Poetry and disillusion (1824)
By the turn of the year the Schubert circle was in a sad state of disarray. The triumvirate of the arts which had disported itself at Atzenbrugg, and at the reading parties in Vienna, was now widely dispersed. Schober was in Breslau, where his plan to devote his talents to the drama had not, it seems, been received with universal acclamation. Leopold Kupelwieser was on his way to Rome in company with a Russian aristocrat, Alex von Beresin, whom we met in the last chapter as the friend and patron of Peter Köppen. Kupelwieser had entered upon this expedition with some reluctance, since it meant parting with his fiancée as well as with his friends, but the prospect of an extended tour of Italy, with all expenses paid, was not to be spurned. Spaun was still attending to his official duties in Linz. Of the inner circle of Schubert's friends, only Schwind and Bruchmann remained in Vienna; and as for Schubert himself, he was soon to commit himself to a further period of service with the Esterházy family, which would keep him in Zseliz throughout the summer months.
Moreover, the circle was torn by conflicting loyalties and intrigues. Schubert's illness, and Schober's absence, seem to have taken the heart out of it. The twice-weekly reading parties had been revived at Mohn's in November, but the membership had been infiltrated by the hearties, whom Schwind referred to as 'our billiard-playing fraternity'.1 In December Schwind was on the point of resigning, because the meetings were wholly taken up with money matters and practical jokes. Even Bruchmann had to admit that things were no longer what they were; at the Schubertiads it was tacitly felt that 'we are no longer as sound at the core as we used to be'. The reading parties struggled on through the winter in spite of internal tensions, only to be finally wound up in March 1824.2 Schubertiads were few and far between. On 11 November Schubert was well enough to attend a musical party at Bruchmann's, at which Vogl sang gloriously, so Bruchmann reported to Kupelwieser, and toasts were drunk to absent friends. But only one other such gathering is reported that winter, and though Schubert's indisposition must have____________________