The diaries of Cosima Wagner
Vol. II: 1878-1883
Edited and annotated by Martin Gregor-Dellin and Dietrich Mack
Translated and with an Introduction, Postscript, and Additional
Notes by Geoffrey Skelton
(New York, NY : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980)
(To reach the reference to PORGES in Cosima Wagner's
diaries, click here)
Monday, January 28, 1878 :
"Friend Standhartner reports that Hans [Richter]
has made up for his remissness and that Rheingold is a big success
in Vienna---which we doubt, insofar as we have received no telegrams
Wednesday, June 5, 1878 :
"Memories of all our other good old friends--Standhartner,
Saturday, September 14, 1878 :
"Friend Standhartner yesterday announced a visit,
he is coming from the international exposition in Paris, and since
he wrote in French, R. says, 'Il s'est exposé lui-même
comme ami de Wagner, et en cette qualité il était
en effet assez exposé là-bas' ['He has exposed himself
as a friend of Wagner, and in that capacity was truly exposed there'].
As always when he jokes in French he makes use of the best and most
original of expressions."
Sunday, September 15, 1878 :
"Beautiful day ; after waiting in vain at the station
for friend Standhartner, we drive to the Ermitage."
Monday, September 16, 1878 :
"Friend Standhartner tells us about the policemen
in Gastein who surround the German Emperor in masses, and if somebody
has a hand in his pocket when the Emperor or Bismarck passes by,
he is politely requested to take it out!"
Tuesday, November 5, 1878 :
" Before reading this libretto [Spontini's Fernand
Cortez] he received and answered a letter from friend Standh....
tells me that St[andhartner] was pleased with his clear, straightforward
Tuesday, November 12, 1878 :
"He comes upstairs to fetch me, sits down beside
me, and suddenly laughs about Gurnemanz's herbs and roots :
so cross, so disgruntled.'
Then he became a bit impatient and said,
'If you only knew!'
And soon I do know, for when I enter the salon
I see a magnificent Persian carpet for my room lying there! . .
He had been in correspondence with Standhartner about it, and
now he sends off a telegram of thanks, signed 'He and she.'"
Tuesday, January 4, 1881 :
"A nice letter from Standhartner pleases him and
starts him reminiscing about Vienna ; St. is proof, he says, that
one can get through to the Viennese with music ; how much had he
done for him when he settled in Vienna!
He describes the bone structure
of Standhartner's skull as frighteningly Slavonic, yet at the same
Saturday, May 21, 1881 :
"At coffeetime the Standhartners appear, father
and daughter; introductions and memories of Vienna."
Sunday, May 22, 1881 :
"R. slept well ; the Flower Greeting takes place
a 8 o'clock and is very successful, the clock presented by Fidi-Parsifal
delights R., and he is pleased with the flower costumes.
of arms of the Wagner Society towns genuinely surprise him, and
he is pleased with the ceiling.
In a mood of divine happiness he
strolls to the summerhouse with me in the blue robe, and we exchange
gold pens and little poems!
Our lunch table consists of : Standhartners
3 (with Gustav!), Ritters (the parents), the Count, Jouk., Boni,
Lusch, and Fidi ; in the hall Eva, Loldi, Ferdi Jager, Julchen and
Elsa ; the latter two have to slip away unnoticed, so that the singing
of the verse will float down from the gallery.
Stein's poem very well, splendidly proposing the health of eternal
youth, and then in a full voice Elsa movingly sings 'Nicht Gut noch
Pracht,' etc., from above.
--- Over coffee Faf from the Festival Theater
appears with the program for this evening on his back.
good children act out the little farces by Lope and Sachs magnificently,
and Lusch speaks Wolz's linking epilogue particularly well.
conclusion of the Sachs play J. Rub. linked the Prelude to Die Msinger,
and when R. went into the salon, the children, in different costumes,
sang his 'Gruss der Getreuen' ; at the conclusion of the evening,
after the meal, came the 'Kaisermarsch,' with altered text.
splendidly done by the children, though we are not entirely successful
in sustaining the mood. Before lunch R. was upset by the military
band, which he --- somewhat to my concern --- had allowed to take part,
and it required Siegfried's toast to raise his spirits again.
In the evening he was irked by the dullness of our friends, he asked
Standhartner to remain behind, without considering that the stepson
[G. Schönaich] would also then remain, and the presence of
this man whom he cannot bear kept him from expressing all that was
in his heart, and that made him almost painfully unhappy.
parts are what delighted me --- the fact that unbidden things intervene
no longer bothers me, however much it once used to pain me: I keep
remembering that 'all transient things are but an image.'"
Monday, November 6, 1882 :
"I have to wait a long time in Saint Mark's Square
for him [Wagner], and when he arrives with the children, he tells
me he had a very severe spasm (I wrote to Standhartner). But he
Postscript, p. 1014:
"Paul von Joukowsky described Wagner's death in a letter written
on February 22, 1883, to Malwida von Meysenburg:
"It was as glorious as his life.
We were all waiting
for him to appear at table, for he had sent word to us to begin
lunch without him.
In the meantime he had sent for the doctor on
account of his usual spasms ; then at about 2:30 he sent Betty to
fetch Frau Wagner.
The doctor came at 3:00, which made us all feel
easier ; but around 4 o'clock, since nobody had come out of his room,
we became worried ; then suddenly Georg appeared and told us simply
that it was all over.
He died at around 3 o'clock in the arms of
his wife, without suffering, falling asleep with an expression on
his face of such nobility and peace that the memory of it will never
She was alone with him the whole of the first day and
night, but then the doctor managed to persuade her to go into another
Since then I have not seen her, and I shall never see her
again ; nobody will, except for the children and Gross and his wife,
since he is their legal guardian.
She will live in the upper rooms of
the house, existing only for his memory and for the children ; everything
else in life has ceased to exist for her.
So write only to the children,
for she will never read a letter again.
Since her dearest wish,
to die with him, was not fulfilled, she means at least to be dead
to all others and to lead the only life fitting for her, that of
a nun who will be a constant source of divine consolation to her
That is great, and in complete accord with all else in
Certainly Cosima's first intention was exactly
as Joukowsky described it.
In her desire for death she refused all
nourishment for many hours after Wagner died, then, yielding to
the inevitable, cut off her hair and laid it in Wagner's coffin.
Hidden from sight in black robes, she accompanied her husband's
body in the train back to Bayreuth.
At Wahnfried it was carried
to the grave at the bottom of the garden by Muncker, Peustel, Gross,
Wolzogen, Seidl, Joukowsky, Wilhelmj, Porges,
Levi, Richter, Standhartner, and Niemann. Daniela, Isolde, Eva,
and Siegfried walked beside the coffin ; Blondine, expecting her
first child, was not present.
Only after their friends had left
did Cosima emerge from the house to join her children as the coffin
was lowered into the grave."