The Happy Death of Children
I'm reading Mozart's Women by Jane Glover, and came across this letter by his father Leopold, describing his daughter's fight with intestinal typhoid: "Whover could have listened to the conversations which we three, my wife, myself and my daughter, had on several evenings, during which we convinced her of the vanity of this world and the happy death of children, would not have heard it without tears." Maria Anna survived, living to be 79-- but at least five other Mozart children died in infancy. Has anyone done any research on the theology taught to chldren during an era of high mortality? In our age, a child's first experience with death is often that of an elderly relative, but in the 18th century it seems more of them would be exposed to the loss of playmates and their younger brothers and sisters. How much of what the parents told them, about littlest angels and tender souls too good to live, was passed on for the parent's comfort and how much to comfort a frightened child? "If I should die before I wake..."