Letter 23

Date 13/25 May 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. 29–30)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 23–24 ("mid April")
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 28

Text and Translation

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

French text
(original)
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Chers Papa et Maman

Voila déja deux samedis que je n'ai pas vu Monsieur Veitz et c'est pour qoui je vais aprésent chaque Dimanche chez M[onsieur] Platon Vacar qui a été si bon de vouloir me prendre chez lui.

Je vous prie encore mais deux anges si vous le pourrez de venir à St Petersbourg parceque je ne sais pas encore ou je passerai les vacances tandis qu'ils s'approchent à grands pas vers nous.

M[onsieur] P. Wacar a été aussi chez Nicolas au corps pour le prendre mais ils ont l'examen et c'est pourquoi il ne peut pas venir.

Notre examen commencera le 22 Mai il finira le 26, et le 27 sera le роспуск pour les vacances.

J'ai beaucoup besoin de vous pour vous parler de plusiers choses nécéssaires. Vous pensez sans doute que je vous dis cela seulement pour que vous veniez? Soyez sûr que ce n'est pas cela.

Peut étre vous aurez pitié de moi et de Nicolas qui vous attendaient en vain au mois de Fevrier, et peut étre vous attendrons en vain au mois de Juin.

Mais vous nous avez donc écrit que vous viendrez pour tout-à-fait à Petersbourg.

Je n'ai plus rien à vous écrire et vous m'écrirez sans doute oui ou non c'est à dire si vous viendrez où si vous ne viendrez pas ici.

Baisez mes soeurs et frères et tout le monde.

Je baise, mille et mille fois vos mains. Je prie votre bénédiction. Votre fils,

P. Tschaikovsky

Dear Papa and Mama

It is now already two Saturdays that I haven't seen Mr Veits, and it is for this reason that I am currently going each Sunday to the house of Mr Platon Vakar, who has been so kind as to fetch me to his house [1].

I ask you again, my two angels, to come to Saint Petersburg if you are able to, because I still do not know where I shall be spending the holidays, even though they are rapidly coming upon us.

Mr Platon Vakar also went to Nikolay's college to fetch him, but they are having exams, and that is why he cannot come.

Our exams begin on 22 May and they finish on the 26th; on the 27th we shall be breaking up for the holidays.

I have great need of you in order to talk to you about several necessary things. You are no doubt thinking that I am telling you this just to get you to come? I assure you that it is not so.

Perhaps you will take pity on me and Nikolay, who waited in vain for you in February, and who will perhaps be waiting in vain for you in June.

But you did after all write to us that you would be coming to Petersburg to stay here for good.

I have nothing more to write to you, and you will no doubt write to me 'yes' or 'no', that is to say, whether you will be coming here or not.

Kiss my sisters and brothers and everyone else.

I kiss your hands a thousand, thousand times. I ask for your blessing. Your son,

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. After their first guardian, Modest Alekseyevich Vakar (a friend of their father's), left Saint Petersburg in April 1851 to settle elsewhere, young Pyotr and his brother Nikolay, two years his senior, were briefly under the tutelage of Ivan Ivanovich Veyts, another close friend of Ilya Tchaikovsky's. Pyotr and Nikolay were both boarders at their respective institutions — the School of Jurisprudence and the Mining College — but on Sundays and during the holidays they were allowed to stay at their guardian's house. In early/mid May 1851 Modest Vakar's brother, Platon Alekseyevich Vakar (1826-1899), took charge of Pyotr and Nikolay and remained their guardian until Ilya Tchaikovsky was able to move to Saint Petersburg with the rest of the family in May 1852. Platon Vakar was himself a graduate of the School of Jurisprudence, and it is possible that he played a part in Ilya Tchaikovsky's decision to enrol Pyotr in the school proper after he had completed the preparatory class. See Пётр Чайковский. Биография, том I (2009), p. 45.