Die Traeumerei (Daydreams):
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:
den 26. Juli
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.
Sophie, nee Weber
Lake Scene in the Salzkammergut:
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.
Sophie, nee Weber
An Afternoon by the Lake:
den 27. Juli
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:
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."
Sophie, nee Weber
den 30. Juli
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."
Sophie, nee Weber