Letter 25

Date 26 May/7 June or 27 May/8 June 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. 31–32)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 26–27 ("late May 1851")
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 30–31

Text and Translation

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

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

Voilà déja que je suis chez le bon M[onsieur] Platon Wacar pour les vacances.

J'ai bien subit l'examen. Outre la conduite, et la propreté dans les livres d'où sans doute on ne peut pas subir l'examen, j'ai reçu dans tous les objet 12 excepté le latin et la religion.

Je part peut-étre au village avec M[a]dame Markoff, car M[onsieur] Platon a été si bon de me le permettre.

Je vous attends mes chers Parents pour le mois d'Août car c'est le plus facile pour vous voir. Samedi j'ai reçu la lettre où vous m'écrivez que M. Modeste m'a beaucoup loué, c'est pour quoi je m'en suis beaucoup contenté.

Plusieurs disent qu'on fermera notre class préparatoire et plusieurs ont entendu parlé de cela de la bouche du directeur lui-même, et plusieurs disent que cela a été publiqué dans les gazettes, et on dit que la 1-re sexion passera à l'école de Droit et la seconde devra rentré chez ses parents.

Chers Papa et chère Maman, vous croyez que je suis passé à l'école? non c'est seulement dans la 1 sexion que je suis passé, car les éléves de la seconde sexion ne peuvent donc pas subir l'examen à l'école, et à on peut passer seulement à 12 ans à l'école, et mois je n'en n'ai que 11.

Outre cela, de la 1-re sexion, il y aura très peu qui passeront à l'école et il y a seulement Labri qui passera à l'école par ce que il a eté toujours le premier.

Adieu ma chère Maman et mon cher Papa. Je prie votre bénédiction. Votre fils dévoué,

Pierre

P. S. M[onsieur] Platon a reçu votre lettre et il m'a communiqué de vous dire qu'il vous a déja écrit avans de recevoir votre lettre.

Il vous répondra sur votre dérniére lettre quand il causera avec M. Ivanoff sur le compte de l'entrée de Nicolas à l'école de Droit. Il a été chez lui mais Monsieur était si occupé qu'il n'a pas eût le temps de parler avec M[onsieur] Platon; cependant il a voulut être un de ses jours chez lui et lui causer et c'est alors qu'il vous répondra sur votre lettre.

P. T.

Je vous envoie aussi mes balles de l'examen.

Dear Papa and Mama!

I am already at the house of good Mr Platon Vakar for the holidays [1].

I got through the exams well. Apart from conduct and tidiness of one's books, in which one can of course not take exams, I received 12 in all the subjects, except for Latin and religion.

I shall perhaps leave for the country with Madame Markova because Mr Platon has been so kind as to give me permission for this [2].

I am expecting you, my dear parents, to come in August, because that is the month in which it is easiest for me to see you. On Saturday I received the letter in which you wrote to me that Mr Modest [3] had praised me a lot: this made me very happy.

Many are saying that our preparatory class is going to be closed down, and many have heard about that from the director himself, and many say that this has been published in the newspapers; and it is said that the 1st section will be admitted into the School of Jurisprudence, whereas [the pupils in] the second will have to go home to their parents [4].

Dear Papa and dear Mama, you think that I have moved up into the school? No, it is only into the 1st section that I have moved up, because pupils in the second section cannot yet take the [entrance] exams to the school, and one can only join the school at the age of 12, whereas I am just 11.

Apart from that, there are very few from the 1st section who will move up into the school; the only one who will be admitted into the school is Labri because he has always been the top-boy.

Goodbye, my dear Mama and my dear Papa. I ask for your blessing. Your devoted son,

Pyotr

P. S. Mr Platon has received your letter, and he asked me to tell you that he had already written to you before receiving your letter.

He will answer your last letter after he has spoken to Mr Ivanov regarding Nikolay's enrolment in the School of Jurisprudence. He has called on him, but Monsieur was so busy that he didn't have the time to talk to Mr Platon. However, he does intend to visit him one of these days in order to speak to him, and it is then that he will reply to your letter [5].

P. T.

I am also sending you my exam results.

Notes and References

  1. Platon Alekseyevich Vakar (1826-1899) was the guardian of young Pyotr and his brother Nikolay from early/mid May 1851 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.
  2. Madame Markova was either the mother or one of the sisters of Platon Vakar's wife, Mariya Petrovna Vakar (née Markova). In early/mid June Pyotr was taken by Madame Markova on a country estate not far from Saint Petersburg which belonged to her family. He would spend two months there.
  3. Platon's brother, Modest Alekseyevich Vakar, was the first guardian who, at the request of his friend Ilya Tchaikovsky, agreed to look after Pyotr when he was enrolled in the School of Jurisprudence in September 1850. In April 1851, however, Modest Vakar had left Saint Petersburg with this family, and a new guardian had to be found for Pyotr and his brother Nikolay.
  4. 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 schools 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.
  5. This plan to enrol Pyotr's elder brother, Nikolay, in the School of Jurisprudence did not work out, and the latter continued his studies at their father's alma mater, the Saint Petersburg Mining College.