Sunday, October 30, 2005

I might as well love the moon

This count of mine has a thin, spare form. It is something above the common height were he not to bend forward with his chin and chest. From his eyes, you see the ebb and flow of his feelings like the tides of the sea. This brings me to my point. I play the bottom line in a two part fugue with my brother and realise I could have an affair with the moon in which there would be neither sin nor shame. I derive the greatest pleasure from my thoughts and will share them with my good friend Katherl Gilowska. She is in need of a gossip, having been ill in bed for a whole week and unfit for target practice. N.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

An afterthought

I did not intend to share a truth while crying over spilt milk for Miss Pimperl. Certainly, a part of my distress was the fear of saying goodbye to Mama for such a very long time - three months in Mannheim, six days for a letter to arrive by post and who knows, Paris after that. But there was something else which vexed me when I was not thinking about my life as an orphan. I could not understand why the Count had gone so abruptly out of the room when we returned from our sleigh ride - or why he picked up the copy of Voltaire's jottings from Papa's desk and put it in his pocket as he left. Had his passion for me waned so quickly that he needed to fill his head with twaddle from that godless dog? Was my conversation no more required? Did he feel his own want of philosophy? Did he not wish to eat cake that was still warm and smelt of honey? Mysteries which must explain themselves are not worth the loss of time it takes to conjecture about them. I shall play duets with Wolfgangus the horrible instead. Tempo piu moderato or make a mess in my bed. N.

What think you of this?

After my nightmare, and despite my mother's advice, I continued in a bad mood all morning.
'You're a great idiot,' I said to Wolfgang at breakfast when he suggested I should take the waters to recover my spirits. 'There is no spa that will cure me of this.'
'And what pray, is THIS?' he asked, 'which makes you growl and snap as if I have drunk all the milk on the table?'
‘Brother dear, I beg that you will do SOMETHING more than common - more than extraordinary for me.' I carefully picked up the last crumbs from my plate with my fourth and fifth fingers before continuing. 'I would thank you NEVER to make hint of my monthly cloth again - or to say that I am ever disadvantaged by it.'
'My most beloved blister - I never have - except in your opinion.'
'Exactly. In MY opinion!'
At which point, I left the table in tears and Wolfie gave the rest of the milk to Miss Pimperl in a fine china bowl on the floor underneath the clavier. N.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Premonition

I am deeply unhappy that Mama and Wolfie are to leave me with Papa in Salzburg while they travel – for who knows how long that will be?
Last night I had a dream about it. There was no black powder, no Pulvis Epilepticus, no husband, no daughter to ease my poor mother's fever in this vision. Wolfgang, you will note, not Wolfie or Jack Pudding, but Wolfgang was shouting in Mama's ear, the one that was not buried in her soft, French pillow. (Why French? Was she not meant to be in Mannheim?) My dear brother kept insisting Mama was deaf in her delerium and that if he shouted loud enough to frighten an elephant, he would be able to reach her thoughts. Basta!
In this same paradoxical dream, I am flung upon my Salzburg bed and vomiting with grief. My dear Mama, I cry, I want you back. I see your face through the wrong end of a telescope. When you laugh, we laugh. When you withdraw, we will be devastated. Papa is locked in his room, writing a letter to your son. I'll say a Paternoster for your soul as I sleep. In this infernal nightmare I cannot touch you on the other side of the telescope. This is a world I do not wish to inhabit and so I wake up, entirely wet, calling you by name.
'What is it my dearest child?' you say in that loving way of yours as you approach my bed. 'No, I am not your dearest,' I reply, 'or you would not leave me for Paris.' 'Paris? Who mentioned Paris? You are dreaming, Nan,' and you smile and pull back the covers from my tossing limbs. 'Enjoy what we have together now.'

Friday, October 21, 2005

Saint Gilgen's Church

I have spent the morning decently in the parish church of Saint Gilgen. It is a small, old building but like all churches in these parts, even the smallest has something venerable and ornamental about it. While the priest talked solemnly about the immortality of the soul, I admired the pink and gold cherubs flying nowhere above the organ or stroked the polished carving of our pew. I am also partial to the graveyard which is home to some noisy blackbirds. We come here from time to time, Mama and I, to sit and think and afterwards, to walk beside the lake. I am not in spirits for writing at present. Mama has told me she intends to leave for Mannheim with Wolfie and I am to stay behind with Papa for a change. N.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


The morning: Shall I boldly shake him off as I fear I cannot be moderate? How long must I suffer? How long must I do? When I see him next, shall I be indifferent to test him? Or shall I prefer to inspire him with MY flame? Is it not beneath me to be made uneasy by him?
The afternoon: In all day. Practised my brother's new sonata and inserted a downward run at the end of the third movement. Prestississimo.
The late night: Ate half a trout and passed the evening with Katharina Gilowska before a game of cards with Papa. I was, he said, his model for the Queen of Hearts, which he painted in triplicate for the Widow Von Durst, Mama and me. Feel myself quite calm and indifferent. Am I grown dull already? Or is it a calm confidence in a fixed reputation? The truth is I am inconstant and fickle and never sure of myself for two days together. It is as much as I can do to remain warm in this cold weather. I require more than one flame for this, Count Anton, or I shall become an old maid. For what woman can bear to see a man so long an admirer, and yet so cautious as to guard against the least advancement except by promises? I suspect at the base of his heart there is nothing more, which means we are both great pretenders and will laugh off our passion in time for Lent. N.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

More of that...

I am afraid my last entry failed to reveal all it should. His name is Anton Friedrich and he is a Count and a Salzburger but enough of that. When he kissed my hand from out of my muff, he whispered: 'My lovely child, in kissing your hand, you have no idea how I burn, just to imagine if I kissed your knees or your feet because they are so enticing.' He did neither. "Do not open your mouth to my kisses, my sweet, for in its ripeness, it can only be kissed on your wedding night." At which point, my dear mama turned around and asked if we should ride again through the woods. "Yes," said I quickly and in the flurry of hooves, he spoke above the hubbub. 'While I am waiting, I imagine the heart of a flower. At the centre, there is the most heavenly fruit.' 'It may not be edible,' cried my same dear mama who has ears like a lynx. I said nothing for the rest of the journey. N.

Monday, October 17, 2005

My lover

I have been avoiding this - a description that goes beyond the white silk stockings and the lace handherchief. Well, if you hear it from me, you hear it from the one person who has the right to say it. When he smiles, I laugh. When he is serious, I am as long faced as a horse. Yes, I desire him when I fall asleep. Yesterday I composed a Rondo with a tune he whistled on a sleigh ride in the woods. During this same sleigh ride, he took my hand from out of my muff and kissed it as Mama was not looking. He has a small tuft of golden hair inside each nostril and I saw the reflection of my eyes in his - we were that close. It will cost me six kreuzer per sheet to have my music copied, so being poor and unwilling to copy it myself, I will send him the original. In my next entry, I hope to have some good news but I must neither rejoice nor worry too soon. N

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Fear itself

Everyone has something to hide or at least thinks so, which is much the same. Mine is fear itself. I am not afraid of spiders but I am of a pair of hands that hides under my bed at night, waiting to grab hold of my ankles as I leap onto my coverlet. I have perfected the art of the leap, making sure that the lower part of me is in the air when I dive, out of reach from this headless, bodyless mannikin. Since I am always telling Wolfie I am fearless, I am afraid he will see me flying and my secret will be out. N.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I have no great hopes of anything happening in Munich. Frau von Durst has chicken pox. My brother's opera is delayed. Papa has said that he doesn't wish to work for the Elector under any circumstances and running about as he has done these last weeks and teaching singers to suck eggs when they know how to do so already is a dog's life. We are all to return to Salzburg and my dear Mama forthwith. I have made an extraordinary discovery this morning. I am my father in petticoats. N.


I know a doctor who prescribes this remedy in such doses that may lead to weeping, heartbreak, though not of a fatal kind, the occasional gnashing of teeth and a prolonged morning sleep after a night of severe restlessness. What is the point? N.

The Waltz

I prefer a slow, gliding waltz, a Schleifer, to a minuet. Wolfie is tuning his fiddle to play because his E string snapped and his new one refuses to stick. The servants are shifting the widow's furniture to make space for an impromptu ball and Papa asks Frau von Durst for the first dance, which she accepts. I am picking at the harpsichord, listening to the scarlet coat with white silk stockings knocking at the door. I adore Herr - , but does he adore me? The sun has set and the widow looks quite skittish as she swirls. N.