A man is happy, I maintain, when no circumstance can reduce him; he keeps to the heights and uses no buttress but himself. -- Seneca
The winter of 1936-37 was stressful in the Rosé household, for Justine's health was failing. After the Scandinavian expedition of 1936, Alma was less far-ranging in her tours, limiting her appearances to neighboring Switzerland and Czechoslovakia.
With her divorce Alma's world had come apart, and she was not easy to live with. She had moods of intense melancholy punctuated by irritable outbursts. At times she could hardly suppress her impatience with her mother, whose prolonged illness seemed to consume the lives of all the family. Seeking to restore her own equilibrium, Alma began to read philosophy -- particularly the works of the Stoic Roman philosopher Seneca. Self-sufficiency became her aim.
She was quarrelsome and imperious with Justine's chambermaid and practical nurse, Mitzi, who administered the hypodermic injections that brought Justine relief on days when Dr. Fritsch could not attend her. More than once Alma fired the all-important nursemaid, and Alfred hastened over to Pyrkergasse to restore peace and to hire Mitzi back.
During the 1937-38 season Alma's orchestra again stayed close to home, playing in Switzerland and northern Italy. Continuing what had become a Wiener Walzermädeln tradition, on New Year's Eve 1937 Alma and her orchestra played at the Ronacher theater in central Vienna.
Because of Justine's condition, Arnold withdrew from a Vienna Philharmonic tour to England in the 1937-38 season, but he continued his chamber music performances in Vienna. The Rosé Quartet had played its first "farewell" program in 1936; they continued to draw large audiences, and again and again they decided to play one last season, one final concert. For its fiftyfourth season, the quartet presented a Brahms cycle commemorating the for