Aloysia comes to visit Konstanze.
Wolfi handled our finances with the same devil-may-care approach he took to everything. Sometimes he would have to borrow to tide us over. At first he was so much in demand for performances and lessons that we could always pay it back. Every day or so he’d pile stacks of gold coins proudly on top of the klavier for me to admire. In those days it didn’t seem to matter much that one knock at the door could sweep every one away.
Sometimes his patrons gave presents instead of money. A horde of gold snuff boxes, watches and chains accumulated in a drawer. In a pinch, he said, these rich man’s trinkets could go off to the pawnshop.
“But perhaps if I went out wearing two watches they’d take the hint and give me cash instead.”
We still saw a great deal of the Baroness Waldstadten, who continued to enjoy helping us. Mozart had fallen in love with a very expensive red coat which he had seen in a shop down by the Kohlmarket. During the Baronesses’ klavier lessons, he described it down to the buttons, which were mother-of-pearl, set with small pieces of amber and edged with diamond chips.
Well, not a week later the red coat and its extravagantly expensive buttons arrived; a present from the Baroness. Mozart, of course, was absolutely giddy with delight. He had many other elegant jackets, but the red remained his favorite.
During the first months of our marriage, we received some lovely presents from the nobility. Some came from the Thuns and some came from the Zichys and the Rumbecks, just as if we were their dependents. Large packages arrived every few days and were carried to our rooms by footmen.
The best gift was a china service. It included a coffee pot with a teardrop bottom, a chocolate pot, erect and boxy, and a squat, fat teapot. Each was decorated with a raised pattern of flowers and leaves; pink, rose and green on a white background. The twelve cups were shaped like flower heads; their handles were the green, curling stems. An outer calyx was formed when the cups were rested on the green saucers. It was especially wonderful because the Baroness Waldstadten had a set exactly like it.
Mozart and I unpacked these together, scattering paper everywhere like children. After we laid all the pieces out on our new sideboard, we stood with our arms around each other and admired it.
I had just finished making some good linen napkins, embroidering a fancy “M” with shiny silk thread in the corner and I had laid these out too.
“Why don’t you give a tea party for your sisters?” Mozart said. “You’ll have plenty of time on your hands when I go to Prince Galitzin’s. The Mad Russian’s parties always last for days.” He nibbled my ear and whispered about something he would especially miss.
“Naughty man! Stop messing my hair!” I had spent over an hour, curling iron in hand, setting my curls in an elaborate style like one I had seen at Kapellmeister Gluck’s luncheon last week.
“Your blooming cheeks! Mozart’s idiotic grin!” Aloysia’s blue eyes were twinkling. “There’s only one reason for a man to look so happy. You haven’t once told him no, have you?”
When I didn’t answer, she hugged me and whispered, “What is he really like? You know what I mean.”
“Hmm…well, I’ve always wanted to ask you that same question about your splendid Lange.”
Aloysia in a persuasive mood was hard to resist, but somehow I managed. “Is your Joseph as wonderful as he looks? And I think you should answer first, because you’ve been married longest. I especially want to hear if it’s still only wet and a nuisance.” I giggled, thinking of a long ago description of sex with Count Hadik.
“God, Konstanze! The things you remember.”
Aloysia slipped her arm away and reached for another piece of the kuchen. “Did you really make this?” She nibbled daintily “It’s every bit as good as Jo’s.”
As she chewed, she looked thoughtful. I knew she probably needed some time to decide exactly what she wanted to say.
I sat back and waited.
Finally she said, “Well, as to wet and a nuisance, I wasn’t in love with Hadik. To be fair, he had quite a bit of skill in bed, but it wasn’t until Joseph that I truly realized what pleasure with a man could be.”
Her face grew pensive. “We were in love, absolutely head over heels, both of us. All he had to do was put a hand on my breast and I’d almost faint. You know, he wouldn’t make love to me until the day he carried me away from the Auge Gottes. He was so big and handsome, so heroic, so exactly like the roles he plays. What a chest; what arms. Just watching him strip off his shirt and shake his hair loose...”
Remembering, she stretched her long torso. “He was so passionate. Every time I thought it couldn’t be any better.”
Then she paused, frowned. “I really don’t understand it, but it hasn’t been the same since the first baby. Now, I feel exhausted as soon as he climbs into bed with that look in his eye. It’s nice enough, I guess. If I’m in the mood. But it’s getting to be like an opera one has heard too many times.”
She paused again, checking my reaction. Not wanting her to imagine I didn’t understand, I nodded.
“Now it’s your turn.”
What to say? My diminutive mate was, in all ways, satisfyingly male.
“Well,” I said, leaning confidentially close, “no matter what Mama says, we never did the deed until our wedding night. Making love with Wolfi is like making love with an angel, gentle and fiery.”
My sister’s face saddened and closed. All those years ago she had refused Mozart so contemptuously that it never occurred to me that now she might be regretful.
“I’m glad for you, darling,” she whispered, eyes bright.
Whatever else one might say about Aloysia, she was always brave.
At that moment, Gaukerel emerged from her hiding place behind the wood box and crept towards us, ears low and tail dragging. She had been ignored all day.
I stretched my arms out invitingly, and she didn’t waste any time jumping onto my lap. Once there, she shuddered with pleasure and licked my face.
“What a precious little dog! Did you get her from Countess Thun?” Aloysia cut a piece off the kuchen and slowly extended it. “Come to Tante, little dust mop."
Gaukerel decided she liked Aloysia, for after just a little coaxing she not only took the cake but let my sister hold her. We spun out the rest of our time talking about pets. Aloysia had two small pugs that she loved. She laughed until she cried when I told her about Gaukerel biting Wolfgang in front of the Emperor.