Letter 47

Date late January or February 1852
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. 71–72)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 42–43 ("January")
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 48–49.

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!

Comme notre nouvel protecteur M[onsieur] Thibaux je vous l'ai déja écrit il est si bon que je ne puis vous le décrire. Il a tourné son attention principalement sur l'apprentissage. Pendant notre préparation il ne nous donne pas une minute d'oisiveté ce qui nous fait beaucoup du bien, et c'est aussi pour cela que je ne puis vous écrire beaucoup.

Nous avons passé trè gaiement le temps chez Tante Lyse où nous étion le Dimanche dernier. Le plus grand plaisir était en lisant votre lettre, et sur tout ces mots: «par notre prière générale Papà s'est décidé de venir au moi de Mai pour tout-à-fait». Comme j'ai été effrayé en lisant que le bon docteur Kemmerling [?].

J'éspére, j'attend ce jour heureux quand vous viendrez à St. Petersbourg.

Comme je vous ai promis de vous raconter la suite de «Волшебный стрелок» mais je vous assure mes Anges je n'ai pas le temps. J'entends la sonnette, on se rassemble... Le maître entre en classe. Adieu!.. Adieu... jusquà la lettre prochaine.

Je prie votre bénédiction

P. Tchaikovsky

P. S. C'est très mal de la part de Sacha qu'elle ecrit à ses cousines Mala, Aline et à ses frères pas un mot.

Dear Papa and Mama!

As I have already written to you, our new master, Mr Thibeaux [1], is so kind that I cannot describe it to you. He has directed his attention principally at our studies. While we are preparing our lessons he does not allow us a single minute of idleness, and that does us a lot of good. It is also for this reason that I cannot write to you much.

We [2] spent our time very merrily at Aunt Liza's place, where we were last Sunday. The greatest pleasure was when reading your letter, and above all these words: "at our general request, Papa has decided to come [to Saint Petersburg] for good in May". How I was frightened when I read that good Doctor Kemmerling [?] [3].

I hope, I await the joyful day when you will come to Saint Petersburg.

Although I did promise you that I would tell you the sequel of "Der Freischütz" [4], I assure you, my Angels, that I just don't have the time. I can hear the bell; everyone is assembling... The teacher is walking into the classroom. Goodbye!.. Goodbye... until the next letter.

I ask for your blessing

P. Tchaikovsky

P. S. It is very bad on Sasha's part to write to her cousins Malya and Alina [5], and yet not write a single word to her brothers.

Notes and References

  1. Théodore Thibeaux-Brignolle (in Russian spelling, Фёдор Тибо-Бриньоль; d. 1880) was a teacher at the School of Jurisprudence and inspector of its preparatory class.
  2. i.e. Pyotr and his elder brother Nikolay, who was also attending a boarding-school in Saint Petersburg.
  3. Nothing is known about Kemmerling, except that he was evidently a medical practitioner in Alapayevsk. The sentence in the original letter breaks off at this point.
  4. Young Pyotr seems to have attended a performance of Weber's opera at the Mariinsky Theatre, and it is perhaps this visit to the theatre to which he refers in the postscript of Letter 46. Der Freischütz was to become one of his favourite operas.
  5. It is not clear who this cousin "Alina" was. Amaliya Shobert's sisters were called Wilhelmina and Yekaterina.