BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, September 23, 1823 (approximately)

The prospective new maid, Marie Pamer [who had worked for Beethoven the previous year,] has apparently unexpectedly arrived in Baden and is spending the night at the Adler hotel. She will be back again tomorrow. Karl expects she will be on her best behavior, and (changing his mind from yesterday) thinks Uncle Ludwig should hire her on the spot. She is honest. She can give such notice as she needs to with her current employer, Countess Morzin (1777-1847). But Pamer can’t come until two weeks after St. Michael’s Day [September 29, so October 12.] She wants to give her notice immediately. They have five domestic servants there. She doesn’t get to eat until midnight there.

Even though she doesn’t appear to have been expected, Karl gives Pamer 2 florins to help with her expenses; Uncle Ludwig wonders whether that is enough? If she doesn’t have enough she will have to remain until this afternoon. Karl thinks there is no choice; she has to remain there. They can give her something more in the restaurant. She understands French.

Karl is unimpressed with the squabs for dinner. “The squabs were like frogs.”

One of the tasks Karl will have in the City later this week is to exchange a Dutch ducat. Housekeeper Barbara Holzmann believes that in the City they pay the same exchange rate for a Dutch ducat; here in Baden they pay slightly more. Karl laughs that yesterday she didn’t even know what an exchange rate was. In any event, he thinks she is wrong. In Baden one would be lucky to get one exchanged at all. The man at the lottery said that if the ducats are full weight, he would give 4 fl. 30 kr. for them.

For some reason, the affidavit Karl got from the pastor for purposes of collecting the pension won’t work. He can try to get one from the pastor in Baden tomorrow, or once he is in Vienna he can get one from the pastor in the Josephstadt early on Thursday. Uncle Ludwig asks why he needs to go early on Thursday; the reason is that the office is only open in the morning.

In one of the very few comments by him about Beethoven’s music thus far, Karl makes an observation about the third movement of the Ninth Symphony, which Uncle Ludwig must have played for him on the piano. “I am glad that you have incorporated the beautiful Andante into it.”

Since they don’t have the other maid yet, they should probably eat dinner at a restaurant.

The Baden theater rights have already been auctioned off, but Hensler still has the rights to manage it until April 24. The other director has actors lined up and will probably give plays during the winter to whatever crowd remains of the permanent Baden citizenry. But Karl thinks they need to go to the theater today; they are giving Der Landjunker by August von Kotzebue [who also did the books for Beethoven’s King Stephan and The Ruins of Athens.] Because the theater will be full, the actors always perform better. Uncle Ludwig thinks this is a splendid observation. Karl retorts, “If you consider what I write down to be splendid thoughts, you would be astonished at how many there are on every page.”

Karl makes a joke, parodying Goethe’s West-√∂stlicher Divan, which is in the original, “Self-praise! It stinks only to the envious; that of friends smells pleasant. Each according to their tastes.” Karl’s version is “Only enemies stink; friends smell pleasant. Each according to their tastes.”

Conversation Book 43, 22r-26a-v.

Today’s Wiener Zeitung continues its coverage of the papal conclave in Rome to elect a new pope. As of September 10th, there was still no decision as to a new pope despite 40 hours of prayer for a expeditious and unanimous election, but meanwhile a requiem mass in memory of Pope Pius VII was held on that date.