Sunday, 22 July 1804, but rather on Sunday, 5 August 1804, though uncertainty remains. See Caroline’s letter to her on 19 August 1804 (letter 386).

The grandmother referred here is presumably Johann Heinrich Liebeskind’s stepmother, Margaretha Marie Liebeskind, née Boller (so Monika Siegel, “Ich hatte einen Hang zur Schwärmerey,” 149fn63.

On 30 May 1807, Hegel writes to Rosine Eleonore Niethammer, wife of Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer, from Bamberg concerning the Liebeskinds (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Werke, ed. Marheineke et al., vol. 19, part 1, Briefe von und an Hegel, ed. Karl Hegel, part 1 [Leipzig 1887], 108):

Bamberg, 30 May 1807

. . . Bamberg has made a new acquisition; Liebeskind from Anspach has come here; I do not know whether you know him, but his wife at least will not be entirely unknown to you. Her friendship with Madam Schelling could, depending on what one thinks of the latter, introduce an element of reserve into any potential curiosity one might have to get to know her. She seems quite the good-tempered sort, and he, too, is a genuinely charming man, though otherwise the Bamberger style and culture might not be quite the thing for this family. For just that reason, however, I think it all the more likely I might find unaffected and interesting company in them. Back.

[27] I.e., the Pauluses and von Hovens. The Schellings, as it turned out, did not vacate their present apartment and move into the Borgias Building after all (Universität Würzburg, Universitätsarchiv):


See the supplementary appendix on the Schellings’ residence in Würzburg. The other two families did move out of the wing opposite the Schellings in the Old University quadrangle and into the Borgias building during the autumn of 1804 but unfortunately were not able to remain long. Because apartments were scarce for professors even before these families arrived, including the Schellings, Count von Thürheim managed to get the prince elector Maximilian Joseph to agree to a complete renovation of the building. The von Hovens eventually occupied the entire ground floor and the Pauluses the entire third floor.

But in 1805, the prince elector himself and his entire court took over the building when, after taking the side of the French in the War of the Third Coalition and finding the Austrians crossing the Inn River and moving into Bavaria, he moved to Würzburg from Munich. The Treaty of Pressburg on 26 December 1805 introduced fundamental geopolitical changes yet again, and all these families, including the Niethammers, who arrived from Jena in late August or September 1804, eventually left Würzburg in any case. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott