Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Infant Joy

With a great, shuddering pain and a cry of rage, my son was born on the 27th July, 1785 and we have called him Leopold Alois Pantaleon Berchtold zu Sonnenburg. I listen to the strange new voice beside me with its tremolo like a protesting nanny-goat. O Nanny indeed. This Nanny is not of right mind for I can only perceive the faults and somehow I do rather wish it had all happened to someone else. I look down at his small wrinkled face and ask myself is this what is past reason wanted, no sooner had, past reason NOT wanted?
Papa scolds me for my unnatural indifference. My husband, Johannes, is absorbed by town affairs and thinks all well. What is natural, I plead with Papa, burying my head under the pillow.
‘My grandson,’ he replies, ‘is a miniature rendition of his uncle. It is natural. My dear child, if we can order the way we think, we can order ourselves and our lives.’
The greatest melancholy inside me gives way to such wild laughter that my father frowns and pokes my invisible head and keeps asking if I am myself. I try to explain that I can see me from above but do not recognise who I am. Leopoldl has fallen asleep and I have now picked up my quill. Papa is watching me from his chair in a corner of the room. N.


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