Chapter 9: Temptations and the "Confessions"

23rd Aug. Bräker has strange dreams. In one of them a monstrous creature with many legs clings to his arm. A weaver manages to cut it loose with a knife, but then it runs at once to Jakob and attaches itself to his foot. Bräker thinks that this shows "that what touches us touches our children too - and what we tolerate in ourselves - yet we do not like to see it in them". [Chronik, p 244]
[It is tempting to link this dream with the event of the 23rd. Bräker writes several times that he fears Jakob has inherited his tendency to illicit sexual behaviour.]

Some time in September Bräker has a visit from Heinrich Bachmann, former fellow-soldier in Prussia, who has fallen on hard times.
See entry for 19th Feb. 1784 below.
[Chronik, p 244]

14th Sept. Bräker and Jakob go to Herisau in the afternoon and stay overnight at the Pike, where as usual they find many drinking companions, male and female. Next day they go on to St. Gallen, where they watch a shooting competition. They go on by boat from Rorschach to Staad, then to Löwenhof in Rheineck, where they call on Ambühl. On the 16th they visit the house of David von Gonzenbach


, where Bräker's friend Gregor Grob is tutor. The next night is spent at Fussach, but at four in the morning they catch another boat carrying straw to Lindau and spend the night at The Goose. In the garden of the inn they attend a concert given by the college of music. On the 18th they go back by boat to Rorschach and visit the market, and on the 19th do the same at Herisau. On the 21st Bräker records his pleasure in the journey, the change of scene and chance of observing new things has done him a world of good. The expenses of the journey were less than last year's trip because Jakob ate mainly fruit, which is cheap. But the meeting with Ambühl was very disappointing "I found no friendship for me there". He fared better with Madame Gonzenbach and the younger Grob "I would have cut my heart in two for him". [Chronik, pp 245-6]

16th Oct. St. Gall's day, a day for paying rent, which puts many poor people out of their houses. Bräker is thankful that he has his own. The family works late into the night as cloth is wanted for the next day, after which he would like to have another little pleasure journey. [Chronik, p 247]

19th Oct. Bräker and Johannes go to St. Gallen and Herisau. "For I like always to have one of the lads with me - as a preventative against my besetting sins." [Chronik, p 247]

14th Dec. Bräker acknowledges his guilt before God, but he could if he wished justify himself before men. He has again nearly fallen into a compromising situation, but claims that "no wrong was done", he became aware of the trap in time. If people laugh at him "it serves me right - why am I not on my guard against the appearance as I am against the deed itself?" [Chronik, p 248]

23rd Dec. Bräker's mother dies [Chronik, p 249] and is buried two days later. "She was not yet quite seventy years old and yet age had bowed her down. She bore my father eleven children and lived to see thirty grandchildren. Her trust in God's providence was great in all its simplicity. Thus far the Lord hath helped us! was her chosen word at all times. The day on which I was baptised is the day of this burial. I would many a time have given her board and lodging but my wife spat fire and brimstone, and in my house she would have been living in hell. For she loved peace and quiet and in my house it is not to be had. Nevertheless she always found kind people and good lodging." [Voellmy, v 2 pp 90-91]


Junker [Squire] David von Gonzenbach-Huber (1738-1810).