BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, September 7, 1823

In the late afternoon, Karl returns from Vienna from running errands, along with his friend and fellow student Joseph Niemetz. He gives his uncle a full report; he ran 9 separate errands. Karl spent all yesterday morning and afternoon at them. Kirchhoffer wasn’t there the whole day; he had business elsewhere.

Karl’s report is interrupted with the news that the maid’s lover was just here. He wants to marry her because she is pregnant. Now he would like Beethoven to let her go as soon as possible as she is very sick. Karl thinks there is nothing to be done about it, and if she stays there they’ll have a mess. She also would like a letter of reference.

Karl appears to have visited copyist Wenzel Schlemmer’s widow Josepha in Vienna. Beethoven still has not given her the first page of the Gloria for the other copies of the Missa Solemnis to be made. [He had apparently retained the first and last pages to prevent unauthorized distribution of the Mass.] He also visited the Hesse-Kassel embassy, but that is only staffed on Thursdays.

Beethoven’s eyeglasses will not be ready until Wednesday. But it is not difficult work and no problem at all.

The maid’s lover has another interruption. He wants to give Beethoven a letter. Karl reads it, and it says that the maid’s mother is sick and near death.

Karl picked up Niemetz in the Landstrasse where he lives. They stayed at the Blöchlinger Institute where Karl had studied and lived until a week and a half ago. There was no one there since the students are all gone. The carriage ride was 2 fl. each. Karl also tipped the copyist Wunderl a florin. Karl gives an accounting of his other expenses: 1 fl. for a little bottle; 1 fl. 45 kr. postage for each letter; the newspapers were 1 fl. 20kr. His midday meal was eaten at the Brandstatt at the beerhouse [Zur Eiche], since he had come from Hetzendorf. It cost 43 kr; he had arrived too late for anything else. The customs for Hetzendorf was 10 kr.

That evening, Karl continues the discussion with his uncle. The meal is beef, which is cold and Karl asks whether Ludwig would like it warmed up. He notes that tomorrow is a holiday [the Feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary.]

Uncle Ludwig also is impatient that Karl didn’t talk to Kirchhoffer, whose input he had wanted about the best way to send the Missa Solemnis to Ries in England. Kirchhoffer certainly got Beethoven’s letter; he is in his office every day except Saturdays. Ludwig is skeptical, and Karl clarifies that he spoke to the servants and they said he had business at the Dominicans.

Now the maid is singing and laughing. Her lover again asks that she might be let go now, or at least when a substitute is found. Since housekeeper Barbara Holzmann has already advertised for a new one, he is waiting for Beethoven’s decision.

Karl had been assigned to buy a cookbook, but the one that his uncle specified cost 4 florins, which seemed too high, so he didn’t buy it. He was happy to have finished the errands.

When he stopped by Steiner’s to deliver the letter to Haslinger, Steiner called him “Signor Beethoven.” But Steiner says he doesn’t have the parts to The Ruins of Athens and Wellington’s Victory that Ludwig had requested to borrow. The money from Salzmann [presumably the dividends from the bank shares] all went to Attorney Bach, since it was 100 florins.

The boys have not eaten since last night, so they are quite hungry. Karl jokes that like the Romans, he is making the evening meal his primary meal. There is some apple strudel. Uncle Ludwig doesn’t have any, though.

A country girl, whom Karl describes as “a robust young woman,” has come to the door and wants the maid job, but she can’t start until next Saturday, September 13. She can have another peasant girl fill in for her until next Saturday, if necessary. The fill-in can come right away; she has been at the butcher’s. She wants to serve. [At least that gets rid of the pregnant maid.]

At least everything was well cooked today. The venison had laid around for two days already; but it must have been fresh then as it would have been smelling worse if it had been shot earlier. “One calls that tasting gamy.” Karl doesn’t want a pastry unless it’s something rough, with grapes or raisins, or perhaps pancakes, fritters, or semolina strudel.

There is more to report, but Karl is somewhat sleepy. He and Niemetz will sleep together at the same time tonight, and the plan is that later they will use the bed in shifts.

Conversation Book 41, 23r-31v.