DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
"VIENNESE VIGNETTES" is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without
her written permission.
© 2006-2008 Marti Burger
To Madame Maria Anna Thekla Mozart
Klinkertorstrasse 9, Augsburg
Wien, den 25. September 1805
My dear Marianne,
Gruess Gott, meine liebe Freundin!
(Greetings, my dear friend!)
I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved Mama.
Though her passing is hard to bear, she now rests serenely with God.
Dearest Marianne, on this warm, early autumn afternoon, my thoughts turn to you and your blessed day of birth.
I hope that you are spending it happily celebrating with your loved ones.
And I hope that you, your daughter, Josepha, and her husband, Herr Streitel, are in the best of health.
My family and I are all well.
Marianne, it has been too many years since last we saw each other.
I have it in mind that once more on this earth, I shall see my hometown of Mannheim once again and shall indeed pass through Augsburg or thereabouts, and spend some time with you.
We shall drink Kaffee together and have Bier, Sauerkraut, und Wuerstchen and converse, giggle and laugh together, just like old times.
I have of late taken more than a slight interest in preparing foodstuffs, as I know full well the old saying: "Die Liebe geht durch den Magen". ("The way to a man's heart is through his stomach".)
Ja, my dear friend, Herr Jakob Haibl is very much a part of my life.
You know, Marianne, Herr Haibl and I work for the most part at different theaters--I work but seldom in the theater these days--I at the Burgtheater (Imperial Theater) and he at the Theater an der Wien--yet I find myself often in my dear friend's company, and Herr Haibl is and shall remain my shining prince, as he has been these many years.
Well, Marianne, as I was saying: Of late, I have taken an uncommon interest in the culinary arts.
I am often at my eldest sister's--Josefa's--apartment, and you are acquainted with her superb cooking and knowledge of delicious recipes, Marianne.
Josefa and her maid have been showing me new ways of preparing foods, and I use my newfound knowledge for Herr Haibl, who appreciates it no end.
Of late, Josefa has shown me different ways of preparing flavored sauces for Wiener Schnitzel: Ja, Lemon-Schnitzel, Paprika-Schnitzel, Cream-Schnitzel, and the like.
Herr Haibl quite dotes on food, you know, Marianne.
Occasionally, Josefa and her husband dine with my sister, Constanze, her great friend and companion, Herr Nikolaus Nissen from Copenhagen, Denmark, and I.
And Herr Nissen has introduced me to Danish cuisine as well, and has shown me and our maid, Trautl, how to prepare it.
My nephew, Franz Xaver--Constanze and her late husband, your cousin Wolfgang Mozart's son--now all of fourteen (almost a man!), is hard at work launching a most promising career as a pianist. He resides with his mother, Herr Nissen (who boards with us), and myself in our apartment on the Michaelerplatz, across from the Burgtheater, where I work.
Ja, by the by, I have just started rehearsals for a brand new play, "The Miller's Daughter", and I play the heroine's mother, in short--the miller's wife - haha.
Not a big role, mind you, but I have a few good scenes with my daughter and with my husband.
We open in two months' time.
A fortnight ago, my sister, Constanze, and I returned from ten days at Baden-Baden, where my sister, who is sometimes greatly bothered by leg cramps and swollen limbs, took the cure.
Now she is feeling quite her old self again.
I took the waters a few times too, and they were warm, bubbly, and quite refreshing.
My own birthday is Saturday next and, if the weather holds, my family and I shall again bring a picnic to the Prater and celebrate there, with some wine and good cheer.
Oh, there is certain to be some song and merriment in our party--what with Herr Haibl, who, you know, apart from his composing and acting talents, also sings tenor roles at Herr Emanuel Schickaneder's theater, and with my three sisters and I--two of them, Josefa and Aloysia, professional opera singers--and, you know, Constanze and I are exceedingly fond of singing.
And Herr Nissen is a bit reserved and shy about this sort of thing, but he takes in the good fellowship and warms up to singing. And our Wowi (Franz Xaver) will not hesitate to sing.
You know, his elder brother, Karl Thomas, now one-and- twenty years of age, resides still in Milan, where he is employed as a civil servant.
Marianne, you have no doubt heard the news from France; it is most distressing.
If the French monarcy had ruled like our Habsburg rulers, and the French populace been more like the Viennese, with their laissez-faire, nonchalant attitude, then I believe there would have been no violent uproar and revolution in France--with its very sad and violent outcome.
Though I do understand that there was desperate poverty in France, even more so than here in Vienna, and the French King and Queen (our own Grand Duchess Maria Antonia) took no steps to alleviate this mass suffering.
And now that upstart, General Napoleon Bonaparte, is thinking that he is too big for his breeches.
Ach, I hope that he does not hungrily eye our enlightened and benevolent (in comparison) Habsburg kingdom, and stays clear of our Austrian borders!
Well, enough of politics, Marianne.
This day is your special day, and may the future hold many more happy birthdays for you and your family to enjoy!
Many greetings from your true and faithful friend,
Sophie, nee Weber