Who is Nicholaus? One of the most significant characters in the Lisabeta episode. I am not sure about his family name, so I won’t write it down here.
I’ve collected a few photos of old Munich (click on them to enlarge, speed 10 secs). I don’t know why, but the slider works only if you open the post by clicking on the title: Nicholaus
As a child I called him Niko, and as a grown-up he became Nic. Description of his family from the book:
“As I said I followed my dad to many of his friends, and so I made friendships with children like myself. He had many acquaintances and relations, some of them businessmen or bankers, even factory owners among them: top-notch friends as my mother put it scathingly. One of these occasions I met a nice blond-haired little boy, about two years younger than me. His name was Nicholaus; I just called him Niko. My dad was friends with his family and got together with them several times, so we had met fairly often. He had an older or younger sister I think.
Niko’s family was prince-ranked and financially equal with us. One of his cousins had a big classical baroque castle, his mother said immodestly. It was in custom in their family that the children had to take lessons from French and Italian, Latin and Greek from their age four. They insisted on giving him a ‘thorough academic education’ as they said.”
They had a manor, a bit bigger than ours. About Nic’s parents:
“Niko’s father was a tall square-shouldered man with shocking white-blond hair that on the first impression seemed silver. His mother was also blond, but her hair was sand-coloured. His father was a forbidding person, he liked to give orders with his booming voice, and his mother seemed somewhat subdued at his side. He used to talk very loudly like a thunder and had very firm and ancient-conservative opinion of all things. He highly appreciated the ‘noble, manly sport of hunting’. I never saw him smiling or being kind to anyone, and according to Niko his father really wasn’t a gentle spirit. He was very proud of his high office he had in the war when he was a stalk young fellow, at least so he used to say.
Of course, nobody dared to disapprove his war-stories or his boasting about how closely he knew the king. I knew exactly that my dad didn’t think too much of the king, though he was too polite to tell him so. When I saw this man with his son, I always had the impression that Niko was intimidated, and really, he hardly ever dared to talk back.”
Niko’s father had a Prussian cuirassier helmet like this
We knew each-other from early on:
“When we were about three or four or five years old, we liked to play mum and dad, and one time Niko asked my hand. I said yes, of course. My dad laughed merrily with tears in his eyes, rolling in his comfortable armchair in the salon of their house, alongside with Niko’s mother and one of his uncles when I announced it, Niko nodding dead-seriously. When we left the salon, I said in disbelief,
‘What was so funny about that? Why are they laughing?!’
Niko observed concisely,
‘Because they’re stupid.’
It happened many times that we went to clamber around the fields near their house or were playing hide and seek or were just sitting on a swing. When the weather allowed we were killing time outdoors. One time we were planning some ‘expedition’ as he named it in the nearby fields and hills, Niko took it very seriously and drew maps.”
“Later, one of our favourite entertainments was playing king. Firstly there was a little difficulty as we both wanted to be kings, so in the end, we settled that we would be kings of neighbouring empires. He liked to filch his father’s silver Prussian helmet (with a big golden emblem on the front) for these occasions and plunged it on his head like an oversized crown. It was too big for him, so he stuffed a small and ragged sitting-pillow in the inside of it to make it stand more steadily on his blond head.
We liked to play with this helmet, though it was too big for both of us. One time he attempted to fill it with water down by the brook and other time tried to catch a frog with it (it was the next, advanced level after catching flies and bugs). The fun ended abruptly as one time we were caught using the silver helmet. His father was enraged to see us playing with his treasured relic he had from the war. He gave Niko a thundering rebuke and a hard punishment that he did sourly. I was sorry for him and felt slightly guilty, but I was also afraid of his dad, so I said nothing.
A few times Niko came to our house in exchange, one time with his mother who visited us, and other time he joined my dad and me when we were heading back home from their place. Sometimes there were other children with us, friends or cousins. My cousin, a taller boy with flyaway black hair, played with us one time; he was a little older than us. I was a captive, Niko tied my wrists seriously, and they executed me I think. Niko was a bit of a child-love and bit of a brother to me. I knew other children as well and had many friends, but Niko always had a solid place in my top ten.”
This was true: he had – he has – a solid place in my top ten.
Our relationship: how we met again
It was absolutely unexpected. One day he was walking towards us in his bright white suit. I give you more details from The Wider Context. Firstly, what is The Wider Context? This is an analysis in essay format, a kind of extract of the trilogy’s relationship links, and relation network. In this I describe the most important characters and their appearing here and there in certain episodes. Oh, and it’s not published. Maybe I will publish a part of it when the trilogy’s visualizations will be done. So, these are noted about meeting again with Nicholaus in the Lisabeta episode:
“Years later, when I was already married and had a small son we stumbled into each other by the side of a lake. The friendship was revived, and a correspondence sprang up between us and about a year or two later we ran across each other again.
Soon it was evident that there was something more between us. I have cheated on my husband a couple of times to humiliate him, but I never cared about any of those men. Nic was different; I did not want to besmirch his person with conjugal hatred. But there was no escaping and all in all we ended up as lovers.”
Our life together
A month or two later after our romance started I tried to break up. Not directly, I just didn’t go when he called, or I left his flat too early. Why? I didn’t like the idea of dragging him so deeply into this relationship – which seemed to have no future. But my attempt was not successful. After a nasty scene (he got very drunk and I had to carry him home, and guard him all night for he finally fell asleep), and a few days we made peace. He asked me not to torture him, he did not intend to split, whatever the others wanted.
I never loved anybody so much during that lifetime – and before since the Lydia episode in the eighteenth century. His features? He was never haughty or conceited. He was fairly reliable, but had a tendency for jealousy and doubts. He had a special interest for the newest technologies and had some artist friends – they were working on something together regularly.
We loved to promenade the nearby streets and parks, there were many (one not too far facing his house). Some months before I checked an old Munich map and I saw a name: Englischer Garten. I was browsing the photos and I am sure we had been walking around that place with Nic a few times.
Englischer Garten in Munich, it’s a popular place even today (pic from Wikipedia)
Nicholaus, I and our son – we had a similar photo shot in a park nearby
Why the relationship started to go downhill
Nic wanted to solidify our relationship, but failed. On my father’s suggestion I sued for divorce – in around 1926. My husband was taken aback and he was unwilling to discuss the request. I was married off to a stranger when I was sixteen and the marriage was a real nightmare. Nic was very supportive at the start. He wished to make our relationship official – probably to sooth his parents and others, and himself, and because of our son. He wanted us to be a real family. I wished for the same.
But the negotiations stuck and my husband said no. It took more than a year, and the divorce decision was still pending. This was when our relationship began to get worse. Nic started to have doubts in me and in my intention. Where these doubts came from? Good question. From his fears, from he’s meeting my husband, from his family friends, from his parents. Many people tried to set us apart, true. Even though we loved each-other, we could not live in peace.
Well, one is happier, if one expects less… He wanted too much, and as things weren’t perfect, he could not put up with them. We could have lived together peacefully at another place. Why didn’t we move away from the mongering people? I can’t tell. I suggested it one or two times, but he was too short-tempered to listen. He was impatient and rather depressed on the end.
From The Wider Context:
“The fact that I was married caused many complications, however, with time I moved to him. We were living like a couple, and after a memorable journey through Europe, I fell pregnant. My husband kept me home during the pregnancy but after my second son, Tommi was born I moved to Nic. I sued for divorce, but my husband stood in the way. The lengthy, years-long separation procedure was nerve-trying. Later I learned that my husband met Nic one time and told him that he wouldn’t give his consent because he knows that in the depth of my heart I loved him. He succeeded to pour poison into our relationship.
We’ve been arguing much; the rows were horrible. In the end, Nic walked away. Soon I attempted a suicide taking an overdose of sleeping pills. My father found me and my life was saved. But I was unwilling to speak, so I was put into a sanatorium. My father took care of me, and although Nic ran to see me, it was too late. For years I couldn’t speak, I needed medical attention.”
In the years while I was so apathetic we did not communicate. When my father wanted to move me to our old family manor my husband showed up, claiming that it is his duty to look after me. My mother took his side as usual, and on the end my husband was allowed to carry me back to our common home. I did not fall in love with him, but I let him take care of me. I had no strength to argue, or to be rude. Some years later, when I was feeling better, we had a daughter (1931).
I met Nic only once before her birth, when we were in a café or pastry shop. I had to put on weight for the sake of the safe pregnancy, I was to eat a lot of cakes and snacks. I saw him and he noticed me too. He did not say anything as I was sitting by a table with my husband. I was awake that night, shocked. After my husband’s death in 1934 as I was organizing stuff in his study I found a collection of letters. As I checked them, I saw they were written by Nic to me.
According to my information, his parents tried to organize an engagement for him with a girl about six years after my attempted suicide. Nic said no. How he lived until we couldn’t meet? It might have been a very bad period for him…
“With Nicholaus, this was very different, and he might have resented me for not answering him, he was bearing a great amount of bitterness about the whole relationship. He did not know I still loved him… In my actual life, I am working much to mend this relationship; I do my best to forgive him. I try to leave the chance open in case he wakes up and wishes to work on these things.”
Why didn’t we come together after my husband died? I felt too weak to face him. He called me, and wished to visit us, but I always begged him not to do so. I couldn’t forgive him, it was still beyond me how he was capable to leave me and our son. I think he percieved this. On the other hand, I was very different, I changed a lot during the years. Also, my son thought my husband was his father. I wouldn’t have been able to upend his peace of mind.
Certainly, these sound like a bunch of excuses. Now I think it would have been wiser to let him come. We could have made peace, and maybe we could have really become a family as he always hoped. I’m sure he did not properly understand why I refused to see him at all. To explain my feelings from afterwards, I wrote him a posthumous answer, it’s in the Recovering Memories book. This was all I could do about it now, apart from forgiving him and myself.
Here is some contemporary music:
His past and our relationship
We had – have extended common history. I tell you what I know. In this drawing the episodes where we were spending significant time together are marked with purple. P means Past, and F means Future, so that S1 episode is the lifetime I have today, S78 is the oldest I could recall.
This is the lifeline with the episodes of the trilogy
On our past from The Wider Context:
“As to Nicholaus, the first ever occasion I can recall meeting him was in ‘Slave Secretary’ episode (circa 3000 BC). He was a young boy who I tutored, helping him to learn reading and writing. In ‘Persian King’ (circa 1000 BC) he was my son, and as a child, he made a sport of torturing slaves and animals. In ‘Sybilla’ (circa 100 AC) he was my son again, though I had no means to bring him up as my life ended when he was about ten or twelve. … In ‘Marauder’ (circa 700) he was the priest I killed at a reckless raid in a mosque. In ‘Cordoba’ (circa 850) he was my son again, I guess. In the ‘Merchant’ (circa 1050) he was my second son. I died in a tent after that some pirates attacked our ship. As my son, he accompanied me on that particular journey, and as I was lying there in agony, I saw he was clueless how to go on. I was feeling guilty not preparing him to make an independent life.”
“… After this came the ‘Wingless Angels’ episode (circa 1190), the most extended one among the incarnation stories, though I lived no more than twenty years. Here many of the previously known characters encountered like in a junction. Anyhow, each incarnation is like a junction, a smaller or a giant one where souls meet and interact in multiple ways. …
My father was the same soul who was my rowdy son in ’Persian King’. Our relationship started to change positively in this episode, particularly after he was blinded. In my childhood, he didn’t pay much attention to me. Many years had to go by, and when I kept visiting him in the house-arrest place and told him the news diligently something has started. His gloom seemed to peter out, and in the end, we were quite like an ordinary son-father. As a child, I very much longed to hang out with him or chat with him. He was the great king who was living somewhere in the clouds, far from my little world.
Compared to the earlier times we knew each other from a new side. This time I admired him; while I took him as an idiot son of mine in ‘Persian King’. There I was quite ashamed of him, and I was angry with his things. He too, he saw me from a very new angle in ‘Wingless Angels’. He noticed my kinder, caring side. Earlier, in ‘Persian King’ he might have felt it was impossible to please me, it was impossible for him to be good enough. I was an unavailable, stern and hard person in his eyes.
After I had returned home from foreign lands, I saw him very differently. He seemed shaky and had some sickness. As a partner king, he was not at all satisfied with the way I was arranging things and criticised me behind my back. It was bad for me to hear this and I still longed to have a real father – in a few moments he could grow up to be one, but most of the times he failed. All with this, anything he was like, I loved him very much. For me, he remained to be the great king who is to be admired – and the only family member I trusted.”
“After the ‘Wingless Angels’ episode, it took a long time when we incarnated in lives where we met again, and when we did, I was already a woman.”
“In ‘Milenka’ (circa 1600) I was to live on my own. There I had a son, and I feel that the boy was identical with my father at ‘Wingless Angels’. We died on the same day when our house burned down. My drunken lover – his father – locked the house and set it on fire in a fit of rage. We had been buried in the same grave.”
After the Milenka story he was my son one more time, in the Why not wiser episode. There we did not have a dramatic end. My husband died when he was very young and I brought him up alone, later with my second husband. He had a younger sister. He was an intelligent boy and as he came of age, he joined to one of my mechant friends to learn about commerce. Later? The Like the Birds and the Bees episode came.
“…at the ‘Like the Birds and the Bees’ (circa 1750) the romance with my cousin sealed our fate. My cousin was identical with the soul who was my father in ‘Wingless Angels’. It was a very clear, innocent thing, a real child love, twinkling and sunny. It had a sorrowful ending, because our parents discovered us. We were punished badly. I was transported to live at a distant relation, and I died a little later.”
“In ‘Pickpocket’ (circa 1850) I was born to a very poor family, and after my mother had died, with my father and brothers we moved to a big city. There my father planned to make a living from thieving. Soon he ended up arrested, and I was cast into an orphanage.
I managed to sneak away and found my home at a boy who I knew fancied me. He was Edward, identical with my cousin in ‘Like the Birds and the Bees’. We were both very young and poor. He became my boyfriend, and as I had nowhere to go, I stayed at his rented place. I expected him to marry me, but he could not afford it, he said. For some reason, he backed out whenever this came up. Later he might have decided about this positively. It was not easy to make ends meet, but he could save money and with time things improved. We had a daughter, though I died shortly after her birth. I was no more than eighteen.
Then a few decades later we met in Germany, again as children (circa 1898). That was already in the ‘Lisabeta’ episode. As a small kid, he asked my hand. Apparently, a fleeting emotion might have remained in him about us having a relationship earlier. An imprint, a feeling, something. His name was Nicholaus.”
About his character from The Wider Context:
“As a child, he tended to be weedy and was often sick. As an adult, he could be stronger, especially if he was given a military education and regular exercise. I was his father at least four times, and I was his mother two times. I was his son only one time in ‘Wingless Angels’.”
“He had his own wits of managing things, and he was quick on the uptake. His weakest points were jealousy and suspicion. He had the tendency to be paranoid and easily believed bad things about his loved ones. Or about himself.”
Interestingly, there is a scene that repeats in the Wingless Angels and in the Lisabeta episodes:
At Lisabeta, it happened around the time when I tried to finish this relationship, at the start of our romance. One day, as I told him I can’t go to see him, he became very angry. He smashed down the phone. That night he got really drunk. I was worried about him, and I found him in a bar near his flat. I saw him home. It took some time to sooth him… He was lying on the couch in the coffee room, when I stood up to go and switch off the light at the entrance. He did not want me to go out, I was surprised. He was truly afraid I’d disappear. Similarly at Wingless Angels there was a scene when I had to dash out from his room to arrange something, and he was scared the same way. Both cases happened late in the evening, and in both cases we suffered from the tension surrounding us…
Even today I love him very much. Well, it may be needless to say this…