Saturday, November 05, 2005


‘Only the baron and Schatzl felt the least smidgeon of sadness at leaving Augsburg behind.’ I was again seated next to my friend’s sickbed and continuing the story.

‘Only a smidgeon? I thought you said yesterday that Schatzie was betrothed.’

‘That was a vague parental agreement at her birth. She was twelve years old and not keen on the idea of husbands but she was concerned by the loss of her friends. She missed her walks with them in Augsburg and the knowledge that the streets would turn left or right at the next corner and lead to others that would wind them back to the beginning. She missed the liveliness of those friends and streets and the scent of the flowers on the tree outside her old bedroom window, which reminded her of her poor dead mother.’

‘What about the baron?’
‘He missed his old cronies for a game of cards on a Sunday or a Wednesday after he had been to church and the feeling that his money was safely put away under the floorboards for a future that was in the distance. Now, everything to him seemed to exist in the present and even his harpsichord gave him little comfort as most of its strings had snapped in the move to Munich. He was also reluctant to spend any more money to have it repaired.

‘But he was comforted in his unhappiness by Schatzl whose real name, Violet Stephanie, he had forgotten. The remaining daughters were also called after flowers and saints, which was very suitable as each one was handsome and a regular churchgoer in the prime of her life. Little Schatzl, who had soft dreamy eyes and skin like dead ivory that is just coming to life, would always be known simply as his darling. N.


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