Friday, June 30, 2006

A Warm Bath

Last night, while Mama played cards, I went to the theatre and slept through the entire play, which is a measure of how good the spa in Gastein is or how bad the play was - I am not sure which. I had spent the afternoon at the baths and dipped my feet into the warm water with my puffbox and handkerchief in a little tray that was tied to my waist. It kept floating out in front of me as I tried to remember an Italian madrigal about love. My mind was drawn to a number of ladies all around me, smiling in that half way at each other as people do when they don't know another soul. We retired to the assembly room to share our gossip but unfortunately, there was very little in the way of wickedness. N.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


There is always some scandal or other to discuss in small towns. Life would be very dull otherwise. A certain abbe is regarded as a holy man in these parts but I do not believe it. At breakfast, according to my uncle, who is the finest tenor to have sung in the church at St Gilgen, their saint will drink three cups of strong wine after his hot chocolate before beginning mass. I have had the honour of lunching with this holy man and seen for myself that he ate six sweet pastries, a plate of venison, three small birds while consuming a decanter of wine, two saucers of milk with lemon and five cups of coffeee, which altogether makes a piffle of mama's and my two trouts apiece. Moreover, he takes several little snacks during the afternoon. N.

Friday, June 09, 2006


This is a diary, not a collection of letters, more thoughts that people think and rarely ever say - dull when I am feeling dull or revelatory when there is something to reveal. To anyone who may happen on it by accident, I cannot change to please.

Last night Mama and I dined with my uncle, her brother, Anton Pertl, who sang for our supper in the church at St Gilgen. He has a fine tenor voice. We ate two trouts apiece and had such bellyaches and looseness of stool that I never want to eat trout again. N

Saturday, June 03, 2006

What Is In The Bottom Drawer

I have mentioned it twice - this bottom drawer - the fourth one down in the walnut chest next to my nun's bed. It contains all that I value - letters from admirers tied up with ribbon, my compositions, Wolfie's drawings for our targets in archery - mostly cartoons of naked bottoms, some small squares of silk from the dresses I've outgrown, family locks of hair and a collar that I made for Miss Pimperl when she was a puppy. It's a motley lot but it is mine. My compositions are there because they are the private proof of my passion. Everything contained in this sliding box is private or secret because I alone have the key. The bottom drawer seemed more discreet than the top, less likely to be discovered, although I sent Wolfie a copy of my latest song with a long story full of scandalous gossip. 'Cara Sorella Mia,' he wrote back post haste, 'you compose SO well . . . foul your bed, make a mess of it.' Does he mean, to hang with the consequences? I am perfecting my form. N.