Since my last post, I received more information regarding the Casanova letter I showed.
Here is a transcription by Furio Luccichenti:
Ieri ho avuto la lettera di mio fratello vi recherá sollievo sapere che sarà presto a Vienna.
Egli mi scrive che porterà a V.e. i 45 fiorini da me ricevuti per bontà sua e onorare la mia parola verso sua grazia che tanta gentilezza ha mostrato verso la mia mala sorte.
Le prego di concedere la sua protezione a questo vostro umile e sfortunato servitore e spero nella benevolenza.
Adriano Contini adds that the salutation is probably this:
Mio venerati(ssimo) Pa(drone) (?)
And the closing (before C’s signature) probably stands for this:
di V.E. (Vostra Eccellenza)
Translated to English, it goes something like this:
My venerable Master
Yesterday I got my brother’s letter, it will bring you relief know that it will soon be in Vienna.
He writes to me that it will bring to V.E. the 45 florins I received for his goodness to honor my word with your grace which so much kindness showed towards my bad luck.
Please grant your protection to this your humble and unfortunate servant and I hope in the benevolence.
Of course, any new document that shows up has to be authenticated. I have not heard if this one has been authenticated, or by whom. Adriano points out that it is quite possible today to get paper from the 18th century, so simply dating the paper is not sufficient. This letter is also undated. A few other things Adriano points out:
- The letter has no folds. Letters then were folded and usually sealed with wax, as envelopes were not used. “It may be a draft or a letter written and never sent,” Adriano states. Or perhaps it was a copy.
- Adriano has a good eye for details. He also points out, “Moreover, it seems to me that the calligraphy is very homogeneous and yet this is strange because periodically the pen was dipped in ink and as the ink ran out the writing became more slender. But it is also possible that, since the periods of the letter were very short, the ink was sufficient to guarantee homogeneity to the writing. And that at the beginning of each period the writer has dipped the pen in ink.”
These are great questions. I don’t know if others have already found the answers to them, but at least at the exhibit, no further explanation was given. I know a few of my readers out there are scholars of the 18th century and can perhaps add more helpful information about letter writing during those times.