Letter 301

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Date 27 April/9 May 1873
Addressed to Aleksandra Davydova and Modest Tchaikovsky
Where written Moscow
Language Russian and English
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): National Library of Russia (ф. 834, ед. хр. 16, л. 73–74)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 193–195
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 314–316

Text and Translation

The first section of this letter was written by Tchaikovsky in broken English, using phonetic transcriptions of some words and idioms; spelling mistakes here have not been marked in the original text, but they are corrected in the translation.

Russian and English text
(original)
English translation
By Brett Langston
Moska. 27 April 1873
My good sister and mу dear brother!

I have know what mötsch plesir that you learn the Englisch langage; böt you cannot told that I cannot understand. I kan understand wery biutiföll oll what you will and enough bether. My brother! You are one fulischmen, böt you, my dear sister, are on bituifföll woman. I have not times to scrive this letter englisch, böt God sawe the Quenn and collection of Britisch authors is one trifles. I can you told that the spanierds wear their hats cocked and I cocked my pistol directly. The King has conferred the order of the Garter on him, böt i will cringe to nobody. We always deal with him and We dined on soup and fisch.

Tell me: Now did he come by so musch money and Why do you call out? Call un your brother and your sister, call down the servent. I will call for you at six. He assisted me with all his endeavours, i have atoned for my foult and i will ask him to dine. Do not argue with me. You argue against reason and i abide by what I sat: France abounds with fruit, and Several trees are bliwn down.

My brother, what are you gaping at? My sister, you lies in with your first child. I are your affectioned brother

Pither

Положим, что это письмо, хотя и английское, но лишенное смысла, однако же Вы усмотрите из него, что если б я только захотел, то мог бы перещеголять и Вас обоих и Вашу мисс.

Милая Саничка! Я получил недели две тому назад твое письмо, в котором ты как бы оправдываешься, что редко мне пишешь. Уж, если кто из нас виноват, то, конечно, я против тебя, хотя, по правде сказать, у меня голова кругом ходит от бездны дела. Еще наверное не знаю, когда буду в Каменке, но наверное буду. Вероятнее всего, что в конце мая я отправлюсь отсюда недели на две к Кондратьеву, потом в Каменку тоже недели на две и потом проеду за границу, где хочу погулять, если будут деньги,—а вероятно будут. Предполагаю ограничнться Швейцарией и ходить по ней в продолжение месяца, после чего вернусь в Россию и, быть может, опять побываю в Каменке. Воображаю, как теперь у Вас должно быть хорошо; охотно бы очутился среди Вас и пошел бы пешком в Тростянку; не пренебрег бы также ни Ревовкой, ни Пляковкой, ни Юрчнхой, ни даже подлесной экономией.

В настоящее время в здешнем Большом театре идут деятельные репетиции к пиэсе Островского «Снегур[оч]ка», к которой я написал музыку, и по этому случаю каждое утро принужден торчать в театре.

Модя! Полное собрание Гербеля стоит 18 р[ублей] сер[ебром] (отдельные томы теперь не продаются), но я постараюсь достать тебе Кронберговский перевод «Гамлета» отдельно. Во всяком случае напишу тебе о результатах моих поисков. Сладостно мечтаю о скором свидании с Вами и остаюсь любящий

Петр

Леву и детей целую.

Moscow. 27 April 1873
My good sister and mу dear brother!

I have know what much pleasure that you learn the English language; but you cannot told that I cannot understand. I can understand very beautiful all what you will and enough better. My brother! You are one foolish man, but you, my dear sister, are one beautiful woman. I have no time to scribe this letter English, but God save the Queen and collection of British authors is one trifles. I can you told that the Spaniards wear their hats cocked and I cocked my pistol directly. The King has conferred the order of the Garter on him, but I will cringe to nobody. We always deal with him and we dined on soup and fish.

Tell me: Now did he come by so much money and why do you call out? Call on your brother and your sister, call down the servant. I will call for you at six. He assisted me with all his endeavours, I have atoned for my fault and I will ask him to dine. Do not argue with me. You argue against reason and I abide by what I said: France abounds with fruit, and Several trees are blown down.

My brother, what are you gaping at? My sister, you lies in with your first child. I are your affectionate brother

Pither

Now let us assume that this letter, although in English, is meaningless; however, you can see from it that I could, if I so desired, outwit both you and your Miss.

Dear Sanichka! Two weeks ago I received your letter with your excuses for having written to me so infrequently. Well if either one of us is to blame then, naturally, I would argue that it is you, although to tell the truth my head is spinning into an abyss. It's my intention to come to Kamenka, but I still don't know when. In all likelihood I shall go away for a week or two to Kondratyev's at the end of May, then on to Kamenka for another couple of weeks, and then I want to go walking abroad if I have the money, which I probably will. Switzerland is supposedly walkable over the course of a month, after which I'll return to Russia and, perhaps, visit Kamenka again. I can imagine how good your place must be now, and I'd happily find myself there with you, strolling up to the Trostyanka woods; nor would I have forsaken Revovka, Plakovka nor Yurchikha, nor even the Podlesnaya manor.

I'm currently at the Bolshoi Theatre here where rehearsals are going on for Ostrovsky's play "The Snow Maiden", for which I've written the music, and for this reason I'm obliged every morning to skulk around the theatre.

Modya! The complete Gerbel collection costs 18 silver roubles (they no longer sell individual volumes), but I'll try to get you the Kronbergovsky translation of Hamlet separately. In any case I'll write to you about the results of my search. Sweet dreams of meeting with you soon, and I remain your loving

Pyotr

Kisses to Lev and the children.