BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, November 24, 1823

Beethoven makes a shopping list this morning, including a wash basin for Karl, sugar, a bow tie of flannel (but first he needs to ask Schindler about that), and to write to Count Johann Georg Browne about an apartment. [The latter indicates continuing dissatisfaction about the apartment at Landstrasse 323. Beethoven had dedicated his String Trios, op.9, to Browne.]

Karl adds to the list that they need to get water. There is more trouble with the servant who used to work for Countess Morzin. She thinks Beethoven takes her to be a fool since he took her away from the Countess. Karl is telling her she should moderate her speech, but she doesn’t respond well. “She is close to spitting at us; she has already said, ‘Pfui, Teufel!‘ [Phooey, Devil!] about Ludwig not wanting to leave her at the Countess’s. She wants a new basket so she looks good while she is shopping, and that will make her happy.

Beethoven continues his shopping list, with the need for tallow candles and a bootjack. Ignaz Schuppanizgh is planning to come for dinner tomorrow or the next day, so Karl asks, “How will we entertain Lord Falstaff,” joking as his uncle did about Schuppanzigh’s obesity.

Beethoven notes he needs a pencil, and also needs to write to bookbinder Johann Scheidl, to Frankfurt [most likely forwarding the Frankfurt Cäcilia-Verein’s subscription copy of the Missa Solemnis, but possibly a letter to his friend and agent Franz Brentano], and Archduke Rudolph in Olmütz. He then makes another reminder to buy pencils.

In the afternoon, Karl notes that he caught the servant in the midst of writing a letter. He looked at it and she took the paper from his hand and said it was to a good friend. He took it as a sign she wanted nothing to do with Karl. After his uncle makes a joke about her unknown correspondent, Karl joins in, “Seems dear to me.”

One of the copyists working on the subscription copies of the Missa Solemnis [possibly Mathias Wunderl] comes by Beethoven’s apartment with questions about where one part belongs within the Mass. Beethoven asks how long it will be before the next copy is finished, and the copyist believes it will be finished in around 4 weeks.

While the copyist makes his notes to himself, Karl reports that “the woman” [probably one of the housekeepers being interviewed] wants 5 florins for ironing and pressing every day, plus coffee, meals and wine. She needs to be dealt with by Ludwig right away, or else there will be stories told. She seems to be working at another house, and says that after she is finished there, there is still time to come to Beethoven’s apartment.

Beethoven asks whether the copyist can enlist some assistance to make the copying work go faster. The copyist doesn’t feel that he can farm the copying work out further. He already has to deal with several scoldings. [Probably suggesting that those scoldings from Frau Schlemmer would only increase if yet another copyist were brought on to finish the work.]

Conversation Book 46, 20v-23r.