Episode 19: “THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ADVENTURE”

The next session in the salon of Mrs. Schopenhauer, it was most turbulent. Everyone was shocked because of the latest events and nerves were like cat meat. It must be said that, after being freed from his captivity, Lord Byron had returned to England by swimming across the English Channel. Although he did not feel the slightest attraction to the alien princess, it hurt his pride that she would have preferred to throw herself into the arms of an eccentric inventor rather than keep trying to convince him to elope with her to another planet. While his body swam fighting against the marine currents, his mind was all the time occupied in the composition of “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”, the work that would launch him to fame and that, if read between the lines, is obviously based on his traumatic experience in Weimar with the princess alien (to whom the poem is dedicated under the false name of “Ianthe”, violet flower in Ancient Greek). Also Arthur Schopenhauer left as soon as he recovered from his multiple fractures. 

It also must be said that the discovery that we are not alone in the Universe caused a deep impression on the German romantics, who began to get tidied up and to take more care of their physical appearance (Tieck stopped going in pajamas everywhere and Schlegel lost 198 pounds). Caroline Walsolz had been expelled from the salon when it was discovered that her “Book of the Acts” of the Apostles was blatant plagiarism, but was admitted again when she presented a manuscript entitled “The Ingenious Gentleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha”. Bettina Brentano and Christiane Vulpius reconciled as soon as Goethe regularized his relationship with the latter. But, due to the emotions experienced lately, Goethe had acquired the nervous compulsion to eat without stopping one onion after another, causing the consequent discomfort among the guests of the salon, who were forced to leave the vicinity of the hearth fire and, despite the cold, crowd together by the open window to avoid the pestilence of his breath. Novalis, eager for a breath of pure air, leaned out of the window and fell to the street breaking several ribs and the bridge of his nose. 

The fact is that everyone on Mrs. Schopenhauer’s salon was in a tizzy. So, the salonnière came up with the idea of doing all together an excursion of a few days to a ruined medieval castle where they could enjoy those things for which Romantics felt special predilection: Nature, ancient ruins, play hide-and-seek, the reminiscences of the medieval world and maybe even the supernatural (Mrs. Schopenhauer had chosen the ruins of a castle with a haunted reputation: Metilstein, located in the vicinity of Eisenach, a day’s journey in stagecoach from Weimar). All agreed that it was a great idea and, in this way, after a week of preparations, a group of Romantic intellectuals composed of Goethe, Wieland, Tieck, Bettina Brentano, Johanna and Adele Schopenhauer, the Schlegels (Friedrich and Dorothea) and the alleged author of “Don Quixote” Caroline Walsolz, rented two stagecoaches that, after a day of travel, left them, at dusk, at the foot of the hill where the ruins stood.

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