Sunday, November 06, 2005


‘Nan, you must tell me now. This story - does it have an ending?’
‘Do not all stories end somewhere? I replied.
Katherl stared at me from her pillows with flushed cheeks and glittery eyes.
‘Because if your story does have an ending, then it is either something that has happened in the past or something that has been already told.’
‘Wait until I finish before you make up your mind.’ I was impatient to pick up my threads while I still had wit for it. ‘This will be the slow movement before the finale,’ I explained and I saw how the sickly one swallowed a cough with difficulty.
‘After their arrival in Munich, every suitor of the baron’s daughters was the subject of argument. Rosa Anna, the eldest of the sisters was squabbling with Forget-Me-Not Theresa over a gentleman they had both danced with at a municipal ball.
‘You may have him,’ said Rosa Anna. ‘He is one of those who are shorter than their mothers.’
‘Thank you my dear, but do not give away what you haven’t got,’ replied Forget-me-Not Theresa.
‘I am partial to a certain Count Anton Friedrich. Like many of his position, he enjoys sleigh rides through the woods on his estate,’ remarked the second youngest, called Lily something.
‘But his hair is the colour of a cooked carrot,’ protested Maria-Laurel Magdalena, her own hair being auburn. ‘I prefer men to be invisible at night.’
They would argue about a type and not an individual. And none of their excited chatter compensated Schatzl for the loss of her garden in Augsburg or for the walks she used to take with her friends. The poor baron was unable to find any cronies as good as the old and he forgot how to play cards as well as the harpsichord. He became morose and silent and his six older daughters kept him in the background as they entertained their new friends in their new, grand house in Munich.’ N.


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