CHAPTER 9
Married Life in Leipzig

A lady meeting a girl who had lately left her service, inquired, “Well, Mary! where do you live now?”—“Please, ma'am, ” answered the girl, “I don't live now—I'm married. ”

—Leigh Hunt, Table-Talk

THE MARRIAGE OF ROBERT AND CLARA SCHUMANN HAS traditionally been portrayed as a perfect union: five years of trial and hardship, the brunt of insult and castigation, rewarded by a truly remarkable partnership founded in love, sympathy, and understanding for one another. The nineteenth century was fond of happy endings, and seemed to believe that, after all the tribulations they had endured, the Schumanns deserved nothing less. “Truly, our life will be one of poetry and flowers, ” Schumann had written to Clara during their engagement, “Like angels, we will play and create poems together and bring joy to mankind” (13 April 1838). But their diaries reveal that married life brought unexpected discord and conflict.

They began keeping a joint diary immediately after their marriage. To do so was in keeping not just with their personalities, but compatible with the desires of an era that reveled in the maintenance of diaries, journals, and private chronicles. Their intention was to alternate the

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