Love and friendship
Mozart's love for his father made him dependent on the latter to
the end of his days. He was a model son and must have loved his
wife devotedly, since, for her sake, he once in his life
disobeyed his father. The majority of his letters which have been
preserved are addressed to his father, to whom he reported all
his happenings and whose advice he is forever seeking. Similar
were his relations with his sister Marianne (Nannerl), whom he
loved with great tenderness. The letters to his wife are unique;
all of them, even the last, seem to be the letters of a lover.
They were a pair of turtle-doves.
Mozart was an ideal friend, ready to sacrifice to the uttermost
on the altar of friendship. It was this trait of character which
made him throw himself with enthusiasm into Freemasonry, whose
affiliations he sought to widen by drafting the constitution of a
community which he called "The Grotto." He probably hated only
one man in the world,--the Archbishop of Salzburg, his tormentor.
185. "The moment you do not trust me I shall distrust myself.
The time is past, it is true, when I used to stand on the settle,
sing oragna fiagata fa and kiss the tip end of your nose; but
have I therefore shown laxity in respect, love and obedience?
I say no more."
(Mannheim, February 19, 1779, to his father, who was vexed
because Mozart was showing a disposition to stay in Mannheim,
because of a love affair, instead of going to Paris. "Off with
you to Paris, and soon!" wrote the father. The Italian words are
meaningless and but a bit of child's play, the nature of which
can be gathered from Mozart's remark.)
186. "Pray do not let your mind often harbor the thought that I
shall ever forget you! It is intolerable to me. My chief aim in
life has been, is, and will be to strive so that we may soon be
reunited and happy....Reflect that you have a son who will never
consciously forget his filial duty toward you, and who will labor
ever to grow more worthy of so good a father."
(Mannheim, February 28, 1778, to his father.)
187. "The first thing I did after reading your letter was to go
on my knees, and, out of a full heart, thank my dear God for this
mercy. Now I am again at peace, since I know that I need no
longer be concerned about the two persons who are the dearest
things on earth to me."
(Paris, July 31, 1778, to his father, who had written that he and
Nannerl had comforted each other on the death of his mother.)
188. "Dearest, best of fathers! I wish you all conceivable good;
whatever can be wished, that I wish you,--but no, I wish you
nothing, but myself everything. For myself, then, I wish that you
remain well and live innumerable years to my great happiness and
pleasure; I wish that everything that I undertake may agree with
your desire and liking,--or, rather, that I may undertake nothing
which might not turn out to your joy. This also I hope, for
whatever adds to the happiness of your son must naturally be
agreeable also to you."
(Vienna, November 16, 1781, to his father, congratulating him on
his name-day. On March 17, 1778, Mozart had written from
Mannheim: "Your accuracy extends to all things. 'Papa comes
directly after God' was my maxim as a child and I shall stick to
189. "Our little cousin is pretty, sensible, amiable, clever and
merry, all because she has been in society; she visited Munich
for a while. You are right, we suit each other admirably, for
she, too, is a bit naughty. We play great pranks on the people
(Augsburg, October 17, 1777, to his father. The "little cousin"
was two years younger than Mozart. Her father was a master
bookbinder in Augsburg. The maiden seems later to have had
serious designs on the composer.)
190. "I shall be right glad when I meet a place in which there is
a court. I tell you that if I did not have so fine a Mr. Cousin
and Miss Cousin and so dear a little cousin, my regrets that I am
in Augsburg would be as numerous as the hairs of my head."
(Augsburg, October 17, 1777, to his father, whose birthplace he
was visiting on a concert tour. Mozart was vexed at the insolence
of the patricians.)
191. "In the case of Frau Lange I was a fool,--that's certain;
but what is a fellow not when he's in love? I did really love
her, and am not indifferent toward her even now. It's lucky for
me that her husband is a jealous fool and never permits her to go
anywhere, so that I seldom see her."
(Vienna, May 12, 1781, to his father, at the time when he was
being outrageously treated by the Archbishop. Frau Lange was
Aloysia Weber, sister of Constanze, to whom Mozart transferred
his love and whom he made his wife. Aloysia married an actor at
the Court Theatre, Josef Lange, with whom she lived unhappily.)
192. "I will not say that when at the house of the Mademoiselle
to whom I seem already to have been married off, I am morose and
silent; but neither am I in love. I jest with her and amuse her
when I have time (which is only evenings when I sup at home, for
in the forenoons I write in my room and in the afternoons I am
seldom at home); only that and nothing more. If I were obliged to
marry all the girls with whom I have jested I should have at
least 200 wives."
(Vienna, July 25, 1781, to his father, who had heard all manner
of tales concerning the relations of Mozart and Constanze Weber.)
193. "My good, dear Constanze is the martyr, and, perhaps for
that very reason, the best hearted, cleverest, and (in a word)
the best of them all. She assumes all the cares of the house, and
yet does not seem able to accomplish anything. O, best of
fathers, I could write pages if I were to tell you all the scenes
that have taken place in this house because of us
two....Constanze is not ugly, but anything but beautiful; all her
beauty consists of two little black eyes and a handsome figure.
She is not witty but has enough common sense to be able to
perform her duties as wife and mother. She is not inclined to
finery,--that is utterly false; on the contrary, she is generally
ill clad, for the little that the mother was able to do for her
children was done for the other two--nothing for her. True she
likes to be neatly and cleanly, though not extravagantly,
dressed, and she can herself make most of the clothes that a
woman needs; she also dresses her own hair every day, understands
housekeeping, has the best heart in the world,--tell me, could I
wish a better wife?"
(Vienna, December 15, 1781, to his father. Constanze seems to
have been made for Mozart; they went through the years of their
brief wedded life like two children.)
194. "Dearest, best of friends!"
"Surely you will let me call you that? You can not hate me so
greatly as not to permit me to be your friend, and yourself to
become mine? And even if you do not want to be my friend longer,
you can not forbid me to think kindly of you as I have been in
the habit of doing. Consider well what you said to me today.
Despite my entreaties you gave me the mitten three times and told
me to my face that you would have nothing further to do with me.
I, to whom it is not such a matter of indifference as it is to
you to lose a sweetheart, am not so hot tempered, inconsiderate
or unwise as to accept that mitten. I love you too dearly for
that. I therefore beg you to ponder on the cause of your
indignation. A little confession of your thoughtless conduct
would have made all well,--if you do not take it ill, dear friend,
may still make all well. From this you see how much I love you.
I do not flare up as you do; I think, I consider, and I feel. If
you have any feeling I am sure that I will be able to say to
myself before night: Constanze is the virtuous, honor-loving,
sensible and faithful sweetheart of just and well-meaning Mozart."
(Vienna, April 29, 1782, to his fiancee, Constanze Weber. She had
played at a game of forfeits such as was looked upon lightly by
the frivolous society of the period in Vienna. Mozart rebuked her
and she broke off the engagement. The letter followed and soon
thereafter a reconciliation. Mozart had said to her: "No girl who
is jealous of her honor would do such a thing.")
195. "She is an honest, good girl of decent parents;--I am able
to provide her with bread;--we love each other and want each
other!...It is better to put one's things to rights and be an
honest fellow!--God will give the reward! I do not want to have
anything to reproach myself with."
(Vienna, July 31, 1782, to his father, who had given his consent,
hesitatingly and unwillingly, to the marriage of his son who was
twenty-six years old. On August 7 Mozart wrote to him: "I kiss
your hands and thank you with all the tenderness which a son
should feel for his father, for your kind permission and paternal
196. "If I were to tell you all the things that I do with your
portrait, you would laugh heartily. For instance when I take it
out of its prison house I say 'God bless you, Stanzerl! God bless
you, you little rascal,--Krallerballer--Sharpnose--little
Bagatelle!' And when I put it back I let it slip down slowly and
gradually and say 'Nu,--Nu,--Nu,--Nu;' but with the emphasis
which this highly significant word demands, and at the last,
quickly: 'Good-night, little Mouse, sleep well!' Now, I suppose,
I have written down a lot of nonsense (at least so the world
would think); but for us, who love each other so tenderly, it
isn't altogether silly."
(Dresden, April 13, 1789, to his wife in Vienna.)
197. "Dear little wife, I have a multitude of requests;
1mo, I beg of you not to be sad.
"2do, that you take care of your health and not trust the spring
"3tio, that you refrain from walking out alone, or, better, do
not walk out at all.
"4to, that you rest assured of my love. Not a letter have I
written to you but that your portrait was placed in front of
"5to, I beg of you to consider not only my honor and yours in
your conduct but also in appearances. Do not get angry because of
this request. You ought to love me all the more because I make so
much of honor."
(Dresden, April 16, 1789, to his wife, in Vienna, who was fond of
198. "You can not imagine how slowly time goes when you are not
with me! I can't describe the feeling; there is a sort of sense
of emptiness, which hurts--a certain longing which can not be
satisfied, and hence never ends, but grows day by day. When I
remember how childishly merry we were in Baden, and what
mournful, tedious hours I pass here, my work gives me no
pleasure, because it is not possible as was my wont, to chat a
few words with you when stopping for a moment. If I go to the
Clavier and sing something from the opera (Die Zauberflote) I
must stop at once because of my emotions.--Basta!"
(Vienna, July 7, 1791, to his wife, who was taking the waters at
199. "I call only him or her a friend who is a friend under all
circumstances, who thinks day or night of nothing else than to
promote the welfare of a friend, who urges all well-to-do friends
and works himself to make the other person happy."
(Kaisersheim, December 18, 1778, to his father. Mozart was making
the journey from Mannheim to Munich in the carriage of a prelate.
The parting with his Mannheim friends, especially with Frau
Cannabich, his motherly friend, was hard. "For me, who never made
a more painful parting than this, the journey was only half
pleasant--it would even have been a bore, if from childhood I had
not been accustomed to leave people, countries and cities.")
200. "Permit me to beg for a continuance of your precious
friendship, and to ask you to accept mine for now and forever;
with an honest heart I vow it to you everlastingly. True it will
be of little use to you; but it will be the more durable and
honest for that reason. You know that the best and truest friends
are the poor. Rich people know nothing of friendship!--especially
those who are born rich and those who have become rich
fortuitously,--they are too often wrapped up completely in their
own luck! But there is nothing to fear from a man who has been
placed in advantageous circumstances, not through blind, but
deserved good fortune, through merit,--a man who did not lose
courage because of his first failures,--who remained true to his
religion and trust in God, was a good Christian and an honest man
and cherished and valued his true friend,--in a word,--a man who
has deserved better fortune--from such a man, there is nothing to
(Paris, August 7, 1778, to his friend Bullinger, in Salzburg, to
whom he felt beholden for the gentle and considerate way in which
he had broken the news of his mother's death to the family.)
201. "My friend, had I but the money which many a man who does
not deserve it wastes so miserably,--if I only had it! O, with
what joy would I not help you!--But, alas! those who can will
not, and those who would like to can not!"
(Paris, July 29, 1778, to Fridolin Weber, father of Constanze.
The letter was found but recently among some Goethe autographs.)