Letter 20

Tchaikovsky Research
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Date 12/24 April 1851
Addressed to Aleksandra Tchaikovskaya and Ilya Tchaikovsky
Where written Saint Petersburg
Language Russian
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): National Library of Russia (ф. 834, ед. хр. 33, л. 23-24)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 22
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 25-26
Notes Postscript to a letter from his brother Nikolay and their guardian Modest Vakar dated "12 April 1851" [1]

Text and Translation

Spelling and punctuation errors in the original text have not been indicated.

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Милые и прекрасные Папаша и Мамаша!

С Воскресения до вчерашнего дня мы гостили у доброй и милой Марии Александровны.

С большим удовольствием я пишу вам это письмо потому что мне кажется, что оно уже последнее, потому что я вас ожидаю в скором времени.

Когда Модест Алексеевич уедет то мы верно будем ходить по Воскресеньям и Праздникам к Марьи Александровне которая такая добрая женщина что в доброте вам двум прекрасным Ангелам.

Третьего дня когда я был у Марьи Александровне то она брала нас к Редеровым. Там было много дам и между прочим от одной из них я слыхал что она об вас говорила милая Мамашинька.

Не знаю что вам писать мои прекрасные родители-ангельчики, душички, милочки, добрые и все что вам угодно, но только скажу что я вас так люблю, что у меня нет слов чтоб выразить это.

Поцелуйте за меня Полю, Сашурочку, прекрасных Толю и Модю; Малю, Мину, Катю также поцелуйте. Поклонитесь и поцелуйте ручку у Тёте Лизе Сестрице и Зиночке.

Вас же прекрасных ангелов целую с ног до головы и прошу Вашего благословления.

Машурочке «je crois bien» надо поклониться. Ваш сын,

П. Чайковский

Dear and wonderful Papasha and Mamasha!

From Sunday until yesterday we stayed with kind and dear Mariya Aleksandrovna [2].

I am writing this letter to you with great pleasure because I think that is in fact the last one, as I am expecting you very soon.

After Modest Alekseyevich has left we shall probably go to Mariya Aleksandrovna's on Sundays and holidays [3]: she is such a kind woman that in kindness she equals you two wonderful Angels.

The day before yesterday, when I was at Mariya Aleksandrovna's, she took us to see the Rederovs. There were many ladies there, and among other things, I heard one of them talking about you, dear Mamashinka.

I don't know what to write to you, my wonderful parents, little angels, darlings, sweeties, kind ones, and whatever you like, but I shall just say that I love you so much that I cannot find words to express it.

Kiss for me Polya, Sashurochka, wonderful Tolya and Modya; kiss also Malya, Mina and Katya [4]. Give my regards to, and kiss the hands of, Aunt Liza, Sestritsa [5] and Zinochka.

As for you wonderful angels, I kiss you from your toes to your head, and ask for your blessing.

I must also send my regards to Mashurochka "je crois bien" [6]. Your son,

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. Note by Vladimir Zhdanov in П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 661.
  2. Mariya Aleksandrovna Tchaikovskaya, the second wife of the composer's uncle Vladimir Tchaikovsky. The latter's first wife, Mariya Petrovna (née Kamenskaya) had died in 1842 — note based on note by Vladimir Zhdanov in П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 661.
  3. Modest Alekseyevich Vakar was a friend of Ilya Tchaikovsky's who had agreed to act as the guardian of young Pyotr after his enrolment in the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in Saint Petersburg in September 1850, as well as to keep an eye on his brother Nikolay, two years his senior, who was attending the city's Mining College. Although both these institutions were boarding-schools, Pyotr and Nikolay had been allowed to stay at the Vakars' house on Sundays and during holidays. Later in April 1851, however, Modest Vakar left Saint Petersburg with his family to settle elsewhere.
  4. Vilgelmina ('Mina') and Yekaterina ('Katya') were younger sisters of Tchaikovsky's cousin Amaliya Schobert (later Litke).
  5. 'Sestritsa', or 'little sister', was the affectionate name for Tchaikovsky's much older cousin, Anastasiya Vasilyevna Popova (1807–1894), the daughter of Ilya Tchaikovsky's older sister Yevdokiya Popova.
  6. Marya Yegorovna Foss was a nanny and governess in the Schobert family. "Je crois bien!" ('I should think so!') was a humorous catchphrase of hers.