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Tschiffeli. My neighbours now seem very friendly, so that my fears of the first few days on this score have entirely disappeared. If they did not receive me very well at first, it was not that they felt any ill-will against me, but that they were angry with some friends who had stupidly exerted their authority in my favour. Two days later they were all glad that I had come here, and I felt it my duty to reward their friendliness with something to drink.”
The house that Pestalozzi lived in at Muligen has undergone few alterations. It is a one-storied house, facing west, the hamlet lying a little below among the trees. The front has six windows, with a door in the middle. The wall which enclosed the yard is gone, but the trees which shaded it are still flourishing. The old lattice windows have been replaced by large panes, and the iron bars which protected them have been removed. The old green earthenware stoves are still there. The barn is close to the house on the north side, and on the east is the garden. Muligen is close to the river Reuss, which flows swiftly between high banks, and can only be crossed by boat, as there is no bridge near. The village of Birmensdorf, so celebrated for its mineral waters, is not far off on the other side of the river, and can be seen from the hamlet.
Whilst he was alone at Muligen, Pestalozzi once had the pleasure of seeing Anna, on the occasion of a visit she paid to a friend in the neighbouring town of Brugg.
But, on the whole, he had no lack of pleasant society, for he was well received by many of the inhabitants of the district, and had besides many visitors. In spite of all this, however, he soon began to suffer from his isolation, so that Anna had to cheer him and exhort him "not to be always so sad." To this his only answer was to beg that their marriage should be no longer delayed. Anna's parents, however, still withheld their consent, and it was as much as Pesta lozzi's friends, Lavater, Füssli, Hotz, and others could do to make them promise that they would not forcibly restrain their daughter from doing as she liked.
sad heart, then, but with perfect confidence in Pestalozzi, Anna left her father's house. Her mother's words to her on leaving were: "You will have to be satisfied with bread and water." Her father's diary shows that she had
no dowry beyond her personal effects and her piano. The marriage took place in the presence of a few friends on the 30th of September, 1769, in the church at Gebistorf, Pestalozzi being twenty-three years old and Anna thirty.
Immediately after her marriage, Anna commenced a diary, which she kept most regularly, and in which her husband himself often wrote. This diary will henceforth be one of our most valuable sources of information.1
Notwithstanding what we have said, Anna's parents were soon reconciled to their daughter's marriage. Only ten weeks afterwards, we find both Anna and Pestalozzi staying at The Plough on a visit, which was to be for three days only, but which lasted for three happy weeks. The young couple helped to make the New Year's bonbons, and wrote many a joke on the subject in their diary. They also visited all their relations and friends, chief amongst whom was Pestalozzi's good mother. They left Zurich on the 28th of December, taking with them the friendship and blessings "of both families." That day they "dined twice," and then "taking boat," arrived, "thanks to the Almighty," safely at Muligen.
The very next day Pestalozzi was back on his land, busy with plans for the future, and eager to begin the building of a dwelling-house and barn. Meanwhile he had sown his fields with sainfoin.
On St. Sylvester's Day they baked a small batch of bread for the poor, and were well rewarded for their pains by the joy of the recipients. On the 1st of January they went to church at Birmensdorf.
So happy were they in their love for each other, that for the greater part of that year everything seemed to prosper, and success seemed certain. Anna's parents often came to see them, sometimes bringing money to support the new venture, and Pestalozzi and she paid many visits to their friends in the neighbourhood.
At the same time Pestalozzi worked exceedingly hard with both head and hands, exposing himself to all weathers, and walking the three or four miles that separated his
In 1874 this diary was still in the possession of a lady in Zurich, who was good enough to lend it to Mr. Morf, for his important book on Pestalozzi.
home from his land at all hours, and often many times in the day.
Meanwhile he was pleased to see his sainfoin growing, and took keen delight in every addition to his buildings, which were to be in the Italian style, and which he hurried on with impatient eagerness. Unfortunately, howover, he had chosen for his steward and foreman a most unsuitable man, called Merki, in whom nobody in the neighbourhood had any confidence, and who gravely compromised his master's interests. Indeed unpleasant rumours had already reached banker Schulthess' ears, and filled him with uneasiness as to the fate of his money.
Some extracts from the diary will give a clearer idea of the state of affairs in the spring of 1770:
"5th March (Anna).—I have been to see the land with my husband and my brother the doctor. For the first time I have heard an adverse judgment on my dear one's undertakings. The pastor of Birr doubts our success. This troubled me somewhat, but has not made me very uneasy."
"25th April.-Arrival of Schulthess, the banker, with his two sons. This visit has kept me employed all day. It would have terminated pleasantly for us all if a wretched servant had not talked despairingly of my dear husband's projects. I hope the latter will not hear of it."
"3rd May (Pestalozzi).-At nine o'clock a letter from Schulthess saying that he considers my undertaking to have failed. My dear wife comforts and encourages me. I rejoice with her at the kindness of her good parents who have to-day sent us another ten pounds."
"10th May (Anna).-To-day I have made up my housekeeping accounts. I find our expenses are greater than 1 expected for such a simple life as ours. For seven months they come to thirty pounds. For eight weeks, however, we were not alone, and have had as many as forty people staying with us, so this large amount is not very surprising. Our guests were all relations or true friends, and not one of them but was very dear to us and very wel come.'
"12th May.-Meis and Schinz (two friends of Pestalozzi's) arrived to make a careful survey of the land. They came back in the evening, having found things in a better state
than they expected. The next morning they went through the accounts with my husband. In the evening we were very sad, for we could not help thinking that Schulthess meant to forsake us. The chief cause of his distrust is that mischievous servant, who put everything before him in the worst light."
"17th May.-Letter from Schulthess announcing the dissolution of partnership. We shed tears when we thought that this might lead to our own separation, which would be worse; for by the banker's withdrawal we must inevitably lose credit. I thank God for supporting me at this time, and enabling me to console my dear husband, who was in despair at the thought of having to leave me in poverty now that I am expecting to become a mother."
The husband and wife now went to Zurich, where, with the help of their relations and friends, they succeeded in persuading Schulthess to reconsider his decision. The partnership therefore continued.
The most important event of this year, and the one that brought the greatest joy to the family at Muligen, was the birth of Pestalozzi's son, the only child he ever had.
A few days previously, Anna, thinking she might not live wrote to her parents:
"I should have regret, even in my grave, if I did not leave my dear parents a few lines saying how deeply grateful I have always felt to them, especially since my marriage. My dear parents, it is certain that the happiest days of my life have been passed with my husband, and it is certain that he deserves al. your love."
Pestalozzi's mother came and nursed her daughter-in-law at the critical moment. Then Anna's mother arrived, and soon afterwards Pestalozzi's sister also came and stayed with them, devoting all her attention to the baby, who was overwhelmed with small presents from his grandparents and godparents. Anna wrote in her diary:
"We have never all been so happy together as during this gathering; we have shed many tears of joy."
In the spring of 1771, Pestalozzi went and settled with his family in his new house at Letten, called Neuhof, or
New Farm. Only the ground floor was as yet finished, circumstances being against the completion of the rest of the original plan.
The front, which had six windows and four rooms, looked south on to the garden. The house was burned down in 1842; but though the walls and roof have since been restored, the interior has remained empty, and is now used as a storehouse. On the east side of the house runs a road, on the right of which, a few steps south of the house, is the site of the farm-buildings, which have also been destroyed by fire. In front of the farm was a well, and on the other side of the road a manure-heap and a pond. These buildings formed as it were the centre of a large extent of meadows and fields, with a few vines at the foot of the hill, and a belt of trees above.
But the land was not at all fertile, a few days' rain sufficing to lay bare a thin bed of sand, and so Pestalozzi's agriculture did not prosper.
The buildings, too, had absorbed all the funds necessary for working the land, and Pestalozzi's steward, Merki, had been guilty of breaches of trust. Accordingly Schulthess, the banker, with some slight loss, now finally withdrew from the undertaking.
Pestalozzi, reduced to his own slender resources, again found in his wife's devotion the comfort and encouragement he so much needed. She induced her brothers to advance her some of the money to which she would be entitled at her father's death, and with this money she paid some of Pestalozzi's debts. Pestalozzi's mother also sent him what help she could. He, meanwhile, had discovered the existence of marl near Birr, and used it to improve his land; he supplemented his unremunerative farming-operations by the manufacture of cotton-stuffs, and spun and wove the raw material supplied him by his brothers-in-law.
But in spite of all his efforts, things grew worse every day, his debts continued to increase, and at last, in 1775, he himself was obliged to recognise that his undertaking had failed.
"The dream of my life," he says, "the hope of making my house the centre of a wide sphere of benevolent activity, was gone."