Letter 400a

• 400a. Caroline to Beate Gross (?) in Gaisburg: Würzburg, January 1806 [*]

[Würzburg, January 1806]

|421| A woman who is constantly around the queen wrote from Munich to [lacuna] that she was unable to answer him immediately because Duroc had just been there to sue for the hand of the princess, and that this caused a tremendous commotion. Now, however, all that is over. They are completely free of all guests and can again breathe more easily. The entire atmosphere was allegedly one of coercion and obligation, with no one really enjoying himself despite all the festivities.

The queen allegedly suffered much — she (the writer) could not express what she felt at having to see this excellent woman juxtaposed next to such an unworthy one. The latter sensed that she was not loved, so tried to win through lavish gifts what she could not force on her own, allegedly covering the court with brilliant jewels, pearls, and flowers, gilding it all with gold “until they finally really did manage to rob us of our most beautiful gem, the princess.” Amid the guise of opulence, they tried in vain to conceal the inadequacy of their claims. The behavior was allegedly arrogant and simultaneously crude. [1]

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[*] Numbering 400a from Erich Schmidt. Addressee: This letter was on a sheet contained in a old bundle that Schelling himself put together for Würzburg letters to him and Beate.

Given the date of the marriage discussed in this letter (see below), Caroline’s letter is probably to be dated to the second half of January 1806 (Stutgart, mit dero Gegend auf 2 Stund. 81 G. Bodenehr fecit et excudit; Recens emendavit, auxit atque divisit R. H. Stuttgardiae [1716–50]):



[1] On 13 (civil) and 14 (religious) January 1806, Eugène de Beauharnais, Viceroy of Naples and Josephine’s son, married Princess Augusta of Bavaria, daughter of Maximilian by his first wife. Maximilian had been King of Bavaria since the beginning of the year at Napoleon’s initiative, one condition of which was that the princess had had to break off an earlier engagement in order to marry Eugène. Concerning the background and events involved in this episode, see supplementary appendix 400a.1. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott