Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Herr Meinke-Haibl and My Papa

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

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