Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Concern for Prussia

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

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