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
"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
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
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
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.
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.
Sophie, nee Weber
We are come to Saint Gilgen!
den 20. Juli
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
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:
den 22. Juli
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:
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.
Sophie, nee Weber