Letter 48

Tchaikovsky Research
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Date 9/21 March 1852
Addressed to Aleksandra Tchaikovskaya and Ilya Tchaikovsky
Where written Saint Petersburg
Language French and Russian
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): National Library of Russia (ф. 834, ед. хр. 33, л. 73–74)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 43–44 ("13 March" [1])
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 50–51
Notes Includes postscripts to Zinayda Tchaikovskaya, Ippolit Tchaikovsky and Aleksandra Tchaikovskaya

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 мои родители!

Сегодня мы первый раз ещё читали такое счастливое письмо.

Вы нам пишите прекрасные ангелы, что вы приедите в Мае, и так значит мы и не увидим, как пройдёт Март и Апрель, и как настанет этот счастливейший месяц в году. Как будем мы счастливы когда расцелуем вас прекрасные мои; я от радости скакну до потолка.

Вот уже опять настаёт счастливая весна, нам только её и надо, а потом уже будет всегда весело, мы будем вас видеть каждую Субботу: тогда уже в полном смысле можно будет сказать что мы счастливейшие из людей потому что после 2-хлетней разлуки (мне) или после четырёхлетней (Николеньке) очень, слишком нельзя выразить как приятно. Прошлое Воскресение мы были у Тёти Лизе, которая все ещё так весела, как прежде.

На этой неделе я имел 2 раза 7 и Ф. Ф. Тибо-Бриниоль не хотел меня отпустить раньше Воскресенья 11 час., но когда Платон Алексеевич приехал ко мне в Субботу, то М[onsieur] Thibaux объявил ему, что я прощён.

Завтра я буду говеть и вспомню как прежде говел с вами.

Прощайте милые родители-ангелы. У меня больше нет новостей.

Прошу вашего благословенья.

П. Чайковский

Chere Zinaide. Je vous remercie beaucoup ma chère soeur que vous avez eu la bonte de m'écrire. J'étais enchantés.

Je voulais te demander mon ange si M. Thibaux-Briniol a été dans les petites classes de l'institut le maitre de geographie. Je te baise mille foix. Ton frère,


Милые мои Поля и Саша! Очень благодарю вас за письмо ваше мои Ангелы: прошу вас писать почаще мои Ангелы. Целую вас. Ваш брат,

П. Ч.

My dear and wonderful parents!

Today is the very first time we [2] have read such a happy letter.

You write to us, wonderful angels, that you are coming in May, and so that means we shall not even notice how March and April fly past, and how that happiest month in the year actually comes. How happy we shall be when we get to smother you with kisses, my wonderful ones: I shall leap for joy as high as the ceiling.

And here is happy spring on its way again — that is just what we need — and after that it will always be merry, as we shall be seeing you each Saturday: then it will at last be possible to say in the full sense of the word that we are the happiest of people because for me, after a separation of two years, and for Nikolenka, after one of four years, it will be very pleasant, far too much for words to express. Last Sunday we went to see Aunt Liza, who is still as jolly as before.

This week I had a "7" [3] twice, and F. F. Thibeaux-Brignolle [4] didn't want to release me before 11 o'clock on Sunday, but when Platon Alekseyevich [5] came to fetch me on Saturday, Mr Thibeaux told him that I was forgiven.

Tomorrow I shall be fasting and I will remember how I used to fast with you.

Goodbye, dear angel parents. I have no more news.

I ask for your blessing.

P. Tchaikovsky

Dear Zinayda. I thank you very much, my dear sister, for having been so kind as to write to me. I was delighted.

I wanted to ask you, my angel, if Mr Thibeaux-Brignolle was the geography teacher in the junior forms of the institute [6]? Your brother,


My dear Polya and Sasha! I thank you very much for your letter, my Angels: I ask you to write more often, my Angels. I kiss you. Your brother,

P. T.

Notes and References

  1. Vladimir Zhdanov dated this letter to 13/25 March on the following grounds: the next letter after this, Letter 49 of 16/28 March, was written by young Pyotr on a Sunday, the day after he had received communion. In the above letter he says: "Tomorrow [i.e. on Friday] I shall be fasting", which he means that he wrote it on Thursday, 13/25 March 1852. See П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 661-662.
  2. i.e. Pyotr and his elder brother Nikolay, who was also attending a boarding-school in Saint Petersburg.
  3. 7 out of 12, apparently a sufficiently low mark to warrant detention of a pupil at the School of Jurisprudence on Saturdays and Sundays, the days on which boarders were allowed to go home to their parents or, as in Pyotr's case, to their guardians or other relatives — note by Vladimir Zhdanov in П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 662.
  4. 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.
  5. Platon Alekseyevich Vakar (1826-1899) was the guardian of young Pyotr and his brother Nikolay from early/mid-May 1851 until Ilya Tchaikovsky was able to move to Saint Petersburg with the rest of the family in May 1852. Platon Vakar was himself a graduate of the School of Jurisprudence, and it is possible that he played a part in Ilya Tchaikovsky's decision to enrol Pyotr in the school proper after he had completed the preparatory class. See Пётр Чайковский. Биография, том I (2009), p. 45.
  6. This probably refers to the Smolny Institute for girls of the nobility which Tchaikovsky's half-sister Zinayda, who was eleven years his senior, may well have attended briefly when the whole family was living in Saint Petersburg from November 1848 to May 1849. His younger sister Aleksandra would later receive her schooling at the Smolny Institute.