BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, September 16, 1823

Nephew Karl and his friend Joseph Niemetz return to Baden this afternoon, having run various errands for Uncle Ludwig. Karl gives his report on their doings. Herr Blöchlinger is not doing well, and they gave him a silver hand lamp (which Frau von Reinlein had purchased for him). Professor Pulay also met them and asked if he could visit them in Baden.

Ludwig starts in again about Niemetz, and Karl jumps to his defense. “I have never forced him upon you. I didn’t think that I would be received with reproaches about something that I explained clearly enough. If he did not please you, you could have sent him away immediately. He is too proud to beg for alms, and also does not need to; therefore he will no longer be a burden.” When Ludwig says they don’t need to argue about it, Karl quips back, “Indeed you don’t need to argue. If you are silent about it, then there will be no more discussion about it.”

Ludwig wants Karl to reconsider his friendship with Niemetz. “I have nothing to reconsider. I would just have to lie (and I don’t want to do that) if I wanted to admit that I shall stop loving Niemetz. I have known him for 4 years and therefore as well as I know myself; and if he has faults, then they are certainly put into the shade by his other qualities.”

Ludwig replies that the boy is an annoyance. “I don’t see how there can be an annoyance. I shall not bring him to you again, and we can remain silent about it. If you believe that he is so bad, then time will tell if I am also the same way…I would have to be absolutely too slavish if I would lie that his character was poor, or deny that I am acquainted with him.” [Niemetz is already in bed while they argue.]

Changing the subject, Karl humorously notes that the attendants at the spa thought that he was the uncle of Ludwig!

Uncle Ludwig demands the receipt for the bank share from banker Franz Salzmann for the loan against it. Karl didn’t get one; since Uncle Ludwig didn’t get one from Salzmann the last time, he didn’t think one was necessary. “You didn’t say anything to me, and since you too didn’t demand anything in writing, I believed that it was not necessary to get.”

Karl turns the subject to this evening’s dinner. There are some rabbits, but they are small. They are down to their last two chickens.

There are more errands to be done in Vienna on Thursday; in particular Karl needs to go to the Hessian legation about the Missa Solemnis subscription, since their office is staffed only on Thursdays. Karl considers possibly leaving tomorrow night (Wednesday). Sooner or later someone will be there, but the last time he tried they were all out in the country. Karl also asks for a list of what other errands need to be run. He can pay for the carriage out of the money left over from the last trip.

The housekeeper is angry with Uncle Ludwig again and doesn’t want to come in. Karl wonders how the two chickens will turn out. Ludwig had told her to take the new maid to a restaurant and have them show her how to roast a chicken, but she hasn’t done that yet. Holzmann says she is too old and has roasted and eaten too many chickens to have to learn more about the process. Ludwig observes that the new maid has already written a resignation letter.

Karl says the orchestra here in Baden is unlistenable. “They play like students, wrong notes and out of tune.”

Ludwig asks Karl to draft the letter to Prince Nikolai Galitzin. Karl obliges, but asks that his uncle dictate in German and he will write in French, implying that Ludwig’s French is too poor to use as a starting point. Either that, or they can just write in German. [Galitzin had spent significant time in Vienna, so his German was probably passable, but he obviously understood French better.]

Joseph Bernard complained to Karl that he had not heard from Ludwig in a long time. Karl wonders whether Bernard will repeat his promise to make room for an apartment for Ludwig in his house, now that he is in possession of it.

Ludwig surprises Karl by going to church. [There is reference to either today or tomorrow being a fast day; since there is nothing on the regular church calendar, there may have been some local religious observance in Baden.]

Conversation Book 42, 16r-23v.