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