Interesting Women : Sophie Dorothea, Prinzessin von Ahlden

I read about AURORA von Königsmarck (1662-1728) (Ger., Eng.), and somewhere in the back of my balding head a little bell was ringing. AURORA is one of the many lovers of FRIEDRICH AUGUST I. of Saxony (1670-1733) (Ger., Eng.) (called “The Strong”, der Starke) ; she even became his official maitresse, and gave birth to the Saxonian duke’s (and as AUGUSTUS II. Polish-Lithuanian king’s) illegal son MORITZ (1696-1750) (Ger., Eng.), who later became Maréchal Général des Camps et Armées du Roi, Marshal General of France.
As I read AURORA seemingly felt real affection to the crowned Lothario, and she even could build a relationship with FRIEDRICH AUGUST’s conniving wife CHRISTIANE EBERHARDINE of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (1671-1727) (Ger., Eng.). AURORA tactfully choose to move to Goslar (whc) and give birth there (MORITZ was born on the 28th of October 1696), while CHRISTIANE brought the only legal son of her husband to the world on the 17th of October 1696 in Dresden. When AURORA came back to Dresden she already had been replaced as the rambling ruler’s favourite. She received a position as abbess of Quedlinburg Abbey (Ger., Eng.). She used her remaining life to take care for said abbey, and had to see about the family inheritance matter that resulted from her brother’s disappearance.
And with this brother we finally approach the Interesting Woman of this post, SOPHIE DOROTHEA von Braunschweig und Lüneburg (1666-1726) (Ger., Eng.).
SOPHIE was the only daughter of the duke of Braunschweig-Lüneburg, and – and this was something unusual for the time – she came from a loving family. Her parents were devoted to each other, loved her only daughter, there was a real family life. SOPHIE received a good education, was open-minded, teachable – she grew up in a carefree environment in Celle castle.
PHILIPP CHRISTOPH von Königsmarck (1665-1694) (Ger., Eng.), AURORA’s younger brother, spent his childhood at the court of Celle (Ger., Eng.), and knew SOPHIE since their childhood days. He went to Oxford to study, finally choose a military career. After wandering & fighting through Europe he returned to Hanover in 1688, serving as colonel in the house guard of duke ERNST AUGUST of Hanover-Lüneburg, as Oberst der Leibgarde. This duke had a son called GEORG LUDWIG (1660-1727) (Ger., Eng.), who later was known as GEORGE I. of Great Britain, and who was, since 1682, married to our lovely SOPHIE.
SOPHIE did not want this marriage, the whole thing was a political & dynastic arrangement. In the beginning it seemed to shape up reasonably well, dutifully the pair produced two heirs (son GEORG AUGUST (1683-1760), later GEORGE II. of Great Britain, husband of this Interesting Woman, and a daughter SOPHIE DOROTHEA (1687-1757)). But after the birth of the second child the couple drifted apart.
GEORG LUDWIG openly favoured his maitresse MELUSINE von der Schulenburg, while SOPHIE rediscovered her inclination towards PHILIPP CHRISTOPH. This seemingly went unnoticed since 1691, became a serious liason in spring 1692, and finally resulted in a stout martial row : After a heated dispute with her husband, in spring 1694, SOPHIE grabbed some things and went back to her parents, back to Celle.
They sent her back. For political reasons, they needed Hanover’s help in an actual war against Denmark, so her father – again – put the interest of the “state” over the interest of his only daughter.
In summer 1694 SOPHIE and PHILIPP plotted an escape, they wanted to flee either to Wolfenbüttel or to Saxony. But, of course, the plan was disclosed to the court : The traitor was CLARA ELISABETH von Platen (an ancestor of our AUGUST), who had tried to convince PHILIPP CHRISTOPH that it would be a good idea to marry her daughter : PHILIPP refused, and CLARA ELISABETH took her revenge.
PHILIPP vanished on the 2nd of July 1694, after he had met SOPHIE for a last time in the old Leineschloß (Ger., Eng.). This is all what is known for sure about his fate. It is very likely that he was murdered, either on command of ERNST AUGUST or his son GEORGE LUDWIG. SOPHIE would never know what happened to her lover. Some years ago bones were found in the Leine castle, but DNA testing could establish that these are not PHILIPP’s remains.
SOPHIE had to take all the blame. She was divorced from her husband, and kept in a small castle in Ahlden (Ger., Eng.), effectively in solitary confinement, for the rest of her life – from 1694 to 1726, 32 years.
She spent the first years in a kind of apathy, only later she tried actively to change, to better, her situation, with no result. Visitors were basically not allowed, with the exception of her mother. After the latter’s death in 1722 SOPHIE was alone. The military detachment consisted of forty men, their only task was to guard one woman. In the beginning she was only allowed to move inside the castle, later she was allowed, of course under heavy guard, to walk in the grounds. After some years even riding in a coach was allowed. It is possible that they all became a little … strange there, over the years.
In early 1726 she suffered a stroke. Without regular exercise and movement she had become fat, but eating was seemingly her last joy. She had feverish colds, colics, and finally she went to bed in August 1726, and would not get up again. She refused any food consumption, any medical help, effectively starving herself to death. She died on the 13th of November 1726 at the age of sixty.
The autopsy provided evidence of gallstones and a liver failure. GEORGE forbid any public display of mourning in Hanover and London, and was furious when he heard that the court in Berlin wore black. The guards had no instructions for a burial, so they put her corpse in a lead coffin, put the thing in the cellar, and waited for orders.
These came in January 1727, and said basically “Heck, bury her in the yard without any fuss !” This was not possible for some weeks because of heavy rain, so the casket came back into the cellar and was covered with sand.
In May 1727, clandestinely, in the night, SOPHIE DOROTHEA, princess of Ahlden, was buried in St. Marien (Ger.) in Celle.
What a life.


Sunday Music, Late Edition

Two beers & two small cigars ago, I had stumbled back into my appartement, fresh from the autobahn. As announced, Monday and Tuesday were a little busy. It did not help that a certain someone (me, of course, no one else to blame) could not drag his sorry tush out of the bed on early Monday morning, but only a little late(r).
Things had to be loaded in a van ; rooms had to be prepared ; a date was set with the janitor, who every now & then becomes official when a move-out-checklist needs to be executed. Empty & clean rooms are definitely good, stuff taken away from public floors  & spaces as fast as possible is also a good point – a happy janitor ticks the right boxes, and chances are very good that the deposit comes back in full. This is worth a(nother) sweat-soaked t-shirt.
But because there is always, always !, more stuff than one initially figures or oversees, well thought out plans have a little tendency to develop their own … will, perhaps, well, they go not as planned. I don’t want to say “down in flames”, that would be really over stretched. There is simply more work than originally seen. Additionally looms the insight that one is not forty anymore, the bonesack hurts / der Knochensack schmerzt (a term originally coined by LICHTENBERG I guess, but I may be wrong), and the happy & careless yippiahyeah-attitude of earlier moves (Mut zur Lücke) may not be seen as appropriate by all involved.
All this said, someone (not me, of course) kept control, counted two & two together, and so the rented van had not to go back on Tuesday, what would have been really backbreaking, but it’s all right if I bring the engine back tomorrow before eleven in the morning – I cans do that !
All stuff was loaded yesterday, and today the driving & unloading was done. A part of my books now rests in an ex-cowshed on the Alb, together with some other bric-a-brac. This evening I had to bring the van back to the Franconian capital. All I can say is, thank you, but no more “Ducato” (Ger., Eng.) for me. I will happily use a “Sprinter” by MercedesBenz (despite their lousy gear change) ; I will happily use a Volkswagen T-something or a “Crafter” (despite their lousy engines & terrible gear changes), but NOT this bonerattler again that combines all  flaws of the competitors : Unprecise gear change, engine with non-linear delivery of power, turn-and-hope-steering. The only good thing are the brakes. If I ever need another van, it is be a Ford, nothing else.
Now I must taste something called “Küstennebel” my neighbour gave to me as a reward, because I kept her flowers alive over the last two weeks.

This Sunday Music is Driving Music – Roadhouse Blues originally by The Doors, here in a version of the “Master of the Flying V”, Albert King (Ger., Eng.).
I hope you enjoy the music, and perhaps an early beer : And the day’s yer friend … Let’s hope for a peaceful – and dry week : Our friend ente LẌ  is hopefully in good spirits and high & dry ; Eros may have got wet feed, hopefully nothing more serious – hey mates, let’s hear from you !



Just For the Record

The last time I said something about boxing here, in April when KLITSCHKO vs JOSHUA took place, I was terribly wrong.
In some hours Messrs MAYWEATHER & McGREGOR will cross their fists. As I understand this will happen on Sunday morning around six o’clock, Franconian Time. I am pretty sure that Floyd will wipe the floor with his opponent. And rightly so. I will sleep deeply and happily, hopefully dreamless, when this will take place.

The only aim of this short and rather pointless entry is to document that I really favourite Mr MAYWEATHER, one of the most complete boxers of our age. Now that the totalisator is closed, let the show begin. I’ll join afterwards.

BTW, tomorrow, and Monday too, will be pretty busy days, so please excuse when “Sunday Music” arrives not until Tuesday, sorry.

Sunday Music

There are nice German words, especially because we Germans built new words according to our own rules. One of these words may be “Schienenersatzverkehr”.
“Ersatz” meandered into the English-speaking world, I do not exactly know what it means there. “Kindergarten” is kindergarten, there is not much to discuss about it. “Ersatz” means first of all nothing else but “substitute”, one thing (what ever it may be) is worn and replaced with an adequate piece. Like a tire, or a set of tires – they are worn, profile is too low, so they are replaced (“ersetzt”) with another fitting set. There is no value judgement in it first.
“Ersatzverkehr” is not meant with this German monstrum, it is “Schienenersatz” : The traffic (“Verkehr”) on tracks (“Schienen”) is replaced with traffic on roads.
For whatever the reasons may be, the railroad is interrupted ; so the passengers leave the train, board a bus that touches the same destinations the train would have reached, until at one point the railroad is fully functional again, and you board the railway wagon.
This can be heaven, this can be hell.
In this case it was heaven.
I travelled to a place in the big nothing called Hohenlohe, was asked to leave the wagon, and wait for the bus over there. And from then on we travelled over smallest byroads and alleyways – to my dearest delight ! It was a great day for travelling, not too hot, but with sunshine & clear air : I encountered roads I had travelled ages ago in totally different contexts ; I saw villages I had visited twenty (or more) years ago ; finally I came upon a stretch of road that I had travelled the last time nearly thirty years ago with my father, and it was good memories.
So much to see. This detour was really the highlight of this peculiar day of travelling.
When we arrived there stood a nearly new modern “Regionalbahn”, and all I can say is that this thing was designed by a Sadist & run by junkies, and maintained by – don’t know : Is there an enhancement of neglect thinkable ?
A “RegionalBahn” is something we earlier called “Bimmelbahn”, one of those trains that stop at any heap of dung (“Misthaufen”) next to the track, and that is exactly what it did : With the notable distinction that the heap of dung I was sitting in was dirtier than the one I saw outside.
Later I used a “RegonalExpress” – and boy ! it was a difference. OK, it also was designed by a Sadist, but at least it was clean and the a/c was working.
[“Designed by a Sadist” relates to the seating places in the upper level. These modern wagons are double-deck, what is basically a nice thing, because on the upper floor one can have a nice outlook. But for a normal grown, average human being it is impossible to sit by the window in an only slightly comfortable way, simply because they nailed terribly large wastebins under those windows : No one can press her or his legs under these metal boxes.
AND : It may have occurred to some engineer that some kind of cables, or whatever, must be laid on the upper floor, sometime after the original design was accepted.
So they put these cables to the (out~)side of the car – fine. Then they put a kind of box over it, so that no passenger’s foot ever can disturb the holy cable.
When you sit in a window seat, you can not put your foot down to the ground, because there is a large metal tube running under the effing monstrous wastebin : Who ever sits at the window and wants to look out has to turn their legs to the inside, and needs to somehow sort his or her spine out.
The people responsible for this idiocy clearly were never forced to travel in such a wagon for an hour or more. And the idiots who bought this crap should be shot.
I am sure a survey under the commuters (and these damn trains are meant for commuters !) would be pretty promising.]

Now it is Sunday, late evening, I am back home. I have not had a working internet connection for the last days, and frankly I did not miss it much – with the notable exemption of Your blog, of course. I did not watch “news” – thankfully people I visit have no tvs ; I read no newspapers, ah ba ! Instead I climbed nice hills on the “Alb”, drank good wine, and was allowed to eat in a very nice tavern. They won me over with their appetiser, grilled pepperoni on a stick with tons of really fresh garlic in an excellent oil with tomato-bread crunchy-hot from the oven. And whatever the man did with the lamb’s meat to produce this sauce, it was all worth the effort. The bill was regal, but this time it was worth it.
The Alb is a good place to live.
Just so, for no special reason, Keif : You Got the Silver.
I hope you enjoy the music : Have a good week. Let’s have good times !