Story

 

Miss Charlotta Garrigue

Charlotta Garrigue was studying the piano at the Conservatory of Leipzig in the 1870’s.
She frequented concerts at the Gewandhaus, she loved going to Thomaskirche to listen to Bach’s motets. She received instruction from Oscar Paul, Ernst Wenzel and other musicians.
Leipzig was home to the oldest music university in Europe and boasted rich music tradition, hosting Bach, Schumann and Wagner.  Leoš Janáček, Edward Grieg and others were among students who graduated from Leipzig University.

 

Mr. Tomáš Masaryk

Masaryk decided to study in Leipzig in spring 1876, just after receiving a PhD in Vienna.
Masaryk left Vienna on October 14th  and in the morning on October 15th, 1876, he got off the train at the Leipzig railway station and, on that very day, he went to see the place and he took
to it. He enjoyed the feeling of freedom, being in the world that relieved him of the tensions
of home.  In the evening he went to the concert of Wagner’s Lohengrin to Gewandhaus.

He would frequently visit the picture gallery of Leipzig. He was attracted by the traces of many outstanding people he could find there: Goethe had studied in Leipzig, Leibniz had been born and had grown up here, also Richard Wagner, Bach and Mendelsson had once worked in Leipzig. Masaryk soon got in touch with the foremost people who were living there at that time – philosopher Husserl, astronomer Zollner, economist Roscher; he studied Protestantism, took interest in Lusatians, frequented patriotic fellowships. Daily, he would walk through Leipzig,
from Keilstrasse to Nordstrasse via promenades and Katharinenstrasse
to Markt and across Grimmastrasse as far as Augustzsplatz.

 

The Plot

Masaryk decided to declare love to Charlotta in Connewitz, when they were cruising
on a steamer. But by coincidence, just at the moment, Masaryk’s portly landlady fell overboard
in the river.

So instead of declaring love, Masaryk jumped in the water, risking danger, in order to save Mrs. Goring. Charlotta was not impressed by Masaryk’s courageous deed:
„Just don’t think I am overwhelmed. Any decent man would do the same,“ she remarked.

Catharsis

The date of Charlotta’s departure for the USA was drawing near. Masaryk proposed marriage to Charlotta, but she was taken aback by his proposal and insistence. They would go out together “in a terrible tremble”. Then, on Friday, August 10, 1877, in the mountains of Elgersburg, near a medieval castle, they decided to get married.

 Later, Masaryk left for America to see Charlotta.
He embarked an old vessel, named the Herder,
in the thunderstorm. She went down the following voyage.

 

 

 

Finale

This rather adventurous introduction is just a prologue
to a series of other dramatic episodes from the life of TGM
and Charlotta: TGM’s struggle to establish Czechoslovakia, Charlotta’s isolation in the Austrian monarchy during WW1.

Her daughter Alice was detained and imprisoned in Vienna,
her son Heriberto died at WW1, her illness and dying in Lány, the home of Czechoslovak presidents, where she enjoyed her favourite oak tree.