Home » Archive » Beethoven's Death Mask » Page 2

Beethoven's Death Mask

Page 2

Peter Symons

He waved his hand, pulling me into the room.

There was a single lamp illuminating the area of the desk he was working on. As I stood next to him, the smoke from his pipe irritated my eyes.

“So.” He seemed to have lost his train of thought for a moment. “So. Plane trips.”

“Yes.” Flying overseas was a big deal back then. Only important and powerful people took plane trips.

“Would you like to fly on a plane?”

He picked up the pipe next to him and put it in his mouth, then leant back in his chair with an amused, sardonic look.

Of course I would. But the words stuck in my throat.

“Well?” He leant toward me. “Fly on a plane?”

He sucked on his pipe.

Eventually, I whispered “Yes please”.

“Good.” My father put his pipe down on the desk with the air of someone completing a difficult negotiation. “Well, we’re going next week. Next Tuesday. You can even have a couple of days off school. Holidays start soon, don’t they?”

“Yes, the end of next…”

But he had already turned around and was focussed on his reading.


We flew to Germany. I knew about Germany from the atlas I kept in my room. It was in Europe and, before I was born, there was a big war which Germany started. But my father told me they had learnt their lesson and were good now. 

Page 2

This edition