Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Schubert’s diary fragment

The great Austrian composer Franz Schubert was born 220 years ago today. His life was tragically short - he died aged only 31 - and yet he managed to leave behind an astonishing collection of musical masterpieces. However, he did not leave behind much written material, to the frustration of biographers, which is why a four-day diary fragment, from when he was just 19, is considered so important.

Schubert was born in Vienna on 31 January 1797 son of a schoolteacher and his wife who had many children, more than half dying in infancy. His first lessons in violin and piano came from his father and a brother respectively. By the age of seven, though, he was receiving instruction from a local organist and choirmaster. In 1808, he won a scholarship that earned him a place with the imperial court chapel choir and an education at the Stadtkonvikt, the principal boarding school for commoners in Vienna which had its own orchestra. By the age of 14, encouraged by the violinist Joseph von Spaun, Schubert was already composing various types of music, quartets, piano solos and duets, and even part of an opera.

In 1812, Schubert’s voice broke. No longer of service to the choir, he found little interest in further academic schooling and soon left the Stadtkonvikt to focus on composition. He took private lessons with Antonio Salieri, but under pressure from his family, he also went to work in his father’s school as a teacher from 1814. During this period, he wrote many Lieder (a kind of German song of the Romantic period usually for solo voice and piano), church works and symphonies. In 1818, he left his teaching work to concentrate on music, in part inspired by a first public performance of one his works, Italian Overture in C Major.

Although Schubert and his compositions were becoming increasingly popular, he had trouble earning a living. Compositions for two opera houses were not a success; and music publishers were afraid to take a risk on such a young composer, his music being far from traditional. By the early 1820s, he was offering his songs on a subscription basis, and across Vienna the wealthy began hosting concert parties - 
Schubertiaden - with Schubert’s song and dances.

In late 1822, Schubert fell ill, biographers suggest this was because of syphilis. Nevertheless, he continued to compose prolifically, producing masterpieces, the song cycles, Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise, the Eighth (Unfinished) and Ninth (Great) Symphonies, Octet in F Major and the Wanderer Fantasy. By the late 1820s, Schubert’s health was failing and he even confided to friends that he feared being near to death. Some of his symptoms are known to have matched those of mercury poisoning (mercury being a common treatment for syphilis). He died in November 1828, aged but 31. Only in the decades after his death did interest in, and appreciation of, Schubert’s music spread, as many other 19th century composers began to champion his works. Further information is available at The Schubert Institute, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Franzpeterschubert.com, Wikipedia, or Bio.com

Schubert appears to have kept a diary only once or twice during his short life, and only fragments have survived. One fragment, in particular, covering the period 13-16 June 1816, has been much studied by biographers. Christopher H. Gibbs, for example, writing in Current Musicology (no. 75, spring 2003) says the 16 June diary entry is ‘notorious’, and ’has long played a role in accounts of Schubert’s life’. He goes on in his essay - entitled Writing Under the Influence?: Salieri and Schubert’s Early Opinion of Beethoven - to analyse the diary entries in some detail. Gibbs also notes: ‘Schubert’s only other known diary, or rather fragments from it, dates from 1824 and survives only in copies by Eduard von Bauernfeld that may well be incomplete and inaccurate [. . .]. Given so little from Schubert himself, a problem compounded by the fact that so few of his letters survive, each word assumes extraordinary weight.’

Henry Frost’s 1881 biography Schubert (available at Internet Archive) gives a little more information: ‘Whether Schubert was averse to letter writing there is no evidence one way or the other, but very little of his correspondence remains; and so one great asset which we find in the study of the lives of Mozart and Mendelssohn, and to a lesser extent of Beethoven and Weber, is denied to us. The remnants of his diaries that are still with us barely compensate for this loss.

It appears that he kept a daily record of his thoughts and experiences in 1816, but owing to that wanton carelessness with which Schubert’s precious manuscripts seem to have been generally treated, only a small portion of these remain. Aloys Fuchs, in his Schubertiana, tells the story thus: “Some years ago I found at an autograph dealer’s in Vienna the fragment of one of Schubert’s diaries in his own handwriting, but several of the pages were missing. On my asking the reason of this, the wretched owner of the relic replied that he had for a long time been in the habit of distributing single pages of this manuscript to hunters of Schubert relics or autograph collectors. Having expressed my indignation at this vandalism, I took care to save what was left.” ’

The following translation of the extant fragment of Schubert’s diary can be found online at Internet Archive in The Life of Franz Schubert by Kreissle Von Hellborn (volume 1) as translated by Arthur Duke Coleridge (Longmans, Green, and Co, 1869).

13 June 1816
‘This day will haunt me for the rest of my life as a bright, clear, and lovely one. Gently, and as from a distance, the magic tones of Mozart’s music sound in my ears. With what alternate force and tenderness, with what masterly power did Schlesinger’s playing of that music impress it deep, deep in my heart! Thus do these sweet impressions, passing into our souls, work beneficently on our inmost being, and no time, do change of circumstances, can obliterate them. In the darkness of this life, they show a light, a clear, beautiful distance, from which we gather confidence and hope. Mozart! immortal Mozart! how many and what countless images of a brighter, better world hast thou stamped on our souls! This quintett may be called one of the greatest amongst his smaller works. I too was moved on this occasion to introduce myself. I played variations by Beethoven, sang Göthe’s “Rastlose Liebe,” and Schiller’s “Amalia.” The first met with universal, the second with qualified applause. Although I myself think my “Rastlose Liebe” more successful than “Amalia,” yet I cannot deny that to Göthe’s musical genius must be attri-buted in a large measure the applause which greeted the song. I also made acquaintance with Mdlle. Jenny, a pianoforte-player with extraordinary powers of execution; but I think her wanting in true and pure expression.’

14 June 1816
‘After the lapse of a few months, I took once more an evening walk. There can hardly be anything more delightful than, of an evening, after a hot summer’s day, to stroll about on the green grass: the meadows between Währing and Döbling seem to have been created for this very purpose. I felt so peaceful and happy as my brother Carl and I walked together in the struggling twilight. “How lovely!” I thought and exclaimed, and then stood still enchanted. The neighbourhood of the churchyard reminded us of our excellent mother. Whiling the time away with melancholy talk, we arrived at the point where the Döbling road branches off, and I heard a well-known voice issuing as though from heaven - which is our home: the voice came from a carriage which was being pulled up. I looked up, and there was Herr Weinmüller, who got out and greeted us with his hearty, manly, cheerful-toned voice. How vainly does many a man strive to show the candour and honesty of his mind by conversation equally sincere and candid! - how would many a man be the laughing-stock of his fellow-creatures were he to make the effort! Such gifts must come naturally; no efforts can acquire them.’

15 June 1816
‘It usually happens that we form exaggerated notions of what we expect to see. At least, I found it so when I saw the exhibition of pictures of native artists, held at Saint Anna. The work I liked best in the whole exhibition was a Madonna and Child, by Abel. I was much disappointed by the velvet mantle of a prince. I am convinced that one must see things of this sort much more frequently, and give them a longer trial, if one hopes to find and retain the proper expression and impression intended to be conveyed.’

16 June 1816 [After returning home from Salieri’s jubilee festival]
‘It must be pleasant and invigorating to the artist to see all his pupils collected around him, every one striving to do his best in honour of his master’s jubilee fete; to hear in all their compositions a simple, natural expression, free from all that bizarrerie which, with the majority of composers of our time, is the prevailing element, and for which we are almost mainly indebted to one of our greatest German artists; free, I say, from that bizarrerie which links the tragic with the comic, the agreeable with the odious, the heroic with whining (Heulerei), the most sacred subjects with buffoonery - all this without discrimination; so that men become mad and frantic instead of being dissolved in tears, and tickled to idiotic laughter rather than elevated towards God. The fact that this miserable bizarrerie has been proscribed and exiled from the circle of his pupils, so that their eyes may rest on pure holy Nature, must be a source of the liveliest pleasure to the artist who, with a Gluck for his pioneer, has learned to know Nature, and has clung to her in spite of the most unnatural influences of our day.

Herr Salieri celebrated by a jubilee his fifty years’ residence in Vienna, and an almost equally long period of service under the Emperor. His Majesty presented him with a gold medal; and numbers of his pupils, both male and female, were invited to the ceremony. The compositions of his pupils, written specially for the occasion, were produced seriatim [i], according to the date of admission of each pupil, as he had received them when sent to him. The music concluded with a chorus from Salieri’s Oratorio, “Jesu al Limbo” (“Christ in Hades”). The Oratorio is worked out in the true Gluck spirit. Everyone was interested in the entertainment.

To-day I composed the first time for money - namely, a Cantata (“Prometheus “) for the name-day festival of Herr Professor Watteroth von Dräxler. The honorarium 100 florins, Viennese currency.

Man is like a ball between chance and passion. I have often heard it said by writers: “The world is like a stage, where every man plays his part. Praise and blame follow in the other world.” Still, every man has one part assigned him - we have had our part given us - and who can say if he has played it well or ill? He is a bad theatrical manager who distributes amongst his players parts which they are not qualified to act. Carelessness here is not to be thought of. The world has no example of an actor being dismissed because of his bad declamation. As soon as he has a part adapted to his powers, he will play it well enough. Whether he is applauded or not, depends on a public with its thousand caprices. In the other world, praise or blame depends on the Grand Manager of the world. Blame, therefore, is balanced.

Natural disposition and education determine the bent of man’s heart and understanding. The heart is ruler; the mind should be.

Take men as they are, not as they ought to be.

Happy is he who finds a true friend. Happier still is he who finds in his own wife a true friend. To the free man, at this time, marriage is a fearful thought; he confounds it either with melancholy or low sensuality.

Monarchs of our day, you see this and keep silence! Or do ye not see it? Then, God, throw a veil over our senses, and steep our feelings in Lethe! Yet once, I pray, draw back the veil!

Man bears misfortune uncomplainingly; and, for that very reason, feels it all the more acutely. For what purpose did God create in us these keen sympathies?

Light mind, light heart: a mind that is too light generally harbours a heart that is too heavy.

Town politeness is a powerful hindrance to men’s integrity in dealing with one another. The greatest misery of the wise man and the greatest happiness of the fool is based on conventionalism.

A noble-minded unfortunate man feels the depth of his misery and intensity of his joy; just so does the nobly prosperous man feel his good fortune or the opposite.

Now I know nothing more! To-morrow I am sure to know something fresh! Whence comes this? Is my understanding to-day duller than it will be to-morrow? Because I am full and sleepy? Why doesn’t my mind think when my body sleeps? I suppose it goes for a walk. Certainly, it can’t sleep!

Odd questions!
I hear everyone saying;
We can’t venture here on an answer,
We must bear it all patiently.
Now good night
Until ye awake.’

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Canada for the British

Today marks the double centenary of the birth of Jeffrey Amherst, a British soldier with an illustrious career. His crowning achievement was to orchestrate Britain’s conquest of New France, ousting the French; subsequently, he became the first British governor general of the territories that eventually became Canada. He kept a diary for many years, though this was not discovered until the 1920s. There have been two editions - one in 1931, freely available online, and another in 2015 - both published in North America where there seems to be more interest in Amherst than in the UK.

The son of a lawyer, Amherst was born in Sevenoaks, England, on 29 January 1717. Aged 12, he was appointed a page to the Duke of Dorset at nearby Knole. Subsequently, in 1731, the Duke secured Amherst a commission, through Sir John Ligonier, as an ensign in the 1st foot guards, though it seems he spent his formative years in Ireland in Major-General Ligonier’s horse regiment in Ireland. Amherst saw his first active service as aide-de-camp to Ligonier in Germany during the War of the Austrian Succession, being promoted to lieutenant colonel in late 1745. He then joined the staff of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, for whom he organised intelligence matters. In 1753, he married Jane Dalison; following her death, he married Elizabeth Cary in 1767 - neither union produced any children.

Amherst’s first involvement in the Seven Years War took him to Germany, but when Ligonier became commander-in chief of the British forces, he was appointed to command an expedition against the French fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island (off the North American Atlantic coast, then one of the most important commercial and military centres of New France). Supported by a naval squadron, Amherst safely landed 14,000 men ashore in 1758, putting Louisbourg under siege. The town fell in seven weeks, and, soon after, Amherst was named as commander-in-chief of British forces in North America. Amherst proved more successful than his predecessors in persuading the North American colonies to support the war effort with men and finance. In mid-1760, he launched a three-pronged invasion of Canada, all converging on Montreal. The capitulation of Montreal in September marked the end of French rule in what would become Canada.

Amherst’s conquest of Canada for the British is considered his finest achievement. Having been appointed Governor-General of British North America, based in New York, he oversaw the dispatch of troops to the West Indies leading to the capture of Dominica, Martinique and Cuba in 1761-1762. In 1759, he had been named governor of Virginia (on a non-resident basis) and in 1761 he was knighted. However, his tenure as Governor-General was marred by a failure to deal well with the Native Americans. Growing unrest among many of the tribes in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region grew into, what became known as, Pontiac’s War in early 1763. One notorious episode, in particular, scarred his record: an attempt to infect Indians with smallpox by providing them with contaminated blankets. A long-standing request to be relieved of his command was soon granted, and he returned to England, where there was more criticism of his handling of the Pontiac War than he had expected. Around this time, he commissioned a new family house - which he called Montreal House - on the family estate near Sevenoaks.

Amherst was promoted to lieutenant-general in 1765, though that same year he was displaced - much to his annoyance - from the governance of Virginia. He was made Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance in 1772 with a Privy Council seat. Although not holding the rank of commander-in-chief  he was still considered the foremost military authority in the country. However, Amherst declined twice to return to North America to take charge of the British forces trying to quell American nationalism. In 1776, he was raised to the peerage, and two years later was promoted to full general and commander-in-chief with a seat in the Cabinet. In 1780, he was in charge of the British army when it suppressed the Gordon Riots in London; but, with a change of government in 1782, he was dismissed from his post.

After war broke out again with France, Amherst was recalled as commander-in-chief in 1793, but by 1795 he had been replaced by the king’s son, Frederick, Duke of York. Subsequently, Amherst declined an earldom but was given the highest army rank of field marshal in 1796. He died 1797. Further information can be found at Wikipedia, Dictionary of Canadian Biography or the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (log-in required).

Amherst’s diaries were discovered, in 1925, among a large collection of letters and documents being made ready for removal after the family had sold Montreal House. They were edited by John Clarence Webster for publication in 1931 by the Ryerson Press (Toronto) and the University of Chicago Press as The Journal of Jeffery Amherst Recording the Military Career of General Amherst in America from 1758 to 1763. Much more recently, in 2015, the diaries were edited by Robert J. Andrews and published in two volumes by Michigan State University Press as The Journals of Jeffery Amherst, 1757-1763. According to Michigan State University Press, the latter book is the most comprehensive study of Amherst’s role in the Seven Years’ War to date.

According to Lorne Pierce, the publisher, who wrote a foreword for Webster’s book, Amherst’s journal consists of eighteen small volumes, measuring about six and one-half by four inches, inscribed in his own hand-writing. The published journal only starts
 with the eighth volume, when Amherst was serving in Germany, and received the King’s command to return to England and prepare for the expedition ordered to Louisbourg. It ends just prior to Amherst’s departure for England, in November 1763. The first seven volumes, Pierce explains, ‘deal with that part of his career which is of little or no interest to students of American history.’

Pierce also adds the following critique: ‘An interesting feature of Amherst’s Journal is the great variety of details which it records. He takes time to intersperse among the more important enterprises of his campaign such incidents as, the hanging of a deserter, the scalping of a sentry, notes on topography, unusual natural phenomena, records of visits to towns and hamlets, friendly calls on both humble and distinguished citizens, exchange of flags of truce, sending of despatches, the health of the regiments, homesickness among his troops and the making of spruce beer. Following a detailed order to one of the military Governors there will appear an expression of his personal grief over the loss of a valiant junior officer; jostling a despatch to London, or plans for the siege of an enemy fortification, one will encounter spicy comments on the lack of judgment, enterprise or some other practical virtue among his officers or men, and emphatic private judgments on a great variety of subjects. Altogether it is a unique document, and amid the crowding details there emerges Amherst himself, perhaps over cautious and deliberate, certainly nothing of the dashing commander, but at any rate a competent general, who knew what he was about and how to go about it, who was everywhere and always himself, certain of his plans and confident in his opinions.’

Here are several extracts from the Webster edition (which is freely available at Internet Archive).

20 March 1758
‘We saw three sail and one we took for a french Privateer which we chased. The weather was so calm we could not get up to her; we tryed an Eighteen Pounder to throw it as far as they could but it did not go above half way to her and in the evening I believe the Privateer got out her oars, for she got allmost out of sight and we gave over the chase. In the night it began to blow very hard and the 21st it blew hard and was very heavy. In the morning as we were going Eleven Nots an hour a ship was seen to Windward laying by within half a mile of us, & was taken at first for an English frigate. Capt. Rodney ordered the Mainsail to be hauled up immediately and ship to be cleared, and knew the ship to be a french one; directlv we began to fire he hoisted English colours, and on continuing to fire at him as he did not lower his sail his English ensign was blown away and he hoisted French. The Dublin fired five and twenty or thirty shots, and the frenchman three and some musketry and then struck. The first Lieut., Mr. Worth, went on board her and sent the captain who told us he came from L’Isle de Bourbon, had been four weeks on his Voyage and was laying by for fair weather to run into Brest which he said was twenty leagues from him, that he had seven hundred Thousand Pounds weight of Coffee, Part for the India Company and part for Monsr. LeBorde, Merchant at Bayonne, and some thousand Pounds of Logwood 40,000 P weight; his Vessel LeMonmartel of about 400 Tons and 73 men, officers included. All the men except the sick were brought on board just before night and 30 men sent with Lt. Worth into the Prize.’

13 June 1758
‘A fine morning but a most terrible day afterwards. We could not land anything. Getting our tools on shore last night we worked to clear a Road from the Right to the Left, I walked in the morning over the Front with M. McKullogh (McKellar) and ordered three Redoutes in front. At twelve about 200 came from the Town and got toward our Camp; we beat them back with 40 men and some of the Light Infantry before two Picquets got up to their assistance.’

15 June 1758
‘The Redoutes not finished, I ordered them to be palisaded. A good deal of firing in the night at sea. I sent away everything to Br. Wolfe that he asked, added to his Artillery two 18-inch and two 13-inch Mortars. I could not yet get any artillery on Shore. At night two deserters from Volontaires Etrangers, said the 13th they had 40 wounded in the Skirmish, 5 killed. Fine weather today. Sir C. Hardy came back and anchored off the Harbour, I was afraid last night as the Harbour was open the Enemy might have warped a Ship out and took our ordinance and Sloops at the Mackarel Cove and Lorembeck.’

30 June 1758
‘We continued working at the Road between the advanced Redoute and Green Hill — very heavy and tedious. A great deal of Cannonading all day and Skirmishing. The Enemy sunk four ships the 29th in the night in the Harbours Mouth, the Apollo, a two-decker was one, La Fidelle of 36 Guns another and La Pierre and La Biche of 16 Guns each the two others, and this last night they cut off most of their Masts. Remained in the Harbour 5 two deckers and one Frigate, Le Prudent, L’Entreprenant, Le Celebre, Le Bienfaisant, Le Capricieux, L’Arethuse Frigate, 36 Guns. At night we had a good deal of firing in the rear; some of the Marines at Kenning ton Cove thought they saw Indians. The Frigate 46 fired near 100 Shot at night at our Epaulement.’

6 July 1758
‘I went over all the works, asked the Admiral for four 32-Pounders to joyn Br. Wolfe which he readily granted. I changed the Guards, took 600 Men and 3 Companies of Grenadiers to the Right and 300 Men to Green Hill. I put a Subaltern and 24 in each Redoute, the works on the Right were continued and perfected; cannonading continued all day. At night Br. Wolfes Battery forced the Frigate to retire. We lost some few men by the cannonading and some wounded. The Admiral sent me a letter taken out of a French mans Pocket who was found drowned. A Sloop sailed out of the Harbour with a flag of truce to Sir C. Hardy, to carry some things to their wounded officers and Prisoners.’

6 September 1759
‘I sent a Scouting Party on the west to try to track the three People that the man of Ruggles reported he had seen the Tracks going down the Lake. Wrote Col Montresor to forward some tools &c demanded for Oswego. Capt Gray returned at night; said he had spyed out three boats at the Narrows, just as he was coming back; that he lowered his sail to wait for them but they stoped or, rather, seemed to go over to the Eastern Shore. I suppose a scalping Party, as they appeared just at night. I ordered the Guards on the batteaus to be particularly watchful, our Deserters of which they have two from Gages & one from the Inniskilling (who probably robbed Capt Williams) may have told them they can burn our boats. I ordered two boats with three Pounders, a Canoo of Indians, a whale boat of Rangers, 24 men & a Sub. of light Infantry in two whale boats to go early under the comand of the Capt. of Gages with the daily Guard of 60 men of that Regt; to march a body down the Eastern side of the Lake & come back on the West. If the Enemy land any people & draw up a boat they must find it.’

25 September 1760
‘Our Battery continued firing with good Success. Col Williamson began to fear his ammunition would fall short, as he has such a quantity on board the Onondaga. I therefore consulted with Lt Sinclair & the Seamen the best method of getting it out by night which was fixed on. In the Afternoon Mons Pouchot put a stop to our Preparations by Beating a Parley and sending me a Letter which I immediately answered & sent him terms of Capitulation by Capt Prescott for him to sign & send back to me, which he did. I ordered Lt Col Massey with three Companys of Grenadiers to take Possession of the Fort [Fort Levis on Isle Royale], the Garrison being Prisoners of War. I did not permit an Indian to go in. The Garrison that remained consisted of 291 including Officers. 12 men were killed with a Lt of Artillery & 35 were wounded.

Their Artillery consisted of twelve 12-Prs, two 8-Prs, thirteen 4-Prs, four 1 Pr & four Brass 6 Prs, besides several Guns with Trunions broke off, small Arms, and a great quantity of Powder & ball & provisions.’

Friday, January 27, 2017

You look like terrorists

Forty years ago today, two Chilean friends, Christian and Nene, and myself were minding our own business in the Brazilian city of Curitiba when we were arrested as murder suspects (‘you look like terrorists’, we were told) and put in prison. It was a frightening experience, more so for my friends who had spent the past three years living under Pinochet’s military rule in Chile. But Brazil and Argentina were also subject to military rule at this time, and in Argentina, especially, it was not unusual for people to be arrested, and go missing, never to be seen again - the desaparecidos. Here is my diary entry, dated 29 January, first about visiting Iguacu Falls on the Wednesday and then about our arrest and release on the Thursday (27 January).

29 January 1977
‘Foz da Iguacu is an ugly dirty town. It lies 20-30km from the falls, and a few km from the Paraguay border. It is full of hotels and restaurants, but the streets are dug up and full of rubbish. We installed ourselves in a hotel for 30 Cr but our room was smaller and hotter than an oven. A friendly joven befriended us and promised to take us to a church where we could sleep for free, idle away the evening soaking in impressions of Brazil or listening to some Paraguay folklorico with a hand harp. In the late evening, the joven took us to a large church where he said we could sleep beneath a covered courtyard. We thanked him profusely and began to spend a night fighting the mosquitoes and the heat. It was one very terrible night. [. . .]

Wednesday was dominated by the falls of Iguacu, one of the centres of tourism of South America and truly ‘impressionante’. It is so large, so magnificent. For a kilometre or more an enormous river breaks up and falls hundreds of feet in hundreds of different falls, different levels, different widths. It is a magnificent sight, completely natural. In the distance there’s a catwalk across the still gently flowing upper river, it is the Argentine tourist route. [. . .] A peaceful gentle brown river flows above, and suddenly there is no more river bed, and it goes thrashing, thrushing, torrenting down in a brown and white froth sending out spray with the wind. Some tourists hire big yellow raincoats to get a better view of the devil’s gorge. At the top we walk into the selva a few feet and sit on a big stone that rests in the river. The selva is alive with animals. Spiders, with their 3D webs stretched between trees and bushes. Iguanas, more than a foot long, crawl softly in the undergrowth. Endless coloured butterflies, suck the wet from the stones. There are black ones with patches of phosphorescent mauve. There are small ones with red, black and white line designs on the outside. There are enormous yellow and black ones. There are orange ones and yellow ones and white ones. All so beautiful. There are mosquito eggs wiggling in stone pools. There is a snail slowly pulling itself up out of the water. There are flies and ants and the enormous river flowing by. I wonder how I can ever be impressed by a little waterfall again.

We take the bus to Curitiba through the night.

Christian is ill, he has an infection of the ear. We go to some hospitals; at one we leave him to the bureaucracy of the medical system. We arrange to meet at 11:00am in a plaza. Nene and I eventually find a tourist office. They do not see many tourists so we are overloaded with information, post cards, even a board game ‘to get to know Curitiba’. At 11 we meet Christian. We ask some policeman for some information. We stop to talk to a Brasileiro, and then the police decide to take all four of us to a police station. We are a little insulted but don't cause trouble. In the police station, we are body searched; all our possessions are removed. Laboriously long forms are filled out, and every personal item is listed. The money is counted scrupulously. The police are friendly, but we are suspects. We think we can go when they have finished, but no we have to wait while they phone headquarters. We are placed in cells. I start to ask to phone the British Consulate. After a while they try to bundle us into two police cars. They have armoured back seats. I am afraid for us. I start to protest and insist on phoning the British Consulate. They will not let me. Finally, I am forced in the car by two policemen. I have in mind untold horrible things that I know are possible. I am afraid for Nene. We are taken to the Centre of Investigations. There the same long forms are filled out again. Many policemen come and go, some with ugly greedy faces, some making jokes about how we look like terrorists. Once the forms are completed, we are locked in a room. It seems a policeman was killed by three Paraguayans yesterday, and when we spoke Spanish to the two cops in the Plaza they became suspicious. I am still afraid for us. The Brasileiro is cool and says the police do not lie. I sleep and have nightmares, and wake with a very bad headache. After three hours we are taken upstairs. Upstairs, there are secretaries, and people in suits coming and going. I am very relieved. Somebody gives me a pill for my headache. In 20 minutes we are out on the streets and very very relieved. Christian still has very bad face pain. We go finally to a hospital (to the one he had been told to go earlier in the day). He finds it is a private clinic and has to pay $20. He does not want to. We force him. A young doctor gives him a big painful injection and mountains of medicine. We play games for an hour in the shelter of the rain deciding what to do. Eventually we decide to take the bus back to Sao Paulo through the night. Nene and I kiss passionately on the bus.’

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The 1st Earl of Avon

Anthony Eden 1st Earl of Avon, who stood firm with Churchill against appeasement of Hitler and remained the UK’s foreign secretary throughout the war, died 40 years ago today. His political career started young, and he did eventually become Prime Minister when Churchill finally retired, but he soon was forced to resign because of his handling of the Suez crisis. Biographers and historians make good use of his diaries, which cane found with the Avon Papers at the University of Birmingham, but I can find no trace of them ever having been published in their own right.

Eden was born in 1897 in County Durham, the son of a baronet. He was educated at Eton, and, after a distinguished military service record with the army in World War One, he studied studied oriental languages at Christ Church, Oxford. He stood for parliament in the 1922 general election as a Conservative candidate for the Spennymoor constituency, but failed to get elected. In 1923, he married Beatrice Helen Beckett and they had three children, though one died in infancy. After a brief honeymoon, he was selected to stand for Warwick and Leamington in the general election that December, and won, entering Parliament aged only 26.

In 1931, Ramsay MacDonald appointed Eden to his first ministerial post, under-secretary for foreign affairs in the National Government, and then, in 1933, he was appointed Lord Privy Seal (with special responsibility for international relations). Two years later, in 1935, he entered the cabinet, as foreign secretary, for the first time as part of Stanley Baldwin’s third administration. However, when Neville Chamberlain took over as Prime Minister after Baldwin’s resignation, Eden resigned (early 1938) in protest against Chamberlain’s appeasement policy towards Germany and Italy. With the outbreak of war, in 1939, Eden returned to Chamberlain’s government as secretary of state for dominion affairs, and when Churchill became Prime Minister he appointed Eden as secretary of state for war, then as foreign secretary. He remained one of Churchill’s closest confidants through the war (gaining the additional role of Leader of the House of Commons in 1942).

After the Labour Party won the 1945 election, Eden went into opposition as deputy leader of the Conservative Party. It it was not until 1951 that he returned to office as foreign secretary when the Conservatives, with Churchill still as leader, took power. In 1955, when Churchill finally retired, Eden took over as leader, called a general election, which the Conservatives won with an increased majority. Although a very popular figure, Eden lasted less than two years as Prime Minister: his handling of the Suez crisis in 1956 led to his resignation in the early days of 1957, and then from parliament a couple of months later. He was made an earl in 1961, entering the House of Lords as the 1st Earl of Avon. During his retirement, Eden traveled much, and wrote four volumes of memoirs, the last of which, Another World, was particularly well received. He died on 14 January 1977. Further information can be found at Wikipedia, Gov.uk, BBC, The British Empire, Spartacus Educational, or British Pathé.

Eden’s personal and political papers are held by the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham, and are known as the Avon Papers. They include both political diaries and notebooks and personal diaries. As far as I can tell, however, Eden’s diaries have never been published in their own right. They have, though, been used and quoted by many biographers and historians, mostly rather briefly, for example in: Eden: The Life and Times of Anthony Eden First Earl of Avon, 1897-1977 by D. R Thorpe (Chatto & Windus, 2003); Anthony Eden by Robert Rhodes James (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1986); Searching for Security in a New Europe: The Diplomatic Career of Sir George Russell Clerk by Gerald J. Protheroe (Routledge, 2004) and Churchill’s Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy by Klaus Larres (Yale University Press, 2002).

David Dutton’s Anthony Eden: A Life and Reputation by David Dutton (Arnold, 1997) includes many quotes from Eden’s diaries, some within the flow of the narrative, but many standing alone, and all of them carefully annotated with a date. Dutton does not, though, provide any overview of the diary material (which I’ve not been unable to find anywhere else either). Interestingly (at least with regard to the value of diaries to biographers), Dutton does make extensive use of diaries kept by many contemporaries of Eden; the following are specifically acknowledged: James Chuter Ede, Hugh Dalton, Robert Bruce Lockhart, Henry Channon, 27th Earl of Crawford, Richard Crossman, Alexander Cadogan, Pierson Dixon, Blanche Dugdale, 1st Earl of Halifax, Harold Macmillan, Oliver Harvey, Cuthbert Headlam, William Clark, Sir John Colville, Hugh Gaitskell, Lord Reith, Beatrice Webb, Maurice Hankey, 1st Baron Moran, Harold Nicolson, Sir Evelyn Shuckburgh, and the 1st Earl of Woolton.

Here are several quotes from Eden’s diaries as found in Dutton’s book. (Square brackets inside the quotes are as used in Dutton’s book.)

27 August 1931
‘[Chamberlain] told me there was a chance I might go to F.O. That he had spoken strongly to Reading [the new Foreign Secretary] and that S.B. had agreed to his doing so. He hoped something would result but S.B. had given away so much to the Liberals it was impossible to say. He - S.B. - apparently greeted my name with more enthusiasm than any other. The F.O. in a national govt, with the S of S in the Upper House is higher than I hoped for and I do not expect that I shall get it.’

26 July 1932
‘He will not fight for his own policy. He expects the Cabinet to find his policy for him. That they will never do. They want to be told. The only result of present procedure is F.O. pushed into the background, which is not good either. . . . Poor Simon is no fighter. Nothing will make him one.’

28 October 1932
‘He has never fought for his own hand . . . The policy is as good as can be expected in the circumstances and it now remains for Simon to go for it. Anyway the ink wells at the F.O. are dry and if the Cabinet will not have it Simon should ask them to send someone else to Geneva.’

23 June 1933
‘Simon told me he could not take questions Monday, would I? ... It eventually transpired that there was a question on bombing that he did not want to answer because he could not express approval of government policy though he has urged me to often enough and has done little enough against it. Not very noble. He added: ‘I shall certainly feel ill again by then. Indeed I feel my illness creeping upon me already. It will certainly be bad on Monday.” Makes one wonder whether the whole thing is not a sham.’

26 March 1935
‘Only thing Hitler wants is Air Pact without limitation. Simon much inclined to bite at this, and to suggest separate conference on this. I had to protest and he gave up the idea. Total result of visit for European settlement very disappointing. Simon toys with idea of letting G. expand eastwards. I am strongly against it. Apart from its dishonesty it would be our turn next.

16 November 1936
‘Van came in and talked somewhat hysterically about this alliance being directed against us and not Russia. I fear that he is not balanced and is in such a continual state of nerves that he will end by making would-be aggressors think the more of us as a possible victim!’

5 January 1937
‘At least we have given nothing away to Italy. It remains to be seen whether what we have gained will prove of any material value. Time alone will show and nothing would be more foolish than openly to attempt to pull Mussolini away from Hitler.’

26 August 1943
‘G[ermany] and J[apan] had been the great restraints upon R[ussia]. We were committed to destroy both. R. would then be immensely powerful ... it might be that I should still see many years of war, perhaps all my life. I admitted that all this might be true but argued that only possible basis for a policy was to try to get on terms with Russia.’

6 June 1944
‘I was accused of trying to break up the government, of stirring up the press on the issue. He said that nothing would induce him to give way, that de Gaulle must go. F.D.R. and he would fight the world. I didn’t lose my temper and I think that I gave as good as I got. Anyway I didn’t budge an inch.’

January 1957
‘Americans would not have moved until all was lost. All through the Canal negotiations Dulles was twisting and wriggling and lying to do nothing.’ (John Foster Dulles:  Dwight Eisenhower’s Secretary of State)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The sweetest fish ever eaten

‘Fried lake trout for breakfast were positively the sweetest fish ever eaten. All the trout on stringers were dead. Have never yet found a way to keep trout alive, short of a tight pen in the water. A fine chorus of white-throated sparrows when the sun came up. Their note sounds like ‘Ah, poor Canada!’ This is from the journals of Aldo Leopold, the great American ecologist/conservationist, born 130 years go today, who introduced and propagated ideas and procedures for sustainability in wildlife and wilderness management.

Leopold was born in Burlington, Iowa, on 11 January 1887, the eldest of four children. He was educated locally, but his father taught him skills of the outdoors, woodcraft and hunting. He attended The Lawrenceville School, New Jersey, and Sheffield Scientific School in preparation for studying a masters at the newly established Yale School of Forestry. After graduating, he joined the U. S. Forest Service and was given his first field assignment in Apache National Forest in southeastern Arizona. He rapidly gained promotion becoming supervisor at Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico in 1911. The same year he launched the Carson Pine Cone newsletter; and the following year he married Estella Bergere with whom he would have five children.

Leopold remained in New Mexico for more than a decade, becoming the Forest Service’s assistant district forester in charge of operations. During this time, he developed the first comprehensive management plan for the Grand Canyon, wrote the Forest Service’s first game and fish handbook, and proposed the Gila Wilderness Area, the first such national wilderness area in the Forest Service system. In 1924, he moved to the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, becoming an associate director; but, in 1928, he left to conduct game surveys of Midwestern states, funded by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute.

By the 1930s, Leopold had become the foremost expert on wildlife management, advocating the scientific management of wildlife habitats by both public and private landholders; and, in 1933, he published Game Management, setting out revolutionary principles for sound management of wild areas that had suffered the kind of adverse conditions he had observed during his Midwestern surveys. That same year he was appointed Professor of Game Management in the Agricultural Economics Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the first such professorship in wildlife management.

Thereafter, Leopold was influential in setting up the Wilderness and Wildlife Societies; he was appointed chairman of the Department of Wildlife Management at the University of Wisconsin; he initiated cooperative ventures between farmers and sportsmen to improve habitats; and he served on the Wisconsin State Conservation Department’s game and fisheries committees. He also purchased 80 acres of once-forested land in central Wisconsin, where he put his own theories into practice, and which provided the inspiration and experiences for A Sand County Almanac. He died of a heart attack in 1948 while battling a wild fire on a neighbour’s property. Further information is available from Wikipedia, The Wilderness Net, The Aldo Leopold Foundation, an article in Minding Nature available at Centre for Humans  & Nature, Environmental Education for Kids, or Americans who tell the truth.

A Sand County Almanac, Leopold’s most famous book and one that is considered a landmark in US conservation, was edited by his son Luna and not published until the year after his death. A few years later, in 1953, Luna also edited some of his father’s diaries which were published by Oxford University Press Inc (New York) as Round River, From the Journals of Aldo Leopold (available to preview at Googlebooks). In fact, Leopold was an inveterate keeper of journals, all (or certainly most) of which are held today in The Aldo Leopold Archives at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.

The Aldo Leopold Archives places Leopold’s diaries and journals into three groups: United States Forest Service Diaries and Miscellaneous, 1899-1927; Hunting Journals, 1917-1945; Shack Journals, 1935-1948. Many of the Archives’ holdings have been digitalised including the diaries and journals, so all can be freely read online - although only in the original handwritten text, i.e. there are no transcriptions available on the Aldo Leopold Archives website.

Here are several extracts from Round River. (I have placed a screenshot, taken from the Aldo Leopold Archives website, of part of the diary entry for 27 November 1926 next to the text as found transcribed in Round River.)

15 June 1924
‘Fried lake trout for breakfast were positively the sweetest fish ever eaten.

All the trout on stringers were dead. Have never yet found a way to keep trout alive, short of a tight pen in the water.

A fine chorus of white-throated sparrows when the sun came up. Their note sounds like ‘Ah, poor Canada!’ Thank the Lord for country as poor as this.

We had a laundering and sewing bee around camp. Then explored the lake and found tomorrow’s portage into Trout Lake. Trolled to the sand beach, where we found fresh moose tracks and had a fine but brief swim, the water being cold. Coming back to camp we photographed the mallard nest. The nest consisted of a hollow pushed into the dry litter under the overhanging branches of a little spruce. It had a perfect circle of a rim consisting of the gray down of the hen. The behavior of the hen was entirely different when approached from the water instead of the land - from the land she played cripple, whereas from the water she sprang directly into the air and hardly quacked. Only eight eggs and nest full.

While we were boiling tea for lunch, Starker caught another trout. After a nap all round we engaged in the very serious occupation of catching perch minnows to be used as bait for the evening fishing. Later I made Starker a bow of white cedar. In the evening we caught a few trout, one of which we had for supper. It was a female and had pink flesh, whereas the previous ones had white flesh. Only small fish were caught on first casts, indicating that big ones get used to a spoon and no longer get excited about it. The first three minnows also drew bites, but later minnows wouldn’t work.

Carl and I learned something while casting in a bay behind camp. The water was covered with willow cotton, which gummed up the line and the ferrules so as to make casting nearly impossible.

At dark a solitary loon serenaded us with his lonesome call, which Fritz imitates very well. This call seems to prevail at night, while the laughing call is used during the day. Carl remembers the laughing call at night, however, on the trip we made to Drummond Island with Dad about 1905.

The Lord did well when he put the loon and his music into this lonesome land.’

27 November 1926
‘Arrived Van Buren 9 a.m. and hit the river at 10:30. A fine sunny morning. The river is very fast for a mile or so below town, then calms down somewhat. About noon we had our first excitement when 30 mallards came up the river and began to circle the timber a hundred yards to our left, settling down in a little backwater. We sneaked them, only I going all the way. I got within 30 yards but got only one on the rise; alibi: dark background and brush. They circled and came over us. Everybody missed; alibi: too far. Just as we were leaving five came back, but seeing our boat they went on. We landed again to wait when eight got out unexpectedly below us, one big drake passing within easy range of Carl and me. Alibi: none. We named this Bungle Bay.’

6 December 1926
‘Our last day of hunting. All shaved in the hope of improving our shooting a bit. It is cool and cloudy.

Tried the quail above camp on the west bank. Found the canebrake covey and did a little better with them, getting three. Hunted a lot of new country that looked ideal but found no birds. Saw a large flock of doves but couldn’t get near them. Coming back I unexpectedly flushed a big mallard drake out of the head of the buck brush lake. I shot through some saplings at him but failed to connect. This is the first mallard we have seen since leaving the cove camp.

In the afternoon we crossed the river and while we were cutting mistletoe for the girls, Flick put up a beautiful covey out of the tinkleweeds but nobody had a loaded gun. We got two, however, out of a belated rise and later a couple of scatters.

Next hunted some lovely ragweed patches to the south and found a nice covey. Had a hard time finding them again because we overestimated the distance they flew. Finally got them out. Carl put five right over Fritz and me and we scored four clean misses overhead as they pitched down into the cane. Later we retrieved our reputation a bit by killing some singles.

It now began to rain and we regretfully left the whistling birds behind us as we hit for camp.’

8 November 1929
‘A bright fine morning. Up in dark at 4 a.m. and when sun came out started dolling up camp. We are under a big spreading alligator juniper on the edge of a pretty park full of fine grama grass. It is 200 yards down to Evans’ stock tank for water. There is enough oak and juniper wood within 200 yards of camp to furnish the U. S. Army, only they wouldn’t appreciate its fine qualities.

In the afternoon we de-horned a big dead juniper only 50 yards from camp and piled up half a cord of fragrant wood - also brought in some oak. Also started the sourdough and other similar ceremonies, including a pot of beans. Dined on beans and cornbread in a fall of snow which started in the middle of the afternoon and by bedtime was two inches deep. This will make fine prospecting for deer tomorrow. Had music in our snug dry camp after dinner while all the rest of the world outside was white and cold.’

27 December 1937
‘Floyd took us over the Perdita Mesa and back down Turkey Ridge. Saw one buck near the Chocolate Drop but few other deer. Much turkey sign on the hogback leading up to Perdita from the west and also a good deal of deer sign on the north rim of the mesa bordering Smoke Canyon. No shots with either bow or gun.’

28 December 1937
‘Explored the Crack Canyon region for the first time. Saw a large number of deer and the country looks very workable. No turkey sign.’

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Adieu to my youth

‘Pretty cold this morning but we must get the carriage repaired, which broke down last night about 12 oclock. Managed to get to the polling place about an hour and half before it closed. This is my birthday, it is now 21 years since I came into this world. “Adieu to my youth - ” ’ This is Sandford Fleming, the great Scots-Canadian railway engineer, born 190 years go today, who created the idea of a standard worldwide time. Although he kept a diary for most of his life, he rarely wrote more than a few words each day. A selection of his youthful diary entries - considered rather ‘laconic and factual’ - were published in 2009, but, according to one critic, shed more light on that period in Canadian history than on the great engineer to be.

Fleming was born on 7 January 1827 in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Aged 14, he was apprenticed to a prominent Fifeshire surveyor and assisted in tracking new railway lines between Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee. In 1845, he and an elder brother emigrated to Canada; their parents followed a little later. After dallying in various colonial Canadian cities, such as Montreal and Ottawa, the brothers settled in Peterborough lodging with a cousin.

Fleming moved to Toronto, where he worked with a printing company while looking to further his engineering career, through securing his surveyor’s qualification and by taking on various commissions. He was also involved in founding the Canadian Institute, and is credited with designing Canada’s first postage stamp, costing three pennies and depicting a beaver, now the national animal of Canada. Fleming married Ann Jean Hall, daughter of the county’s sheriff, in 1855, and they had six children.

From 1852 onwards, Fleming took a prominent part in the development of railways in Upper Canada; from 1855 to 1863 he was chief engineer of the Northern Railway. In 1863, the colonial government of Nova Scotia appointed him chief railway engineer and charged him with construction of a line from Truro to Pictou. On refusing to entertain high bids for small contracts, he resigned his position and carried out the work as a contractor rather than a civil servant. In 1867 or so, he was appointed by the new dominion government to the post of engineer-in-chief of the Inter-Colonial Railway, a position he would hold until its completion in 1876.

Meanwhile, in 1871, the construction of a Canadian Pacific Railway had been made part of the bargain by which British Columbia was induced to enter the new dominion, and Fleming was appointed the project’s engineer-in-chief. The following year, he headed an expedition to find a practicable route. In 1880, with over 600 miles of railway completed and most of the engineering difficulties overcome, the government decided to form an agreement with the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, handing over the project - together with vast subsidies of land and money - to the new commercial company. The privatisation was a severe blow to Fleming, who was effectively dismissed. However, a few years later he became a director of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

From 1880, Fleming was chancellor of Queen’s University in Kingston, a position he retained until his death. Apart from remaining involved in various commercial projects, he continued to devote himself to Canadian and Imperial problems, such as the unification of time reckoning throughout the world (and, indeed, is credited with inventing the ideal of unification and time zones), and the construction of a state-owned system of telegraphs throughout the British empire. He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1897. His final years were spent mostly at his house in Halifax. He died in 1915, leaving the house and its 95 acres to the city, an area now known as Sir Sandford Fleming Park. Further information on Fleming can be found at Wikipedia, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Web Exhibits, Atlas of Alberta Railways, and Queen’s University.

The 190th anniversary of Fleming’s birth is being commemorated today with a so-called Google doodle - and this in turn has led to sudden spurt of attention by the media to the great (and largely forgotten in the UK until now) Scottish engineer - see The Telegraph, The Independent, India Today, or The Sun. Not so forgotten in Canada: in 2009, the Toronto-based publisher, Dundurn, brought out Sir Sandford Fleming - His Early Diaries, 1845-1853 by Jean Murray Cole (which can be previewed at Googlebooks). According to Cole, Fleming began his lifelong habit of keeping a journal in Scotland on 1 January 1845, just seven days before his 18th birthday. Her book contains the early journals (1845-1853) which, she says, ‘give a vivid picture of Fleming’s development and maturing as he sought to make a place for himself in the competitive atmosphere of Canada West in the 1840 and 1850s.’

Michael Peterman, a past professor of English at Trent University, begins his foreword to the diaries as follows: ‘It is with great pleasure that I write this Foreword to Sir Sandford Fleming: The Early Diaries. As the Chair of the Publications Committee of the Peterborough Historical Society for the past fifteen years, I have shared with my fellow committee members a commitment to see this project shaped and realized. It began as an idea in the mid-1990s, spurred on by Jean Murray Cole, who had studied Fleming’s life and admired his diaries in their home at Library and Archives Canada. We felt then that an annotated and accurate transcript of young Sandford’s early diaries would make a useful and informative addition to the record of life in pre-Confederation Canada. It would provide a view of the colony through the eyes of a young and ambitious Scottish immigrant as he struggled to make a place for himself in a new land, to find satisfying work for his talents, and to develop his professional interests. Laconic and factual as the diary entries often are, they take us into the texture of Fleming’s brave new world and alert us to the kind of community he had to deal with as he sought to make a career and place for himself. To him, Canada was “a marvellous world” and a ‘‘goodly land.” ’

Richard White, reviewing the diaries in The Canadian Historical Review (Volume 91, Number 3, September 2010), agrees with Peterman’s assessment that the laconic, factual nature of the entries leave rather a lot unsaid: ‘The problem is that the diaries say so little. They are brief daily entries that simply note the main activities of the day. Some are very short - ‘Christmas. Out sleighing. Good dinner at the Drs’ (25 December 1845), ‘At Timson’s yesterday. Very severe frost. Drawing class evening’ (13 Februaray 1849), ‘Preparing paper and diagrams for Saturday evening’ (20 March 1851). Others are more substantial - ‘Intended going over to the Island to set back meridian but wind blowing & exceedingly cold, called on Lieut de Moleyers who thinks that I had better finish my drawing of Gloucester Bay immediately while the weather is rough & attend to this afterward’ (19 January 1852). Such entries do reveal details that researchers of early engineering and surveying techniques might find useful, but they are still very short, rarely more than four or five lines of printed text, and they leave much unsaid. The months and years go by without much of Fleming’s character being revealed. One has the sense that almost anyone could have written these entries.’

However, White does not believe they are quite so valuable in providing a forecast of the man to come: ‘In time, though, the numerous mundane facts and details begin shaping into a sketchy picture of Fleming, and perhaps the most striking quality that emerges is how resourceful and capable a man he was. He arrived in Canada with several valuable skills - drawing, drafting, surveying, engraving - and he used them all to make a living. He pursued every opportunity, and every job he did seems to have brought him some recognition, and often the opportunity to do the same again. The entries also reveal a strong commitment to work. A large map of Toronto, which he surveyed, drew, and engraved in association with the Toronto printers Scobie & Balfour, was a multi-year project, on which he seems to have persevered with extraordinary tenacity. All in all, Fleming emerges as the essential self-made man who established himself through his own competence and effort. One gets glimpses of his humbleness too. In one of his few reflective entries Fleming looks back and marvels that ‘a poor boy came to this country 8½ years ago with his brother’ (6 September 1953) and that he is now so respected and financially secure. The entries are slim, to be sure, and the editor’s concluding claim that the diary offers ‘a clear forecast of the accomplishments of his later years’ overstates the matter, but something of the man emerges, no doubt.’

Nevertheless, White believes there might be value in the picture that the diaries draw of the period: ‘These hundreds of mundane details, taken together, also reveal something of the world Fleming inhabited - that intriguing period from the late 1840s to the 1850s that was such a critical moment in the modernization of English Canada - and although the editor makes little mention of this it could well be as important as what the diary says about Fleming.’

Here are several extracts from Sir Sandford Fleming - His Early Diaries, 1845-1853.

1 January 1845
‘I went to bed for the last time in the year 1844 at 11 oclock, and rose at ½ past 7 on new years day. Almost everyone you met said “good new year to ye” &c. Happy to say I saw noone drunk except a carter boy who I believed pretended more than anything else. I finished a sketch of ‘Ravenscraig Castle’ in the morning which Mr Crawford was to make arrangements with Mr Lizars about the engraving of it. Began in the evening to draw on stone Kirkcaldy harbour to be lithographed by Mr Bryson. My present wish is to write a sort of diary so that I can put down anything particular that happens or is of utility to recollect.’

January 1848
‘How strange it sounds, but it will soon be familiar to us. Poor 1847 is dead, is now numbered with the past, and all our deeds and actions, evil or good are sealed. Yes sealed with the great seal of time. Let us form a good resolution to live the lives of honest men, let us learn the way to do good, and walk upright. If it should be for no other purpose than to honour our Father and Mother dear, to comfort them in their old age. Surely we could not see their grey hair go with sorrow to the grave.’

1 January 1848
‘Last night David, Ann & I were at a wedding. The party were very merry, finished about 3 A.M. and most of us went to finish at another party. It is enough to say we got to bed about 7 oclock and got up about eleven. David and I called upon several friends during the day, being the usual custom.’

3 January 1848
‘At work again, engraving a view of St Peters Church, Cobourg. It is very tedious work. Would rather be in the country chopping. It may be so but one is never content with their present condition.’

4 January 1848
Again at St Peters in the forenoon, but think it as well to give it up, in the mean time, as it is not likely that I shall make a good job of it when my mind does not go along with it.’

5 January 1848
‘Today I have commenced to design a Town Hall for the Town of Cobourg, as I promised when I was down last. It may never be of any pecuniary advantage to me but it is practice and they may probably take my unsold plans of Cobourg, as a sort of remuneration for me.’

6 January 1848
‘In the forenoon today I have been engaged sketching out a plan for the Town Hall at Cobourg. Afternoon I volunteered my services to take out two voters to the Township of Scott about 50 miles from Toronto. We started about 5 oclock P.M. and slept in Buffalo robes at the village of Stouffville 30 miles out.’

7 January 1848
‘Pretty cold this morning but we must get the carriage repaired, which broke down last night about 12 oclock. Managed to get to the polling place about an hour and half before it closed. This is my birthday, it is now 21 years since I came into this world. “Adieu to my youth - ” ’

8 January 1848
‘Winter morning - snowing. Started for Toronto, our ride was through the bush, only one house for about 10 miles. Arrived at Newmarket where the Hon Robert Baldwin is here with his party, they having defeated our friend Mr. Scobie by 260 majority. Went up to Sharon and saw David Willson & Temple.’

10 January 1848
‘Sunday is omitted in this Diary. It being near one before getting home I did not get up till near church time. Poor Mr. Russell confectioner was burnt out yesterday morning at 4 oclock. Lost all but the lives of his family. Today I have commenced at Scobie & Balfour again.’

11 January 1848
‘The balance of the 1st Quarters rent is due today amounting to £3.10. £1.10 being paid on taking the house. Reed 10/ from Scobie & Balfour to make up the balance. Mr. Holland promised to give me 4 dollars for making a plan for Mr Bethune.’

12 January 1848
‘Little Mr Buchan, Scobie & Balfour engraver had been drunk last night and cant work today. Silly fellow to spend his time and money, and breaking his constitution. Can it be possible that I shall be a drunkard; surely not. Paid the Jew £3/10 the Quarter rent.’

14 January 1848
‘The weather is unusually mild, it rained almost all day. In the evening a fire broke out in Yonge Street in a wooden house, but owing to the rain and the plentiful supply of water in the ditches, the fire was prevented from going farther.

15 January 1848
‘Last evening I saw along with Cochrane the sculptor, some plaster casts that have just been brought to town for the Society of Arts. There is some good things among them. Went over to John Buchans last night, he was just getting better from being drunk poor fellow. He has kept sober a long time now.’

17 January 1848
‘Today is Handsel Monday, if all is well there will be great merry makings at  Haugh Mills. Reed from Scobie & Balfour £2/10 paid Father £2/5. Last Wednesday I got from David 7 dollars to help pay the rent which with the other two makes 9 dollars I gave my Father that time & owe David $7. Engaged at Scobies just now making a title to the Newcastle & Colborne map. There is a vast deal of work at it, but shall try to make a good job.’

19 January 1848
‘In the afternoon today my Father, David, Mr Pollock & I went out to the Humber Mills about 16 miles out, to see them, they are to let or sell. It is a pretty place, a flour mill with two runs of stones just finished and a good saw mill with plenty of pine.’

26 January 1848
‘I have been thinking for some time that, the charcoal light of the magnetic battery might be brought to some practical use. I only require one experiment, but it would be an expensive one for me unless I could meet with a powerful battery, but I dont think there is one in Canada. It is to try if more than one light can be formed with one set of wires by masking the connection and interposing charcoal points. If this is the case, we have a good and cheap substitute for Gas, would give a much better light, and at least could be easily adapted to lighting streets or churches just by having a wire like the Telegraph ones, with a charcoal apparatus here & there. Worth trying.’

Monday, January 2, 2017

My knees felt like macaroni

‘Sat around again and filmed the ending of Juliet, where I had to execute sixteen fouettés six times from different angles - that makes ninety-six fouettés. Afterward my knees felt like macaroni.’ This is Zorina Gray, a forgotten Broadway and Hollywood legend born exactly a century ago today, writing in a diary she kept when only 20 years old but already a star.

Eva Brigitta Hartwig was born in Berlin on 2 January 1917 to a German father and Norwegian mother, both professional singers. Brought up in Kristiansund, 100km or so west of Trondheim in Norway, she debuted as a dancer at the Festiviteten, Norway’s oldest opera house in Haugesund. She moved to Berlin where she was trained to dance by Olga Preobrajenska and Nicholas Legat. At age 12, she was spotted by Max Reinhardt, who cast her in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tales of Hoffman, and then took her to London. A performance at the Gaiety Theatre won her an invitation to join the  Les Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo in 1933; soon after, she adopted the stage name of Vera Zorina.

Léonide Massine, the company’s main choreographer, cast Zorina in lead roles, for ballets such as La Boutique Fantasque, Le Beau Danube and Les Presages. Despite being only 18, she also became involved intimately with Massine and his wife in a ménage à trois. She left the company in 1936 to star in a London production of On Your Toes. She came under the influence of the choreographer George Balanchine, who was beginning to write all her roles, and married him in 1938. By this time she was dividing her time between Broadway (I Married An Angel, Louisiana Purchase) and Hollywood (The Goldwyn Follies, On Your Toes).

Zorina divorced Balanchine in 1946, and married Goddard Lieberson, president of Columbia Records. They had two sons. She tried to return to ballet but with limited success. In 1948, she took the lead role in the first American performance of Arthur Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake, and went on to repeat the same role many times. In 1954, she played in a Broadway revival of On Your Toes. She and Lieberson had an apartment in Manhattan, and a ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was, for some years, director of operatic productions in Santa Fe, and, in the 1970s, was also director of the Norwegian Opera. 
Lieberson died in 1977, and in 1991 Zorina married the harpsichordist Paul Wolfe. She died in 2003. A little further information is available from Wikipedia, or from various newspaper obituaries, such as The Guardian, The Independent, or The New York Times.

In 1986, the American publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux brought out Vera Zorina’s only book, her autobiography, simply titled Zorina. I don’t believe it has ever been reprinted, but second-hand copies are readily available at Abebooks, some even signed. In it, Zorina refers to a diary: ‘If I had not found the proverbial trunk, which had been stored in dusty cellars and somehow survived nearly fifty years, I would not have believed what I read in the diaries I kept from 1934. First of all, they were all in German, which I thought I had ceased to speak and write long before 1938 - the last year I kept a detailed daily diary. Perhaps I used my Kindersprache as a form of code - after all, it was a language no one else spoke in the Ballet Russe. I wrote not only in my Kindersprache but very often in typical Berlin slang, which like all slang is untranslatable. I have left the entries in their simplistic, teenage form because it would be false to translate them otherwise.’ She then quotes liberally from those diaries - here are some extracts.

12 October 1936
‘In the evening at Positano I looked over to the Isola dei Galli, where I had spent my vacation the year before with Massine. It lay far in the distance - like a part of my life - such a beautiful place, like a rough, craggy diamond in the sea. It could have been - I tried not to think about it.

Our leisurely Italian sojourn was at times troubled, because I was anxiously awaiting news about On Your Toes.’

13 October 1936
‘Called London because I hadn’t heard a word from [my agent], which drove me to despair - but understood very little. Afternoon tea with Mrs. Frost, sister of Lord Grimstorp, who owns the Villa Cimbrone. She herself has a perilously situated villa, which is built against a cliff. When you stand on the balcony to admire the magnificent view, it is best to keep your eyes on the distance because below you is an absolute chasm!’

1 November 1936
‘Made the acquaintance of Igor Markevitch, who is slightly mad, and who reminds me of Kyra Nijinsky in temperament. What is even stranger is that he knows her and said that Kyra has long, blond curls, which I find crazy, and that she expects a child!’

15 January 1937
‘Rehearsal at 11. Read through the play again. Then Jack Donahue and I rehearsed, because he will play Morosine, my temperamental partner. Tried out the Zenobia ballet - not bad - he is very strong.’

17 January 1937
‘Rehearsal also today (Sunday) and buttermilkday. Love rehearsing the ballet. I very much hope Donahue will be good. Afterward went through the whole play - it’s beginning to get some shape.’

19 January 1937
‘First rehearsal on the stage of the Palace Theatre. All the chorus people sat in the audience - got my first “laughs” from the dialogue - it’s such fun. In the evening, saw the second act of Gisèle at Sadler’s Wells with Margot Fonteyn - very good, but not as good as Markova. Nijinska was there with Pat [Dolin]. Very sweet to me - also lots of fans from Covent Garden.’

20 January 1937
‘At 10, practiced the pas de deux for an hour with Donahue - went very well - then in the Gaiety Theatre all day. Everything goes so well I’m almost afraid, I have so much fun - tried on costumes.’

22 January 1937
‘Rehearsal at 11 - before that, looked at costumes - now tired but happy at home. I find Jack Whiting very, very nice and sympathetic. I know I always have to have something “romantic” in the theater and he is exactly right for the role. Jack Donahue is nice - but too nice - also right for Morosine, so I can play my scenes better. Today the blue foxes for my costume were chosen.’

24 January 1937
‘Buttermilkday - rehearsals only in the afternoon - everybody was wonderful to me. Mrs. Whiting and Wiman -  I would say almost too much praise. In the evening, Abarbanell came for dinner and we worked afterward together - then played Halma for hours.’

31 January 1937
‘Buttermilkday - slept badly. Had nightmares [English] before I went to sleep because of the show. Everybody expects and predicts such a success for me that it scares me. Otherwise, rehearsals at the Gaiety - Jack Donahue’s waistband broke in the middle of the adagio so that he stood there nearly naked among the howling chorus girls.’

1 February 1937
‘Raced around the whole day - in the morning, in the Gaiety right through the show. Then to Annello [ballet shoes] - then Vega [shoes] - then more dress costumes - then Scala Theatre - then Nathan’s [costumes], and then Palace rehearsals - have a very beautiful star dressing room next to the stage - my own dresser, telephone, etc. All my “dresses” are wonderful - especially the Schiaparelli evening dress and the costume with the blue fox! The ballet costumes absolutely sweet and the striptease girl with hair like Garbo - but still very choruslike à la “burlesque girl”! It was so exciting to be again in full makeup! Dear God, if I’m not a success - what then? Because I have everything, beautiful costumes, a role just made for me - and, in spite of all the running around, I’m not even tired!’

2 February 1937
‘First dress rehearsal. Went quite well - I personally was very dissatisfied - didn't act as well as I have - danced dreadfully badly - and anyhow it was so peculiar in the bedroom scene - had to kiss Jack Whiting, which I found so embarrassing - have no idea after all how to kiss on the stage.’

3 February 1937
‘It was very exciting this afternoon - the public was present and liked it a lot. They died of laughter over Olive Blackney, who is such a marvelous comedienne. All my scenes went very well until the change from the striptease girl into the ballet costume, but Zenobia went without a hitch, which gives me a lot of confidence. Wiman and Henson were so sweet to me - one can’t imagine it - Henson: “I am so happy to have worked with you - and always keep your head as small as it is now.” Received long, long letter from Louis Shurr with big prospects for Hollywood.’

4 February 1937
‘Again dress rehearsal - but went for myself only, so la-la - Douglas Fairbanks was there and Pat Dolin came later - but that didn’t help, either. I’m glad that the premiere is finally tomorrow - this tension is unbearable.’

5 February 1937
‘What a day - but first things first. Slept late - then played all the rumba records [apparently that was soothing!]. Mama and I went nearly mad from nerves. Then I went to church - truly, God was with me yesterday. Then to the doctor and hairdresser, then into the blue Schiap cape and to the theater. My dressing room was filled with flowers, telegrams, costumes, and a thousand things - Doris [my dresser] found everything so glamorous, which pleased me the most - then Toi-Toi’s for good luck, and suddenly I was on stage singing “Ochi chornye.” Everything went the way I hoped - every little thing. The success was enormous - people poured into my dressing room. I simply couldn’t speak - everything trembled in me. Violet Tree said she had seen Bernhardt, and even against that she thought I was wonderful - oh my! People whom I didn’t know congratulated me. In the Savoy Grill, big applause - then to Leslie Henson’s, more people. The most beautiful day of my life. My mamile and I sat holding each other by the hand like two children. Everything was really like a dream - so beautiful - (and more), My God, what an evening - flowers - people - congratulations - Wiman - Henson - Fairbanks - Cochran - Asher - hundreds of people, and I was honored at the Savoy Grill!!!’

6 February 1937
‘Today Saturday. The reviews are fabulous. All kinds of people call to congratulate - my bathtub is an ocean of flowers. Very good performance. A man came from Fox films and wants to make a test.’

7 February 1937
‘Sunday. Slept and slept. Wrote letters - read reviews - all good. Someone rang and asked me for an interview. “It doesn’t suit me very well today, but maybe tomorrow?” - that’s Zorina! Then I went to church, where I felt overwhelmed by happiness, joy, gratitude for all that God has given me.’

9 February 1937
‘Took photos the whole day in the theater until 4:30. In the evening, big party in the Café de Paris for Wiman and Lina - so sad that they had to leave already - but the party was divine. Wiman absolutely wants me to come to New York for him and a new show.’

16 August 1937
‘Mama has bought a horse! You would think we are rich as Croesus. She is in seventh heaven. The horse is a thoroughbred and sweet - rode him in the afternoon and Balanchine watched. In the evening George and I went to the recording session of Alfred Newman, and I became angry because George whispered in my car, “What awful music,” and then said to Newman, “Very good.” Saw the test for Romeo and Juliet - adagio was beautiful, but the costume for jazz section awful.’

28 August 1937
‘The whole day on the set - tried on clothes, shoes, sandals, ballet shoes, stockings, tights, etc. - then all we did was the balcony scene and the kiss between Romeo and Juliet. We were both so nervous that our lips trembled. Dinner with George. He showed me his techni-film - excellent. [Balanchine had his own camera and made his own film during our actual filming on the set.] Then we talked and talked - he is so dear.’

29 August 1937
‘Sunday. George fetched me at three to go to Goldwyn for one of those Sundays. In the evening Goldwyn screened Broadway Melody with Eleanor Powell, and I was so surprised when he got up at the end and said, “It has no warmth, no charm, and, Balanchine, I want you to do for Zorina one or two minutes real ballet because I believe in it now after seeing this” - finally, finally, after weeks Goldwyn has come around.’

31 August 1937
‘Sat around again and filmed the ending of Juliet, where I had to execute sixteen fouettés six times from different angles - that makes ninety-six fouettés. Afterward my knees felt like macaroni.’

1 September 1937
‘Shooting had to stop today because Bill Dollar has a rash and they are afraid I might catch it - no rehearsal. Had dinner with George in the Café Lamaze. Then we went to his place and somehow we had a quarrel because he told me about his girlfriends. Of course it was my fault, because I wanted to know; then everything became very dramatic and I never wanted to see him again. My rimmel [mascara] began to run and it burned terribly, and I went home, ate ice cream, and felt fat as a barrel.’

2 September 1937
‘George called as if nothing had happened - we should go and try on wigs. He came and was very sweet - I was still “dramatic.” But he told me a funny Goldwyn anecdote: Goldwyn was absolutely thrilled by Traviata. He kept congratulating our conductor, Al Newman, over and over again, and after endless explosions of joy he said to Newman, “Do me a favor, congratulate Eddie Powell on the orchestration!” Mr. Verdi would be so pleased.’

Christian Daniel Rauch

Today marks the 240th anniversary of the birth of Christian Daniel Rauch, the most important German sculptor of the 19th century, and yet barely known of in the English-speaking world - he’s not even mentioned in modern editions of Encyclopaedia Britannica (print or online). The only readily available source of information is a late 19th century biography of Rauch, free to download at Internet Archive, which also contains many references to the diary he kept, both as a young man and a very old one.

Rauch was born at Arolsen in the Principality of Waldeck in the Holy Roman Empire on 2 January 1777. His father was employed at the court of Prince Frederick II of Hesse. From the age of 18, Christian was apprenticed to the court sculptors, in Arolsen (now Bad Arolsen) and Cassel (now Kassel). After the death of his father and older brother, he moved to Berlin where he found employment as groom of the chamber in the court of Frederick William III. Continuing to sculpt in his spare time, he came under the influence of Johann Gottfried Schadow. In 1802, he exhibited Sleeping Endymion.

After surprising Rauch at work one day, Queen Louise (Frederick’s wife) sent him to study at the Prussian Academy of Art; and, in 1804, Count Sandrecky sponsored him to continue his studies in Rome, where he stayed for six years. There he was befriended by Wilhelm von Humboldt, Antonio Canova and Bertel Thorvaldsen, and it was there that he produced a life-size bust of Queen Louise in marble. Back in Berlin, he was commissioned to sculpt another likeness of Louise, this time a representation of her in a sleeping position. It was placed in the mausoleum in the grounds of Charlottenburg, a city close to the west of Berlin. Subsequently, he created a similar statue which was placed in the Sanssouci Park at Potsdam.

By this time, Rauch had become famous and much in demand for public statues, some very large: Bülow and Scharnhorst at Berlin, Blücher at Breslau, Maximilian at Munich, Francke at Halle, Dürer at Nuremberg, Luther at Wittenberg, and the grand-duke Paul Frederick at Schwerin. In 1824 alone, he is said to have produced 70 busts. In 1830, he began collaborating with the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel to build a colossal equestrian monument in Berlin in honour of Frederick the Great (who had died nearly 50 years earlier). The monument was inaugurated with great pomp in 1851, and, according to the 1911 version of Encyclopædia Britannica (there is no mention of him in modern editions of the encyclopaedia), it was regarded as ‘one of the masterpieces of modern sculpture’ (though, obviously, ‘modern’ sculpture has come a long way since then).

Rauch was much feted and honoured during his later years, but continued to work, producing a statue of Kant for Königsberg and a statue of Thaer for Berlin, before dying in 1857 while still working on a statue of Moses. There is very little information in English about Rauch online, other than at Wikipedia, which itself has taken information from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article. The only substantial source of biographical information about Rauch in English is probably the 1893 biography by Friedrich Eggers - Life Of Christian Daniel Rauch - published by Lee & Shepard in Boston. Modern print-on-demand editions are readily available, but it is also free to download from Internet Archive.

Eggers’ biography is also the only English-language source of information about Rauch’s diaries. Eggers refers to, and quotes from, Rauch’s diary regularly throughout his biography, usually without any exact date. Here are some extracts from the biography selected because they mention Rauch’s diaries.

‘The young traveller had already begun to keep a diary, as he continued to do all his life, but it was usually more a record of observations and facts than of feelings; but as he started on this eventful journey he looked back over his youthful life and made these notes in pencil.

“I left Schwalbach with peculiar reflections. I was here in March, 1793, at the beginning of the second campaign of Prussia against the French. I met my brother on the march hither near Wickert, and made the march to that place with him; slept one night there, and then, having seen my brother less than twenty-four hours, I travelled back in storm and snow over Wiesbaden to my parents. I was then a little more than sixteen years old, and beginning to learn sculpture. The future lay in the dark distance before me. All was expectation: this tumult of strife before me, never before seen; the crowds of discontented people; the devastation of war, then incomprehensible to me; the throng of people, which formed like lines on foot and horseback on all the roads, amazed me. One saw this scene from every hill, the fearful Mainz always before the eyes. All this made me sick, although I was sound in body. At Wiesbaden, where I slept the next night, I became homesick, and I hurried with all my force towards home, where my parents and friends expected and received me. Perhaps I tell this little digression without connection, but it escaped me without my will, and my last word was ‘reflections.’

With these I left this morning the misty Schwalbach, which brought back again all the ideas and wishes with which I then travelled this way; and I now compared them, thanking Heaven and blessing my parents that what I longed for eleven years before (it always seemed to me as if my innermost wishes would be gratified, but I could not count upon it then) was brought to me in all its fulness at this moment, when I was hastening to glorious Rome, - my goal, the goal of all men who love the noble, especially the goal of artists and poets. I have the joy of which hundreds are worthy, and yet they cannot reach it.

Grateful and happy, I stood upon the height and looked over the broad Rhine valley. The Rhine streams through this beautiful meadow about green islands which seem made for his pastime, or as if he made them himself. Above, perhaps in the region of Mannheim, one sees it in a long stripe as it bounds the horizon, and through this distant opening it seems to rush towards one. Mainz has something fearful to me, it lies so big, so strongly fortified there, watching the Rhine; there is something commanding in this part of the landscape. The cathedral, the castle, the specially large buildings, have a decided blood-red color, and this is fearfully mirrored in the water. The long bridge of seven hundred and thirty paces appears from the road like a little string of pearls binding both shores together.” ’


‘Rauch’s diary has preserved for us a most interesting and precious record of his experiences and thoughts.

At Ludwigsburg he first saw a monument of Dannecker’s, and soon afterwards became acquainted with him. He speaks thus of the now world-renowned Ariadne: “Dannecker has modelled a life-sized nude Ariadne riding on a tiger; she is so boldly outstretched that, while taming this wild beast, she seems to be pleasantly carried along with it!”

He shows in his journal the keenest sensibility to the beautiful natural scenery of the Rhine, and no less to the interesting historic associations, as well as the rare objects of scientific interest, like the beautiful crystals. Always and everywhere he had his eyes open, and was never weary of observation and study.’


‘During the last year of his life Rauch’s diary contains frequent notices of meetings with his friend Alexander von Humboldt, who survived him a year and a half.’


‘On the first of September, Rauch, with his daughter Agnes and her husband, went to Donaustauf. In the afternoon they went to the Walhalla. Here they were received by the builder Estner, who had kept charge of the work for fifteen years; and the splendid bronze doors were opened to them. Rauch says in his diary: “I found the six statues on their stagings near the place of erection, all freed from the boxes, and not injured in the least. The impression of the whole on us was above all magnificent, such as was never seen; the novelty and beauty of the materials, the finished work, praising alike the builder and the architect, such as has never been accomplished in Germany in any time.” ’


‘Rauch at this time took a warm interest in the development of German painting. When the frescos of the museum were unveiled in 1844, he wrote in his diary: “I never experienced such a powerful impression from a work of art as from this. God bless the artists and princes through whom arise such genuine works of art for the joy and satisfaction of the present and the future!” ’


‘He writes in his diary only: “Towards evening, in the company of Bunsen and Dr. Meyer, the private physician to his highness Prince Albert, I visited the first wonder-works of antique sculpture at the British Museum, the Elgin marbles, taking but flying notice of the other art treasures.” His friends seem to have done their duty most thoroughly in showing him all the sights of London, including also visits to Oxford and the Isle of Wight, where he saw Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, and Barclay’s brewery.’


‘The king rewarded Rauch’s loyal affection with every mark of confidence and honor. Rauch notes in his diary of May 31, 1842: “Morning, six o’clock. To my great surprise, and without the least suspicion, I received through the general-order commission the insignia and the order of the statute of peace, ‘pour le mérite,’ from his majesty the king.” ’


‘He notes in his diary the names of many titled visitors to his atelier, sometimes with an affectionate word of comment; but dearest of all to him are the visits of artists, among which that of the Nestor of sculpture, Thorwaldsen, is especially welcome.’


‘In his diary he gives an account of the festivities of his seventieth birthday, January 1, 1847. After giving a full account of the music, speeches, etc., he wrote, “This was the most beautiful day of my life;” and adds, to complete his felicity he had the hope of his daughter’s family being reunited to him in Berlin. We have seen how sad was the fulfilment of this hope.’


‘Rauch kept his eightieth anniversary quietly with his beloved daughter Agnes, and in the evening had a great feast with his pupils and workmen. Rietschel came to the feast, and modelled his friend’s bust. His diary, faithfully kept, gives us brief notes of his last year of life. It contains affectionate mention of his old friends Humboldt and Rietschel; speaks of social enjoyments and kind attentions from the king, and of short excursions for health and pleasure. On the fourteenth of October his diary closes.’