Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We are come to Murnau, Bavaria!

We Are Come To Murnau, Bavaria!

Kingdom of Bavaria

Well, my dears, it was time to say farewell for now from this magical region of Salzburg and the Salzkammergut.
We all journeyed by coach back to Salzburg, and bade fond farewells to the Mozarts, and promised that on our return journey to Vienna, we would call on them again.
Herr Meinke-Haibl, Mama, and myself took a coach shortly after daybreak bound for the alpine foothills of the kingdom of Bavaria.
As I looked through the coach window at the scenery of my beloved Salzburg, which was rapidly fading from my view and receding altogether, my eyes welled with tears.
"I shall before long be back," I thought, comforting myself.
We journeyed the whole day, stopping for a midday meal at a tavern in the mountain town of Fuessen.
Through the coach window, I marveled at the wondrous sights I beheld--vista after green vista nestled with cozy hamlets and scattered cottages and dotted with grazing sheep.
In several hours, we finally happened upon the town of Murnau on the Staffel Lake--indeed the jewel of Upper Bavaria.
In the center of town, we happened upon the picturesque Gasthaus zur Goldenen Rose (Golden Rose Inn). Not only were there gold-colored roses in pots in all the windowsills, but also roses of every color imaginable, and also such beautiful, blooming rose bushes along the path leading up to the olde inn door.
Mama and I are sharing a room, and Herr Meinke-Haibl obtained another room, but he unfortunately has to share it with two other gentleman, as the inn is full at present.
We partook of a meal of venison and potatoes downstairs in the inn tavern, and then strolled the gabled lanes outside, where it was still light, to breathe in and take in the wondrous mountain air and scenery.
We relaxed in the warm glow of twilight, here where we feel safe and sheltered from the cares of the world.
The following morning bright and early, after breakfasting downstairs in the tavern, we all took a foot path to the Auweg (meadow lane)--a sort of wide, green clearing surrounded on all sides by the magestic Zugspitze Alps.
Here and there are cottages scattered about, with deep, moss-covered roofs and sides, and a profusion of flowers spouting everywhere--especially from the windowsills.
A look at the wide, open, green vista revealed groups of sheep lazily grazing.
In one of these cottages, Herr Meinke-Haibl explained to Mama and me, he used to reside while in the Duke of Villmar-Seelbach's employ.
"My dear Frau Weber and Fraeulein Weber", Herr Meinke-Haibl beckoned to us, "It is but a very short distance to the Duke's estate. Let us proceed there, and see if he and the Duchess are at home."
The Duke's son is at present at the University, and his daughter is now married.
Herr Meinke-Haibl had been their tutor for music--the pianoforte--and in German, Latin, Italian, French, English.........and geography.
Soon we arrived at the gravel path of the imposing baroque edifice.
A manservant answered the door, and ushered us into the elegant, high-ceilinged salon, where the Duke of Villmar-Seelbach, a tall, distinguished-looking gentleman, wigged and with silk breeches, greeted us.
"Ach, Du lieber Gott--mein lieber Herr Maestro Doktor Meinke Haibl!", exclaimed the Duke of Villmar-Seelbach, smiling.
Herr Meinke-Haibl bowed, and Mama and I courtseyed.
Herr Meinke-Haibl presented us to the Duke.
"Oh, Your Excellency," added Herr Meinke-Haibl, "Please: Just 'Herr Meinke-Haibl'. Except when there is otherwise no Doktor in the house," he laughed.
"Delighted to see you, dear friend," the Duke answered. "The children are well. And the Duchess unfortunately is not here to greet you. She is at present taking the waters at Marienbad."
"But," exclaimed Herr Meinke-Haibl, "You have natural mineral springs right here in Murnau. Why journey to Marienbad?"
"Well, you know," the Duke replied, "The mineral waters and springs are always hotter and more bubbly on the other side of the street."
We then adjourned to the garden room, and a maidservant served us hot tea and Broetchen (rolls) with sweet butter and orange marmalade, after which the Duke accompanied us on a tour of his magnificent gardens, fashioned in the wild English style, as in nature.
Thereupon we bade our adieus to the Duke, a very hospitable man, and made our way back to the inn "Zur Goldenen Rose."
I am writing now at a table in our bedroom, and I shall shortly blow out the candle, and so to bed.
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Frau Maria Anna Mozart's Background:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 5. August

My Dears,

At the wedding celebration in Saint Gilgen several days ago, I had a long conversation with your dear Mama, Wolfgang.
She told me something of her background--that she was actually raised in Salzburg.
Frau Mozart told me that some of her earlier relatives had been musicians, and that she was the daughter of the Mayor of Saint Gilgen.
Frau Mozart lost her father when she was but four years of age, and at that time, the family had to move back to Salzburg.
And, you know, when she mentioned to me that they moved into the Getreidegasse--well, I could easily guess how your dear Papa later made her acquaintance.
Maria Anna was practically the girl next door!
(Her best childhood friend later moved to Saint Gilgen: hence, the wedding celebration we all attended there.)
Oh, I must have left out something--namely, that your dear Papa, Wolfgang, had as a young man and a bachelor also set up housekeeping in the Getreidegasse, so that it was only natural that he and your Mama would meet....and fall in love.
There were surely practical matters, but I am a firm romantic--haha--a contradiction of words, to be sure.......
I can easily see that your dear Mama would have been smitten with Herr Leopold Mozart.
He is indeed a commanding presence, and has a mixture of authority and charm in his person, I find.
Ever yours,
Sophie, nee Weber

About Certain Gentlemen:
Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 6. August

Dearest Marianne,
I am so happy to hear from you!
I must say that the coach ride was mostly comfortable, but during long stretches after crossing the Bavarian frontier, the condition of these mountain roads is indeed deplorable--with ruts and rocks--not fit for horses or men to tread upon. And all the steep curves!
I fancied to look down below the side of the mountain.
I could envisage an accident where the horses would stumble and we would tumble down the mountainside.
(Though the coachmen are very skilled and experienced, and I believe we have nothing to fear......)
So during the last stage of our journey, the coach lurched and shook back and forth, as the coachmen tried to avoid an accident with the horses.
During these times, I do admit that I became dizzy, as did Mama.
But, dear Marianne, Murnau is a civilized township, and as we approached the town gates, there were no further bumps in the road, I am happy to say.

"> …IĆ¢€™m wondering …
Yes, I am in fact wondering. What kind of hieroglyphs are these, for heaven's sake? Is
this a new code after all?"

Marianne, I am wondering myself what on earth that can be. I did not write that. Can it be that my quill had too much ink on it and was leaking?

Oh, Marianne; I am so happy for you, and for Karl. What joy that you have found each other once again.
Oh, it is so nice that he loves to laugh! Forgive me, but so does Herr Meinke-Haibl! He also has a good, kind heart.
"You are so lucky, my dear, a blessed girl indeed! For this happens only once in a
lifetime, does it not? I count myself lucky, too, to have experienced this magic as well –
on October 11, 1777, on a Saturday evening when Wolfgang had arrived in Augsburg and was
ringing our door bell – a day, a moment I will never forget."
Oh, Marianne; you are so right. This incredible, indescribable feeling happens only once in a lifetime. I am very sorry that it was not meant to be for you and Wolfgang--but if it were, you would not have your beloved daughter, Josepha, and would not have known Herr Baron Reibel nor your dear Karl......
And is it not funny; I also remember that exact date it happened to me: the seventh of July in this year of our Lord.
Dear Marianne; yes, Mama is also well, and things are going well for me and--may I call Herr Meinke-Haibl this?--my darling. During last few days, there has been no rain here in the Upper Bavarian foothills, but the weather has been extremely hot and muggy, so that one wishes to---hush----remove all one's garments and jump into the cool waters of Lake Staffel.
Marianne, we shall have to be on our guard in case there should be a continual downpour, as a branch of the river runs by our inn.
But I love the bucolic quality of the meandering stream close at hand, and the gurgling of the brook. The sight invites such repose.
Bis spaeter, Marianne (Until later, Marianne),
Yours affectionately,

Happenings at the Inn in Murnau:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 7. August

My Dears,
We have spent a lazy, languorous day here in the foothills of the Zugspitze, in Murnau am Staffelsee.
We are not undertaking very much, and are becoming accustomed to the higher altitude, but are still feeling more fatigued than is usual.
Last night at table, Mama once more kept calling over the barmaid again and again to refill her wine glass.
This day, Mama first appeared downstairs during our midday meal.
Before that, Herr Meinke-Haibl expressed concern for Mama:
"Your Frau Mama seems to have a great fondness for and problem with drink."
"It might just be the journey," I blushed. "At home, Mama does enjoy wine much more than we other Webers, but not usually to excess."
"My dear Miss, I hope that is the case. As a student at the University, I made ends meet by serving drinks at a nearby tavern. Some of our patrons did stick to the drink like flies to honey. Ach, almost impossible to extract from the premises at closing time."
Herr Meinke-Haibl seemed pensive, lost in thought, and he shook his head and laughed softly.
"Dear Herr Meinke-Haibl," I exclaimed. "I wish you could have known my dear Papa......when my family was all together, in Mannheim. And Papa was so different from Mama...."
My voice trailed off as I struggled to hold back the tears.
Herr Meinke-Haibl took my hand and held it for awhile.
Impulsively, I leaned my head against his chest and buried it there, and he held me close to him, enfolding me comfortingly in his broad arms.
Later on, I felt so ashamed for a moment, afraid that Mama's behavior would alienate Herr Meinke-Haibl's affections toward me.
Then I thought that it matters little, for he is alas already married--but only on parchment.
And then I relaxed and breathed easier.
And the ardor in Herr Meinke-Haibl's large, sky-blue eyes burns as brightly as before.
Finally, I knew that I had to tell Herr Meinke-Haibl the truth: "You are right. Mama does have a problem."
"I know, dear," he answered.
I continued, "And whenever I point out to Mama that she likes the wine far too much, she denies it most vigorously. Papa did not call her 'The General' for nothing!"
Here in Murnau, we often encounter native gentlemen attired in dark green jackets and like-colored hats topped by a feather, instead of the usual tricorn.
Completing their dress are short breeches and suspenders, called Lederhosen (leather trousers).
The gentlemen seem often to congregate together in groups, talking in their native Bavarian dialect and often smoking their long water pipes and cob pipes, made of corn.
The Murnauer men I see, sitting in the taverns and out of doors at tables set up in front of these taverns, are of various ages.
The tables are called "Stammtische" (just tables where groups of friends congregate).
However, most of the men are elderly; one sees many oldtimers in these parts. They converse quietly in their soft Bavarian drawl, some reading "The Daily Gazette" and some playing at cards, chess, dice, or pinochle.
At our inn "Zur Goldenen Rose" (At The Golden Rose), the large wooden sign swinging in the breeze hanging high above the olde inn door--with the picture of the lovely golden rose--is enchanting.
Also, the large pretzel cut-out hung high outside the Murnau bakery shoppe is most charming and quaint.
Yes, our epoche is a "quaint age"--but the wooden signs atop the doors of some establishments are especially quaint......
I feel particularly here that we are in foreign parts.
Mama and all of us Weber girls still have our Mannheimer accents, and the townfolk here know we are not from these parts.
They do speak standard German with us, with their Bavarian accents.
I have lived for some time in Vienna, and likewise there, when the Viennese are speaking their native dialect, a Mannheimer cannot comprehend the discourse.
I have learned some Viennese vocabulary, and generally also speak standard German with them,
Here, when the Murnauers speak Bavarian among themselves, I quite feel like I am in a foreign country!
One feels excluded, an outsider.
However, this evening in the tavern, we played cards and conversed with several elderly Murnauer gentlemen, and then Herr Meinke-Haibl played several rounds of billiards with them.
Mama started to order more wine, but I quickly pulled her away and took her arm, leading her up to our room upstairs.
I then briefly returned downstairs and curtsied to Herr Meinke-Haibl and the gentlemen, wishing them--and now all of you--a good night!
Yours affectionately,
Sophie, nee Weber

Down By The Olde Mill Stream:

Murnau, Kingdom of Bavaria,
den 8. August

My Dears,
We are extremely fortunate for our inn "Zur Goldenen Rose" (At The Golden Rose) to be situated on a tributary of Lake Staffel.
After all this time, Mama and I really needed to "air our dirty laundry"--haha!
No, no; not literally, but we did need to wash our clothes. The inn is simply crawling with visitors, so there was no luck in hiring manservants to do the job, but the innkeeper did loan us one maidservant to assist us with our laundry.
And because of the river right outside our doorstep, we need not fetch and carry water all the way from the village well in the main square.
Kristl, the maid, helped Mama and me to carry all our laundry across to the river, where several other womenfolk were gathered, busy at the same task. The villagers chatted and laughed as they worked.
With Kristl's help, it took us little more than an hour for all our work to be completed, but then Mama, still tipsy from last night, took a tumble into the flowing Staffelsee.
Quickly, I jumped into the water, grabbed her, and pushed her to safely, keeping her head above water.
The day had been so hot and humid, and the sudden rush and chilly refreshment of the water invigorated me.
I suddenly thought of the many times I had spent as a child with Papa and Constanze, boating on the river in Mannheim. Papa had also taught us to swim on the riverbank, in case we should ever fall into the water--and to this day, I love to swim, but seldom, if ever now, get the opportunity for it..........
Another thing, as we have been discussing wardrobe, I hate to lace up my stays tightly; it is so restrictive for movement and comfort, and is in addition cumbersome.
I must say that on this journey, I lace up my petticoat very loosely. I am slender anyway, and one cannot discern any difference.
Sometimes--oh, this is wicked--I do not wear my stays at all--but again, no one can tell.
Oh, how I would love to go swimming in these warm Bavarian spring waters, to have the freedom to fully move my body, and with the lightness of the way God made me.
Yes, as Eve and Adam would I love to take the waters; I love to exercise and move in it.
It feels invigorating and strengthens me to swim.........
Kristl then assisted Mama and me in bringing our clothing to some lines in back of the inn where we hung them out to dry.
It is now several hours later, and I am now back at my desk, my dears.
I see from my bedroom window the orange round ball of the sun quickly disappear beyond the mountain.
I feel so happy and peaceful.
When Mama was playing cards with some townfolk in the tavern, I conversed with Herr Meinke-Haibl, and he brightened to the idea of taking the waters.
Herr Meinke-Haibl and I followed the bend in the river from outside the inn to where the river was surrounded on all sides by a thick green foliage.
In the pristine clearing, we were quite alone.
I felt so bold and wicked; the scene was so idyllic and beautiful.
Birds flew overhead and chirped and twittered softly from the tree branches.
Herr Meinke-Haibl and I started to remove our garments and ended up shedding all this excess covering.
We swam and swam and frolicked in the warm streams--it seems, forever.
We were both suspended in time.
I later let Herr Meinke-Haibl embrace me--but I must be careful; I cannot permit myself to become with child.
Still, as I look out my bedroom window, the soft glow of the sunset reflects the happy glow in my heart.....what a happy day.
Ever yours,
Sophie, nee Weber

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