Letter 9

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 21 October/2 November 1850
Addressed to Aleksandra Tchaikovskaya and Ilya Tchaikovsky
Where written Saint Petersburg
Language Russian
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): National Library of Russia (ф. 834, ед. хр. 33, л. 3–4)
Publication Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 1 (1900), p. 65–66
П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 12–13 (dated mid-November)
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 12–13.
Notes Includes postscripts to Yelizaveta Schobert, Anastasiya Popova, Zinayda Tchaikovskaya, Aleksandra Tchaikovskaya and Ippolit Tchaikovsky.

Text and Translation

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

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Милые и прекрасные Папаша и Мамаша!

Вы не можете вообразить как я был рад когда получил от вас письмо милая Мамашинька! Я до сих пор ещё у Модеста Алексеевича сегодня ровно недель оттого что в классе скарлатина. Прошлую Суботу я не видел Колю, у него ещё все свинка, но сегодня я с нетерпением его ожидаю.

Я очень скучаю милая Мамашинька и Папаша но Модест Алексеевич такой добрый и Надежда Платоновна также, что я утешаю себя этим.

Прошлое Воскресение я был с ними в балете. В Январе я с час на час буду ждать вас мои чудные и прекрасные с Модей и Толей потому что мне очень без вас скучно

Хорошо ли вы доехали мои милые; Ах! я очень бы желал видеть те радости когда вы приехали в Алапаиху. Милый мой Папаша верно очень радовался когда увидел Мамашу, Сестрица верно побежала скорее за обедом, а Тётя Лиза за ковром который хотела подарить вам к приезду. Здесь уже на улице давно снег, но ездют все ещё на колёсах. Мне очень будет весело, когда придёт Николинька сегодня вечером; Коля Вокар просто Ангельчик я его очень люблю; он недавно молился Богу, вспомнил о Коле и хотел молиться за него Богу потому что он был болен

Прощайте мои прекрасные Ангелы целую ваши ручки и прошу вашего благословления. Ваш Сын,

Пётр Чайковский

Милая тётя Лиза и Сестрица. И вам я непременно хочу написать несколько слов мои милые но мне совершенно нечего написать кроме того что я вас очень, очень люблю. Поцелуйте за меня моих милых кузин, Малю, Мину и Катю и прошу поклониться je crois bien! Машурочке. Прощайте мои милые, ваш племянник и брат,


Милые сестры Зина и Саша я думаю, что вам очень было весело когда вы приехали домой и увидели трёх Ангелов Папашу, Модю и Толю.

Поцелйуте и расцелуйте за меня этих двух херувимов Толю и Модю. Прощайте мои милые сестры! Ваш брат,

Пётр Чайковский

Милый брат Поля

Воображаю, как ты был рад когда Мамаша тебе подарила саблю, сумку и каску. Поцелуй за меня мою милую Каролину. Прощай милый Поля. Твой брат,

Пётр Чай[ковский]

Dear and wonderful Papasha and Mamasha!

You cannot imagine how glad I was when I received your letter, dear Mamashenka! I am still at Modest Alekseyevich [Vakar]'s house and today it is exactly a week since I've been there, because there's scarlet fever in the class [1]. Last Saturday I didn't see Kolya; he's still got mumps, but today I am expecting him impatiently.

I am very sad, dear Mamashenka and Papasha but Modest Alekseyevich [Vakar] is so kind, and Nadezhda Platonovna [Vakar's wife] too, that I can take comfort in this.

Last Sunday I went to the ballet with them. In January I shall be waiting for you from hour to hour, my marvellous and wonderful [parents] with Modya and Tolya, because I am very sad without you.

Did you get home all right, my dear ones? [2] Oh how I would have wished to see everyone's joy when you arrived in Alapayevsk. My dear Papasha was probably very glad when he saw Mamasha; Sestritsa [3] probably ran off to get lunch ready, while Aunt Liza went to get the carpet which she wanted to give to you as a present when you arrived. Here there has been snow on the streets for a long time now, but the people are still driving around on wheels. It will be so merry for me when Nikolinka comes this evening [4]. Recently he was praying to God, then he remembered Kolya [5] and wanted to pray to God on his behalf because he was ill

Goodbye, my wonderful Angels, I kiss your little hands and ask your blessing. Your son,

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Dear Aunt Liza and Sestritsa. I definitely want to write a few words to you, too, my dear ones, but I really have nothing to write about, except that I love you very, very much. Please kiss for me my dear cousins, Malya, Mina and Katya [6], and I ask you to give my regards to "Je crois bien!" Mashurochka [7]. Goodbye, my dear ones, your nephew and brother,


Dear sisters Zina and Sasha. I think it must have been very merry for you when you got back home and saw the three Angels: Papasha, Modya and Tolya.

Please would you kiss for me over and over again those two cherubs Tolya and Modya. Goodbye, my dear sisters. Your brother,

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Dear brother Polya

I can imagine how glad you were when Mamasha gave you that sabre, satchel and helmet. Please kiss for me my dear Karolina. Goodbye, dear Polya. Your brother,

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. Shortly after Tchaikovsky was enrolled in the School of Jurisprudence's preparatory class there had been an outbreak of scarlet fever in the school, and Modest Alekseyevich Vakar, a friend of Ilya Tchaikovsky's who had agreed to act as Pyotr's guardian, decided to take him into his house until the epidemic was over.
  2. This question is addressed to his mother and to his sisters Aleksandra ('Sasha') and Zinayda, who had accompanied him to Saint Petersburg in August, but had left to return to Alapayevsk at the end of September.
  3. 'Sestritsa', or 'little sister', was the affectionate name for Tchaikovsky's cousin, Anastasiya Vasilyevna Popova (1807–1894), the daughter of Ilya Tchaikovsky's older sister Yevdokiya Popova.
  4. Tchaikovsky's brother Nikolay (who was two years older) was also a boarder in Saint Petersburg, though not at the School of Jurisprudence, but at the city's Mining College. On Sundays and other holidays they were allowed to see each other.
  5. Nikolay, or Kolya, was the five-year-old son of Modest Vakar. Shortly after this letter was written he would contract scarlet fever (brought into the Vakars' house by Tchaikovsky). His death on 24 November/6 December was a traumatic experience for young Pyotr, who reproached himself greatly.
  6. Vilgelmina ('Mina') and Yekaterina ('Katya') were younger sisters of Tchaikovsky's cousin Amaliya Schobert (later Litke).
  7. Marya Yegorovna Foss was a nanny and governess in the Schobert family. "Je crois bien!" ('I should think so!') was a humorous catchphrase of hers.