Letter 416

• 416. Caroline to Schelling in Munich: Würzburg, 19 May 1806 [*]

[Würzburg] Monday, 19 May [1806]

|470| Upon returning home from my farewell visits yesterday, I found your short letter — you have probably now learned that even though the auction had not yet been announced in the newspaper on the 9th, it was indeed successfully held on the 16th. [1] [Money.]

If the horses do not collapse under the heavy burden, I think I will travel with them all the way to Munich. Neither I nor the coachman can say how early on Saturday, the day before Whitsun, I will arrive in Dachau — most likely around midday, and I must leave it to my friend to decide whether he wants to come out that far or will await me at the New Gate. [2] If there is still time, and if you will not be coming yourself, then send a letter of instruction to Dachau poste restante. [3]

Köhler will be going along, traveling with me at least when I depart Würzburg itself; he had no rest till I allowed it, and to tell the truth, I am also a little afraid to do it entirely alone. [4] The maidservant will also be coming along. In the meantime, try to secure a prettier one. [5] [Business matters.]

|471| Ah, my dear, this is probably my last missive — I am frightfully tired and exhausted, but otherwise doing very well.


Someone just brought me your letter. [6] — Let me answer only this much — I will definitely be coming on Saturday, will be expecting you in Dachau, [7] and will leave Köhler behind. Had I but received some word from you earlier concerning this matter — I had come to absolutely no assessment of it myself. [8] It does put me into a bit of an embarrassing position because I am quite serious when I say that I am afraid. [9]

Many thanks for this small page you just wrote to me; I can sense from it that you love me, and as for me — ah, how happy will I be with you. [Errands.]


[*] This letter is Caroline’s last extant letter from Würzburg. Back.

[1] As attested by the Würzburg correspondence, Caroline and Schelling’s acquaintances from whom she might appropriately take leave included esp. members of the Würzburg university and municipal administration (Frauenzimmer Almanach zum Nutzen u Vergnügen für das Jahr 1802; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):


Concerning the auction, see Caroline’s letter to Schelling on 17 May 1806 (letter 415), esp. note 1. The auction had been scheduled for both Friday and Saturday, 16 and 17 May 1806. Back.

[2] Caroline, commensurate with the way her plans have developed over the past several letters to Schelling, seems to have departed Würzburg the following day, Tuesday, 20 May 1806, and arrived in Dachau, northwest of Munich, on Saturday, 24 May 1806; Schelling earlier seems to have traveled by way of Eichstädt (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern [Vienna 1805]):


Dachau is just northwest of Munich (A. von Coulon, Post-Karte von Post-Karte von Baiern [Munich 1810]; Bibliothèque nationale de France; illustration: Matthäus Merian [1644]):



The New Gate (Neuthor), also Pranner Gate (Prannersthor), was another name for what was actually, from 1806, the Max Gate (Max-Joseph-Thor, Maxthor) on the western side of what used to be Munich’s town walls.

At this location in 1802–5, a portion of the town walls were removed, the outside area later known as Maximilian Square cleared, and the gate so named. At the time, it was (and remains) the “newest” town gate in Munich, and never really served defensive purposes. Situated on the northwest side of town, it seems the logical gate for someone coming from Caroline’s direction (H. Widmayr, Plan der Königl. Haupt-und Residenz-Stadt München im Jahre 1837 [München 1837]; Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Cartes et plans):



Here (1) Maximilian Square in 1825 viewed from the west with the gate at center right (with its two columns) essentially as Caroline would have approached it (Gustav Kraus, Ansicht des Max-Thors in München [1825]) and (2) the gate on a 1912 postcard:




[3] Poste restante, Fr., a service offered by a post office whereby mail is kept for an agreed period until collected by the addressee. Back.

[4] Concerning Martin Köhler’s persistence in having Caroline allow him to accompany her, see her remarks in the letter to Schelling on 15 May 1806 (letter 413); see also note 9 there. Concerning her fear of traveling alone, which seems even to have prompted her to seek a traveling companion through an advertisement, see note 10 there. Back.

[5] Caroline has been teasing Schelling over the past several letters about the appearance of whichever maidservant they would hire. Caroline mentions Schelling’s attempts to secure a maidservant in Munich in her letter to him on 4–5 May 1806 (letter 407). See esp. her letter to him on 15 May 1806 (Letter 413), with note 11. Back.

[6] Not extant. Back.

[7] I.e., on Saturday, 24 May 1806. Back.

[8] I.e., the “matter” of having Martin Köhler as a traveling companion.

Schelling has now obviously given explicit instructions for Caroline not to travel with him. Brigitte Rossbeck, Zum Trotz glücklich: Caroline Schlegel-Schelling und die romantische Lebenskunst (Munich 2008), 243, interprets these instructions as an expression of a certain measure of jealousy on Schelling’s part and perhaps a reaction, however belated, to her earlier teasing but explicit reference to Köhler (9 May 1806 [letter 408]) as her cicisbeo, i.e., (Ital.) the professed gallant and lover of a married woman (from Carlo Goldoni, Opere complete, vol. 1, Commedie die Carlo Goldoni [Venice 1909], 275):



[9] Caroline seems to have been genuinely (and justifiably) nervous at the prospect of traveling unaccompanied through the militarily unpredictable area between Würzburg and Munich; see above concerning her attempt to secure a traveling companion.

One might also bear in mind that Caroline was not traveling by way of postal coach with other passengers and predictable way stations, but rather with a privately engaged carriage and coachman. That is, the wisdom of Schelling’s instructions is not at all evident quite apart even from the military situation, since highwaymen and brigands always posed a potential threat; Caroline had every right to be apprehensive (Friedrich August Brand, Der beraubte Postwagen [ca. 1775]; Wien, Albertina, Inventarnummer 5069):



Translation © 2018 Doug Stott