Fryderyk Chopin – Kuryer Szafarski, 31 August 1824


Autograph of a letter written by Fryderyk Chopin, the so-called Kuryer Szafarski, of 31 August 1824, one sheet, written on one page, 115x195 mm. Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina, Warsaw [M/10].


During his stay in Szafarnia in the summer of 1824, instead of writing traditional letters, Fryderyk gave to the correspondence he addressed to his family the form of a gazette, intended to resemble, in its form, character and layout, the Kurier Warszawski, a popular Warsaw newspaper.


‘KURYER SZAFARSKI / Tuesday / 31 August 1824 / Recollection. / A mouse in 1802 bit a hole in the shoe of Her Ladyship Miss Józefa Dziewanowska / Home News / On day 28 c. m. & y., when His Lordship Pichon, busy with his toilet, was expatiating about breakfast, a barefoot lady burst in with a cry. Pichon, taken aback, opened his trap and stood at first like a gawk, but after a moment he learned the reason for the tears and complaint: His Lordship Esquire Carver Wiktor Sikorowski, commonly known by Miss Michuchna as Fikhtur, had argued with Miss Kozaczka; and after much quarrelling and fussing he landed such a lovely blow on the lady’s head that she was forced to seek satisfaction from a higher instance. On day 29 c. m. & y. a waggon-load of Jews was riding by. Die ganze Familie consisted aus eine Sow, sree larsh Jewsh, two leetle ones and seex Jewlings; sey were all sitting in a pile, like Dutch sardines. Then, however, they struck a stone, tipped up and lay on the sand in the following order: first the brats, each in a different position, for the most part with their little legs pointing upwards, and on top of them the Sow, groaning under the weight of the Jews, whose fur hats flew off from the impact. On day 30 c. m. & y. in the barn three lasses had a fight. Two in particular, armed with a bucket and a pail, beat the defenceless third, although she too received a pail and a bucket towards the end (nota bene on her mug), but could not repel the others. On day 30 c. m. & y. Her Ladyship Mrs Zakierska, a citizen of Szafarnia, having quarrelled with another, out of anger that she could not harm her, wished to drown herself. Happily, Mrs Szrederowa, wife of Mr Gartner [the gardener], that aged citizen, noticed and ran across; and when the former already had her head in the pond, she deftly pulled her out by the legs and saved her life. Sudyna, the bitch, walking yesterday behind Miss Jożefa through the village, caught a goose, throttled and ate it. – On day 31 c. m. & y. Four geese were caught causing damage. Thus far they are under free arrest, but it is not known how it will end. The cow is feeling ever better, and at a general consilium the doctors adjudged that there was no longer the least danger. / Foreign News / On day 29 c. m. & y. Mr Pichon esquire, riding through Nieszawa, heard a Catalani seated on a fence singing something at the top of her lungs. He was mightily taken, and listened with pleasure to both air and voice, yet not content with that alone sought to hear the verse. He twice passed by the fence, though to no avail, for he understood nothing; until, overcome by curiosity, he took out thruppence and promised it to the singer if she would sing the song again. Long she quibbled, frowned and declined, but encouraged by the thruppence she began to sing a little mazurka, of which the Editor, with the consent of the authorities and the Censor, quotes one strophe by way of example: ‘Patsajze tam za gulami, za gulami, jak to wilk tańcuje, A wsakzeć on nie ma żony, bo się tak frasuje, (bis)’ [‘Look o’er the mountains, o’er the mountains, how the wolf dances! And he frets so because he’s not got a wife (repeat)’] / In Radomin on day 29 c. m. & y. a cat flew into a rage. Happily, it bit no one, but ran and skipped about the field, and that only until it was killed, as after it was killed it stopped, and raged no more. In Dulnik a wolf ate a sheep for supper. The anxious minders of the remaining lambs are offering the tail and ears to the person who catches and ties up the wolf and brings it for inquisition to the family council. / Free to send. / Censor / L. D.’