Letter 79

Date 14/26 January 1866
Addressed to Anatoly Tchaikovsky
Where written Moscow
Language Russian
Autograph Location unknown
Publication Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 1 (1900), p. 227–228 (abridged)
П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 73–74
П. И. Чайковский. Письма к близким. Избранное (1955), p. 22–23
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 92–93
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Letters to his family. An autobiography (1981), p. 21 (English translation).
Notes Manuscript copy in Klin (Russia): Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve

Text and Translation

Based on a handwritten copy in the Klin House-Museum Archive, which may contain differences in formatting and content from Tchaikovsky's original letter.

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
14 января 1866 г[ода]

Милый Толька!

Благодарю за письмо. Все эти дни я чувствовал себя не совсем хорошо, но теперь лучше. Ваши письма мне доставляют большое удовольствие. Вчера читал первую лекцию, конфузился ужасно, но прошло благополучно.

По части приезда моего в Петербург или Вашего в Москву я тебе скажу, что я этого наверное столько же желал сколько и ты, но ведь нельзя делать всё, что хочется. Я ни за что в мире не согласен, чтобы Вы издержали жалованье на проезд или, что ещё хуже, чтобы Вы делали долги. При том же ты себе и вообразить не можешь, как всё здесь дорого; я не захочу, чтобы Вы голодали здесь или скучали, а еда и театры потребуют такого количества денег, которого нет ни у меня, ни у Вас. Всё моё жалованье за первый месяц пойдёт на новое платье, которое Рубинштейн требует, чтоб я сделал, говоря, что моё теперешнее слишком неприлично для профессора теории. Словом, если рассудить благоразумно, предвидя все последствия моей или Вашей поездки, то выходит, что лучше всего от неё воздержаться и подождать до Святой. Мой милый Толя, ты поверь, что мне очень грустно отказаться от удовольствия Вас видеть, но благоразумие берёт своё. Не пишу тебе сегодня ничего больше; мне приходится писать так много писем, что я просто с ума схожу. Устал неимоверно.

Целую тебя до бесконечности, и облобызай Модошу.

П. Чайковский

Сейчас получил Ваше письмо с карточками Давыдовых. Пишу и им. Напиши мне, где нашлась твоя геометрия.

14 January 1866

Dear Tolka!

Thank you for your letter. Throughout all these days I haven't been feeling quite well, but now I am feeling better. Your letters give me great pleasure. Yesterday I gave my first lecture: I felt terribly embarrassed, but it went all right.

As for my coming to Petersburg or the two of you coming to Moscow, I should like to tell you that this is something which I wished for probably just as much as you did, but, after all, one cannot do everything one wants. I would not for the world agree to you spending your allowance to pay for such a trip, or, even worse, to your getting into debt. Besides, you have no idea how expensive everything is here. I wouldn't want you to have to go hungry here or feel bored, but the point is that food and visits to the theatre require an amount of money which neither I nor you possess. My whole salary for the first month will have to be spent on a new suit: Rubinstein insists that I must have one made, because, according to him, the one I am wearing now is much too unseemly for a professor of theory [1]. In short, if one weighs up everything prudently, foreseeing all the consequences of you or me making such a trip, then the upshot is that it would be best of all to abstain from it and wait until Holy Week. My dear Tolya, believe me that it is very sad for me to have to renounce the pleasure of seeing you both, but prudence must prevail here. I shall not write anything more to you today: I have to write so many letters that I am simply going mad. I am incredibly exhausted.

I kiss you ad infinitum; please also shower Modosha with kisses.

P. Tchaikovsky

I have just received your letter with the Davydovs' photos. I shall write to them too. When you write again tell me where you found your geometry textbook.

Notes and References

  1. Nikolay Kashkin recalled how Tchaikovsky arrived in Moscow "wearing an exceedingly old raccoon coat given to him by A. N. Apukhtin, who used it during trips to the countryside. The frock-coat and other accessories of his suit were concordant with that coat, so that on the whole our new lecturer was dressed not just modestly, but quite simply very shabbily, which, however, did not prevent him from making a wonderful impression on the students when he appeared in the classrooms: in his figure and bearing there was so much gracefulness that it more than made up for the deficiencies of his clothing". Nikolay Rubinstein, who insisted that Tchaikovsky have a new suit made and offered to advance him money for this purpose, eventually gave him the frock-coat of Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880), who was then professor of violin at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, and who had evidently left his frock-coat behind during some visit to Moscow. "True, Wieniawski was considerably taller and stouter than Pyotr Ilyich," Kashkin continues, "and so the frock-coat did not fit him perfectly at all, but the young composer wasn't inhibited by this, and, on the contrary, he wore it with such proud dignity as if it had been made for him by the best tailor" — see Воспоминания о П. И. Чайковском (1896), p. 9-10, and the note based on that by Vladimir Zhdanov in П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 666-667.