Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Beethoven and the girl with the manure

One of the more curious incidents noted by Schindler, Beethoven's biographer, was repeated many times:
Beethoven, at this point totally deaf, would take his almost daily walk outside of the town of Vienna, and at times would end up at a farm separated from him by a fence.
On the farm side of the fence would appear occasionally a lusty blond teen-ager(my memory reminds me that her name was Ilse Flehberger, and her job was to pitch manure with a pitchfork).
Imagine this picture: There, on one side of the fence, was this middle-aged man of about five feet four inches, with a stove-pipe hat perched at an angle on his head, with a rather long white handkerchief trailing out of a back pocket, with hands folded behind, looking at this young lass doing her work, not saying a word, and remaining in this position for many minutes. Schindler remarks that she would occasionally laugh derisively at this strange person while pitching the manure. Beethoven never said a word, and then would move on.
This event occurred many times, according to Schindler, and absolutely nothing came of all this.
Beethoven never struck up a conversation with the girl - he simply gaped at her time after time, and would then resume his constitutional.
What a strange, lonely man the deafness had molded.
But the Music that streamed out of this insulated world - well, that is another story.

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