The old woman

Götz: Old woman
Götz, Old woman
Kruspe: Old woman
Kruspe, Old woman

The old lady is Maria Römpler.

This is the only painting that has been photographed and according to Schröer, Kruspe's drawing agrees with the photo. The old lady is in her night gown in front of the four-poster bed and her dog. Death beckons to her and she has risen from the chair, but before joining the dance she has to rest her old body at the table.

In this case Götz' watercolour is quite identical, the only difference is that in Kruspe's drawing, Death has long hair / headscarf, which might indicate that this Death is female.

At the back of the photo is this note: "Mrs. Maria Magdalena Römpler née Rostin bestowed the Evangelical orphanage with a considerable grant of money, wheat, grain, barley and oats in the year (the number has become illegible) and her memory is gratefully celebrated every year in the orphanage hall through the children of the orphanage by singing, prayer and speech, as well as a small banquet.

The photo must have been taken on such a day, since it shows how the frame of the painting was covered with a flower wreath.

    Der Tod zur alten Frau:
Komm, altes Mütterlein, mit auf die Todtenfahrt,
Ich habe meinen Ruf an dich bis jetzt gespart,
Du darfst nun länger nicht auf meine Ankunft harren,
Dein altes, kaltes Blut soll augenblicks erstarren.

    Die alte Frau:
Gottlob und Dank, dass auch der grauen Jahre Zahl
Nun zu dem Ende läuft. Da aus dem Jammerthal
Mich dieser Bote ruft. Ich kann mich freudig fassen
Und da ich längst bereit, mit Lust die Welt verlassen.

The year on the photo may have become illegible but we know from Pohle that the year was 1761 and that the legacy consisted of — each year — 66 Reichsthaler, 6 Groschen and 9 Pfennig, 37 1/2 measures of wheat, 255 127/128 measures of corn (i.e.: rye), 263 127/128 measures of barley and 227 63/64 measures of oats.

The numbers are rather odd. One Reichsthaler was divided into 24 Groschen, which in turn was 12 Pfenning. The "measure" (German: Metze) varied greatly from location to location, from 3,435 Liter in Prussia to 37,06 Liter in Bavaria. In some areas there was one "Metze" for oats and another for all other kinds of grain.

One "Metze" was 128 Schrott, which partially explains the odd figures like 255 127/128, but one wonders why Mrs. Römpler couldn't have used the 6 Groschen and 9 Pfennig to pay for one more "Schrott" to make a full 256 "Metze".


Instead of Death's speech, Götz has a eulogy signed "The Orphanage":

Du bist es werth
dass man Dich jezt verehret,
Du hast an uns gedacht, hast uns're Noth gewehret!
Das Waisenhaus.

This is rather odd. Obviously Götz didn't pull this verse out of his sleeve, so where does it come from? Which verse was written on the painting? Death's words or the orphanage's words?

Götz, rather illogically, headlines the next verse: »Der Todt zur alten Weibe« even though the words are clearly spoken by the woman.