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À Madame / Madame Marie Anne Mozart / à / Salzbourg / par Mantova
Milan 27 October 1770

You`ll have received my first letter of the 20th inst. from Milan. footnote1 By the same post I also wrote to H Grace. Please let me know if H G received it, footnote2 you`ll no doubt find out soon enough. We`re well, thank God, and since it`s been raining so heavily, we`ve hardly left the house. La Spangioletta, whom you met in Lyons, is here and will be appearing in Verona this coming carnival. She told us that the tenor would be coming from Germany and that he`s in the service of a court not far from Bavaria. Perhaps H Meisner will be going there. I know he could have had [a contract with] the theatre at Verona, so I assume that it`s him. Write and tell me at once. God willing, we`ll leave here during the second half of January and travel to Venice via Brescia, Verona, Vicenza and Padua in order to catch the end of the carnival, which is very brief this year, and then hear a number of concerts during Lent, which, as everyone tells me, is the best time of the year to appear in public. I`m only sorry that our journey home will then be so muddy and perhaps also dangerous as it`s no fun travelling through the mountains in spring, when the snow is beginning to melt. I`m still thinking of travelling via Carinthia as I`ve already seen the Tyrol and, unless sheer necessity demands otherwise, I`ve no desire to do the same journey twice, as dogs do. Meanwhile I would ask Herr Johann and Herr Joseph Hagenauer to enquire if I couldn`t find private rooms somewhere safe in Venice. I`ll certainly stay briefly in Brescia, Verona etc. and all these other places in order to see the operas that are on, so that I shan`t reach Venice until February, perhaps not even until the beginning of the week after Candlemas . footnote3 Herr Hafner, to whom I extend my very best wishes, promised to send us some letters for Venice. footnote4 If he`s still willing to do so, he can have them sent in advance to a friend in Venice, so that they`re waiting for me there, as it would be pointless to send them to Milan. H Misliwetscek visited us in Bologna and we, too, called on him frequently, he still remembers H Johannes Hagenauer and, of course, H Cröner . footnote5 He was writing an oratorio for Padua and will have finished it by now; he`s then going to Bohemia. He`s an honest individual and we`ve become the best of friends.
Our apartment here isn`t far from the theatre and consists of a large room with a balcony and 3 windows. There`s a fireplace in this room. The bedroom is just as large and has 2 large windows but no fireplace. So, as long as we don`t freeze to death, we`re sure that we won`t smell as we have enough air. The bed is a good 9 spans wide. footnote6 We`re now some distance away from Count Firmian`s home, but it`s now necessary for us to be near the theatre. We wish you both good health and especially cheaper times as you`re always giving me the depressing news that everything is getting more expensive. What will become of Salzb. if some means can`t be found to establish a sound regime? With such low incomes we shall all ultimately be reduced to begging. The poor court servants barely have enough to satisfy their hunger, and because they have no money, their children are learning nothing, so they`ll grow up to be idlers and in 20 years` time the town will be full of useless people living in squalor, a burden both to the court and to the whole community. Within a few years and, indeed, with each passing year, people will see that I`m speaking the truth. If everyone is to be allowed to marry and a town is to be populated, one must know in advance how these people are to be found work and, in consequence, how they are to live. To people a town with beggars is a simple matter. But they must be given work and provided with an income; only then is it a good thing to populate the town. And this doesn`t strike me as impossible, even though Salzb. is very confined and is hemmed in to the left and right. In a case like this people must give thought not only to what can be used in the country itself but also to have the produce in the country. We kiss you 100000000 times and I am your old
Is Zezi`s lottery footnote7 up and running?


My dearest Sister,
You know what a chatterbox I am - just as I was when I left you - but I`m now communicating in sign language as the son of the house is deaf and dumb, which he has been since birth. I now have to work on my opera. I`m sincerely sorry that I can`t let you have the minuets footnote8 that you asked for, but, God willing, you may perhaps have them by Easter, together with me in person. There`s nothing else to add as there`s no news to report. Farewell, and pray for me. Kiss Mama`s hands, and give my best wishes to all my acquaintances. I am, as always, your brother
Wolfgang Mozart
Please use the following reference when citing this website:
Eisen, Cliff et al. In Mozart's Words, Letter 216 <http://letters.mozartways.com>. Version 1.0, published by HRI Online, 2011. ISBN 9780955787676.
In Mozart's Words. Version 1.0, published by HRI Online, 2011. ISBN 9780955787676.