1791 - A Sad Year

Josepha was an enchanting sweetheart and soon cherished by my parents like life itself. Always being the center of attention, she livened up the place enormously. Although I, as an unmarried mother, had considerably forfeited standing, and even had to suffer from a certain ostracism, which damn hurt at first - just imagine my shopping was like running the gauntlet - yet I was a very proud mama, and would thoroughly stick my tongue out (secretly, of course) at all the hypocritical upholders of moral standards. My life went on in clearly smoother ways now every mother knows. Josepha grew up into a healthy and endearing girl, causing all kinds of normal joys and sorrows.

Wolfgang's last portrait, Munich 1790, by Johann Georg Edlinger On October 28, 1790 my famous cousin came to town, clandestinely and for one single night, without any advance notice and also without visiting us. He did not even send us a short note. His lack of interest hurt me deeply. Did he hold me in contempt so much? Had he in the end erased me completely from his memory? Or, perhaps there was something in his own life that kept him from seeing us. We hardly read anything about him in the newspaper any more. Had he come visit me, would I have recognized him?

Only four years after the death of his oldest brother, my beloved Papa passed away and was beared to his grave on June 14, 1791. We all missed him terribly, and Josepha wept much for her grandpa. Now the three women of us were alone, aged 63, 32, and 7. What was to become of the business? Entering intro matrimony with a younger journeyman was a thing Mama declined. Now you are astonished, aren't you? This however was an absolutely common practise for the widow of a master craftsman, on the one hand in order to maintain the business, and on the other hand to help a journeyman to receive the title of master craftsman. Well, those were different times. It was Uncle Ignaz and his son, Cousin Michael respectively - both being master bookbinder - who continued Papa's business.

Then in December, still being in mourning, we heard the unbelievable news of Wolfgang's death. What a shock this was! I simply could not figure it out. Oh my god - why? And so suddenly. This man, being in love with life just like myself, was said to have left our Earth? It was incomprehensible. How old had he become? Thirtyfive? What a loss! Now no-one would compose and play such an indescribably beautiful music any more. Unfortunately I had never known how he had fared in his last years. How many children did he have? Had he been happy? Or had worries weighed heavily upon him? And his music? I had read - not very often - about new operas, Le Nozze di Figaro, then an exceptionally dramatic work in Prague - Don Giovanni, and yes, just recently Die Zauberflöte. Oh, I was hoping he had been contented somehow, I didn't begrudge him that with all my heart. I confess I wept for my beloved cousin more and longer, above all differently than for my Papa. Now I would indeed never meet him again, my Wolfgang Amadé Rosenkranz, noble Knight of Sauschwanz. All I was left with were his letters. And his portrait.

At her request I later sent the letters to his widow Constanze. She was said to be collecting for his planned biography as much material as possible. Solely for the sake of his memory I let her have them completely, which I later regretted but was unable of changing it. In this announced biography she published together with her second husband only thirty years later, Wolfgang Mozart's Bäsle however wasn't breathed a single word about. Soon the letters were shared out between her sons, and the older, Karl is said to have even planned of burning them due to their "obscene contents". My goodness!

© copyright 2001-2019 Susanne M. Scholze. All rights reserved.

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