Letter 40

Tchaikovsky Research
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Date 18/30 November 1851
Addressed to Aleksandra Tchaikovskaya and Ilya Tchaikovsky
Where written Saint Petersburg
Language French
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): National Library of Russia (ф. 834, ед. хр. 33, л. 57–58)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 36–37
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 42
Notes Dated on the basis of a postscript added to this letter by Nikolay Tchaikovsky, which bears the date "18 November 1851" [1]

Text and Translation

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

French text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Chers Papa et Maman!

Je vous ai déja ecrit que j'étais retenu deux fois pour le Dimanche. Je ne sais pas moi-méme ce qui m'est arrivé. Il m'est difficile dans la premiére sexion. Je vous en prie ne vous chagrinez pas parceque quand vous viendrez ici tout vous sera raconté.

Je vous attend avec la plus grande impatience parcequ'alors je serais toujours tout-à-fait en repos. Mais aprèsent je ne sais pas pourquoi nous ne recevons pas si longtemps de vos lettres. Aujourd'hui il est déja Novembre de sorte que si vous avez ténu votre promesse il ne nous reste qu'un moi.

Je vous attend avec une telle impatience que je serais le plus heureux de touts les hommes quand vous viendrez.

Je baise Zina et tout le monde.

Je prie votre bénédiction.

Pierre de Tschaikovsky

Dear Papa and Mama!

I have already written to you that I was punished twice with detention on Sunday [2]. I myself do not know what has happened to me. I am finding it difficult in the first section [3]. I ask you not to be upset because when you come here, you will be told about everything.

I am awaiting you with the greatest impatience, because only then shall I be entirely at rest. But at the moment I don't know why we haven't received any letters from you for such a long time. Today it is already November, which means that if you have kept your promise, we only have a month left to wait [4].

I am awaiting you with such impatience that I shall be the happiest of all men when you arrive.

I kiss Zina and everyone else.

I ask for your blessing.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. Note by Vladimir Zhdanov in П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 661.
  2. See Letter 39. The Imperial School of Jurisprudence was a boarding-school, but on Sundays pupils were allowed to visit their families — in young Pyotr's case, the family of his guardian Platon Alekseyevich Vakar (1826-1899) — unless they had obtained low marks or misbehaved otherwise during the week.
  3. Tchaikovsky had joined the preparatory class of the School of Jurisprudence in September 1850. Pupils who made sufficient progress in their studies moved up into the "first section" of the former and from there they could take the entrance exams into the school proper. Tchaikovsky would pass these exams in May 1852 and in September he entered the school's junior form. For more information on the School of Jurisprudence and the years which Tchaikovsky spent in it, see Tchaikovsky. The quest for the inner man (1993), chapters 2-3, and Пётр Чайковский. Биография, том I (2009), chapters 2-3.
  4. During his visit to Saint Petersburg in September 1851, Ilya Tchaikovsky seems to have explained to Pyotr and his brother Nikolay, who was also attending a boarding-school there, that the whole family would be moving from Alapayevsk to Saint Petersburg the following spring, and that prior to that he (and apparently their mother too) would visit Pyotr and Nikolay around Christmas or in January. Ilya and Aleksandra did not in fact come to Saint Petersburg in January, but in early/mid-May 1852 the Tchaikovskys finally made the move from Alapayevsk to the Imperial capital.