Letter from Thayer to Daniel Willard Fiske, [June 4], 1863 (M2B025)
This morning, 1863.
The letter came a day or two since. I did not hurry about sending it, thinking it probable that I should have more to send. Yesterday morning, June 5, 1863, of the Independence of the United States the 87th – I noticed that the address is in a familiar hand and the postmark Goat=a. So I wrote a short letter to Bayard Taylor about you & me and the crust of bread, and the Gotha Theater Kalendars u sich.—Yes Sir I did him the honor to request him to go antiquarianizing for me.– ‘Spose he will? –
You, my dear chess hero, are bound to Huckleberry Mountains. Shall I condescend to tell you another art & weise ‘mir’ seine grosse Gefälligkeit zu zeigen? Yah – Yaw? Well, here goes. Somewhere in the neighborhood of Heidlbr [Heidelberg] – no, Huckleberry hill—is or ought to be, a place called Rothweil, or something very like Rothweil – Here, or near hear, or perhaps said Rothweil itself, is or was – as I hear, still is, the seat, or Estate or Gut or possession, chateau, villa or counterpart of a family “Gleichenstein.” – On his deathbed, Beethoven is told (in the conversation books) [crossed out: that] by his old Bonn friend, Stephen von Breuning, that Gleichenstein has come to Vienna, and one sees from the talk that he was a friend, when they were youths together. Gleichenstein, too, visits his old friend – Well, it is said by somebody – let’s think. – Yes, by some sort of family connection, I think the nephew or Malfatti, who married a Gleichenstein – I don’t feel sure – it is said by this somebody that interesting matter may be obtained about Beethoven’s younger years at Rothweil. Now we will suppose that an excursion be made from Heildel Mountains to said source of valuable information and that he who makes the excursion is put to expense – well, I could give him an order on my brother in Cambridgeport, who would pay those expenses - you see that I avoid making any definite proposal – that is, for economical reasons! (Here comes coughing Marie mit der Kaffee. So now for frue stuck.) All the story, about Rothweil and visits of the young Beethoven there, bears a little of the improbable on the face of it – but his acquaintance with Gleichenstein is certain – he dedicated a work to him – a grand sonata for P.F. & violin, Opus 69.
The upshot of the matter is – may it please your Excellency should you able to do it, (not as a labor, but as a pleasure) to find out about this Rothweil matter and write me not post paid.
Kindest greetings to Webster – I wish he would write you to stay with him – perhaps he will.
When you meet Graham & frau – say all the good things to them – You know I shall feel them and that you will tell no lies, by giving them any quantity of pleasant speeches on my account.
Nothing special at Legation – [crossed out: Sunday] Thursday I undertook to drive with Pitschl at ? – in Hernals. I was there from 12 to near one – he did not come.
Good bye my dear Thou=who=hast=come=to=us=from=a=former-generation – (that is a word long enough for a dutchman)
Don’t forget dis chile.
Yours (still unmarried)
Alexander W. Thayer
Have I done wrong in making a hole in Taylor’s envelope – to stick this note in? – I hope not, as I sent it under cover to Webster.