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At home and abroad

163. "I assure you that without travel we (at least men of the
arts and sciences) are miserable creatures. A man of mediocre
talent will remain mediocre whether he travel or not; but a man
of superior talent (which I can not deny I am, without doing
wrong) deteriorates if he remains continually in one place."

(Paris, September 11, 1778, to his father, who had secured an
appointment for him at Salzburg which he was loath to accept. He
asked that the Archbishop permit him to travel once in two years.
He feared that he "would find no congenial society" in Salzburg,
where, moreover, music did not stand in large appreciation.
Mozart's subsequent experiences were of the most pitiable

164. "Write me, how is Mr. Canary? Does he still sing? Does he
still pipe? Do you know why I am thinking of the canary? Because
there is one in our anteroom that makes the same little sounds as

(Naples, May 19, 1770, to his sister. Mozart was very fond of
animals. In a letter from Vienna to his sister on August 21,
1773, he writes: "How is Miss Bimbes? Please present all manner
of compliments to her." "Miss Bimbes" was a dog. At another time
he wrote a pathetic little poem on the death of a starling. While
in the midst of the composition and rehearsal of "Idomeneo" he
wrote to his father: "Give Pimperl (a dog) a pinch of Spanish
snuff, a good wine-biscuit and three busses.")

165. "Because of my disposition which leans towards a quiet,
domestic life rather than to boisterousness, and the fact that
since my youth I have never given a thought to my linen, clothing
or such things, I can think of nothing more necessary than a
wife. I assure you that I frequently spend money unnecessarily
because I am negligent of these things. I am convinced that I
could get along better than I do now on the same income if I had
a wife. How many unnecessary expenditures would be saved? Others
are added, it is true, but you know in advance what they are and
can adjust them;--in a word you lead a regulated life. In my
opinion an unmarried man lives only half a life; that is my
conviction and I can not help it. I have resolved the matter over
and over in my mind and am of the same opinion still."

(Vienna, December 15, 1781, to his father.)

166. "At present I have only one pupil....I could have several if
I were to lower my fee; but as soon as one does that one loses
credit. My price is twelve lessons for six ducats, and I make it
understood besides that I give the lessons as a favor. I would
rather have three pupils who pay well than six who pay ill. I am
writing this to you to prevent you from thinking that it is
selfishness which prevents me from sending you more than thirty

(Vienna, June 16, 1781, to his father. [In American money
Mozart's fee is represented by $1.20 per lesson. H.E.K.])

167. "I could not go about Vienna looking like a tramp,
particularly just at this time. My linen was pitiable; no servant
here has shirts of such coarse stuff as mine,--and that certainly
is a frightful thing for a man. Consequently there were again
expenditures. I had only one pupil; she suspended her lessons for
three weeks, and I was again the loser. One must not throw one's
self away here,--that is a first principle,--or one is ruined
forever. The most audacious man wins the day."

(Vienna, September 5, 1781, to his father, excusing himself for
not having made remittances.)

168. "Resent anything and at once you receive smaller pay.
Besides all this the Emperor is a skinflint. If the Emperor wants
me he ought to pay for me; the mere honor of being in his employ
is not enough. If the Emperor were to offer me 1,000 florins and
a count 2,000, I should present my compliments to the Emperor and
go to the count,--assuming a guarantee, of course."

(Vienna, April 10, 1782, to his father. Mozart was not too
industrious in the pursuit of a court appointment, yet had reason
to be hopeful. Near the end of his short life the appointment
came from Joseph II, to whom Mozart had been too faithful.)

169. "I described my manner of life to my father only recently,
and I will now repeat it to you. At six o'clock in the morning I
am already done with my friseur, and at seven I am fully dressed.
Thereupon I compose until nine o'clock. From nine to one I give
lessons; then I eat unless I am a guest at places where they dine
at two or even three o'clock,--as, for instance, today and
tomorrow with Countess Zichy and Countess Thun. I can not work
before five or six o'clock in the evening and I am often
prevented even then by a concert; if not I write till nine. Then
I go to my dear Constanze, where the delight of our meeting is
generally embittered by the words of her mother;--hence my desire
to free and save her as soon as possible. At half after ten or
eleven I am again at home. Since (owing to the occasional
concerts and the uncertainty as to whether or not I may be called
out) I can not depend on having time for composition in the
evening, I am in the habit (particularly when I come home early)
of writing something before I go to bed. Frequently I forget
myself and write till one o'clock,--then up again at six."

(Vienna, February 13, 1782, to his sister Marianne--Nannerl, as
he called her.)

170. "We do not go to bed before 12 o'clock and get up half after
five or five, because nearly every day we take an early walk in
the Augarten."

(Vienna, May 26, 1784, to his father, to whom he complains of his
maid-servant who came from Salzburg and who had written to the
father that she was not permitted to sleep except between 11 and
6 o'clock.)

171. "Now as to my mode of life: As soon as you were gone I
played two games of billiards with Herr von Mozart who wrote the
opera for Schickaneder's theatre; then I sold my nag for fourteen
ducats; then I had Joseph call my primus and bring a black
coffee, to which I smoked a glorious pipe of tobacco....At 5:30 I
went out of the door and took my favorite promenade through the
Glacis to the theatre. What do I see? What do I smell? It is the
primus with the cutlet Gusto! I eat to your health. It has just
struck 11 o'clock. Perhaps you are already asleep. Sh! sh! sh! I
do not want to wake you."

"Saturday, the 8th. You ought to have seen me yesterday at
supper! I could not find the old dishes and therefore produced a
set as white as snow-flowers and had the wax candelabra in front
of me."

(Vienna, October 7, 1791, to his wife, who was taking the waters
at Baden. Mozart was fond of billiards and often played alone as
on this occasion. He was careful of his health and had been
advised by his physician to ride; but he could not acquire a
taste for the exercise--Hence the sale of his horse. The primus
was his valet, a servant found in every Viennese household at the
time. Out of the door through which he stepped on beginning his
walk to the theatre his funeral procession passed two months

172. "I have done more work during the ten days that I have lived
here than in two months in any other lodgings; and if it were not
that I am too often harassed by gloomy thoughts which I can
dispel only by force, I could do still more, for I live
pleasantly, comfortably and cheaply."

(Vienna, June 27, 1788, to his friend Puchberg.)

173. "I have no conveniences for writing there (i.e. at Baden),
and I want to avoid embarrassments as much as possible. Nothing
is more enjoyable than a quiet life and to obtain that one must
be industrious. I am glad to be that."

(Vienna, October 8, 1791, to his wife at Baden. Mozart probably
refers to work on his "Requiem." He says further: "If I had had
nothing to do I would have gone with you to spend the week.")

174. "Now the babe against my will, yet with my consent, has been
provided with a wet nurse. It was always my determination that,
whether she was able to do so or not, my wife was not to suckle
her child; but neither was the child to guzzle the milk of
another woman. I want it brought up on water as I and my sister
were, but..."

(Vienna, June 8, 1783, to his father, the day after his first
child was born. The "Dear, thick, fat little fellow" died soon

175. "Young as I am, I never go to bed without thinking that
possibly I may not be alive on the morrow; yet not one of the
many persons who know me can say that I am morose or melancholy.
For this happy disposition I thank my Creator daily, and wish
with all my heart that it were shared by all my fellows."

(Vienna, April 4, 1787, to his father, shortly before the
latter's death. Mozart himself died when, he was not quite
thirty-six years old.)

176. "If it chances to be convenient I shall call on the Fischers
for a moment; longer than that I could not endure their warm room
and the wine at table. I know very well that people of their
class think they are bestowing the highest honors when they offer
these things, but I am not fond of such things,--still less of
such people."

(Vienna, December 22, 1781, to his sister. Mozart was acquainted
with the Fischer family from the time of his first journeys as a
child. The contrast which he draws between the artist and the
comfort-loving, commonplace citizen is diverting.)

177. "The Viennese are a people who soon grow weary and
listless,--but only of the theatre. My forte is too popular to be
neglected. This, surely, is Clavierland!"

(Spoken to Count Arco who had warned him against removing to
Vienna because of the fickleness of the Viennese public. He
wanted him to return to Salzburg.)

178. "I am writing at a place called Reisenberg which is an
hour's distance from Vienna. I once stayed here over night; now I
shall remain a few days. The house is insignificant, but the
surroundings, the woods in which a grotto has been built as
natural as can be, are splendid and very pleasant."

(Vienna, July 13, 1781, to his father. Like Beethoven, Mozart
loved nature and wanted a garden about his home.)

179. "I wish that my sister were here in Rome. I am sure she
would be pleased with the city, for St. Peter's church is
regular, and many other things in Rome are regular."

(Rome, April 14, 1770. A droll criticism from the traveling
virtuoso, aged 14, in a letter to his mother and sister.)

180. "Carefully thinking it over I conclude that in no country
have I received so many honors or been so highly appreciated
as in Italy. You get credit in Italy if you have written an
opera,--especially in Naples."

(Munich, October 11, 1777, to his father. An influential friend
had offered to help him get an appointment in Italy.)

181. "Strassburg can't get along without me. You have no idea how
I am honored and loved here. The people say that everything I do
is refined, that I am so sedate and courteous and have so good a
bearing. Everybody knows me."

(Strassburg, October 26, 1778, to his father, on his return
journey from Paris. On October 3 he had written: "I beg your
pardon if I cannot write much. It is because, unless I am in a
city in which I am well known, I am never in a good humor. If I
were acquainted here I would gladly stay, for the city is truly
charming--beautiful houses, handsome broad streets, and superb

182. "Oh, what a difference between the people of the Palatinate
and of Bavaria! What a language! How coarse! To say nothing of
the mode of life!"

(Mannheim, November 12, 1778, to his father. Mozart, while
returning from Paris, had stopped at his "dear Mannheim," where
at the moment a regiment of Bavarian soldiers were quartered, and
had just got news of the rudeness with which the people of Munich
had treated their Elector.)

183. "In Regensburg we dined magnificently at noon, listened to
divine table music, had angelic service and glorious Mosel wine.
We breakfasted in Nuremberg,--a hideous city. At Wurzburg we
strengthened our stomachs with coffee; a beautiful, a splendid
city. The charges were moderate everywhere. Only two post relays
from here, in Aschaffenburg, the landlord swindled us

(Frankfort-on-the-Main, September 29, 1790, to his wife. The
remark is notable because of the judgments pronounced on the
renaissance city Nuremberg, and the rococo city Wurzburg.)

184. "All the talk about the imperial cities is mere boasting. I
am famous, admired and loved here, it is true, but the people are
worse than the Viennese in their parsimony."

(Mozart went to Frankfort, in 1790, on the occasion of the
coronation of the emperor, hoping to make enough money with
concerts to help himself out of financial difficulties, but

Jan 6, 2016
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