Supplementary Appendix 220.1

Caroline and Auguste in
Friedrich Ludwig Schröder, Die Heurath durch ein Wochenblatt.
Eine Posse, in einem Aufzuge
(Vienna 1786)

Caroline performed the role of Madam Adler — otherwise unidentified — Auguste that of a A Lad, dressed as a jockey, less in the sense of “equine groom, handler” than as a young lad or page in a typical livrée (livery) similar to the one in the following illustration (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Das Goldstück [1793]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.955):


Only later in the play is Madam Adler’s identity revealed.

The play essentially pokes fun at the phenomenon of weekly newspapers with their serving of “fables, histories, happenings, puzzles, epigrams, marriages, concerts, balls, gifts, illnesses, and deaths.” The editor Wiesenberg is anticipating a visit from the father of his beloved, Charlotte Klingbach. The father, a man who lacks the gifts to be as learned as he would like, would thus like to marry his daughter to someone who can make a name for himself as an erudite scholar. The father believes the weekly newspaper qualifies as such scholarship. Charlotte and the editor arrange a personal meeting between the two to secure their marriage (whence the title).

When they are about to break for breakfast, five different subscribers of the paper also arrive wishing an audience with the editor. For example, the first is a man who has given up everything to learn Walachian that he might get rich teaching it, there being no other such teachers in the town; when no one solicits him for instruction, he petitions Wiesenberg for help, who in his own turn agrees to write a piece demonstrating that no wisdom can be acquired without knowing Walachian. The second petitioner is a woman whose first two husbands’ deaths were reported in the weekly; she comes to report the funeral of the third, assuring the editor that out of love for him she cannot marry before a month is up, but that should her fourth husband also die, she will, of course, report such immediately.

Madam Adler is the fifth in this cavalcade of petitioners. She and her lad — “Check” — appear in act 1, scene 11 (scene 13 in some editions; Wiesenberg has earlier bemoaned how some people are insulted by various “satirical trifles” published in the paper; Madam Adler uses the French terms in the original):

Madam Adler. Please pardon me bonnement, Sir, for leaving immediately. Aye, Check!

Check. Your Grace commands?

Madam Adler. I just wanted to see whether you were there.

Wiesenberg (offering her a chair). Please be so kind —

Madam Adler (sits down). You must know, my good Sir, that I subscribe legitimement to your weekly and up till dato have found much gusto in it.

Wiesenberg. I am very pleased to hear that.

Madam Adler. But little by little it is tout à fait a scandal to read the thing.

Wiesenberg. A scandal?

Madam Adler. Even that is probablement saying too little. A satire must not necessarily be a pasquinade. You must not maltraiter people who amicablement subscribe to your weekly.

Wiesenberg. Madam, I do not understand —

Madam Adler. Check!

Check. Your Grace!

Madam Adler. Alright — You have insulted me, Sir! — Insulted me quite insolentement.

Wiesenberg. I, Madam?

Madam Adler. Check!

Check. Your Grace?

Madam Adler. Go! — No, stay here. — You have acted quite irresonnablement toward me. All my neighbors are pointing their fingers at me; my husband is the laughing stock at all gatherings.

Wiesenberg. If you would but tell me, Madam —

Madam Adler. Check!

Check. Your Grace!

Madam Adler. Fine!

Wiesenberg. Ah, now I see! — Might Your Grace be so gracious as to explain how —

Madam Adler. You have behaved malproprement toward a lady who genereusement pays for your weekly. Of what concern is it to you and the public that I had a negligé made for myself from my damask bed curtains? The bed was old-fashioned and perileusement large; I had it altered according to the current fashion, which left me enough of the bed curtains for a negligee. Does such a domestic action deserved to be treated so pasquillement?

Wiesenberg. I can assure you on my honor, Madam — I mean, Your Grace — that when I included the metamorphosed bed curtains in my weekly I did not realize that Your Domesticity had turned the poem into truth. Far removed from reproaching you, I quite to the contrary admire your inventiveness in discovering a negligee in the damask curtains of a bed, and then to alter both yourself and the bed quite according to fashion.

Madam Adler. In the meantime, however, I have malheuresement become a mockery through your cursed weekly. Now all my neighbors are referring to me as the “Lady with the Curtain-Negligee.” You must parfaitement make amends for that.

Wiesenberg. With all my heart! I will accord you the premier place among inventors. You will be astounded at how I transform the metamorphosed bed curtains to your praise.

Madam Adler. But please praise me but modestement, for I mortally abhor all coarse flattery. Are you aware of that? I will send you an index of my good qualities that you may remain faithful to the truth. I can assure you that I am furieusement modest. — Your servant! (Intends to depart.)

Wiesenberg (tries to accompany her). Do allow me ! —

Madam Adler. Not at all, stay where you are!

Wiesenberg. Only as far as the carriage.

Madam Adler. Absolutely not. Check!

Check. Your Grace?

Madam Adler. Have the carriage brought around!

Check. Brought around?

Madam Adler. Well of course, you stupid ass!

Check. But . . . Your Grace came here on foot.

Madam Adler. I do believe, you little urchin, that you are drunk! — Your servant! (Exits hastily.)

Wiesenberg (holds back Check). And what might the gracious lady’s name be?

Check. Her Grace is the wife of tailor Adler.

Madam Adler (calls out from offstage). Check! — Check!

Check. Coming, Your Grace! (Exits hastily.)

Wiesenberg (after a pause). It seems to me that after this scene we all need some refreshment. (Gives Charlotte his hand.) Is it convenient for you? Breakfast awaits. He leads Charlotte into the neighboring room.)

Klingbach (while following them). What a man you are! I, too, wish I could deal with fools that way.

Sperber. “Number 5, Your Grace, wife of tailor Adler, doth complain about the poem The Metamorphosed Bed Curtains.”

Translation © 2013 Doug Stott