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Mantua, 11 January 1770
We arrived here yesterday evening, and by 6 o`clock - an hour later - we were already at the opera. footnote1 We are well, thank God; Wolfgangerl looks as if he has fought in a campaign, for he`s turned reddish-brown, especially around the nose and mouth, from the air and the open fires. He looks just like His Majesty the Emperor, for example. My own good looks haven`t suffered very much, otherwise I`d be in despair. There`s nothing yet for me to report from here: today we called on the Prince of Taxis, footnote2 but he wasn`t at home, and his wife needed urgently to write some letters so that she was unable to speak to her fellow countrymen.
But at the bottom of the house we saw a couple of dirty female kitchen staff jumping for joy at the sight of their compatriots. It seems to me that they`re not really enjoying Italy. Tomorrow we`re invited to have lunch with Count Francesco Eugenio Comte d`Arco, footnote3 after which I`ll be able to tell you more about this place. In the meantime I must tell you one or two things about Verona. We saw the amphitheatre and the Musæum Lapidarium that you can read about in Kaysler`s travel notes. footnote4 I`ll also be bringing back with me a book on the antiquities of Verona. footnote5 Herr von Helmreich, footnote6 to whom I send my best wishes, will presumably lend you the other two parts of Kaysler, so that, even though you`re not with us, you can at least follow our journey from your own front room. It would make my letters too heavy and too expensive if I were to enclose the newspaper cuttings from Mantua and elsewhere about Wolfg.`s appearances. But I`m enclosing one that contains 2 mistakes: it says `actual Kapellmeister` and that he is `not yet 13 years old`, instead of 14. footnote7 But you know how it is: journalists write down the first thing that comes into their heads. I could send you some other things, too, for in Verona the poets vied with each other in singing his praises. Here is a copy of a sonnet that a learned dilettante noted down in our presence, footnote8
On the 16th there`ll be the usual weekly concert footnote10 in the hall of the Accademia Filarmonica, to which we are invited: we`ll then go straight on to Milan. If the weather`s cold and the roads frozen, we`ll travel via Cremona, but if it`s warm and the roads in consequence are bad, we`ll have to go via Brescia. footnote11 We feel quite safe here and, as in Germany, have heard nothing to the contrary. Upon my honour, I swear that I barely have time to write this letter - because of it, we had to miss the opera today. I`ll write to you again as soon as we reach Milan; and you should write to me in Milan. You can add at the bottom: per ricapito del Sgr. Troger, Secretario di S: Exllza il Sgr. Comte Carlo de Firmian. I must get to bed now. Farewell to you and Nannerl. We kiss you 1000 times. We drink your health every day, Wolfg. never forgets to do so. Farewell, I am you old
All conceivable wishes to all our good friends. I can`t write to any of them as I`m being hounded from pillar to post. Nothing but dressing and undressing, packing and unpacking, on top of which we never have a warm room but freeze like a dog, everything I touch is like ice. And if you were to see the doors and locks in the rooms! Just like prisons! - Please post the enclosed letter to Herr Friderici footnote12 in Gera so that it can be forwarded quickly and safely. It`s an order for a harpsichord. footnote13
Please use the following reference when citing this website:
Eisen, Cliff et al. In Mozart's Words, Letter 155 <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.