3. Magdalena to Balthasar
September 13, 1592, in Nuremberg
Honest, kind, dearest Paumgartner:
Your letter reached me last Saturday, and I was joyed to learn of your safe arrival [in Frankfurt] and that there is now much work for you there. May God grant that all goes well and that your work may be promptly finished, so that we may come together again in joy—although God has now made a painful tear through our joy. In the past we have always been able to reunite with greater happiness than will unfortunately happen now. Nevertheless, our strong hope in God can again make us joyful. Amen.
Dear Paumgartner, I have read with pleasure all the news in your letter, [and I have] also [learned] that the quinces are not a success. Nevertheless, would you try to get at least 300 for us, if you cannot get more? If you have also inquired about golden pears for yourself, you have done well. When you depart, buy some knives for the servants and simple folk. And do not forget sugar.
I have today written to old Frau Köppel in Schlackenwalde to remind her not to forget about the flax; I sent along a dozen honeycakes to make it easier for her to remember.
Herr [Hieronymus] Kress has today gained another son. They now have five sons. They could well give one to us, if it were permitted. Finold lifted him from the baptismal waters. His name is Joachim Friedrich. I have just been to the baptism.
Early tomorrow I am going with Christoph to run bird traps.
I must share with you some real news about weather here. For the last three days, praise God, have had good weather; since your departure weather had been constantly rainy. Had the rain lasted any longer, it would soon have incited something. For whenever it has rained around here, the rains have been torrential.
I also heard today that people are beginning to die there [in Italy, from plague]. Therefore, I ask you dearest treasure, to take care of yourself and not travel without first having eaten something.
During the past week, I have also worried about your father, who has not been well. But, praise God, have today received word that he is again a little better. I regret that you are not here and that we cannot go and be with him, because the end is now surely approaching.
At this very moment, when I want only to write to you, a barrel of wine has arrived. And, as it is being put away, a letter from you has also just come, making me very happy. You will surely also by now have received my last letter. The barrel of wine that has just arrived contains almost 4 kegs [360 liters].
Since your departure, I have heard nothing from Adam Stutzer [about the horses], and he has not been at home. Perhaps the order [for the horses] has not yet come from Salzburg; therefore, I cannot well advise you to buy the horses [you desire in Frankfurt]. Should you bring the four horses [the two older browns and two new grays] together, a buyer may want to pay you that much less for the two browns. But it is your decision to make, and what pleases you also pleases me.
Dear Paumgartner, I also asked you in my first letter to get me 2 or 3 measures of linen—[at least] I believe I remembered to do so. You can get it for around 10 or 12 pazen a measure; I need it for a jerkin.
Dear love, I have at this time nothing more to write, except to report that our largest catch of birds on Sunday was 15. Today at 6:00 it began again to rain. May God give us good weather again soon!
Warm and sincere greetings, dearest Paumgartner; may the Lord God keep you in his grace.
Magdalena Balthasar Baumgartner
Source of original German letters: Briefwechsel Balthasar Paumgartners, des Jüngere mit seiner Gattin Magdalena, geb. Behaim. (1582-1598), edited by Dr. Georg Steinhausen. Published for the Literary Association in Stuttgart. Tübingen, 1895, pp. 6-10, 141-43, 174-75.
Source of English translation: Steven Ozment, Magdalena and Balthasar : An Intimate Portrait of Life in 16th-Century Europe Revealed in the Letters of a Nuremberg Husband and Wife. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989, pp. 28-32, 78-80, 151-53.