Letter 42

Date 2/14 December 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. 61–62)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 37–38
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 43.
Notes Includes postscripts to Zinayda Tchaikovskaya, Aleksandra Tchaikovskaya, and Ippolit Tchaikovsky

Text and Translation

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

French text
(original)
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
С[анкт] Петербург
2 декабря 1851 г[ода]

Chers Papa et Maman

Est ce que j'ose vous reprocher, que vous ne viendrez pas encore vivre pour toujours ici. Non! je vous remercie encore beaucoup mon Ange Maman que vous viendrez ici, oh! que nous serons heureux il y a déja plus d'un an que je ne vous ai pas vu. O! que je serai heureux quand je pourrai baiser votre main, quand je pourrai vous embrasser. Alors je serai le plus heureux des mortels, et j'ai denouveau beaucoup d'espérance que je vous verrai.

Déja il ne reste plus qu'une semaine jusqu'à votre arrivé puisque vous voulez venir pour Noël.

Je prie à Dieu chaque jour pour qu'il vous comble de biens pendant le voyage ma chére Maman.

Se sera aussi très bien que vous viendrez l'année prochaine. Je vous attend mon cher Ange Maman et je crois que vous viendrez ici et que vous tiendrez votre promesse.

Je remercie bien mon Ange Papa que vous envoyez chez nous des choses les plus précieuses pour nous du monde.

Je prie votre bénédiction. Votre fils,

Pierre Tschaikovsky


Ma chère et bonne Zina. Je te baise de tout mon coeur et je t'attend avec impatience chez nous à St. Petersbourg.

Ton frère qui t'aimera toujours,

Pierre Tschaikovsky


Je vous baise mille fois Sacha et Pola baisez aussi pour moi Tola et Moda. Votre frère,

Pierre Tschaikovsky

Saint Petersburg
2 December 1851

Dear Papa and Mama,

Could I possibly dare to reproach you for not coming yet to live here for good. No! I thank you once again very much, my Angel Mama, for coming here [1]. Oh! how happy we shall be: it is now more than a year since I last saw you [2]. O! how happy I shall be when I can kiss your hand, when I can embrace you. Then I shall be the happiest of mortals, and I again have great hopes of seeing you.

There is just a week left until your arrival because you wanted to come here for Christmas.

I pray to God every day that He may heap blessings upon you during the journey, my dear Mama.

It will also be very good that you are coming next year. I am expecting you, my dear Angel Mama, and I believe that you will come here and that you will keep your promise.

I thank my Angel Papa very much for sending to us the most precious things there are for us in the whole world [3].

I ask for your blessing. Your son,

Pyotr Tchaikovsky


My dear and good Zina, I kiss you with all my heart and am impatiently waiting for you to come to us in Saint Petersburg.

Your brother who will always love you,

Pyotr Tchaikovsky


I kiss you a thousand times, Sasha and Polya. Kiss for me Tolya and Modya as well. Your brother,

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. During his visit to Saint Petersburg in September 1851 Ilya Tchaikovsky seems to have explained to Pyotr and his brother Nikolay, who were both attending boarding-schools in the imperial capital, that the whole family would be moving from Alapayevsk to Saint Petersburg the following spring, and that prior to that their mother would visit them around Christmas or in January. Aleksandra did not in fact come to Saint Petersburg during Christmas, but in early/mid May 1852 she and her husband would finally move from Alapayevsk to the imperial capital with the rest of the family.
  2. Pyotr had not seen his mother since mid/late October 1850, when, after making sure that he had settled into the preparatory class of the Imperial School of Jurisprudence, she had left Saint Petersburg to return to Alapayevsk. Their parting on that occasion had been a traumatic experience for young Pyotr and, as Modest Tchaikovsky explains in his biography of his famous brother, the composer "could never speak about that moment without being seized by a shudder of horror". See Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 1 (1997), p. 58.
  3. i.e. their mother and father. Nikolay, though older (by two years) and less emotional than Pyotr, also loved his parents very much.