Collection: Dorothea Handel (Schuhmacher) Family Letters

Author: Dorothea Handel (Schuhmacher)

Recipient: Gottfried Handel

Description: Letter from Dorothea Handel (Schuhmacher) to Gottfried Handel, January 25, 1870. The beginning of the letter is missing.

Dorothea Schuhmacher to Gottfried Handel, January 25, 1870

English Text

...It has been nearly three weeks now and I am [still sick], sometimes I feel like nothing but a piece of meat; I can not think straight and my body always hurts, I have no doctor and no one else. There are few neighbors where we live, Rome is 15 minutes away, and now with the ice and snow the road is poor.

I had wanted to send you 25 Gulden for the New Year which I saved from selling butter. But now, as you can imagine, Johann can bake and cook, but it costs money and he is afraid to ask his father for that. If Mother were still alive, I would not write all this, she had enough sadness and despair in hearing of my bad choices.

Oh, dear Father, please pray and sing, and do not forget me. I will be patient until we can embrace each other in Heaven. I have shed many tears for you, since I wrote to you that you would do best in your old age if you could live in peace and quiet. Now, Father, you have peace - but no, no - how can you have peace, you have to take care of yourself all alone. If only I hadn’t been ill this fall, I would have come to visit you with my two youngest children. But now, it’s all over.

Dear Father, I work every day, sewing, mending, knitting, until I collapse into my pillow at night. You know, Father, when a man will not honor Christian values, he falls deep. For Christmas, he spent a lot on himself and on the children, but not a cent on me. I have put that behind me, and I no longer care when he returns home at night, and asks the boys what they’ve done all day, but doesn’t speak to me or even ask how I’m doing.

I don’t have fire in the stove during the cold nights. I often think of home. But it’s all my own fault. My dear late mother often warned me, but I did not listen and had to experience it all myself. But now enough of this, Father, you know, the soul is never satisfied, the more it has the more it wants. Father, please have Mother’s grave marked, so if some day I am able to come home, I will know her resting place.

Father, find strength in the Lord, and trust Him. May the Lord protect you from all that is bad, and help you do [illegible] that is good. Elevate yourself to your God, that belongs to my [illegible]

Dearest Father, if you were a few years younger you could remarry, and wouldn’t be so lonesome. Please know that I would not object. Wouldn’t it be better if you took care of your affairs and went to Nürtingen for a visit? Rather than living alone, and having to be so frugal? Considering that I have no possessions, I did always have enough to live by. I have had to work like a slave and have managed without the things that other people enjoy. I have struggled hard. When everyone else was asleep, I would take my Bible from under my pillow at midnight, to draw hope for the coming day.

Today, the 25th of January, it has been four weeks that I am ill. He has called neither the doctor, nor the pastor. I have decided not to eat any more food, but will he get help? Father, can you imagine how hard it is to be dying and others are waiting for it, waiting for one’s death? I don’t know what I have done to deserve this, since I had no possessions … but I worked myself to death. Just wait a little longer, P. Sch., it is coming.

[margin] My heart, why are you so fond of this Earth, isn’t your gem in Heaven? Stand fast on Zion’s …

Original text