TO CARL AMENDA AT WIRBEN IN COURLAND
Vienna, June 1, 1800.
My Dear, My Good Amenda, My Heartily Beloved Friend:
With deep emotion, with mixed pain and pleasure, did I receive and read your last letter. To what can I compare your fidelity, your attachment to me. Oh! how pleasant it is that you have always remained so kind to me; yes, I also know that you, of all men, are the most trustworthy. You are no Viennese friend; no, you are one of those such as my native country produces. How often do I wish you were with me, for your Beethoven is most unhappy and at strife with nature and the Creator. The latter I have often cursed for exposing His creatures to the smallest chance, so that frequently the richest buds are thereby crushed and destroyed. Only think that the noblest part of me, my sense of hearing, has become very weak. Already when you were with me I noted traces of it, and I said nothing. Now it has become worse, and it remains to be seen whether it can ever be healed. * * * What a sad life I am now compelled to lead! I must avoid all that is near and dear to me, and then to be among such wretched egotistical beings as ——, etc.! I can say that among all Lichnowski has best stood the test. Since last year he has settled on me 600 florins, which, together with the good sale of my works, enables me to live without anxiety. Everything I write, I can sell immediately five times over, and also be well paid. * * * Oh! how happy should I now be if I had my perfect hearing, for I should then hasten to you. As it is, I must in all things be behindhand; my best years will slip away without bringing forth what, with my talent and my strength, I ought to have accomplished. I must now have recourse to sad resignation. I have, it is true, resolved not to worry about all this, but how is it possible? Yes, Amenda, if, six months hence, my malady is beyond cure, then I lay claim to your help. You must leave everything and come to me. I will travel (my malady interferes least with my playing and composition, most only in conversation), and you must be my companion. I am convinced good fortune will not fail me. With whom need I be afraid of measuring my strength? Since you went away I have written music of all kinds except operas and sacred works.
Yes, do not refuse; help your friend to bear with his troubles, his infirmity. I have also greatly improved my piano-forte playing. I hope this journey may also turn to your advantage; afterwards you will always remain with me. I have duly received all your letters, and although I have answered only a few, you have been always in my mind; and my heart, as always, beats tenderly for you. Please keep as a great secret what I have told you about my hearing; trust no one, whoever it may be, with it.
Do write frequently; your letters, however short they may be, console me, do me good. I expect soon to get another one from you, my dear friend. Don’t lend out my Quartet any more, because I have made many changes in it. I have only just learnt how to write quartets properly, as you will see when you receive them.