“Never mind, little goose,” was Mozart’s comforting answer. “This was the only way that your sacred smelling-stuff would do us any good. The air was like an oven here, and all your fanning made it no cooler. But presently the carriage was comfortable—you said it was because I poured a couple of drops on my jabot—and we could talk and enjoy our journey instead of hanging our heads like sheep in a butcher’s cart. It will last all the rest of the way. Come now, let us stick our two Vienna noses into this green wilderness!”
They climbed the bank arm-in-arm, and strolled into the shade of the pines, which grew deeper and deeper, till only here and there a stray sunbeam lighted up the green mossy carpet. So cool was the air that Mozart soon had to put on the coat, which, but for his prudent wife, he would have left behind.
Presently he stopped and looked up through the rows of lofty tree-trunks. “How beautiful!” he cried. “It is like being in church! This is a real wood, a whole family of trees! No human hand planted them, but they seem to have come and stood there just because it is pleasant to live and grow in company. To think that I have traveled half over Europe, have seen the Alps and the ocean, and yet, happening to come into an ordinary Bohemian pine-woods, I am astonished that such a thing actually exists; not as a poetic fiction like the nymphs and fauns, but really living, drawn out of the earth by moisture and sunshine! Imagine the deer, with his wonderful antlers, at home here, and the mischievous squirrel, the wood-cock, and the jay!” He stooped and picked a mushroom, praised its deep red color and delicate white lines, and put a handful of cones into his pocket.
“Any one would think that you had never walked a dozen steps in the Prater,” said his wife; “these same rare cones and mushrooms are to be found there too!”
“The Prater! Heavens, how can you mention it! What is there in the Prater but carriages and swords, gowns and fans, music and hubbub! As for the trees, large as they are—well, even the acorns on the ground seem like second cousins to the old corks lying beside them! You could walk there two hours, and still smell waiters and sauces!”
“Oh, what a speech from a man whose greatest pleasure is to eat a good supper in the Prater!”
After they had returned to the carriage and sat watching the smiling fields which stretched away to the mountains behind them, Mozart exclaimed: “Indeed the earth is beautiful, and no one can be blamed for wanting to stay on it as long as possible. Thank God, I feel as fresh and strong as ever, and ready for a thousand things as soon as my new opera is finished and brought out. But how much there is in the outside world, and how much at home, both wonderful and beautiful, that I know nothing about! Beauties of nature, sciences, and both fine arts and useful arts! That black charcoal-burner there by his kiln knows just as much as I do about many things. And I should like well enough to look into some subjects that aren’t connected with my own trade!”