PRAGUE, the 3rd July (1834).
MY DEAR ROSALIE—Merely a brief report— what would be the use of a long letter? I shall be back quite soon, you see, and then say more by mouth!
Not until Monday did we leave Teplitz for Prague, after having stayed there a fortnight on account of the baths in particular, which Theodor took seriously, and I rather for amusement. That visit enraptured me, and I shall remember the Milleschauer all the rest of my life. Prague, too, seems quite another city to me now; I can see now what a dull and cheerless oaf I was, when I roamed about it last. (1) We have unimpeachably fine weather, and at the present lovely season of the year that makes everything gay and bright to me. I was delighted with the R's.; (2) they're both quite well. Jenny has a little gone off; Auguste is handsomer than ever ; Apel has lost his head. The legatee business has turned out greatly to the girls' advantage; the house belongs to them, and each receives 10,000 fl. Vienna currency from the Pravonin estate. Altogether, people set them down at 30,000 fl. ord. curr. apiece. What has much helped them, is the favourable relation with Karl Pachta, who has travelled hither from Milan. He is behaving extremely well to them. I should like to beat that animal, the old woman, whenever I set eyes on her; the girls have a capital chance now,—if they profit by it to get free, they may pull themselves out of the affair quite nicely;—if not, they can mix with clever people and enjoy themselves: good again!
We have been too short a time here, and I have gone about too little yet, to be able to give you folk much other news. Only to-day am I calling on Gerle, Kinsky, [Dionys] Weber, and above all, Stöger, to whom I've been presented already. He seems to me a splendid chap; his theatre has a most distinguished footing. The handsomeness of the scenery and costumes transforms the stage here into something so different, that I don't recognise it at all. The Opera is excellent; among others, the Lutzer has come on, so that she will replace the Devrient for us some day. I'm enraptured with her ;—quite the new young school,—thoroughly dramatic,—a few steps more, and she will be perfect. I shall make up to her,—she'll be a capital Ada. I have copied my text-book out sprucely and neatly, and shall give it to Stöger this very day.
We are having disgracefully good luck ;— yesterday Löwe commenced his starring here, as Garrick: a heavenly treat. But all the rest are good, too,—and they haven't all assembled yet,—Stöger is still waiting for much, among other things the filling up of his Ballet. Prague must be going to become one of the first-class theatres! But the audience is worth it, too.
I'm glad you tell me such grand tales of Ringelhardt ;—he'll be in fine feather, for sure. (3) I am writing him to-day, also to the Gerhard; ah, and it makes me quite anxious and timid. Are the happy days I'm now enjoying about to venge themselves on me, perhaps? That question gives me a cold shudder from time to time, and then I often feel what I cannot describe, I am certain to be going to face a medley of cross-purposes, for which I must clothe myself in steel, to conquer them featly and firmly. Dear God, pray leave me my few remaining happy days; for with this coming winter the chill of life will seize me too, and my fortune's sun will need to send me of its warmest rays, if everything's to prosper. A torturing unrest on that account now often grips me, spurring me home with all speed; I feel as if something were awaiting me there which I must confront with all my might. Your letter, the very mention of my opera, has made me most restless, and nothing but the power of the moment's happiness can stave that feeling off.
Probably nothing will come of Vienna, we've been too long already ; and that exactly suits me. We shall travel back by Carlsbad. So, if you haven't forwarded the notes yet [score of his symphony or an overture ?], please let that be.— —
How are you all? I'm glad Mother has enjoyed herself. How are things standing with Laube? I keep thinking of him, and am much afraid for his sake [political arrest]. You say nothing of Marcus! If he hasn't let himself be heard of any more, he s a miserable poltroon,—and I hope we shall have no difficulty in persuading Caecilie to give him up. My best love to her. Love, too, to Brockhaus [Friedrich] and Luise, — please deliver my message,—I'm taking kindly to him now.
Farewell, my Rosalie, and don't go crying in your bedroom again when you come home at night and undress; I was in your sitting-room, and heard you. Farewell !—Thy RICHARD.
Many greetings from Theodor,—he affords me great hope. Give Mother my sincerest love once more.
How much I wish Julius could make this journey too; he would be bound to return from it well. I feel more and more what a glorious blessing Health is; luckily, though, since I am in possession of it, and have no need to long for it,— but I wish it Julius with all my heart!
Please send the [Feen] scores to Ringelhardt together with the letter.
[Now just of age, Richard soon became musical conductor at the Magdeburg theatre. At the end of his first season he paid his relations a visit, when he had rather a dismal tale to tell of his manager's impecuniosity; a tale which seems to have met with little sympathy from his brother-in-law, Friedrich Brockhaus, for his mother writes him some months later: "You must not think the family bear a grudge against you, I cannot blame you for avoiding Fritz at present—after what occurred between you and him, it is better that the grass should grow over it and you should have time to give yourself a position in his eyes. He is finding just the same fault with his brother Hermann now, who isn't working hard enough [to please him] and doesn't think enough of money-making; and the brothers [Fr. and Heinrich B.] have a horror of giving." It would also appear that Richard had been looking out for a fresh berth, though he ended by returning to that at Magdeburg for another season, and letter 4 finds him on a tour of inspection on behalf of his manager, H. Bethmann. It is worthy of note that, albeit the young man had already met and fallen in love with his future wife, Minna, between Nos. 3 and 4—she being engaged as actress at the same theatre—her name is mentioned neither in this No. 4 nor in either of its two successors.—TR.]
(1) With his "juvenile" Symphony in his pocket he had gone there summer 1832, when that work obtained its earliest performance at the hands of old Dionys Weber's pupils in the Conservatorium.—TR.
(2) The initial given in the German edition; but it plainly should be "P.," as these young ladies, friends of Rosalie's, were the daughters of a count Pachta, whose guest the budding genius had been two years before. See Mein Leben and Letters to Apel.—TR.
(3) "Der wird sich gewiss auch tüchtig heben"; meaning ambiguous in the absence of data.—TR.