30th Jan. "I am no preacher. And yet I have confidence in myself to speak from experience: Had Fate willed that I should be one, I should have preached through heaven and earth for some years, converted Jews and heathens and certainly had printed a good few quarto volumes of my moving sermons. Now I make them into pepper-pots and shoe-cleaners. It must really be a terrible desire for preaching, that makes men so eager to preach to others, and if I had been a preacher, I should certainly have been the worst of all. But Providence knows well enough where to set each person in their place." [Voellmy, v 2 p 213]

3rd Feb. "When my children were young and dependent on me - they brought me innumerable delights and contentment every day...and yet I always thought, when they are grown...I will have great pleasure in their eagerness to read...surely I will, when they eagerly read the little book that I prepared for them with such pains, and recount to me all kinds of pretty tales from it - learn to write a right pretty hand - and then exert themselves to scribble down on paper their own thoughts ... but - O how I deceived myself - year by year my joy in them decreased - they grow tall but in their understanding they remain dwarfish." [B÷ning, p 111, his omissions]

5th-6th Feb. Bräker and Salome are both unhappy about the imminent marriage of their eldest daughter; her fiancÚ is too young and is short on both property and skills. But neither Salome's scolding nor Bräker's reasoned warnings have had any effect. Salome will give her daughter nothing but the absolute essentials for setting up house, but Bräker has given her ten louis d'ors without telling Salome. Mathias has recently learnt the trades of miller and baker and has rented a small mill and bakery in Ennetbühl. Salome and her daughter are quarrelling over the preparations for the wedding, because Salome wants everything done as it was at the time of her own marriage. On the 10th Bräker adds that the confusion and quarrelling has made his home like the Polish parliament. [Chronik, p 339]

Bräker's diary for 8th Feb. includes a long homily to his daughter about the need for a sober, devout life in marriage, and for caution in dealing with her new neighbours: "So I will advise you both with all good intentions, be upright, honest and well behaved with everyone, but be on your guard that you do not throw away your trust or your credit too quickly or cheaply just for smooth words, until you know the people well. For at the beginning every rascal will try to cheat you and take advantage of your credulity. Learn how to keep accounts well and exactly, and never let your expenses exceed your income. Always cut your coat according to your cloth, so that you don't embroil yourselves right at the start in debts and find yourselves with nowhere to turn. I can preach to you from experience, as the proverb says: Poachers make the best gamekeepers [literally: the laziest student preaches the best sermon], or rather: The burned child dreads the fire [...] ." [Voellmy, v 2 pp 215-6]

12th Jan. Anna Katharina's wedding day. The family accompany her to church in Wattwil, where Bräker is so moved by the ceremony and Pastor Imhof's sermon that he sheds tears "though people gaped at me as if I had grown horns". He pays for the party of eight to have a meal at The Lion. Pastor Imhof joins them for a while. In the evening Bräker's cousin Johann Ulrich Looser fetches his fiddle and the party becomes rather rowdy, because it is "Gerichtsnacht" and they are late home. Next day at four in the morning Bräker's brother-in-law arrives with two sledges to take the young couple and Anna Katharina's belongings to Ennetbühl. All the family are more sorrowful at her departure than they expected to be and can hardly stop weeping all day. But on the 15th Johannes, who had accompanied his sister to Ennetbühl, returns with encouraging news of her. [Chronik, pp 339-340]

1789 (no exact date): "O yes, I will certainly never regret these journeys. And then: Who does not know how the acquaintance of respected, noble benefactors can often be very useful indeed to a poor man. I already know how it is with me when I have kept to my own house for as little as a week. Very, very soon I become hypochondriacal, gloomy and melancholic. Upon my honour, my fragile bones are become so strong that I would wager on them to beat a runner. They are again awakened and full of new life. I would think myself twenty years younger. Surely


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