You will excuse, I hope, my troubling you so soon with another letter after my last. The occasion for it is yours sons last letter to Mr. Smith, which accidentally fell into my hands, he having left the first copy of it lying open in his room.
I scarce should think it necessary to mention anything about what he writes concerning me, because I may be sure you will not judge against me by his misrepresentation of matters without having made further enquiries. But as you and Mr. Smith live so distant from this place, and as his letter might give you the idea, that he is living here without any inspection, I hope I need not fear your being misunderstood by you when I lay candidly before you what I have to answer to his opinion, about a matter which he is not able to judge of.
He thinks I am of no use to him. I forgive easily a young man, who likes more to live without a governor than with one. The reason why he thinks so is because I take and from the beginning have taken care to let him feel his dependance as little as possible. What can be obtained by gentle means, I would not use harsh ones to obtain it – friendly advices and admonitions I gave him continually, reproofs only, when it was not to be avoided.
I need not be afraid of talking to you about your sons failings, Madam – you called him extremely indolent he is so indeed and therefore wants somebody to excite him to constant occupation. Let him answer for himself if he has not been much more diligent since I live again with him, than during the time I was at Hannover.
As to his acquaintances, I know very well people with what he converses, though I find it not necessary to accompany him when he goes to see them. Till now I have not had any occasion to confront him in this respect, but if he should happen to form bad connexions, I quickly should put an end to them. If he is not more in my company, it is his own fault – he knows I am almost constantly at home in his leisure hours before supper. It would be a very easy thing to chain him to my side – but then it cannot be thought fit, that I should run after him where he pleases; he must stay at home as long as I do, and only walk and see people when I chose to do so.
If you think the liberty I have allowed him to great for his age, I shall restrain it immediately according to your pleasure.
Let me add one remark more on this point, Madam, and pardon me when I fatigue your patience – It is of no importance to me to remain in the charge you have honourd me with, but it is by no means indifferent if you and Mr. Smith think I have fullfilled it like an honest man or not.
It is quite another thing, when a young man is allowed to go out alone in his leisure hours, living without a governor, or having a governor who regulates his expences. The principal tyes of friendship between students of the wilder class, are expensive diversions-riding, gaming, extravagance in dress etc. Where the liberty of partaking in such diversions is wanting, no close connexion can be formed. I give your son as much for pocket money, as I think sufficient for little occasional wants. For the rest you know, I keep his accounts my self and deliver them at the end of every month to Mr. Heyne.
Your son mentions something about my repeating lectures with him. – I must say I engaged myself not properly to be his instructor but his governor, else it would have been unnecessary to send him to a place where plenty of instruction of all kinds is to be had – Yet I have given him lessons from the beginning and continue so still. Mr. Gatterers Geographical lecture I repeated with him in the first part of the semester, especially because he then had some difficulty to understand it on account of the language; for besides the matters were so easy that they wanted no further explanation. At the end I left off the lecture entirely because Mr. Gatterer then went so quick in his descriptions of the countries that it was impossible to set down a regular extract for repetition.
My absence of some days from your son is scarce worth mentioning – Yet I pass it not over in silence, that you may see I can fairly answer every thing he says. There had been a tumult of some journeymen at Goettingen – but it was entirely appeased a day before I went away by cavalry posted in the town; there remained only a discontentment of the students who thought themselves insulted. Mr. Smith had nothing to act for himself, he being in none of those connexions, by which many students were obliged to take part in the complaint to the magistrates.
Let me conclude my letter, Madam, with expressions of the highest esteem four you and Mr. Smith. I deserved not from your son this essay of depriving me of yours for my endeavours to make his life as pleasant to him and at the time as answerable to your wishes as possible. Let me add, that in my engagements with you there is no mention made of a fixed period of time. You will make me leave young Mr. Smith by the least hint that you wish me to do so. I claim the same liberty for me so far, that whenever I chose not to stay longer with him, shall give you warning soon enough to make other regulations. I am