Monday, August 29, 2005

My family

My father, Leopold Mozart :
He is happy to believe HIS talent has passed to the son and cajoles the archbishop not for himself but for Wolfgang. It is true he knows where to find my fur boots - in the trunk under the the roof - from a thousand miles away. My father has laid two eggs in one basket and is lying on them both just in case.
My mother:
She is devoted to her husband and God in that order. Anna Maria Mozart, nee Pertl, possesses a fine voice which is finest when she is vexed with the servants. Above all else, my mother has a wicked wit and a rare understanding of holiness.
My brother, Wolfgang:
He is a prey to toothache and an interest in his prettier cousins - a miniature rendition of a man, a boy prodigy who will soon be everything that my father forsees.
My lover:
He has gold buttons on a scarlet coat and silk stockings on his legs- a cock of a man who visits me in dreams.
My future husband:
I have not met him yet but I know he will be dull by comparison. Perhaps I will die in childbirth. N.

A Sin

The church bells are tolling to remind us of our sins. Here is one of mine: lust. I have a lust for satisfaction of ALL my appetites. It is a type of greed that takes hold at unexpected moments and is never satisfied. I was at church the whole day on Sunday. Between sermons, I tried to lay aside all thoughts that would ruin me and failed. So wild was my imagining, I fancied I drank spa water with a certain friend and spoke in French, which I cannot do otherwise, and was observed to look ill. It was no doubt due to the hankering kindness I felt for Herr -- who told me of a sonata for violin and clavier he had composed, which he would like me to play. Play WITH him! I would like to play WITH the curls on his wig and blow wind very gently behind his ears. I would like to COMPOSE myself! In all my fancies, I am like a tree that has been sunk into a flowerpot and can be lifted out very easily when I am in his company. But alas, this is a sin of dreaming and only my distraction is real. N.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

My Beloved Brother

Mama and I are both longing for you to make your fortune as we believe that your success will mean happiness for us all. Although I wish to embrace you, I will delay such thoughts until you are NOT composing and can spare the time to receive them in spirit. Alas to bed I now must steal and with these words I do impart - as long as you can piddle, shit or deadly fart, our art will surely grab our heart O brother mine, the queerest fish, my dainty dish, your loving sister, Nan. Postum Scriptum Nonsensicum: the Latin psalms are difficult to read and a German translation would be helpful! What a pity this is not a letter but the dullest entry from your darling blister. N.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Out of sorts

When you left, there were a thousand matters which I simply could not discuss because I was ill, confused, out of humour, full of doubts, sad and miserable. I do not regret who I am - how pointless that would be - but I wish to be considered by yourself without regard to my sex. I would like to be cross when I have a reason - not for the vapours or my monthly cloth or the state of my heart. The truth is, I am mad with rage! I cannot make this composition work, upside down or sideways. I will have to start again. Poof! N.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The song bird

Sometimes I have a dream without an image. There is only sound - a ravishing sound of a woman's voice, which I hear in that moment half way between sleeping and waking. It has 1) the range of three octaves, 2) always the same tune with the same embellishments and 3) the same degree of softness and loudness. Can it be a dream if there is nothing to see? N.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

An admirer!

I have a certain friend, who is plagued by nits. He has shaved off his own hair and rubbed his head in lavender oil as a precaution. He has called for the nit-picker to clean his wig, where I am told the nits have lodged in his curls. He has taken to wearing a silver, filigree basket containing lard, which he hangs around his neck. This is his decoy for the hungry monster and this is my admirer. I must buy myself a fine bone comb. N.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A warm bath

Last night, while Mama played cards, I went to the theatre and slept through the entire play, which is a measure of how good the spa in Gastein is or how bad the play was - I am not sure which. I had spent the afternoon at the baths and dipped my feet into the warm water with my puffbox and handkerchief in a little tray tied to my waist. It kept floating out in front of me as I tried to remember an Italian madrigal about love. My mind was drawn to a number of ladies all around me, smiling in that half way at each other as people do when they don't know another soul. We retired to the assembly room to share our gossip but unfortunately, there was very little in the way of wickedness. N.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


There is always some scandal or other to discuss in small towns. Life would be very dull otherwise. A certain abbe is regarded as a holy man in these parts but I do not believe it. At breakfast, according to my uncle, who is the finest tenor to have sung in the church at St Gilgen, their saint will drink three cups of strong wine after his hot chocolate before beginning mass. I have had the honour of lunching with this holy man and seen for myself that he ate six sweet pastries, a plate of venison, three small birds while consuming a decanter of wine, two saucers of milk with lemon and five cups of coffeee, which altogether makes a piffle of mama's and my two trouts apiece. Moreover, he takes several little snacks during the afternoon. N.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


This is a diary, not a collection of letters, more thoughts that people think and rarely ever say - dull when I am feeling dull or revelatory when there is something to reveal. To anyone who may happen on it by accident, I cannot change to please.
Last night Mama and I dined with my uncle, her brother, Anton Pertl, who sang for our supper in the church at St Gilgen. He has a fine tenor voice. We ate two trouts apiece and had such bellyaches and looseness of stool that I never want to eat trout again.N

Friday, August 12, 2005

What is in the bottom drawer

I have mentioned it twice - this bottom drawer - the fourth one down in the walnut chest next to my nun's bed. It contains all that I value - letters from admirers tied up with ribbon, my compositions, Wolfie's drawings for our targets in archery - mostly cartoons of naked bottoms, some small squares of silk from the dresses I've outgrown, family locks of hair and a collar that I made for Miss Pimperl when she was a puppy. It's a motley lot but it is mine. My compositions are there because they are the private proof of my passion. Everything contained in this sliding box is private or secret because I alone have the key. The bottom drawer seemed more discreet than the top, less likely to be discovered, although I sent Wolfie a copy of my latest song with a long story full of scandalous gossip. 'Cara Sorella Mia,' he wrote back post haste, 'you compose SO well . . . shit in your bed, make a mess of it.' Does he mean, to hang with the consequences? I am perfecting my form. N.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I am a little jealous! August, 1770

I am bored with my own company and this morning I found myself saying 'pop goes the weasel' to the walls of our apartment in Getreidegasse 9.
I wish I were in Italy. It's raining all over Salzburg and Mama says the living is becoming more expensive every day. Soon enough, we will have to manage on what Papa earns each month - there are no more jewelled toothpicks, no more gold snuffboxes to sell.
Papa and Wolfie have escaped the heat of Rome - or Milan - to stay at a country house in Bologna owned by a Count Bolognetti. They eat ripe peaches, figs and melons, which look like small Chinese lanterns... and Wolfie is becoming fat.
The bed linen is finer than a nobleman's shirt - and I wonder why my dear Papa doesn't make one for Wolfie by cutting up his sheet.
My brother has had to remove the silk thread from around his diamond ring because his fingers have grown so plump and his singing voice has gone. Poof! Papa says it is neither high nor low nor good for even five small notes! Mine is clear as a bell. I sing my own songs and have sent one to Wolfie but the others remain in my bottom drawer, waiting for someone to discover that I CAN COMPOSE! I might as well ride on a donkey... N.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005