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Szafarnia

Szafarnia, palace

Szafarnia, palace

 

The expeditions to Szafarnia in the summer of 1824 and 1825 were undoubtedly among the young Fryderyk’s most splendid and cheerful memories. They were real country holidays (on the Dziewanowskis’ estate in Dobrinland), with a host of attractions. Fryderyk was engaged in constant amusement with his schoolfriend Domu¶ Dziewanowski, and he also attentively observed and wittily commented on all the flora and fauna of Szafarnia, including the numerous fights among the latter: ‘On 12th inst. a hen fell lame and a drake lost a leg in a duel with a goose. A cow fell so violently ill that she even grazes in the garden. – On 14th inst. the sentence fell that, under pain of death, no piglet should dare enter the garden.’ Besides a great deal of free time spent playing with Domu¶, numerous walks and trips in the surrounding area, Fryderyk also had time to practise, or rather to play for pleasure, not infrequently four-handed with Miss Ludwika. The young man tried to remember about caring for his fragile health, which was rather good at this time. The details of these sojourns in Szafarnia and, of most value to posterity, Fryderyk’s own impressions from these wonderful holidays are perfectly documented thanks to the extensive, extremely detailed accounts of his stay in Dobrinland, abounding in anecdotes and apt observations, contained in his Kuryer Szafarski. Here is an extract from the ‘Home News’ section from 1824, carrying information intended for his family, concerning Fryderyk’s amusements and daily life, reports of musical events, and also other important phenomena which the editor, Mr Pichon, could not fail to report in his courier: ‘On 11 August this year His Lordship Fryderyk Chopin took a ride on a plucky mount and competed to the line: and though, several times proceeding on foot, he was unable to rival Mrs Dziewanowska (in this, not he, but his horse bore the blame), he nevertheless gained victory over Miss Ludwika, who, already quite close to the line, arrived on foot. – His Lordship Franciszek Chopin rides out daily on walks, yet with the honour of always sitting behind. His Lordship Jakób Chopin drinks six cups of acorn coffee a day, whilst Mikołaiek eats four rolls each day, nota bene besides a mighty dinner and three-course supper. On day 13 of the current month and year His Lordship Better could be heard on the piano with uncommon talent. A virtuoso, this Berliner – plays in the taste of HL Berger […] in the thrust and set of his fingers surpasses Mrs Łagowska and plays with such feeling that almost every note seems to come, not from his heart, but out of his mighty belly.’

 

photo Ewa Sławińska-Dahlig