BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, May 25, 1823

Today is Trinity Sunday and Nephew Karl visits Uncle Ludwig in Hetzendorf. He visited the tailor, but he was not at home so he wasn’t able to get a coat. He suggests housekeeper Barbara Holzmann make a pastry, since there are no vegetables on the side for midday dinner. The white trousers should not be washed; they are too delicate. Karl thinks that getting bedding for Schindler is an unnecessary expense. If he is using the apartment for free, he can buy his own bedding. It is unnecessary because in the winter he will be getting furnished rooms.

While Karl is busy doing something else, Ludwig makes a few notes to himself about Schindler, the Swedish and Dutch embassies, and the diploma for the Swedish Royal Academy of Music. He also notes he should have only two dishes at midday, and after the meal go for coffee or smoke tobacco, and read the newspapers. His ultimate goal is “a simple building in the country to live in a heavenly manner without pretense…To live like a god.”

Karl returns with gossip about Brother Johann. Apparently he wears rings on his fingers when he deals with the Vienna music dealers, to show them that the Beethovens have money and do not need theirs. Karl promises to apply himself to his studies, and notes that it looks like rain. He observes that the cook has been with Uncle Ludwig for a full year as of May 22nd, an astonishingly long service for Beethoven.

Although Uncle Ludwig is here for the baths, Karl thinks that the spa cures are worthless. He also thinks the best treatment for the persistent eye infection is good air. He would like to bring one of his fellow students, Joseph Niemetz, along sometime. He is a very good student, but he is quite poor.

One of the male servants wants to wax the floor every Friday. He says Johann commissioned him to do it. But Ludwig will get the bill. The servant says that the bell mechanism is excellent; he can hear it down by the gate, but the maid sleeps below and doesn’t hear it. Karl observes that the radicchio is already turning rancid.

Discussions turn to quill pens. Karl suggests buying a bunch of bad pens, and then Karl will cut them, so they aren’t as expensive. He usually does this every two weeks.

Back to the floor waxing. Karl objects to the whole idea. It costs quite a lot so far as he knows, and he suggests asking the servant how much he wants for this service. “Your brother has contrived it again. I am only amazed at your brother’s willingness, as long as he doesn’t have to pay.” Karl is in a foul mood about Johann, calling him smug and a stupid braggart.

Karl observes that the strongest wine doesn’t go to his head the way a glass of beer does. Blöchlinger has wanted to adopt corporal punishment for misbehaving students, but it has not yet been formally adopted. He nevertheless regularly dispenses thrashings. Even that has not helped; the students just become more obstinate. “There is, for example, one there, just a little fellow who often wets his bed. As often as that happens he gets a terrible thrashing but it doesn’t help.” Uncle Ludwig asks whether he does it intentionally. Karl replies that “He knows absolutely nothing about it-in his sleep.” Karl thinks it’s Blöchlinger’s own fault; he lets the boy eat soup in the evening but no solid dishes, whereas he should do just the opposite.

Karl hears the night watchman singing and jots down four notes, which Ludwig apparently cannot hear at all. Karl saw some butterfly nets, which are very delicately constructed but also very expensive. If he had the 10 florins, he would rather use them for a pair of stilts, which are now quite popular at Blöchlinger’s.

Johann’s wife Therese took one of the shirts that were made to give to a seamstress to use as a model; she now has three seamstresses engaged working on shirts for them.

Karl observes that the night stool needs to be emptied.

Conversation Book 33, 15v-25r. No dateable conversation book entries exist for the next five or so days. Beethoven seems to be getting the seclusion he so desperately wants and needs to make progress on the Ninth Symphony.