Letter 413

• 413. Caroline to Schelling in Munich: Würzburg, 15 May 1806

[Würzburg] 15 May [1806]

|465| Ah, my dear friend, it is high time for me to conclude, for I simply no longer know what to do with myself. The despicable chores and tasks are in that sense a welcome distraction — but what am I saying? They are a plague, for what else is keeping me from climbing into a carriage and leaving tomorrow? My countenance is insufferably serious, I am sooner on the verge of weeping than laughing, and my friends are complaining about me; indeed, the ones who complain the most are those inclined to regret my departure in the first place, for it is precisely then that I inevitably become quite dry or even discourteous. [1]

I am writing you but am similarly unable to tell even you anything definite except that I am fervently hoping and indeed firmly counting on departing on the 20th — and on arriving in Munich on the 24th.

What bothers me now is that I have still received no word yet concerning the reimbursement, and that I cannot, after all, simply leave it unresolved, similarly also the other 100 fl. [1a]

I just received your dear letter with the enclosures — it made me so happy, and calmed my anxieity |466| as if it were one of your kisses — ah, could I but rest my diminutive head on your breast at the same time. [2]

But let me talk about business matters lest I succumb to weeping. . . .

Tomorrow morning at 10:00, the spectacle of the auction will begin. [3] If it truly helps to have Himmelstein auctioning and Wolkenstein buying, then we are in better shape, since yesterday Minister Wolkenstein, our good Hennebritt, and Seuffert all came by, the latter having alerted me beforehand. [4]

I assembled everything together in the two rooms downstairs and am now upstairs in your room, [5] where, as I wrote Marcus yesterday, [6] I am ending just as I began, that is, the same way one comes into and then departs this world: naked and unclothed (with university endowment meubles). [7] Köhler, however, has found an even more charming comparison, maintaining that he finds here a confirmation of the construal and deconstrual of illness, to wit, that it comes and goes with the same symptoms. [8]

Köhler is being as charmant as possible because he absolutely wants to go along. [9] This is the first time that I find myself in a bit of an embarrassing situation concerning a matter of this sort, and yet I must confess to you that it is not without some trepidation that I contemplate making a three-day trip without any protection through such devastated and unsettled areas. [10]

[Maidservant.] An extremely charming creature has offered her services to me, but I am not yet entirely decided — yet another possibility is the chambermaid who betrayed diminutive Madam Wagner, I know not whether to her spouse or to her lover — I could certainly be indifferent enough to that, but she is not as pretty and fresh as the other, who occasionally went for walks with the Hufelands’ children. If I do bring her, then there is one reproach that you can never again raise with me. [11]

Lurz paid me a visit — I have never before participated in such a comical spectacle |467| — I must absolutely be paid 100 fl. for this performance. [12] He was rather excessive with his demonstrations of tenderness, indeed, to the point of embraces, kissing my hand, and all sorts of flattery. [12a] I for my part responded by telling him all sorts of charming things in a naively crafty way. He vehemently objected to the petition having already gone off to the trustee, maintaining that as far as the trustee is concerned, well, the latter is allegedly in no position to issue him any orders. . . .

The matter has in the meantime gone on to the prince elector, and had I known that yesterday, I could have said something to the minister. The latter looked at the materials only briefly and was more entertained than anything else — saying that he would send someone. He is as large or larger than Thürheim, gaunt, not entirely unpleasant, with an Austrian dialect but with a good command of French. He did not displease me at all. [Business matters.]

I am sending along to you here a few letters to me. I have not encouraged Marcus to come, since it only robs me of time.

I have a coachman who will take me all the way to Munich for 5 1/2 Carolin, perhaps by way of neither Ansbach nor Augsburg; [13] you can in any case come to meet me only as far as the king comes to meet the queen — namely, to Dachau. [14] But I will write you the day after tomorrow, on Saturday, [15] with additional and indeed the latest details, for heaven knows whether this business with the university endowment office will not keep me here an extra day.

How pleased I was with the news about Jacobi. [16] Although I have been feeling quite sorry for Reinhard, I will spare myself from now on, since one can be called His Excellency in Moldavia as well. [17]

The two people you wrote will be absolutely delighted by your letters! I already answered our good Windischmann and related the necessary details to him. [18]

One hears that the French will be passing through here today or tomorrow |468| on their way to occupy Bareuth. [19] How on earth is one to understand that? [20]

Extend my provisional thanks to our good Zentner for his intention to liberate me from my exile. [21]

Adieu, my adored spouse. [22]


[1] Berlinischer Damen Kalender auf das Jahr 1803; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:



[1a] This otherwise unidentified issue seems to have involved compensation or reimbursement for furniture from the office of the university endowment (Rezeptorat), whose head, Johann Baptist Lurz, appears later in this letter. See also Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 9 May 1806 (letter 408), note 36, and 9–10 May 1806 (letter 409). Caroline jestingly mentions the furniture later in this letter. Back.

[2] Tellingly, Caroline has now twice invoked this image (similarly on 9–10 May 1806 [letter 409]; Taschenbuch für Damen auf das Jahr 1801; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


Schelling’s letter is no longer extant. Back.

[3] Caroline had placed an ad in the Würzburger Intelligenzblatt the previous day, 14 May 1806, announcing the day (16 May), time (10:00 a.m. till noon; 3:00 till 6:00 p.m.), and place (see below) of the auction and what items would be available for sale. See her letter to Schelling on 17 May 1806 (letter 415). Back.

[4] The jesting reference is to Peter Himmelstein, a person essentially responsible for various types of entertainment in Würzburg, as auctioneer, and people like Count Anton von Wolkenstein, a high government official and presumably wealthy, as a buyer (Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 8 [Vienna 1782], plate 24)



[5] I.e., downstairs from their apartment, which was located on the third and fourth stories. Caroline’s rooms were located on the third story in the illustration below, Schelling’s study on the fourth.

Caroline would hold her auction on the second floor, where Schelling’s auditorium was located, and above the library. See the supplementary appendix on the Schellings’ residence in Würzburg (illustrations: Universität Würzburg, Universitätsarchiv; Historisches Album der Stadt Würzburg. Zweiunddreissig photographische Ansichten, ed. V. Jos. Stahgel, introd. Franz X. Wegel [Würzburg 1867], illus. v):




[6] Letter not extant. Back.

[7] Meubles, Fr., “furnishings.” Caroline seems to have been trying to get reimbursement for this furniture from the office of the university endowment; see below concerning Johann Baptist Lurz. See note above about earlier references to this issue. Back.

[8] Derivatives of the term konstruiren play a role in Schelling’s philosophy. Back.

[9] I.e., wants to accompany Caroline on her journey to Munich. He seems to have accompanied Schelling at least part of the way earlier and had already made noises about accompanying Caroline at least as far as Augsburg; see Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 9–10 May 1806 (letter 409) (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Heyrath aus Hochmuth [1788]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.767):


Charmant in French in original. Back.

[10] There was still considerable troop movement in Bavaria following the geopolitical changes resulting from the Treaty of Pressburg and Napoleon’s changing assessment of the Prussian threat.

Not surprisingly, in the same issue of the Würzburger Intelligenzblatt in which Caroline had placed an announcement of her auction (see note 3 above), on p. 472 the following announcment, similarly anonymous, was published:


By the end of May or beginning of June, a single individual will be traveling alone to Munich; since a comfortable seat is still available in the conveyance, this individual would like to secure a traveling companion. For more details, contact the wife of Royal Bavarian Artillery Captain Roppelt in the Vornberger house across the Main River, no. 142.

It is perhaps noteworthy that the contact is a Bavarian rather than imperial (Austrian) representative.

The house of Gregor Vornberger was located “across the Main River” at Zellergasse 142; Caroline had driven by this house during her carriage ride behind the new prince elector’s tour of the town on 4 May 1806 (see supplementary appendix 407.3). Here the location in relation to Caroline’s apartment (at lower right), and on the street (illustrations in order: Fr. Harrach, Plan der Kreis-Hauptstadt Würzburg [Würzburg 1845]); Kreishauptstadt Würzburg: Gemessen durch Carl Handwerk im Jahre 1832; Bayerische Landesbibliothek Online; Johann Baptist Homann, Accurate Vorstellung der Hoch-Fürstl[ichen] Bischöffl[ichen] Residenz- und Haupt-Stadt Würtzburg des Herzogthums Francken etc. [Nürnberg 1723]; Bayerische Staatsbibliothek):




Shortly after the auction and Caroline’s departure from Würzburg, the wife of this same Captain Roppelt reappears in the Intelligenzblatt with various pieces of furniture for sale, presumably remnants from Caroline’s auction. See Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 17 May 1806 (letter 415). Back.

[11] Jeanette Wagner (“diminutive Madam Wagner,” the same expression Caroline uses to refer to Jeanette Wagner in her letter to Schelling on 17 May 1806 [letter 415]) was the wife of Christian Johann Baptist von Wagner (“the spouse”), whom she married in 1804 when she was but fifteen years old. Nothing is otherwise known about this alleged affair or the alleged lover. Perhaps the chambermaid is available for work elsewhere after having been terminated by Madam Wagner (Die Haushaltung [1780]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Uh 4° 47 [158]):


Otherwise it is not the first time Caroline has teased Schelling with references to (pretty young) maidservants (“Sir, for shame!,” frontispiece to anonymous, Ein Stubenmädchen als Strafpredigerin des Autors über die Stubenmädchen in Wien [Vienna 1781]):


Here in any case illustrations, precisely contemporary with Caroline (1805), of Würzburg women, in order: (1) a middle-class woman with a maidservant (cook), (2) a middle-class young woman, and (3) a children’s maidservant such as Caroline mentions in connection with the Hufelands (Carl Gottfried Scwharold, Würzburg und die umliegende Gegend [Würzburg 1805], plates following p. 278):





[12] I.e., jestingly, either the amount Caroline seems to be seeking in compensation for, it seems, the furniture she goes on to mention, or a separate sum of 100 fl. she similarly mentions earlier in the letter. Back.

[12a] Leipziger Taschenbuch für Frauenzimmer zum Nutzen und Vergnügen auf das Jahr 1799; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:



[13] Caroline speaks about negotiating prices with coachmen in her letter to Schelling on 12 May 1806 (letter 410) (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Der Kutscher [1782]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.435):


Caroline has not previously spoken of taking a route that did not include Ansbach and/or Augsburg. Here the towns mentioned, along with Eichstädt, a town earlier on Schelling’s route to Munich (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern [Vienna 1805]):



[14] Uncertain but intriguing (historical?) allusion. Dachau is just northwest of Munich (A. von Coulon, Post-Karte von Post-Karte von Baiern [Munich 1810]; Bibliothèque nationale de France):



[15] I.e., the second day of the auction; the auction extended into Saturday, though in her letter to Schelling on 19 May 1806 (letter 416), Caroline implies that it was only on Friday, 16 May. Back.

[16] Schelling seems to have written Caroline about his surprisingly good relationship with Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi; see her letter to Carl Joseph Windischmann on 14 May 1806 (letter 412). Back.

[17] After losing his position as French envoy in Hamburg because of his criticism of the arrest and removal to Paris of the British chargé d’affaires George Berriman Rumbold, Karl Friedrich Reinhard, after returning to Paris himself, was on 18 March 1806 “exiled,” as it were, to Iassy in Rumania as French chargé d’affaires in the Turkish Danube provinces and general commissar of trade in Moldavia (Caroline’s allusion here), where he remained until January 1807, when Russian troops entered Iassy and a certain Prince Dologrucki, whom at Austerlitz Napoleon had called a “windbag,” sought revenge for the insult by dispatching off to Siberia the first Frenchmen he encountered, which turned out to be a group that included Reinhard and his family (“Europe 1740,” frontispiece map to F. W. Longman, Frederick the Great and the Seven Years’ War [New York 1899]):


Fortunately, Alexander I got wind of the plan after Reinhard explained to the Russian officials what a mistake they were making, and had Reinhard freed.

Dologrucki, who had gone to meet Alexander I to explain his actions, was ill received by the czar. He soon thereafter came down ill from the rigors of the journey and, allegedly, from the czar’s ire, and died as a result (G. E. Guhrauer, “Graf Karl Friedrich Reinhard,” Historisches Taschenbuch 7 [1846], 187–276, here 226–28; illustration: Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Friedrich II besucht seinen sterbenden Freund General von Rothenburg [1793]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.967):



[18] Uncertain second recipient of Schelling’s letters. No extant letters in Fuhrmans seem to reflect such letters in their dating. – Caroline had written to Carl Joseph Windischmann the previous day (letter 412). Back.

[19] Caroline here uses the older French spelling of Bayreuth (Central Europe Wars of the Third Coalition 1805–7, from The Cambridge Modern History Atlas [London 1912], map 92):



[20] Uncertain allusion. Back in December 1805, Prussia had agreed to cede Ansbach and Bayreuth in Franconia to Bavaria, and Neufchâtel and Valengin in Switzerland and Cleves in Westphalia to France, receiving in exchange Hannover. Napoleon in any case did not entirely trust Friedrich Wilhelm III and the Prussians. See Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 12 May 1806 (letter 410), note 11. French troops were, of course, still stationed in Germany; see Caroline’s letter to Julie Gotter on 12 March 1806 (letter 401), esp. note 9. Back.

[21] Georg Friedrich von Zentner was Schelling’s immediate contact with the Bavarian administration concerning his, Schelling’s, future employment. Back.

[22] On the back of this letter, Schelling entered a time schedule for the routes from Würzburg to Munich. Regrettably, Erich Schmidt, (1913), did not include these calculations in his notes to this letter, which may have provided more precise information concerning Caroline’s route. Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott