Sophie Weber Haibl: Letters of an Eighteenth Century Woman

October 24, 2008 - Leave a Response

I bid you a most cordial welcome, meine lieben Gaeste, and am particularly glad that you came to call on me.
Do make yourselves quite at home and sit down here in the parlor with me.
Ach, might I serve you some of our hot, aromatic Viennese Kaffee?
And how about a Kuchen on the side?
Please tarry here awhile and firstly, permit me to introduce myself to you.
My name is Sophie Haibl, nee Weber, the sister-in-law of my dear Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, my beloved sister, Constanze’s, husband.
The following letters are the result of my participation in a Mozart Salon which is now closed.
I was born in the year of our Lord 1763 in the month of October in Zell im Wiesenthal, in the Black Forest of the German lands, the youngest child of Fridolin and Caecilia Weber, nee Stamm, and grew up in Mannheim with my three elder sisters, Josefa, Aloysia, Constanze, and my late brother, Johann.
Constanze and I were separated in age by a little over one year and were lifelong best friends.
My beloved father was by trade a bass singer, prompter, and music copyist at the court theater.
When our Elector inherited the Electorship of Bavaria, our family and all the court moved to the capital town of Munich, where we resided but a little over one year.
We followed Aloysia’s blossoming singing career to Vienna, where we set up house.
Soon thereafter, my dear father departed this earth, and my mother turned our apartment on the Petersplatz into a boarding house to make ends meet.
Thereupon, my dear sister, Constanze, was espoused to Mozart.
I was the only one of my sisters present at Constanze’s wedding to Mozart.
I was engaged at the Burgtheater for the 1780-81 season, and made my debut as Roeschen in the rustic comedy “Der Bettler” by Johann Christian Bock.
I was close to my dear brother-in-law, Mozart.
As he lay dying, Constanze, Mozart’s doctor, Closset, and I were the only ones present, and I held him in my arms as he died.
In later years, all my sisters having long since married, my mother and I had lodgings in the suburb of Wieden.
Then in 1793, my dear mother was called to the Lord and I was alone.
Thirteen years later in 1807, aged three-and-forty years, I married my beloved husband, Jakob Haibl (1762-1826), a comic actor, tenor, and composer with Schikaneder’s company at the Freihaus-Theater in Vienna.
My dear spouse’s most successful work was the Singspiel “Der Tirole Wastel” (text by Schikaneder) which, between 1796 and 1801, received no fewer than 118 performances at the Freihaus-Theater alone.
After the death of my husband’s first wife, Katharina, in 1806, he accepted the post of choimaster of Djakovar Cathedral in Bohemia.
In 1825, I received a dispatch from Salzburg from Constanze’s second husband, Baron Georg Nikolaus von Nissen.
He was then penning the first extensive biography of my late brother-in-law, Mozart, and requested my detailed recollections of this great man of unsurpassed musical genius.
I took quill to paper and recounted to him the manner of Mozart’s death, among many personal remembrances.
My beloved Jakob passed away in 1826–on the very same day as Constanze’s husband, Nissen.
I took the coach to Salzburg and lived out my many remaining years with my dear sister there in that majestic town on the Salzach River. Constanze was called to the Lord in 1842, and I followed in October, 1846, aged three-and-eighty years.
Meine lieben Gaeste, bitte let me pore you some more hot Kaffee, ja?
Ach, that is better.
I would like you to get to know me and my family, the Webers of Mannheim and Vienna, better.
Here are letters that I wrote in my younger years, when my dear mother was still among us.
Please journey back with me to those long-ago days of my past, and let us relive it together.

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

“ALL ABOUT ME: Mozart’s Favorite Sister-In-Law, Sophie Weber Haibl: An Eighteenth Century Woman:
Letters of an Eighteenth Century Woman”
is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without her written permission.

“ALL ABOUT ME: Mozart’s Favorite Sister-In-Law, Sophie Weber Haibl: Letters of an Eighteenth Century Woman”
© 2003-2008 Marti Burger

“Sophie Weber Haibl: Letters of an Eighteenth Century Woman” is dedicated to an unforgettable person—my lifelong close friend and mentor from Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, later Murnau am Staffelsee, Upper Bavaria, who inspired me to write these letters.

DR. MARCEL ROGER
May 19, 1924 – December 25, 2003

Thanks for the memories, Marcel.
You are dearly missed.

MY LETTERS:

My dear Wolfgang,
I take the first sheet of this new paper to thank you for your kind letter, and hope that you are well.
Jakob, Mama, Papa and everyone are well.
Papa Fridolin is as he ever was: quiet and cheerful, uncomplaining in spite of Mama’s frequent scoldings. Mama Caecilia is also much the same: so much is complaint and crisis, but I happily bear her complaints and hope to please her. It helps nothing to rise to anger and increase the calamity, and the situation soon quiets down.
Aloysia and the children are taking the waters at Marienbad, and Karl is well.
Josefa alas needs more cloth to fashion her wardrobe; her plumpness ill becomes her, but she minds it not, and is cheerful as ever.
My heart is again unwillingly separated from my dear sister, Constanze.
She and Nissen have left Vienna for Denmark this month past after their stay of six months with us.
Yes, Constanze recounted to me her pleasure in her rose and herb gardens.
You can guess, dear Wolfgang, what preocccupies Constanze and Nissen, as Constanze herself told me before her departure: you, my dear brother.
Indeed, my sister discourses ceaselessly about you with Nissen.
She recalls to him all she can, reliving long-ago memories, as Nissen copies and copies my sister’s words to paper.
Nissen’s upcoming biography of you occupies him day and night. There is no thought or talk but of you, Wolfgang.
I am so pleased to greet my dear brother and friend and all assembled here, and to have occasion to reminisce of days long past and experiences once shared but ever in our hearts.
Yours affecly,
Your friend and sister,
Sophie, nee Weber

An Upcoming Visit:

Wien, den 6. Juli

My dear Wolfgang,
I hope you are well.
My dear sister and Nissen must be safely back in Denmark this month of July.
Have I told you our great news?
Well, you know, Mama Caecila has spoken for many months of her homesickness and longing for Mannheim, of her wish to see again her surviving family and friends ere it is too late.
And guess what, Wolfgang: Mama has chosen me to be her companion on her journey.
Can you imagine it?
I, who am most comfortable and serene inside my own four walls, sleeping in my own comfy bed with its clean, fresh sheets and fluffy eiderdown comforter, I who want nothing more than a serene, orderly and happy life in my beloved Vienna, going about my daily tasks, accomplishing what I can.
Well, I have to admit that I am getting excited as the departure time quickens. I am not like you, Wolfgang. I keep it inside myself, but I do not travel well.
The jostling and draft of the carriages, the thoughts of highwaymen, the strange beds–all that sits not well with me.
But all the same, an excitement and happy anticipation creeps over me, and I am smiling.
I am thinking of the excitement of peering out the windows of the coaches and watching the world go by. I forget my fear of travel and uncertainty, and am lost in the moment and in the quiet excitement of observing unfamiliar sights and new persons.
Wolfgang, what you must have experienced in all your many travels!
Wolfgang: Mama calls, I must make haste and cannot tarry here too long.
In short, we take the coach from Vienna this Wednesday next and journey towards Salzburg, changing coaches and stopping at inns along the way.
I am so excited to be able to see your hometown once more. Salzburg is indeed magical, and I can hardly wait to experience the special feeling the mountains and fortress, the two charming parts of the town, the river Salzach and bridge gives me.
Wolfgang, I shall see your sister Maria Anna, whom you call “Nannerl” and I am most anxious to embrace her.
Wolfgang, do you have a message that I can relay to your sister?
Next we travel to my hometown of Mannheim.
Of course, it will be wonderful to breathe the air and walk the cobbled streets of my birthplace.
Mama wants to stop off in Ausgburg as well, so please give me a message I can relay to your cousin, Marianne, whom you affectionately call “Baesle”, should we be so fortunate as to call on her. I am counting on it that we indeed shall.
Oh, Wolfgang, Mama calls again. I must be off and help prepare the midday meal.
Yours affectionately,
Your friend and sister,
Sophie, nee Weber

To the English soprano, Nancy Storace:

My dear Mademoiselle Storace,
I am so pleased and honored to make your acquaintance once again.
I could never forget your Susanna. You have a voice of rare beauty, Your character of Susanna is such a delightful one, which you portrayed so convincingly, and made real and come alive.
I could scarce move during the whole performance, so perfect was everything: my dear brother-in law’s sublime music, you, Figaro, the Countess and Count, Cerubino, the Gardener–everyone and everything connected to Figaro.
I could not wait to see “Figaro” again and to hear the glorious music whose melodies and verse even now I hum and sing to myself in our house.
Mademoiselle Storace, I trust that I shall again some day have the pleasure of hearing you sing Susanna.
I do so well remember meeting you at my brother-in-law, Herr Mozart’s, home, and I am delighted to make your acquaintance once again!
Yours very faithfully,
Sophie, nee Weber

Greetings, Wolfgang!

My dear brother,
I am so joyed to receive your post. You have calmed my fears of the journey, and I thank you greatly for the comfort your words have brought me.
I must make haste, for Mama and I are attending Mass shortly at the Stefansdom. You know how Mama becomes red in the face and chides me when she anticipates that I shall be late.
How Mama detests unpunctuality, as you know so well, dear Wolfgang, and I am as guilty as anyone on this account.
This fault of mine I shall certainly strive to correct, and shall indeed do so.
I am now feeling better about the journey, and excitement builds up within me.
The weather of late has been humid with intermittent rain showers, but still the heat is bearable and not too intense.
So I am hopeful of good weather on the journey, and am taking clothes to meet all occasions of fair or wretched weather.
Mama’s presence will make for comfortable discourse with strangers, for you know, dear Wolfgang, many comely persons of your sex act agreeable and cordial with a girl of my tender years, but are not often as they seem–Mama never tires of reminding me of this–so I shall not carry the burden of being alone with them until better acquaintance–and ever then, most probably not without Mama’s company.
Wolfgang, I shall make haste to make ready the medicinal remedies you commend to us; I thank you most kindly!
My mind is now not burdened.
I am also so anticipating with joy a meeting with your beloved father, Leopold Mozart; I can scarce contain my excitement musing upon it.
Dear Wolfgang, you have spoken so often of your dear Papa, and I know how much you miss and treasure him and all his council.
I shall with certainty convey to him your words.
Yes, I do so wish to converse with your Baesle in German, Wolfgang, and shall, I trust, have the opportunity ere long.
And it will be so good to embrace your own dear sister, Nannerl!
Mama calls again; I shall be late for Mass.
I do not want to spoil Mama’s good humor, which, at present, it still is and, I do hope, remains.
I wish you and my dear sister, Constanze, a most restful and blessed Sunday and remain,
your devoted sister and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

To Wolfgang:

My dear Wolfgang,
I am dead tired from the long journey, and was just about ready to retire to sleep when I have just now received your post from earlier today:
“I cannot express to you the joy you have given me by
becoming a member of my Salon. We have shared so many
wonderful memories, giggles and jokes–I have missed that so
much. I have not forgotten how you held me in your arms as
I slipped into eternity so many years ago, and how you
stroked my hair to soothe and comfort me.”
You bring tears to my eyes, Wolfgang.
I so well remember and cherish the memories, giggles, and jokes we shared and yes, that terrible day when you passed away, far too young, in my arms….my quill is now covered in tears….I shall never get over the memory when I think upon it.
Never should you have died, Wolfgang.
Your death was so undeserved.
Sometimes I cannot fathom what the Almighty has chosen, so unjust and wrong was it.
Your music does and ever shall live, Wolfgang, but here you are again!
My heart is filled with happiness to behold you once more, my dear Wolfgang; I thought that occurrence would never come again.
Your truest sister and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

Salzburg-Bound:

My dear Wolfgang,
We have been having an agreeable journey thus far, and Mama and I are again en route in our coach since the forepart of this day, observing the passing scenery.
The click-clack of the carriage wheels lends itself to musings, and I am reflecting as we travel along:
If I should be so fortunate as to survive to a great age, in my dotage I would like nothing better than to live out my remaining years in Salzburg.
The Alps and the baroque beauty of the town give me such a feeling of Geborgenheit and Ruhe (peace).
(Geborgenheit–security, safety, feeling at home and nurtured, as by your parents)
Wolfgang, I cannot imagine, however, living in this place of my heart without the company of my dear sister, Constanze.
Do forgive this silly, unrealistic pipe dream I nurture in my heart: Which is, that Constanze and I be each other’s comfort and mainstay in our dotage.
Oh, my romantic nature………….
Wolfgang, you know of the impractical disposition I possess, which I often have to struggle against ere it gains the upper hand.
Sometimes, I am such a silly goose–haha!
The romantic verses of “The Highwaymen” run through my mind:

“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon clondy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding–
Ridin–riding–
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door…..
Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair…..”

Postscript: When I reminisced about Maestro Haydn, I quite forgot to mention how solicitous of me he has been. Herr Haydn has such good humor and so often addresses me as “Mein liebes Fraeulein (my dear Miss).
He has thus put me so much at my ease, making me almost forget what a great man he is–so natural and unceremoniously he comports himself.
Dear Wolfgang, kindly convey to Mademoiselle Storace that Herr Haydn spoke most affectionately of her home country of England, and of how civilized and most courteous her countrymen are.
Well, back to the present time, and the dusk and encroaching darkness I can see through our coach’s small windows.
My dear Wolfgang, I am again lulled to sleep by the soft click-clack of the carriage wheels.
I am smiling and thinking with pleasure of my upcoming reunion in Salzburg with your dear sister, Nannerl, and your beloved Papa, Leopold.
Good night all.
I remain most affectionately
Your true sister and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

We have this day departed Vienna:

My dear Wolfgang,
The journey is thus far proceeding well and without complications.
Wolfgang, you are so right!
The roads and coaches have vastly improved since my childhood. I even briefly fell asleep as nightfall crept upon us.
It is a delight to see the green fields and countryside go by, and see the yeomen working the fields and occasionally the countryfolk scurrying about on their business.
Our coach was held up for well neigh one hour because the sheep and cows were in no hurry to finish crossing the road.
We share our coach this first night with elderly Fraeulein Schaefer from Salzburg and Herr Meinke from Prussia.
Herr Meinke is around thirty years of age, short and fairly stoutly built with piercing sea-blue eyes, dark blond hair with a slightly visible bare circle in back, and a nose not unlike your mother’s family.
Herr Meinke pleased me much, and I blushed.
But my pleasure in his company was short-lived, since Mama soon after inquired after his wife in Pomerania, which he alas confirmed.
Still, the two continue as our traveling companions, at least as far as Salzburg.
We made polite and pleasant discourse and have stopped the night at a comfortable inn, “Zu den Drei Groschen” near Melk.
I am happy to convey that Mama and I are most fortunate to have a room completely to ourselves!
But, I must confess, it is so unfamiliar and strange to be sharing a bed with Mama!
I have been quite spoiled these last years.
My dear sister, Constanze, and I had to share a bed during my childhood, but upon Josefa’s marriage, both Constanze and I were fortunate to subsequently each have a bed of our own.
Wolfgang, the name of our inn this night: “Zu den Drei Groschen” is pleasing and melodious to my ear.
Would not it be a fine title for an opera?
“Die Drei Groschen Oper” (The Three Penny Opera)……yes, it has a pleasing ring it it.
Ever yours most affectionately,
Your sister and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

Salzburg Bound, and a Meeting with Papa Haydn:

My dear Wolfgang,
Please convey to my dear sister, Constance, my warmest greetings upon her return from Baden-Baden!
We are again on our way towards Salzburg, our coach companions being Fraelein Schaefer and Herr Meinke.
(See my second letter, which will be forthcoming, for details on these two).
The soft clatter of the wheels and the horses’ hooves have put most of us to sleep……Herr Meinke’s loud snoring renders it impossible for me to fall asleep. I believe that a bumblebee or another insect shall fly into his gaping mouth and startle him into waking–hahaha. Mama is fidgeting and Fraeulein Schaefer is sleeping soundly. I close my eyes and think happily about my upcoming meeting with your dear Papa and sister, Nannerl, in Salzburg.
I have brought along some of your music to play for them, Wolfgang, and the score of “The Creation” by your beloved friend and mentor, Josef Haydn.
I hope to sing some arias from it to your Papa and sister.
Wolfgang, I never had the chance to tell you of my first meeting with Maestro Haydn. Let me please do so now……..
I heard Mama tell it that Herr Haydn was searching for singers to fill the new chorus which plays in the Redoutensaal, and I took it upon myself to search out the Maestro and try my luck. Well, Wolfgang, Mama was feeling poorly, so I ventured out on my own and took the carriage as far as Herr Haydn’s house not far from us in the Innenstadt (inner city).
As I knocked at the door, I could feel my heart pounding, and Herr Haydn’s manservant took me to the music room where Herr Haydn sat at the pianoforte. He arose and greeted me. Herr Haydn is smaller than I had thought, with stooped posture and a kindly, tired and weary countenance.
He bade me sing an aria of his choosing, which I so did. “Very fine, Fraelein Weber”, the maestro praised. “Pray tell, Kennen Sie (do you know, are you acquainted with) my work “The Creation?”
“Ja”, I answered.
“Gut”, Herr Haydn replied. Our soprano, Fraeulein von Mosetig, was taken ill with fever at the dress researsal this day. Glad you know my work. You have the voice for it. You shall sing her arias then….Oh, the time….I have an engagement at the home of Count Orsini-Rosenberg. I must leave forthwith. Well, never mind…….. You know (Sie kennen) the parts. Well, be at the Redoutensaal for the performance tomorrow at nineteen hours sharp, and wear a dress frock. I shall see you then.”
I curtsied deeply, and the Maestro bowed. As I straightened myself up, I extended my hand, which Herr Haydn kissed.
“Fraeulein Weber, I miss deeply your late brother-in-law. How I miss his company and friendship. He is the finest composer and musician who ever walked this earth.”
I saw myself out, my mind in a trance. Oh Sophie, I thought in despair, you coward! How could you!
I was acquainted with Herr Haydn’s great work “The Creation”, having heard it in concert on several occasions. But I had never sung it before! Never even one note of it! Oh, how could I have deceived the Maestro like that.
Well, dear brother, I was going to try. I had a wicked gleam in my eye just the same. Fortunately, Papa had an enormous collection of manuscripts filed away, and I knew that “The Creation” was among them. I dug it out, and heated pots of steaming, hot coffee, and went to work. Practically the night away I played on the pianoforte and sung over and over my arias.
I knew that I didn’t have to sing from memory, that I would have the score at the performance to help me.
The next evening arrived, and there I was.
The Redoutensaal gleamed in all its Rococco splendor and the giant chandelier on the ceiling sparkled and glistened, mirroring the festively dressed concert goers. In the sea of faces in the audience, I saw Mama and Josefa and other kin. Wolfgang, I did it; I did it! The concert and my arias went well, though at first my legs were in an involutarily state of trembling.
I soon lost my stage fright, and the trembling ceased. Well, Wolfgang, that was the first time I worked with Herr Haydn, who conducted that concert and whom I had the pleasure to work with several times since. Now, I am drowsy, lulled to sleep by that blissful memory…..
Ever your most affectionate sister and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

Papa Haydn:

My dear Mademoiselle Storace,
I have heard of it from my brother-in-law, Herr Mozart and from my Mama that you sang the London premiere of his oratorio, “The Seasons”.
Herr Mozart told me then of your remarkable voice, and I so wish I could have heard you sing it!
Among Herr Haydn’s oratorios, “The Seasons” and “The Creation” are closest to my heart.
Mademoiselle Storace, I told you presently how I, being but an amateur songbird–haha–, unlike yourself, came to sing the first time with Herr Haydn.
Was this not amusing, Miss Storace?
Think upon it: I spoke my mother tongue, German, with Herr Haydn, but any of your countrymen could easily have made the same error as I did:
Herr Haydn inquired of me, “Kennen Sie ‘die Schoepfung’?” (Do you know “The Creation”?)
“Kennen” is a German verb which means “to know, to be acquainted with”.
One can take “to know” to mean that having heard the work in performance, I am acquainted with it.
I knew not that this time, however, Herr Haydn meant by “kennen”: Do you know my work?=Have you sung my work?”
So I replied “ja” in the affirmative, having heard it performed sometime hence, and Herr Haydn took it to mean that I had performed it–amusing, is it not!
I shall never forget that experience of first having sung in performance with Herr Haydn–something I had never sung before!
Mademoiselle Storace, I would love so much to hear you sing!
Yours very faithfully,
Sophie, nee Weber

Siezenheim and Schloss Klessheim:

My dearest Constanze and Wolfgang,
A thunderstorm has suddenly erupted, and I am confined to our comfy room at the inn.
So I shall now write a few lines about the last part of our journey.
Mama scolds me that as soon as the skies clear, I must be off to the apothecary–haha.
You know, dear friend and brother, that if Mama is feeling well enough to complain, she cannot be that ill; is it not so?
When we were but two hours from the city gates of Salzburg, we happened upon a small village called Siezenheim. The horses were tired, and one limped troublesomely, so we alighted from our coach and supped at the tavern there.
Can you not imagine the irony of supping at the village tavern on Wienerschzitzel mit Zitronensosse–far from Vienna!
Since we had to fetch a new horse which took some hours, after dining we all took a constitutional as far as the nearby Castle Klessheim. The promenade was pleasant and the air was still cool and fresh. The green fields were so soothing to my eyes after such a long confinement in the coach, and I could at last stretch and move my legs to my heart’s contentment. Only elderly Fraeulein Schaefer, who is a native of these parts, remained at the tavern.
The castle of Klessheim, built before Herr Bach’s and Herr Haendel’s era, is most stately and impressive, and is so finely situated, I could but marvel at its opulence.
Constanze and Wolfgang, I have obtained at the castle these portraits of our environs there, which I am enclosing herewith:
Land Salzburg – Kultur
Wals Siezenheim im SalzburgerLand, Salzburg
Then off in the carriage in the direction of Salzburg we went.
As we entered the town gates, my heart skipped a beat. I could scarce believe that we are at last come to this place of my heart!
We thereapon took the carriage as far as the Domplatz.
So here we are arrived in Salzburg at last!
And Mama calls again; the storm has at present lifted.
Yours most affectionately,
Your true sister and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

We Are Come To Salzburg!

My dearest Constanze and Wolfgang,
We are come! We are come to Salzburg at last!
Mama is feeling poorly, and I must make haste to fetch her a Kurmittel (remedy) from the apothecary.
I cannot tarry at my desk here at the inn, alas.
Our inn is called “Die Zwei Turteltauben” (the two turtledoves) and is only steps from the Domplatz.
I cannot believe how secure and free it is to be able to walk around here unchaperoned, such a feeling of safety is apparent.
We shall not need a carriage here, Constanze and Wolfgang. Everywhere, everywhere can we go on foot, also to your dear Papa’s house in the Hannibalplatz. I feel so free……….
I am so very happy to be back in your birthplace, dear Wolfgang, to breathe the air and absorb the atmosphere of this charming, regal town.
I shall write more this night.
I wish you both a most pleasant day.
Ever yours most affectionately,
Your sister and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

Wolfgang, I have a letter for you and Marianne Mozartin:

My dear Wolfgang,
I have written some lines in German for your cousin, Marianne.
Immediately underneath my words in German you shall find my translation into English.
Yours most affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Meine liebe Marianne,
Ich freue mich ebenfalls riesig, Dich kennen zu lernen! Mein lieber Schwager hat so oft und so innig von Dir gesprochen.
Ich habe immer darauf gehofft, dass ich eines Tages die grosse Ehre haben wuerde, Dich persoenlich treffen zu koennen!
Und jetzt sind meine Wuensche in Erfuehlung gegangen. Wolfgang hat so oft zu mir gesagt, dass er sich bei Dir so geborgen und daheim fuehlt–wie bei keiner anderen Person. Marianne, wenn er von Dir spricht, merke ich gleich sein zufriedendes Laecheln und das Funkeln seiner Augen. Ja, so gleucklich ist Wolfgang dann wieder, und er geniesst innerlich eine geheime Wiederkehr zu seiner Kindheit und jungem Mannesalter. Bei Dir ist Wolfgang daheim und geborgen.
Ja, Marianne, ich mache eine grosse Tournee mit meiner Mama. Du hast ja von Wolfgang von ihr sprechen hoeren. Manchmal, weisst Du, habe ich etwas Angst vor meiner Mutter. Sie kann, wie Du ja weisst, ueberkritisch und dominierend wirken; oh je. Ich habe mich aber daran gewoehnt und reagiere nicht mehr auf ihre sogenannten Anfaelle. Wenn ich gleichmuetig bleibe, dann verschlimmert sich die Lage nicht. So hat mein Papa auch auf sie reagiert, Marianne. Und bei der Reise geht es bis jetzt gut. Ich druecke meiner Mutter die Daumen, dass es auch so weitergeht. Diese Reise macht mir so viel Spass. Ach, wieder in Salzburg zu gelangen bringt mir eine so grosse Freude; ich kann sie kaum beschreiben.
Marianne–kann es wahr sein, dass Du nicht mehr in Augsburg lebst!! Ach, Du lieber Himmel!
Ich bin ja so sehr enttaeuscht, dass ich Dich nicht persoenlich treffen darf; ich habe mich so darauf gefreut. Ich hoffe, dass wir ja in Zukunft die Gelegenheit haben werden, uns persoenlich zu treffen. Ich muss mich mit der Enttaeuschung abfinden und werde Deinen Cousin Michael Mozart in Augsburg besuchen.
Liebe Marienne, es war mir gleichfalls ein Vergnuegen, Deine Bekanntschaft gemacht zu haben.
Deine wahre Freundin und Cousine
Sophie, nee Weber

My dear Marianne,
I am likewise so delighted to make your acquaintance! My dear brother-in-law has so often and so affectionately and tenderly spoken of you.
I have always hoped that one day, I would have the great honor of personally meeting you.
And now my wishes have come true.
Wolfgang has told me so often that with you, he feels so safe and at home, as with no other.
Marianne, when Wolfgang speaks of you, I notice immediately his satisfied smile and the twinkle in his eye. Yes, at that time, Wolfgang is so happy again, and he enjoys inwardly a secret return to his childhood and young manhood. With you, Wolfgang is at home and safe.
Yes, Marianne, I’m making a great tour with my mother. You’ve heard about my mother from Wolfgang. Well, you know, sometimes, I am a little afraid of my mother. You know, she can act overly critical and domineering. Oh, oh……But I have accustomed myself to her, and no longer react to her so-called outbursts. If I remain stoic, then the situation does not get worse.
That’s also how my Papa reacted to her, Marianne.
And so far, everything has been fine on the trip.
I’m crossing my fingers that it continues this way.
I’m having such a lot of fun on this trip.
Oh, to have reached Salzburg again brings me such great joy; I can scarcely describe it.
Marianne, can it be true that you no longer live in Augsburg! Oh, my goodness gracious!
I am so very disappointed that I won’t be able to meet you personally; I have been so looking forward to it. I certainly hope that in the future, we shall have the opportunity to meet each other.
I have to come to terms with my disappointment, and shall visit your cousin, Michael Mozart, in Augsburg.
Dear Marianne, it has also been a pleasure for me to have made your acquaintance.
Your true friend and cousin,
Sophie, nee Weber

To the Irish Tenor Michael Kelly:

Ah, my dear Mr. Kelly,
I am so happy to see you here in the salon!
I could never forget the happy memory of your glorious voice, dear Michael.
And yes, I adore dancing and good fun. Mama is so strict and proper, is she not.
Sometimes at the assemblies, I fairly burst at the seams and wish to dance the night away, but Mama thinks it not proper.
Oh, thank you so much for your compliments on my voice!
I take a great delight in singing. My elder sisters are such role models with their beautiful voices, but singing for me is mirth and fun, as is likewise playing the pianoforte.
I am so glad that you remember me, dear Mr. Kelly.
Oh….I am blushing. I quite forgot myself. Do forgive me. I have called you “Michael”, although it is not at all proper to address you with your Christian name.
Now I am all confusion, and do not know how to address you, but shall then revert to “Mr. Kelly”, unless you instruct me otherwise. (I am grinning wickedly.)
Ever yours most respectfully,
Sophie, nee Weber

Postscript:
Oh Michael, you give me good cheer! Yes, I so well remember Mama’s raucousness at that last assembly, after she imbibed too much of our local heurigen Wine.
And yes, I’d be so honored to dance a reel or a jig with you now.
Ever yours,
Sophie, nee Weber

At Table:

My Dear Wolfgang,
I have this night enjoyed such cheer in the company of your dear friend, Mr. Kelly.
He has filled my whole dance card, and I have danced jigs, reels, and strathspeys with him the night away.
Mr. Kelly is most amusing and attentive to me.
He has fetched me a jug of wine, and my glass has been filled so oft I have quite lost account of the number of glasses I have sipped.
Wolfgang, it is not my custom to drink of so much wine, and I feel at present so giddy and dizzy I can scarce speak or stand upright.
Mama has asked me to inquire of Mr. Kelly if he is espoused and has a wife in Dublin, but I do not wish to broach the subject.
After all, we are but sipping wine and dancing, are we not, and it is good, jolly fun.
I see no harm that can come from such innocent pleasure, so I would not ask him so blatantly personal a question as this.
Your true sister and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

My Dear Mr. Kelly,
I thank you with my whole heart for your advice, as I have not tasted any wine since that assembly dance you escorted Mama and me to a few days ago.
You must have at that time diluted my cup with half water, but there were so many glasses that I did not notice it.
I completely understand your air of bemusement, dear Mr. Kelly.
I thank you so much, Mr. Kelly, for the delightful time you have given me here in Salzburg, and Mama thanks you most kindly as well.
We enjoyed so much fun at table, and with the dancing!
Yours ever respectfully,
Sophie, nee Weber

All’s Well That Ends Well:

My Dears,
The last thing I want is to unjustly besmirch Mr. Kelly’s reputation.
I feel thus compelled to continue my tale of what transpired at the assembly this night.
You know, Michael Kelly sat with Mama and me at table and willingly refilled our wine jug.
I could tell that Mama also felt the effects of the nectar, for she laughed and smiled much more than is common with her.
And dear Mr. Kelly led me over and over to the dance floor to partner him in jigs, reels, and strathspeys. When a minuet was played, he most solicitously asked Mama for the pleasure, and she comported herself on the dance floor like a girl again.
Well, as I mentioned, I am not accustomed to having my wine cup refilled, and so often too!
I drink it sparingly, as that is my habit, and usually only at gatherings.
When the assembly ended, I could scarce raise myself from table, and I perceived that Mama was tipsy as well, so Mr. Kelly escorted us both back to the inn, which is but two blocks distance.
We needed no carriage since the distance was so small.
Mr. Kelly stood in the middle of us ladies, and each of us took one of his arms and held tightly onto it, while we each leaned on him a little for support.
Mr. Kelly escorted us inside the inn door and politely bowed to us, and we curtsied to him.
So you see, Michael, as he wishes us to call his name, was a perfect gentleman with us!
He then gave us compliments, telling us how much he enjoyed the assembly with us, and then took his leave of us.
So now to bed.
We have a comfy room at the inn “Die Zwei Turteltauben” (the Two Turtledoves) and Mama and I each have our own bed!
In one corner of our room is a new type of stove named for a former English colonist named Mr. Benjamin Franklin, who designed it. We need not use it, as it is now the height of summer.
I enjoy looking out our window, down at the parade of townsfolk, carriages, and horses parading by.
This afternoon, I ventured out a little onto a neighboring street where some sketches of charming towns caught my fancy, and I bought a few of them. Here, dear friends and family, do take a look:
Hessen in Alten Ansichten-Antique Prints of Hessen
They are not sketches of Salzburg, but I find them quite charming.
Oh yes; both Mama and I have also a soft, comfy feather bed here, and it is so comfortable to recline and look up at the steep pinewood ceiling.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Touring Salzburg:

Dearest Marianne,
Thank you so much for your kind invitation to visit with you and your kin in Bayreuth!
I have just spoken of it with Mama, and she is also most agreeable to it! This is great news!
We need not be back in Vienna so soon because my sister, Josefa, and her husband are running the boarding house for Mama in our absence. So yes, we can do it! I would love to meet you, Marianne!
We are off now too, Marianne.
Remember Herr Meinke from Prussia? He is still in Salzburg, and Mama and I have made the acquaintance of Herr and Frau Georg Zeller, a hat maker from Vienna. We are together renting a carriage to take us to visit the fortress in Salzburg this day.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

At Our Inn:

Mein lieber Wolfgang,
Mama and I have not as yet been to call upon your dear Papa.
Mama is at present reclining a great deal in our lodgings at the Two Turtledoves Inn, as our journey has been rather exhausting to her. In a day or two’s time, she will be rested enough and back to her old self. As for often giving me her council, in that, she is ever the same, Wolfgang.
I am becoming more and more excited thinking of and anticipating meeting and conversing with your beloved Papa and dear sister, Nannerl.
Well, Wolfgang, you know, I do have a little more time now to practice on the pianoforte in the back room here at the inn the pieces I shall play and sing for your Papa and Nannerl.
I hope that my small effort will please them.
I do not wish to think about performing for them, Wolfgang, as the though of playing for such accomplished and such gifted artists would cause me to skip over my music.
No, Wolfgang; when I play for people, I use a trick: I just concentrate on the music; the rest takes care of itself…….
Please extend to my dear sister, Constanze, my best greetings, and I kiss your hand and remain
Your dear friend and sister,
Sophie, nee Weber

To Mademoiselle Maria Anna Mozart:
My dear Mademoiselle Mozart,
I am so happy to hear that you and your Frau Mama and Herr Papa are looking forward to our visit!
I likewise am very much looking forward to making your acquaintance.
I must run too, dear Mademoiselle Mozart, as I am called to make haste to the Salzburg Cathedral.
It is such a lofty and so beautiful an edifice, that I feel refreshed and inspired when I look upon it.
On my route back to the inn, I must make a visit to the apothecary to fetch a medicament for my Mama, who is exhausted from our long journey.
My dear Mademoiselle Mozart, we also have three little dogs in our boarding house in Vienna. One of them, called Paddy, is a terrier which originated in Scotland, called a “west highland white”.
He is a true, faithful dog. The other two dogs originate from the New World, in the country south of the French territories bordering on the new republic of the United States of America, and is called a “chihuahua”. They are most loyal and affectionate little dogs, and are also of a white color, with pink noses. Their names are Fawn and Tammy.
The tiniest one, Tammy, is sooo small and has hardly ever grown. She is a baby to me, and sleeps upon my bed. Fawn used to do the same, but she now sleeps on the floor in the parlor with Paddy. The reason for this change is that Fawn now sometimes picks fights with Tammy.
I shall endeavor to correct this bad habit.
Sleeping upon my bed does not always content Tammy. She sometimes will not be satisfied until she is under the covers too.
Thank you so much for your letter, Mademoiselle Mozart, and my best compliments and greetings to your Frau Mama and Herr Papa!
To you also a kiss on both cheeks,
Sophie, nee Weber

About Myself:

My Dears,
We are this afternoon confined to our room at the inn. There is unceasing rain outside, so I am at my desk, and musing about my childhood.
I have not met some of you before, so I should like to tell you a little about myself.
My name is Sophie Weber.
I was born in Mannheim, Germany, in 1763, and am the youngest of Mama and Papa’s (Caelilia and Fridolin Weber’s) five children.
I guess that I am thus somewhat spoiled, being the youngest and the baby of the family.
My siblings sometimes call me “das Nesthaeckchen”. I do not quite know how to translate it into English, but you can say that it is like a little bird, still in the nest, and generally means “the youngest”.
My dear sister Constanze Mozart, nee Weber, was the second youngest and the closest to me.
We are separated in age by a little over one year.
Constanze was my childhood playmate, the one I most shared my childhood with.
Even today, we have remained very close.
I admit that I am trusting in nature, have led a rather sheltered life, and am perhaps somewhat naive.
Most especially, please, please do not breathe a word of this to my dear sister, Constanze, but I was Papa’s favorite. Papa told me this.
I believe that my brother Johann, who alas is no longer with us, was Mama’s favorite. He was the only boy among us four sisters, and Mama seemed more solicitous and, in general, kinder with him than with us…though I cannot complain that Mama was not kind and loving with us. She has always taken the utmost pains with us Weber girls, as she often reminds us still: “I have sacrificed all my married life so much for you!”
I must say, my dears, to maintain my composure and equanimity, I often have to tune out Mama’s words from my head if she is in an ill humor.
Papa Fridolin was my best friend!
Dear Wolfgang, you are so right when you say that Papa and I were very much alike.
I loved to sit on Papa’s lap while he read me stories or talked with me. We always sought out one another to talk, and I often to seek council from him.
Some of our friends remarked that I was “Daddy’s little girl”.
When poor Papa passed away, I was so distraught.
I had lost my best friend. Even today, I sometimes have most pleasant dreams with Papa there in life among us.
The rain is clearing………
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Postscript:
My Dears,
I neglected to mention that I moved with my family from Mannheim to Vienna when I was a young girl.
My elder sister, Aloysia, had commenced a singing career in Vienna, and Mama and Papa wanted to remain in close proximity to her during this time, so our entire family moved to the glorious capital, the city of musicians.
Shortly after our move to Vienna, my beloved Papa died.
Now we are on route to visit the home of my girlhood, and are come to Salzburg where, in a few days’ time, Mama and I shall call on Mademoiselle Maria Anna, and Frau and Herr Leopold Mozart in the Hannibalplatz.
Ever yours most affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

To Wolfgang:

Dearest Wolfl,
I am very grateful that you are sharing your memories of my beloved Papa with me, and I know how fond you were of him and esteemed him, and he you!
I am grateful for your words, dear Wolfgang, concerning my Mama. I shall keep them in mind.
I am full grown, but I believe that at times, Mama still regards me as a baby; she tells me things that I have known for an eternity, such as “Do take your parasol with you; it looks as it might rain…..You have forgot your cloak; you shall catch your death of cold” This, Wolfgang, when the weather is so sultry and hot.
Dear Wolfgang, I shall convey your kind wishes and greetings to Mama.
Ever yours most affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

My Childhood:

Salzburg, den 11. Juli

My Dears,
It is rather quiet at present, and my writing about my childhood has started me musing about it.
I look outside the bedroom of our inn down at the uncustomary prospect below, right next to the Domplatz in the heart of Salzburg.
The pitter-patter of the soft rain falling has turned me inward and reflective.
Mama and I are here in our lodgings; we cannot go out at present, and I will tell just a little more about myself.
I feel that in the next several days, we shall be out and about with scarce a moment’s repose.
I did not mention that although Constanze and I are practically of the same age and were childhood playmates, our characters are vastly different.
Constanze has inherited her practical nature from Mama.
I, on the other hand, tend to be dreamy and impractical–something I oftimes strive to correct–haha.
When we were little, Constanze and I often played “house”, and my sister always took the role of the mother, and I was the child or the baby.
She took complete charge of my welfare in these games, and claimed that she being the elder–“knew it all”, and her experience and advanced age entitled her to “superiority” over her little sister.
In our later childhoods, we were equal one to another, usually like giggly girlfriends, bosom buddies, and great confidants.
I do miss Papa; Wolfgang, you know that…….
As a very small child, some elder children bullied me a bit, I being smaller, and I thus developed with strangers a shy demeanor–however, not with my family or friends, with whom I was never shy.
I lost this shyness with strangers as I grew older.
There is still some daylight, and I am taking my music into the back room with the pianoforte to practice for Nannerl and Leopold.
Ever your true sister and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

To the English soprano, Nancy Storace:

Salzburg,

My dear Mademoiselle Storace,
I am so very sorry to hear of your unhappy experience in Salzburg. It must have been very distressing for all concerned when the letter from my brother-in-law, Herr Mozart, became lost.
But you must cherish the memory of having sung for Herr Mozart’s father and sister.
I am hopefully going to be in that position in a few days’ time, and I will not let myself think upon it, lest I get stage fright. I am not an experienced singer as you are. At our inn, there is a back room with a pianoforte, and I have availed myself of this unexpected gift and have already played and sung my arias one time.
I hope to be able to go there again tomorrow, before we call on Herr and Frau Leopold Mozart and Mademoiselle Maria Anna Mozart.
Oh Miss Storace, I have heard that Herr Leopold Mozart does have an eye for the ladies! I am not surprised! I am starting to giggle. Can you imagine that in mid-song, I shall burst out laughing! I will think other thoughts–haha.
I do hope that you shall travel again to Salzburg some day!
Yours most affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Touring Salzburg with my Would-Be Suitor:

Salzburg, den 13. Juli

My Dears,
Herr Meinke from Prussia is still among our party as we make excursions through the environs and town of Salzburg.
Herr Meinke is traveling part-way to Bayreuth with Mama and me in the coach, as he is journeying in the same general direction.
He is a tutor at the estate of Count von Schwab in Frankfurt an der Oder, in Pomerania, and is at present on a leave of absence from the von Schwab family.
Herr Meinke told me that he used to be a player on the stage!
My dears, Herr Meinke is four-and-thirty years of age; I thought him younger.
He has a most pleasant countenance, with large sunken, steel-blue eyes, a nose not unlike that of Wolfgang’s mother’s family, and dimples when he smiles.
I know that he is taken with me, and I with him.
His Prussian accent intrigues me; we Mannheimers speak differently.
Above all, I am most attracted by his dry and jovial good humor. He is often making jokes and humorous observations.
Today, we toured the grounds of the beautiful Mirabell Palace in Salzburg.
The gardens are stately, orderly and very French, as opposed to wild English gardens. The statuary is most impressive.
The rose gardens and other foliage are all in full bloom, and the fortress Hohensalzburg, which we all visited yesterday, towered above us.
Mama went first with Herr and Frau Zeller, and I lagged behind the gravel path with Herr Meinke.
As Herr Meinke and I were promenading the garden path, he suddenly took my hand in his and gently squeezed it several times.
I blushed, but was most pleasantly surprised and pleased.
I would not be so bold as to address Herr Meinke by his Christian name, which he mentioned in passing to be “Erhard” and, as Mama made known to me, he already has a wife in Pomerania, though no children as yet.
This afternoon, as I practiced and sung my music pieces, which I hope to sing and play later for Herr Mozart and Nannerl, Herr Meinke turned the pages of my music book, and also made company by sharing in the singing.
He also played a tune for me on the pianoforte.
My dears, I also got closer to Herr Meinke, but not in quite the way you are thinking. Not quite.
I will never permit Herr Meinke to do everything he would wish.
Still, the feeling was new to me and indescribable.
Oh……I am blushing again.
No, no; I would not be a mother without a husband.
I am still young, and my mind can hold sway over my heart……..
My dears, I bid you a jolly good night and tomorrow, a good Sabbath, and remain
Yours most affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

A Sunday Visit to the Salzburger Dom (Cathedral)

Salzburg,
Sonntag (Sunday), den 14. Juli

My Dears,
The day dawned clear and bright–the perfect weather for this Sabbath day.
I have brought along on our journey Herr Goethe’s new novella “Das Leiden des jungen Werther” (The Sorrows of Young Werther), and after breakfast with Mama at our inn, Die Zwei Turteltauben” (The Two Turtledoves), I retired back to our room for a while, and I sat by the window, engrossed in my reading.
Upon which, Herr Meinke came to call on Mama and me at the inn.
We three then made our way through the courtyard of the magnificent Domplatz (Cathedral Square) to the beautiful, early Baroque Salzburger Dom (Cathedral).
Though himself a Lutheran, Herr Meinke accompanied Mama and me to Mass, and sat with us in the pew.
This was High Mass, and one of Herr Haydn’s masses was sung and played by the musicians.
I was enthralled by the soaring music of Herr Haydn and the soaring Baroque ceiling of the Cathedral.
After Mass ended, Herr Meinke again escorted Mama and me back to the inn.
Mama has reminded me on this Sunday to read one chapter from the Bible, and then again to my music, to practice for Herr Mozart and Nannerl.
I did not mention as regards Herr Meinke: He is still a relatively young man at four and thirty years of age, yet his deep-set blue eyes and dimples lend his face, when he smiles and laughs, to premature lines all around his eyes.
I must admit that I find this pleasing in him, as it imparts an aura of wisdom and maturity to his countenance.
Ever yours most affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

“Only On Parchment”

Salzburg, den 15. Juli

My Dears,
Today, Monday, is market day. Mama and I awoke to unfamiliar voices just after dawn had broke.
I arose from my feather bed, looked out our window, and saw vendors already setting up their stands and wares.
After breakfasting at our inn, Herr Meinke called on us and invited Mama and me to an exploratory excursion on foot of Salzburg.
Mama acquiesced and soon, we were off.
The market by then was in full sway, and I loved walking amid the vendors of everything and sundry: fruits, vegetables, every sort of victual: sweetmeats, meats, even livestock and small barn animals. Mama and I each took one of Herr Meinke’s arms, and he escorted us to the Residenzplatz–a very large square which also holds a splendid palace, a beautiful Roman fountain, and the Salzburg Cathedral.
From there, it was a short walk on foot to St. Peter’s Cemetary. This place is most amazing. You truly feel that you are in a mountain town; the hills are close all around, and everything seems carved out of a grotto. This spot is one of my favorite places in Salzburg. Against the Moenchberg’s (The monk mountain’s) rock walls is a collection of small gardens.
We continued our promenade to the Universitaetsplatz (University Square) and another bustling, outdoor market there. As Mama was busy questioning one of the vendors, Herr Meinke took me aside to a quiet, shady corner where only the two of us stood.
“Oh Fraeulein Weber,” Herr Meinke began: “I love you. Ich habe Dich so lieb.”
“Oh Herr Meinke”, I blushed: “I…..am very fond of you. But…..you are married.”
Herr Meinke turned and looked away from me.
He replied softly:
“Only on parchment.”
“Fraeulein Weber…..I have no wife. Katharina and I were so young when we were betrothed–then later became man and wife. I hardly knew Katharina at the time of the nuptials. Our parents are distant cousins, and planned our nuptials practically since we were in the cradle, but Katharina lived far from me, in Cologne……We no longer live together. That is why she has bore me no children. I do not get along with her. Katharina has such a temper.”
Herr Meinke continued, “I live at the estate of Count and Lady von Schwab, where I give their children pianoforte lessons and tutor them in German, Latin, Italian, French, English………and geography.
My wife lives with a cousin in the town.”
All I could say was, “I’m so sorry, Herr Meinke. So very sorry. I hope your wife will return to be with you……but you are married.”
He reached over and stroked my cheek, took my hand in his, and kissed it tenderly.
We then rejoined Mama at the vendor’s stand.
Today, we experienced the daily life in Salzburg, a town so dear to my heart.
After supping at our inn, Herr Meinke bid us good night, and Mama and I retired to our room, where we went to bed earlier than is usual.
It had been a full day.
I am affectionately yours,
Sophie, nee Weber

A Visit with Herr Leopold Mozart, Frau Maria Anna, and Mademoiselle Maria Anna:

Salzburg, den 18. Juli

My Dears,
This day, Mama and I called upon Wolfgang’s dear Papa, Mama, and beloved sister, Nannerl, and we spent a most pleasant day and evening in their company.
We hired a carriage to take us to the new abode in the Hannibalplatz (square) where the Mozarts now reside.
The residence is most large and roomy.
The greenery we saw outside when we alighted from our carriage was very inviting. I would fancy that an aristocratic family lived in such a spacious house.
Herr Mozart met us at the entrance-way, and Mama and I curtsied deeply. “My dear Frau Weber, my dear Fraeulein Weber, please let us not stand on formalities. Do come in,” Herr Mozart said in his deep voice as he welcomed us.
He led us into the parlor where Mademoiselle Mozart was waiting to greet us. She is thin and very comely and greatly resembles Wolfgang, and she smiled and we women all curtsied. “Do please call me Nannerl,” she said. “And please call me Sophie,” I replied.
“Anna, our guests are come,” Herr Mozart called into another area of the house. Our came Frau Mozart, dressed in a lovely red-pink damask frock and a white apron. We ladies all curtsied again.
We all went into the salon and engaged in pleasantries. Frau Mozart said that she cooked for us a meal, and that we should proceed to the dining room.
We all sat at table, and a serving girl who lives with the Mozarts brought in our meal.
There was wine at table and garlic soup: most delicious soup.
Then came a Wurstsalat, a salad made with sausages.
Then the serving girl served us a Forelle Blau (“blue trout”) with vegetables, which Frau Mozart had cooked.
Frau Mozart had just baked an Apfelstrudel (apple strudel). It was pipping hot, and she served it with whipped cream on top.
Then the serving girl brought us all hot coffee.
Wolfgang, what a wonderful cook your Frau Mama is!
Your Frau Mama is such a lovely, charming, cheerful woman. She seemed always to have a smile on her face, and often, a twinkle in her eye.
You and Nannerl look very much like her.
Your Mama has such a beautiful, alabaster complexion, and the rosy cheeks.
She and Mama got on famously. Later, they sat in the parlor for hours chatting and then playing cards. Later in the evening, after our music recital, your Papa, Nannerl, and I joined them for several games of whist.
Your dear Papa and Mama get on so well, Wolfgang; they are so happy in each other’s company.
After supper, we all proceeded into the Tanzmeistersaal, which was a former dance studio, and is now used by your family as a music room, as you well know.
Well, I played my pieces: first, Wolfgang, your sonata number one in C for the pianoforte.
It went well.
The runs and arpeggios in the first movement are a lot of fun for me to play.
Then I played your “Alle Turca”.
Whereapon I then sang an aria, which I also played on the pianoforte from Herr Haydn’s “The Creation”.
Wolfgang, my favorite part of playing for your family was at the end, when I sang the aria “Voi que Sapete” from your “Figaro”, and accompanied myself on the pianoforte. I sang from the heart.
It was wonderful expressing myself in this way with a marriage of music, feeling, and family.
They all seemed very pleased with my effort, and I was happy that it went well.
I had also had that extra time at the inn to practice–haha!
Then Nannerl played your Twelve Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman” and your sonata number 15 for the pianoforte.
It was such a pleasure hearing her play.
Wolfgang; it is almost like listening to you play.
She possesses such skill and artistry as I have never heard before, except from you, dear brother.
Then Leopold and Nannerl played a chamber piece of yours both together, Leopold on the violin and Nannerl on the pianoforte. It was so beautiful. At the end, we all burst out with applause.
Then we proceeded to the parlor, where we all played a game of whist, and then we made our adieux. Our carriage carried us back to the inn.
It was before the midnight hour, but I did feel like the heroine in the fairy tale “Aschenbroedel” (Cinderella). The day and evening had been like a dream.
Oh, by the by, Leopold said to me before we departed, “My dear Fraeulein Weber,” would your Mama and yourself do us the honor of making an excursion later in the week with my wife and myself to the hometown of my wife’s birth, Saint Gilgen, on the Wolfgang Sea. It makes for a pleasant excursion, and is not terribly far from these parts.”
I replied that we would be most honored to do so.
And now the hour is late, and so to bed.
I think that I shall dream this night about our lovely time today.
Yours very affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

To Herr and Frau Leopold Mozart and Mademoiselle Maria Anna Mozart:

Salzburg, den 19. Juli

My esteemed Herr and Frau Mozart and Mademoiselle Maria Anna Mozart,
My Mama, Caecilia Weber, and I wish to take this opportunity to thank you so very much for the pleasure of making your acquaintance and being a guest in your home yesterday.
We had such a pleasurable time in your company, and Mama and I shall always cherish the memory of your kind hospitality and the fun time we shared together.
Our compliments and greeting also to your serving girl–I unfortunately know not her name–for being so kind and most accommodating to us.
Frau Mozart, you are such a magnificent cook!
Your son, Wolfgang, has been most spoiled, having been privileged to enjoy your delicious cooking each day.
Thank you again so much for taking the time to cook for us this magnificent repast.
Mama and I are so looking forward again in a few days’ time to the pleasure of your company, when we shall undertake together a tour of Saint Gilgen.
Yours most respectfully,
Sophie, nee Weber
Cecilia Weber, nee Stamm

Herr Meinke:

Dearest Marianne,
You wrote:
“how wonderful, you’ve fallen in love! This is the best elixir of life I can think of!”
Oh dearest Marianne; it is! It is!
But at the same time as being an elixir, it does at other times cause me misgivings and sadness.
If only I had had the luck to have fallen in love with a gentleman who has no wife, who is free to ask for Mama’s consent that we should marry.
“But I do understand you. You are dreaming of a real
future with a man, not just a little fun and apart from that nothing else but staying in
the background, right? Hm, what to do?”
You do understand me, Marianne.
I am so glad to be able to share my feelings with you.
You are a kindred spirit.
You have experienced much the same thing.
And it is so wonderful that you were blessed with a precious daughter.
I am so sorry that you and your beloved did not live as man and wife. I do not even know if he was able to be your lifelong companion.
I have heard from Wolfgang, however, that you did later marry and, dear Marianne, I am so joyed to hear this news!
How wonderful to have both the daughter and the husband.
Marianne, when I think upon these matters with Herr Meinke, my head is in a whirl……
“… But Sophie, listen, kissing is bearing not the
slightest risk.”
Oh Marianne, I so wanted to tell you what transpired between Herr Meinke and myself the afternoon I practiced in the music room at the inn, and he turned the pages for me.
Oh, I am so embarrassed; how can I write such things; I do not wish to appear prurient or writing it for that sake.
Nothing is further from the truth.
Marianne, there is a divan in the corner of the music room.
After practicing, Herr Meinke and I reclined upon it.
Somehow, I know not how, Herr Meinke started unbuttoning my frock and my undergarments, and I did not stop him. He then, I believe did the same to his own person, and I was aware that the two of us were there on the divan as God made us to be.
Dear Marianne, during this time, I had the most sublime and indescribable feeling which I have never before experienced.
Words cannot describe it……oh, I am blushing again.
Marianne, Herr Meinke was very gentle with me.
On one thing, I am most grateful.
He did not force himself upon me.
Herr Meinke did nothing to me which would cause me to be with child.
I am content with what transpired.
I believe that Herr Meinke was acting as a concerned gentleman, and does not wish to force a new baby on a young, unmarried maiden.
Now Marianne, I have unburdened myself and my conscience to you. Mama suspects nothing, and things are as they were.
I shall make a trip to the Salzburg Cathedral to make a confession; that is all.
Herr Meinke is most solicitous and I take great pleasure in his company. Yes, as you say, dear Marianne, I am in love.
Your true friend and cousin,
Sophie, nee Weber

Salzburg:

My dear Wolfgang,
You are so right! I did not see it in that way.
When I look around me in this magical, mountain town, I see only charm, elegance, and peace–a marriage of the serenity and security of the Alps and the Baroque elegance and quaintness of your town.
I am enchanted with Salzburg, Wolfgang.
I cannot imagine, if I were like yourself–born and bred in this town–of ever wanting to leave to seek my way in the world, far from this blessed township.
If I had been born a man and had been endowed with great musical gifts, Wolfgang, I could voyage and visit the great cities to spread my name and my fame, but not absence myself forever from Salzburg. Of course, I do not possess your great musical genius. I am only musing.
If it were me, I should be like your friend and colleague, Herr Haydn, and remain perhaps my whole life in the service of the Archbishop here, grounded in the beauty of this unforgettable town, as Herr Haydn did stay so long in the service of Count Esterhazy, and also in so doing enjoy the security of not having to always hurry and scurry for work and commissions………
Wolfgang, you know that I nurse a secret desire.
I long not only to visit Salzburg, Wolfgang, but to actually live here. Yes, as I have written you earlier, if I should live to a great age, I should like nothing better than to live out my dotage here in Salzburg.
I shall be quite unhappy when I must take my leave of this town ere long!
Your true sister and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

To Wolfgang:

My dear Wolfgang,
Yesterday, we enjoyed such a pleasurable time in the company of your dear family.
Seeing Frau and Herr Mozart together, I find that they make such a striking pair. Your dear father is still handsome, and indeed a commanding presence.
Your sweet Mama is also a handsome woman with such a lovely peaches-and-cream complexion.
Do tell me, Wolfgang, when you have the time, how and where did your parents meet?
I am a romantic, and I think it must have been a love match from the start, so pleasing your parents are together and as they take so much pleasure in each other’s company.
Your dear Mama comes not from a family of musicians as we do, Wolfgang, and in addition is from another part of the region, St. Gilgen.
So I am wondering how Frau and Herr Mozart happened to meet…and fall in love, as I am sure that, even having procured her father’s consent to marry, your parents were indeed in love one with the other.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

A Letter to Marianne Mozartin:

Meine liebe Marianne,
I shall tell you the reason for Mama’s decision to do such a great and a long tour as we are now undertaking.
Mama is very much homesick for the land of her birth, and wishes to spend as much time as is possible before returning to our family in Vienna. Mama thinks that this will be the last time that she shall see her beloved homeland and our kin there.
And another thing, dear Marianne, not any less important from the above, is Mama’s wish to become acquainted with you. That is my wish too!
I have told Mama of your kind hospitality in inviting us both to come to Weimar and visit with you and your husband and daughter.
Marianne, I have been reading here at the inn Herr von Goethe’s novel, “Das Leiden des jungen Werther” (“The Sorrows of Young Werther”).
The book is fascinating and very true to life, but most sad……
Do tell me, Marianne, as you live in Weimar, do you have occasion to meet with Herr von Goethe?
Do you know him personally, or have you made his acquaintance?
Perhaps you have seen him promenading about the town, in the market square or in the parks, or in the pew at Church.
Marianne, if you are acquainted with Herr von Goethe or by chance encounter him in the town or environs, do please tell him that a friend of yours loves his writings!
Oh, Marianne! I am such a silly goose!
I have remembered me. Herr Goethe resides in Weimar–and you are in Bayreuth!
Ach, Du lieber Himmel, how could I have made such a mistake.
My dear Marianne, you know full well that I am in love, but does that fact excuse such a blatant error on my part?
Bis spaeter (until later)!
I hope that you and your husband and daughter are in good health.
Deine Freundin,
Sophie, nee Weber

We are come to Saint Gilgen!

Sankt Gilgen,
den 20. Juli

My Dears,
This morning we took off with Herr and Frau Mozart and Mademoiselle Maria Anna Mozart in a carriage which the Mozarts so kindly rented for the occasion.
The weather this day is a trifle sultry and, in the carriage, we ladies made well use of our fans. Wolfgang, your Frau Mama often fanned your dear Herr Papa, of which he was most grateful.
After several hours, a sudden thunderstorm erupted, but as it was near time to dining, we made a rest stop to feed our horses and replenish ourselves as well, at an inn in the lovely mountain town of Hallstatt.
At the inn, we took the time to play a game of whist as the rain continued.
When the downpour cleared, we were all back in the carriage for the journey to Saint Gilgen on the Wolfgangsee (lake).
Firstly, here are some portraits of the region:
Wolfgangsee – St. Gilgen, St. Wolfgang, Strobl, Bad Ischl
Wolfgangsee im Salzburger Land
The road, though damp, was none the worse for wear, and so we are arrived in the picturesque town of Saint Gilgen on the blue mountain lake of Saint Wolfgang.
Wolfgang, your Frau Mama’s face brightened as she took her first glimpse in many a year of her beloved hometown. “There it is! The home of my youth!”, she exclaimed excitedly, smiling from ear to ear.
(The thought comes to me, dear Wolfgang, that your Frau Mama may have named you after such a sentimental and beautiful spot….., oh, of course, as well as after Saint Wolfgang.)
Wolfgang, your dear Herr Papa wanted at first to procure for us a room at the inn for one or, as the case may be, for several nights, so on recommendation from your Frau Mama, we made haste to the Gasthaus zur Goldenen Ente (Inn of the Golden Duck), where we were able to procure for us two rooms.
The next several hours, after fetching our sleeping vestments from the carriage, were spent strolling to and fro the cobbled, narrow streets of Saint Gilgen, where everywhere one feels the near presence of the lake.
Indeed, many of these quaint streets back up to the lake, where also is found our inn.
Your dear Frau Mama led us on a pilgrimage of sorts to her street and to the house, which we all admired, where she lived when a maiden here.
Wolfgang, do you want to know what then happened? It is quite amusing, really!
Well, we were, of course, travelers to these parts and as we walked the streets, we happened upon a gentleman dressed with his wig and dress coat and breeches. Your dear Herr Papa stopped him to inquire of him some directions, the town being slightly changed since your Frau Mama domiciled here. The gentleman was carrying a violin case.
“Oh, you play?”, your Herr Papa inquired.
“Why yes”, replied the gentleman.
“I too,” exclaimed Herr Mozart, “and members of my family here with us.”
“My dear Sir,” gave the gentleman answer, “After supper tonight, a group of us will be meeting to play among ourselves in the back room of the Rathaus (city hall). We make amusement like this each Saturday evening, and greatly look forward to it.
Do come and join our company! We have some extra instruments, and of course, we have a pianoforte there in the hall.”
“Why thank you so much for your hospitality, kind Sir”, replied Herr Mozart. “I believe that we shall.”
So after supper at the inn, we ventured to the Rathaus (no, not a place of rats, unless you happen to be a politician, and a party you do not agree with is in power…).
Wolfgang, the gentleman had not recognized your dear Herr Papa, as these folk are amateur musicians.
The gentleman greeted us, “My most hearty welcome again! I am the Buergermeister (mayor) of St. Gilgen. Do make yourselves at home here. I shall fetch the spare instruments….”
Your Frau Mama exclaimed, “My dear Sir, I am a native daughter of Saint Gilgen, and in my time, my beloved father, Herr Pertl, was the mayor of St. Gilgen!”
Then your Herr Papa introduced himself and all of us.
“Why, I do declare! I have heard of you Herr Mozart! I have heard spoken of your most esteemed son and daughter! Your and their fame has traveled wide and far! We are most honored to have you join our modest music making.”
Wolfgang, we had a most diverting and amusing time. Your dear Papa played on the violin with the other musicians, and your sister, Nannerl, played the pianoforte. I even played and sung “Voi Que Sapete” from your “Figaro” that had such a welcome reception at your parents’ abode two evenings ago. We all sung some ditties as well.
The town is small, and the street lanterns were lit, so we could all afterwards make our way back to the inn, and to sleep in our eiderdown beds.
Mama and I share a room, each with our own bed! Hurrah for that! The Mozarts are lodged in the other room.
I will dream very happy dreams this night of our wonderful evening!
Yours most affectionately,
Your true sister and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

Sophie’s Secret:

My Dears,
We are to stay in Saint Gilgen for probably one week, as Frau Mozart wishes to visit with the friends from her childhood.
As I lie in my comfy eiderdown bed this night and stare dreamily up at the ceiling in my bed at the inn here in Saint Gilgen, a feeling of sweet happiness sweeps over me.
I smile a secret smile of contentment; it is a sweet secret known only to me.
But I shall divulge it to you, my dears.
If I do not, I feel I shall burst–haha!
How shall I begin……
My heart started feeling lighter with happiness the day before yesterday in Salzburg. Mama had taken to her bed that afternoon, overcome with the exhaustion of the journey.
I was free to enjoy the sights of Salzburg together with Herr Meinke.
The two of us, arm in arm, promenaded to the MIrabell Gardens next to the Palace. The soft light from the waning sun shined upon our faces as a soft breeze blew.
Herr Meinke and I sat down on a bench and observed the passersby promenading in the gardens, the women with their parasols drawn against the sun.
“Fraeulein, Weber, I have great news!” exclaimed Herr Meinke. “Do tell, what is it,” I replied excitedly.
He began, “This day, I have received a dispatch by post from Vienna to my inn here. I have been appointed tutor to the children of Count and Countess von Hatzfeld in Vienna.”
“Herr Meinke! You shall be moving to Vienna!”
“Why yes, dear Fraeulein Weber, as soon as I settle my affairs in Frankfurt”, he answered.
Herr Meinke continued, “Count von Schwab’s daughter is betrothed and shall marry next month. His son is entering the University in the fall. My work there is done. My wife, Katharina, is staying with cousins in town, and wishes to move back to her family. She does not take well to married life.
You know, that branch of my family is Catholic, and Katharina is a distant cousin. I having been raised a Lutheran did convert to Catholicism so that we could be properly married. And…..we are man and wife but on parchment. There is no divorce,” he concluded sadly.
“Oh, Herr Meinke….”
“My dearest Fraeulein Weber, as dear to me as my own life, I realize that I have not recounted to you my life story,” Herr Meinke smiled.
He continued, “I was born in the free city of Frankfurt an der Oder, in Pomerania, the second son and youngest of five surviving children”, he said.
“My father, Meinhard Meinke, was the highly esteemed clockmaker and watchmaker of Frankfurt an der Oder.
I was born when my mother was five-and-forty and my father fifty years of age.
My elder brother, also christened Meinhard Meinke, was apprenticed to my father and followed him into the clock and watchmaking trade.
I for myself knew not quite what I wanted to do with my life.
I had a great thirst for knowledge and to acquire foreign tongues, and also to see the world.
As it so happened, when I was eighteen years of age, I was conscripted into the Prussian army and given the rank of Captain.
Prussia was then at war with France, and my regiment saw action in the French provinces. However, I and my horse, Lady, were taken captive by the French, and I was forced to wait out the duration of the war in a prisoner of war camp.
This was not an entirely unfortunate situation, for I saved my hide and, as it turned out, my dear horse, Lady’s, as well, who was given back to me at the duration of the war, after one year in the prisoner of war camp.
My guards at the prison were most congenial and friendly Frenchmen, and it was here that I acquired my taste for the French language.
They brought me books in prison to study the language, so that when I was released, I could speak the French tongue fluently.
Not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, I made my way back to the German states.
In Frankfurt am Main, I fell in with a group of players on the stage, and I resolved to make acting my livelihood.
I thus remained for several years in Frankfurt, playing all kinds of roles upon the stage, but I felt somehow inwardly unfulfilled and empty.
I wanted to attend the University; the quest for knowledge made itself felt.
I resolved to become a scholar and after a visit to my relations in my hometown on the Oder River, I undertook my studies at the University of Munich, earning after some years a Doctor of Philosophy degree in music. I also took classes in German, Latin, Italian, and English. Already knowing the French language, I was thus prepared with the acquisition of my Doctor of Philosophy Degree to become a tutor in an aristocratic household and mold the lives of young children.
My first appointment thereafter was in the household of the Duke of Villmar-Seelbach, who, with his family, resided in the nearby mountain town of Murnau in the Bavarian Alps.
The children were soon nearly all grown, so thereupon I won an appointment as tutor at the estate of the von Schwab family in my hometown of Frankfurt an der Oder.
It was then that the marriage with Katharina, long planned by my family, took place……”
“Why Herr Meinke!”, I exclaimed. “You have a Doctor of Philosophy Degree. Then I must call you henceforth Herr Doktor Meinke.”
“No, no, dear Fraeulein Weber. Herr Meinke will do just fine. You do not need to feel obliged to add the ‘Doktor’.”
“Very well then, Herr Meinke, but my mother will most certainly revel in addressing you as “Herr Doktor Meinke!”
Well, my dears. That is my great news! Herr Meinke shall be moving to and residing in Vienna.
Now I shall bid you all a most contented good night.
Yours most affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

The Prince on his White Horse:

Sankt Gilgen,
den 22. Juli

My Dears,
Again we are cursed with rainy weather and are forced to wait the end of the rainfall at our inn before commencing again our tour of Saint Gilgen.
Wolfgang, your dear Papa and Mama are well and in good spirits as are likewise your dear sister, Nannerl and my Mama–though the rain, among many other things, often makes Mama grumpy and complaining.
Here, however, she is most agreeable and enjoys the pleasant company of your dear family.
I quite love and highly esteem them myself, and am honored to share in their company.
We are having such fun here in Saint Gilgen, Wolfgang!
Before departing Salzburg, Herr Meinke recounted to me that he shall arrange to bring his beloved mare, Lady, back with him to Vienna!
Is that not great news!
You see, Count and Countess von Hatzfeld, where he shall tutor their children, have given him the use of a cottage on their vast estate in Vienna, and have agreed to let Lady be stabled with the Count’s own horses!
Herr Meinke shall arrange to have Lady tied and driven with the coaches which will later transport him back to Vienna, for he will have too many belongings and too much luggage that he could ride Lady back himself.
Let me describe Lady to you:
She is a magnificent animal, a pure white and absolutely gorgeous mare, he says, which one would liken, minus the horn between the eyes, to a unicorn!
Lady has the most lovable face of all the horses in Christendom, and all who glimpse her immediately fall in love with her.
Oh don’t you see, my dears–I have been longing ever so long for the handsome prince on a bright white steed to come along and sweep me off my feet–and, my Goodness–Herr Meinke is that prince!!
(Yet there is the wife, Katharina, who is in actuality no wife at all. Of that, I shall not speak…..)
Herr Meinke is not conventionally handsome, but I find such beauty in his noble face.
At any rate, Herr Meinke told me the tale of how the enemy captured him and Lady during the war between France and Prussia, when Herr Meinke was a lad of eighteen and the Captain of his Prussian regiment in the French provinces.
(At the conclusion of the war, he had finished out his military service.)
By the by, Lady is now six and ten years of age.
Well, a French infantryman snuck up behind Herr Meinke while he was in the field mounted upon Lady, and pointed straightwith his musket at Herr Meinke.
Herr Meinke, of course, promptly surrendered and was taken prisoner of war.
Later, the foot solder told Herr Meinke–who could then understand a little French, which he thereupon learned fluently–that he, the foot soldier, could not possibly have shot Herr Meinke because he might have also wounded or startled that magnificent animal into dashing away–and who in God’s great kingdom could ever bear to harm such a wonderful steed.
So that is how Herr Meinke came to the prisoner of war camp in the French provinces.
And Herr Meinke is so very fortunate as to later have the use of a quaint cottage of his own and his own horse to wit on the grand estate of Count and Countess Hatzfeld in Vienna.
Well, that is my news for now, my dears.
I shall get back to reading “Das Leiden des Jungen Werther” (The Sorrows of Young Werther) while raindrops keep falling…..(almost) on my head.
Herr and Frau Mozart and Mademoiselle Mozart–and Mama–also send you their best love and affection!
Yours also very affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

The Herren Meinke and Reibeld:

Dearest Marianne,
It is so good to hear from you! Thank you so much for your kind words!
Thank you very much, dear Marianne, for your good wishes for myself and Herr Meinke.
I do not know what the future will hold, but can be happy in the present, and hope that all will go well……
Marianne, your words concerning Baron von Reibeld give me courage and hope.
It is also comforting to know, dear Marianne, that you have experienced much the same thing as I.
I do not now feel so alone.
You know what, Marianne; I have a wicked thought:
Your beloved was a high member of the clergy–at least you did not have to be jealous of another woman–haha…….I am making a joke, and it is not a matter for laughing, but I am so glad that Baron von Reibeld was a kind man and a good man, and he did not up and away, but was there for you and your dear daughter, Josepha.
I find that kindness is the most important attribute in a man, as well as constancy.
Baron von Reibeld must have been mightily proud to be your lover and to be the father of such a wonderful daughter, Josepha.
Oh, I am blushing; I should not be talking like this about a member of the clergy.
Oh, I really sympathize, dear Marianne.
I too know so well how difficult and confining the fate of being a younger son can be.
Herr Meinke explained his situation to me, and he too is a younger son and imagine–he was born when his mother was five-and-forty years of age and his father fifty.
His elder brother, Meinhard Meinke, is of an age to be his father–and his three sisters are also much more advanced in years than he is.
I believe that Herr Meinke would also have been much more ambitious about entering his father’s trade of watchmaker had not his elder brother been apprenticed to his father and had taken over the shop.
I suppose that my friend, Erhard Meinke, could have also entered the trade…..but Meinhard Meinke, his brother, also has a son, apprenticed to him, whom he is grooming to succeed him in the shop.
The elder Meinhard Meinke senior is now in very advanced years, but still enjoys busying himself at his work in the shop most every day as well.
Yes, younger sons are often marked for the clergy…………Herr Meinke thought about this noble profession, but in the end decided that it was not for him personally.
Marianne, I have discovered a connection between your father and Herr Meinke.
You see, Herr Meinke has presented me in Salzburg with a copy of his doctoral dissertion, and on the first page, it is written that the book was bound by Franz Aloys Mozart in Augsburg!
Yes, Herr Meinke had the book printed and bound in Augsburg, and he shall also make a sentimental journey there to visit your late father’s bookbinding shop.
“No, my dear Sophie, I never married. But I hope you will and will also become a very
happy little wife and mother”
Thank you so much, my dear Marianne, for your kind wishes!
I am reassured now that if I shall never marry, I can still be happy, and I do have the hope that someday, I shall have a happy marriage and be a mother.
Your friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

Die Traeumerei (Daydreams):

My Dears,
Greetings from Saint Gilgen!
We have a beautiful, sunny day today, and as I look across the road, I am looking directly at another beautiful inn, where we supped yesterday evening.
It’s called das Weisse Roessel (The White Horse Inn).
Naturally the name alone brings to mind Herr Meinke’s beautiful white steed, “Lady”.
There is something magical in the air here and, it seems, only here, for I keep hearing various melodies and verses in my head, which seem to hang thickly in the air here, and attach themselves to my brain.
I hope that some time hence, someone will also hear these melodies and verse in his/her head, and with quill to paper, bring them to life and to glorious song.
I shall share them here with you, my dears:
Looking at the inn, I keep hearing this ditty in my mind……the tune and the words.
(An English translation follows.)
“Im Weissen Roessel am Wolfgangsee
Da steht das Glueck vor der Tuer.
Und ruft Dir zu, guten Morgen
Tritt ein, und vergiss Deine Sorgen.
Und sollst Du gehen einmal fort von hier
So tut der Abschied Dir weh
Und denkst dann nach mit Sehnsucht
Ans Weisse Roessel am See.”

In the White Horse Inn on Lake Wolfgang
Happiness awaits beyond the door.
And calls out to you, “good morning
Come in, and forget your cares”.
And if you should depart from here
Parting would be sad.
And you would recall with longing
The White Horse Inn on Lake Wolfgang.

I see a mail carrier scurrying by, with a large mail bag on his back.
He is young and strong, like me–only I am a girl.
Another song, transported to me by this magical air here in Saint Gilgen, comes to me as I watch him carry the mail:
“Ich bin die Christel von der Post
Klein das Gehalt und schmal die Kost
……………..Schmall die Kost
Aber das macht nichts, wann man noch jung ist,
Stets auf den Beinen
Immer im Schwung ist
Ich kann’s ertragen, ohne zu klagen
Singe dabei wie die Voegel im Mai
Bin die Christel von der Post…………………”

I am Christel from the post office.
My salary is small
And my lodgings are meager.
My lodgings are meager.
But that doesn’t matter when one is still young,
Always on one’s feet,
Always in motion.
I can stand it without complaining.
I sing, while working, like the birds in May.
I am Christel from the post office.

And this magical place also reminds me of Tirol, and as I look at the beautiful rose bushes nearby, another melody and verse comes into my head:
“Schenkt man sich Rosen im Tirol……….
Man schenkt sich Rosen nicht allein,
man gibt sich selber auch mit drein.”

When people send each roses in Tyrol…….
they don’t just send the roses alone,
They are also thereby giving their hearts.

Yours most affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

“Im Weissen Roessel am Wolfgangsee, da steht das Glueck vor der Tuer…..”
“At the White Horse Inn on Lake Wolfgang, happiness can be found outside the door……..”

A Change of Name:

Sankt Gilgen,
den 26. Juli

My Dears,
I hope that you are all well.
This day, there is a new visitor to these parts, one who is already familiar to me: Herr Meinke.
He had some idle time in Salzburg and desired to also see for himself the beauty of the Salzkammergut lake district.
So here he is, and he is residing in the inn, “Das Weisse Roessel” (The White Horse), across the lane from our inn.
This afternoon, Mama was very much occupied with Frau Mozart and Fraeulein Nannerl, Herr Mozart having departed briefly to visit an acquaintance, and I sat with Herr Meinke on the veranda of his inn, overlooking the Wolfgangsee.
We sat at table and leisurely enjoyed the tea, Broetchen (rolls), sweet butter, and cheese.
“My dear Fraeulein Weber,” began Herr Meinke.
“I love you. And I want to tell you something of the utmost of importance concerning my life……
You see, I….” he hesitated, “I was born an illegitimate son.”
Herr Meinke went on, “Meinhard Meinke accepted me as one of his own, but in truth…..my real father was a player on the stage named Alois Haibl.
I knew not the real circumstances of my birth until I was eighteen years of age, and before I departed for the war with France, my dear mother confessed to me the shocking truth, of which I, until then, had had no idea.
There was a time when my mother and father were not getting along, and my mother was then living with her parents. The winter that year was unusually cold, and a group of traveling players from the Austrian Empire, from Vienna, had hunkered down in Frankfurt an der Oder to pass the winter. They had been giving performances on the stage there, in my hometown. Mother got to know Herr Haibl, and indeed, to know well…….and the result, my dear Fraeulein….was me.”
Herr Meinke continued, “I was baptized with the name of Haibl, but later, my mother and Meinhard Meinke reconciled, and he accepted me with open arms as his own true son, although he knew the truth of the matter. So my official name is Haibl, dear Fraeulein Weber, and my wife, Katharina, carries that name as well, though we are known as “Meinke”, as I have always been known.”
Herr Meinke gazed out at the lake, his pensive blue eyes reflecting its azur color.
“Truth be known, I have never liked the name ‘Meinke'”
Oh”, I protested, “It’s a good, strong Prussian name.”
“Yes, dear Miss,” he replied, “but to me, the name carries with it the sound and ticking of the clock. From times immemorial, as long as there have been clocks and watches, there have been Meinkes in Frankfurt an der Oder who have crafted them.
To me, ‘Meinke’ is not so much a name as a metronome.
No, for some time, I have much preferred my real name of Haibl and have resolved, to henceforth be known by my true name! And my my true Christian name as well, which is Jakob.
Erhard is my middle name, and I’ve gone by it for several years, but now wish to be called again by the true name of my childhood.”
Herr Meinke continued, “So now, dear Fraeulein Weber, kindly do me the honor of addressing me as ‘Herr Haibl’ rather than ‘Herr Meinke’.”
I giggled and blushed red. Then I somehow burst out laughing. “Why, of course, dear Herr Haibl, if that is your wish,” I said the words between broad grins.
(Herr Meinke is now officially Herr Haibl–one and the same!)
Herr Haibl continued, “In Vienna these past several months, I got to know my birth father, Alois Haibl, and he me. I am glad that it was never too late.
I have reconciled my feelings about him…..and I have told my new employers, Count and Countess von Hatzfeld, that my name is my true one: Jakob Haibl. They are also not adverse for me to continue singing on the side, if I have the time for it, and perhaps later to act some again on the stage, an affinity which has never gone away.
I have been told that I possess a pleasing tenor voice, and I love to make use of it.
In Augsberg, I am going to have some copies of my doctoral dissertation printed and bound under my true name, Jakob Haibl.”
“But Herr Haibl”, I protested. “When you go to Frankfurt, what will they call you? What if people find out?”, I inquired.
“Oh Fraeulein Weber, it matters not. Why, very few people native to Frankfurt an der Oder ever venture outside the region. Most of the inhabitants are born, live, and die, there….I being an exception,” he added.
“Why, my dear Miss, I recall that in a neighboring village, I once inquired of a burgher, ‘Have you lived here all your life?’ and he answered me, ‘Not yet.’
“No, back at home, I am ‘Herr Meinke’, and elsewhere, Herr Haibl. But I am not in Frankfurt very often anyway.”
We drank the last of the hot tea and gazed out at the endless horizon, as the blue of the lake blended into the infinity of the sky.
“Now, my dear Fraeulein,” you know all about me”, said Herr Haibl.
“My dear Herr Haibl,” “My Mama knows you as ‘Herr Meinke’…Can I tell her that it was your stage name before, and now, you are using your real name?…..No, on second thought….My Mama is a compassionate person underneath.
I can tell her the truth. She will accept it.”
“That is fine with me, Frauelein Weber,” Herr Haibl replied.
And now, my dears, it is time for bed.
I bid you all a good night from Saint Gilgen.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Lake Scene in the Salzkammergut:

My Dears,
Perhaps you are all also undertaking journeys…..This is the time of year for it.
Herr Haibl and I took a long promenade along this lake today. We are fortunate to be blessed with mild and sunny weather.
How do you like the fact that my would-be suitor has now another name–his true name!!
I think that this is indeed the man of my heart and of my life.
We will have to see what the future will hold for us.
I so love it here in these regions, including Salzburg, that I wish that time would stand still–and leave us here forever.
I hope indeed that we shall be so fortunate as to stop again in Salzburg on the return journey to Vienna.
As for now, we still have quite a long voyage ahead of us–but again I should be ever content to spend all of it here.
I have fancied signing my name as Sophie Haibl, nee Weber–haha!! But I cannot yet do that; tis at present but a daydream. And I shall not speak of it to Herr Haibl either, but let the future take care of itself, come what may.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

An Afternoon by the Lake:

Sankt Gilgen,
den 27. Juli

My Dears,
As Herr Haibl and I sat at the shore and gazed out upon the lake, he suddenly exclaimed, “I love it here. You know, dear Fraeulein Weber, I am Austrian by birth.”
“Oh, really,” I answered, dumbfounded.
“Why yes, as it happened, my dear mother and my stepfather were not yet reconciled, so during my mother’s confinement, she stayed with her sister in Graz.”
Herr Haibl continued, “so I was born in Graz, in this lovely Austrian Empire. As my mother told it to me, quill and paper were frequently in use between Graz and Frankfurt an der Oder, and my mother and stepfather thereupon reconciled one with the other.
But my mother delayed her departure back to Frankfurt until I had grown a trifle, and was more than strong enough to withstand the long journey.”
As it turns out, Herr Haibl is not four-and-thirty years of age as I had deducted earlier.
He is much younger than that, being but one year elder than myself.
He, however, has a more mature appearance and mien about him, which is why I took him for so much older than his actual age.
We then talked about music, and Herr Haibl recounted to me some of his experiences studying at the University of Munich.
“I was much younger than my siblings, and was left much alone during my childhood. So my frequent companion was the harpsichord, the organ, and the pianoforte. My stepfather, Meinhard Meinke, arranged for me to study all aspects music with the Kapellmeister of our church.
I have always loved music, dear Miss, and the playing, singing, and composing of it.
So at the University, I made music my main field of study, and studied there for some years.
When it came time to compose my doctoral dissertation, I had to find a field of study and research that is original, that I could develop and contribute something to in my small way.
At first, I happened upon the children, twenty in all, of the great Johann Sebastian Bach, some of them being musicians and composers, but thereupon, I discovered a twenty-first child–one P.D.Q. Bach.
His very original music intrigued me, and I thus resolved to make it my field of expertise.
But, you know, my dear Miss, that the more and more I got into my research and learned about his life and music–as I put quill to paper and wrote about this forgotten and unknown son of Bach, I would burst out laughing.
I could not keep from laughing.
As I read P.D.Q. Bach’s music, I cracked up with laughter each and every time I tried to analyze it on paper….so the end result was, I could not continue to explore this composer and his works.
Finally, I settled on Herr Franz Josef Haydn as the subject for my doctoral dissertation–the analysis of Froehlichkeit (cheerfulness) in his music, and so it went.
Dear Miss, recently in Vienna, I happened upon a billboard announcing a concert by Herr Haydn.
It read, “to purchase tickets to the concert, with works and to be conducted by Herr Josef Haydn on the pianoforte, proceed to Herr Haydn’s domicile in the suburb of Gumpendorf in the Untere Steingasse, and Herr Haydn will himself sell you tickets for it.”
Herr Haibl continued animatedly, “This I did, dear Fraeulein Weber, and it was also indeed a pleasure to be able to present Herr Haydn with a copy of my doctoral dissertation, which I also dedicated to him.”
“Herr Haibl”, I said, “I have had the pleasure of working several times with Herr Haydn.
He is a lovely and congenial gentleman.”
“Yes, indeed he is,” Herr Haibl continued.
“As well as Herr Haydn, your esteemed brother-in-law, Herr Mozart, is my model and my hero.
I admire his music tremendously.
My dear Fraeulein Weber; the hours grows late.
I believe that reluctantly, I shall have to escort you back to the inn.”
And so Herr Haibl and I passed a most enjoyable afternoon in each other’s company.
Ever yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

An Encounter with Mozart Pere and with Mama:

My Dears,
This day, Herr Haibl called on Mama and me at our Gasthaus zur Goldenen Ente (The Golden Duck Inn).
Shortly afterwards, Herr and Frau Mozart and Nannerl made their appearance at the inn, for we were then to sup with them all together at our inn. So it was that Herr Leopold Mozart and Herr Jakob Haibl were introduced to one another:
“I am so honored, Herr Mozart, “to make your acquaintance. I have had the honor of hearing you play and, as well as your esteemed self, I so admire the compositions and the virtuosity of your son, Herr Wolfgang Amade Mozart.”
Herr Haibl was invited to join us at table.
At one point during super, Herr Haibl’s hand lingered for some time on mine, and when he saw Mama and Herr Mozart gazing upon this, he hastily withdrew his hand from mine.
After super, Herr Haibl returned to his own inn, The White Horse, on the other side of the lane.
Herr Mozart then spoke to Mama:
“Frau Weber, I chanced to see that your daughter and Herr Haibl have a great liking for each other.
I noticed the loving glances that they both exchanged.
I believe that ere long, you shall have no more unmarried daughters at home, Frau Weber!”, he chuckled, winked, and continued, “Herr Haibl seems to me a fine young man. Have you been preoccupied as yet with a suitable dowry, Frau Weber?”
Mama had a flustered look of embarrassment on her face. She turned beet red.
“Oh Herr Mozart. I know that my daughter and Herr Haibl are no more than like brother and sister!
Herr Mozart, Herr Haibl has a wife in Cologne.
They do not live as man and wife, but Herr Haibl is not a bachelor.”
Later, in our room at the inn, Mama tore with her piercing words and almost piercing screams into me:
“Sophie!! Sophie!! For shame!! What has become of you!! A married man!! How could you do this to your mother!! After all that I have done and sacrificed for so many long years for you!!!
I shall tell you this, my girl: If you so much as become with child, I shall throw you out into the street. I shall!! I shall!! You mark my words,” Mama sneered angrily. She went on, “And what would your dear, departed Papa say?? He would be horrified!”
“Oh no, Mama. Papa would most assuredly not. Papa was very wise and kind. He would be very happy for me, and understanding, if I should bear a child without a husband. Papa would accept me with open arms, and help me to raise my child were I deprived of the company of Herr Haibl.
But Mama, do not excite yourself so.
It is all in vain.
Herr Haibl and I are like brother and sister.
That is all it is! A dear, close friendship.
Do not alarm yourself, dear Mama.
I would not let myself become attached romantically to a man whom I could not take as my beloved husband.”
My dears, I had to bend the truth somewhat.
Do forgive me.
I do not like to tell a white lie, as I am an honest, sincere person. Please do not tell Mama my secret–that I love Herr Haibl with all my heart and soul, and I believe, he loves me as well.
Mama continued her rant, made the more strong and the longer by all the copious wine she had imbibed at supper.
(Mama loves wine; I can tolerate it myself, but I do not drink it very often and then, sparingly.)
Mama raved, “You young people!! What has gotten into this generation! In my day…my day….we did not…did not……Well, at least, we were never without a chaperone, until the nuptials.
Sophie, this man is charming and good. I am exceedingly fond of him. He is also in the same profession, music, as many of our relations and my dear, departed husband and your father, Fridolin–and I can see that he is a kind and considerate gentleman. But, Sophie, do not be dragged down to the depths by a man who is already with wife!!”
“I will not, Mama,” I answered.
Herr Haibl and I, as brother and sister, love to spend time in each other’s company.”
Well, the day was lovely, but the night ended on a less even note. Still, tomorrow is a new day, and I shall perhaps think in the morning, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.”
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Herr Meinke-Haibl:

Sankt Gilgen,
den 30. Juli

My Dears,
This morning, I awoke with the dawn and hastened downstairs to breakfast at our inn.
Herr Haibl soon joined me there.
Mama was in bed the entire morning and part of the afternoon, still sleeping off the enormous quantities of wine she had imbibed last night at supper.
In the fresh morning dew, Herr Haibl and I joined hands and walked briskly down the narrow cobblestone streets of Saint Gilgen, each street revealing to us a new vista to discover and explore together.
As we strolled along, I mentioned to Herr Haibl, “I wrote to my friend, Marianne Mozartin of Bayreuth, formerly of Augsburg–the niece of Herr Leopold Mozart–that I made the acquaintance of you, dear Herr Haibl, and that you had had your books bound in her father’s shop in Augsburg, and she referred to you as Herr Meinke-Haibl. Does that name not have a distinguished ring to it?”
Herr Haibl laughed softly.
“Herr Meinke-Haibl!” He smiled and shook his head. “I do not know,” he mused. “It does stop one in one’s tracks……”
After some silence, Herr Haibl spoke again.
“You know, dear Fraeulein Weber, I do like the sound……’Meinke-Haibl’! Yes, indeed, and it honors my dear stepfather, Meinhard Meinke, as well, who loved and raised me as his own son. Yes, and it is an oxymoron–a fusion of opposites, as it were–the Prussian and the Austrian.”
He gently laughed again, and continued, “I would not normally think of this, but I am and was, after all, an actor and musician, and who can forget the name ‘Meinke-Haibl’ on a billboard!”
Herr Haibl went on, “Yes, your friend, Fraeulein Mozartin, is quite right! ‘Meinke-Haibl’. So shall I write and speak my name.
My dear Fraeulein Weber, after the conclusion of the war between Prussia and France, I made my way back to the German lands, making a detour in Vienna. I looked high and low for my birth father, Alois Haibl, but could alas find no hide nor Herr (hair), and no other Haibls in Vienna. So I ended up for a time a player on the stage in Frankfurt am Main–perhaps because I have acting in my blood. And, dear Miss, just recently I met and got to know my birth father in Vienna. His old troupe had been disbanded, and he acts now in Emanuel Schickaneder’s theater. You know, he knew nothing of my dear mother’s pregnancy or of my existence. She had never told him.”
“Oh Herr Meinke-Haibl. What a lot of news for you to bear!”
He grinned and nodded, showing the dimples on both sides of his face.
“Yes, dear Miss. Such is life.”
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Herr Meinke-Haibl and My Papa:

Dearest Marianne,
“My goodness! Each new day brings news about your Herr Meinke-Haibl, revealing even more
secrets. Do you not feel dizzy yet? I am wondering which surprises are coming next.
Anyway, I am happy for you, wishing you both well with all my heart!”
Thank you so much for your kind wishes, Marianne!
Haha!! Oh yes, I should carry around with me a snuff box and smelling salts as Mama sometimes does, and I should have had them in the Mirabell Gardens and at the lake, when Herr Meinke-Haibl practically knocked my breeches off with his revelations!
Oh oh….Marianne, I did not mean for that to sound so…literal…..although on one magical afternoon in the music room at our inn in Salzburg….Herr Meinke-Haibl did, as it were, gently knock my breeches off.
I shall always remember that experience.
“In the foreground, I do recognize the Franziskanerkirche where not too many
weeks ago, Herr Feigele and I together attended the High Mass on Sunday. Herr Feigele, my
dear, has been in love with me for ages, and it is only these days that he has finally lost
his lifelong shyness and told me about his feelings. Do not men always keep surprising us,
dear Sophie?”
Oh, dear Marianne, I am so happy for you!
Oh yes, indeed, they keep surprising us, but I know this rather from the novels that I have read, such as “The Sorrows of Young Werther” and not so much from life, except for Herr Meinke-Haibl.
My intuition tells me that it is an excellent sign of Herr Feigele’s constancy that he has loved you for ages! There must be something precious and endearing about a true friendship that has stood the test of time.
Marianne, Herr Meinke-Haibl’s name sounds so distingue hyphenated.
I should speak to him about permanently spelling it thus.
And, yes, I am also wondering what surprise he is going to spring on me next–pray that there are not one or more little Meinke-Haibls running around somewhere in our vast German-Austrian states.
Though I trust Herr Meinke-Haibl, and believe that constancy is one of his virtues.
Marianne, do tell me all about Herr Feigele!
I am all ears! I want to know when and where you met him, and what manner of man he is. What is also his trade or profession?
Oh…Josepha’s husband is not the right one for her? I am so sorry to hear that!! I hope they still will be happy together, and that Josepha will find domestic happiness with the right partner.
“And I am still getting very angry thinking of the poor men forced under the
inhuman catholic church laws of chastity and celibacy. In my eyes, this is nothing but
terror. Pure terror in order to maintain the church’s power over its own priests and
clergymen. Basta. And in this regard I am happy to have brought at least some real fun to
Baron von Reibeld. He deserved it, as did everyone else, too.”
Oh, I so agree with you, Marianne!
If only the Reformation in some respects would come to us Catholics too!
Protestant clergymen are permitted to take a wife and beget children, as are clergymen from many other religions, I hear.
I pray that these Church laws can and will be changed, enabling priests also to marry.
That will not take away their religious devotion or calling or lessen it.
Is it not difficult for a priest to advise a husband and a wife on domestic matters when he himself has no experience of married life?
And the Church should not demand chastity of priests…..However, just in contemplating the problem, I come across stumbling blocks. What are nuns to do?
Women’s bodies are made for the procreation of children.
I know the solution, Marianne! Nuns also should be allowed to marry–as should priests!
Marianne, I wish that you and Franz von Reibeld would have been permitted to marry!
Yes, poor Franz! He never got the chance to choose!
One good thing….he found you, and you brought happiness to his life, and a lovely daughter.
“How come Herr Meinke-Haibl had his dissertation bound in Augsburg, of all places? And
when? Perhaps I even met him there.”
Perhaps you did, Marianne!
Would not that be funny!
Well I described him to you.
He is one year older than myself, with a stocky build, about five feet, seven inches tall (I do not have the correct metric measurements) and very striking-looking.
Herr Meinke-Haibl has large sky blue eyes, rather sunken, and a rather large proboscis, very similar to your cousin Wolfgang’s mother’s family noses, and dimples when he smiles.
I find him very distinguished and rather unusual- looking.
And it is so strange; this has never happened to me before, Marianne. I saw Herr Meinke-Haibl in the coach that day, and for me, it was love at first sight–le coup de foudre!
I could sense right away that he felt something special for me too.
Well, after that, I got to know Herr Meinke-Haibl better, and my partiality and infatuation deepened into true love…….
What was Herr Meinke-Haibl doing in Augsburg?
Well, Marianne, I asked him that question, and he recounted to me that one of his sisters had married a tradesman from Augsburg, and so he spent time there visiting his sister, Hella Maria, and her husband, Franz, as well as all his nephews and nieces.
Herr Meinke-Haibl’s brother-in-law owns a general store for horses in Augsburg, called “Zum Goldenen Pferd” (“At The Golden Horse’s”).
There are for sale all kinds of items related to horses, he told me: feed, saddles, bridles, brushes, blankets, and the like.
Dear Marianne, Herr Meinke-Haibl said that he still plans to return to Augsburg to visit Hella Maria and her family, and to seek out the book-binding shop once owned by your father, only to pay a sentimental visit at the shop.
Most likely, he shall have his books bound at your cousin, Michael’s, shop, he said.
“Dear Sophie, I wish you to enjoy some more wonderful time in Salzburg. Is not the weather
simply lovely these days? But be aware of thunderstorms. They can be very dangerous in
the Alps! And heavy even down there in “Saltcastle”.
Thank you so much for letting me know this, Marianne!
I am happy to say that at the moment, the weather is sunny and not too warm, but there have been a few thunderstorms of late in the middle of the day.
But, you know, this is a place I like to be when it rains–here in Saint Gilgen or in Salzburg.
I love looking out the inn window at the alpine scenery!
Your friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

At The Inn:

Sankt Gilgen,
den 1. August

My Dears,
Here it is raining again in a steady downpour.
Mama and I are thus ensconced in our cozy bedchamber at the inn. We are busying ourselves, however.
Before the rain started, we walked down the narrow street to a cloth shop, and each selected material to sew a frock.
I selected a pale green damask fabric, and Mama, a cotton cloth of burgundy color.
Green is my favorite color, and it reminds me of the beauty of nature, and of springtime and summer.
You see, we have realized that the journey shall be longer than anticipated; we had not planned on being away from home for so long, and we have not taken with us enough clothes for the whole journey. We do have two silk dress frocks each, in case we shall attend a concert or an evening’s entertainment.
Now we sit, busily sewing in our room (and I at the moment, writing)–with a fire burning in the fireplace, as there is a sudden chill in the air–although we are in the month of August.
There are three wooden chairs in our room here, so we can use our bedchamber as a temporary sitting room.
And earlier today, that is precisely what we have done.
Mama and I welcomed to our bedchamber Herr Meinke-Haibl–It is quite all right, since Mama acted as chaperone and both she and I sat sewing on our frocks. It would even be proper, I suppose, to sit on our large, comfy feather beds, with the large white puffed-up comforters and generous large plumped-up white pillows.
While we sewed, Herr Meinke-Haibl read aloud to us from a book of poetry by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Later, Herr Meinke-Haibl returned to his own inn, “The White Horse”, across the lane, where there is a music room, for he has started to compose an opera, and he sometimes busies himself with it.
When Mama’s elder sister died, Mama received a small sum of money from her estate–tis not really an estate–which has enabled us to make this trip to Mannheim and beyond.
And luckily for us, the money stretches and goes a long way.
The inns and the food along our journey are not expensive, nor are the coaches.
I suspect that there shall still be money left over when we return to Vienna.
And in Mannheim, we shall stay with Mama’s sister, Juliane and her family, which consists of her husband, Rudolf, three grown children and their spouses, and one grandchild, a beautiful boy named Lukas, who is almost three years of age–not to mention the horses, two dogs, and all the other farm animals……Rudolf has a Bauernhof (a farm) in Mannheim.
Well, I had better get back to the sewing of my frock. I will be so happy to wear it, as I love the beautiful green color!
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

An Upcoming Stop:

Sankt Gilgen,
den 4. August

My Dears,
Just a short note. I do hope that you are enjoying your Sunday, and equally are blessed with fine weather for this Sabbath day.
I must go forthwith with Mama to Mass.
We were last week discussing changes we hope will sooner or later come to the Church, and one of these is that I do hope that later on, we shall be able to have the Mass in our native tongue.
I learned the Latin Mass from the nuns in catechism classes as a child, but I do not speak Latin fluently at all; I know just the bare essentials of “Church Latin”–and that being only by osmosis, having heard the Mass over and over again all my life.
So I believe that I know the whole Latin Mass by heart–just by exposure.
But it would mean more, I feel, to really understand what the priest is intoning……
Also, I have very good news: Herr Meinke-Haibl has asked me last evening if Mama and I might make a slight detour in our journey to Mannheim and Bayreuth to Murnau on the Staffel Lake, in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps.
When setting off in the direction of Munich, we would first reach Murnau, so it is only natural that we should stop a while there and enjoy the delightful alpine surroundings.
This morning, Mama has given her permission!
We shall find an inn there upon our arrival in Murnau.
But, my dears, I am in no hurry to leave Saint Gilgen or Salzburg, and do not yet know when we shall do so.
My heart will be heavy when it is time to depart, for this region is the beloved place of my heart.
I hope someday to live here, and it would be wonderful if my dear sister, Constanze, would also live here with me, as we have been best friends and close companions since our childhood.
Herr Meinke-Haibl is making a sentimental stop in Murnau, as his first appointment upon receiving his University degree was as tutor at the estate of the duke and duchess of Villmar-Seelbach in Murnau.
That is all for now, my dears.
Mama is calling….and I must hurry and get ready to depart for Mass.
As ever,
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

The Church Bells Are Ringing:

Sankt Gilgen,
den 4. August

My Dears,
We had such fun and amusement yesterday afternoon and evening!
The daughter of Frau Maria Anna Mozart’s closest childhood friend was married in church here in Saint Gilgen, and all our party was invited to the nuptials and to the celebration afterwards on the village square!
Frau Mozart had introduced us to the mother of the bride, who told us that everyone was to be attired rustically. And you know what! She said that I am the same size as her daughter, and she lent me a dirndl for the occasion!
(a peasant dress with a short white blouse, which covers the low bodice of the brightly colored dress, fastened at the front, and topped by a festive waist apron of another color)
I do have several dirndls at home in Vienna, and I love wearing them! This particular one lent to me was of various soft red, white and blue colors.
It was so charming to see the tiny flower girls with the garlands of bouquets leading the bridal procession into the church.
The organist is a fine player.
After the ceremony, we all made haste to the village square, where the entire village of Saint Gilgen was served food and drink, and yodelers entertained us with their skillful art.
Then the dancing began, the band being the same amateur musicians whom we played with on our first evening in Saint Gilgen.
Herr Leopold Mozart also joined the players in several joyous tunes on the violin.
We all danced minuettes, quadrilles, jigs, reels, and polkas–what fun!!
Do you know, Wolfgang, what a figure your dear father cuts on the dance floor!
He quite bowled me over; he has such energy and polish on the dance floor.
I mostly had Herr Meinke-Haibl as my dance partner, but we also sometimes danced with others.
I danced several dances with Herr Leopold Mozart.
Wolfgang, what a sly flirt your Papa is!
I felt several times his hands on my backside, and I hastily pulled away, and his hand did also squeeze mine several times.
But all in all, he is such a smooth dancer, and I felt so comfortable dancing as his partner.
The set dances were so much fun, and I could not stop smiling all evening.
Now the bride and bridegroom are off to Salzburg on their honeymoon, and my congratulations and very best wishes to them.
Ever yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

We Are Come To Murnau, Bavaria!

Murnau,
Kingdom of Bavaria

Well, my dears, it was time to say farewell for now from this magical region of Salzburg and the Salzkammergut.
We all journeyed by coach back to Salzburg, and bade fond farewells to the Mozarts, and promised that on our return journey to Vienna, we would call on them again.
Herr Meinke-Haibl, Mama, and myself took a coach shortly after daybreak bound for the alpine foothills of the kingdom of Bavaria.
As I looked through the coach window at the scenery of my beloved Salzburg, which was rapidly fading from my view and receding altogether, my eyes welled with tears.
“I shall before long be back,” I thought, comforting myself.
We journeyed the whole day, stopping for a midday meal at a tavern in the mountain town of Fuessen.
Through the coach window, I marveled at the wondrous sights I beheld–vista after green vista nestled with cozy hamlets and scattered cottages and dotted with grazing sheep.
In several hours, we finally happened upon the town of Murnau on the Staffel Lake–indeed the jewel of Upper Bavaria.
In the center of town, we happened upon the picturesque Gasthaus zur Goldenen Rose (Golden Rose Inn). Not only were there gold-colored roses in pots in all the windowsills, but also roses of every color imaginable, and also such beautiful, blooming rose bushes along the path leading up to the olde inn door.
Mama and I are sharing a room, and Herr Meinke-Haibl obtained another room, but he unfortunately has to share it with two other gentleman, as the inn is full at present.
We partook of a meal of venison and potatoes downstairs in the inn tavern, and then strolled the gabled lanes outside, where it was still light, to breathe in and take in the wondrous mountain air and scenery.
We relaxed in the warm glow of twilight, here where we feel safe and sheltered from the cares of the world.
The following morning bright and early, after breakfasting downstairs in the tavern, we all took a foot path to the Auweg (meadow lane)–a sort of wide, green clearing surrounded on all sides by the magestic Zugspitze Alps.
Here and there are cottages scattered about, with deep, moss-covered roofs and sides, and a profusion of flowers spouting everywhere–especially from the windowsills.
A look at the wide, open, green vista revealed groups of sheep lazily grazing.
In one of these cottages, Herr Meinke-Haibl explained to Mama and me, he used to reside while in the Duke of Villmar-Seelbach’s employ.
“My dear Frau Weber and Fraeulein Weber”, Herr Meinke-Haibl beckoned to us, “It is but a very short distance to the Duke’s estate. Let us proceed there, and see if he and the Duchess are at home.”
The Duke’s son is at present at the University, and his daughter is now married.
Herr Meinke-Haibl had been their tutor for music–the pianoforte–and in German, Latin, Italian, French, English………and geography.
Soon we arrived at the gravel path of the imposing baroque edifice.
A manservant answered the door, and ushered us into the elegant, high-ceilinged salon, where the Duke of Villmar-Seelbach, a tall, distinguished-looking gentleman, wigged and with silk breeches, greeted us.
“Ach, Du lieber Gott–mein lieber Herr Maestro Doktor Meinke Haibl!”, exclaimed the Duke of Villmar-Seelbach, smiling.
Herr Meinke-Haibl bowed, and Mama and I courtseyed.
Herr Meinke-Haibl presented us to the Duke.
“Oh, Your Excellency,” added Herr Meinke-Haibl, “Please: Just ‘Herr Meinke-Haibl’. Except when there is otherwise no Doktor in the house,” he laughed.
“Delighted to see you, dear friend,” the Duke answered. “The children are well. And the Duchess unfortunately is not here to greet you. She is at present taking the waters at Marienbad.”
“But,” exclaimed Herr Meinke-Haibl, “You have natural mineral springs right here in Murnau. Why journey to Marienbad?”
“Well, you know,” the Duke replied, “The mineral waters and springs are always hotter and more bubbly on the other side of the street.”
We then adjourned to the garden room, and a maidservant served us hot tea and Broetchen (rolls) with sweet butter and orange marmalade, after which the Duke accompanied us on a tour of his magnificent gardens, fashioned in the wild English style, as in nature.
Thereupon we bade our adieus to the Duke, a very hospitable man, and made our way back to the inn “Zur Goldenen Rose.”
I am writing now at a table in our bedroom, and I shall shortly blow out the candle, and so to bed.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Frau Maria Anna Mozart’s Background:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 5. August

My Dears,

At the wedding celebration in Saint Gilgen several days ago, I had a long conversation with your dear Mama, Wolfgang.
She told me something of her background–that she was actually raised in Salzburg.
Frau Mozart told me that some of her earlier relatives had been musicians, and that she was the daughter of the Mayor of Saint Gilgen.
Frau Mozart lost her father when she was but four years of age, and at that time, the family had to move back to Salzburg.
And, you know, when she mentioned to me that they moved into the Getreidegasse–well, I could easily guess how your dear Papa later made her acquaintance.
Maria Anna was practically the girl next door!
(Her best childhood friend later moved to Saint Gilgen: hence, the wedding celebration we all attended there.)
Postscript:
Oh, I must have left out something–namely, that your dear Papa, Wolfgang, had as a young man and a bachelor also set up housekeeping in the Getreidegasse, so that it was only natural that he and your Mama would meet….and fall in love.
There were surely practical matters, but I am a firm romantic–haha–a contradiction of words, to be sure…….
I can easily see that your dear Mama would have been smitten with Herr Leopold Mozart.
He is indeed a commanding presence, and has a mixture of authority and charm in his person, I find.
Ever yours,
Sophie, nee Weber

About Certain Gentlemen:
Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 6. August

Dearest Marianne,
I am so happy to hear from you!
I must say that the coach ride was mostly comfortable, but during long stretches after crossing the Bavarian frontier, the condition of these mountain roads is indeed deplorable–with ruts and rocks–not fit for horses or men to tread upon. And all the steep curves!
I fancied to look down below the side of the mountain.
I could envisage an accident where the horses would stumble and we would tumble down the mountainside.
(Though the coachmen are very skilled and experienced, and I believe we have nothing to fear……)
So during the last stage of our journey, the coach lurched and shook back and forth, as the coachmen tried to avoid an accident with the horses.
During these times, I do admit that I became dizzy, as did Mama.
But, dear Marianne, Murnau is a civilized township, and as we approached the town gates, there were no further bumps in the road, I am happy to say.

“> …I’m wondering …
Yes, I am in fact wondering. What kind of hieroglyphs are these, for heaven’s sake? Is
this a new code after all?”

Marianne, I am wondering myself what on earth that can be. I did not write that. Can it be that my quill had too much ink on it and was leaking?

Oh, Marianne; I am so happy for you, and for Karl. What joy that you have found each other once again.
Oh, it is so nice that he loves to laugh! Forgive me, but so does Herr Meinke-Haibl! He also has a good, kind heart.
“You are so lucky, my dear, a blessed girl indeed! For this happens only once in a
lifetime, does it not? I count myself lucky, too, to have experienced this magic as well –
on October 11, 1777, on a Saturday evening when Wolfgang had arrived in Augsburg and was
ringing our door bell – a day, a moment I will never forget.”
Oh, Marianne; you are so right. This incredible, indescribable feeling happens only once in a lifetime. I am very sorry that it was not meant to be for you and Wolfgang–but if it were, you would not have your beloved daughter, Josepha, and would not have known Herr Baron Reibel nor your dear Karl……
And is it not funny; I also remember that exact date it happened to me: the seventh of July in this year of our Lord.
Dear Marianne; yes, Mama is also well, and things are going well for me and–may I call Herr Meinke-Haibl this?–my darling. During last few days, there has been no rain here in the Upper Bavarian foothills, but the weather has been extremely hot and muggy, so that one wishes to—hush—-remove all one’s garments and jump into the cool waters of Lake Staffel.
Marianne, we shall have to be on our guard in case there should be a continual downpour, as a branch of the river runs by our inn.
But I love the bucolic quality of the meandering stream close at hand, and the gurgling of the brook. The sight invites such repose.
Bis spaeter, Marianne (Until later, Marianne),
Yours affectionately,
Sophie

Happenings at the Inn in Murnau:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 7. August

My Dears,
We have spent a lazy, languorous day here in the foothills of the Zugspitze, in Murnau am Staffelsee.
We are not undertaking very much, and are becoming accustomed to the higher altitude, but are still feeling more fatigued than is usual.
Last night at table, Mama once more kept calling over the barmaid again and again to refill her wine glass.
This day, Mama first appeared downstairs during our midday meal.
Before that, Herr Meinke-Haibl expressed concern for Mama:
“Your Frau Mama seems to have a great fondness for and problem with drink.”
“It might just be the journey,” I blushed. “At home, Mama does enjoy wine much more than we other Webers, but not usually to excess.”
“My dear Miss, I hope that is the case. As a student at the University, I made ends meet by serving drinks at a nearby tavern. Some of our patrons did stick to the drink like flies to honey. Ach, almost impossible to extract from the premises at closing time.”
Herr Meinke-Haibl seemed pensive, lost in thought, and he shook his head and laughed softly.
“Dear Herr Meinke-Haibl,” I exclaimed. “I wish you could have known my dear Papa……when my family was all together, in Mannheim. And Papa was so different from Mama….”
My voice trailed off as I struggled to hold back the tears.
Herr Meinke-Haibl took my hand and held it for awhile.
Impulsively, I leaned my head against his chest and buried it there, and he held me close to him, enfolding me comfortingly in his broad arms.
Later on, I felt so ashamed for a moment, afraid that Mama’s behavior would alienate Herr Meinke-Haibl’s affections toward me.
Then I thought that it matters little, for he is alas already married–but only on parchment.
And then I relaxed and breathed easier.
And the ardor in Herr Meinke-Haibl’s large, sky-blue eyes burns as brightly as before.
Finally, I knew that I had to tell Herr Meinke-Haibl the truth: “You are right. Mama does have a problem.”
“I know, dear,” he answered.
I continued, “And whenever I point out to Mama that she likes the wine far too much, she denies it most vigorously. Papa did not call her ‘The General’ for nothing!”
Here in Murnau, we often encounter native gentlemen attired in dark green jackets and like-colored hats topped by a feather, instead of the usual tricorn.
Completing their dress are short breeches and suspenders, called Lederhosen (leather trousers).
The gentlemen seem often to congregate together in groups, talking in their native Bavarian dialect and often smoking their long water pipes and cob pipes, made of corn.
The Murnauer men I see, sitting in the taverns and out of doors at tables set up in front of these taverns, are of various ages.
The tables are called “Stammtische” (just tables where groups of friends congregate).
However, most of the men are elderly; one sees many oldtimers in these parts. They converse quietly in their soft Bavarian drawl, some reading “The Daily Gazette” and some playing at cards, chess, dice, or pinochle.
At our inn “Zur Goldenen Rose” (At The Golden Rose), the large wooden sign swinging in the breeze hanging high above the olde inn door–with the picture of the lovely golden rose–is enchanting.
Also, the large pretzel cut-out hung high outside the Murnau bakery shoppe is most charming and quaint.
Yes, our epoche is a “quaint age”–but the wooden signs atop the doors of some establishments are especially quaint……
I feel particularly here that we are in foreign parts.
Mama and all of us Weber girls still have our Mannheimer accents, and the townfolk here know we are not from these parts.
They do speak standard German with us, with their Bavarian accents.
I have lived for some time in Vienna, and likewise there, when the Viennese are speaking their native dialect, a Mannheimer cannot comprehend the discourse.
I have learned some Viennese vocabulary, and generally also speak standard German with them,
Here, when the Murnauers speak Bavarian among themselves, I quite feel like I am in a foreign country!
One feels excluded, an outsider.
However, this evening in the tavern, we played cards and conversed with several elderly Murnauer gentlemen, and then Herr Meinke-Haibl played several rounds of billiards with them.
Mama started to order more wine, but I quickly pulled her away and took her arm, leading her up to our room upstairs.
I then briefly returned downstairs and curtsied to Herr Meinke-Haibl and the gentlemen, wishing them–and now all of you–a good night!
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Down By The Olde Mill Stream:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 8. August

My Dears,
We are extremely fortunate for our inn “Zur Goldenen Rose” (At The Golden Rose) to be situated on a tributary of Lake Staffel.
After all this time, Mama and I really needed to “air our dirty laundry”–haha!
No, no; not literally, but we did need to wash our clothes. The inn is simply crawling with visitors, so there was no luck in hiring manservants to do the job, but the innkeeper did loan us one maidservant to assist us with our laundry.
And because of the river right outside our doorstep, we need not fetch and carry water all the way from the village well in the main square.
Kristl, the maid, helped Mama and me to carry all our laundry across to the river, where several other womenfolk were gathered, busy at the same task. The villagers chatted and laughed as they worked.
With Kristl’s help, it took us little more than an hour for all our work to be completed, but then Mama, still tipsy from last night, took a tumble into the flowing Staffelsee.
Quickly, I jumped into the water, grabbed her, and pushed her to safely, keeping her head above water.
The day had been so hot and humid, and the sudden rush and chilly refreshment of the water invigorated me.
I suddenly thought of the many times I had spent as a child with Papa and Constanze, boating on the river in Mannheim. Papa had also taught us to swim on the riverbank, in case we should ever fall into the water–and to this day, I love to swim, but seldom, if ever now, get the opportunity for it……….
Another thing, as we have been discussing wardrobe, I hate to lace up my stays tightly; it is so restrictive for movement and comfort, and is in addition cumbersome.
I must say that on this journey, I lace up my petticoat very loosely. I am slender anyway, and one cannot discern any difference.
Sometimes–oh, this is wicked–I do not wear my stays at all–but again, no one can tell.
Oh, how I would love to go swimming in these warm Bavarian spring waters, to have the freedom to fully move my body, and with the lightness of the way God made me.
Yes, as Eve and Adam would I love to take the waters; I love to exercise and move in it.
It feels invigorating and strengthens me to swim………
Kristl then assisted Mama and me in bringing our clothing to some lines in back of the inn where we hung them out to dry.
It is now several hours later, and I am now back at my desk, my dears.
I see from my bedroom window the orange round ball of the sun quickly disappear beyond the mountain.
I feel so happy and peaceful.
When Mama was playing cards with some townfolk in the tavern, I conversed with Herr Meinke-Haibl, and he brightened to the idea of taking the waters.
Herr Meinke-Haibl and I followed the bend in the river from outside the inn to where the river was surrounded on all sides by a thick green foliage.
In the pristine clearing, we were quite alone.
I felt so bold and wicked; the scene was so idyllic and beautiful.
Birds flew overhead and chirped and twittered softly from the tree branches.
Herr Meinke-Haibl and I started to remove our garments and ended up shedding all this excess covering.
We swam and swam and frolicked in the warm streams–it seems, forever.
We were both suspended in time.
I later let Herr Meinke-Haibl embrace me–but I must be careful; I cannot permit myself to become with child.
Still, as I look out my bedroom window, the soft glow of the sunset reflects the happy glow in my heart…..what a happy day.
Ever yours,
Sophie, nee Weber

My Family Background:

My Dears,

We shall leave Murnau soon for Munich; I cannot say yet precisely when, but when I can, I shall send you some more portraits of this lovely region of Murnau and the Staffelsee.
From Murnau, Mama, Herr Meinke-Haibl, and I shall take the coach to Munich. There, we shall stay in an inn which I know–not far from our old house there and from the Imperial Court Theater, where Papa worked as a musician, singer, and prompter, and my second oldest sister, Aloysia, was engaged as a soprano.
We shall be reunited with old friends, the court musicians from Mannheim, there.
You see, when the old elector of Bavaria passed away, the heir to the throne was our elector in Mannheim, and he chose to reside in the most prestigious of his kingdoms–namely, in Munich.
So all the court musicians, including my Papa, and naturally all of us Webers–moved to Munich.
We had there a more comfortable life too than we had had in our house in Mannheim, due to the combination of Aloisia’s earnings as a singer and Papa’s larger salary.
In Mannheim, we unfortunately had fallen on hard times.
Papa had had a good position as the Bailiff in Zell, but then Baron Schoenau cheated him and used Papa as a scapegoat, and we all had to flee to Mannheim.
Papa later sued the Baron, but the settlement was small.
Papa had a position as singer (bass), violinist, and prompter at the Mannheim Court Orchestra, but the pay was small, and Papa had to also work on his own as a music copyist to make ends meet, which is how he originally met Wolfgang, when Wolfgang was en route to Paris with his dear mother.
Wolfgang had some music copied by Papa, and they struck up a close friendship.
Thereafter, Wolfgang was a frequent visitor in our home, almost like one of the family.
He spent that winter in Mannheim.
Well, anyway, in Munich we were reunited with Wolfgang the following year, on his way back from Paris. His poor, dear Mama had passed away in Paris, and is buried there.
I also made the acquaintance of my friend, Marianne Mozartin, Wolfgang’s cousin from Augsburg, in the company of Wolfgang, in Munich……
We spent more than a year in Munich, but then something very unfortunate happened to my sister, Aloysia.
She had secured her position as Court singer by…..well, the Court Music Director had courted her most fiercely, and he made her give in to his advances. She felt that she had to in order to become a singer at court; she said that is how, unfortunately all the sopranos have secured their employ.
Aloysia, however, does have a beautiful voice, and I regret these kinds of situations…… Papa was very upset about it, but Mama was resigned.
But after a season in Munich, this court director took another singer to his bed, and my sister Aloyia was dismissed, but given a better position at the Imperial Theater in Vienna–which is how we came to move to Vienna.
But barely a month after we arrived there, Papa suddenly died………..Well, enough of reminiscing for now.
The day beckons, and Mama is calling me.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Mozart and My Papa:

My Dears,
I have a few moments more, and I wanted to add that Wolfgang Mozart and my Papa were very fond of each other. They had one great thing in common: their unjust treatment at the hands of their aristocratic employers.
They both commiserated very much with each other because of this.
The Archbishop of Salzburg was the thorn in Mozart’s side, much as Baron Schoenau was my Papa’s nemesis.
The Baron’s father had also been my grandfather’s nemesis:
The exact same thing had happened to my Papa’s father. But in his case, the settlement he received from the injustices had been greater.
So Mozart and my Papa talked a lot about this and many other things, and got to know one another, and become close friends.
Papa often invited Mozart to come dine at our home, to come spend the evening there, and so we all often enjoyed Wolfgang’s company.
I used to laugh and play on the floor with Wolfgang. (I was still a child in those days.)
Wolfgang made merry with us, and regaled us with his jokes and mirth.
Wolfgang also gave my sister, Aloysia, lessons on the pianoforte, which she also plays very well, and accompanied her when she sang his arias for him.
Ever yours,
Sophie, nee Weber

A Day on the Heath and the Heather:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 10. August

My Dears,
You shall never guess what Herr Meinke-Haibl and I have just successfully undertaken……..no; no thoughts “in the gutter”, please, bitte.
Nothing like that, I assure you.
We have been out horseback riding.
How would such a thing come about, when we have no horses of our own in these parts?
Well, the innkeeper, old Herr Posaunenblaser, is suffering at the moment from gout, and his two horse caretakers are also suffering from broken limbs.
Herr Meinke-Haibl knows Herr Posaunenblaser well from his days as tutor to the Duke of Villmar-Seelbach’s children.
Herr Posaunenblaser and his elderly spouse, Frau Bertha Posaunenblaser, were like second parents to Herr Meinke-Haibl.
He used to drop in at the inn sometimes after a hard day of work tutoring the Duke’s children, and drink a pint of ale in a stein, converse, play cards, and pour out his heart to the two sympathetic married folk.
They are old and trusted friends.
So Herr Posaunenblaser has entrusted Herr Meinke-Haibl and me to the exercising of his two horses, a spotted mare and a grey gelding.
He is paying us a pretty florin too, of which I rejoice, for that means we shall later on be able to attend the theater and some concerts in Munich.
I’m also most certain that our old friends will let us attend gratis the performances at the Court Theater, where Papa was formerly employed.
When I was a child, Papa taught me to ride on horseback, but not sidesaddle, as aristocratic maidens do, but solidly with both feet planted firmly in the stirrups.
Papa said that this manner affords the safest and securest ride, as gripping the horse’s side securely with both feet and holding the reins, we cannot very easily accidentally topple from the horse.
My undergarment and frock are certainly wide enough to allow me to ride thus.
Herr Meinke-Haibl and I were free in the vast green expanse of mountain and plain. It felt wonderful to let ourselves go and just ride.
We headed out to the Murnauer Moss (moss, grasslands, marshland)–a huge expanse of land on the Duke of Villmar-Seelbach’s estate.
Practically the whole of the land belongs to the Duke, but, as Herr Meinke-Haibl explained it, the Duke is a free thinker and libertine, and his hero is Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
The Duke’s animals and livestock are quartered on another section of his land, so he has granted the peasants and all who care to to have free access to his land to drive their sleep and cattle to and from the high country of the Zugspitze Alps, and for any and sundry to walk the marshlands to their heart’s content, and yes, to ride there as they wish as well.
Both of us and the horses were well-exercised at the close of the day–I am talking about only on horseback, of course.
Mama had stayed behind at the inn and was playing games of whist with Frau Posaunenblaser, the innkeeper’s wife.
And now it is time for supper, and I wish you all a good night.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Flooding in Austria:

My dearest Marianne,
It is so good to hear from you again!
As soon as I awoke bright and early this morning, I heard outside the window of our inn the town crier calling urgently over and over, “Daily Gazette! Read all about it! Worst rains in more than a century! Medieval town of Salzburg flooded! Grave concern!”
Marianne, that is all I have heard up to the present hour.
Mama and I are still up in our bedchamber, and I am writing from my desk here.
Yes; we are so very fortunate; I had so wanted to extend my stay in that delightful region of my heart, Salzburg.
And I am thinking, of course, of the Mozarts–of Frau Anna Maria Mozart, Herr Leopold Mozart, and Mademoiselle Marianna Mozart.
Are they safe and sound?
Have they escaped the great flooding?
Is their beautiful home and are their servants out of danger?
I do hope they will send word to you, to Wolfgang and Constanze, or to myself and Mama.
I am at the “Gasthaus zur Goldenen Rose” in Murnau-Seehausen in the Kingdom of Bavaria.
A post to our inn will easily find us.
I know that downstairs in the tavern, things are bustling.
I can hear the cooks and servants scurrying about–and I can imagine hearing the sound of hot coffee being brewed.
My mind is also on our beloved Salzburg and its inhabitants.
And what an enchanting town.
The things I remember the best about our sejourn by the Salzach River were strolling through the most beautiful Mirabell Gardens with dear Herr Meinke-Haibl, being in the busy market in the Universitaetsplatz with him and Mama on Market Day, and attending the assembly ball with Michael Kelly and Mama!
But I have left out the most memorable thing of all: our supper and visit at the new residence of Herr Leopold Mozart on the Hannibalplatz, on the other, the new side of the Salzach River–and the playing of music with the Mozarts.
Oh, my goodness, Marianne! I know Passau as well, and my dear Papa had friends from those parts! How horrible!
We have dear friends in Guenzburg an der Donau. How are they faring, I wonder……
Dear Mozart, my dear sister, Constanze, where are you? Yes, I pray that my sister and my brother-in-law take the utmost care to avoid going near the riverbanks in Vienna.
Vienna is our home now.
My goodness; my mind is in a whirl. I have not as yet had my morning coffee, which is the only time of day I partake of this unique beverage.
My eldest sister, Josefa, and her husband, Herr Hofer, are tending to the boarders at our home in the Petersplatz until our return.
And our three beloved dogs…..Oh, I hope that we hear from Josefa soon, and that everything will be all right. All these poor souls in the path of the torrent!
Later on this day, Mama, Herr Meinke-Haibl, and I will also go to church and light candles and pray for the rains to cease.
We shall stay quartered for a while here in Murnau, as I would not for all the tea in China want to be on those muddy mountain roads leading to Munich at this moment.
I hope, dear Marianne, that all will soon be well!
Thank you so much for your post!
Adieu for now.
As ever,
Your friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

More News from Austria and from Murnau:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 13. August
My Dears,
The mail coach is just arrived here in Murnau, and I have finally received word from my dear sister, Josefa, in Vienna, that our family there is not now in any danger, and that the banks of the Danube River are being shored up with sandbags to hopefully prevent an overflow of its banks, and to prevent the dams from bursting and flooding Vienna.
The three dogs, she writes, are all right, but confused about the change in their daily routine.
Josefa brings them several times during the day into the courtyard, where the second story acts as a roof, and they then can relieve themselves.
Mama, Herr Meinke-Haibl, and I have gone to church this evening to pray and light candles.
I read this day in the “Daily Gazette” that the roads from Salzburg to Munich are flooded with carriages seeking to flee Salzburg.
I have as yet heard nothing from Herr Leopold Mozart, Frau Maria Anna Mozart, or Mademoiselle Maria Anna Mozart. We all hope that they are safe and well, and that their home has not suffered any damage.
The roads leading from Salzburg in the direction of the kingdom of Bavaria are the worst-kept roads of all in the Habsburg Empire!
They are so uneven and usually muddy, and hidden with potholes.
The coachmen have to be extra alert to steer the horses correctly, and the bumpiness is quite uncomfortable.
When we reached the Bavarian frontier, the roads became much better and smoother, though often are still not perfect.
We were forced to content ourselves occasionally with the shaking and jaring of the carriage.
I can write no more now, dear Marianne, as Mama calls me, and we are to go downstairs at present to play a game of pinnocle with Herr Meinke-Haibl, the innkeeper, Herr Reinhold Posaunenblaser, and his spouse, Frau Bertha Posaunenblaser.
Bis spaeter (until later),
Ever yours,
Sophie, nee Weber

Portrait of Herr Meinke-Haibl:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 17. August

My Dears,
Our thoughts are on the flood-ravaged lands and people where the angry waters still rage.
Here in Murnau in Upper Bavaria, in the foothills of the Zugspitze, Bavaria’s highest mountain, it is this day sunny and warm.
Herr Meinke-Haibl–a Prussian with a father from the Habsburg Empire–has in his wardrobe some Bavarian garments, saved from the days he was a tutor in the von und zu Villmar-Seelbach household.
The Innkeeper, Herr Reinhold Posaunenblaser, has in the past to the present day been an old and trusted friend of Herr Meinke-Haibl, and so the innkeeper affords him the use of his carriage and horses.
We both have been exercising all the horses, which is good fun and exercise.
In this portrait, painted this day by Frau Posaumenblaser, our inn “Zur Goldenen Rose” (At The Golden Rose) is seen from the front side, with the profusion of roses and other beautiful flowers in the windowsills.
Is this not a lovely place to take a holiday?
As it is, we are but passersby on our route to Munich, Augsburg, to my hometown of Mannheim, and beyond to Bayreuth, where my friend, Marianne Mozartin, has been so kind as to invite Mama and me for a visit.
So here is a portrait of my beloved Herr Meinke-Haibl in Lederhosen! Is it not amusing!! You can not see him here close-up, but he has a most arresting and pleasing countenance.
I could never tire gazing upon his face and thinking about him.
Sometimes then, my legs seem to turn to jelly…..
But the practicality of my nature asserts itself, and there is work to be done. I must take leave of such thoughts…..
I so love it when Herr Meinke-Haibl is near me, in the room or in my company, and when he is not, I spend far too much time daydreaming about my darling.
After Frau Posaunenblaser had finished painting this portrait, I joined Herr Meinke-Haibl for another tour through this delightful town, after which, we took the road to the mouth of the Staffel Lake, and circled its vast shores, being all the while privileged to the most serene and pristine view of this splended region.
I do hope that Wolfgang and the others are all right.
I kiss your hand, Wolfgang, and wish you a most happy weekend, as I do all of you.
I hope that your weekend is felicitous and restful–though our minds are on those in the flooded regions.
Yours very affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Dogdom and Other Matters:

My Dears,
I hope that you are all well.
I so miss our dear dogs left of necessity at home in Vienna, and my mind is on everyone’s safety in the flooded and danger areas–not the least, on our four-legged friends, and all the horses and livestock.
Tammy and Fawn are both a new breed of dog from the New World, Chihuahuas, and Paddy is a dog originating in Scotland, a West Highland White Terrier.
I do miss having Tammy on my bed at night here in the inn at Murnau.
She is so very tiny, is an adult dog, and among Chihuahuas, the tiniest breed in all the world–Tammy is still tiny, and never grew much beyond her puppyhood.
Tammy is not content to stay on my covers but snuggles under the covers and sheets, where she loves to be.
Fawn, another Chihuahua, used also to be Tammy’s–and my–bed companion, but Fawn is quite old now, and often picks fights with Tammy, which I or another family member break up–We hope to correct this dreadful habit.
So Fawn is now consigned at night to the parlor, where she sleeps with Paddy, a neutered male dog.
Paddy is Mama’s favorite dog.
I often hear, when I am in a different room from Mama, the sound of Mama’s voice engaged in normal conversation, and I perceive that she is perhaps conversing with a boarder.
But I enter the room and no, she is talking softly as in a normal conversation with an attentive Paddy, who looks lovingly and quietly and most devotedly with his soft light brown eyes up at her.
Paddy, with his white whiskers and Scottish countenance, looks exactly like an old Scottish gentleman of the human variety!
I know that Mama misses my dear Papa most dreadfully, as do I and all us Weber womenfolk do, and I believe that Mama has adopted Paddy to take Papa’s place in a way, to fill a void in her life, and to be her companion.
At times, Mama takes Paddy into her lap, and he leans against Mama, his head tilted against her chest, and Mama carries on a one-way conversation with Paddy.
Our game of pinochle is resuming again.
We had taken a short break.
I wish you all a good night, and I do hope that we shall hear better news about the rains come tomorrow.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Sunset in Murnau-Seehausen:

Murnau-Seehausen,
Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 14. August

My Dears,
The town crier is shouting in the streets below that some of Prague is under water, and a magnificent, beloved elephant at the Prague Zoological Garden, along with a hippo, have been lost to the floods. Salzburg is also hard hit, and many buildings are under water. The same is happening in some towns in Prussia, and along the Danube in other German lands.
I have not as yet had word from Herr Leopold Mozart or his family in Salzburg, and I hope that my dear sister, Constanze, and Wolfgang, my dear brother-in-law, who are now in Vienna, are safe.
I am so glad to acertain yesterday that my family in Vienna is safe.
Well at least yesterday they were, and in Vienna, thank goodness, there is no change for the worst. We all hope very much that the rivers will crest and then finally fall.
it is a comfort to me to have my dear Herr Meinke-Haibl staying with Mama and myself at the inn here in Murnau.
I do not mean to imply that he shares our bedchamber; no, of course he does not.
The inn had been extremely busy, but as the rains continued, most of the travelers have departed for their homes, and Herr Meinke-Haibl now has his whole bedchamber here to himself, which he had previously had to share with two other gentlemen.
It is raining here today, and we have had one thunderstorm and then only light rain, save one downpour–nothing like in other regions.
We are simply saturated from playing pinochle, cards, whist, and billiards all the day.
Thank goodness–not from the rains!
But our thoughts are on our loved ones and friends in other regions!
During a lull in the storm, Mama and I paid a visit to the woolmaker’s shoppe, and we bought wool yarn to knit new mittens for the coming winter.
I am partial to green, and have selected a green yarn, and Mama has selected again maroon, which will go well with any clothing.
So here we sit, knitting and playing cards, waiting out the rains.
Herr Meinke-Haibl is at work composing his opera in the music room.
He and I also played on the pianoforte and sang together yesterday. We had such amusement and pleasure in each other’s company and in partaking of our passion–music–together.
No, my friends. Alas, there is no divan in this music room. We can hardly repeat the bliss we encountered and shared in the music room at our inn in Salzburg.
That room was off the beaten path in an upper story, and no one save us would enter it.
Here, the room is situated on the ground floor, and is easily reached by others.
I am also glad to have the outlet of practicing on the pianoforte, when Herr Meinke-Haibl is not using the instrument himself.
The playing of it affords me so much pleasure.
We hope to hear further news of the weather in our part of the world ere long.
At the moment, I am looking out our bedchamber window in the second story of the inn at the scene you see above.
It is the twilight hour, and a time for dreaming, as I observe the sunset.
As ever,
Sophie, nee Weber

Concern for Prussia:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,

My Dears,
The mail coach is just arrived in Murnau, and there is a letter addressed to my dear Herr Meinke-Haibl from his stepfather, the clockmaker and watchmaker, Meinhard Meinke, of Frankfurt an der Oder, Pomerania, Kingdom of Prussia.
Herr Meinke Pere has written that all is so far well in most environs of Frankfurt, that the Meinke family remains in good health, and that the waters of the Oder River continue to rise.
Herr Meinke and his family might have to move all the clocks and watches in the shoppe, and the horses and livestock as well, to seek safety at higher grounds.
Inhabitants of Frankfurt an der Oder cross over the three bridges in town to have access to enter the kingdom of Poland, but all the bridges are closed now.
The pub in Frankfurt, situated on lower grounds, is also partly under water, so that the beer has turned to water.
In neighboring Dresden, there is grave danger at the moment.
The venerable Semper Opera House is partly flooded, as is their Rathaus (city hall) and pub.
Mama, Herr Meinke-Haibl, and I are at present departing for the Church to pray and light candles.
As ever,
Sophie, nee Weber

A Special Friend for Frau Weber?

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 15. August

My Dears,
This midday in the tavern, as Herr Meinke-Haibl sat at table with me alone, Mama having partaken earlier of her repast with Herr and Frau Posaunenblaser, the innkeepers–Herr Meinke-Haibl took a sip of light “Murnauer Bier” from his large, ornately decorated beer stein, and mused, smiling, “I became very well acquainted with my birth father, Alois Haibl, during my sojourn in Vienna of late.”
“Oh, I am so glad,” I smiled approvingly.
“Yes, dear Miss, and do you know that my father has remained to this day a bachelor, having never taken a wife.”
“Oh. Pray tell, did he confide in you the reasons for his matrimonial status?”
“Yes, my dear Fraeulein Weber, he did. You see, Herr Haibl has never found quite the right Frau for him. It seems he was practically his entire life “unterwegs”–on tour–traveling throughout the kingdoms and states with his theater and opera troups. My father, Herr Alois Haibl, has of necessity always led an unsettled life, and as a result, he confessed to me that he is at his age now quite lonely and alone. He did, however, confess to me that of all the womenfolk he has known, none had he loved as thoroughly and devotedly as my dear Frau Mama Meinke.
But circumstances were such that the two could never remain together. My Mama Meinke did eventually return to her husband, Herr Meinhard Meinke, my stepfather……..”
“Oh, the poor man”, I soothed sympathetically.
My eyes then brightened. “You know, dear Herr Meinke-Haibl, ” I began. “There is my dear Frau Mama, in quite the same predicament and situation as your dear Papa, Herr Haibl. I know that she feels very much alone and lonely. I often hear her sigh audibly as she at times sips glass after glass of red, white, and rose wine. I know that she drinks out of a sense of desperation and a feeling of abandonment. My dear Papa, Herr Fridolin Weber, has departed this life and left all of us Webers feeling bereft. His passing was so sudden and unexpected. I am thinking thus: When we shall return to Vienna some time hence, I should like to present your Herr Papa, Herr Haibl, to my Frau Mama, Frau Weber.
Oh, I do not expect them to marry. Mama has said over and over that she would never give up the slight lifelong widow’s pension that she receives from Herr Lange, my brother-in-law. But there may be something in the way of companionship and comfort for them both to enjoy….”
“Quite so! What a splendid idea, my dear, dear Fraeulein Weber,” Herr Meinke-Haibl enthused, wiping his mouth with a cloth napkin.
“In the future, we shall act as cupids and see what Providence shall provide for them,” he concluded, smiling contentedly and hopefully.
Yours very affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

A Special Blessing:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 15. August

My Dears,
This day in the mail coach, a special package addressed to Herr Meinke-Haibl, sent from his hometown of Frankfurt an der Oder in Pomerania, arrived with the regular mail.
The package was from his dear Frau Mama, and contained a fruitcake she had baked especially for him.
Herr Meinke-Haibl so generously shared the delicious confection with Mama and me after supper this night at table in the inn tavern, after which Mama excused herself to play a game of pinochle at another table with Herr and Frau Posaunenblaser.
Herr Meinke-Haibl began, “Meine (my) Mama Meinke has written that she rejoices greatly in my appointment as tutor of the children of Count and Countess von Hatzfeld in Vienna, although, to be sure, she would have much preferred for me to return permanently to Frankfurt.”
“Oh, yes, dear Herr Meinke-Haibl,” I countered, “I so fully understand her feelings.”
“You know, my dear Miss,” he continued, his sky blue eyes looking pensive and melancholy, “I believe that my dear Mama was much attached to me because I am so much the younger of my brother and three surviving sisters. When I was but a small lad, Mama would read me a fairytale before my bedtime, and then she would kiss me good night, and make the sign of the cross on my forehead and chest, saying, “Gott beschuetze Dich, mein Kind.” (“God protect you, my child”.)
Her soothing words and the sign of the cross always gave me then a feeling of “Geborgenheit” (security) and safety. This was a ritual she always practiced with me when I was little.”
“Oh”, I exclaimed, wondrous with a touch of envy of the attentions of Herr Meinke-Haibl’s Mama Meinke.
“Dear Herr Meinke-Haibl, with me it was much the same. Only it was always my dear Papa who read me fairytales as I sat on his lap, and bedtime stories. Papa told me that I was his favorite among all his daughters and my late brother, Johann. I was indeed ‘Papa’s little girl’. Oh, I know that Papa spent much more time with my elder sister, Aloysia, than with me and my sisters. The reason for this was simple. It seemed that Aloysia was the most gifted among us–but that is debatable,” I laughed. “You see, Aloysia was older than Constanze and I, and so she blossomed earlier. She has a gorgeous soprano voice–though all us Weber daughters are told repeatedly that we have beautiful singing voices. And, dear Herr Meinke-Haibl, I must tell you that after we had to leave my birthplace of Zell im Wiesenthal in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest, a range of hills stretching 100 miles north-south along the French border)–our family’s circumstances were vastly reduced from before. Papa played violin at the Elector of Mannheim’s Court, where he also sang bass and acted as prompter at the Court Theater. This post yielded him unfortunately not sufficient income, so that he had to also work as a music copyist, which is how he and my brother-in-law, Herr Wolfgang Amade Mozart, originally became acquainted. Papa copied some music for Herr Mozart. Well, Papa thought that Aloysia, with all her talents, would help improve the situation and–fortune–of our family–so he spent much time teaching her singing, playing the pianoforte, French, and Italian. He likewise taught these arts to my other sisters: to Josefa, the eldest, and also to Constanze. He started to teach me also but, alas, he then passed away. But my dear sister, Constanze, finished what Papa started, and she taught me also singing, the pianoforte, French, and some Italian. You know, because I am also the youngest, just as you are, I am the baby of the family, and Mama thinks me at times still a baby, although I am fully grown. Being ‘the baby’–haha–I believe that I am Mama’s favorite too…..but, I am sure, she loves all her children, as did Papa.”
Well I must sign off now and take the candle up the stairs, as we prepare ourselves for bedtime.
No more fairytales, to be sure, but someday, I shall have children–or at the very least–nieces and nephews–to read fairytales to.
Yours very affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

This and That:

My Dears,
Our innkeeper, Herr Reinhold Posaunenblaser, helps care for the animals in his spare time at the local Zoological Gardens. It is actually more of a breeding center for endangered species than an amusement open to the public, though they may come and gaze at and observe the various species of exotic animals not ordinarily seen on this continent.
Here, Herr Posaunenblaser is caring for Hua Mei, the Baby Panda bred and born here.
This evening, Herr Meinke-Haibl and I played four-handed piano in the music room.
I am also putting the finishing touches on a green dress I have just finished sewing.
I am stitching a brown silk fringe with a folding design along the whole fringe to adorn my dress, and in the center of the dress, I shall sew a dark green bow. It shall look most fine and handsome, I believe, to promenade in around the town during the early fall season.
I shall also somehow have to make or procure a brown or green hat to complete the accoutrement (smile).
I wish you all a very good commencement of this week!
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Tying Up Loose Ends in Murnau:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 19. August

My Dears,
The mail coachman, just arrived with the dispatches, has just reported to Herr Meinke-Haibl that the roads leading to the Bavarian capital of Munich are again dry and fit for travel.
We must most regretfully make plans to depart from this blessed corner of this southern Empire.
Yesterday, the visit that Mama, Herr Meinke-Haibl, and I made to the Zoological Gardens with Herr Posaunenblaser, our innkeeper, was most delightful and instructive.
There are not many wild animals in man-made habitats here, but the ones on hand and on display are unforgettable.
There are a tiger and a tigress, and a lion and a lioness, each species housed separately.
By far my favorites are the three giant panda bears that Herr Posaunenblaser helps care for–the female, Bayun, the male, Schee Schee, and the baby female, Hua Mei.
The little baby panda stole my heart completely.
Murnau is an ideal place to keep pandas, explained Herr Posaunenblaser, as the climate and topography is almost identical to the mountains of Northern China, particularly to the Wo Long region–where these endearing bears originate and flourish.
Bamboo is grown here in Murnau as well, which they love to eagerly feast upon.
I shall in future think fondly of Murnau, of kindly Herr Posaunenblaser, the innkeeper, and his cheerful Frau.
They have been like in years past as second parents to Herr Meinke-Haibl.
I think happily about the refreshing, unlikely swim Herr Meinke-Haibl and I enjoyed in the sparkling blue Staffelsee–like Adam and Eve did we enjoy the waters–the meeting with Count von und zu Villmar-Seelbach at his estate, riding the horses and around the environs in the innkeeper’s carriage, the enjoyment of making music together with my darling Herr Meinke-Haibl.
All this will I remember most fondly.
The journey to Munich shall take at least four or five hours.
In the north of these German lands, the angry waters still rage.
I pray daily for deliverance from the deluge.
I wish you all a blessed day and remain,
Your humble, obedient and affectionate servant,
Sophie, nee Weber

A Day in the Country:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 23. August

My Dears,
We are glad that the cleanup process from the angry waters has begun, and our thoughts are on all the victims.
This morning, Mama, Herr Meinke-Haibl, and I went to church and lit candles and prayed.
The weather this day in Murnau has been warm and mild.
Mama was feeling poorly, and she spent the day playing cards with Frau Posaunenblaser and sewing on her new dress.
Herr Posaunenblaser let Herr Meinke-Haibl and me exercise two of the horses, and we rode them around the whole of the Staffel Lake region around Murnau.
We fastened to our saddles some foodstuffs and painting supplies, and took the Auweg (meadow road) to the high alpine meadow, where we then spread out our picnic blanket and our Broetchen (rolls), goat cheese, and some red wine and apples. It felt so exhilarating to be partaking of a meal at the very foot of the majestic Zugspitze, Bavaria’s highest peak. Everything looked so sparkling clean and untouched; the mantle of spring still hung over this blessed land.
Then we noticed a family come and set down some belongings to enjoy a similar picnic all together.
After dining, Herr Meinke-Haibl and I made the acquaintance of the family, and Herr Meinke-Haibl asked them if he might paint them.
They were amenable to his request, and the painting he fashioned above does illustrate the particular charm of the alps.
Well, my cheeks are still so rosy from the high altitude and the activity of our day.
I shall shortly blow out the candles and retire for the night.
I wish you all pleasant dreams and a bright new day.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Haibl

A “Little Lion”

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 27. August

My Dears,
Where pray tell is everyone hiding?
Well, Mama, Herr Meinke-Haibl, and I are still here in Murnau in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps.
As you know, the Posaunenblasers, our innkeepers, are animal lovers, and when there has been much traffic here at the inn, Frau Posaunenblaser has charged me with exercising her pet pooch, Loewchen (“Little Lion”).
Is he not most precious and sweet? Loewchen is a very special dog, and reminds me so much of my own precious Tammy, one of our three dogs, back at home in Vienna.
In fact, Frau Posaunenblaser has even let me have Loewchen sleep on top of my bed at night, where he is not content to remain, but snuggles under the warm covers.
As ever,
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Kaffee Anyone?

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 28. August

My Dears,
I was this night partaking of cards with our usual party: Mama, my dear Herr Meinke-Haibl, and Herr and Frau Posaunenblaser, our innkeepers.
The maidservant, Kristl, also served us at table some piping hot Bavarian coffee, which we customarily sip only at breakfast.
I then made discourse about an institution unique to Vienna–the coffeehouse–which Herr Meinke-Haibl has also experienced in the Habsburg capital–and the Posaunenblasers were most astonished to hear of such a place.
“Well, coffee is always to be had in our tavern, among an assortment of other beverages,” Herr Posaunenblaser said thoughtfully, “but such a place where coffee is the main attraction…well, I’ll be….Tell me Fraeulein, Weber, how did the coffeehouse come about in Vienna, and how long have they had such establishments?”
“Well Herr Posaunenblaser,” I started to explain. “The best one to ask would undoubtedly be my esteemed brother-in-law, Herr Mozart, but since he is not at this moment here among us, I shall answer as best I can….”
My mind quickly flashed back to the heady days when my family was just arrived in Vienna and settled there.
We resided–indeed, still do–on the Petersplatz (Peter’s Square), just behind Peter’s Church, very near the Graben, and Papa and I soon discovered the Cafe l’Europe around the corner from us on the Graben.
We found such an array of newspapers from the whole empire therein, such as the Wiener Kurier, the Wiener Tageszeitung, and even the Linzer Daily Gazette, and sometimes even the Sueddeutsche Zeitung from as far away as Munich!
The main attraction was–coffee–and different flavors too.
The Viennese did order a cup or two of Expresso or Mocha Java, and liked as not stayed half the day reading newspapers, sipping coffee or nothing at all–and conversing with their friends or sitting alone, perhaps even engrossed in a book.
Gateaux or creme puffs or other pastry sorts–especially topped with whipped cream–were also to be had.
The proprietors did not care at all how long or how many hours one tarried there, or how little or much one consumed therein.
It seemed almost like a home away from home.
Later, Mama often accompanied Constanze and me to Cafe l’Europe, or to the Sacher or Deml coffeehouses, which are also in our same neighborhood, near the Opera House.
At present in Vienna, Mama and I together frequent the coffeehouses occasionally.
I continued my explanation, “Well, you know, when the Turks were at our gates in Anno 1688 at the time of my great-grandparents and almost conquered us–oh my, I am talking quite like a Viennese Fraeulein–Mannheimer though I may be.
I regard myself as an “adopted Viennese”, I grinned and continued. “In their haste to retreat, the Turks accidently left behind a strange unknown, brown, aromatic bean. Well, many such beans, actually.
I do not know all the details, Herr Posaunenblaser, but I believe that it was an ancestor of either Herr Deml or Herr Sacher–Viennese gentlemen–who discovered how tasty and satisfying these pungeant beans are, brewed them, and put them to good use–introducing this bean to Central Europe and shortly thereafter, he opened the first Viennese coffeehouse.
Thereupon, the coffee craze spread in Vienna like wildfire–well, not quite–and more coffeehouses quickly opened their doors.”
Herr Meinke-Haibl added, smiling a dimpled grin: “And I believe that later, when I am settled in Vienna, I shall make good use of these coffeehouse establishments as a most congenial place to compose. Well, I would normally compose at home, but if I am out and have some music paper with me, what better place….”
Mama won at cards tonight.
It was getting late, and she and I both excused ourselves, and up the stairs to bed we went, the tiny dog “Loewchen” tagging along behind us.
I scooped Loewchen up in my arms and planted him squarely on top of my eiderdown comforter lying on the comfy wooden bed.
Tomorrow, Herr Meinke Haibl and I must be up at the crack of dawn.
It is the day when Herr Posaunenblaser helps care for the baby panda Hua Mei in the small zoological gardens of Murnau, and he has promised that we may observe him at his work with his furry and adorable charge.
Wush–I am blowing out the candles, and so to bed.
Ever yours,
Sophie, nee Weber

A Special Time of Year:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 26. August

My Dears,
I hope that you are all well.
Wolfgang, my dear brother, the week past you disappeared again into your abode in the Schulerstrasse, attracted by the strong, aromatic scent of your favorite Viennese coffee, and have as yet not come out from your study.
Either the coffee was so extraordinary that you are still enjoying its pleasures, or else you are very hard at work composing for the upcoming season.
I cannot believe that you are ill; your dear wife, Constanze, would have sent word of that.
We do hope to hear word from you ere long.
As for us, Mama and I, together with Herr Meinke-Haibl, are still lodged at the inn “Zur Goldenen Rose” in Murnau, Bavaria, very near to the village of Seehausen. There can we be reached.
Is it not amusing that I have at last a devoted swain, I who am the youngest of all the Weber sisters, do have an ernest and faithful admirer!
Oh Wolfgang and all my dear friends, I do so wish that our future would be clear for us to marry, and I know that Mama would also wish it so to be–but only if dear Mama could lodge with us or we with her, as she, now a widow, would not want to be deprived of the company of her kin.
But, alas, my beloved Herr Jakob Meinke-Haibl has–on parchment only–a wife, who resides apart from him in Cologne.
My darling did formally propose marriage to me, getting down on his knees to do so, but it was with the stipulation that marriage is at present but a dream.
As it is, you will be happy to learn that I am as ever a virtuous maiden, and have not compromised my beliefs.
You see, I do not wish to damage the reputation of Mama, my family, and myself by giving birth out of wedlock.
Now to pleasanter matters to be sure:
This morning, Mama, Herr Meinke-Haibl and I were invited by our innkeeper, Herr Reinhold Posaunenblaser and his spouse, Frau Bertha Posaunenblaser, to join them at table and breakfast together with them, Herr Meinke-Haibl being an old and dear friend and like a second son to the Posaunenblasers.
From the kitchen, the so pleasant aroma of freshly-baked hot crossed buns wafted over to our table, and with them, the maidservant, Kristl, also served sweet butter, current jelly, and piping hot, strong Bavarian coffee.
Herr Posaunenblaser mentioned to our party that the annual Oktoberfest is shortly to start in Munich, and that we shall most likely be so fortunate as to stay in Munich at the right and proper time to enjoy it.
He then arose from table to fetch a portrait which he painted a year ago when he was able to go down to Munich and attend the festival, and showed it to us.
The roads have been muddy again of late, and our thoughts are also on the unfortunate people hit by the calamity of the flooding. The postman said that repair work is now underway.
We are still lodged here in Murnau until the roads are in better condition.
I think of the beer festival about to start, and shudder when I think of Mama with us under a vast Munich beer tent….with so much opportunity and temptation….so many mugs of beer.
Well, at the festival, we shall all have to make an agreement and strict rule, which Mama shall have to abide by, of stopping at perhaps two steins of beer…..
I do myself recollect the beer festival.
When my dear Papa was still alive, our family resided in Munich for more than one year, before our move to the Habsburg capital of Vienna.
Now the midday has come, and Mama is going to accompany Herr Meinke-Haibl and myself on a stroll through the village of Murnau and its environs.
I love to walk Murnau’s charming and quaint streets.
Until later, and as ever,
Yours very affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

An Aromatic Brew:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 23. August

My Dears,

Greetings this day from the township of Murnau!
By the by, Mama and I must now descend the staircase of our inn and breakfast.
Wolfgang, dear brother, are you present?
I am recollecting your apt description of the pungent and so agreeable smell of fresh, strong, hot coffee being brewed.
You made quite a wild goose chase, dear brother, agreeable though it was, having thereby also taken a constitutional through the picturesque streets of our beloved Vienna, and that particular part of Vienna in the inner city around the Graben–my very favorite square–which led you right back to your own study! Haha!
I quite understand the irresistible lure of this dark beverage upon accidently taking a wiff of it.
I am at present delightedly taking in this very same aroma, which is being carried by the wind to the second story into our very bedchamber.
Here in Murnau, we often start the day with thick, freshly baked brown bread–straight from the oven–sweet butter and orange marmalade–and surely not to forget the strong, pungent Bavarian coffee.
This aromatic brew, coupled with the crisp alpine air, does wake us up, in readiness to begin a new day.
Mama in particular–after all the wine she upon occasion drinks at table, especially the night before–comes to herself again upon drinking this delicious brew.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

This and Sundry:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 19. August
Above: a portrait of Herr Posaunenblaser with his new charge at the Murnauer Zoological Gardens

My Dears,
Our innkeeper, Herr Reinhold Posaunenblaser, helps care for the animals in his spare time at the local Zoological Gardens. It is actually more of a breeding center for endangered species than an amusement open to the public, though they may come and gaze at and observe the various species of exotic animals not ordinarily seen on this continent.
Here, Herr Posaunenblaser is caring for Hua Mei, the Baby Panda bred and born here.
This evening, Herr Meinke-Haibl and I played four-handed piano in the music room.
I am also putting the finishing touches on a green dress I have just finished sewing.
I am stitching a brown silk fringe with a folding design along the whole fringe to adorn my dress, and in the center of the dress, I shall sew a dark green bow. It shall look most handsome, I believe, to promenade in around the town during the early fall season.
I shall also somehow have to make or procure a brown or green hat to complete the accoutrement (smile).
I wish you all a very good commencement of this week!
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Late August:

Guten Morgen, meine liebe Marianne,
I am so glad to hear that you are well, and are enjoying so much your garden during these blissful late summer days.
Here in Murnau, we have also enjoyed fine weather, and my eyes had before not been accustomed to the alpine sights and new flora and fauna in these parts. Indeed, I am now reveling in their sight and scent.
In particular, the bluebells and heather are my favorites.
Dear Marianne, I will not breathe a word to Wolfgang that you are corresponding with Herr Feigele; that news is for our ears and eyes alone.
It is splendid that you and Feigele have found each other again, and I wish you every happiness for the future.
“How are you, my friend, your Frau Mama and your dear Herr Meinke-Haibl? What have I
missed while I was absent? Were you not just about to leave for Munich?”
Dear Marianne, things have scarcely changed since last we wrote. They are much the same.
Yes, but we have delayed our departure for Munich for awhile.
We most likely shall stay in Munich at least a fortnight or longer.
I am really looking forward to a reunion with my Papa’s old friends–all the musicians–who used to play at the court in Mannheim and have been transferred to Munich after the elector of Mannheim inherited the Bavarian Electorship.
We also do not want to miss the annual beer festival, which the citizens of Munich call the Oktoberfest, and which commences this Anno on about the 21st of September and lasts for approximately two weeks.
Mama is in very good spirits and takes a keen interest in all the beautiful scenery about her, and in all the folk we have met on our journey.
I believe that Frau Bertha Posaunenblaser, the innkeeper’s wife, is her new best friend; they do love to play cards and have frequent discourse together.
My dear Herr Meinke-Haibl is a special and tender friend. I feel now that I can trust him fully, that I can depend on him, and that he would not for the world hurt me.
It seems to me–and hush–this is a secret–that we belong together, that we were meant for one another. It is so good to have him; he is a great comfort and support in this world.
I do not, of course, want to think that my dreams have come true–not yet–for something could spoil them and burst the bubble.
What if his wife, Katharina, were to suddenly appear and want to resume their marriage?
So I must remain in the back of my mind a realist, and not get too carried away by my dreams and my infatuation–which has turned to love, and I must not take everything for granted.
We shall see how our friendship will stand the test of time……
You already have a child, dear Marianne, and now I long to have one too–with my dear Herr Meinke-Haibl.
Sometimes, I lie in bed at night and dream that my beloved and chosen one is the father of my child, my baby, and I imagine the baby to have a repliqua of dear Herr Meinke-Haibl’s countenance–a little Jakob Meinke-Haibl!
Well, I am a coward, however, Marianne.
I will not let myself become with child.
As we are not man and wife, I do not wish to shame Mama or burden Herr Meinke Haibl until such time as that we should be legally joined together.
But if I never should have children of my own, I am most fortunate as to have many nieces and nephews whom I love dearly.
Two of them hold a very special place in my heart–the two sons of my dear sister, Constanze–Karl Thomas and Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart–your own cousins as well!
They are very sweet and affectionate boys, and delight also in each other’s company.
At times, the boys can be rowdy and very mischievous–especially the elder, Karl.
In fact, I suggested to Constanze that Karl take up the pianoforte and practice–to keep him out of trouble–haha!
Constanze did heed my advice.
She was going to wait until Karl was a bit older, but did start him with lessons very young.
Constanze did not have to travel very far to procure for Karl a teacher of music and of the pianoforte.
In fact, his own father was desirous for Karl to begin as well and–you guessed -it–his Papa, my brother-in-law, Mozart, was and is his teacher.
Later, Franz Xaver was also to start his musical studies. He is a very gifted lad, and I do believe that Franz Xaver shall make music his life’s work. Constanze believes strongly in his talent and realizes too that there will always be that unfortunate comparison with the brilliant music of my brother-in-law.
Franz Xaver must be strong, must above all believe in himself and in his talent–never mind that his father is the legendary Mozart.
He must not take it to heart if he is unfavorably compared to his illustrious father.
Oh Marianne, your trip in the open carriage must have been such fun–what an adventure!
Oh, I so want now to take a ride in the innkeeper’s carriage–haha!
Perhaps I can later persuade Herr Posaunenblaser to let Herr Meinke-Haibl and me exercise the horses.
Ah, from the window, I can now hear the sound of the church bells ringing.
I also so love the sound of them, Marianne.
Hearing their sweet peeling reminds me of how timeless and full of tradition our lives often are, and how we are often guided and comforted by that very tradition.
Yes, Marianne, it is that time of year when school is to begin again. We here in Murnau shall soon behold the children in their lederhosen and dirndl and with their books–off to the schoolhouse.
We have one schoolmaster in the village, a Herr Alois Mosedig, who frequents our tavern here, and he teaches all the children.
It is so nice to look out my bedroom window here at the inn at the quiet streets.
The street lantern glow in the dark, and all is peaceful and quiet.
Yes, I hope that tomorrow, we shall enjoy fair weather.
Now, I shall blow out the candles, and yes, Marianne–let’s hope for sweet dreams.
Gute Nacht!
Liebe Gruesse,
Sophie

Herr Josef Haydn and Herr Ditters von Dittersdorf:
Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 1. September

My Dears,
I hope that you are all well. I must make haste, as Mama and I are to go to Mass shortly in the beautiful Baroque Nicholas Church here in the village.
From my bedroom window, I can already hear the sweet sound of the churchbells peeling.
Well, I have great news!
Yesterday, Mama and I received here at the inn a most unexpected visitor.
I had been out by the lake with Mama yesterday morning early and we had been washing our clothes in the Staffel Lake which runs by the back side of our inn.
We thereupon hung the wet garments on a line in the back to dry, but also in the end had quite wet hair and partly wet clothing–haha.
A visitor was within waiting for us–none other than an old acquaintance from Vienna: Herr Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf, a composer and friend of my brother-in-law, Herr Mozart, and a friend of Herr Franz Josef Haydn.
Herr von Dittersdorf is here in Murnau staying at the estate of his old friend, the Duke of Villmar-Seelbach, who has commissioned some garden music from him.
How, you may ask, did Herr von Dittersdorf learn of our presence here in Murnau and at this very inn?
Well, it is from his colleague and friend, Herr Haydn, with whom I am closely acquainted and have been corresponding with since our departure.
Herr Haydn is recently come back from his long stay in London.
He often also corresponds with my dear sister, Constanze, in Copenhagen, where she now resides with her second husband, Baron von Nissen.
Herr Josef Haydn holds a special place in my heart of strong affection and tenderness.
No one shall ever replace my dear, departed Papa, but Herr Haydn comes closest to being a father figure and a dear and trusted friend.
Mama and I have occasionally been invited to dine with Herr Haydn at his home, and I have worked with Herr Haydn quite a few times by now in singing in his choruses and occasionally, singing solo, at the Redoutensaal in Vienna.
I believe that Herr Haydn seeks me out particularly because of my strong ties and link to my brother-in-law, Mozart, whom he so clearly misses.
Whenever I mention my brother-in-law, tears come into Herr Haydn’s eyes, but he does not shy from speaking of Mozart.
Herr Haydn misses Wolfgang Mozart tremendously, loved and loves him very much, and thought of him as like the son he never had.
By the same token, I believes that Herr Haydn thinks of me as like a daughter, and is so solicitous and kind towards me–and I also think of him in kind.
The news which Herr von Dittersdorf brings us is that Herr Haydn shall very soon depart with the coach to Munich, and later, Herr von Dittersdorf shall join him there.
The latter also handed me a letter from Herr Haydn to be delivered to my person.
The Elector of Bavaria has commissioned the two composers to each write a symphony in honor of the Elector’s Name Day.
Both composers have accepted the commissions–indeed, Herr Haydn is most happy to be able to see Munich once again–and these symphonies shall later in the month be performed for the Elector in Munich.
I am so happy that Mama, Herr Meinke Haibl, and I shall also be at that time in the Bavarian capital–and I have written to Herr Haydn telling him of my great pleasure at his news and requesting that we may procure billets for the concert from him.
Herr von Dittersdorf also has a message for Herr Meinke-Haibl from the Duke von und zu Villmar-Seelbach to compose a short piece for the Duke.
The Duke has asked that I sing, and that we have a musical soiree later at his estate.
Now, I also shall have to make extra good use of the music room here to ready myself for this night.
You know, just between you and me–Herr Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf comes from the same class that we all are from.
He is not of noble birth, but received his title from a noble patron in reward for his music and for other very noteworthy endeavors.
Ach, Mama is calling me–we must depart for Mass.
I wish you all a most blessed Sabbath and a good week to follow.
As ever,
Sophie, nee Weber

Our Musical Soiree:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 10. September

My Dears,
Gruess Gott from Bavaria!
I am penning but a quick note, as the day is fair and sunny, and my dear Herr Meinke-Haibl and I have a mind to take a refreshing swim in the Staffel Lake.
We must make haste ere the air cools and the sun falls behind the giant Zugspitze.
Mama and Frau Posaunenblaser are having a Kaffeeklatsch (“gossip over coffee”–“girl talk”) over a game of whist and that hot Bavarian caffeine brew.
I do wish to tell you that last night, we all had a fine time at the concert and soiree.
The Duke of Villmar-Seelbach sent his carriage to the inn to fetch us and bring us to his music soiree.
Herr Ditters von Dittersdorf’s new divertimento is beautiful, and was well received by the guests.
The catchy tune is indeed still going through my mind this day.
My dear Herr Meinke-Haibl played his new sonatina for the pianoforte, and needless to say, I love it!
It is indeed a delightful and enchanting piece.
Then came my turn to play and sing and, you know, I had no time during this journey to study any new pieces, but I have been practicing very much again the pieces I played and sung at the home of Herr Leopold Mozart the month just past.
The Sonata for Pianoforte Number 1 in C Major went well, and likewise did “Alla Turka”, both by my brother-in-law, Herr Mozart.
I have gotten both the fast movements and sections in the two compositions up to speed again, I am happy to say.
Then I again played “Voi Que Sapete” from “The Marriage of Figaro” on the pianoforte, and sang Cerubino’s so beautiful aria.
I felt like Cinderella as dear Herr Meinke-Haibl danced minuets, contra dances, and walzes with me.
The Duke’s carriage brought our party tired but exhilarated back to our inn.
Well, I must not keep my dear Herr Meinke-Haibl waiting.
A cool dip in the sparkling blue lake will be ever so welcome.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

An Unexpected Gift:

Murnau, Kindgom of Bavaria,
den 11. September

My Dears,
The portrait above is of the beautiful baroque Saint Nicolas Church in Murnau where Mama, Herr Meinke-Haibl, and I have attended Mass.
On the Sabbath, it seems that the entire village is in attendance, and upon the conclusion of the service as we go outside again, all the many horses there tied neatly in rows look to me more pious and virtuous than is their wont.
Do please forgive me for this irreverent observation!
This morning bright and early, as Klaus Posaunenblaser, the innkeeper’s son, was hoisting our baggages and securing them atop the coach, Frau Posaunenblaser, his mother, approached Mama and me holding a dear and familiar bundle in her arms.
“My dear Mademoiselle Weber, my dear Caecilia Widow Weber, I want to give you something to cherish and to remember us by.
I know how much you love and adore Loewchen, my dears. I have observed how attached to him you have become, and I want you to have him.
Oh, we have so many dogs about, and my Pokey is again expecting puppies, so please take and keep Loewchen with my blessing.”
Mama and I were both overcome with emotion and Mama started crying and clasped Loewchen to her ample bosom.
“Oh Frau Posaunenblaser! We are both so grateful and thrilled!
How can we ever repay you for your kindness! When you are later to stay in Vienna, you must all certainly come stay with us in our boarding house–and visit Loewchen,” Mama stammered through her tears.
“Yes, yes, my dears”, replied Frau Posaunenblaser.
And then Herr Posaunenblaser came gingerly into the room. “I have been fashioning these last days a crate–see the criss-cross pattern–for Loewchen to see out of and get air–and it will be like a second home to him.
He is well trained and shall stay within when you are out and about on your journey.
And the manservants at the taverns you frequent shall daily give you scraps of foodstuffs to maintain Loewchen’s good health.
Oh, incidently, the surgeon has some time since performed a slight operation upon Loewchen so that he will not be all over the females of his kind.
Here also, my dears, are a water bowl, a food bowl, a leash, a brush to groom him daily, and in the crate, blankets for Loewchen to lie upon, and a small ball to amuse him.”
“Oh my”. I was thrilled beyond measure.
“Herr and Frau Posaunenblaser, I thank you a thousand times over!”, I exclaimed from my heart.
And do you know what: I shall presently begin knitting Loewchen a doggy jacket for the coming winter.
As ever,
Sophie, nee Weber

My Birthplace:

My Dears,
I have this day sketched, from my dear Papa’s recollections, a portrait of my birthplace, Zell im Wiesenthal, in the Black Forest.
I have taken great pains to copy my sketch faithfully and am enclosing my copy in this post.
We moved from Zell to Mannheim when I was very young.
I do not yet know whether or not Mama wishes during this journey to pay a visit to Zell as well.
It would depend on the weather and on the state of the roads, but it might be feasible.
I was so young that I scarcely recall Zell, though my dear Papa described to us that the town is beautifully situated in a valley surrounded by mountains–not unlike Salzburg, the Salzkammergut, or Murnau.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

A Journey to Munich:

Garmisch Partenkirchen, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 12. September

My Dears,
Gruess Gott alle zusammen!
We are this hour at a very warm, welcoming, and gemuetlich tavern in the village of Garmisch Partenkirchen, still in the Bavarian Alps, but are come already some distance from the village of Murnau.
We have alighted from our carriage to enable the horses to quench their thirst as we ourselves stop for the midday repast.
Loewchen had sat within the coach with us, secure and snug in his new crate.
Loewchen is now on his leash–did I mention that he also is wearing a new collar–and is come within, accompanying all our party.
I am therefore writing from the table in this bright, cheerful tavern, named “Die Froehliche Kneipe” (The Cheerful Pub).
Our party in the coach consists of Mama, my dear Herr Meinke-Haibl, Herr Ditters von Dittersdorf, myself, and, but of course, our precious little bundle of love, Loewchen.
Before departing Murnau, I climbed up onto the back exterior carriage seat exposed to all the elements and feeling carefree, removed my bonnet and tied it jauntily in a bow around my neck.
Then I just let the breeze blow through my hair and felt the tingling throughout my whole body, and I felt free as a bird, anticipating the next leg of our journey with excitement, and wondering what the future will have in store for us temporary wanderers.
I so long now to be reunited with my beloved Papa’s fellow Musiker colleagues and friends from Mannheim who are now employed at the Bavarian Court.
It will be quite like old times and like returning home! And what an added pleasure it will be to welcome my very special and very dear friend, Herr Josef Haydn.
I am so excited that he will have occasion to befriend himself with dear Meinke-Haibl.
I can scarce wait to see them conversing together a propos music et al.
And I fervently hope that Herr Haydn shall hear my beloved’s music, and my Jakob (Hush: I am calling him here by his Christian name) may also be welcomed as a fellow Musiker and composer in Vienna’s elite musical circles.
I am delighted that Herr Ditters von Dittersdorf has already had occasion to listen to my Jakob’s music.
Our farewells from Murnau were sad but heartfelt.
I curtsied to both Frau and Herr Posaunenblaser, shook their hands, and gave them a slight peck on both cheeks.
I had to refrain from hugging them, so much like a second mother and father they have been to me and my Jakob, and a true friend to Mama besides.
But here in Bavaria, one is not so demonstrative; one is very restrained in showing affection, I find, more so than in my native Mannheim or in Vienna.
In spite of their Southern Bavarian drawl, their etiquette here is most formal and conservative, as it seems that they put up an imaginary wall between people to keep them at a distance.
Only immediate family members are accustomed to hugging one another in public here.
By the by, Herr Haydn did write to the “Drei Kronen” (Three Crowns) Inn in Munich, which is situated down the street from the Imperial Theater, and he has procured reservations for himself, of course, and also for Herr Ditters von Dittersdorf, Herr Meinke-Haibl, and for Mama and myself. (Loewchen does not need a reservation–haha. He shall stay in our room.)
Herr Haydn is also in route from Vienna and shall likewise be arriving this day in Munich.
Oh, the coachman is calling us at present.
We must climb back into the carriage for the duration of our journey to Munich.
I expect that in another two and a half hours, we shall reach our goal and be once more in this for us once so happy place.
The Bavarian capital shall indeed be a happy place for us again; I can feel it in my bones.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

A Safe Arrival in Munich, and a Greeting to Sir Penguin:

My Dear Sir Penguin,
Greetings from Munich, Bavaria! I am overjoyed to find you here at last, my dear Sir!
If you have been reading my postings from the Mozartparmassus Salon, you will know that I love animals.
How are you, dear Sir? I pray you are in good health.
But you have been ill, and have been in hospital.
Gracious, I am so sorry to hear that.
I am so glad that you are now on the mend.
We have also missed you!
I hope that soon you are restored to full health.
You poor thing! I hope that your sutures are very soon removed.
Take care of yourself.
Yes, a household full of chicks is quite a handfull.
It is so good that Herr Salieri is so obliging to help you in caring for them.
I am the youngest of five children–now four–and I know full well what you are talking about!
I am the only one still at home, and keep my dear Mama company.
We run a boarding house in Vienna–on the corner of the Petersplatz and the Graben–number 11 Petersplatz, second story; our building is also called “Zum Auge Gottes” (“At the Eye of God”)–if you ever fly over here to the continent.
There is a very apt reason why our building is called “Zum Auge Gottes”, good Sir Penguin.
It is because we live right behind Peter’s Church, you see.
We will serve you some wonderful Major Grey Englich tea and crumpets with butter and jam, or, if you prefer, delicious, strong Viennese coffee–with cinnamon, if such is your pleasure.
My Mama is a fabulous cook–and I am not bad myself!
This early fall season is quite changeable in terms of the weather, and I am suffering from a slight cold at present.
You, however, would be quite used to all sorts of weather, especially that of extreme cold, so there is no hardship in that for you.
Oh my; my dear Sir Penguin, I have not properly introduced myself. I am Mademoiselle Sophie Weber, daughter of Cecilia and my late father Fridolin Weber.
I am from the town of Mannheim, but now reside, as you know, with my mother in Vienna.
You do know my dear sister, Constanze Mozart, I believe.
Mama and I are at present on a journey to take us to our old home of Mannheim and beyond to Bayreuth.
We are now in Munich, and are come here several days ago, staying at the Three Crowns Inn (Die Drei Kronen), half a block from the Imperial Theater.
Our dear friends Herr Josef Haydn and Herr Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf are also now residing at the same inn.
Works were commissioned for them from the Elector of Bavaria to celebrate his Eminence’s Name Day.
My speical friend, Herr Jaokb Meinke-Haibl, also a composer, singer, and actor, is also journeying in our party.
Oh, my dear Herr Penguin, Herr Salieri’s soup sounds so delicious and soothing to taste.
I have no doubt that it will help restore you completely to good health!
Do give him Mama’s and my greetings!
Take care of yourself, dear Sir Penguin, and do not wait so long before you drop by here again!
Do come soon!
Ever yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Oktoberfest:

Meine liebe Marianne,
Herzliche Gruesse aus Muenchen!
(My dear Marianne,
Warm greetings from Munich!)
What a delightful surprise to hear from you!
Yes, thank you most kindly, dear Marianne; Mama and I are at present in good health, and I am practically all recovered from my cold.
I am also very happy that you are making a journey down here to the Bavarian capital–and that we shall have the pleasure of seeing you ere long!
Oh, it shall be so much fun, Marianne!
We are going to be let loose on the Wiesen in Munich–and with Mama too (oh je!).
The whole town of Munich will explode–haha!
No; quite seriously, I have no doubt that there shall be roughneck youths–not that much younger than ourselves–loitering about with a full belly of Muenchener beer–so Mama and I shall also be so grateful for the manly protection of Streitel and Meinke-Haibl.
“Streitel has booked two rooms in the Gasthof zur Post (of course!) and I would not mind
at all to share my room with you.”
Oh I should love to, Marianne!
But alas Mama and I are already staying at the inn “Drei Kronen” just half a block from the Imperial Theater.
Herr Haydn procured the room for Mama and myself; we are most fortunate to each have our own bed. My dear Haydn has a bedchamber there quite to himself; however, Herr Ditters von Dittersdorf and Herr Meinke-Haibl are sharing a room, each with their own bed.
Oh Marianne, I do not know if it would be possible for you and Herr Streitel to switch your reservations to our inn. I would hope so!
But I know the Gasthof zur Post, and it is but two blocks distant from us!
So we could still easily walk back and forth between our two inns and, while, doing, indulge ourselves in the sights of Munich.
This day, we are commencing rehearsals for “The Creation” at the Imperial Theater.
I am myself in the chorus, as is Meinke-Haibl, thanks to Herr Haydn. The Elector of Bavaria is so grateful to Herr Haydn for composing a symphony for his Eminence’s Name Day that he is also mounting “The Seasons” to honor Herr Haydn during his visit.
I have sung this work several times before in the Redoutensaal in Vienna under Haydn’s direction. One time, when his main soprano was indisposed–I sang one of the main roles–haha!
I recounted that story during our journey in the coach from Vienna to Salzburg.
What an experience that was!
Thankfully, the performance of “The Creation” shall be over when the Oktoberfest begins!
Oh, Marianne, you have not yet seen our new traveling campanion, Loewchen; he is such a dear. Mama and I have been promenading about our immediate neighborhood here in Munich with him on his leash. What a way to have intercourse with the locals too! People so often stop and greet us, and ask about the dog.
Oh, Marianne, it will be so good to see you, and to be able to celebrate your birthday with you!
We shall also have such fun at the Oktoberfest.
I personally adore all that genuine omp pah pah brass music, and all the singing, locking arms with our table-mates and swaying back and forth.
I would not be concerned for Mama this night–haha–as under the large beer tent, her behavior will be the normal condition.
However, I shall have to watch that she does not drink so much that she should pass out; it is easy there amid all the festivities to lose track of how much beer one consumes…….Well, not for me because after one beer, I can feel it, and that will be most likely enought, but for Mama…….
Oh Marianne, it will be wonderful to also be able to dance some Laendlers there.
And the grilled chicken will be succulent and delicious.
Marianne, please give our regards to Streitel, and Mama and I wish you both a safe and pleasant journey to Munich.
Soon we shall have the pleasure of embracing you and spending time with you.
I am so much looking forward to that.
Noch einmal adieu, und bis spaeter,
(Again adieu, and until later),
Deine Freundin,
(Your friend),
Sophie

A Bavarian Treat:

Munich, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 20. September

My Dear Sir Penguin,
Greetings to you! I do hope that you are on the mend.
Tis this day the last day of summer, and perhaps you are itching to take flight and journey southward.
If you had flown to Murnau in Upper Bavaria when Mama and I were residing at the inn there, you would have been delighted to discover the sky-blue and pristine waters of the Staffel Lake.
The innkeeper, Herr Posaunenblaser, taught me and my gentleman friend, Herr Meinke-Haibl, to fly-fish–and I did catch some trout and salmon.
We had fish at table at least thrice weekly.
You would have loved to partake of our meal with us.
In Vienna too, if you perchance fly that distance, you will find some watering holes much to your taste.
Mama and I live in the inner city, called the Ring, and we reside but a few blocks from the Wiener Kanal, but there in the center of town, too many folks are around and about, and the waters of the Danube are a murky brown.
But if you venture a mile or so upstream along the Wiener Kanal, there you will find fish aplenty to be had and clear, sparkling waters.
There are even some rocks for you to sun upon, and you would be quite content and in your element there.
Mama and I sometimes go on foot together in the summer to picnic. It is a pleasant but rather long walk along the Wiener Kanal, so we do not carry much–a picnic basket laden with foodstuffs, and we wear our shawls, which we later put onto the ground as blankets to picnic upon.
When you are somewhat away from the town center in Vienna, it is really like out in the country.
Other townfolk also pass some leisure hours there by the banks of the Danube in the summer.
I have even removed my shoes and hoisted my panteloons and petticoats up, and have ventured up to my knees in the Danube–Hush; this is not considered ladylike behavior.
Well, my dear Sir Penguin, if you fly south to Munich, I know that you would love sunning yourself at the Chinese Tower in the middle of the verdant and expansive English Garden.
In fact, Mama, Herr Meinke-Haibl and I just took tea and cakes there this very afternoon.
I am looking forward to the upcoming visit to Munich this next week of my friend, Marianne Mozartin, and her daughter, Josepha, and son-in-law, Herr Streitel.
I shall suggest that we all go to the restaurant here at the Chinese Tower.
It is so beautifully situated–smack dab in the middle of nature.
And there is also the delicate beauty of the Chinese pagoda and the beautiful green Chinese landscaping and oriental plants, many in miniature.
And I do hope that you too can fly down and enjoy some Southern Bavarian hospitality.
We would love to have you!
Again, I hope that you are on the mend!
Our greetings also to Signore Salieri.
Ever yours,
Sophie, nee Weber

The Oktoberfest Begins!

“Hear ye; hear ye, good citizens of Munich!
I hereby declare the Oktoberfest open for business! Eins, Zwei, G’sufa!”

Munich, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 24. September

My Dears,
Gruess Gott, alle zusammen!
I hope that everyone is faring well.
I do hope that my brother-in-law, Mozart, is feeling better and likewise our feathered friend, Sir Penguin.
I have this night only the time to pen a few lines.
Over the last weekend, Herr Meinke-Haibl, Mama, and I had occasion to gather at the Stachus, the main street in Munich leading to the Marinenplatz, where the largest town square is located and the marionettes entertain and chime high above on the Church tower.
We witnessed the parade of all the local brewery owners in their best Bavarian finery, complete with Lederhosen and green feathered hats, riding in their carriages full of beer barrels and flowers, and lead by heavy draft horses. Marching bands were aplenty too.
It was all quite a sight.
My dear Meinke-Haibl drew a sketch of the Buergermeister (Mayor) of Munich calling forth the Gaudi (fun) and festivities on his ram’s horn.
I am enclosing the portrait (above).
At the close of the parade, a giant Maypole was carried out and set up on the main Stachus Square–and we all had a chance to take hold of a brightly colored ribbon and merrily dance around the Maypole, accompanied by Bavaria’s Best Omp Pah Pah-ers!
What a day!
My dear Marianne, I am so looking forward to your arrival and visit with your son-in-law, Herr Streitel!
We shall soon be able to celebrate your birthday on this coming Wednesday with you!
I do not yet know the time of your arrival either this next day or on Wednesday, but I can tell you that we shall be either at our inn, Die Drei Kronen (The Three Crowns), Koenigstrasse 12, or if we are not within, than we shall all surely be found at the Imperial Theater down the street at Koenigstrasse 1. Do come into the theater and take a seat.
We shall be rehearsing “The Creation”.
The Elector of Bavaria is recovering from a cold, so the performance has not yet taken place.
Oh, I do hope that you shall be there too.
Marianne, if you care to, I shall speak with Herr Haydn, and you can sing with me in the chorus!
Herr Streitel can as well. We can always use a tenor, baritone or bass–haha! In short, this chorus could use a few good men.
Mama–with Loewchen in tow–shall be sitting in the audience in attendance, and Herr Haydn shall be directing the singers. My dear Meinke-Haibl and I are in the chorus.
If I should perchance see you come in or see you sitting in the audience, I am sure that Herr Haydn would not at all mind if I “jump” down from the stage to greet you and Herr Streitel!
I wish you both a safe and pleasant journey to Munich!
Till then, dear Marianne, I remain
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

We have made it!

Munich, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 25. September
MARIANNE’S BIRTHDAY!

Meine liebe Marianne!
Gruess Dich! Today is your very special day–and imagine–that you are going to spend it at the Oktoberfest! It is very appropriate to celebrate the day of your birth in merriment and mirth.
It shall be a giant birthday party for you on the Wies’n.
In a few short hours, at 16:30 in the marquee of the Hofbraeuhaus, we shall meet you.
You shall recognize me and Mama, and there shall be also Herr Meinke-Haibl and another you have not set eyes on before this day–our little Loewchen.
Mama wants to bring him along too on his leash, and he does behave like an angel, and shall be no bother.
This morning bright and early, as the sun was just rising on the horizon, I breakfasted in our tavern and fed Loewchen some of our victuals.
Mama was in bed this whole morning, indisposed, but is now all right to attend the Oktoberfest.
At table with me were Maestro Haydn and my dear Meinke-Haibl.
An early morning rehearsal necessitated our early repast.
My dear Marianne, Herr Haydn is most anxious to make your acquaintance.
He wants you to have three choice tickets for the concert, and hopes most fervently that you will be able to prolong your stay in Munich for a little while, at the very least.
Maestro Haydn reveres your cousin–my brother-in-law, Mozart, above all other men.
He would ask you questions about your family, and will thereby be better acquainated with all the Mozarts.
Herr Haydn was telling me this morning at table–well, I am blushing–because he told me that Mozart confessed one day to him that you were Mozart’s youthful great love—Haydn called it “die grosse Liebe” (the great love).
Mozart reminisced more than once nostalgically to Herr Haydn about you–but I am sure that your cousin said nothing improper or unduly or of a personal nature to Herr Haydn–or nothing that he should not have said.
Mozart is a gentleman.
But Herr Haydn knows that you are a very important person in my brother-in-law’s life, and he has nothing but the profoundest admiration for Mozart.
Of course, Maestro Haydn wants to get to know you as well!
Maestro Haydn suggested that we could all dine together either after the concert on Saturday evening, or else at a time of your convenience at our inn, “Die Drei Kronen”.
Well, die Wies’n awaits us!
In a few short hours, Marianne, we shall be together again, and I am so much looking forward to this also!
Your friend,
Sophie

You are welcome!

Munich, den 26. September

Gruess Gott, meine liebe Marianne!
I am so happy that my birthday card pleased you, and am likewise so pleased that we were able to celebrate this important and festive day with you and your family!
What a night, Marianne!
I have not recovered from it yet.
The wonderful memories and scenes are still going over and over in my mind and dancing in my head–still giddy from the unaccustomed wine and Gaudi (merriment)!
Yes; a second cup of that very strong Bavarian coffee will be most prudent and alas necessary for me this morn.
I have not yet awoke and faced this day–and a busy one it will be too, as I must hurry off to a rehearsal with Maestro Haydn.
My dear Marianne, I will also keep this day in my mind forever to the end of my life.
And I thank you so much for wishing me and my dear Meinke-Haibl a life of happiness together!
That means so much to me–as I secretly cherish that dream as well.
Yes, Marianne! It is most astonishing how much beer my Mama can put away. How she does it I do not know. And the amazing thing is that after so many beers, she still gives the appearance of not having touched a drop of the brew. But she does continue to imbibe of it, and then one does notice that she is not quite herself.
Oh Marianne, I quite agree that the cold weather was a plus, as it kept us on the dance floor, and you as well as I so love dancing!
The bands were so gemuetlich and fine and authentic–such skilled players are they.
And everything came together to create an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Yes, my dear Marianne, my dear Meinke-Haibl is such a good storyteller!
Imagine that he is but one year my senior.
He has from a young age been so much out and about in the world, has experienced already so much.
Meinke-Haibl is very unique; there is no man on earth like him….Oh, I sound so besotted and thoroughly in love–haha–as I indeed am.
Oh Marianne, I am so happy that Herr Haydn was also there on your special day to wish you a happy birthday!
He told me that he was honored to be there–what a night!
I could see that you–as well as I–did also so enjoy dancing with the Maestro. What a smooth and easy dancer he is, and so very congenial, dear, and kind, is he not, my dear.
As is likewise Meinke-Haibl. I hope you found him a fine dancer, as I do.
And I also enjoyed the turn on the dance floor I took with Herr Streitel! Haha! We were joking and laughing the entire time as we danced!
And I shall never forget all the singing together!
Ach, um Gottes Himmel–Mama is calling me–I must make haste.
My dear Marianne, I am so happy that you and your family have accepted my invitation to attend the concert this Saturday night–and also later to dine with Maestro Haydn and us.
Herr Haydn is honored and mightily pleased as well.
Now I must be off, dear Marianne.
Yes, Gott sei Dank that the rain has finally ceased and the air is clear and vivid. It also smells so good after a rain–and after the manservants have cleaned up after the horses–haha!
A walk in the English Garden seems so enticing!
I do wish that I had the time for it this day!
But later, Mama and I shall have time for a quick stroll around the Marienplatz.
Yes, Marianne, I will certainly convey to Mama and to Herr Meinke-Haibl your warmest regards, and give a busserl to little Loewchen from you!
Herzlichst,
Sophie

To Sir Penguin:

Munich, den 26 September

My Dear Sir Penguin,
Oh, I am so glad that you are finally on the mend!
What wonderful news!
Oh my–It will indeed be an honor and a treat to be able to welcome you to Munich!
And Mama is so happy about this turn of events as well!
Well let me see: What can I advise you regarding your accoutrement, dear Sir Penguin?
Why you need not change an absolute thing!
You need not trouble yourself to pack anything, as you are perfectly attired to fit any climate.
Just do bring your dear self.
You know, I am very nimble with knitting needles and yarn–and I shall set about this day to knit you a warm sweater–not that you shall need it.
Here on the streets of Munich, open free markets are aplenty and are held on all the days of the week–replete with fresh fish of all sorts and herring.
You will find a stroll around the open air markets most delightful and appetizing.
And we shall instruct our cooks at the inn to prepare for you any and all fish dishes as you may fancy–providing that they are in season.
Oh, your palate shall be most satisfied, I do assure you, my dear Sir Penguin.
And you absolutely must be our guests, along with my dear friend, Marianne Mozartin, and her family–at the concert this Saturday night!
No need for you to change your costume, of course, as you in your black and white suit are so perfectly attired for an evening soiree or for a grand ball.
And you shall undoubtedly delight in seeing all the fine lords and ladies of the court in their best finery.
Well, I must be off now to the rehearsal with Maestro Haydn.
I am so very happy to learn that you are on the mend, and of your impending arrival, and I bid you till then my kindest regards.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Munich and Mannheim Memories:

Munich, den 26. September

Gott zum Gruss, meine liebe Marianne und meine lieben Freunde!
Marianne, I hope that you had a beautiful, invigorating walk this day in the English Garden.
I love it there as well! When we did reside in Munich, I sought refuge there in nature as often as I could manage, as the soothing and plentiful green landscape does so refresh my soul.
And the gardens are so huge that there are always new vistas to gaze upon.
At times, when I walked there in the early morning with Constanze or Mama, we would come upon a shepherd with his flock of sheep.
How serenely the sheep blended into the rich, verdant grounds.
Marianne, I do hope that you perchance saw some sheep there!
If not, then perhaps the next time.
I have very warm feelings for the time my family and I lived in Munich.
It is a friendly place, a large, cosmopolitain village, is it not.
And this countryside–the English Garden–right in the middle of the town–is but one example of Munich’s hospitality.
For you can seek and find the country in the inner city……
The rehearsal of “The Creation” this day went very well.
It is so good to be back again in the bosom of my family–this time, my musical family.
You see, Marianne, all the musicians from the Mannheim Court–all of Papa’s friends and colleagues whom I knew growing up–they are all regrouped here at the Bavarian Court!
I feel so at home here, and so does Mama.
It feels so good to be among these colleagues and friends of Papa’s once again!
It is as though we never left!
Only my poor, dear Papa is missing.
We had such a wonderful, warm reunion the other day–when I was able to embrace once more these friends I have known my whole life.
Maestro Haydn’s kind eyes twinkled and he looked so pleased to look upon our reunion.
My mind flashed back to my early childhood.
I did not know a time when Papa would not take me and Constanze to rehearsals with him.
These times were very special.
We did not attend them every day, but perhaps one time in the week, and we were told to sit quietly and listen to the music, which I gladly obliged; I love listening to musicians play.
Of course, the music came repeatedly–often the same passages over and over, interspersed often with the sound of the Konzertmeister’s voice.
It was not a straight linear performace, not the finished product of the Konzertsaal.
I did not care.
Sometimes, I sat in the far corner of the hall and exchanged whispered conversations with curly red-haired Phillip, my age–my first crush–haha–one of the two oboist’s son.
Phillips’s father, Herr Rasmussen, hailed from Copenhagen, Denmark, and several years later, the family all returned there…….
When Constanze and I were older, we used to bring our needlepoint and knitting along.
Mama frequently came as well, as did occasionally my elder sisters, Josefa and Aloysia.
The first flutist, Herr Stefan Fassbinder, was Papa’s best friend.
Herr Fassbinder is a bit of a comedian and loves to tell jokes, like my dear Meinke-Haibl.
It seems he is always smiling and making funny faces–but not during performances.
It was so good to see him and his wife, Minna, again! Minna is an excellent pianoforteist and used sometimes to play at our house when some of Papa’s friends came over for musical evenings.
Now their two grown sons are musicians employed at other German courts.
Herr Fassbinder has quite an unusual attribute–his huge fondness for small domestic animals and his skill in curing them of what ails them.
Indeed, he has two professions–flutist and unofficial animal doctor.
Even the Elector of Bavaria brings all his pets to him when they are ill!
Herr Fassbinder just has a way with animals.
He grows herbs in his gardens which he uses in his cures.
They are also good for people, he professes–and Papa did certainly agree.
If nothing else, they make a very flavorful tea.
Herr Fassbinder has no time to take on larger animals, such as horses.
We have got our three dogs from him–who are at present with my sister, Josefa, and her husband, Herr Hofer, in Vienna.
They are running our boarding house during our absence–Josefa and Herr Hofer–not the dogs!
Although I would wager that we are owned by our dogs!
Herr Fassbinder loves to procure animals for friends, and has himself quite a houseful of dogs and cats.
He just knows who has animals that need homes, and so he is in this respect rather a messenger.
And Herr Fassbinder was so delighted to meet little Loewchen and was charmed by him.
Well, that is all for now, my dears.
I am going downstairs to our tavern here in the Drei Kronen Inn, and supper awaits.
Sir Penguin–this night, trout is on the menu!
Marianne, I hope that you had a a lovely afternoon here in the Bavarian capital!
I am so much looking forward to seeing you, Josepha, and Herr Streitel on Saturday–and so is Maestro Haydn.
Bis dann, viele liebe Gruesse (Until then, lots of greetings),
Sophie

An Upcoming Kaffee Klatsch (Get-Together):

Munich, den 28. September

My dear Marianne,
Gruess Gott! I hope that you, Josepha, and Herr Streitel spent a most pleasant day in this peaceful, provincial town.
I am this quiet afternoon basking in the muted sunlight on this warm Indian summer day.
I see the waning sun cast its yellow shadow on the light-colored buildings hereabouts.
Though Meinke-Haibl and I have not yet parted company, as I lie at night in my fresh, plump Eiderdown bed, I take nightly comfort in my future reunion with my dearest Meinke-Haibl.
There in my bed, secure and protected as an infant in the womb, I can think of nothing save my dearest darling.
His recollection, beloved countenance, and being so warms and lightens my heart.
I can smile contentedly and hopefully as I fall into blissful slumber.
Marianne, short of rain–Mama and I shall meet you and Josepha tomorrow at fourteen hours at the Chinese Pagoda in the English Garden.
Within is an establishment for supping and taking refreshments.
We can partake of our midday meal in that tavern and afterwards, take a constitutional in the verdant setting of the immense grounds, weather permitting, of course.
From here, if the rather long walk to the English Garden is not to your liking, we four can all rent a carriage here in the town center and proceed thus.
If this is your preference, Marianne, kindly send me word here at the inn.
Until tomorrow, I remain
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

To Josef Haydn:

Munich, den 28. September

My dear Maestro Haydn,
I bid you good day, my dear friend, and hope that your leg is healing well!
You are indeed so fortunate not to have sustained any broken limbs from that frightful fall two days hence.
My mother, Widow Weber, wishes for me to convey to you her pleasure in requesting our company at supper this evening.
She and I will be so happy to join you and Herr Meinke-Haibl downstairs in the tavern at nineteen hours.
Maestro, your suggestion that we retire to the music room after supper and sing some songs and ditties pleases me much!
What fun and delight to express ourselves in song and mirth and in such honored and esteemed company.
It is perfection and a great honor to have you sing as well, dear Herr Haydn, and to accompany us on the pianoforte.
What pleasure I take in hearing your beautiful, melodious voice in song.
One admires and recognizes the fact that you are a true and gifted Saenger and esteemed Wiener Saenger Knaben (Vienna Choir Boys) alumnus.
Your voice, my dear friend, has never lost that bell-like clarity, firmness, purity, and remarkable phrasing and rhythm.
How you honor me to request that I share with you in this most sublime of pleasures, my dear Maestro.
And what pleasure it will give me to hear the blending of your beautiful voice with Herr Meinke-Haibl’s lovely tenor register.
Ah, in truth, dear Maestro, I am so glad to be asked to partake in the fun with the modest efforts of my soprano, and this shall be all surprise and spontaneity.
We know not yet what we shall sing!
Yes, dear Herr Haydn, the red wine at supper that you suggested with the venison, potato dumplings, and greens will be quite agreeable.
Dear Haydn, how relieved I am that your leg is on the mend, and that we shall have the great honor to sing under your leadership at the concert this Saturday next.
Bis heute abend dann (until this evening then), I kiss your hand a thousand times, dear Maestro, and am ever
Your devoted servant and friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

At Home Again:

Wien, den 4. Dezember

My dearest Constanze,
Gruess Gott, meine liebe Schwester (sister)!
I do hope that your taking the cure in Baden-Baden will fully restore you ere long to vibrancy and full health. Wolfgang is come this day to call upon us, and is just this moment departed our apartment on the Petersplatz. He and little Karl Thomas are well, dear sister, and embrace you most lovingly. Wolfgang can scarce wait until your return. Mama and I hope that our longed for reunion will soon take place, and we can embrace you and indulge in giggles and sisterly gossip. Sister, I ran at full gallop up to my bedchamber and desk, as I could not contain myself from writing you one moment longer! Oh Constanze, what a grand adventure we had! I look out now at our bustling, familiar square, and it seems like only yesterday that we departed, but so much has happened in–how long has it been since we left?–five months. So much. Let me sort it out in my head, dear sister. Where do I begin?
Ach, let me first begin with this morning, the first again in my own bedchamber, my own bed.
I awoke this day to the sun streaming down upon my face and Mama’s voice from the hallway. “Come along, Sophie! Rise and shine! The day is wasting!”, Mama cried out to me. There I was, again in my own dear room. I needed time to become adjusted, to fully recover from the long journey. Loewchen and Tammy were both there upon my bed. Their acquaintanceship and adjustment had been fast. Constanze, our return is come none too soon. Our sister, Josefa, was fit to be tied. The work of running our boarding house had up to now not been strenuous, but Herr Schickaneder has just offered her a new role in a Singspiel. She must study the role of the heroine’s best friend and be ready when rehearsals commence in one week’s time. Her husband, Franz, likewise has of late neglected his duties with the Court Orchestra, as the season is now again fully underway.
Ach, I had not known that our journey would be so long and drawn-out. I am so very happy and joyed to be home again! And so, I might add, are our canines Fawn, Tammy, and Paddy overjoyed to welcome us home. Dear Constanze, I told you of our farewells to our Musiker family in Munich, how sad we were to leave the busom of our old family of musicians. I was also sad to leave our old and dear friend, Josef Haydn, and hope to meet with him here in Vienna before long. Wolfgang’s cousin, Marianne Mozartin, who was with our party in Munich, decided after all to stop in her native Augsburg en route to her home in Bayreuth. She was accompanied by her daughter, Josepha, and her son-in-law, Herr Streitel. As we were also traveling in that general direction, as was my special friend, Herr Meinke-Haibl, we all took the coach together. Herr Meike-Haibl has a sister residing with her family in Augsburg, so he was quartered in her domicile. Marianne and her family lodged with her kinfolk, and Mama and I found lodgings in a small inn up the street from a magnificent, large inn called “Die Drei Mohren” (“The Three Moors”). We were beautifully situated, since the impressive Fugger Palace is right next door to “Die Drei Mohren Gasthaus” (inn).
Oh, Constanze, Augsburg is a walker’s paradise. And our precious little Loewchen was beside himself to be led so frequently about town on his leash. My legs became strong walking up and down the hilly streets roundabout, though the town is not generally hilly. Augsburg imparts to me a feeling of warmth and serenity. The natives as well were very welcoming to us travelers. Marianne, Josepha, and Herr Streitel took Mama and me on a tour of Augsburg. We promenaded along the long Jesuitengasse, and Marianne pointed out to us the house where your father-in-law, Leopold Mozart, was born. Leopold’s father was a bookbinder by trade and also had a workshop within the house. We went to Mass in the magnificent cathedral and also visited the beautiful Holy Cross Monastery. Marianne, together with Herr Meinke-Haibl and myself, visited her father’s old bookbinding shop, which is now under the leadership of Marianne’s cousin, Herr Michael Mozart. He invited us all to his home for supper that night, which was capped off by each of us offering a musical composition on the pianoforte and ending in singing and joviality. Dear Constanze, I grow sad when I think upon our next happening, for it was then that Herr Meinke-Haibl and I were forced to make our adieus, to part for the time being while he returned to Frankfurt an der Oder to get his affairs in order before his move to Vienna.
Constanze, the terrible flooding along the Danube in much of the Habsburg Empire and in Prussia this summer last greatly extended our journey, as you know full well.
Never had we expected to be away from our home for so many months.
We were forced to wait out the duration of the deluge in Murnau, and so our time in Mannheim would be drastically cut short. Praise God the affected regions were thereafter restored to normalcy.
And we were too aware of the urgency of being safely back in Vienna before the harshness and bitter cold of winter set in.
Constanze, Wolfgang’s cousin Marianne and her family again offered Mama and me their hospitality in Bayreuth, so we journeyed there upon departing from Augsburg.
One memorable stop along the route was at a charming medieval town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
I felt within those city gates lost in time, transported back to the medieval era. How I delight in Fachwerkhaeuser (half-timbered houses), which are in abundance in these environs.
Mama and I gave Loewchen thorough constitutionals as we promenaded with him each day along the very long stretch of enclosed bridge within the town.
The fog then crept into Rothenburg, together with a nip in the air, reminding us that this is indeed autumn, so we were happily forced to spend one week in this pristine and fairytale-like town.
Constanze, at last we arrived in the stately and regal town of Bayreuth.
I was so impressed with its dignified and proud baroque buildings and beautiful parks and areas to go about on foot and, as they say here, see and be seen—haha! The ordered English gardens are still green, as rain this past season has been plentiful, and harsh winter storms as yet unknown.
So Mama and I delighted in exploring Bayreuth on foot, which was fairly easy, as everything was in close proximity to our inn.
Sister, it pleased me much on our walks about town to happen upon street musicians and singers playing and singing arias from Wolfgang’s opera “The Marriage of Figaro”. I was equally delighted to hear snatches of song from “Figaro” hummed by burghers on park benches and by town folk in the shops.
We frequently supped with Marianne, Josepha, and Herr Streitel at their comfy home, and Marianne often went out sight-seeing with us.
All too soon, it was time to bid our adieus from my dear friend, Marianne, and her lovely daughter and son-in-law.
I do hope that Providence will see fit that we shall meet again, but I fortunately can correspond with Marianne, as she has become a bosom friend.
Well now, dear sister, now comes the part of our travels which was altogether the reason and inspiration for our journey.
At last, we were en route to our girlhood home of Mannheim!
I must say that the Almighty must have been looking down favorably upon us, for how can one explain such unusually mild weather so far into autumn. The coach ride was fairly tolerable, and as luck would have it, business this time of year being slow, Mama, Loewchen, and I were usually the only passengers aboard—the only exceptions were twice when a local needed a short transport to a neighboring village.
The coachman was so obliging as to drive us directly to Mama’s sister, Aunt Juliana’s and Uncle Rudolf’s Bauernhof (farm) in Mannheim.
Mama was overjoyed to be reunited with her kin and so was I. I suddenly felt myself again a tiny child in the bosom of my family.
Well, Constanze, Mama and I spent a fortnight with Aunt and Uncle on the farm. Our cousins, their children, were all there, of course, and cousin Rudolf Junior and his spouse, Janine, now have a son, their first-born, little Lukas, aged three years. The farm life was busy and bustling, and there was abundant good cheer all around.
Mama and I readily fell into the rhythm of country life, and Mama spent most of her time in the kitchen with Aunt or playing whist and pinochle. Uncle and Aunt and all the family are well. Uncle does, however, complain of gout, but looks hearty and healthy enough.
Cousin Hanne instructed me in the fine art of milking the cows, so I spent a goodly amount of my time engaged in this endeavor. I rather fancied it and—pardon the pun—pretty easily got the hang of it too.
Uncle sheered some sheep which Aunt then spooled, and then insisted on using the loom to weave Mama and me each a warm woolen coat for the approaching winter.
Ach Du lieber Himmel—how sweet of Aunt!
Sister, how I wish you could have been beside me as one day, I ventured to our old house in the town! Impulsively, I gingerly knocked on the door, and Frau Zimmerlein, the new lodger (together with her family), bade me enter and take a tour of our old abode. Dear sister, practically everything remains as it ever was–even our old bedchamber. Again, I was instantly transformed into that child and adolescent I once was who had called these four walls home. At the close of my tour of the house, dear sister, Frau Zimmerlein cheerily called me into the kitchen, where she poured me a cup of hot tea and served me broetchen, sweet butter, and orange marmalade.
Constanze, here on the wide open spaces, I could indulge again in my love of riding horses, as they needed to be exercised, and I was an eager helper.
I rode over to our magnificent Schloss Mannheim. What an impressively situated, splendid and enormous Baroque palace! I love how the huge fountain and pond at the entrance is so perfectly centered and bubbles with lifegiving bursts of water. Upon first catching sight of Schloss Mannheim, one’s breath is taken away. We Mannheimers can justly be proud of this jewel within our town! And yes—once a Mannheimer, always a Mannheimer!
Constanze, I frequently rode over to Schloss Mannheim. I also could not resist the urge to explore the magnificent grounds now that our Elector and all the court, including Papa’s old court orchestra, have moved to Munich.
What has become of the Palace? Who now resides within its austere walls?
One day, I dismounted and tied the horse to a hitching post so that I could take a look around. Curious, I poked my nose around here and there, and discovered that a school is now housed within the palace, but not only that; within its elegant walls is also a court of justice and apartments that house magistrates.
My dear sister, at the close of those two weeks, I was mightily sad to take leave of Uncle and Aunt and all our cousins.
I hope with all my heart that they shall find their way to Vienna, and I can also once again return to my girlhood home.
Ja–where have I heard that before?—You can take the man (or woman) out of Mannheim, but you can never take Mannheim out of the man (or woman).
So I shall always carry a part of Mannheim within me–in my heart and, certainly, in my accent.
Constanze, I am this moment dabbing my eyes with a handkerchief and you might too, dear sister, for in this next part of the journey, you shall undoubtedly think of dear Papa. I miss him so.
You know, his close friend, Herr Josef Wolf, originally from Freiburg im Breisgau where Papa lived in his youth, now is the schoolmaster in Guenzburg an der Donau, and luckily, Guenzburg lay directly on our route homeward-bound.
We had written to Herr and Frau Wolf from Mannheim, and so they both were at the coach stop to meet and embrace Mama and me upon our arrival in Guenzburg. That day, it was raining buckets, and we all made haste to their abode—fortunately not far removed from the coach stop.
Remember, dear sister, how Papa always talked of Josef, how proud he was that Josef and all his family were fortunate to live in the whole upper story of the schoolhouse. This fact strikes me a bit strange but wondrous.
One leaves one’s home, is not yet outside, walks down a flight of stairs, and is smack dab in the corridors of a busy school, animated and noisy students and scholars going every which way. Yet then the schoolbell peels, students scurry to their classes, and all is quiet again in the corridors.
Josef’s spouse, Kaethe, is a kindly woman and of good cheer. The Wolfs now have three children, Christof, Jane, and Stefan. Mama and I (and even Loewchen) were very soon a part of their
immediate family, and we lodged with them in their apartment for one week. During this time, Mama and I were very much occupied in assisting Kaethe, as she had us call her name, with general housekeeping and in preparing the meals.
You know, Guenzburg is a market town, and my favorite thing within its venerable gray walls was to go to market to procure goods and foodstuffs for the Wolf household and there also to banter with the friendly townfolk.
The Marktplatz in Guenzburg recalls to me the Jesuitengasse in Augsburg.
Their prospects are nearly identical, save that the Jesuitengasse is a much longer street. Dear Josef is an addicted wanderer. In his off-hours, free from toil with the unruly urchins and serious scholars directly below us, Josef freely indulges his love of wandering for hours over the heath and heather, going wherever he fancies, just walking and walking.
He told me that his work sometimes troubles him, and his long walks afford him respite and relief from his heavy heart and troubled thoughts.
Josef twice requested of me that I join him in these rambling wanderings, and I readily acquiesced. I delighted also in the aimlessness and peace of the open fields, and the freedom of losing ourselves in nature for an unaccountable and fully disposable amount of time. No, time is a redundant word here—for it is the very absence of time that is important and relevant.
Josef is very progressive, I find, as he adamantly believes in “sparing the rod and spoiling the child.” Well, not that the absence of a belt over the backside will result in a bratty child!
We once more embraced dear Josef and Kaethe at the coach stop, and were now engaged in a tight race with winter to see who would be the first to reach Vienna. We won, dear sister! We won! And here we are again!
Mama, Loewchen, and I revisited the same inns in reverse order—save Murnau, which had clearly been a detour, but seems to me in retrospect but a dream, a garden of Eden, an oasis of flowering fields, a fairyland.
I believe that part of this acute feeling was that I was so much in the company of my dear Meinke-Haibl.
And, Constanze, the inn was so much more a home than an inn!
I felt mostly as if I were sleeping in my own sweet bed. Ascending and descending the oaken staircase with Loewchen in my arms, bidding Frau and Herr Posaunenblaser good night–was akin to being within my own four walls, homey and safe.
Dear Constanze, Mama and I are most anxious to be reunited with you once again.
Until then, I kiss your hand and remain
Your devoted sister,
Constanze, nee Weber

Reunion:

Vienna, den 4. Maerz

My dearest Constanze,
Herzlichste Gruesse (heartiest greetings), my dear sister!
Mama speaks of nothing save the overpowering need to clasp you to her bosom and see your dear countenance.
Wolfgang and little Karl Thomas came by again on foot this day to tender us an invitation to attend a special musical evening Wolfgang is performing at the estate of Count and Countess Hatzfeld.
This musical soiree takes place in two days’ time.
Sister, Wolfgang also left Karl Thomas in our loving care for one day.
You see, this day is Fraeulein Lieserl Schwemmer’s, his maid’s, day off, and Wolfgang has a full day’s progression of pupil’s at his doorstep.
After which, Wolfgang must set to work on completing the Six Haydn Quartets his dear friend, Count Hatzfeld, has commissioned for the concert.
The Quartets are only half completed.
The midnight oil, Wolfgang told me with a laugh, shall be burning ever so brightly in the Schulerstrasse this night! He joked to me that he might very well hear the cock crow at the morrow’s dawn—so much work still remains to be done.
However, Wolfgang has assured me that there is no need for panic, as all the music–the melodies–remain firmly in his head, and all Wolfgang must do is commit them to paper and fill in the harmonies.
My dear sister, I am overjoyed to tell you that our dear friend, Herr Haydn, will himself be engaged in performing with Wolfgang at the soiree, he on the pianoforte and Wolfgang on the violin. I am so happy at the prospect of again reveling in our dear friend’s company, and I so wish that you too could be among our number that night. Wolfgang, as you certainly must know, dear sister, is dedicating the quartets to Josef Haydn.
Now sister, on to more mundane matters.
Please do not fret about Karl Thomas, Constanze. He is in the most loving and capable of hands, save for his mother’s
This moment, Karl Thomas is fast asleep in Mama’s bedroom, in the sturdy, well-worn wooden cradle that has rocked to sleep all us Weber infants, as well as Mama and all her siblings.
Mama is so happy to have the little tyke in her company and care. For over an hour, she held him in her lap while reciting to him from the fairy tale books and Aesop’s Fables that she read to us as children.
Upon which, Karl Thomas being already fast asleep, she took him to his cradle and tenderly tucked him in for the night.
At the forepart of this day, I too had my happy moments with Karl Thomas, and you know where, my dear sister—at the pianoforte!
I held him in my lap as I placed his chubby fingers onto the keyboard, and he delighted in the new sounds he fashioned, and laughed and giggled so as he spontaneously made these, and then those tones. We both were laughing so delightedly and amusedly.
Dear sister, we were not in the least hampered for want of music!
I, however, did play some real music and melodies to him as he earnestly listened and thereupon rendered his very own cacophonous imitation.
Well, sister, I tremble as I relate to you the precious news nestled deep within my heart.
Can you guess, dear sister, of what I speak?
It is that my innermost desires have been fulfilled. My longed-for reunion with my beloved Meinke-Haibl took place before Christmas.
My sweetheart came to call on Mama and me in the afternoon on that happy day, riding his beautiful white steed, Lady.
He had been back in Vienna for two fortnights and had accustomed himself to the rhythms of Viennese life and to his routine at the Hatzfeld estate, where he now resides in a lovely, homely, quaint cottage on the vast, verdant grounds.
Sister, I heard a knock at the door and made haste to answer. Fortunately, Mama was occupied in the kitchen and did not witness the scene.
My heart was in my throat and I was all astonishment. Before I even had time to think, we were both tightly entwined in each other’s arms, our bodies as close together as could be humanly possible. We remained thus tightly glued one to the other for an eternity; we did not move a muscle to disengage ourselves. It could have been for five or ten minutes; it could have been for longer.
Finally, we had to pull away. I heard the scurry of tiny paws rush into the room and a tiny bark from Loewchen as we slowly lost contact with the other’s warm body and resumed a more or less normal demeanor.
Loewchen sniffed at dear Meinke-Haibl’s breeches and, I believe, recognized him. Thereapon, I conventionally bid him enter, closed the door, and excused myself to go into the kitchen to tell Mama that we had a visitor.
Mama appeared flushed and grasped her hands together at her ample bosom in a sign of surprise and delight.
Tea was poured; cake was put on tiny plates; we discoursed for well neigh an hour about our recent happenings.
Constanze, Herr Meinke-Haibl has been since his return quite often in the company of his father, Herr Alois Haibl, a singer and actor at Schikaneder’s Theater, and most unexpectedly, Herr Schikaneder has commissioned an opera from him, from Herr Meinke-Haibl fils! Can you imagine it! Well, I for one had immediately recognized my darling’s genuine talent in composition. And not only that, sister. Herr Schikaneder then pronounced my beloved the very ideal and absolutely perfect person to play opera buffa parts upon the stage—to play the clown! Can you imagine it! No one, Herr Schikaneder enthusiastically assured my Meinke-Haibl, no one in our vast Empire could ever in a million trillion years look more the part of the clown than he.
I could scare contain my laughter. Why, Herr Schikaneder went on, fairly foaming at the mouth, it would be a sin, indeed a sacrilege and an utter outrage if Meinke-Haibl did not—DID NOT- seize upon this fortunate felicitude of birth and not take full advantage of it, and fulfill his potential. Why, he must, absolutely must, Herr Schikaneder continued forcefully and warmly. “My dear Meinke-Haibl”, Herr Schikaneder boomed with friendliness and laughter in his voice, “Your acceptance in becoming part of our loving little theater family would be very prosperous to us both! It might make us rich! And not only will you play the comic sidekick, but very often the hero, Everyman, the put-upon Little Man, the protagonist—with a sense of humor—grappling with life and with the world.
And, dear friend, you have a delightful tenor voice. You shall employ it in many of our operas and Singspiels.
You also have a talent for composition not to be denied, and you shall write many of our musical works and our operas. Your father has been my mainstay as actor and singer low these many years, and what more satisfying fate than to have his own dear son join him and us!”
Sister, Meinke-Haibl seems very, very happy and pleased at this unexpected occurance and outcome. How could he refuse? Impossible, dear sister.
But wait, Constanze, my subsequent news is just as joyous!
Herr Meinke-Haibl has learned that he is only responsible for teaching the Count’s children the pianoforte, German, and French. There is at the Count’s estate another tutor to instruct them in Latin, Italian, English, mathematics, and geography. Therefore, dear sister, Herr Meinke-Haibl has ample time to also be engaged and employed by Schikaneder’s company. He can do both! He can make use of his talents! Oh joyous day!
And sister, I am not yet full done with my bag of surprises this day!
I accompanied dear Meinke-Haibl to the theater for the first rehearsals, and Herr Schikaneder has engaged me as well, to play a small part in a new rustic comedy he has written, called “Mein Treues Herzchen” (My True Little Heart). He has even given me a solo song! And he sees me as the perfect casting for an ingénue role in “The Beggar’s Opera” by John Gay, and has already cast me in it. We shall mount “The Beggar’s Opera” later in the season. Herr Schikaneder has insisted that I too join his company! What great news, sister! My beloved and myself can thus often work and collaborate together and, en plus, not be deprived of one another’s company!
My dear Constanze, I feel at this juncture in my life, I am embarking upon a new chapter. My dearest Herr Meinke-Haibl is now part and parcel of my life and my heart. My prospects seem much the same, though my outlook is vastly different from before our journey.
Sister, Herr Alois Haibl, my beloved’s pere, is such a convivial, kind gentleman; such a good heart has he.
All these past months, I have become better acquainted with Haibl Pere, and can now say with complete forthrightness that I know him quite well and greatly esteem him. Constanze, it is uncanny how very much he physically resembles his son! And he too has a dry, drole sense of humor which he tires not in making use of. And like his son, he is a born raconteur, a marvelous storyteller, and regals us often with jokes and merriment.
I must now tell you a precious secret, dear sister.
After we were back but a little over three days, Herr Haibl Pere with his son came to call upon us, and since then, Herr Haibl Senior is steadily—without fail—come to call on Mama at least thrice weekly. It is so sweet, dear sister. I am very happy for Mama, indeed, for both of them!
I perceived with my womanly intuition that he too was lonely and wanting for a special love.
Last night, I heard a mixture of laughter and giggles from the parlor.
I did not wish to intrude nor to look within, as he had for some hours been in Mama’s company. As I went to leave the scene, the doorway was half open, and I happened accidentally upon the two of them in a tight embrace and kiss.
Before closing, dear Constanze, let me tell you something about Herr Meinke-Haibl’s life at the residence of the Count and Countess Hatzfeld.
By the by, the Countess is a very open, unguarded, and friendly person.
I can tell that I please her, and she approves of my alliance with her children’s music tutor.
Thrice has she invited me to take tea and cakes with her in the garden room, and several times more as a threesome with Meinke-Haibl.
Constanze, Meinke-Haibl’s beautiful steed, Lady, is stabled with the Count’s own horses. Herr Meinke-Haibl had specially arranged to have Lady used as one of the coach horses on his return journey to Vienna, which greatly facilitated his move.
The Count and Countess are so generous to enable me the full use of one of their horses when Meinke-Haibl is exercising Lady.
Constanze, green buds are beginning to slowly blossom again, and old man winter is giving way to the innocence and virgin beauty of springtime.
How I come more alive in the pursuit of outdoor pleasures, riding in the fresh, invigorating air, feeling the fresh breeze upon my cheeks, observing green abundance, mother nature, all about me. How I love to take full advantage of the Countess’s generous offer of exercising this beautiful palomino mare, called Dancing Darling.
Sister, at times when Herr Meinke-Haibl and myself are outdoors on horseback together, it seems we are in unison, our faces both pointed together forward, confidently and trustingly, toward the future, but grounded in the present.
A few days ago, after our horseback ride, Herr Meinke-Haibl invited me to come into his cottage and visit with him there.
Everything within is so cozy and gemuetlich.
We sat together on his bed, and then that magnetic force so powerfully pulled us together—one body, one heart.
I know not what happened, dear sister. I was out of my body, lost in a whirlwind, scarce conscious. I experienced such delight and indescribable bliss. Meinke-Haibl did, however, nothing that would cause me to be with child.
Of this, he was most resolute. How he would hate for me to be a mother without a husband. I am so thankful for his kind heart, and I trust him and love him heart and soul.
Dear sister, the candles are very nearly burned to the wick, and bedtime and sleep beckon.
I am so relieved to hear that your health, dear sister, is steadily improving, and I long so much to embrace you and again enjoy our sisterly tete-a-tetes.
As ever, your devoted sister,
Sophie, nee Weber

Reflections:

Vienna, den 21. Maerz

My dearest Constanze,
How pleased and happy I am, dear sister, to receive your post of yesterday from Baden-Baden and to learn how thoroughly you are restored to health and vigor. Mama is likewise so relieved to hear your happy news. We are awaiting your return to Vienna this Friday next with sweet anticipation.
Sister, quite early this morning, Herr Meinke-Haibl had some errands to run in the Petersplatz, and he unexpectedly called upon me, his arms filled with a fragrant bouquet—a vibrant herald of spring—red roses!
I fetched some water and placed them in a vase in the parlor.
The adjoining pantry was quite empty and deserted, and as Herr Meinke-Haibl and I stood there in the archway, we impulsively flung our arms tightly about one another.
I seemed powerless, and a stronger impulse than my resistance overwhelmed me. I impulsively lifted his shirt and put both hands underneath his upper garments, eagerly feeling his warm flesh, as a drowning person gasping for air. I ran my arms entwined about his person up and down his back and, ach, a tad below. Sister, modesty forbids me from saying more.
I shall describe this scene no further, since Herr Meinke-Haibl was taking only temporary leave of me. This very evening, he was to go fetch his father, Herr Haibl, so that we four should all celebrate this first day of spring by taking a short stroll to the Wiener Kanal (a tributary of the Danube).
Some hours later, I was in the kitchen kneading bread dough when Mama suddenly came in looking flushed.
“Maria Sophie!” she exclaimed sharply. “This morning, you were so utterly absorbed in your tete-a-tete—rather arms-in-pants—with your precious Herr Meinke-Haibl–that you did not recognize my presence!”
“Ach, mein Gott,” I thought, mortified and horrified. Thoughts raced through my brain of Mama’s past threats to throw me out into the street, to disown me, to wretch me from the bosom of our warm hearth.
“Oh Mama, oh Mama,” I gasped. Mama looked me over silently, expressionless—simply staring at me in resignation and exasperation. Finally, she threw up her hands in a gesture of helplessness. I could see that her tired blue eyes were filled with tears. “Ach, my dear Sophie, whenever I look at you, I see your father. You are your father’s daughter, dear Sophie. I am proud of you, my child. I love you. Whatever happens in your life, I shall stand by you and never desert you. My dear Sophie, your family is there for you and always shall be. Ja, mein Kind (my child), that is what families are for.” My eyes were now brimming with tears and I noticed Mama’s tears trinkling down her rosy cheeks. We embraced one another, crying. “Now, Sophie dear, look who is come to call on us.” I looked out the window down onto the street scene on the Petersplatz below, glimpsing Herr Meinke-Haibl and his father making their way to our door.
A short while later, as the waning sun cast its deep shadow upon the cobbled streets, we four had reached the Wiener Kanal, the ever-so-welcome sight of the immortal, endless water. We stood on the riverbank as if in a straight line, Herr Meinke-Haibl’s arms and mine around each other’s shoulders while Mama, standing next to me, and Herr Haibl Pere likewise had their arms entwined shoulder-high. We all gazed spellbound at the slowly-setting sun.
The sun is the symbol of life, I thought. Since the setting sun was almost touching the placid waters, this was one occasion when we could safely and serenely gaze upon the yellow-orange, slowly sinking ball. The sun finally disappeared into the Danube, illuminating the sky with its brilliant red, orange, and pink hews and causing the rippling waters to gleam and sparkle like diamonds. We four linked arms and stood contemplating the shimmering beauty before us. I felt a warm glow in my heart and a deepening strength—born of love, support, and a sense of belonging.
Yes, I belonged to my dear Meinke-Haibl, to my family, my surroundings and yes, no less to myself.
At that moment, I heard a waft of music from a street musician carried to us by the wind. It was “Il mio tesoro” from Wolfgang’s opera “Don Giovanni.”
This contented scene shall be frozen in time, will remain with me forever, I thought—as shall dear Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s music shall always belong to the world—to all of us.
At this moment, I am content in the present and hopeful of the future.
Yours very affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Advertisements

MOZART’S SISTER-IN-LAW, JOSEFA WEBER: DOWN-TO-EARTH DIVA–MY PAGE

October 26, 2008 - One Response

Please meet my older sister, Josefa Weber:

Mozart’s Sister-in-Law, Josefa Weber:
Down-To-Earth Diva:
About Myself:
Gruess Gott–meine Damen und Herren!
Ach, do come in and please–bitte–make yourselves at home here in my comfy parlor.
Is the chair comfortable?
I shall bring you some Kaffee and Linzertorten straight away.
I so love how my cooking and meals please my visitors.
Please let me introduce myself, meine lieben Gaeste.
I am Josefa Hofer Mayer, nee Weber, the eldest child of Fridolin and Cecilia Weber, my father being a Musiker by trade.
I was born in the year of our Lord 1759 in Zell im Wiesenthal in the Black Forest.
I was blessed to be born tall in stature, quite the tallest of us four sisters, large-boned, sturdy, and as strong as a horse.
I have energy in abundance, and my bustling about and frequent constitutionals contribute to my great lung capacity, which is indispensable to me in the art of singing.
For I am a soprano at Emanuel Schikaneder’s Theater in Vienna and, I am often told, gifted with a fine, strong, powerful voice.
The good Lord saw fit to endow me with a range of more than four octaves, to F above high C.
Yes, my vocal range is Praise God extremely wide and flexible.
Ach, my weakness is food. I LOVE it! And I love to cook; I delight in it and in concocting new and savoury recipes.
I see how my cooking delights especially the menfolk.
How their eyes twinkle and their cheeks glow rosy with pleasure and anticipation, and their lips smile upon first seeing (and smelling) my delicious culinary creations at table.
Ach, meine lieben Gaeste, my love of the culinary arts has alas contributed to my unfortunate avoirdupoids—how I hate to pronounce the word: yes—plain and simple—FAT.
Not that I am obese, mind you—far from it.
And being tall and large-boned, I carry my extra weight well.
I am just a trifling overweight.
My physical imperfections would be of little consequence were it not for Aloysia, the second oldest of us Weber girls.
Aloysia like myself is a songbird to the core, and blessed with an alabaster complexion, small and dainty features, a slim and well-proportioned figure, a ready smile, and coquetterie in abundance.
My voice is more powerful and purer than my sister’s, the Prima Donna’s, but it is she who garners all the attention, acclaim, admiration, applause, and throngs of lovesick admirers.
Oh, I do not bear Aloysia any jealousy. It would serve no purpose.
Thanks to God, there is a place also for me on the stage, with my powerful voice, deftness with comedy, razor-sharp timing, and my acting ability.
Thank goodness there is also work for me in my chosen profession; there is a place for me to tread the boards and employ my musical talent.
And, you know, I take comfort in the fact that my extra weight, in my opinion, also gives extra weight and power to my voice.
I suppose that I am known largely because I was the first “Queen of the Night” in my esteemed brother-in-law, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s, opera “The Magic Flute.”
Mozart was very instrumental in my life.
I married Mozart’s close friend, the violinist Franz de Paula Hofer, my late husband.
After his death, I married singer and actor Friedrich Sebastian Mayer, who likewise interpreted Mozart’s music.
Among his roles were Sarastro in “The Magic Flute” and Pasha Selim in “The Abduction from the Seraglio”.
Now you know, meine lieben Gaeste, a little of my life and my interests, and the influence upon me of my dear brother-in-law, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Here we are come so soon to the end of our discourse.
I was called to the Lord in December of 1819, aged sixty years.
I am very proud of my daughter, Josefa Hofer-Hoenig, herself also blessed with a beautiful soprano voice.
Like myself, Josefa is a soprano at Schickaneder’s Theater an der Wien and is also a talented pianist.

“Mozart’s Sister-in-Law, Josefa Weber:
Down-To-Earth Diva: About Myself” is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without her written permission.

“Mozart’s Sister-in-Law, Josefa Weber:
Down-To-Earth Diva: About Myself”
© Marti Burger 2003-2008

 
 
 

SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: MY BELOVED NEPHEW, FRANZ XAVER MOZART

October 26, 2008 - Leave a Response

SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: MY BELOVED NEPHEW, FRANZ XAVER MOZART

Salzburg, den 1. Mai, 1846

My dear friends and visitors,
As I sit at my writing desk on this warm spring morning in my apartment in the Marktplatz, my thoughts turn to my dearest nephew, Franz Xaver Mozart.

It was both a blessing and a curse for him to be the son of the great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
I never had children of my own, and professed not to have favorites among my many nieces and nephews.
But if any child awakened the dormant mother in my heart, it was my beloved nephew.
I have nowadays much time for musings and reflections, having reached in October last the great age of two-and-eighty.
I believe that I was secretly pleased to remain a spinster until I safely passed the age of bearing children.
The fear of dying in childbirth or of losing children in infancy was unspoken but remained in my heart.

My beloved nephew, Franz Xaver Mozart, saw the light of day in Vienna on the 26th of July in the year of our Lord 1791, scarcely four months before his father’s untimely passing.
I recall so well that beautiful, joyous summer day in Vienna.
My dear sister, Constanze, experienced but a short labor, and our dear Mama and I were there to assist the midwife.
I remember my euphoria, since the beautiful baby boy was healthy and plump.
My sister let me hold him in my arms and cuddle him, and the strong bond between us was forged.
Franz Xaver’s older brother, Karl, aged nearly seven, was delighted with the appearance of a baby brother.
Mama and I took the infant to Saint Stephen’s Cathedral to be christened: Franz Xaver Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart.

Wolfgang was the name his mother called him, though she favored the pet name of Wowi, as all our family did.

My nephew bore a strong physical resemblance to his father.
Franz Xaver grew up to be a gifted composer and virtuoso on the pianoforte.
If only so much had not been expected of him!
If only his beautiful musical creations were not immediately and inevitably compared with his father’s immortal masterworks!
If only he himself had not also been guilty of these very things!
My dear nephew possessed a kind heart and a sensitive nature, and I miss him deeply.

For one thing I am most grateful: that the Almighty saw fit to take my dearest sister, Constanze, in March of 1842, aged eighty years, without having to endure the grief of losing her beloved son.
Franz Xaver Mozart passed from this world in Karlsbad on the 29th of July, 1844, aged three-and-fifty years, barely two years after his mother.

My nephew commenced his musical studies at an early age and aged six years, he sang the aria “Der Vogelfaenger bin ich ja” from his father’s opera, “The Magic Flute.”
He was fortunate to study with Joseph Haydn and Antonio Salieri and other notable composers.
My dear Franz Xaver enjoyed early success with his own compositions and his virtuosity on the pianoforte, but he felt most keenly the expectations heaped upon him to duplicate or even surpass the musical genius and success of his father.

My poor Wowi! What frustration he experienced in attempting to fulfill his youthful promise.
Oh, his music is sublime and beautiful.
No one can attest that he is not indeed a gifted composer and virtuoso.
But there is only one Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
No one can touch his dear father.
I wish that this gradually dawning knowledge would have pleased Franz Xaver rather than have cast a haunting shadow over his heart and his life.

My nephew traveled widely throughout the European lands–giving concerts, interpreting both his own and his esteemed father’s music.
He favored composing in his father’s style–even, alas, when it was no longer fashionable.
But had Wowi remained in Vienna, he would have been aware of more current, modern musical styles and fare.
You see, Franz Xaver settled in Lemberg, Ukraine, in a more isolated region of the Austrian Empire.
He served as a tutor in two aristocratic households, and subsequently became a music teacher in the town, all the while composing.
In Lemberg, Franz Xaver met his great love, Countess Josephine Cavalcabo, married to a man she did not esteem.
My nephew and the countess were very attached one to the other, and she bestowed personal happiness upon him.

Toward the end of Franz Xaver’s life, he returned to live in Vienna.
In 1842, only months after the passing of his dear mother, Franz Xaver participated in the erection of the Mozart Monument in Salzburg.
I so wish my dear sister, Constanze, could have lived to witness this great day.
Franz Xaver’s elder brother, Karl, and I were also present.

I shed tears of happiness and pride for my late brother-in-law, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The Michaelsplatz was then renamed the Mozartplatz, and the statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was unveiled.
My dear nephew performed one of his own and one of his father’s works.
Sadly, two years thereafter, Franz Xaver’s health began to fail, and he died in Karlsbad in July of 1844.

I hope that you, meine lieben Freunde und Gaeste, have enjoyed hearing a little about my dear nephew and will recall him and his music with pleasure.
Franz Xaver Mozart can securely stand alone in his own right–as composer, viruoso, and Mensch.

“SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: MY BELOVED NEPHEW, FRANZ XAVER MOZART” is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without her written permission.

“SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: MY BELOVED NEPHEW, FRANZ XAVER MOZART”
© Marti Burger 2003-2008

THE DIARY OF SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL, MOZART’S FAVORITE SISTER-IN-LAW by Marti Burger

October 26, 2008 - One Response

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

“THE DIARY OF SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL, MOZART’S FAVORITE SISTER-IN-LAW” is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without her written permission.

“THE DIARY OF SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL, MOZART’S FAVORITE SISTER-IN-LAW”
© 2003-2008 Marti Burger

Wien (Vienna), den 1. Oktober, 1780

Dear Diary,
This day is my special day, my birthday.
I am celebrating reaching the age of seventeen years, and am near all grown-up.
This day, my elder sister, Constanze, presented me with this precious gift: you, dear Diary. I am so very happy to receive you! I love your beautiful red leather cover, how very special you are to me. Constanze herself keeps a diary, and thought that now would be an opportune time for me to likewise do so.
My dearest sister, Constanze, and I are very near of an age, she being but one-and-twenty months my elder. Constanze is very nearly nineteen. She is my closest and dearest friend in the world—my bosom companion.
Stanzi and I are kindred spirits. We discourse about everything of importance to us, and readily confide in one another.
No secret goes beyond our company, no confidence travels beyond our lips.
I might add that this brand new and precious diary shall also become my cherished companion and confidant.
Its rich beautiful red leather cover and sparkling gold key shall be the keeper of secrets, and be witness to my life, and to my thoughts and dreams.
I am this moment all excitement in welcoming my dear diary to the bosom of my family and my heart.
Dear Diary, the hour grows late, and tomorrow, I shall describe my special day and my birthday celebration to you.

Wien, den 2. Oktober, 1780

Dear Diary,
Today, Monday, is once more but an ordinary day.
Yesterday–the anniversary of my birth seventeen years ago–on the other hand, still lingers dreamily in my memory.
I should love to relive my special day with you, dear Diary.
I cannot help but smile as I begin…….
This year, my birthday fell on a Sunday, so the normal workday was far removed from our home, hearth, and city of Vienna.
I reside with my dear mother, Frau Caecilia, Widow Weber, and my three sisters, Josefa (Josi), the eldest, Aloysia (Loysi), the second eldest, and Constanze (Stanzi), the third in age—I, Sophie, being the youngest.
It has now been fully one year since we moved with my dear Papa, Herr Fridolin Weber, to Vienna.
We live in a large building on the Petersplatz (Peter’s Square) called “Zum Auge Gottes” (“at God’s eye”), on the second floor.
Our apartment looks over the Petersplatz, and I dearly love to gaze down on the busy street scene below–the ever-changing parade of people and activity unfolding before my very eyes.
From our front windows, we can see the side of the towering Saint Peter’s Church situated opposite our building, and behold its round, muted green dome.
Dear Diary, what an immense, grand city the imperial capital of Vienna is—so much larger and more vast than Mannheim or Munich.
When I was first arrived in Vienna, I would walk around spellbound, taking in the wondrous sights of all the many huge, wide buildings and the impressive baroque architecture, the many burghers here fashionably attired, the bustle and noise of the multitude of horses and carriages and of these city dwellers–which seemed to stretch on and on.
I am a brunette of middling height with curly hair, large brown eyes, and a slim figure.
Our dear, beloved father, Fridolin Weber, was suddenly called to the Lord barely one month after our arrival in this Habsburg capital on the Danube, so Mama, with our help, has had to turn our apartment on the Petersplatz into a boarding house to make ends meet.
We are from Mannheim, located on the confluence of the Rhine and Neckar Rivers, and had resided in Munich for one and a half years before coming to live in Vienna on account of Aloysia’s appointment as soloist at the Court Theater.
You see, my two eldest sisters are professional opera singers.
Aloysia, as I mentioned, sings at the Court Theater (Burgtheater—Imperial Theater) next door to the Hofburg–Imperial Palace–and Josefa at the Volksoper (Light Opera Company) on the edge of town.
You can imagine that there is much singing and a cacophony of music making in our home—my sisters practicing, our two pianofortes humming along busily.
This special atmosphere and I might call it—beautiful noise—is not for every likely boarder.
It needs be tolerable to their ears and hearts.
Therefore, what boarders we have are from the same sphere—namely, Musikers or actors, though usually music students.
My dear Mama is not shy in advertising for boarders.
She has had a vast number of cards printed up, and they are readily at hand.
If her garments contain no pockets, she will keep one or two hidden in her bodice for safe keeping, in case she should encounter a likely prospective boarder.
The cards read:

Rooms to Let, Reasonable Rates
Frau Caecilia Widow Weber, Proprietor
Petersplatz 11, Zum Auge Gottes (“at the eye of God”)
Opposite Saint Peter’s Church
Second Floor
Clean Rooms, Breakfasts Included
Delicious Meals can be Arranged

I recall how we encountered our very first boarder, the superb actor of our Imperial Theater, Herr Josef Lange.
Aloysia had invited Mama, my sisters, and myself to attend a play called “Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark” by an old English master, Herr Wilhelm Shakespeare. The star of that play was Herr Josef Lange. I must say that Herr Lange has indeed a beautiful countenance, and he emoted most impressively. After the play, Aloysia presented us to Herr Lange, and quick as a whip went Mama’s deft hand into her bodice and out came the card and into Herr Lang’s ready hand.
So there you are, dear Diary.
Our first boarder—and soon thereafter, Aloysia’s own fiancé.
The nuptials shall take place in but a month’s time, on October 31st.
Constanze and I are the sisters most likely engaged in the day-to-day chores of our boarding house: helping with meal preparation, at which Josi, by the by, excels, mending, cleaning our boarders’ bedchambers, helping our two maidservants with the washing, helping to serve meals, and above all, running errands for dear Mama, which she often has us do.
Constanze and I would be far more skilled on the pianoforte than we indeed are—if only we were granted sufficient time to practice, to solidify, and perfect our art. Perhaps later, this gift of time to practice shall come to pass.
Oh, I can play fairly well—and Constanze too—and I take great pleasure in playing the pianoforte and also in singing—as does my dear sister, Constanze.
Dear Diary, I sometimes ponder my fate…..if my beloved Papa were still among us, he would surely have taken pains to further develop Constanze and my music and singing skills, as he so devotedly guided to fulfillment the musical education of my two elder sisters.
Our apartment is directly opposite the side of the grand Saint Peter’s Church.
The peeling of its bells is our call to rise in the morning, and its sweet soothing repetition accompanies our day.
Our section of the city is bustling with inhabitants and activity.
Adjacent to our street is the Graben (“ditch”) Vienna’s main street—the hub and the heart of the city, filled with carriages, coaches, townsfolk, shops, coffee houses, soft drink stands, booths selling sweets, ice cream, and Mandelmilch (almond milk) and several theater stalls.
The Graben is absolutely my favorite place to be in all Vienna.
I immediately fell in love with its charming square, and count myself fortunate to live not two streets away.
I especially love the tall blazing golden sculptured column in the center of this wide Graben Square—the central part of the long Graben street.
The streets which intersect our building on the Petersplatz are the Graben on one side and the Milchgasse (Milk Lane) on the other.
Speaking of Milk Lane, that is where our two servant girls, Hedwig, aged seventeen years, and Kristl, her sister, aged fifteen years, reside with their family.
The girls have only to cross the road to go to and fro morning and night.
The butcher, Herr Bernatzick, in the nearby Hoher Markt (High Marketplace), highly recommended the sisters to Mama.
They are kinfolk to him—his cousins.
Sunday is our servant girls’ day off.
I excitedly woke up yesterday morn—Sunday–knowing it is my special day!
Mama, my sisters and I, and Herr Lange attended early Mass at Saint Peter’s Church, then returned home and breakfasted.
Besides Herr Lange, we have two other boarders, Herr Guenzburg and Herr Schaefer—music students.
They departed the house early—Herr Guenzburg journeying outside the city to visit his parents and Herr Schaefer to call on his Aunt this Sabbath day.
Herr Lange had promised me a surprise which would be forthcoming.
As yesterday was my birthday, Mama excused me from the household chores, and I was happily free to practice the pianoforte to my heart’s content while Mama and my sisters attended to the preparations for my birthday celebration.
Mama made ready some punch and wine, Josefa baked a sumptuous Schokoladentorte (chocolate cake), and Alosya and Constanze fashioned chicken and ham sandwiches, and cooked some beets on the fire.
Then came the grand moment of the opening of my birthday presents in the parlor: from Constanze came you, dearest diary, from Mama–warm woolen mittens for the coming winter, from Josefa–a lovely, charming small figurine of a little girl and her dog, from Aloysia—a new green muslin bonnet adorned with beautiful, delicate lace.
Herr Lange then excused himself from our party, explaining that his surprise would be coming forthwith and thereafter, his birthday gift.
He came back shortly thereafter announcing with a bow and a flourish his surprise: Herr Lange had rented a horse and carriage for the afternoon, and we were all to proceed at once to the Prater for a glorious, lazy Sunday afternoon of picnicking and enjoying nature’s bounty—and watching, as it were, the world pass by.
The empty canvas under Herr Lange’s arm was going to be my birthday gift from him—a watercolor etching of the Prater which he would draw this day from nature.
Mama explained to me that my guardian, Herr Johann Thorwart, had not been invited to partake in our merriment, as his stern, august, and slightly frightening presence would most likely upset my sisters.
So picnic baskets laden with foodstuffs and blankets in hand, off we went in the rented carriage to the Prater.
For October, the afternoon was pleasantly and comfortably warm—an echo and breath of summertime in early fall.
Herr Lange fastened the dappled brown horse to a hitching post, and we sat on our blankets and made merry—relishing the comraderie and the delicious meal, and later singing all together German folksongs which are familiar and dear to us. How I love to sing.
A strolling violinist happened upon our party, and Herr Lange bid him tarry awhile with us and play while we partook of our delicious victuals.
Herr Lange remunerated the Musiker for his entertainment and all the while, we savored his dulcet tones and our delectable lunch.
The musician played popular tunes and ditties for us. This is pure heaven, I dreamily thought–conversing with my family, enjoying their company, and happily looking up at the clear blue sky.
Then Herr Lange set to work on his etching.
Constanze and I took a promenade around the park, savoring the sights and sounds of nature and the abundant greenery all around us—a haven for us city dwellers.
Mama drank much of the wine she had brought along, and we others mostly imbibed the delicious apple punch. All the while, we were contentedly indulging in people-watching—not to mention observing all the horses and carriages–noting the passing parade of townsfolk, their manner of dress, their amusements.
I marveled at Herr Lange’s simple yet beautifully rendered watercolor etching. This thespian, born to tread the boards and my future brother-in-law, is likewise a painter of talent. He used primarily pastel colors: light blue, pink, and green, with a smattering of other, darker hues.
Herr Lange has etched the broad Prater walkway surrounded by grass and trees and a small pavilion, with people loitering about and conversing, some folk dressed in their Sunday best, and the horses and carriages passing through—in short: art imitating life.
What joy—I thanked Herr Lange profusely!
The painting shall have a place of honor, proudly adorning the wall of my bedchamber.
It shall forever be a reminder of a most magical day.

Wien, den 3. Oktober, 1780

Dear Diary,
There shall soon be a great change for us in our humble boarding house here in Vienna on the Petersplatz.
Loysi, my elder sister, will very soon leave the bosom of our family and hearth to set up her own household, together with Loysi’s intended, who will by then be her new husband, Herr Josef Lange.
The first daughter to marry and leave home—henceforth, we shall indeed be a “Dreimaedelhaus” (a house with three maidens)!
Another piece of news greeted us bright and early this morning at the breakfast table: Herr Lange exclaimed excitedly that he has decided to purchase his own horse and carriage. We already had learned of the apartment that he has rented for Loysi and himself on the Graben, quite near Saint Stefan’s Cathedral.
My sister and future brother-in-law’s new home is thankfully not far from ours, within comfortable walking distance in fact.
My sister and Josef (by which name I shall soon call him) will move to the Graben on their wedding day, but the new horse and carriage shall be quartered in our stables out back until then. (We Webers, of course, lack for a horse and carriage, though this luxury is not a necessity for us.)
And towards dusk this day, Herr Lange did bring his brand new horse and carriage hither!
It is an exhilarating moment to first glimpse and to welcome a new animal into our family, as it were.
Herr Lange’s new steed is an extremely handsome one year old. “We shall call him ‘Hamlet’,” he informed us, grinning jovially and with a twinkle in his eye.
Hamlet is tan and white with a white mane, and warm, soulful brown eyes.
Herr Lange’s new carriage is yellow-colored, a light two-person private carriage called a desobligeant.
Dear Diary, a short while ago, before disrobing, slipping into my night chemise, and blowing out the candles for the night, I could not resist dismounting the stairs, taking a lantern and a carrot out back into the cool evening air and getting to know Hamlet—we two starring into each other’s eyes while I gently petted Hamlet, talked softly to him, and fed him the carrot.

Wien, den 4. Oktober

Dear Diary,
Might I digress but a little and tell you a little more about our life here in Vienna?
Constanze and I are again sharing a bedchamber—but at least I have my very own bed there. Hurrah for that!
When Constanze and I were little, we had to share a bed.
One year ago, when my whole family moved into our apartment on the Petersplatz, I was permitted for the first time a room of my very own—and how I delighted in it and relished my newfound privacy!
But after dear Papa’s passing and the realization that we would have to take in boarders, Mama requested that I move into Stanzi’s bedroom—with my bed in tow–so that Mama could rent out my old bedroom.
Josefa and Aloysia also had to double their sleeping quarters, although Mama still keeps her bedroom overlooking the Petersplatz, which she had shared with Papa.
Down the street is a furniture-maker, and he fashioned for Mama two brand-new beds for Josefa’s and my empty bedrooms.
The rooms are now rented, along with the other spare bedchamber.
My dear sister Stanzi and I are as ever very close.
Since we are again sharing a bedchamber, it seems Stanzi and I hardly ever fail before bedtime to indulge in sisterly confidences and gossip, and even now on occasion—pillow fights, joking, and gales and peals of laughter together.
Dear Diary, let me describe Vienna and our lodgings a little more completely.
Residing here in Vienna is much to my liking, but the city suffers in some respects compared to Munich and my hometown of Mannheim.
Vienna is far noisier. One needs get accustomed to the frequent hawking of goods on our square and all about, the habitual sound of workmen chopping wood out front, the clatter of the horses’ hooves, the carriages and coaches on the cobblestones, the often unpleasant city smells (relating to the horses) which need be frequently cleaned and washed down, and ach, um Gottes willen—the wretched dust—so much dust flying about from the horses, carriages, and coaches!
In fact, our streets are sprayed twice daily in order to settle the dust.
In “Zum Auge Gottes” (“At God’s Eye”), there are four stories in all, and I mentioned, dear Diary, that our lodgings are on the second floor.
Our building, like many other large buildings here, has a large vaulted ground floor composed of trade shops, where many of the tradesmen dwell in back of their shops.
The entrances to the stables are to be found there as well.
Other buildings nearby, such as the building next door, contain a coffee house.
Dear Diary, I have not yet introduced to you my cherished house pets—three little dogs who own us more than we own them: Tammi, Kitzl (little fawn), and Paddi.
Tammi and Kitzl are very small, white female dogs with large pink ears—Kitzl has one pink and one brown ear—and pink noses.
Those precious pink noses steal my heart.
Kitzl also has a large brown spot on her back.
They are beautiful, affectionate little dogs.
Paddi is a terrier originating from Scotland called a west highland white.
He has the mien of an aged Scottish gentleman, with his white whiskers and lovable face.
Tammi is quite the tiniest dog I have ever laid eyes on; she must have been the runt of the litter.
Tammi sleeps on my bed with me—or rather, in it.
You see, when I place Tammi on my bed, she has a fondness for slipping under the bedcovers.
Earlier, both Tammi and Kitzl shared my bed with me.
But of late, they had begun quarreling fiercely, long after the candles had been extinguished—fighting over territory—and it did not take me long to deduce that the hotly disputed territory was—me. The quarrel had to do with who shall have the privilege of sleeping right next to me in a favorite spot.
At night, when I am fast asleep, the fighting between the two erupted-startling me into awakening.
Tiny Tammi cannot jump onto or off the bed by herself.
My dear sister, Stanzi, was at first amenable to the notion of Kitzl then sleeping nightly on or in her bed—that is, until the great barking counterpoint and chorus commenced!
Kitzl jumped off Stanzi’s bed and started barking ceaselessly at Tammi, who barked back.
The dialogue and duet between the two continued unabated until I let Kitzl out my bedchamber door.
Kitzl then returned to the parlor or kitchen, her usual domain with Paddi.
Curiously, when it is not bedtime and I sometimes do place Kitzl on my bed beside Tammi, they get on well together.
Tammi has a predilection for generously licking Kitzl’s ears—and it was only at night when I was in bed asleep that the fighting between the two burst forth.
That is why Kitzl now curls up cosily at night with Paddi in the parlor, on a small rug meant for our canine companions.
Our good mother is very partial to Paddi.
She talks to him frequently and Paddi, in a strange but welcome sense—since I know Mama is lonely—has partly taken the place of my beloved Papa.
Ach—a soft pillow thrown by Stanzi has just hit me in the shoulder and caused me to drop my quill!
I heard Stanzi’s reproachful voice from the bed, “Sister, you are practically burning the midnight oil! Cease your writing for now, Sophie! You know full well that Mama wants us to run errands bright and early tomorrow morning, and we must be up at the crack of dawn!”
“Sister,” she added grinning, “I am this moment almost sorry that I gave you that diary!”
“But Stanzi!”
I then added as an afterthought, “The burning of my candles need not disturb you, Stanzi. I shall put them out soon, by and by.”
“I am only teasing, sister dear,” Stanzi smiled and sighed, turning over in bed.
“Sophie, this is something I shall have to get used to after all.”

Wien, den 5. Oktober

Dear Diary,
This day dawned sunny and cloudless, as perfect and mild an early autumn day as my birthday was.
After breakfasting, Mama sent Stanzi and I out this morning to run errands for her—to purchase beef at Herr Bernatzick’s butcher shop, flour at the miller’s establishment, and muslin at the cloth shop, along with corn and carrots at the greengrocer’s.
Before Stanzi and I departed our lodgings, she told me she would also take me to visit the new bookshop, located nearby on the Kohlmarkt (“Cabbage Marketplace”), where she had found and purchased my diary.
Dear Diary, the tiny bookdealer’s shoppe is nestled cosily between two larger establishments—the milliner’s shop and workshop and the cloth shop.
A hanging wooden sign overhead in the form of a book reads “Egil Ekko’s Bookshop.”
The proprietor, Herr Egil Ekko, was alone within, smoking a long clay pipe.
“Gruess Gott, Fraeulein Weber! Delighted to see you again! And who is the lovely Mademoiselle accompanying you?”
He spoke German with a noticeably Scandinavian accent.
His accent is quite charming, I might add.
“Herr Ekko, this is my younger sister, Mademoiselle Sophie Weber.
Sophie, Herr Ekko hails from Christiania (Oslo), Norway.”
We both curtsied, and Herr Ekko bowed politely and eagerly.
“Yes, my dear ladies. I am a visitor—a new resident–here in Vienna.
I almost feel like an adventurer in this fair city, but am in truth but a bystander. Do not let my pipe smoking bother you, dear ladies. Rest assured that I have been granted a license by Their Majesties to permit my customers and myself to smoke within these walls.”
He smiled disarmingly. “My dear Mesdemoiselles; I dearly relish this vice and habit of mine, but I am the last person on earth to recommend it. It is a dirty habit, and should never touch the lips nor besmirch the constitution of you, fair Mesdemoiselles. I myself smoke far too much, alas.”
“I have never seen a woman smoke!” I hastily retorted.
“Dear Fraeulein, I am no clairvoyant with powers to see into the future, but let us hope it remains so,” Herr Ekko laughed unassumingly.
I looked straight at Herr Ekko, and felt a strange, sweet, intoxicating power come over my heart. What was this? Was it infatuation…..love?
I hurridly looked away, and dared look up at him again.
Herr Ekko is not a tall man. I know that he is much more advanced in years than I, and he has a round, sweet face with lovely features, blue eyes, and the most heavenly smile that I have ever seen. What an angelic and adorable countenance.
He wears not a wig, nor does he power his straight dark blond hair, worn at his shoulders. Framing Herr Ekko’s lovely face is a pair of dark, prominent spectacles. The glasses and the pipe give Herr Ekko an air of maturity—which in his years he undoubtedly has—wisdom, and experience—good and bad—an air of having been through the fires of hell, a slight world-weariness, born of experience and nurtured by sadness and by life.
By God, dear Diary—the sight of Herr Ekko in contemplation and deep in though, sitting with his rumpled hair and smoking on his water pipe–sets my heart aflutter.
Constanze interrupted my thoughts, “Sister, I want to go have a look at the hats and bonnets next door. Would you mind staying here awhile? I shall be back shortly.”
“Yes, dear sister. Do go and enjoy yourself. I shall be fine.”
Herr Ekko and I were alone.
We commenced to talk, and had a lovely conversation.
He told me that he is seven-and-forty years of age.
My goodness—Herr Ekko would be of an age with my dear Papa!
Herr Ekko is also with wife, and has two daughters, slightly younger than myself.
Ach, zum Teufel! (the devil)—How my heart sank.
However, I managed to mask my disappointment well, did not let it show on my face nor in my demeanor.
Herr Ekko spoke softly and modestly, “I wanted to see what life is like outside of Norway, dear Fraeulein. So I found myself here with my family in this glorious Habsburg capital. I am a writer by trade, and still write for the Christiania (Oslo) Gazette. I send my newspaper back at home articles about events here in Vienna. But I need support my family; I was also obliged to find an additional means of earning my bread and so, I yust opened my bookshop.”
I love the way he pronounced “just”—“yust”!
I told Herr Ekko about myself and my family, about our slowly getting accustomed to life in Vienna—something we recent arrivals both have in common.
I immediately sensed a mutual and profound attraction between Herr Ekko and myself.
In Herr Ekko’s presence, my whole being was energized and felt truly alive.
What were these new longings and pangs in my body?
I went over to the bookshelf and looked through all the many book titles.
Suddenly, I looked up and caught Herr Ekko starring at me through his dark, thick spectacles.
Without missing a beat, I quickly looked down again and pretended to concentrate on my book browsing, my body in an unfamiliar but sweet uproar.
I settled upon a small, thin volume of verse by Herr Wolfgang Goethe.
I was thankful that I had saved some money from my allowance and was able to purchase the book.
I love to read, and also gave evidence of my good intentions to this mysterious, somehow irresistible and lovable man.
My God, Sophie, I thought to myself. I know Herr Egil Ekko is married.
I would never go so far as to commit adultery with him, to lose my innocence, to form a serious attachment with an espoused man.
But yet, but yet. Ach, how I would love in this case to listen to the voice of my heart and utterly to obey it.
Yet hush, be still, my heart!
To take the leap and go all the way now and with this man–that, I would not do, Sophie.
My conscience and good sense overrides my passions.
But what would it be like—to lose myself in exquisite longing, to give in to it, to truly love a man with all my senses, to know that he loves me–and share our love without bounds and inhibitions—what would it be like; what would it feel like?
Just then to my regret, my dear sister, Constanze, came to rescue me.
We both bid Herr Ekko adieu until the next time, and continued with our errands for Mama.
This night, before blowing out the candles, Constanze and I, sat on the bed as is our wont–laughing and jesting.
All of a sudden, I felt apprehensive and asked my sister, “Stanzi, do you have any special feelings for Herr Ekko?”
I wanted the answer to be a resounding “no!”.
I could not bear the thought of Stanzi and I both being in love with the same man!
“Herr Ekko? The bookdealer? Why no, Sophie. Not at all. Why do you ask?”
“Sister, I find him particularly appealing—but never fear. I know that he is married. Oh, Constanze; a weight has been lifted from my shoulders! I am so relieved nonetheless. I know that I can not permit myself to feel seriously about Herr Ekko,” I giggled.
“Ach, Constanze,” I probed. “Are you sweet on someone in particular?”
I saw Constanze’s cheeks slowly turn beet-red, and she shyly answered, “Dear sister, this is between us alone. But I have never forgotten Herr Wolfgang Mozart. Dear Herr Mozart…..” her voice trailed off.
I so vividly remember our close friendship with the slight and endearing young man whom Papa and our family took to our hearts so long ago in Mannheim. This onetime Wunderkind, this amazing composer and musician.
Actually, it seems a long time ago, but has scarce been three years since first we met…….
“Sophie, I keep thinking of him. I want so much to be with him, to hear from him….Dear sister, I…..harbor such tender thoughts of Wolfgang Mozart.” Constanze lowered her eyes, almost ashamed to reveal the extent of her feelings.
A brilliant idea suddenly occurred to me, and I brightened.
“Sister, dear sister—Do write him a letter! Let Herr Mozart hear from you!”
“Oh my!” Constanze’s rosy cheeks seemed to burn fiercely.
“Sophie—How can I? Herr Mozart is probably married by now, or has a fiancée. He may no longer be in Salzburg; he very well might have found an appointment at another court. I am sure he is much occupied……”
“Stanzi, you will never know unless you try.”
“Ach, mein lieber Gott.” It seemed that Constanze’s blushing extended up to her forehead and down through her toes.
She grabbed my shoulder: “I shall do it!” Hesitatingly and haltingly, Stanzi pondered aloud, “I know not his complete address, Sophie. Only ‘The Dancing Master’s House, Hannibal Square, Salzburg’. And Herr Mozart’s father was not kindly disposed towards us Webers–unfairly so, since he does not even know us personally.
If I write to Herr Mozart, and the letter reaches its destination, perhaps Herr Mozart’s father might rip it to shreds, and Herr Mozart would never know that I have written him.”
I gently laughed. “Do not listen to your fears, Stanzi. Listen to your heart.”
“Sister,” Constanze smiled at me, relieved. “Go to bed! Close your eyes. Do not let my writing disturb you, dear sister! I am going to write to Herr Mozart now–and tomorrow, you and I shall make a trip to the post office and send my letter off.”
I lay my head upon my soft white pillow, and tiredly but excitedly closed my eyes.
I was still conscious of the flicker of light from the candles as Constanze sat at the desk writing, and I soon drifted off into a peaceful slumber.

Wien, den 14. Oktober, 1780

Dear Diary,
This evening, Mama, Stanzi, and I were seated at supper.
Josi, Loysi, Herr Lange, and our other two boarders were all out.
The doorbell clanged noisily, and I jumped up to answer it.
It was the delivery postman, who handed me a letter, “For Mademoiselle Constanze Weber!”
“Stanzi; it is for you.”
I handed my sister the letter.
“Oh!” Stanzi gasped, “A letter from Herr Wolfgang Mozart!”
Mama became extremely excited and agitated, and jumped up from her chair, clasping her pudgy hands to her ample bosom.
“From Herr Mozart!,” she exclaimed. “Oh, I knew it! I knew it all along!
I knew he never forgot us! Maria Constanze! Hurry up, girl! Open it up! Read it! Read it!”
“Mama!” Constanze protested. “I cannot, you see. It is private. Herr Mozart addressed the letter to me.”
“Nonsense!” Mama reacted impatiently.
“Mama,” Stanzi calmly began again, “I shall read the letter to myself first, and then give you the gist of it.”
Mama and I waited anxiously as Constanze scanned the letter, during which her countenance lit up and she smiled.
“Well, all right,” Stanzi stated matter-of-factly, endeavoring to seem casual.
“Herr Mozart and his father and sister are all well.
He calls me ‘Stanzi Marini’,” she giggled. “He writes what great pleasure and happiness it gives him to hear from me out of the blue.
Mama, Herr Mozart wrote this next part backwards; he is teasing me…….Really, Mama; I need not recite it,” she blushed.
“Go on, girl!” Mama cajoled, red in the face.
“Oh, Mama. Tis intended for no ears save mine! He asks about my life in Vienna, what I have been engaged in, mentions a symphony and a quartet he has of late composed, inquires after your health and all my sisters’ health.
This next section concerns Papa.
Herr Mozart writes that he is so sad and desolate to hear of Papa’s passing, sends us his profoundest condolences, how he is with us in our sorrow, and shares our loss.”
Mama suddenly erupted into tears and great sobs.
“What a kind soul! What a precious lad! My girl, Herr Mozart is one in a million!” she exclaimed through the copious tears which streamed down her plump rosy cheeks.
Tears welled up in Constanze’s eyes now too, and she struggled to keep in control.
“There, there Mama. All right,” she hesitated. “Herr Mozart asks how often I think of him……He writes in that vein about…..about thinking of me.
Oh Mama; I cannot repeat all this; it pains me. Do not request it again……..
He bids me adieu and kisses my hand 1001 times—backwards and forwards, and signs his name ‘Monsieur Trazom’.”
Stanzi seemed so ill at ease, and rose to leave the table.
Mama begged her to stay and added, “You must write that dear man back straight away! You two have a special friendship. It needs be nourished and cared for!”
“Oh Mama!”
Constanze looked thoroughly embarrassed and replied, “Tis nothing, I assure you, Mama. I will wager that Herr Mozart is just being kind.”
Mama seized desperately on Stanzi’s words, gasping, “Yes! Kind—and ach, so kind-hearted! A real jewel! Dear Herr Mozart is unique, one of a kind; we shall not see his like again! And so gifted, such talent, such a promising future!”
I knew intuitively that Stanzi did not want to raise Mama’s hopes and expectations and desired at the same time to preserve her precious privacy.
Were Stanzi later to be hurt, rejected, and broken-hearted, she did not wish Mama to know of her shame and humiliation.
Later, before blowing out the candles and retiring for the night, Constanze confided in me, “Ach, Du lieber Gott, Sophie! What rotten luck! That postman just had to come by while we were supping with Mama! And I—fool that I was—just had to say that the letter was from Herr Mozart!”
Constanze suddenly smiled blissfully and serenely, lost dreamily in a private world.
“Oh Stanzi,” I glowed, “You see; you did not need Herr Mozart’s complete address. ‘The Dancing Master’s House, Hannibal Square, Salzburg’ sufficed. And now you do have his full address.
And Herr Mozart’s father did not tear up your letter before it reached his son,” I added.
My sister retorted happily, winking at me, “Well, sheer luck again, Sophie—this time for the good—that Herr Wolfgang Mozart saw the letter first!”
“Stanzi, you see; I told you! Are you glad that you followed my counsel and wrote Herr Mozart?” I grinned mischievously.
I added, “I am happy for you, Stanzi.”
My grin was contagious.
My sister’s face was aglow as she quietly replied, “We shall see, Sophie.”
She then smiled, “Dearest sister, some day there shall be a special gentleman for you.”
I blushed.
And so the dark enveloping night gently embraces our dreams as we are then free to dream them.

Wien, den 15. Oktober, 1780

Dear Diary,
This sunny Sabbath afternoon, Mama declined our invitation to accompany us next door to Kaffeehaus (coffee house) Neumayr, saying she had much to do at home. Josi, Loysi, Stanzi, and I were to spend some time at Neumayr’s drinking coffee, reading newspapers and gazettes, and engaging in discourse with one another.
I discovered after awhile that my “monthly visitor” had made an appearance a trifle early, and I was obliged to return home to procure some clean cloth, promising my sisters to return shortly.
Inside our apartment, I immediately heard two voices emanating from our parlor. Mama’s voice was louder and shriller than the other which, I recognized, belonged to Herr Lange.
I wondered what was transpiring, and I crept towards the parlor and stood in the doorway.
Mama and Herr Lange had their backs to me. Mama exclaimed at fever pitch, “Herr Lange, in marrying my daughter, you realize that you are depriving me of her future livelihood! How is a poor widow like me to fend for herself and survive in this cold, cruel world?”
“Widow Weber, I feel obliged to you. I support my own dear widowed mother and, rest assured……mother……I shall provide you with a lifelong pension.”
Mama’s tone suddenly changed. “My dear boy! My dearest son!”
Just then, Mama turned around and noticed me standing there in the entranceway. She gasped, “Maria Sophie! What on earth are you doing here? Why, you and your sisters are spending the afternoon at Neumayr’s!”
“Pardon me, Mama. I needed to come back to fetch something. I am returning to Neumayr’s immediately to rejoin my sisters.”
Mama turned to Herr Lange and exclaimed, “Herr Lange, would you please excuse me a moment,” took me by the hand, and led me into the kitchen where we two were alone.
“Mama, pray tell; what is this about a ‘pension’?” I asked.
“My child, these are grown-up concerns. They need not trouble you.
You know full well, Sopherl dear, that we are deprived of the company, of the earnings of your dear, late Papa.
Dear child, the world is not fair for widows. We womenfolk are obliged to see that we are provided for when ere we can.
Your poor, careworn Mama has unburdened herself to you, dear Sopherl. And you know as much as you need know.
Now, my child–you must never repeat to Josefa, Aloysia, Constanze–nor to anyone else–what I just told you. Promise?”
“I solemnly promise, dear Mama.”
“That is my good girl, my Sopherl!” Mama beamed and threw her chubby arms around me in a warm embrace.
Mama then bid me accompany her in rejoining Herr Lange in the parlor.
She smiled broadly, saying cheerfully, “Dear Herr Lange, we shall now drink a toast to celebrate this happy occasion—your nuptials and becoming a member of our own family!”
Mama fetched the wine and also poured me a glass.
“But Mama, I am drinking coffee at Neumayr’s.”
“Just a glass, dear girl. Why, afterwards, let Herr Lange and I both join you there.”
“Splendid idea, Frau Weber,” chimed in Herr Lange.
He clinked his wine glass to each of ours, proclaiming, “Here’s to good health, and the joining together of our two families! After the wine, we surely could use a good strong cup of our delicious Viennese coffee!”
And so, all three of us adjourned to Neumayr’s, where all our family then made a party and a Kaffeeklatsch (discourse over coffee) of it.

Wien, den 21. Oktober, 1780

Dear Diary,
This day, I feel autumn clearly in the air.
The leaves are falling in profusion, and there is a new briskness to our climate.
Josi, Loysi, Stanzi, and I were all busy in the kitchen this afternoon.
Josi was cooking an Eintopfgericht (stew), and we sisters were chatting together and helping Josi by peeling potatoes and preparing and cutting vegetables and beef.
Josi said, “Sisters, I have made us some hot coffee; we had none this morning. Come, fill your cups.”
We all did so, save Loysi.
Josi exclaimed, “Loysi, you love coffee!”
“Not at present, sister,” Loysi frowned disapprovingly. “The smell and taste of it renders me sick. But I have such cravings for a delectable sour pickle!”
“A pickle? Loysi, you have never fancied pickles before!” Josi pondered.
Loysi grinned guiltily, as though she were hiding a huge secret.
She said softly, sheepishly, “Sisters, I am with child. Near two months gone. I am sure of it. My confinement shall be next May. But,” Loysi animatedly raised her voice, “do not think that Josef and I are forced to marry! We are truly in love, and would have become man and wife regardless!”
We each gasped in astonishment, and all of us went to embrace Loysi.
We wished her God’s blessings and favor.
Josi eyed Loysi archly and then uttered, “My dear sister, I cannot for the life of me imagine you—a mother!”
Loysi grinned, “Nor can I, sister.”
Josi remarked, “Sunday last, when we were all together at Neumayr’s, I noticed, Loysi, that you scarce touched your Kaffee.”
Loysi nodded and affirmed, “Ach, I could not, Josi! Ugh! Though normally, I love hot coffee. And do you recall how I had to excuse myself twice and go out back? I felt sick. I am glad it was not noticed or questioned.”
Loysi frowned, “Sisters, I shall have to hire a wet nurse right away! I cannot bear the thought of being away from the stage!”
She winked and exclaimed jauntily, “Do you suppose our Mama still has some milk stored away?” She laughed, “Mama could be stimulated into producing it again and being my wet nurse!” We all chuckled.
Josi replied resolutely, shaking her head, “Sister, I am afraid those days for Mama are long past.”
Loysi pouted, “When my condition is obvious to behold, sisters, I shall be obliged to bid my beloved Burgtheater a temporary adieu! Verdammt!”
“Loysi,” my cheerful voice contrasted with her whining complaints, “What a blessing to be a mother! How lucky you are, Loysi!”
In the back of my mind, while uttering those words, I was also mindful of the risks of childbirth. However, I am ever confident that all shall be well.
Loysi is strong, and with God’s help, she shall be safely delivered of a healthy baby.
Imagine—Mama shall very soon become a grandmama, and my sisters and I—aunts!

Wien, den 20. November, 1780

Dear Diary,
Yesterday, as the long afternoon was drawing to its close, I finished rehearsing a scene from “Der Bettler” (“The Beggar”) with its star, the renown Viennese thespian, Herr Manfred Mosetig.
The director, Herr Oskar Josef Bschliessmayer, and the other players scurried out of the Burgtheater (Imperial Theater), since the day’s duties and chores were done, and out into the early darkening Viennese dusk they went, relieved that a day’s efforts were well-accomplished.
There remains still much in the play to iron out.
Herr Mosetig and I remained behind in the corridor, laughing together, as Herr Mosetig smilingly reminisced with me about his debut in the theater.
“Have no fear, my dear Fraeulein Weber; we were all of us green once.”
Just then, a thunderous, deafening explosion, which was followed by strong pellets of rain, shattered our mirth.
“A cloudburst,” Herr Mosetig injected.
But the powerful, ceaseless rain and thunder continued unbroken, first, for one-half hour, then hour upon hour.
I had never before experienced such long, angry crying from the heavens.
Herr Mosetig shared with me some bread he had brought along, but yawning and a desire for sleep increased for both of us as the long night wore on.
Thank goodness that Herr Mosetig’s horse and carriage were safely quartered in the stables out back.
His horse is a beautiful white mare with tan spots named Frieda, and his carriage is a green two-seated Pirutsch, which suits Herr Mosetig admirably for the daily journeys to and from the suburb of Wieden.
“My dear Miss Weber, the rain shall cease by early morning at the latest.
Then I shall drive you home right away, before driving home to Wieden.
Sleep is overtaking me. I know of just the thing.”
He ushered me backstage, into a small antechamber, where a bed and blanket lay waiting.
“Fraeulein Weber, I saw to it that this cot was put here, in case the need ever arose again. You see, once a long time ago, it happened that I found myself caught alone in the theater at night, and a mighty thunderstorm struck. And I am the sole member of our company residing outside the city, in Wieden. Some nights after a performance, when the weather was so wretched, I was mightily thankful for this cot.”
“But Mama shall be beside herself with worry!” I exclaimed.
“Never you fear, my dear Fraeulein. Your Mama shall realize what has transpired and know that you are safe and are waiting out the storm.”
Dear Diary, I am entrusting the following confidences only to you and to my dearest sister, Constanze.
I trusted Herr Manfred Mosetig completely.
He is so guileless and kind.
You know, Herr Mosetig is seven-and-thirty years of age, exactly twenty years my senior, not much taller than I and wiry of figure, olive-complexioned, his hair the color of salt and pepper, mostly dark.
Herr Mosetig has a gentle, winsome, kindly smile.
Intuitively, and also for want of experience, I trusted this modest, gentle man.
In spite of the interminable storm, the air remained warm.
How it transpired, dear Diary, I cannot this moment say, but it seemed so natural and without shame that Herr Mosetig and I should shed our outer garments.
I looked deeply into Herr Mosetig’s hazel eyes; do they not say that the eyes are the mirror of the soul?
Herr Mosetig’s eyes radiate sincerity and honesty.
“How can a gentleman with such kindly eyes ever hurt me?” I reflected to myself.
Ach, I know I am but seventeen years of age.
I recognize my still childlike, trusting nature and naivety, and I desire to believe that my innocence and trust shall not be betrayed, though many life experiences, through God’s will, lie in the cloudy future.
Dear Diary, I trusted Herr Mosetig, and knew that nothing would happen.
For the very first time, I have seen a man entirely in the flesh, as God has created him.
While both of us lay relaxed and unclothed on the cot, Herr Mosetig spoke to me concerning infidelity.
“My dear Fraeulein Weber, you need have no fear of me. I am no dandy, no seducer of women. I make all that so complicated in my mind —the thought of being unfaithful to my wife and eventually hurting a Fraeulein. I cannot just do it and leave,” Herr Mosetig laughted softly. “So I do not do it,” he smiled.
“My younger brother, Kurt, on the other hand, dear Fraeulein, makes nothing of it, nothing complicated, no second thoughts. Sometimes I wish I could be like my brother, but I cannot,” he sighed and shook his head thoughtfully.
“Dear Herr Mosetig, please do not change and lose your conscience!” I earnestly implored him.
Dear Diary, this day dawned fair and unclouded.
The early morning sun was already shining as Herr Mosetig and I awoke beside one another as God has made us, and the air, cleansed from the storm, was crystal-clear.
Herr Mosetig and I hurriedly put on our clothing.
The streets and buildings appeared in extra sharp focus as under a microscope.
Many leaves and some tree branches lay scattered about on the streets, and the now almost barren trees of our city appear ever closer to the approach of winter.
Herr Mosetig accompanied me to our door and rang the bell.
Almost before the first ring had sounded, there was Mama at the doorway beside herself. “Ach, Josef Maria–my Maria Sophie! I was so worried and upset! Praise the Lord you are come back to your Mama safe and sound!
Pray tell, daughter, were you caught unawares at the theater by the heavy rains?”
“Yes, Mama. May I present to you our leading man and the star of our play, Herr Manfred Mosetig.”
Herr Mosetig bowed, took Mama’s plump hand, and kissed it gallantly, softly saying “Kuess die Hand, gnaed’ge Frau.” (“I kiss your hand, dear Madame.”)
After Herr Mosetig departed for home, Mama began to cry softly, “Maria Sophie, my dearest girl. What has that man done to you?”
“Mama! Herr Mosetig did not deflower me! Nothing happened!”
Mama’s intense, steady gaze bore into me. “Are you sure, my girl? I shall summon Herr Thorwart, your guardian, to have a talk with Herr Mosetig!
Maria Sophie, that actor shall be responsible if anything untold has transpired!”
“Oh Mama, do not summon Herr Thorwart, I beg you! I am a virgin, as I was yesterday. Herr Mosetig is not a rake. He would not be inclined to touch me, nor would I permit it.”
Mama replied, “Oh Maria Sophie, I am sorely tempted to go fetch a medical surgeon to examine you and ascertain that all is as it should be. But dear Maria Sophie, you know full well I am not a despot, but am ever a concerned Mama. No; I would not do that, my Sopherl dear, my dearest child. I trust you.”
Mama concluded her admonishment by pecking me on the cheek.
This night before bedtime, as the candles still brightly burned, I giggled with Stanzi as I recounted to her my adventure of the night before.
Stanzi smiled understandingly, “Do be careful, dear sister. Do not let it go so far again. Keep your stays fastened,” she laughed gently.
“But of course, dear Stanzi. And I am keeping myself for later, for my one true love.”
And with such romantic thoughts running through my head, I extinguished the candles, and sleep and sweet dreams beckoned.

Wien, den 30. November, 1780

Dear Diary,
I have the most dreadful news.
Herr Manfred Mosetig and I were rehearsing the garden love scene when Count Rosenberg-Orsini, the director of court theaters, suddenly appeared in our theater and announced to all those present that our beloved Empress, Maria Theresia, was called to the Lord last night at nine o’clock.
I felt a shock go through my being.
There was a stunned silence beyond all power of expression among our company.
I can scarce believe this turn of events.
It seems as though the Empress has always ruled over this kingdom—well, for well neigh over forty years.
I saw the look of surprise and sadness come over Herr Mosetig’s features.
Herr Manfred Mosetig—the dear friend of my bosom.
He is a native son of Vienna, born and bred in this grand city on the banks of the Danube.
I impulsively took Herr Mosetig’s warm, gentle hand in mine, and held on to it.
At that moment, I would have loved to hold him tightly and press my face into his comforting chest, remaining forever safe in that warm, cozy cocoon, and giving him comfort and sustenance as I too received it from him.
Count Rosenberg-Orsini cried, “The Empress is dead! Es lebe der Kaiser! (‘Long live the Emperor!’) Long live our Emperor, Josef II!”
The whole company echoed, “Long live Josef II!”
These past fifteen years, Maria Theresia co-ruled with her son–her husband, the Emperor Franz I Stefan, having died.
However, it seems Maria Theresia has always been Empress; her long reign has defined our age.
I hear tell that Josef II has great enjoyment in music.
He plays instruments and composes.
He greatly esteems concerts and the opera.
As the court is in mourning, there shall be no theatrical or operatic performances in Vienna for one month forward.
Count Rosenberg-Orsini added that the premiere of “The Beggar” shall take place one month from this day, on December 30th.
Rehearsals of our play, however, are to be continued during this upcoming month.
All our company then adjourned to the Hofburg Chapel next door to the theater, where we attended a Mass celebrating the life and praying for the soul of our late Empress, Maria Theresia.

Wien, den 16. Maerz, 1781

Dear Diary,
This morning, Constanze told me excitedly with flushed cheeks that Herr Wolfgang Mozart is arrived this day in Vienna, or should be arriving momentarily.
Her last letter from Herr Mozart was penned five days ago, before his departure from Salzburg.
Herr Mozart, the court organist, is in the employee of Count Hieronymus Colloredo, prince archbishop of Salzburg, who is in town to visit his ailing father.
Herr Mozart shall be residing with the archbishop’s other employees at his headquarters in the House of the Teutonic Order, near Saint Stefan’s Cathedral.
Late this afternoon, Stanzi and I were returning home after fetching victuals at the greengrocer’s, our arms laden with foodstuffs.
As we climbed the stairs to our apartment, we noticed a thin, blond-haired gentleman with powdered hair mounting the stairs ahead of us.
When he reached the landing and headed towards our door, Stanzi let out a gasp.
The gentleman turned around, spied us, and his face lit up in a wide grin. “Bonjour, mes demoiselles!”
Stanzi gasped, “Herr Mozart!” We rushed to the landing.
Herr Wolfgang Mozart ceremoniously bowed, and we hastily curtsied to him.
Stanzi and I are so overjoyed to be reunited with our old friend from Mannheim.
Our good mother, too, was elated to see Herr Mozart.
She bid him relax in the parlor, had me quickly prepare some fresh Kaffee (coffee), and brought in some delicious Schokolatentorte (chocolate cake).
What a jolly time we all had reminiscing and catching up on the past few years!

Wien, den 25. April, 1781

Dear Diary,
At present, our humble apartment is bereft of boarders—not one single solitary one.
For the time being, our household consists but of Mama, Constanze, and myself.
Herr Guenzburg, the violin student, has been appointed second violinist in the court orchestra this month just past.
Herr Schaefer, our other boarder and likewise a student of music, was persuaded last week by his family to return to his home on the outskirts of Vienna to be apprenticed to his father and enter the hat making trade.
Herr Schaefer had told me before departing that regretfully, he found he lacks the musical talent he hoped to acquire and nurture, and that a secure trade suits him better than remaining a mediocre Musiker.
However, our good mother yet desires for Stanzi and me to leave things as need be and continue to share Constanze’s bedchamber where, I must confess, at least I have my very own bed.
The free rooms are there for later, when they shall be rented by new lodgers.

Wien, den 1. Mai, 1781

Dear Diary,
This day, Herr Wolfgang Mozart called upon us.
The poor man seemed to be in an agitated state.
Mama served him red wine, Broetchen (rolls), and fresh, sweet butter.
“My dear ladies, I implore you to rent me a room this very day!
I cannot bear to reside one more moment under the same roof as my princely employer! He makes my life intolerable! I can no longer endure to be but a servant, to be placed at table with the other servants. And we musicians are assigned a lower rank than valets! I did not know I was a valet!
I at least have the honor of sitting above the cooks.
I am also forbidden to concertize or earn any money on my own.
I shall need the room for one week, Frau Weber; at such time, the archbishop and all his retinue must depart again for Salzburg.”
Mama gave Herr Mozart our best bedchamber save Mama’s.
Josef Lange, my new brother-in-law, was its last occupant.
The bedchamber is roomy, and affords a splendid view of the Petersplatz.

Wien, den 6. Mai, 1781

Dear Diary,
Herr Wolfgang Mozart has been lodging with us these last five days.
It is so very good to have him again within our domicile, almost as part of our family!
Those four and one half months in Mannheim after Herr Mozart entered our lives nearly four years ago were the happiest of my life till the present time.
Herr Mozart became a close friend of Papa and of all us Webers.
Dear Herr Mozart has such a childlike nature—has both child and adult within his heart.
At our home in Mannheim, Herr Mozart laughed with us, and played dice and jacks with Constanze and me upon the floor as though the three of us were children.
He brought Stanzi and me out of ourselves. He made us feel special and important. He joked with us and made us laugh.
Herr Mozart gave us sisters pianoforte lessons.
Our house was suddenly alive with laughter and merriment.
Herr Mozart’s presence among our family was magic; our family was transformed—and this endearing, short and slight of build, eccentric young man with the lovely countenance, prominent nose, sandy blond hair and prodigious musical talent—had stolen all our hearts.
I knew that Herr Mozart was then courting my elder sister, Aloysia, a budding opera singer.
Herr Wolfgang Mozart, then as now, seems always in motion, fidgeting with his hands, playing imaginary notes on the table, on the walls, sometimes even leaping over tabletops, jovial, joking, finding the humorous side of things, jokingly playing on words.
Nine months after departing Mannheim, in the dead and cold of winter, Herr Mozart called upon us in Munich on his return journey to Salzburg after the passing of his beloved mother in Paris.
He stayed with us a fortnight.
Ach, Aloysia turned him away then; she was now a star of the Munich court opera and no longer needed his help.
I felt so sorry for Herr Mozart.
Since Herr Wolfgang Mozart is come to lodge with us five days ago, he has once more transformed our humble Weber household.
Herr Mozart has given our hearth energy and purpose—and new life and warmth.
I observe that our good mother behaves differently as well.
Of late, she had seemed depressed, moody, and out of sorts, ofttimes not even bothering to brush her hair mornings.
I know that Mama misses my dear Papa dreadfully, as do I.
Mama slouched around the house with a woebegone, gloomy expression on her careworn countenance.
I know at night that Mama did not go to bed as is her wont; instead long after bedtime, she sat despondently drinking glass after glass of wine or rum at the kitchen table. Several times, late in the night, I was awakened by noises emanating from the kitchen. I had to rise from my bed, tuck Mama in her own bed, and put the wine or rum away in the cupboard.
Now, Mama does not tarry in the kitchen at bedtime.
There is no wine or rum bottle left on the table, no imbibing of wine or rum by her lonesome late at night.
Mama is up bright and early, her hair well-brushed, a contented smile adorning her face, as she bustles about our household.
Mama’s posture is ramrod straight and purposeful.
I hear her humming the old folksongs and ditties from Mannheim as she used to.
How Mama is doting on and spoiling Herr Mozart!
She has Constanze and myself tending without fail to his comfort and well-being, taking every care that his wardrobe is regularly clean, that he always has a snack or coffee if he so desires it.
Mama herself has overnight become a gourmet cook again—quite like my eldest sister, Josefa.
Dear Mama takes such pleasure and pride in planning sumptuous meals that would please Herr Mozart’s discriminating palate.
Mama is just as partial towards a simple but absolutely delicious meal for Herr Mozart.
She desires nothing save to please him and cater to his every need.
Mama has put our two pianofortes entirely at Herr Mozart’s disposal.
And this afternoon, my good mother took great pains with a late afternoon snack of fresh homebaked Brot (bread) and butter with the Kaffee (coffee) she lovingly prepared.
She had Stanzi and me put our best linen on the dinner table, and at four o’clock, she cordially bid Herr Mozart join us in the dinning room for a coffee-snack.
Mama even lit the candles.
They glowed cheerfully from the table, though it was not yet dusk.
Herr Mozart sat at table with Mama, Constanze, and myself, as we all savored the pungent Viennese coffee, the delicious bread straight out of the oven, and our lighthearted conversation.
Suddenly, the talk turned serious.
Mozart looked pensive and blurted out, “I must leave Vienna in but a few days’ time, my dear ladies. Oh, if only I did not have to depart; if only I could stay……”
“Dear Herr Mozart,” Mama kindly commented, “Your father……I fancy he would not take it well if you remained in Vienna?”
Mozart replied straightforwardly, “No, Frau Weber. I fear he might take it badly. The most important thing to my dear Papa is his family—my dear sister, Nannerl, and myself. It is dear to his heart to have us near him, to have me at home in Salzburg.”
“But, my dear Mozart,” Mama’s face lit up, “here in Vienna, you could do your Papa proud! You would surely enjoy good fortune here, Herr Mozart—and how could your dear father and sister then not rejoice in it! Why, we have our very own opera company here in Vienna, our own national theater, our Singspiel (opera in German).
And ach, so many fine patrons of music, as you well know—starting with the Emperor himself! Herr Mozart, you would be a celebrated, successful composer and virtuoso!”
Herr Mozart’s eyes brightened, and there was joy in his face. “Frau Weber,” he replied. “The opera is my passion! In Salzburg, we have alas no opera company. How I would relish the opportunity to compose more operas!”
Mama sipped her coffee and mused, “My dear boy, you should really think seriously of settling here in Vienna.”
Herr Mozart was silent.
He looked warmly at Stanzi, and out the window at the bustling Viennese street scene below.
The Kaffee and Brot were just the thing for a late afternoon pick-me-up.
I felt energized, and knew I was needed in the kitchen to help prepare supper.
Mama and I quietly left the dining room as Herr Mozart and Stanzi remained still there, absorbed in their conversation and in one another.

Wien, den 10. Mai, 1781

Dear Diary,
Yesterday, Herr Mozart came to his final decision.
He abruptly resigned his post with the archbishop of Salzburg.
This fateful step could no longer be postponed.
His princely employer bade him return forthwith to Salzburg—It was now or never!
Herr Mozart strode through the door at midday yesterday, in a high state of excitement.
“I have endured all I can take from the archbishop, meine lieben Damen!
He has insulted me and my honor beyond the point of return!
Oh, I am still so boiling mad! How could I have been in his service so long, have endured his injustices and not quit his employ before this day!
I tell you, that man is a monster!
I have not the slightest doubt that my decision is the right one, my dear ladies.”
Herr Mozart’s voice sounded calmer.
“I have cut loose those ties that were cruel and heartless and would have stymied my creativity.
There—I feel better. The worst is over. I must say, I am relieved and feel lighthearted,” Mozart laughed.
Mama also is so relieved and happy.
Of course, I am as well—and not to mention, dear diary, the feelings of my dear sister, Constanze!
Herr Mozart exclaimed, “Frau Weber, let us celebrate by the four of us spending the afternoon in the Prater! I shall rent us a horse and carriage for tomorrow!”
Thus this morning, Mama, Constanze, and I were busy as bees in the kitchen, preparing a picnic to take along to the Prater.
With three pairs of deft, nimble hands at work, our picnic meal was completed in a jiffy—the sooner to be off and deep within the soothing sanctuary of nature.
We all three readied ham sandwiches, cooked and mixed a savory tart potato salad, and rinsed off some apples.
Mama placed a bottle of red wine and a bottle of punch into our picnic basket.
Our good mother sat in the front seat of the carriage beside Herr Mozart at the reins and Stanzi and me in the back seat.
How we enjoyed the delicious lunch and each other’s company.
After our repast, Herr Mozart said, “It is a fine day to take a walk! Shall we?”
He and Stanzi arose, and I started to get up as well.
Mama quickly took hold of my skirt and suddenly, my backside gently and noiselessly hit the picnic blanket spread across the grass.
Mama whispered to me, “Sophie dear, it seems that Constanze and Herr Mozart have formed an attachment.
Let us leave them alone as often as may be, daughter, to better become acquainted and to enjoy their friendship.”
The two had not noticed my clumsy landing on my rump.
Herr Mozart and Stanzi turned around, facing us.
Mozart smiled, “Come and join us, dear ladies!”
“You are most kind, Herr Mozart,” Mama replied, “but I have been meaning to finish knitting this shawl. And Sophie has just told me how engrossed she is in Herr Goethe’s new novella; she wishes to keep me company and read aloud to me.”
Later, after they both returned to us, Mama spoke up, exclaiming, “Ach, what beautiful trees! It puts me in mind to take a constitutional and enjoy the scenery! Why, in the city, we have sore need of this profusion of greenery.
Sophie dear, let us take a turn around the park!”
Arm in arm, Mama and I strolled around blissfully, both at one with nature and avidly observing the passersby, the carriages, and horses.
I seldom have occasion to walk with Mama!
Usually, it is Stanzi and I out of doors together, engaged in doing errands for our good mother. 

Mama commented, “Dear, it is high time we cut flowers from the small garden we planted in back of the courtyard, and pot plants for the windowsills. Likewise, we need cut fresh flowers for indoors.”
When Mama and I were returning to rejoin Stanzi and Herr Mozart, we heard a soft, sweet duet in progress, wafting in the breeze.
We sat down on our large picnic blanket and listened contentedly to Mozart’s tenor and Stanzi’s soprano blended charmingly together.
They were singing a duet in Italian from Herr Mozart’s new opera “Idomenio”, premiered in Munich this past January.

“O Creta fortunate; oh me felice!” sang Mozart. “Oh fortunate Crete; oh happy me!”
“Torna la pace al core. Torna lo spento ardorare,” he continued. “Peace returns to my heart. The spent ardor returns.”
Stanzi, looking adoringly at Mozart, her head almost touching his, continued the melody, “Fiorisce in me l’eta. Tal la stagion di Flora. L’albero annoso infiora.” “Age flourishes in me. Just as the season of Flora—Embellishes the aged tree with leaves.”
They chimed in, in unison, “Nuovo vigor gli da!” “And gives it new vigor!”
And with a flourish, the enchanting song was ended.

Mama then cried, “Bravo, meine Kinder!”
Stanzi giggled like a schoolgirl. Mozart’s and Stanzi’s complexions were both flushed and rosy pink.
Shafts of light from the waning afternoon sun lit Stanzi’s dark, rich hair and Mozart’s sandy, abundant locks, their tresses gently touching.
Our party enjoyed a beautiful afternoon in the Prater, much like on my birthday.
After we were again come home, Herr Mozart returned the horse and carriage a block away, and walked back on foot to our apartment.
By that time, Mama had some fresh, piping hot Viennese coffee waiting for him, and we all sat at the dining table, sipping it and enjoying its richness.
Then Mama and I went to the kitchen to tidy up.
Soon thereafter from the kitchen, I heard a reprise of the duet from this afternoon.
Gingerly, I stole a glance into the parlor.
There were Herr Mozart and Stanzi seated together on the pianoforte bench.
They seemed so happy together, appeared to be in another world.
I looked at their faces.
Nothing mattered except this moment, this song.
It seemed as if their voices were searching for the other’s, belonging together, united.
As they sang, Mozart played the melody and harmony, but Stanzi’s beautiful, dainty hands joined Mozart’s strong, dexterous ones, crossing and touching, while Stanzi added some extra harmony.
I saw how truly Stanzi and Mozart delighted in singing together, in sharing the most sublime human experience—music.

Wien, den 31. Mai, 1781

Dear Diary,
This night, I am in a state of euphoria!
I am become an aunt, dear diary!
And Mama is now this day a Grandmama!
It all started early this morning.
Josef Lange, my brother-in-law, rode over in a gallop with Frieda, his fine and precious horse—attached to his carriage, ran up to our threshold, and hastily rang the doorbell.
“Guten Morgen (good morning), Mama, Constanze, and Sophie!”
Josef was practically out of breath.
“All three of you are urgently needed at my home! Aloysia is gone into labor not two hours past, and her contractions are beginning to quicken!
Do you think it is time to send for the midwife? Aloysia is bearing up well and not yet in great pain.”
Mama, all business and practicality, stated matter-of-factly, “Perhaps it is very near time, Josef. You are right, my son. There is no time to lose! We need make haste!”
I knew that underneath, Mama felt uneasy, as we all were gripped with uncertainty in such circumstances.
Thank goodness for Josef’s carriage!
Aloysia, lying in her bed propped up with pillows, was not feeling exceedingly unwell, and bore each contraction by taking deep breaths and endeavoring to relax her muscles and ignore the increasing surges of pain.
When she first cried out “Ow!” in the midst of a contraction, Mama observed, “Josef, now is the time to fetch the midwife!”
Frau Schotte, the midwife, resides not four streets distant in the Rotenturmstrasse (Red Tower Street) next to the Wiener Kanal, a tributary of the Danube, and Josef and his horse and carriage were immediately off and running to bring her hither.
Frau Schotte is an elderly woman, and has been engaged in midwifery nearly her entire life.
Josef has the utmost confidence in her experience and expertise.
Frau Schotte bade Constanze, the maidservant Hanne, and me boil water, and Mama soothe Aloysia’s brow with wet compresses.
The midwife promptly and firmly dismissed Aloysia’s worried husband to the parlor, exclaiming, “It is not seemly or decent to have the menfolk intruding upon this delicate business!”
Between bouts of boiling water for the midwife, I sat next to my sister, Aloysia, and read aloud to her from my new novella by Herr Goethe.
Aloysia took comfort and diversion from the story and smiled appreciatively though tiredly at me.
I naturally ceased my reading at the onset of each contraction and held Aloysia’s hand while Mama wiped her brow and Constanze took her other hand.
Our good mother spoke soft, soothing words of endearment, encouraging my sister on.
Aloysia’s confinement seemed interminable.
A slowly increasing fear gripped my innards, although my ceaseless occupation and activity masked it well from her.
Aloysia struggled mightily to refrain from crying out in pain, but could not help herself at this point.
Mama cooed to my sister, “It is all right, dear. I have borne so many children and believe me, I know this is quite normal. You are doing so well, my dear daughter. It will soon be over.”
And it was!
Towels were hurriedly called for; Frau Schotte was in rapt concentration and her steady hands, which had birthed thousands of babies, expertly accomplished their task.
The dark head crowned, then more and more of the little body appeared, and finally the feet, the placenta.
A firm wack on its little bottom, and oh so welcome tiny, tinny-sounding cries burst forth, piercing the air of Aloysia’s birthing room.
Smiles and cheers erupted all around!
Mama, Stanzi, and I all cried tears of happiness and relief.
Frau Schotte cleaned off the infant and exclaimed, “A girl! Frau Lange, you have a beautiful, bonny baby girl! What shall be her name then?”
Aloysia was all radiance. “Maria Anna Sabina,” she smiled.
“Oh, a beautiful name, Frau Lange! Why,” she laughed, “we have nearly forgot the father! Let us promptly fetch him!”
I ran to the parlor, exclaiming, “Josef! Wonderful news! Aloysia is safely delivered of a beautiful, healthy baby girl!”
Josef’s grin was a mile wide. Relief and joy etched his tired countenance.
Inside the bedchamber, we all rejoiced and embraced one another.
We congratulated the brand new mother, spoke words of joy and comfort to her, and took turns holding little Maria Anna.
When it was my turn, I tenderly looked at the precious little bundle squirming in my arms. New life! A miracle! Tears of joy spontaneously ran unchecked down my cheeks. I looked and marveled at the tiny hands and feet, teeny fingers and toes. Just look at that wee little mouth, that tiny nose, those beautiful eyes. What a beautiful infant!
Aloysia called out, “Sister, I would feed Maria Anna now! Do let me start! I am filled to overflowing with milk, and it pains me!”
I handed little Maria Anna into her mother’s welcoming, waiting arms, and Loysi modestly covered part of herself and pressed the infant’s eager mouth to the right spot. Loysi knew just what to do. “I have observed Mama often enough!” she grinned. My sister added, sighing, “Ach, I yearn for the stage—to go back to singing and treading the boards! But I feel at this moment—I shall not hasten my return prematurely. Welcome to the world, little Maria Anna!”
She gently kissed the infant’s cheek.

Wien, den 19. Juli, 1781

Dear Diary,
Before retiring for the night, Constanze and I were sitting on our beds.
She came over and sat down upon my bed and lowered her eyes.
“Sophie, Wolferl and I……last night—it happened. We both let it happen. Oh Sophie, Wolferl and I……we knew each other, as man and wife.
I felt a sharp pang of astonishment from Stanzi’s unexpected words and gazed intently at my sister.
Constanze looked exactly the same as yesterday; she sounded just the same.
That moment, I felt dumbfounded.
“Oh Stanzi! Stanzi……what was it like?”
“Sophie……it was……absolutely wonderful……although I also know now it is part of life, but the rest of life still goes on as before……”
“Stanzi, do you feel……different now?”
Stanzi smiled warmly at me and suddenly poked me with her elbow, giggling, “No, Sopherl!……And yes.”
We both burst into laughter.
Stanzi turned serious.
“You know, dear sister, do not ever breathe a word of this to Mama—not to anyone!”
“Cross my heart, Stanzi.”
Then I suddenly had a solemn thought. “Sister, what if you should become with child?”
Stanzi shook her head.
“Wolferl took every precaution, sister. He is very mindful and conscious not to get me in the family way. And you know, dear Sophie, I utterly trust my Wolfchen. And ach, I love him with all my heart. If such a thing were to happen, Wolfchen would do the right and honorable thing. I feel safe with him, Sophie. I know that Wolferl shall take me to the altar BEFORE a child is on the way.”
I saw my sister with new eyes. “Stanzi, you are a woman now.”
Suddenly, Stanzi burst out laughing—contagious peals of laughter; I had to join in the mirth.
Constanze’s face was glowing.
My sister softly echoed my words: “I am a woman now.”
She gently smiled.
“Yes, I am.”
In blowing out the candles this night, I feel that a new chapter in our lives is just beginning.

Wien, den 15. September, 1781

Dear Diary,
The frequent quarrels between Mama and Constanze over Mozart and the state of his relationship with my sister have taken a toll on us, and vanished much of the peace and quiet we have hitherto enjoyed.
A feeling of discontent and uneasiness hangs heavily over the Weber hearth.
I so wish for Mama to be unburdened and for Constanze to enjoy with happiness her special attachment with Wolfgang Mozart!
Constanze trusts Mozart, and how could I not also trust and have confidence in him, in his honesty and strength of character, in his faithfulness.
My heart tells me that where it matters, Mozart shall do the right and honorable thing by my sister.

Oh, dear diary, I seek refuge from the household turmoil in reading, in losing myself in a romantic novel or a history book.
I also place myself squarely between my good mother and my sister while we are engaged in domestic tasks; my presence and my changing the subject often stops their quarrels.
Last week, as I was exiting Herr Egil Ekko’s bookstore, a new novella by Herr Gotthold Lessing under my arm, Frau Ekko, his spouse, entered the shoppe with her two daughters.
Frau Ekko is a comely, handsome woman, like in age to her husband.
I was struck by her expression: beaming, happy, self-satisfied, and content with her lot.
And content in her marriage too? I wondered.
The two girls have blond locks, rosy cheeks, and round faces like their father, and are scarce younger than myself.
This day, badly in need of a new book to boost my spirits, I received Mama’s permission to venture out alone and unaccompanied.
“But do not tarry, daughter! Do hurry back, and be ever watchful of strangers! Anyway, I cannot spare Constanze this day. Darn that Hedwig and Kristl, our servant girls, are both home with colds!
I need Constanze in the kitchen, and you too, Sopherl—so be not long away!”

My mood improved and my heart quickened as I approached Herr Ekko’s bookshoppe.
There he was; his blue eyes and warm smile greeted me as I entered, and I set to task exploring the many rows of books for that one special selection I had saved my coins for and would take home.
How happy I am looking around the shoppe and browsing through books!
How peaceful it is for me to be in the company of books, to be surrounded by them on all four sides.
A new biography of our late Empress Maria Theresia piqued my interest.
This is the one I would buy!
I held the book in my hands, savoring the musty, comfortable look of this special place and the nearness of Herr Ekko—row upon row of books, bathed in a warm, light-brown aura cast by the flickering candles onto the book-lined walls.

We conversed and laughed together, standing very close.
Then—oh, dear diary—Herr Ekko shyly and tenderly kissed me on the cheek.
The feel of his mouth on my skin sent a sudden, unexpected quiver to my lower body and a tingling to my breasts.
Then Herr Ekko’s mouth was on mine—Ach, Gott im Himmel! (God in heaven!)
Through my garments, I could feel the gentle pressure of his hand lightly graze my nipple.
The overpowering desire to yield to my passions overcame me.
Our bodies were touching, locked in a tight embrace, while all the world was forgotten.
How well our two bodies fit together.
(Herr Ekko is but slightly taller than myself.)

The hourly peeling of the church bells from nearby Saint Peter’s jolted me back to reality.
It was five of the clock!
I am come alone to the bookshoppe and must return now, or Mama shall surely be beside herself with worry!
Herr Ekko dropped his head and looked ashamed and contrite.
“Forgive me, dear Miss. Forgive me. I forgot myself. Yumping Yimminy, what overtook me? My dear Fraeulein Sophie, I would not want to endanger our friendship. I was very wrong……to take liberties.”
He gently smiled at me—a melancholy smile, his two dimples gleaming.
Herr Ekko’s round, angelic countenance which I so love—the beautiful features and beatific warm smile, the face framed with rumpled, dark blond hair—was tinged with sadness as he whispered under his breath, “I have come to my senses.”
I too was all at once seized with the fear and dread of being unmarried and with child.
The shame and disgrace it would bring upon me and my family and the thought of hurting Herr Ekko’s wife and daughters flashed through my mind.
Herr Ekko’s somber words were like a welcome pitcher of cold water thrown onto my face.
“Sophie,” I thought to myself, “I cannot allow this to happen. My dear Herr Ekko is a married man after all……
But, yes, we can be friends.”
I smiled.

Herr Ekko offered to escort me home, as the daylight was rapidly fading.
I declined. “There is no need, Herr Ekko; if I make haste, though the street lanterns are now lit, there remains a trace of daylight. I can make it in the nick of time and,” I giggled, “no need to subject you to Mama’s barrage of questions at the door.”
“I do not mind your mother’s queries, dear Miss Sophie, and hope to have the opportunity of meeting your Mama later,” Herr Ekko replied in his charming Norwegian lilt.
“Vell, at least, take this hand lantern along; I shall yust light the vick (wick) for you. You can return it at your leisure, Fraeulein Sophie.”
I thanked Herr Ekko and, new book in hand, I bid him adieu.
This was one of the few times that I have ventured out on errands alone, and I want not for Mama to come down strongly and disapprove of my solo outings and lack of a chaperon.
As I raced homeward, a light fog crept steadily over the buildings and streets in the encroaching darkness.
The reflection in the fog of the street lanterns and my borrowed hand lantern gave off a strange glow of comfort, as at Christmastide, and not a curtain of darkness approaching.

I felt my heart beating rapidly as I entered our threshold.
Thankfully, no one was at the door, vexed and upset at my late return.
Why, quite possibly, no one had even noticed my tardiness—nor my absence at all!
There was not a soul in the parlor either.
Then I heard soft crying emanating from the kitchen.
“Gruess Gott, mein Sopherl!”
Mama, slumped over and dejected, spoke plaintively.
“Ach, your sister! What can I do with her?”
“Cheer up, Mama. Surely tis not as bad as you think!”
“Thank you, Sopherl.”
Mama wanly smiled. “Daughter, your kind words bring me comfort and hope.”
Mama struggled to regain her composure.
In our bedchamber, I found Constanze with red, swollen eyes.
My sister straightened herself up and seemed to muster the courage to enter Mama’s domain, the kitchen.
“Sophie,” she spoke in a low voice, “Let us go help Mama prepare the evening meal.”
Civility and normalcy was temporarily restored to the Weber household.

Wien, den 19. Dezember, 1781

Dear Diary,
Constanze is returned home yesterday from her stay of one month’s duration with the Baroness Waldstaetten.
I have certainly missed Stanzi dearly, and indeed have also missed our nightly confidences and heart-to-hearts.
Our apartment seemed so uncommonly quiet.
Stanzi is my elder by scarce one-and-twenty months, and it is hard for me to grasp the fact that soon, my beloved sister shall be a married lady.
In truth, she and Mozart are betrothed to each other in their hearts.
Stanzi shall be a wife before I enter the matrimonial state, of that, I am certain.
And were I to remain a lifelong spinster, I find spinsterhood strangely not disagreeable to me.
The thing I most dislike about never marrying is the pejorative moniker “old maid”.
And I cannot leave dear Mama were I to marry.
No; Mama is widowed; I would take her to reside with my husband and myself.
My future husband need be obliged and most willing to welcome Mama, and make a comfy place for her within our household.
And to eventually find a man—a soulmate—I can love and be a wife to—is my heart’s desire.
Though were I never to marry, I can still be content and happy.
If I do remain single, I shall not be subjected to the risks of childbirth and the grief of perhaps burying my infants and children.
I would long for all my precious, future children to survive, to grow to adulthood, to be happy, and live long lives!
It is possible, dear diary!
I have been witness to its happening!
In truth, I have known persons who have lived to a great age, and some women whose children all survived!
Regarding my sister, Constanze—I must therefore, dear diary, grow accustomed to her absence from our hearth, get used to Stanzi’s not being there daily.
I am the youngest of the four Weber sisters.
I have known my sisters—have known Stanzi—my entire life.
From my birth onward, Stanzi was there.
This kind of solitude is new to me, dear diary, though I mind not at all being alone and solely in my own company.
I can then dream, play the pianoforte, or read.
There were always snatches of quiet, but also the frequent company of my sister, Constanze—my best friend.
Ach, I know that afterwards when Stanzi is a married lady—Frau Mozart—we shall ever and always remain close.
Last night, I was fast asleep in my bed and already in dreamland, when I was startled awake by an uncommonly loud thud coming from the kitchen.
I sat up with a start, quickly lit a candle, and rushed into the kitchen to see what the matter was.
It was Mama—sitting at the kitchen table with her wine glass and two wine bottles on the table.
She had probably knocked over the chair while fetching the second bottle.
Ach, Du lieber Himmel! (Goodness gracious!)
Mama’s unwelcome behavior had been foreign to her since that happy time last spring when Herr Wolfgang Mozart came to lodge with us.
And now? Has Mama fallen back into her old ways?
“Pray, what is the matter, Mama? You must get to bed!”
“It is Constanze, my child! I am so worried!
I know she is in love with Herr Mozart.”
She furrowed her brow.
“Daughter, I can see it in her face and in his face.
Ach, I am sore afraid Constanze is going to become with child, Sopherl! Why, it shall lead to her disgrace, to her utter ruin!
Josef, Maria—what if Herr Mozart decides to return to Salzburg after he is finished composing his new opera “The Entfuehrung aus dem Serail” (“The Abduction from the Seraglio”)?
What then?
Herr Mozart has no firm position here in Vienna!
Ach zum Teufel (the devil)—He would leave Constanze in the family way; he would abandon her here to her fate!” she frowned.
Mama’s voice rose and became shriller, “Just you look at what happened to your sister, Aloysia!
One in the oven—ach, even before the marriage banns were posted!
Providence was favorable then, my daughter.
Aloysia was truly fortunate; Josef brought her to the altar in the nick of time! Constanze may not be so blessed, you know!”
I put my arms around Mama’s plump, round shoulders.
“Do not trouble yourself, dear Mama!” I soothed.
“Constanze is a sensible girl.”
Mama interjected, “—but in love!
Sophie dear, I have of late been thinking—of what I must do.
I shall need the help of your and Constanze’s guardian, Herr Johann Thorwart.
Gott sei Dank (thank goodness) for Herr Thorwart!
He shall be my savior—and Constanze’s—and the savior of all our family! Herr Thorwart shall not permit us to lose our honor, daughter!
We Webers have the right to lay down the law!
Indeed we do!
This moment, it comes to me, dear child.
I shall request Herr Thorwart to draw up a written betrothal contract and speak with Herr Mozart!
Herr Mozart shall be obliged to sign the legal, binding betrothal contract! Herr Mozart need agree to marry Constanze within three years’ time!
If he does not, then he shall be obligated to pay her 300 gulden a year!”
Mama breathed a sigh of relief.
“Sophie, my daughter,” she exclaimed, “do not ever take liberties with a man before marriage, pray.
I would not wish to see you brought to the brink of ruin and shame, my dear child!”
“Mama!” I smiled, “You need not fret over me.
Ach, Mama, I do not intend to.”
I then had a wicked gleam in my eye and added impishly, “Besides, would not Herr Thorwart also come to my rescue, Mama!”
I put the wine away in the cupboard and led Mama to her bed, where I gently tucked her in.
“Dear Mama,” I warned, “I implore you—do not drink so much wine or rum.
It is wasteful and destructive to you, and it ill becomes you.”
Mama, tired out, her head resting on the pillow, wryly gave me answer. “Maria Sophie, who is the mother here? And who is the child?”
I adjusted Mama’s wide, plump comforter over her large girth, took the candles back to my bedchamber, and for the last time this night, snuffed them out.
I know in my heart that everything should be all right.

Wien, den 21. Dezember, 1781

Dear Diary,
Herr Johann Thorwart, accompanied by Herr Mozart, came to call on us this day.
The betrothal contract is now a fait accompli, and the document was entrusted into the dependable hands of our good mother.
As soon as Herr Thorwart took leave of us, Constanze insisted that Mama hand her the document.
At that point, as Stanzi held the writ in her hands, she turned to Herr Mozart and addressed him, “Dear Mozart! I do not need any written assurances from you. I believe what you say.”
Thereupon my sister tore up the betrothal contract.
Mama gasped and fainted straight away.
Herr Mozart rushed over to Mama and revived her with smelling salts.
“There, there, Frau Weber,” he soothingly intoned. “Rest assured that I shall never forsake Constanze!”
My dear sister, Stanzi, and I had a heart-to-heart talk this night shortly before blowing out the candles.
Already in our night frocks and nightcaps, we sat on Stanzi’s bed.
“Stanzi,” I uttered in awe. “How can you do that—just tear up the betrothal contract with Herr Mozart?
How can you be so brave, Stanzi?
I admire your courage, though I do not think I would have the nerve to do as you did this day!”
“Sophie, I would not for the world coerce my Wofferl into marriage!
Were this ‘betrothal contract’ allowed to exist, I am certain that Wolfgang would soon suffer under its weight!
Its presence would distance him from me, sister. You see, instead of seeing me as his beloved, his cherished Stanzi Marini, his ‘liebstes, bestes Herzensweibchen’(‘dearest, best little wife of my heart’)—he would begin to regard me as an obligation, a duty.
That would surely be the death of his love for me.
Sopherl, it is akin to throwing cold water onto a flame.
I fear Wolferl’s passion for me would likewise be extinguished—the inexhaustible freshness, beauty, and depth of love would wither and die within his heart.”
I shook my head and mused.
“Wolfgang’s love for you shall not cease, Stanzi.
And a gaping hole of uncertainty is left now in the wake of destroying the document.
You now have no firm foundation to rest your feet upon, Stanzi—without the betrothal contract—no security, should your Wolfgang renege on his promise to make you his wife!”
“Ach, Sophie—I have no fear whatsoever about that,” she glowed.
“Remember when I confided to you that night six months ago after Wolferl and I consummated our love for the first time—that I trust Wolfgang, that I feel safe with my Wolferl, secure, at home with him.
Sophie, Wolfgang is my soulmate, my dearest darling.
I know that providence wills it that we are meant to be together; it was simply meant to be.
I am certain of that, Sophie.
It is very important to me that Wolfgang knows full well I trust him completely, sister!
And in my tearing up the document, he has undeniable proof of my trust and my undying confidence in him.”
Stanzi smiled peacefully.
“Sister,” she mused, “I am changing my tune slightly from what I just told you—upon further reflection.
You see, contract or no contract—my heart tells me Wolfchen would still be by my side.
You are so right, Sophie.”
“Ach, Sophie, I melt when my Wolfchen calls me ‘Stanzerl’. Is that not sweet?” my sister giggled, her cheeks a rosy pink.
I grinned, “I understand your feelings, Stanzi. And we Mannheimers have a soft spot for these local southern endearments.
Why, even in our family, I often now answer to ‘Sopherl’!”
“Stanzi,” I went on, “What about our good mother?
She does not have your faith in the outcome, Stanzi.
Mama wants a soft cushion to fall back on should things go wrong.”
“Sister,” Constanze countered, still radiant and at peace, “I am now full grown-up, and cannot allow Mama to live my life for me, nor prevent me from doing what I feel is right for me.
I know that Mama has a tender spot in her heart for Wolfgang.
Her true feelings for him are unspoken, to be sure—but I perceive how highly Mama esteems him, and I would say more, sister, how dearly Mama loves Wolfgang—as dearly as if he were her very own son!”
Constanze and I were quiet, and then as an afterthought, my sister said, “Mama goes with the flow, Sophie.
She is inwardly tough, a survivor.
What Mama cannot change, she learns to accept.”
“Stanzi, you astonish me!
This may be true—but Mama’s apprenticeship in adjusting to change is mighty long, and you likely have much to bear before she comes to your reasoning!”
I smiled and playfully elbowed Stanzi in the ribs.
Stanzi laughed and hurled a pillow at me, and I rushed to my bed and countered with my own pillow!
Soon, our bedchamber was rollicking with peals of laughter and merriment.

SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL’S ACCOUNT OF MOZART’S DEATH IN ENGLISH AND IN THE ORIGINAL GERMAN

October 26, 2008 - 4 Responses

SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL:
DEAR VISITORS, HERE IS MY EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF MOZART’S DEATH, IN ENGLISH AND IN MY ORIGINAL GERMAN.
FOLLOWING MY ACCOUNT, YOU WILL FIND MY MEMORIES OF MOZART, MY REPORTS ON MY LIFE AT AGE FORTY AND BEYOND, A BIRTHDAY TO REMEMBER IN OLD VIENNA, AND “THE DIARY OF SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL, MOZART’S FAVORITE SISTER-IN-LAW”.  THEN YOU WILL FIND A PAGE ABOUT MOZART’S SON, MY NEPHEW, FRANZ XAVER MOZART, AND A PAGE ABOUT MY SISTER, JOSEFA WEBER.

SOPHIE’S ACCOUNT OF MOZART’S DEATH:

SOPHIE HAIBL TO GEORG NIKOLAUS von NISSEN, SALZBURG

Diakovar, 7 April, 1825

Now I must tell you about Mozart’s last days. Well, Mozart became fonder and fonder of our dear departed mother and she of him.
Indeed he often came running along in great haste to the Wieden (where she and I were lodging at the Goldner Pflug), carrying under his arm a little bag containing coffee and sugar, which he would hand to our good mother, saying, ‘Here, mother dear, now you can have a little “Jause”’. She used to be as delighted as a child. He did this very often. In short, Mozart in the end never came to see us without bringing something.
Now when Mozart fell ill, we both made him a night-jacket which he could put on frontways, since on account of his swollen condition, he was unable to turn in bed. Then, as we didn’t know how seriously ill he was, we also made him a quilted dressing-gown (though indeed his dear wife, my sister, had given us the materials for both garments), so that when he got up, he should have everything he needed. We often visited him, and he was really delighted with the dressing-gown. I used to go into town every day to see him. Well, one Saturday when I was with him, Mozart said to me: ‘Dear Sophie, do tell Mamma that I am fairly well, and that I shall be able to go and congratulate her in the octave of her name-day’. Who could have been more delighted than I to bring such cheerful news to my mother, when she could barely expect the news? I hurried home therefore to comfort her, the more so as he himself really seemed to be bright and happy.
The following day was a Sunday. I was young then and rather vain, I confess, and liked to dress up. But I never cared to go out walking from our suburb into town in my fine clothes, and I had no money for a drive.
So I said to our good mother: ‘Dear Mamma, I’m not going to see Mozart today. He was so well yesterday that surely he will be even better today, and one day more or less won’t make much difference.’ Well, my mother said: ‘Listen to this. Make me a cup of coffee, and then I’ll tell you what you ought to do.’ She was rather inclined to keep me at home; and indeed my sister knows how much I had to be with her. I went into the kitchen. The fire was out. I had to light the lamp and make a fire.
All the time, I was thinking of Mozart.
I had made the coffee, and the lamp was still burning. Then I noticed how wasteful I had been with my lamp, I mean, that I had burned so much wax. It was still burning brightly. I stared into the flame and thought to myself, ‘How I should love to know how Mozart is’. While I was thinking and gazing at the flame, it went out, as completely as if the lamp had never been burning. Not a spark remained on the big wick, and yet there wasn’t the slightest draught—that I can swear to. A horrible feeling came over me. I ran to our mother and told her all. She said: ‘Well, take off your fine clothes and go into town, and bring me back news of him at once. But be sure not to delay.’ I hurried along as fast as I could. Alas, how frightened I was when my sister, who was almost despairing and yet trying to keep calm, came out to me, saying: ‘Thank God that you have come, dear Sophie. Last night, he was so ill that I thought he would not be alive this morning. Do stay with me today, for if he has another bad turn, he will pass away tonight. Go in to him for a little while and see how he is.’ I tried to control myself and went to his bedside.
He immediately called me to him and said: ‘Ah, dear Sophie, how glad I am that you have come. You must stay here tonight and see me die.’
I tried hard to be brave and to persuade him to the contrary. But to all my attempts he only replied: ‘Why, I have already the taste of death on my tongue.’ And, ‘who will support my dearest Constanze if you don’t stay here?’ ‘Yes, yes, dear Mozart,’ I assured him, ‘but I must first go back to our mother and tell her that you would like me to stay with you today. Otherwise she will think that some misfortune has befallen you.’
‘Yes, do so,’ said Mozart, ‘but be sure and come back soon.’
Good God, how distressed I felt! My poor sister followed me to the door and begged me for Heaven’s sake to go to the priests at St. Peter’s and implore one of them to come to Mozart—a chance call, as it were.
I did so, but for a long time, they refused to come, and I had a great deal of trouble to persuade one of those clerical brutes to go to him.
Then I ran off to my mother who was anxiously awaiting me. It was already dark. Poor soul, how shocked she was! I persuaded her to go and spend the night with her eldest daughter, the late Josefa Hofer. I then ran back as fast as I could to my distracted sister. Suessmayr was at Mozart’s bedside.
The well-known Requiem lay on the quilt, and Mozart was explaining to him how, in his opinion, he ought to finish it, when he was gone.
Further, he urged his wife to keep his death a secret until she should have informed Albrechtsberger, for the post should be his before God and the world. A long search was made for Dr. Closset, who was found at the theatre, but who had to wait for the end of the play. He came and ordered cold poultices to be placed on Mozart’s burning head, which, however, affected him to such an extent that he became unconscious and remained so until he died.
His last movement was an attempt to express with his mouth the drum passages in the Requiem.
That I can still hear.
Mueller from the Art Gallery came and took a cast of his pale, dead face. Words fail me, dearest brother, to describe how his devoted wife in her utter misery threw herself on her knees and implored the Almighty for His aid. She simply could not tear herself away from Mozart, however much I begged her to do so. If it was possible to increase her sorrow, this was done on the day after that dreadful night, when crowds of people passed by and wept and wailed for him.
All my life, I have never seen Mozart in a temper, still less, angry.
My dear, forgive me if I have been rambling and long-winded in my letter. I don’t quite recall whether or not I’ve told my sister about the very strange incident—in my opinion–with the light, as I’ve always carefully avoided renewing her wounds.
Oh how concerned Mozart was when his dear little wife needed something! So it was once when she lay very seriously ill, and I was by her side and tended to her for eight long months. I even sat on her bed, Mozart too.
He composed next to her; I observed her sweet slumber after she had been unable to sleep for such a long time.
We were both quiet as the grave so as not to disturb her. Suddenly, an ungainly domestic servant came into the room. Mozart was startled with fear that his dear wife would be disturbed in her gentle slumber, signaled to him to be quiet, moved the chair backwards behind him; Mozart was holding his pen knife in the palm of his hand. The knife became skewered between the chair and his thigh, so that the knife penetrated deeply into his thick flesh up to the handle.
Mozart, who was normally plaintive, didn’t move a muscle and clenched his teeth to suppress his pain, and signaled to me to follow him out of the room. We went into a room where our mother lived concealed because we didn’t want dear Mrs. Mozart, my sister, to know how ill she was, and our mother could render assistance at once.
Our mother bandaged up his leg and put Coubey into his very deep wound. And with Johannes-oil, she succeeded in restoring him to health.
Although Mozart limped because of the pain, he was successful in keeping his accident a secret, and his dear wife didn’t find out about it.
Write and tell me if you knew all this already.

FOOTNOTES:

1. Mozart, who had been in poor health for some time, became very ill early in November and bedridden about a fortnight before his death on 5 December, 1791. A vivid and moving account of his last days is given in the above letter, written many years later by Sophie Haibl to her elder sister Constanze’s second husband, Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, formerly Counsellor at the Danish Legation in Vienna, who at the time was collecting materials for his biography of Mozart.

2. Sophie Weber’s husband, Jakob Haibl, (1762-1826), musician and composer, was choirmaster at Diakovar.

3. Frau Caecilia Weber, Constanze’s and Sophie’s mother, who died on 22 August, 1793.

4. A Jause: i.e. afternoon coffee

5. Josefa Weber-Hofer, who in 1797 had married as her second husband the actor and singer Friedrich Sebastian Mayer (1773-1835), died on 29 December, 1819.

6. The Requiem: K.626. Six months previously, Mozart had been commissioned by Count Franz Walsegg-Stuppach to compose this work, which, however, had been delayed by his journey to Prague early in September for the production of “La Clemenza di Tito” and by his work on “Die Zauberfloete”, first performed on 30 September.

7. Albrechtsberger: As Mozart intended, Albrechtsberger, the court organist, succeeded him as assistant to the Kapellmeister at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Leopold Hofmann.

8. Mozart died at 55 minutes past midnight on 5 December, 1791.

9. Mueller: Count Josef Deym von Stritetz (1752-1804), alias Mueller, was the owner of a collection of wax-works, casts from the antique, and miscellaneous attractions, which from 1797 onwards was housed in a building on the Danube canal. Mozart’s death-mask has disappeared. According to Nohl (“Mozart nach den Schilderungen seiner Zeitgenossen”, p. 393), Constanze, one day while cleaning, smashed the copy in her possession. She is said to have remarked that ‘she was glad that the ugly old thing was broken’ (A. Schurig, “Leopold Mozarts Reiseaufzeichnungen, p. 92).

SOPHIES BERICHT UEBER MOZARTS TOD:

Sophie Haibl an ihren Schwager Georg Nikolaus Nissen, Konstanzes zweiten Gatten, als Beitrag zu seiner Mozart-Biographie:

Diakovar, den 7.ten April, 1825.
…Nun zur letzten Lebenszeit Mozarts.
Mir bekam unsere selige Mutter immer lieber und selbe ihn auch, daher M. oeffters auf die Wieden, (wo unsere Mutter u. ich beym goldenen Pflug logierten) in einer Eile gelaufen kam, ein Saeckgen unter dem Arme trug, worinnen Cofee und Zucker war, ueberreichtete es unserer guten Mutter und sagte: Hier, liebe Mama, haben Sie eine kleine Jause. Dies freute sich denn wie ein Kind. Dies geschah sehr oft. Kurz, M. kam nie leer zu uns.
Nun, als M. erkrankte, machten wir beyde ihm die Nacht-Leibel, welche er vorwaerts anziehen konnte, weil er sich vermoeg Geschwulst nicht drehen konnte; und weil wir nicht wussten, wie schwer krank er seye, machten wir ihm auch einen wattirten Schlafrock (wozu uns zwar zu allem das Zeug seine gute Frau, meine liebste Schwester, gab), dass, wenn er aufstehete, er gut versorgt sein moechte, und so besuchten wir ihn flessig; er zeigte auch, eine herzliche Freude an dem Schlafrock zu haben. Ich ging alle Taege in die Stadt, ihn zu besuchen, und als ich einmahl an einem Sonnabend hineinkam, sagte M. zu mir: Nun, liebe Sophie, sagen Sie der Mama, dass es mir recht sehr gut gehet, und dass ich ihr noch in der Octave zu ihrem Namensfeste kommen werde, ihr zu gratulieren. Wer haette eine groessere Freude als ich, meiner Mutter eine so frohe Nachricht bringen zu koennen, nachdeme selbe die Nachricht immer kaum erwarten konnte; ich eilte dahero nach Hause, sie zu beruhigen, nachdem er mir wirklich auch selbsten sehr heiter und gut zu sein schien. Den andern Tag war also Sonntag; ich war noch jung und, gestehe es, auch eitel–und putzte mich gerne, moechte aber aufgeputzt nie gerne zu Fuss aus der Vorstadt in die Stadt gehen, und fahren war mir ums Geld zu thun; ich sagte dahero zu unserer guten Mutter: Liebe Mama, heute gehe ich nicht zu Mozart–er war ja gestern so gut, so wird ihm wohl heute noch besser sein, und ein Tag auf oder ob, das wird wohl nichts machen. Sie sagte darauf: Weisst du was, mache mir eine Schale Cofee, und nachdeme werd ich dir schon sagen, was du thun sollst. Sie war ziemlich gestimmt, mich zu Hause zu lassen, denn die Schwester weiss, wie sehr ich immer bey ihr bleiben musste. Ich ging also in die Kueche. Kein Feuer war mehr da; ich musste ein Licht anzuenden und Feuer machen. Mozart ging mir denn doch nicht aus dem Sinne. Mein Cofee war fertig, und mein Licht brannte noch. Nun sah ich, wie verschwenderisch ich mit dem Licht gewesen, so viel verbrannt zu haben. Das Licht brannte noch hoch auf, jetzt sah ich starr in mein Licht und dachte, ich moechte doch gerne wissen, was Mozart macht, und wie ich dies dachte und ins Licht sehe, loeschte das Licht aus, und so aus, als ob es nie gebrannt haette. Kein Fuenkgen blieb an dem grossen Dochten, keine Luft war nicht, dies kann ich beschwoeren; ein Schauer ueberfiel mich, ich lief zu unserer Mutter und erzaehlte es ihr. Sie sagte: Genug, ziehe dich geschwinde, aus und gehe hinein, und bringe mir aber gleich Nachricht, wie es ihm gehet. Halte dich aber nicht lange auf. Ich eilte, so geschwinde ich nur konnte. Ach Gott, wie erschrak ich nicht, als mir meine halb verzweifelnde, und doch sich moderiren wollende Schwester entgegen kam, und sagte: Gott lob, liebe Sophie, dass du da bist; heute nacht ist er so schlecht gewesen, dass ich schon dachte, er erlebt diesen Tag nicht mehr. Bleibe doch nur heute bey mir, den wenn er heute wieder so wird, so stirbt er auch diese Nacht. Gehe doch ein wenig zu ihm, was er macht. Ich suchte mich zu fassen und ging an sein Bette, wo er mir gleich zuruffte: Ach gut, liebe Sophie, dass Sie da sind. Sie muessen heute nacht da bleiben, Sie muessen mich sterben sehen. Ich suchte, mich stark zu machen und ihm es auszureden, allein er erwiederte mir auf alles: Ich habe ja schon den Todten-Geschmack auf der Zunge, und: Wer wird denn meiner liebsten Constance beystehen, wenn Sie nicht hier blieben. Ja, lieber M., ich muss nur noch zu unserer Mutter gehen, und ihr sagen, dass Sie mich heute gerne bey sich haetten, sonst gedenkt sie, es seie ein Unglueck geschehen. Ja, das tun Sie, aber kommen Sie ja bald wieder.–Gott, wie war mir da zu Muthe. Die arme Schwester ging mir nach und bat mich um Gottes willen, zu denen geistlichen bey St. Peter zu gehen, und (einen) Geistlichen zu bitten, er moechte kommen, so wie von ungefaehr. Das tat ich auch, allein selbe weigerten sich lange, und ich hatte viele Muehe, einen solchen geistlichen Unmenschen dazu zu bewegen.
–Nun lief ich zu der mich angstvoll erwartenden Mutter; es war schon finster. Wie erschrak die Arme. Ich beredete selbe, zu der aeltesten Tochter, der seligen Hofer, ueber Nacht zu gehen, welches auch geschah, und ich lief wieder, was ich konnte, zu meiner trostlosen Schwester.
Da war der Sissmaier bei M. am Bette; dann lag auf der Decke das bekannte Requiem, und Mozart explicirte ihm, wie seine Meinung seie, dass er es nach seiem Todte vollenden sollte. Ferner trug er seiner Frau auf, seinen Todt geheim zu halten, bis sie nicht vor Tag Albregtsberger davon benachtrichtigt haette; denn diesem gehoert der Dienst vor Gott und der Welt. Glosett, der Doktor, wurde lange gesucht, auch im Theater gefunden; allein er musste das Ende der Piece abwarten–dann kam er und verordnete ihm noch kalte Umschlaege ueber seinen gluehenden Kopfe, welche ihm auch so erschuetterten, dass er nicht mehr zu sich kam, bis er nicht verschieden.
Sein Letztes war noch, wie er mit dem Munde die Pauken in seinem Requiem ausdruecken wollte, das hoere ich noch jetzt. Nun kam gleich Mueller aus dem Kunst Cabinett und drueckte sein bleiches erstorbenes Gesicht in Gips ab.
Wie grenzenlos elend seine treue Gattin sich auf die Knie warf und den Allmaechtigen um seinen Beystand anrufte, ist mir, lieber Bruder, unmoeglich zu beschreiben. Sie konnte sich nicht von ihm trennen, so sehr ich sie auch bat; wenn ihr Schmerz noch zu vermehren gewesen waere, so muesste er dadurch vermehrt worden sein , dass den Tag auf die schauervolle Nacht die Menschen scharenweis vobey gingen, und laut um ihn weinten und schrien. Ich habe M. in meinem Leben nicht aufbrausend, viel weniger zornig gesehen.
. . . Lieber, vergebe mir, wenn ich weitlaeufig in meinem Brief gewesen; allein ich weiss mich nicht zu erinnern, ob ich meiner Schwester die mir so auffallende Begebenheit mit dem Licht gesagt habe, indem ich immer sorgfaeltig vermiede, ihre Wunden zu erneuern.
O, wie war M-t besorget, wenn seinem lieben Weibgen etwas fehlte. So war es einmal, als sie schwer krank war und ich bei ihr durch 8 volle Monate Kranken wartete. Eben sass ich an ihrem Bette, Mozart auch. Er componierte an ihrer Seite; ich beobachtete ihren nach so langer Zeit gehabten suessen Schlummer. Stille hielten wir alles wie in einem Grabe, um sie nich zu stoeren.
Ploetzlch kam ein roher Dienstbote in das Zimmer. Moz. erschrak aus Furcht, seine liebe Frau wuerde in ihrem sanften Schlummer gestoeret, wollte stille zu sein winken, ruckte den Sessel rueckwaerts hinter sich weg, hatte gerade das Feder-Messer offen in der Hand. Dieses spiesste sich zwischen dem Sessel und seinem Schenkel, so dass es ihm bis an die Heft in das dicke Fleisch hinein ging. Moz., der sonst wehleidig, machte aber keine Bewegung und verbiss seinen Schmerz, winkte mir nur, ihm hinaus zu folgen. Wir gingen in ein Zimmer, in welchem unsere Mutter verborgen lebte, weil wir der guten Mozart nicht wollten merken lassen, wie schlecht sie seie, und die Mutter doch gleich zur Hilfe da seie. Die Mutter verband ihn und legte Coubey in die sehr tiefe Wunde; mit dem Johannes-Oel gelang es ihr, ihn wieder herzustellen, und obschon er etwas krumm vor Schmerzen ging, machte er doch, dass es verborgen blieb und seine liebe Frau es nicht erfuhr. Schreibe mir, ob du (das) alles schon wusstest.

SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL’S MEMORIES OF MOZART

My dear visitors, here are some more of my reminiscences of my late brother-in-law, Mozart, which appear in Nissen’s biography of him:

He was always good-humored, but even in the best of moods very thoughtful, looking at one with a sharp expression.
He would look you keenly in the eye and give a thoughtful answer to anything you said, whether the subject was merry or sad, and yet he always seemed to thinking deeply about something entirely different.
Even when he washed his hands in the morning, he paced restlessly up and down the room, never standing still, tapping one heel against the other, and deep in thought.
At the dining table, he often took the corner of his napkin, crumpled it up tightly, rubbed it up and down his upper lip, and appeared to be unaware of what he was doing, and often making grimaces with his mouth at the same time.
In his leisure, he was always passionately attached to the latest fad, whether it was riding or billiards.
To keep him from company of an unworthy kind, his wife patiently shared everything with him.
Otherwise his hands and feet were always in motion; he was forever playing with something, for instance his hat, pockets, watch-chain, tables, chairs—as if he were playing the piano.

SOPHIE CELEBRATES TURNING FORTY: THE BIG FOUR-OH

“SOPHIE CELEBRATES TURNING FORTY: THE BIG FOUR-OH” is dedicated to an unforgettable person–my lifelong beloved friend and mentor from Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, later Murnau am Staffelsee, Upper Bavaria, to whom I am greatly indebted for inspiring me to write about “Herr Meinke-Haibl”.

DR. MARCEL ROGER
May 19, 1924 – December 25, 2003

If you love someone and that person dies, your love for that person does not die.

Thanks for the memories, Marcel.
You are dearly missed.

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

“SOPHIE CELEBRATES TURNING FORTY: THE BIG FOUR-OH” is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without
her written permission.

“SOPHIE CELEBRATES TURNING FORTY: THE BIG FOUR-OH”
© 2003-2008 Marti Burger

To Madame Maria Anna Thekla Mozart
Im Windhof 4a, Augsburg

Wien, den 1. Oktober, 1803

Gruess Dich Gott, meine liebe (my dear) Marianne,
This day, the first of October, 1803, I celebrate the milestone of reaching the venerable age of forty years.
I was born on October first in the year of our Lord 1763.
Has it really been so long ago as that?
I am as ever the youngest among my sisters, and am still sometimes regarded as the “Nesthaeckchen”–the baby (in its nest).
Well, I feel still young and chipper, and the main thing is how one feels, is it not, Marianne.
All my life, my good mother has been of an indeterminate age to me, and I have not reached that stage as yet.
Marianne, I hope that this letter finds you, your lovely daughter, Josepha, and your son-in-law, Herr Streitel, in the best of health!
Since my dear mother departed this earth these ten years ago, I have been lodging with my dear sister, Constanze, Widow Mozart.
Marianne, we have another lodger.
Constanze has formed an attachment with a Danish diplomat, Herr Nikolaus Nissen.
Such a good, honest, serious, and affable a gentleman as ever there was!
I cannot compare another man to my beloved, late brother-in-law, Mozart.
There was never another man like him.
However, I am speaking only of the living……
Nissen and my sister have been together for some years now and, alas, his position as diplomat expressly forbids his taking a wife.
I believe Constanze and Herr Nissen ARE as man and wife, although she is the landlady and he the renter, so no scandal, you see.
And, Marianne, my beloved friend Herr Meinke-Haibl and I are still attached as ever–united in spirit and in deep friendship.
Marianne, my dearest one has a wife all these many years who is still living, though their unfortunate marriage has been but on parchment.
Marianne, I have not the boldness of character to openly court scandal.
Therefore, I reside demurely with my sister, though Herr Meinke-Haibl and I manage to see one another often enough.
He lodges with his father in a spacious, light and airy apartment very near the Freihaus-Theater, where he is engaged as composer, actor, and singer.
Herr Haibl Senior, his father, still does play character parts there in operas and plays as does, of course, his son.
More and more, my dear Herr Meinke-Haibl gives himself over to composing operas.
I rejoice in his success, Marianne, since several of his works have been performed in recent years.
One opera in particular, “Der Tiroler Wastel”, has enjoyed great success here in Vienna.
Herr Meinke-Haibl’s study is the ideal room to compose in, where his muse visits him–such a warm and cheerful place!
I myself am still engaged at the Burgtheater, where I play and sing supporting roles.
I am content with my lot, Marianne and–I being the youngest–was not encouraged by my parents to aspire to prima donna rank.
I thus also lacked the ambition to pursue that goal.
I thought that by now, I should have long since been married with children, but such is life; one never knows.
On this day in the beginning of October, as the waning summer unites with the cool winds of autumn, our family has made it a tradition, starting with my seventeenth birthday, to spend the afternoon in the Prater when the weather permits.
Providence must look favorably upon our party, or else we have had fantastic good luck, Marianne, since most years this early autumn day has been mild and without rain.
So is it today, Marianne.
This afternoon, therefore, Herr Nissen, my sister, Constanze, and myself shall take the carriage to the Prater–homemade victuals in hand, and we shall be joined there by my eldest sister, Josefa, and her husband and daughter, as well as my second eldest sister, Aloysia, and her children.
My beloved friend, Herr Jakob Meinke-Haibl together with his father, Herr Alois Haibl, shall also most certainly be present at our celebration this afternoon.
My two beloved nephews–Constanze’s sons, Karl Thomas and Franz Xaver–are alas living abroad at the present time.
We always look forward so to their letters and visits home!
Dearest Marianne, I must make haste and finish packing the sandwiches and fruit.
I am so looking forward to the soothing breath of nature to be found in the Prater!
I shall pack some champagne as well, and my family shall not fail to heartily drink a toast to your good health, well-being, and happiness.
Dear Marianne, that is our news.
Now we both are one year older and for us, let the New Year commence!
Many affectionate greetings from your faithful friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

A BIRTHDAY TO REMEMBER IN OLD VIENNA

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

“A BIRTHDAY TO REMEMBER IN OLD VIENNA” is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without
her written permission.

“A BIRTHDAY TO REMEMBER IN OLD VIENNA”
© 2004-2008 Marti Burger

To Madame Maria Anna Thekla Mozart
Im Windhof 4a, Augsburg

Wien, den 25. September, 1804

My dearest Marianne,
Gruess Dich Gott, meine liebe Freundin! (Greetings, my dear friend!)
My warm greetings also to your mother, your daughter, Josepha, and your son-in-law, Herr Streitel!
And my congratulations and very best wishes to you this day of your birth, Marianne, for eternal good health and happiness!
My sister Constanze, Widow Mozart, and I are enjoying good health, as is our family, praise the Lord.
Marianne, you know of our boarder, Herr Georg Nikolaus Nissen; he continues to lodge with Constanze and myself, and, above all, offers his steady companionship, comfort, and faithful and true friendship to my widowed sister.
My dear nephew – Constanze’s son and your cousin, Franz Xaver Mozart – also resides with us; he is returned from his stay in Prague.
Wowi, as we call him, is now thirteen years of age and shows great talent and promise as a pianist; we have high hopes for his future, though the burden of his father’s fame and Wowi’s being inevitably compared to the great Mozart are vexations Wowi shall have to deal with, should he indeed follow in his father’s footsteps, as we believe he shall.
And Wowi is an acutely sensitive lad.
Marianne, these last years, Wowi has been a pupil of your late cousin Mozart’s dear friend and colleague, Maestro Josef Haydn, who instructs Wowi in pianoforte technique, music theory, and composition.
Herr Haydn takes an uncommon, grandfatherly interest in Wowi and concern for him.
Our dear friend Haydn was as shaken by Wolfgang Mozart’s early, untimely passing as all of us family members.
Wowi is making excellent progress under Maestro Haydn’s strict but kind and affectionate tutelage.
Herr Haydn has said to Constanze and me that Wowi does indeed possess a strong talent for music.
He hopes Wowi shall further his father’s great legacy and light the wick—so to speak—so we can again experience that bright incandescent light and flame which was extinguished far too soon.
And Marianne, I feel certain nonetheless that your cousin Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s own flame shall continue burning brightly.
We continue to reside in Constanze’s apartment on the Michaeler-Platz opposite the Imperial Theater, and greatly enjoy the convenience of living squarely in the Inner City, in the heart of Vienna.
It is much to my liking to observe the often-bustling passing scene in front of our dwelling, and the special elegance of this square pleases me.
And my goodness, Marianne – the Michaeler-Platz is but a stone’s throw from the Hofburg (Imperial Palace).
Can you imagine: I, a Mannheim spinster, am transplanted to the hub and core of Vienna – for me, the center of the world.
At times, I feel I am dreaming.
Nevertheless, I shall get off my high horse immediately, Marianne – ha ha!
Pay me no heed!
Vienna holds no candle to the elegance of your Augsburg squares, vistas, and promenades.
Marianne, my longtime, beloved friend, Herr Jakob Haibl, is now hard at work on a new opera, a singspiel called “Die Hoffnung” (“Hope”) for the Freihaus-Theater.
He is very near to completing it, composing the last aria of the third act this very day.
Then in a fortnight, rehearsals begin.
Herr Haibl insisted on adding a small role for me, Marianne, and one for his Papa, Herr Alois Haibl.
Oh my, I do feel all excitement and anticipation to be singing before an audience again – little though my role may be – and in taking part in an opera.
Herr Alois Haibl shall sing the role of the hero’s father and I, the heroine’s best friend and confidant.
The principal singers have already been engaged for “Die Hoffnung” – the well-known Viennese tenor, Herr Anton Otto Ortlieb and his wife, Frau Hella Maria Ortlieb, originally from Prussia.
I have appeared on stage before with each Ortlieb, though not with both together.
Colleagues say that the two are no longer on speaking terms – at least, not at present – yet on stage, not only must they discourse with one another, but sing and portray a couple passionately in love.
Herr Haibl says we plan to open in mid-December.
By the by, Herr Haibl has discarded and is no longer using his full name of Herr Jakob Meinke-Haibl, but has decided this anno to simplify it solely to Jakob Haibl.
And, dear Marianne, my own birthday follows closely on the heels of your own.
This Friday next, the first of October, I shall celebrate my one-and-forty years.
And as always, with cooperation from our fickle Viennese weather, we – my family and the Haibls – shall enjoy a picnic in the Prater.
Oh, dear Marianne, I have great news to tell you!
My dear sister, Constanze, has arranged a concert for Saturday next (the day following my birthday) at the Theater-an-der-Wien, largely featuring and celebrating your cousin’s – my late brother-in-law’s – sublime music.
One of Wolfgang Mozart’s symphonies and a pianoforte concerto of his shall be performed.
Constanze has successfully secured the services of an esteemed pianoforte soloist – the famous sensation of Vienna – the young and dynamic Bonn composer, Herr Ludwig van Beethoven.
Herr van Beethoven shall also play a new, original composition, penned by himself.
How intense and turbulent Herr van Beethoven’s music is!
And our conductor?
Why, tis our dear friend, Herr Maestro Josef Haydn, who shall also honor us with one of his own symphonies!
Marianne, next Saturday evening, Herr Haydn shall fetch us and his pupil, Wowi, in his own carriage and transport us to the concert.
Marianne, Constanze and I have driven all over Vienna in our carriage, putting up posters to advertise the concert.
We are at present selling the tickets here within our dwelling.
The tickets can also be procured at the Theater-an-der-Wien.
Frequently, the doorbell sounds, and Constanze and I are much occupied as ticket vendors.
I very much look forward with eager anticipation to next Saturday’s concert, Marianne.
What a memorable moment it shall be to again see our old and revered friend, Herr Josef Haydn, now aged two-and-seventy years, on the podium, and to savor your cousin’s – Mozart’s – heavenly music.
Well, that is all our news, Marianne.
To you and yours a healthy, very happy and blessed birthday, with many affectionate greetings from your faithful friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

VIENNESE VIGNETTES

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

“VIENNESE VIGNETTES” is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without
her written permission.

“VIENNESE VIGNETTES”
© 2006-2008 Marti Burger

To Madame Maria Anna Thekla Mozart
Klinkertorstrasse 9, Augsburg

Wien, den 25. September 1805

My dear Marianne,
Gruess Gott, meine liebe Freundin!
(Greetings, my dear friend!)
I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved Mama.
Though her passing is hard to bear, she now rests serenely with God.

Dearest Marianne, on this warm, early autumn afternoon, my thoughts turn to you and your blessed day of birth.
I hope that you are spending it happily celebrating with your loved ones.
And I hope that you, your daughter, Josepha, and her husband, Herr Streitel, are in the best of health.
My family and I are all well.

Marianne, it has been too many years since last we saw each other.
I have it in mind that once more on this earth, I shall see my hometown of Mannheim once again and shall indeed pass through Augsburg or thereabouts, and spend some time with you.
We shall drink Kaffee together and have Bier, Sauerkraut, und Wuerstchen and converse, giggle and laugh together, just like old times.

I have of late taken more than a slight interest in preparing foodstuffs, as I know full well the old saying: “Die Liebe geht durch den Magen”. (“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”.)
Ja, my dear friend, Herr Jakob Haibl is very much a part of my life.
You know, Marianne, Herr Haibl and I work for the most part at different theaters–I work but seldom in the theater these days–I at the Burgtheater and he at the Theater an der Wien–yet I find myself often in my dear friend’s company, and Herr Haibl is and shall remain my shining prince, as he has been these many years.

Well, Marianne, as I was saying: Of late, I have taken an uncommon interest in the culinary arts.
I am often at my eldest sister’s–Josefa’s–apartment, and you are acquainted with her superb cooking and knowledge of delicious recipes, Marianne.
Josefa and her maid have been showing me new ways of preparing foods, and I use my newfound knowledge for Herr Haibl, who appreciates it no end.
Of late, Josefa has shown me different ways of preparing flavored sauces for Wiener Schnitzel: Ja, Lemon-Schnitzel, Paprika-Schnitzel, Cream-Schnitzel, and the like.
Herr Haibl quite dotes on food, you know, Marianne.

Occasionally, Josefa and her husband dine with my sister, Constanze, her great friend and companion, Herr Nikolaus Nissen from Copenhagen, Denmark, and I.
And Herr Nissen has introduced me to Danish cuisine as well, and has shown me and our maid, Trautl, how to prepare it.

My nephew, Franz Xaver–Constanze and her late husband, your cousin Wolfgang Mozart’s son–now all of fourteen (almost a man!), is hard at work launching a most promising career as a pianist. He resides with his mother, Herr Nissen (who boards with us), and myself in our apartment on the Michaelerplatz, across from the Burgtheater, where I work.

Ja, by the by, I have just started rehearsals for a brand new play, “The Miller’s Daughter”, and I play the heroine’s mother, in short–the miller’s wife – haha.
Not a big role, mind you, but I have a few good scenes with my daughter and with my husband.
We open in two months’ time.

A fortnight ago, my sister, Constanze, and I returned from ten days at Baden-Baden, where my sister, who is sometimes greatly bothered by leg cramps and swollen limbs, took the cure.
Now she is feeling quite her old self again.
I took the waters a few times too, and they were warm, bubbly, and quite refreshing.

My own birthday is Saturday next and, if the weather holds, my family and I shall again bring a picnic to the Prater and celebrate there, with some wine and good cheer.
Oh, there is certain to be some song and merriment in our party–what with Herr Haibl, who, you know, apart from his composing and acting talents, also sings tenor roles at Herr Emanuel Schickaneder’s theater, and with my three sisters and I–two of them, Josefa and Aloysia, professional opera singers–and, you know, Constanze and I are exceedingly fond of singing.
And Herr Nissen is a bit reserved and shy about this sort of thing, but he takes in the good fellowship and warms up to singing. And our Wowi (Franz Xaver) will not hesitate to sing.
You know, his elder brother, Karl Thomas, now one-and- twenty years of age, resides still in Milan, where he is employed as a civil servant.

Marianne, you have no doubt heard the news from France; it is most distressing.
If the French monarcy had ruled like our Habsburg rulers, and the French populace been more like the Viennese, with their laissez-faire, nonchalant attitude, then I believe there would have been no violent uproar and revolution in France–with its very sad and violent outcome.
Though I do understand that there was desperate poverty in France, even more so than here in Vienna, and the French King and Queen (our own Grand Duchess Maria Antonia) took no steps to alleviate this mass suffering.
And now that upstart, General Napoleon Bonaparte, is thinking that he is too big for his breeches.
Ach, I hope that he does not hungrily eye our enlightened and benevolent (in comparison) Habsburg kingdom, and stays clear of our Austrian borders!

Well, enough of politics, Marianne.
This day is your special day, and may the future hold many more happy birthdays for you and your family to enjoy!
Many greetings from your true and faithful friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

MOZART’S MOTHER-IN-LAW, CAECILIA WEBER: AN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY MATRIARCH–MY PAGE

October 26, 2008 - Leave a Response

And now, dear friends, my Mama, Caecilia Weber, always had the last word.
And so she does again!

MOZART’S MOTHER-IN-LAW, CAECILIA WEBER: AN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY MATRIARCH–MY PAGE:

Let me introduce myself, my dear visitors. My name is Caecilia, Widow Weber, nee Stamm.
I have lived a life of hard work and sacrifice, fretting over all my children, wanting the best for them, disappointed, of course, when they have thwarted my expectations.
But they are good children.
I have raised decent children—four daughters who can make their way with the musical skills my late husband, Fridolin, so faithfully taught them.
We women have it harder than the menfolk.
For want of a husband, how can we sustain our livelihood?
I wistfully think that I wish my daughters would have married moneyed men—gentlemen of property and wealth.
Oh, my daughters are so romantic: “We would only marry for love, Mama!”
But I ask you: Is it not just as easy to love a rich man as it is to love a poor one?
Many of my family members are musicians and singers, as are many of my late husband’s kin.
Fridolin saw to it that all my girls were likewise trained as musicians and singers.
A great misfortune for me was losing my life’s partner, Fridolin.
Gracious God; I could ill afford to dower all my four daughters!
How were they, now being orphaned, to procure husbands?
Fate took a hand in the end because Fridolin had trained my girls to be singers and musicians.
And as one would expect—since the theater was their milieu—all my daughters’ husbands turned out to be musicians and actors.
Upon the death of my husband, now I had to think ahead that my daughters were now of an age to marry.
And through Aloysia’s connections with the Court Theater, I obtained a guardian for my four daughters, one Herr Johann Thorwart, Inspector of Music, a man of importance at the opera house.
Thank God for Herr Thorwart!
I was grateful during those hard times that this man of authority would see that my daughters could not simply up and away!
If they wished to marry, Herr Thorwart would have to grant his permission–to approve the match and arrange the marriage contracts.
Wolfgang Mozart came to lodge in my boarding house, and formed a close attachment with my third daughter, Constanze.
Ach, after awhile the gossipmongers’ tongues were wagging.
I set Herr Thorwart to task to secure my daughter’s future; dependable Herr Thorwald did not let me down!
I insisted that Herr Thorwart draw up a contract to protect my Constanze; namely, as a condition to have further contact with my daughter, Mozart was made to sign the contract to either marry her within three years or ever after pay her the annual compensation of 300 gulden.
Ach, Josef Maria—Mozart took his sweet time in hying it off to the wedding altar at Saint Stefan’s Cathedral!
He could have done the honorable thing far sooner!
But you know what practically knocked me for a loop?..….Oh, the sheer gall of it!
My Constanze! She tore up the precious betrothal contract that Herr Thorwart had labored on so thoroughly and insistently—tore it up with her own two hands!
Just ripped that valuable piece of paper in two—poof!—like that!
O grosser Gott–O Gott, O Gott, O Gott—I hit the ceiling!
How could she!
“Mama”, Constanze explained sweetly, then emphatically, “Because I trust Wolfgang completely.”
Ach, the trust of the young!
They so lovingly and unquestioningly believe the ardent sweet-nothings and promises of their intended swains.
“It will always be so as it is right now,” they dreamily think and reason.
Ja, they need to keep the back of their minds free and uncluttered from this romantic nonsense!
“How much shall he provide for me?” should also be in their thoughts.
My dear guests, I find it ironic that Constanze’s husband, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, would distance himself somewhat from his own devoted but domineering father, Leopold Mozart, and Wolfgang’s sister, Maria Anna, who is very close to the father, and instead, turn to me and my daughters and their husbands for family love and comraderie.
Well, after my gifted daughter, Aloysia, deprived me of her income by up and eloping with that actor husband of hers, I found it only right and just that he remunerate me with a lifelong pension—modest thought it may be.
And why, pray tell, would I ever need mention this fact to my new son-in-law, Wolfgang Mozart?
Life, my dear friends, is not fair! We women do not have the fortunate option of making a living and earning good money as men do!
So if some slight, deserved gift should come my way, I certainly need hide it, or else other possible favors which I surely merit would then be lost to me. As you know, being a woman, I have no well-paying employment to fall back upon!
I have discovered in my hard labor of running a boarding house in Vienna that money is only important when one does not have it.
Otherwise, one does not think of it, though in its absence, it is all that matters!
Believe me, a person does not want to be old and to be poor.
A full purse string would soften the discomforts of advancing years.
My friends, I was born in Mannheim in 1727, and am six years my late husband’s, Fridolin’s, senior.
Ja, Fridolin, my dear departed spouse: Ach, how different we were—he compliant, kind, and gentle, and I—forceful, strong, very opinionated.
We were opposites, but we were a team; we made it work.
I relied on Fridolin’s steady, gentle nature to nurture and support me.
Well, my friends, I am proud of all my children. My dear, late husband, Fridolin, and I did good—if I may say so myself.
And now, in my dotage, my dear youngest daughter, Sophie, lives with me and is my comfort and my solace.

“MOZART’S MOTHER-IN-LAW, CAECILIA WEBER: AN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY MATRIARCH–MY PAGE” is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without her written permission.

“MOZART’S MOTHER-IN-LAW, CAECILIA WEBER: AN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY MATRIARCH–MY PAGE”
© Marti Burger 2003-2008

MOZART’S WIFE, CONSTANZE WEBER: MY PAGE

October 26, 2008 - Leave a Response

MOZART’S WIFE, CONSTANZE WEBER: MY PAGE:

Salzburg, January 5, 1842

Why, come in, my dear guests! Gruess Gott! Please come into my parlor and sit yourselves down here in these comfortable chairs. Here; please take a slice of this delicious Schokoladentorte. I baked it especially for your visit. And let me pour you some piping hot Kaffee, ja? Ah! Does it not smell good! I am pleased to be able to share my thoughts with you.
No doubt, dear friends, the music of my dear, departed husband, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, has brought you here, to me. Well, I am delighted and honored. In fact, there is nothing on God’s green earth that I would rather converse about than my beloved late husband and his music. It does my heart good to know that his wonderful legacy—his music—lives still and is ever relevant. Nothing refreshes this old soul and these tired old bones more than to sit down at the pianoforte and choose from the wealth and great number of dear Mozart’s works: something to play, ofttimes something also to sing. For Wolfgang was proud of my skill and dexterity on the pianoforte and of my pure, lilting soprano voice. Although I celebrate my eightieth birthday this day, I have the tireless optimism and hope of a young girl.
I see my mission in life to keep working diligently to preserve Mozart’s music forever on the world’s stage, to not let it die and become obsolete as we move inexorably into the modern age.
You see, I can scarce remember a time when Mozart was not the central force in my life, when I did not love him.
Ach, how long ago was it when we first met?
Well, never you mind, but I was then a gawky adolescent, and I recall that Mozart was courting my older sister, Aloysia. In fact, he had become in a short time a dear and trusted family friend, and during the winter he spent in Mannheim when I was fifteen, my young and tender heart developed an acute and deep attachment to this lovely, precious young man, so very appealing and dear to me in his person and remarkable in his astounding talent and genius.
Ach, I still remember as though it were only yesterday the very first time that I met Wolfgang, my Wolfi, whom I sometimes also tenderly called Wolferl—the first time he came to our house.
And Wolfgang lovingly called me his “Stanzi-Marini,” a play on my name, Maria Constanze, and his “dearest, most beloved little wife.”
My young heart was instantly seized with unfamiliar longing and desire.
I was aware of brand new feelings in my whole body. I looked at this winsome, earnest young man’s face. I instantly fell deeply in love with him. Wolfgang had such beautiful, large and penetrating, soulful blue eyes.
And ach what an irresistible sensuous mouth he had, and such a delightful, winsome smile! And I adored his large prominent nose; it lent great character to his countenance.
Wolfgang was a short, slim man with medium blond hair and a pale complexion.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg on January 27, 1756, and was called to the Lord on December 5, 1791 in Vienna, aged almost six-and-thirty years.
Dear friends, I–Constanze–am the third sister, following in birth order two gifted, professional opera singers, Josefa and Aloysia. My dear Papa tendered me with music, voice, and foreign language lessons, as he did all his daughters.
But I never stood out. I seemed lost, drowned in the shuffle, buried and overpowered by two dynamic forces, Josefa and Aloysia.
I sensed a similar estrangement in Wolfgang.
Somehow, he also seemed lonely, as I was—an outsider—frustratingly trying to break away from the tyranny of being in service to the aristocracy, wanting to make his own way in the world.
The imprint Mozart made on my heart was deepened when, one and one half years later in Munich, where we then resided, he again came into our lives—this time on his return trip to Salzburg from his stay in Paris. Mozart realized that my sister, Aloysia, did not return his feelings for her, and his attachment to my sister ended.
Wolfi and I both realized that we were kindred spirits and were special and precious one to the other. But the blossoming of our love would have to wait another two years, when Mozart cut his ties to his noble employer, the Archbishop of Salzburg, and moved to Vienna, as we had two years previously, lodging with us—the Webers—who then consisted of my widowed mother, myself, and my youngest sister and best friend, Sophie—the only Webers still living at home–now a boarding house run by my Mama.
Mozart made me laugh, my friends.
He had a propensity for joking around, and especially with me.
Mozart found me special, and he made me feel special; I secretly rejoiced in that and drew comfort and strength from it.
Mozart and I shared a special world of laughter and acting silly together.
His joking with me endeared him to me.
Wolfgang was a man who often fidgeted around; he sometimes even jumped over tabletops, and he made a game with me of saying words backwards.
Mozart and I were deeply in love, and were married in Saint Stefan’s Cathedral when I was twenty and my husband six-and-twenty.
Our love and attachment was like a flowering spring—always vital and fresh!
At times, dear friends, I had to pinch myself. I, Constanze Weber, was living with and married to a genius. I knew from the start that this impish, convivial, jovial and sometimes serious lad produced music—and from such a young age—that was more than remarkable—that was sheer genius.
My husband was that comforting, beloved presence beside me—my soulmate—and also a person touched by the gods, endowed with the most extraordinary musical ability who ever lived.
My Wolfgang needed me and depended on me.
I would often sit up with him late into the night sewing or knitting while he composed, in order that I could offer him loving support when he looked up from his music pages, reassured to know that I was there. Often, we sang and played the pianoforte together and were lost in our own special world of tender, nonsensical banter.
Throughout our marriage, Wolfgang never tired of writing me endearing and tender letters.
But life, dear friends, was no picnic.
In nine years, I gave birth to six children, only two surviving infancy to grow up—our sons, Karl Thomas and Franz Xaver Wolfgang.
Exhausted and ill from the ceaseless pregnancies and births, I frequently sought the curative waters of the spas in an effort to regain my health.
All too soon, illness took my precious husband and I was alone, my beloved Wolfgang gone.
All I had left, quite apart from my precious sons, was my husband’s magnificent music. Soon, I saw what a legacy I held in my hands—and the urgent need—the absolute necessity—of making sure that my beloved husband’s music would never be forgotten!
Oh, my precious Wolfi, my dearest darling.
I loved him so.
And I shall forever love and cherish him. It is not accurate, dear friends, to say after one’s dear spouse dies, “I loved him.”
No; no. For the correct verb tense is “I love him”. Just because a loved one has passed on does not mean that we cease loving that person. I shall always love Wolfgang deeply, shall always cherish his precious memory, for love is eternal.
I organized concerts of my beloved husband’s music to keep it in the public eye, and then, my friends, I made an important decision to travel throughout the German lands, organizing and promoting concerts of Wolfgang’s music–something which, until that time, had never been undertaken by a woman.
My older sister, Aloysia, a well-known opera singer, accompanied me on one of these extensive journeys to publicize my late husband’s music.
My sister performed in his operas and sang his arias in concerts.
Even I sometimes sang in these opera performances alongside seasoned and established opera singers. The tour went very well, and in Hamburg, I made the amiable contact with Herr Christoph Breitkopf, a music publisher, whom I later had publish Wolfgang’s works.
And later, dear friends, I was fortunate to find love and companionship again in my dear second husband, Baron Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, born in Denmark and a diplomat by profession. Georg was the love of my middle years, a love not as emotional and passionate as my first love, but quiet, true, and steadfast! Nissen was as devoted and determined as I am to preserving the music and the memory of Mozart, and after Nissen’s death in 1826, I endeavored to publish his enormous project, his labor of love—the first comprehensive biography of Mozart.
And now in this year of our Lord 1842, our hard and devoted work is bearing fruit, my friends. The town leaders here in Salzburg are erecting in my dear Mozart’s memory a statue of him, even now being sculpted!
The statue will stand in the Michaelsplatz, which, by the by, is going to be renamed the Mozartplatz.
I am so joyed that my life’s mission is being fulfilled—my beloved husband Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would be moved and gratified.
Yes; he would surely be pleased to know that his music and his legacy forever shall live.

“MOZART’S WIFE, CONSTANZE WEBER: MY PAGE” is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without her written permission.

“MOZART’S WIFE, CONSTANZE WEBER: MY PAGE”
© Marti Burger 2003-2008

“MOZART’S WIFE, CONSTANZE WEBER: MY PAGE” is dedicated to an unforgettable person–my lifelong beloved friend and mentor from Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, later Murnau am Staffelsee, Upper Bavaria, who inspired me to write about Constanze and Wolfgang Mozart and their love for each other.
If you love someone and that person dies, your love for that person does not die.

DR. MARCEL ROGER
May 19, 1924 – December 25, 2003

Thanks for the memories, Marcel.
You are dearly missed.

SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: MOZART’S FATHER, LEOPOLD

October 25, 2008 - Leave a Response

SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: MOZART’S FATHER, LEOPOLD

Salzburg, June 21, 1846

My dear friends, Gruess Gott! I rejoice in this day of the summer solstice—the longest day of the year! In the dead of winter and during our still cool springtime, I secretly longed for this day to arrive.
And I, at nearly three-and-eighty years of age, have again lived to experience it; I feel truly blessed and exhilarated.
I so love to commune with nature, to be a part of it, particularly in this mild, welcoming season. And at this equinox, nature is all around me in our fair town. So easy is it to take a nature stroll within its walls, for the green, verdant wilds are never far distant.
What a morning, my friends! As I strolled through the lively Universitaetsplatz this warm morning on this first day of summer, it was market day—a bustling, living panorama of sights and smells that never fails to engross me. And as I gazed upon the venerable ancient gray walls of Salzburg University opposite the square, who but Leopold Mozart came to mind—my dear and esteemed friend, Leopold, beloved father of my dear, late brother-in-law, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Yes; Leopold inhabited these very walls just a few short meters from where I stood this day. He experienced life, was a University scholar in this very place.
But then, from the time Leopold set foot in this pristine alpine region, he was never again to call another place home.
I recall Leopold Mozart with fondness and affection.
Yes, he had a strong personality, an air of authority about him, and strong opinions.
Leopold was in appearance of a stocky build, and though not overly tall in stature, a commanding presence.
Leopold had self-confidence in full measure and, in my view, an aura of charisma emanating from his very being.
I remember so clearly, dear friends, Leopold’s deep, rich, mellifluous voice.
As though it were yesterday, I can hear him saying to me and smiling, “Why Sophie dear; I am so pleased to see you! How are you, my dear?”
I shall never forget Leopold’s unique voice, nor indeed, his imposing and pleasing person.
Leopold was a born teacher, I feel, a teacher’s teacher if I may express it that way, and his most cherished pupil, to whom he was wholeheartedly devoted and wished only the best for—was his dear son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Leopold was an unfailing mentor and teacher to his daughter, Nannerl, as well as to Wolfgang.
But at age eighteen, Nannerl gave up playing the pianoforte professionally, so thereafter, Wolfgang was Leopold’s focus, his world, his raison d’etre.
Though Leopold exuded an air of authoritativeness, a commanding presence, I felt also a kindness, a gentleness within him.
Leopold was born in the Swabian city of Augsburg in the Southern German lands on November 14, 1719, the son of bookbinder Johann Georg Mozart and his second wife, Anna Maria, nee Sulzer.
Leopold was one of nine children. His younger brother, Franz Aloys Mozart, was, like his father before him, a bookbinder by trade and the father of Maria Anna Thekla Mozart, a very special youthful friend and first cousin of Wolfgang, whom Wolfgang referred to affectionately as “das Baesle.”
Leopold spent his early school years at the Gymnasium and the Lyceum, both run by the Jesuits. He considered a religious vocation, but after his father’s death, he decided instead to enter the University of Salzburg, and studied philosophy and jurisprudence there.
Leopold told me that he was an excellent student, receiving top grades, but after some time, his interest in his studies slackened and Leopold was finally expelled from the University owing to poor attendance.
Leopold had always made music, primarily on the violin, and he now decided to make music his life’s work.
Leopold thereupon entered into service as a valet and an assistant Kapellmeister (music conductor) to Count Johann of Thurn-Valsassina und Taxis, a canon of the cathedral.
Leopold excelled at his work, and several years later, he became a chamber musician in the orchestra of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg.
He rose to the position of Vice Kapellmeister.
Leopold was now in a secure enough financial position to be able to marry, and eight-and-twenty year old Leopold took to wife his Salzburg neighbor, seven-and-twenty year old Maria Anna Pertl, in the Salzburg Cathedral, on November 21, 1747.
Leopold and Maria Anna enjoyed a most happy union and loved one another dearly.
Years later, Leopold was to tenderly write Maria Anna:
“Today is the anniversary of our wedding day. It was twenty-five years ago, I think, that we had the sensible idea of getting married, one which we had cherished, it is true, for many years. All good things take time!”
Leopold and Maria Anna were to have seven children, all save Wolfgang and Nannerl not surviving infancy.
In the year of Wolfgang’s birth, in 1756, Leopold published his famous violin textbook “Violinschule”, which was also subsequently translated into Dutch and French.
Leopold was also a composer, but as he became aware of the remarkable musical abilities of Nannerl and Wolfgang, Leopold’s educating them in music became his first priority, and his composing ceased.
During Nannerl and Wolfgang’s childhood, Leopold was very fortunate to serve under the music-loving Prince-Archbishop, Count Sigismund Christoph Schrattenbach.
The Archbishop was tolerant and understanding of Leopold’s plans to promote his musical prodigy children and to undertake long tours with them where they performed in Europe and in London, England.
Archbishop Schrattenbach’s successor, however, was the dictatorial Archbishop Colloredo, who was not so kind-hearted, and treated his composers and musicians as servants.
Leopold, as well as Wolfgang, hoped eventually to obtain a secure position outside the confines of Salzburg and the reaches of the despotic Archbishop Colloredo.
In 1777, the Archbishop refused to grant Leopold leave to accompany Wolfgang on a job-seeking journey throughout the Southern German lands and on to Paris, so Mozart’s dear mother, Maria Anna, went with Wolfgang in Leopold’s place.
Alas, she passed on in Paris.
Devastated by his loss, Leopold later wrote, “It is mysteriously sad when death severs a very happy marriage. You have to experience it before you can realize it.”
Leopold wanted now more than ever for Wolfgang to return permanently to Salzburg, not to leave him for some other venue.
But now, Wolfgang was a young man, an adult with an independent spirit and mind, and he wished to make his own way in the world.
Wolfgang would no longer unquestioningly obey his dear Papa, though he always loved, honored, and revered Leopold for the whole of his life.
Wolfgang detested even more than Leopold his stifling, humiliating position at the Archbishop’s Court, where, as Wolfgang himself said, “I have to sit at table with the other servants.”
Wolfgang wanted more freedom and desired to be treated as an equal, which he indeed was.
Wolfgang made his way to Vienna, the city of musicians, where he found lodgings with his old friends, namely us: the Webers!
Papa had passed from this earth, and Mama was forced thereby to turn our apartment in the Petersplatz into a boarding house.
Well, Wolfgang and my older sister, Constanze, fell in love and married.
This act infuriated Leopold, who now feared that he had irretrievably lost his dear son.
Constanze, by the by, was my best friend and only one-and-twenty months my elder.
In 1785, Leopold visited Vienna, where he spent two months at the home of Wolfgang and Constanze.
He often came to call on Mama and me as well, and I greatly esteemed Leopold and took great pleasure in his company.
During this period, Wolfgang was very much in demand as a composer, performer, and teacher, and Leopold wrote home to Nannerl: “We never get to bed before one o’clock, and I never get up before nine. We lunch at two or half past. The weather is horrible. Every day there are concerts; and the whole time is given up to teaching, music, composing and so forth. I feel rather out of it all. If only the concerts were over! It is impossible for me to describe the rush and bustle. Since my arrival, your brother’s fortepiano has been taken at least a dozen times to the theatre or to some other house.”
Constanze, Mama, and I attended a concert of Wolfgang’s music with Leopold, where Wolfgang performed one of his works on the pianoforte. Also present at the concert was Maestro Josef Haydn.
Haydn spoke truly from the heart when he exclaimed to Leopold:
“Before God and as an honest man, I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name. He has taste and, what is more, the most profound knowledge of composition.”
While in Vienna, Leopold was initiated into Wolfgang’s Masonic lodge, so that the two were not only father and son but also “brothers”.
At the time of Leopold’s death on May 28, 1787, aged seven-and-sixty years, further rapprochement and reconciliation between father and son still needed to be made—and would have too—had not Leopold died at that time and Wolfgang some scant four and one half years later, aged nearly six-and-thirty years, in the early morning hours of December 5, 1791.
For Leopold and Wolfgang truly loved and esteemed one another and always—no matter what outwardly transpired between the two—lovingly and faithfully kept one another in their hearts.

“SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: MOZART’S FATHER, LEOPOLD” is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without her written permission.

“SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: MOZART’S FATHER, LEOPOLD”
© Marti Burger 2003-2008

SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: MOZART’S MOTHER, MARIA ANNA

October 25, 2008 - Leave a Response

SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: MOZART’S MOTHER, MARIA ANNA

Salzburg, April 1, 1846

My dear friends, I again found myself this day at one of my very favorite landmarks in my adopted hometown of Salzburg, looking upon the venerable yellow exterior of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthplace at Getreidegasse Number Nine.
The day is again mild and sunny, and I find renewed pleasure in these early spring days in strolling about town.
The sunlight makes the exterior of that august yellow, narrow building brighter still.
How symbolic of the essence and personality of one important being who dwelled within its walls–Maria Anna Mozart, nee Pertl, Wolfgang’s own dear mother.
I had the pleasure of making Frau Mozart’s acquaintance in my hometown of Mannheim when I was but fourteen years of age.
Wolfgang was undertaking an exploratory journey through the Southern German lands in search of better employment than at the Salzburg court orchestra under the authoritative Archbishop Colloredo.
This time, the Archbishop had refused Leopold Mozart’s request for a leave of absence in order to accompany Wolfgang on this quest.
So instead, Frau Mozart was undertaking the long, arduous journey with Wolfgang in Leopold’s stead.
You see, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and my Papa, Fridolin Weber, had become close, dear friends, and Mozart was often at our home, as like a member of the family.
With Mozart was his dear Mama, Maria Anna Mozart, nee Pertl.
Mozart gave me and my older sisters lessons on the pianoforte, and was at that time particularly solicitous of my elder sister, Aloysia, a budding opera singer.
I remember what an altogether pleasant and agreeable person Frau Mozart was–always smiling, offering encouraging comments, down-to-earth, open and straightforward.
I remember thinking what a cheerful person she was.
And she had such beautiful alabaster skin.
Frau Mozart got on wonderfully well with Mama, and the two ladies were often seated in the parlor absorbed in games of whist and cards.
One time, I was playing cards with the two of them, and I remember Frau Mozart saying to Mama as Frau Mozart shook her head resignedly yet not angrily, “Wolfgang has reached an age where he listens little or not at all to my advice. He does what he wishes and pays no mind to my counsel.”
“Ach, Frau Mozart,” Mama retorted and laughed softly. “Just you wait,” Mama continued. “Your son is going through a difficult stage as all youths do, a rebellious stage. Why, you will see: In but a few years’ time, a sensible, respectful, adult Wolfgang will emerge.”
Frau Mozart looked bemused and amused, and her cheerful smile was again in evidence.
“That is something to look forward to!” she smiled broadly, pleased, her blue eyes twinkling.
Wolfgang and his mother were likes peas in a pod.
I remember how very much Wolfgang resembled his dear Mama.
He had his Mama’s prominent nose.
Wolfgang later told me that he also owes his cheerful nature to the dear person who gave him birth and life.
Wolfgang’s endearing, lighthearted ways of joking and teasing, and yes—even that slightly bawdy, ribald scatological humor–he has inherited from his mother, though joking in this rather bold manner was more in evidence in my youth than in our present day in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Maria Anna Mozart, nee Pertl, was born in Saint Gilgen, a lakeside village not more than a day’s journey from Salzburg, in December of 1720, being one year younger than her future husband, Leopold.
Her esteemed father, Wolfgang Nikolaus Pertl, was the mayor of Saint Gilgen.
He was called to the Lord when Maria Anna was but four years of age, so her mother moved with Maria Anna and her sister to Salzburg, residing in–but wait–this is no surprise, dear friends–the very same Getreidegasse!
Well, it was fate!
Sooner or later, the comely Maria Anna and the dashing, eligible bachelor-about-town Leopold, who had taken his bachelor lodgings in the very selfsame Getreidegasse, were destined to meet, and (I being a romantic, know this to be true)–to fall in love, and then to marry.
The wedding took place in Salzburg on November 21, 1747.
It was said about town that the young Mozarts were the handsomest couple in all Salzburg!
They had seven children, only the fourth (Nannerl) and the seventh (Wolfgang) surviving to adulthood.
Nannerl was born on July 30, 1751 and Wolfgang on January 27, 1756.
Frau Mozart accompanied Leopold on one of the great, long tours he undertook with Wolfgang and Nannerl as child prodigies.
This last tour to Paris, undertaken when Wolfgang was two-and-twenty years of age, proved too long and strenuous for the seven-and-fifty year old Mozart matriarch.
Lodged in Paris, knowing not the French language, she often had to remain at their lodging while Mozart made the rounds seeking employment and giving music lessons.
The room was alas often drafty and cold, with little coal for heating available.
Maria Anna sickened and died.
What a sad thing to happen.
Poor Wolfgang.
Poor Leopold.
How very sad for her family and friends.
I also vividly recall almost seventy years after the fact Wolfgang’s sad return visit to our family hearth on his journey home to Salzburg.
(At that time, we resided in Munich for a little over one year before our move to Vienna.)
Mozart was wearing a black jacket–each buttonhole circled by red crepe–that being the Parisian custom for mourning attire.
It was for Wolfgang’s beloved Mama.
I shall always fondly remember Maria Anna Mozart’s simple, winning ways, her cheerfulness, her smile, her friendliness, kindness, and approachability.
I found these very same qualities in her cherished son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Through Mozart, we shall always remember his dear Mama.
Maria Anna Mozart has become unforgettable and immortal.

“SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: MOZART’S MOTHER, MARIA ANNA” is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without her written permission.

“SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: MOZART’S MOTHER, MARIA ANNA”
© Marti Burger 2003-2008

SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: NANNERL—MOZART’S SISTER, MARIA ANNA

October 25, 2008 - Leave a Response

SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: NANNERL—MOZART’S SISTER, MARIA ANNA

Salzburg, March 21, 1846

My dear friends, the warm hand of spring is gradually displacing winter’s icy grip.
The days grow longer, and the ice and sleet on our streets here in Salzburg have finally melted and disappeared.
I no longer have trepidations in venturing out of doors to take my cherished constitutionals along our cobblestone streets and byways.
This morning, I walked along one of our main streets, the bustling Getreidegasse, with its charming profusion of wrought-iron signs, and happened upon the house—number nine—where my late brother-in-law, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and his sister, Maria Anna, nicknamed Nannerl, were born.
The stately, narrow yellow house has not changed.
The intangible memories also remain with me; the heavenly music emanating from its walls penetrate my mind.
The spirits of the Mozart family are here ever present.
How close the distance from this residence and the Mozarts’ later one across the Salzach River on the other side of town, on the Hannibalplatz, is to the apartment of my dear sister, Constanze, and myself, who resided together on the Marktplatz. Constanze was called to the Lord four years ago, aged eighty years, and I live alone now in the apartment.
As close as the distance between our dwellings and the stone’s throw to Nannerl’s later residence may be–the great spiritual gulf that separated my family, the Webers and my dear Mozart from his own father and sister–festered and endured for many long years.
I dearly wish that the chasm could have been closed during Leopold Mozart’s lifetime, and that family harmony and accord would have happily reigned.
At least, Constanze and Nannerl lived long lives and finally managed to heal the breach.
Ach, they are all gone now.
Nannerl was called to the Lord in 1829, aged eight-and-seventy years.
Born in 1751, she was twelve years my senior.
I remember that my dear sister, Constanze, recounted to me her feelings after the visit she undertook with Wolfgang to Salzburg in 1783, in order to visit Wolfgang’s father and sister.
Constanze spoke to me with sadness of Nannerl’s reserve towards her, of an invisible wall separating the two, keeping Constanze, who longed to become close to her sister-in-law, at a distance.
Unfortunately, at that time, Nannerl, though polite, never reached out to Constanze.
My sister did so wish that had not been so.
Maria Anna Mozart was born in Salzburg to Leopold and Maria Anna Mozart and was five and one half years older than Wolfgang.
She was the fourth child, and she and Wolfgang, the youngest, were the
only two of the Mozarts’ seven children to survive infancy and reach adulthood.
Wolfgang and Nannerl looked very much alike, both of them inheriting their mother’s prominent nose.
Leopold was a court violinist and composer in the employ of the Archbishop of Salzburg, and had written a famous textbook on how to play the violin.
He taught Nannerl from a very early age how to play the pianoforte, and she became a gifted, accomplished artist.
Her little brother, Wolfgang, wished to imitate his big sister in her music studies, and that is when Leopold first noticed his prodigious, remarkable, amazing talent—and in such a young lad.
Leopold knew that with the right training and exposure, the child prodigies Wolfgang and Nannerl could fully develop and make the most of their budding talent, could become renown and improve the lot of the Mozart family.
The parents took the children all over Europe and also to England as children, where they performed for the highest courts in the land and reaped huge successes.
After age eighteen, however, Nannerl performed no longer in public, and thereafter enjoyed making music solely in private.
Leopold thereafter focused all his attentions on the career of Wolfgang, who was truly a genius.
Nannerl fell in love with Franz Armand d’Ippold, a captain and director of a school for the sons of noblemen in Salzburg, and he was equally in love with her.
The two wished to marry, but Leopold forbade the match.
Widowed by then, I believe Leopold felt that he would then lose his only daughter.
However, when Nannerl was aged three-and-thirty, another suitor vied for her hand in marriage, and this time, Leopold gave his consent.
Nannerl’s husband was Johann Baptist Franz von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg, a widow with five children.
They were married in Saint Gilgen in 1784.
Nannerl and her husband had three children of their own.
Her first born, Leopold, was born in her father’s house in Salzburg and left in her father’s care when she returned to Saint Gilgen.
Why did Nannerl prefer for her son to be raised by Leopold in Salzburg, while Nannerl resided in Saint Gilgen with her husband and five step-children?
I surmise that this unusual living arrangement was because the old man was lonely and also could provide the finest musical education for little Leopold.
When my dear sister, Constanze, married Mozart, Leopold was very much against the match. I believe that Leopold perceived that he would now be losing control of his son—yes, that he would lose his only son.
Nannerl was always very close to Leopold–That is a key, I feel, to her coldness toward my sister and to the other members of my family at that time.
Constanze so longed for Nannerl’s sisterly love and approval and at first, wrote her warm, affectionate letters, hoping truly for a close relationship with her beloved husband’s only sister.
But during these years, this alas was not to be.
Constanze realized that Nannerl showed little pleasure in my sister’s company and little affection for her, remaining usually aloof and unfriendly towards Constanze.
I know that Nannerl’s actions deeply hurt my sister.
But now, you see, with the increasing estrangement between Leopold and Wolfgang after the latter’s marriage with my sister, Leopold now grew even closer to Nannerl, to Nannerl’s great satisfaction.
Nannerl had always longed for more attention from her beloved father, whom she dearly loved, honored, and respected, though for much of their lives, most of Leopold’s attention had been focused on Wolfgang.
Now Nannerl and her family were the center of Leopold’s life and affections.
And Nannerl now always took Leopold’s side in his relations with Wolfgang. She did not, would not abandon her father.
Dear friends, there was a period when I thought that the two sides of the family would finally be reconciled, in 1785, when Leopold came to Vienna and stayed with my sister and Wolfgang for over two months.
Mama and I lived but a short distance away, and Leopold was a frequent visitor to our home and I in particular and also Mama became quite close to him at that time.
This period in Vienna was a busy, successful time for Wolfgang, always busy and in demand, giving lessons, composing, concertizing.
I think that after awhile, Leopold longed for the quiet of Salzburg and returned there.
Well, my friends, things went from bad to worse between my brother-in-law and Leopold. Wolfgang was very hurt when his father refused to let his two little boys stay with him while Wolfgang and Constanze would undertake a concert journey to Germany and then to England.
After all, Nannerl’s son, little Leopold, was staying with Leopold, and his house was quite large—Why not also his own son’s dear children?
As it turned out, Wolfgang thereby abandoned his plans of the journey on account of this very thing.
Then alas, Leopold was called to the Lord in 1787.
Because of the estrangement with Wolfgang, Leopold did not divide his estate equally but left most of his worldly goods to Nannerl, bequeathing to Wolfgang only some household possessions.
The closeness between Wolfgang and Nannerl had gradually ceased, and this was the final blow.
Wolfgang had grown increasingly closer to my family, the Webers, and in the end considered us to be his true family, also becoming close friends with my sisters’, Josefa’s and Aloysia’s, husbands.
I am sure that Wolfgang and Nannerl, however, continued all their lives to love and respect one another and to hope for a rapprochement.
My sister, Constanze, told me that many years later, Nannerl told Constanze that had Nannerl known of Wolfgang’s by then somewhat straitened circumstances, she would have been more generous in settling their late father’s estate.
And thereupon Wolfgang, so young at nearly six-and-thirty years of age, passed from this earth.
After Leopold’s passing in 1787, the fragile bonds between Nannerl and Constanze began to grow stronger and eventually to flourish.
Nannerl’s husband passed on in 1801, and Nannerl then returned with her two surviving children to live in Salzburg, in the house of her friends, the Barisanis, and gave piano lessons.
Well, my friends, Constanze’s second spouse, Nissen, retired in 1820, and he and my sister then left Copenhagen forever.
For several years, they traveled here and yon, seeking out spas in an attempt to improve Nissen’s health, and they enjoyed a lengthy stay with my nephew, Karl Thomas, in Milan.
Before embarking on the journey to Italy, my sister and her husband paid a visit to Salzburg where they stayed with Nannerl.
Now, my friends, the long alienation between Nannerl and Constanze was thankfully coming to an end; the invisible distance between Nannerl and my sister–between Nannerl and the Weber family—was fortunately about to be broken.
Nannerl was by then an elderly woman, living alone and lonely and going blind. Several years later, Nannerl did lose her sight.
Nannerl had suffered the loss of her beloved sixteen-year-old daughter and two of her step-children.
Nissen was now a retiree and missed the mental stimulation his job had afforded him, but in Salzburg, staying with Nannerl, he, Constanze, and Nannerl began to reminisce fondly about their earlier years, and most particularly, about the very special times of yesteryear when Nannerl and Wolfgang were Wunderkinder, feted by all the European nobility.
Nannerl also lovingly relived with the Nissens her day-to-day life in those bygone days, when they were children, the growing-up years.
Nannerl, Nissen, and Constanze spent much time in thoughtful and animated discourse.
It was at this time that Nissen’s desire to write a comprehensive biography of Mozart took root.
Other biographies of Mozart had already been penned, but they were unsubstantial and riddled with inaccuracies.
Nannerl showed Nissen and my sister a great collection of family letters she had collected and amassed from that time—letters from Wolfgang and from Leopold.
Why, my friends; there were such a bundle of them!
You see, Leopold had been collecting and guarding these precious letters because he himself had planned someday to write a biography of Wolfgang. However, Leopold later lost interest in this undertaking.
Nannerl also got on well with Nissen.
In 1824, the Nissens returned to Salzburg and settled there permanently, in an apartment on the Marktplatz.
Now Nannerl and Constanze lived within short walking distance of one another.
This apartment on the Marktplatz, dear friends, was also to be my future home.
Nannerl then generously gave Nissen and Constanze a good part of her family letters–around four hundred of them–so that Nissen could write the biography of Mozart.
Nannerl was granted the profits from a publication of Mozart’s “Requiem”, and she generously divided this money between Constanze’s and Mozart’s two sons.
This kind gesture finally closed the gulf between the sisters-in-law.
Nannerl became completely blind in 1825, and by the time I was widowed in 1826–on the very same day as Constanze–and moved to Salzburg to live with my sister, Constanze–Nannerl was housebound and bedridden, being then paralyzed and blind.
Constanze cared for Nannerl; she was her frequent visitor.
Nannerl’s kindly next-door neighbor, Herr Josef Metzger, a city public servant, also helped care for Nannerl and make her days more comfortable.
I knew that Nannerl must at times lack for company, being mostly confined to her bed, and I also used to visit her.
In Nannerl’s will, she left some of her personal items to Constanze’s sons.
Constanze later left some money to Nannerl’s adopted daughter.
Nannerl passed away in 1829, aged eight-and-seventy years.
Constanze informed the world of Nannerl’s passing.
Dear friends, I find myself so often gazing up at that familiar yellow building, Getreidegasse Nine, the birthplace of Nannerl and Wolfgang, and promenading past the stately home over the bridge on the Hannibalplatz, where the Mozart family lived in later years.
I think back to the time when the Mozarts were a happy, united family, and I am certain that in eternity, for all time, that is how the Mozarts will ever remain—in happy harmony and accord.

“SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: NANNERL—MOZART’S SISTER, MARIA ANNA” is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without her written permission.

“SOPHIE WEBER HAIBL: NANNERL—MOZART’S SISTER, MARIA ANNA”
© Marti Burger 2003-2008

Mozart’s Son, Karl Thomas Mozart: My Page

October 24, 2008 - 2 Responses

MOZART’S SON, KARL THOMAS MOZART: MY PAGE:

Caversaccio, Italy
September 21, 1858

Why, do come in, my friends. You are always most welcome, and I hope you feel at home here!
Your visit has caught me unawares, so please, dear friends, excuse the dishes I left over there at table.
Today is the cook’s day off, and my manservant is gone to fetch water.
I was just finished supping.
Let me tidy up quickly and serve you some hot tea and biscuits.
Yes, my friends, I quite understand your interest in my father, Herr Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
I am very proud of my father, love him dearly, and greatly cherish his memory.
Papa passed on when I was but seven years of age, but let me tell you, dear friends, somehow, Papa’s loving, comforting presence is always with me.
In many aspects of my life, I can never forget that I am Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s son.
My most cherished possession is a small portrait of my father, which I often lovingly hold in my hand as I drift off to sleep.
I feel Papa’s presence around me and within me even more strongly when I hold this portrait.
You know, we Mozarts and Webers have music in our blood as likely as not, and it was my late Mama’s fervent wish for many years that I honor Papa’s memory and develop my talents as a professional musician, do Papa proud, and continue his noble legacy.
My Mama harbored these same wishes for my younger brother, Franz Xaver. She saw to it that we both received a fine education in music.
I came into this world on September 21, 1784, and today, I celebrate my birthday.
As a child, I recall my father well, although my memories of him are not continuous and plentiful.
I remember well playing games of dice and soldiers on the floor with my Papa, and how joyously and enthusiastically he partook in these games with me. I remember Papa sitting beside me at the pianoforte and giving me instruction, and I recall how our apartment was so often filled with music.
I was an only child until nearly seven years of age when my mother presented me with a baby brother, Franz Xaver.
As a child, I already knew that tragedy and illness had visited my family, as it did so many families–more so then than in our modern times–because previously, my younger baby brother and then in succession two baby sisters had sickened and died. Years later, I learned that I had also had an older brother, Raimund, who likewise had passed away in infancy.
I am a dreamer, my friends. And my nature is a shy and retiring one.
I love to wander about in the garden for hours at a time, refreshed and renewed by the sweet breath of nature. I had that same disposition as a child, and I remember so well my frequent garden forays, how I loved to while away my time in that place of refuge—my secret garden–and daydream away.
I recall my Papa remarking to Mama about my unfortunate tendency to spend my days idling in this manner……
I have a vivid memory of the time my beloved Papa died.
I was seven years old.
It is very painful for me to talk about, and I have had recurring nightmares about that sorrowful time.
I was so frightened and terrified, hardly daring to look at my Papa, so ill in bed and suffering. His body was all swollen; I had a terrible premonition, and alas, it soon came to pass.
My beloved father, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was no more.
I remember my mother’s anguished crying and wailing, the doctor, Herr Closset, and Papa’s student, Herr Suessmayr, scurrying about, and I remember my aunt Sophie’s love, kindness, and compassion as she held me in her arms and gently soothed me and rocked me to sleep.
My life was now irrevocably changed.
I remember the consistent and constant presence of my mother and Aunt Sophie in looking after me and Wowi, as we all called my younger brother.
And you know, dear friends, my memories of my beloved Papa are a child’s memories of his father.
I wish that when I became an adolescent and then a man, I could have known my father–as an adult—man-to-man, as a friend, on equal terms—a friend and beloved Papa—and have memories of him from an adult’s perspective.
I love both my parents and their memories dearly.
I had such a dear Mama, and I cherish the memory of my stepfather, Baron Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, my Mama’s second husband.
I was fortunate indeed to benefit from father’s (as I called Nissen) love and guidance.
And I certainly miss my loving, dear Aunt Sophie.
When I was nearly nine, my Grandmama Caecilia died.
I remember Grandmama’s strong personality, how my mother and aunts always deferred to her.
When I learned of Grandmama’s death, I was far from my native Vienna—in Prague.
When I was eight years of age, my mother made the important decision which did not come lightly, she told me—to take me to Prague to attend the Gymnasium and board with an old family friend, Herr Franz Niemetschek, a professor at the Gymnasium.
Another cherished family friend, Franz Duschek, taught me the pianoforte in Prague.
Mama explained to me that a male child such as I needed the guidance of a man in my life to raise me properly, that she believed a woman alone is not adequate to fulfill this important role.
I now look upon this period of my life, these five years I spent in Prague–as my happiest!
These two foster fathers gave me their love and guidance, and I thrived in this most charming of cities.
Another fortunate occurrence in 1797, during my adolescence, was the appearance of my future stepfather, Baron Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, a Danish diplomat, into my life.
You see, dear friends, my Mama had fallen in love for the second time and had the luck to again meet a man whom she could devote herself to and be her life’s companion.
Mama and Nissen were not able to marry until 1809 in Pressburg, Bohemia, during the time of Napoleon’s occupation of Vienna.
Nissen’s diplomatic job had specified that he remain single!
Mama and Nissen, however, were as man and wife and lived together, and Nissen always thought of my younger brother, Wowi, and I as his sons.
And we always addressed him as “father” and thought of him as a second father.
Nissen’s resigning from his diplomatic post in 1807 had enabled him and my mother to marry. Thereupon, my mother and Nissen moved to Copenhagen where they resided for eleven years.
My stepfather worked in Copenhagen as censor of political journals.
In 1810, he was elected councilor of state.
Nissen retired in 1820 and in 1821, Mama and he moved to Salzburg, where my stepfather passed away in 1826.
Aunt Sophie’s husband had passed away on the very same day, and my aunt moved to Salzburg and lived with Mama for the remainder of their long lives.
Mama was called to the Lord in 1842 and Aunt Sophie in 1846.
I had two other elderly, close relatives who lived out their later years in Salzburg—my aunts Aloysia, Mama’s older sister, and my Aunt Marianna, Papa’s big sister who had toured all over Europe and England with him when they both were children and celebrated as Wunderkinder.
I had thought during my childhood that the life of a composer and piano virtuoso, following in the steps of my esteemed father, Mozart, was for me.
However, I hated to practice the piano!
I could not stand spending the long hours—the many hours a day–practically tethered to my instrument–in order to perfect my craft.
I also regrettably discovered that I did not possess the creative gift—the genius—of my father.
At age fourteen, I was apprenticed to a commercial firm in Livorno, and at age one and twenty, I moved to Milan in order to study music with the court Kapellmeister, Bonifazio Asoli.
My mother then wrote to me:
“I leave everything to your judgment and shall certainly not advise you against doing so. But always bear in mind this warning which I give you with the greatest affection: any son of Mozart’s who is no more than mediocre will bring more shame than honor upon himself.”
Five years after arriving in Milan, I finally decided against becoming a professional musician and composer.
At six-and-twenty years of age, I became an official in the service of the Viceroy of Naples in Milan, and have from then on throughout my long life been a civil servant, in the employ of the government.
My position became more comfortable as the years passed.
I am now retired, dear friends.
Today–September 21, 1858–I celebrate reaching the venerable age of four-and-seventy years.
I had one child, dear friends, my cherished and beloved daughter, Constanza, whom the Almighty chose to take from me while she was still but a child.
I cannot explain to you the profound grief I felt upon losing my precious treasure, Constanza.
My dear mother was devastated as well upon the death of her only grandchild.
She loved that child deeply as I did! Mother took solace in her deep religious faith.
My daughter’s mother was the love of my life, but she herself was the wife of an army officer.
Her marriage was a marriage of convenience, dear friends, but I could ill afford to take a wife myself.
I did not have the means to support a high-born lady, as my beloved, longtime mistress was, and I did not desire to marry below my station in life, as my lifelong companion and I would have little in common.
My brother Franz Xaver found himself alas in the same predicament as I.
He also had not the means to support a wife of high standing and did not wish to marry below his own social standing.
He enjoyed a marriage—though not in name—with his great love, Countess Cavalcabo, herself married to a Count in Ukraine, near the Polish border.
My friends, all my life, I have greatly enjoyed playing the piano as an avocation, a hobby.
I love to sit at the piano and play!
I play solely for enjoyment.
How playing the piano refreshes and renews me!
But to do this as my livelihood?
If I had been endowed with the great talents, ambition, and propensity for that kind of life, I would have gladly embraced being a professional musician and composer.
Every week, I have concerts by the best artists performed here in my home, where my guests and I can enjoy my great father’s and other great masters’ works.
My brother Wowi, encouraged by my mother, did pursue a successful career as a composer and piano virtuoso, but Wowi was always haunted by the specter of his father, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the great expectations placed upon his own shoulders.
Instead of taking his great legacy in stride, his heritage often discomforted Wowi and caused him at times to be depressed.
I am now the last Mozart still alive.
My brother Franz Xaver passed away fourteen years ago, aged three-and-fifty years.
My friends, if my late, beloved Papa, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, were still living—he would have celebrated his one-hundredth birthday two years ago, as the date of his birth was January 27, 1756!
Imagine! One hundred years! How different the world was then, so long ago!
I accepted the invitation from Salzburg in that centenary year to attend the festivities and music festival in my dear father’s honor.
It took place on the 6th and 7th of September, and many of my father’s compositions were performed.
On the way back to Italy, I stopped in Vienna, where centenary celebrations in honor of my father were also held.
Mozart’s famous “Requiem” was performed in Saint Stefan’s Cathedral, and there were many dignitaries present, seated at the front of the Cathedral.
I sat in the pew way in the back, and thought to myself that I am the last Mozart still alive.
No one noticed me there, but I am a retiring, unassuming person, and it was just as well.
These festive occasions so reminded me of the time I attended the musical celebrations at the unveiling of my father’s statue in Salzburg and the naming of the Mozartplatz in 1842.
Well, unfortunately, in my branch of the family, there will be no more Mozarts after me to carry on the family name.
My Aunt Nannerl’s children, of course, were Sonnenburgs, and are no longer living.
But in the long run, my friends, my father’s name—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s name—will forever stand alone.

“MOZART’S SON, KARL THOMAS MOZART: MY PAGE” is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without her written permission.

“MOZART’S SON, KARL THOMAS MOZART: MY PAGE”
© Marti Burger 2003-2008