Letter 389

• 389. Caroline to Meta Liebeskind in Ansbach: Würzburg, early 1805 [*]

[Würzburg, early 1805]

|397| I wanted to write to you yesterday, and — had I but done so! For what you write me today has so saddened me and so rekindled the grief in my own mind and breast that I can hardly even guide my quill just now and am doing so only that I may do something. So is it really true? [1] Has God Almighty really imposed even this as well?

I know not; I feel neither sorrow nor pity of the sort that might derive from temporal grief, since all that can and will be remedied; what grieves me is that he had to depart so early, and surely unwillingly, just when he had indeed attained a bit of success in the world, and that |398| his own heart was broken so soon after his Adele. At that time, too, I wept all the tears I had for him. She is to be so profoundly lamented that none of the help one might anticipate for her will be able to change anything about what has happened; indeed, so much so that nothing that will ameliorate it for her can even ease one’s own emotional response.

May she but keep Aimé. For Schelling, Aimé was the first concern; should he lack fatherly support, and could certain circumstances be overcome, then Aimé would have found the most loyal father in him, and what could he have become in that case!

There was no need for you to have said so much to me about my fleeting admonition that you not become unfaithful or anything like that; even the briefest word suffices for me in this regard, it is simply not my nature to be mistrustful. [2] . . .

[End of sheet.]


[*] Ansbach is located ca. 50 km southwest of Nürnberg and ca. 85 km southeast of Würzburg (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern, ed. T. Molls [Vienna 1805]; illustration: Matthäus Merian [1648]):




[1] Ludwig Ferdinand Huber had departed Ulm on 23 September 1804 for Leipzig, where he needed to assess his late father’s last will and testament, a task he unfortunately was unable to complete. During this trip he also visited Berlin, Halle, and Göttingen (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Besetztere und illuminierte Landkarte von Deutschland, from the Kupfersammlung zu J[ohann] B[ernhard] Basedows Elementarwerke für die Jugend und ihre Freunde: Erste Lieferung in 53 Tafeln. Zweyte Lieferung in 47 Tafeln von L bis XCVI [Leipzig, Dessau, Berlin 1774], plate xlv):


In Göttingen, he made the acquaintance, for the first time, of his wife’s, Therese Huber’s, parents and siblings (Carlo Goldoni, Opere complete, vol. 6 [Venice 1909], 199):


But his health had already not been particularly good, and professionally he had also taken on additional work quite apart from his editorial work with the Allgemeine Zeitung. He and Therese had, moreover, already lost two children during 1804 (see Caroline’s letter to Meta Liebeskind on 19 August 1804 [letter 386] for her reaction to those deaths, esp. notes 13 and 14).

He returned to Ulm in early November 1804, but his health quickly deteriorated, and a few weeks later he fell victim to a severe illness, apparently a lung inflammation, and died on 24 December 1804.

Here two representative and poignant illustrations of attendants and a woman at the side of a dying man (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, [1] O grosses Wesen! [1782]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.497; [2] Heiliger Herr Jesus, sei uns gnädig, rief hier der ehrliche Pater Vinzent [ca. 1742–1830]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Uh 4° 47 [252]):


Chodowiecki similarly did illustrations of the grieving widow and children immediately after the death of the husband and father as well as one of the grieving widow alone (Göttinger Taschenkalender [1798, 1799]):



Here grieving widows receive the condolences of friends; note the sheet-covered portrait of the husband on the wall (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, [1] Die Traurigkeit an einer Witwe, das Mitleiden an ihrer Freundin, Kupfersammlung zu J[ohann] B[ernhard] Basedows Elementarwerke für die Jugend und ihre Freunde: Erste Lieferung in 53 Tafeln. Zweyte Lieferung in 47 Tafeln von L bis XCVI [Leipzig, Dessau, Berlin 1774], plate xxvii.c; [2] Göttingen Taschenkalender [1799]):




[2] Göttingischer Taschen-Calender für das Jahr 1801; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:


Since Meta Liebeskind’s letter seems not to be extant, one cannot know the exact nature of this allusion. At the same time, see esp. Caroline’s letter to Friedrich Wilhelm and Luise Gotter on 13 July 1793 (letter 131), note 4, and Friedrich Schlegel’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 28 August 1793 (letter 134). Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott