Diaries (May 1884)

Tchaikovsky's Diaries
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Tchaikovsky's Diary No. 3 covers his stay at his sister Aleksandra's residence at Kamenka in the Ukraine, where he had arrived on 12/24 April 1884, accompanied by his valet Aleksey Sofronov ("Alyosha").

Aleksandra, known to the composer as "Sasha", and her husband Lev Davydov (1837-1896), had three daughters: Tatyana ("Tanya", aged 22), Vera (aged 21), Anna (aged 19), Natalya ("Tasya", aged 15), and three sons: Dmity ("Mitya", aged 13), Vladimir ("Bob", aged 12), Yury ("Uka", aged 7).

Also living at Kamenka were Lev's mother, Aleksandra Ivanovna Davydova (née Potapova; 1802-1895) and her unmarried daughters, Aleksandra Vasilyevna (1825-1917) and Yelizaveta Vasilyevna ("Lizaveta", 1823-1904)—collectively known by Tchaikovsky as the "old ladies", as well as numerous relatives and friends.

Text and Translation

The following diary entries were first published in Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), p. 17-27, edited and with notes by the composer's brother Ippolit. They were also translated into English by Wladimir Lakond in The Diaries of Tchaikovsky (1945), p. 30-42, and into German by Ernst Kuhn and Hans-Joachim Grimm in P. I. Tschaikowsky. Die Tagebücher (1992), p. 17-29.

The new English translation and detailed commentary published here for the first time was prepared by Philip Taylor, Alexander Poznansky and Brett Langston, with reference to the original texts preserved in the Tchaikovsky House-Museum at Klin, and corrects some errors in previous editions.

Tuesday 1/13 May 1884

1 мая. Холод и ветер. После газет ходил до конца Николаевского поля. Продолжал вальс. После обеда, посидев в кабинете (Лизав[ета] и Ал[ександра] Вас[ильевны]), пошел к себе и, убоясь ветра, ходил час по комнате. После чая с Бобом бегали на Pas de geants. Топил потом камин и занимался англ[ийским] языком. После ужина (перед тем играл с моим голубчиком, несравненным, чудным, идеальным Бобом в 4 руки, к его великой радости), был винт с Ром[аном] Ефимовичем. Не злился, но был в очень нервном состоянии. В антракте между роберами ходил к моему Ангелу—Бобу. Он показывал мне игрушечный театрик. Играли в винт до часу ночи. Ром[ан] Еф[имович] очень проиграл. 1 May. Cold and windy. After reading the newspapers walked to the end of the Nikolayev Field. Continued with the waltz [1]. After lunch I sat in the study (Lizaveta and Aleksandra Vasilyevna), and then went to my room where I spent an hour pacing about since I was afraid of the wind. After tea with Bob, we ran around on the Pas de géants. Afterwards stoked up the fire and studied the English language. After supper (before which I played 4 hands with my precious, incomparable, wondrous, ideal Bob, to his enormous delight) played vint [2] with Roman Yefimovich [3]. I was not irritable, but was in a very nervous state. In the interval between rubbers I went to see my Angel: Bob [4]. He showed me his toy theatre. Played vint until one in the morning. Roman Yefimovich lost badly.

Wednesday 2/14 May 1884

2 мая. Все утро прогулял, увлекшись улучшением погоды, хотя и относительным. Был далеко в стороне Косары. Вальс давался мне с величайшим трудом. Нет, стар становлюсь. После обеда сидел в гостиной, так как приходили Алекс[андра] Ив[ановна] с Алекс[андрой] Вас[ильевной]. С Бобом в их присутствии отличались на Pas de geants и провожали их до дому. Почти до 7 часов возился с вальсом и нисколько не подвинулся. Гулял в саду. Встретил Лёву с Сашей. Были вместе на пасеке у Василисы. После ужина винт вчетвером. Чудо—я выиграл. Спешно написал письмо Моде. 2 May. Strolled the entire morning, delighted by the improvement in the weather, albeit a relative one. I went a long way off in the direction of Kosara. Managed to make headway on the waltz only with the greatest effort. No. I am becoming old [5]. After lunch I sat in the drawing-room, since Aleksandra Ivanovna and Aleksandra Vasilyevna were coming. They watched whilst Bob and I excelled ourselves on the Pas de géants, and then we accompanied them all the way home. I tinkered with the waltz almost until 7 o'clock and made no progress at all. Took a stroll in the garden. Met Lev and Sasha. Visited Vasilisa's apiary together. After supper four-handed vint. Miraculously—I won. Hastily wrote a letter to Modya [6].

Thursday 3/15 May 1884

3 мая. После газет, чуточку погуляв по саду, написал Н[адежде] Ф[иларетовне] и послал ей фотографии. Потом кончал эскиз вальса. Приходил Лёва звать в Вербовку, и я решился тотчас после обеда пешком пойти, но за обедом разразилась давно жданная гроза с порядочным дождем. Общей поездки не состоялось, уехали Лёва с Бобом. Я ходил по огороду и по комнате, куда новый дождь загнал меня. После доканчивал обязательные часы на Николаевском поле. Было душно до того, что я едва двигался и даже испугался было своему удушью. Был у Алекс[андры] Ив[ановны]. Пришел во время обеда и читал в гостиной Graphic. Сидел довольно долго у голубушки старушки. Ник[олай] Вас[ильевич] говорил про Раевского. Немножко пройдясь по площади перед домом и налюбовавшись чудным вечером, пошел к себе и английским усердно занимался. Лёва с Бобом долго не возвращались, и я даже беспокоился. Очень поздно ужинали. Вера Вас[ильевна] с Сашей замышляют больную Анну Петровну увезти в Киев. Поздно сели в винт (Григ[орий] Григор[ьевич]). Мне очень везло. И всё-таки я был раздражен и находил возможность враждебно относиться к противникам. 3 May. After reading the newspapers, and taking a bit of a stroll in the garden, I wrote to Nadezhda Filaretovna and sent her my photograph[7]. Then finished the sketches of the waltz. Lev came to call me over to Verbovka and I decided to walk over immediately after lunch, but after lunch the long-awaited storm broke with a considerable amount of rain. The collective outing was cancelled, and Lev left with Bob. I strolled around the vegetable garden, and then around my room, where I was driven by a fresh downpour of rain. Afterwards, I spent the mandatory hours in the Nikolayev field. The air was so oppressive that I could scarcely move, and even started to feel afraid on account my shortness of breath. Visited Aleksandra Ivanovna. Arrived at lunch time and read Graphic in the drawing-room [8]. Sat for quite a long time with the dear old ladies. Nikolay Vasilyevich [9] spoke about Rayevsky [10]. Spent a while pacing around the driveway in front of the house, and admiring the marvellous evening. Went to my room and assiduously studied English. Lev and Bob did not come back for a long time, and I even felt anxious about them. We had supper very late. Vera Vasilyevna [11] and Sasha are cooking up the idea of taking the ailing Anna Petrovna to Kiev [12]. We sat down to play vint late (Grigory Grigoryevich). I was very much in luck. All the same I was irritated and managed to be hostile towards my opponents.

Friday 4/16 May 1884

4 мая. Решился утром, по прочтении писем (из коих одно от Моди с приятным для меня известием о Мазепе) пойти в Зрубанец за ландышами, но дошел туда, увидел тучу и поспешил домой. Туча быстро налетела и хотя не гремела, но зато промочила меня насквозь. Переодевшись и с величайшим спокойствием духа усевшись играть «Флейту» Моцарта, я среди самого утонченного наслаждения был прерван приходом Боба, с выражением ужаса сообщившего мне известие о смерти Туси Базилевской. Большое огорчение. Праздничный обед по случаю рождения Лены. До чая писал письма, потом работал. Ходил с Бобом, Григой и Броуном на Pas de géants. После ужина, на коем был Ник[олай] Вас[ильевич] (сцена между ним и Лёвой по поводу давности мысли о засевании старых бурачных полей) и его дочери, сначала долго слонялся без толку, то болтая с Влад[имиром] Андр[еевичем] и Флег[онтом], то сидя у Саши в гостиной, причём выслушано было несколько забавных историй от Сестрицы, и наконец наш винт таки состоялся. Я очень утомлен. Голубушка Туся! Ах, бедные, бедные!... И зачем? Но да будет воля Господня! 4 May. I decided this morning, after reading my mail (amongst which there was a letter from Modya with some pleasing news about Mazepa), to walk over to Zrubanets this morning to get some lilies-of-the-valley, but when I got there I saw a storm cloud and hurried home. The cloud quickly swooped down on me, and although there was no thunder, I was soaked through to the skin. I changed clothes, and with the greatest equanimity sat down to play Mozart's "Flute", in the midst of the most exquisite delight I was interrupted by the arrival of Bob, who, with an expression of horror, informed me of the death of Tusya Bazilevsky [13]. Great sorrow. Celebratory dinner for Lev's birthday. I wrote letters until tea and then worked. Walked with Bob, Grigi [14] and Brown [15] to the Pas de géants. After supper, which was attended by Nikolay Vasilyevich (a scene between him and Lev concerning who came up with the idea sowing the old beetroot fields) and his daughters; I began loafing around aimlessly, chatting with Vladimir Andreyevich [16] and Flegont [17], sitting with Sasha in the drawing-room, where we heard several of Sestritsa's [18] amusing stories, and finally we had a game of vint. I am very tired. Golubchik Tusya! Ah, the poor, poor people!... And why? But the Lord's will be done!

Saturday 5/17 May 1884

5 мая. День так себе. Утром немного прошелся по дороге к станции. Занимался. За обедом шла речь о поездке в лес. Я отделался. После обеда бродил с Бобом и смотрел его строение. Гулял через силу и без удовольствия, хотя в Тростянке чудно было. Пил чай у себя. До 7 часов возился с одним местом andante. Устал. У всенощной. Грустные мысли и слезы о Тусе. Опоздал к ужину. Флегонт нездоров, и потому винт был вдвоем (прескучный) с Лёвой. Нива. Ник[олай] Вас[ильевич]. 5 May. A so-so day. In the morning I took a bit of a stroll along the road towards the railway station. Worked. After lunch there was talk about an excursion to the forest. I got out of it. After lunch wandered with Bob and watched him building something. Strolled reluctantly and without any enjoyment, even though it was wonderful in Trostyanka [19]. Drank tea in my room. Until 7 o'clock I fussed over one place in the andante [20]. Tired. Went to the All-Night Vigil. Sad thoughts and tears for Tusya. Late for supper. Flegont is unwell, so the vint was only for two (most tedious) with Lev. The cornfield. Nikolay Vasilyevich.

Sunday 6/18 May 1884

6 мая. Воскр[есенье]. Превосходная погода. Получил письмо с деньгами из Петербурга. Был у обедни. Был очень восприимчив к религиозным впечатлениям; почти все время стоял со слезами на глазах. Меня всегда трогает до глубины души проявление простого, здравого религиозного чувства в простом народе (больной старик, мальчик 4-х лет, сам подошедший к чаше). Читался манифест с Конст[антином] Конст[антиновичем]. Был в большом доме; пил кофе в столовой. Все были оживлены и даже веселы. С Бобом ходил по базару. Занимался очень удачно. После обеда ходил к Покровской экономии. Пил чай сначала один, потом пришли из большого дома, Саша с Пелаг[еей] Осип[овной]. Разговор о Плесской Юлии. Дома писал письма. Прогулки при заходе солнца к мельницам. После ужина играл танцы для детей. Была Юлия Ив[ановна] с Долли. Разговоры о здешних домах. Сабанеев. Танцы. Винта вовсе не было. Признаюсь, винт для меня почти необходимость, — даже совестно. 6 May. Sunday. Marvellous weather. Received a letter with some money from Petersburg. Attended mass. Felt very receptive to religious impressions; I stood almost all the time with tears in my eyes. I am always touched to the depths of my soul by the manifestation of simple, wholesome religious feeling in the common folk (a sick old man, a boy of 4 who went up to the communion chalice on his own). The manifesto about Konstantin Konstantinovich was read out [21]. Visited the big house [22]; drank coffee in the dining room. Everyone was very animated, even cheerful. Took a walk around the market with Bob. Worked with good results. After lunch walked over to the Pokrovsky Farm. Drank tea, alone at first, and then Sasha and Pelageya Osipovna [23] came over from the big house. We talked about Yuliya Plesskaya. Wrote letters at home. Strolled over to the mills as the sun was setting. After supper I played some dances for the children. Yuliya Ivanovna was there with Dolly [24]. The conversation was about the houses around here. Sabaneyev [25]. Dances. No vint again. I confess that vint has almost become a necessity for me—I even feel ashamed.

Monday 7/19 May 1884

7 мая. Великолепный летний [день]. Соблазненный им, все утро прогулял: был на Пляковском поле и в Тростянке, где чудесно было. Лишь немножко успел позаняться. После обеда заехали в большой дом (Алекс[андра] Вас[ильевна] уехала сегодня в Москву) и оттуда в Зрубанец—Солобайчино за ландышами. Ездили Саша, Ната, Сестрица, Боб (верхом), Ука, Тася, я. Ходили с Бобом за ландышами, пили чай, наслаждались чудным вечером (я ехал вдвоем с Тасей). Винт вчетвером. Когда мне везло—я конфузился и старался проиграть; когда счастье изменяло, — я злился. Приходили Ник[олай] Вас[ильевич], Лиз[авета] Вас[ильевна], Вера Вас[ильевна]. 7 May. A splendid summer's day. Enticed by it, I walked all morning: went to the Plyakov Field and Trostyanka which was marvellous. Only managed to work a little. After lunch we called over at the big house (Aleksandra Vasilyevna left for Moscow today), and from there to Zrubanets, and Solobaychino for some lilies of the valley. Sasha, Nata [26], Sestritsa, Bob (on horseback), and Uka, Tasya and I went by carriage. Walked with Bob to find lilies-of-the-valley [27]; we drank tea, and marvelled at the wondrous evening (I travelled together with Tasya). Four-handed vint. When luck was with me I became embarrassed and tried to lose; but when my luck changed I became annoyed. Nikolay Vasilyevich, Lizaveta Vasilyevna and Vera Vasilyevna came.

Tuesday 8/20 May 1884

8 мая. Настоящий летний день. Облекся в белое платье. Все утро работал. Не без напряжения, но andante моё подвигается, и очень мило, кажется, выходит. После обеда, несмотря на жару, ходил к Тимашевской дороге, у провала. Чай пил с Сашей и Натой. Получены трагические подробности о смерти Туси. До слез больно слышать о них. Работал до 7 час[ов]. Прошелся по саду. Английский язык. Кончил Колумба. После ужина (Боб вернулся из Вербовки усталый и прямо лёг спать) был довольно мирный винт. Злился меньше обыкновенного. 8 May. A real summer's day. Dressed in white clothes. Worked all morning. It was not without an effort, but my andante is progressing, and I think it's turning out nicely. After lunch, despite the heat, I walked over to the Timashev road, by the hollow. Drank tea with Sasha and Nata. We received the tragic details of Tusya's death. It was so painful to hear them we were in tears. Worked until 7 o'clock. Walked around the garden. English language. Finished Columbus. After supper ([Bob]] returned from Verbovka worn out and went straight to bed) the vint was fairly amicable. I was less irritable than usual.

Wednesday 9/21 May 1884

9 мая. Оделся в новое платье. Был в Церкви, но стоял по тесноте у дверей и очень недолго. Вонифатий Сангурский. Заходил в большой дом. Вера Вас[ильевна] предложила сообща в лес ехать. Занимался и кончил анданте, коим очень доволен. Боб нездоров. Тотчас после обеда пошел через Юрчиху в большой лес (со стороны Несвадкова). Не доходя Юрчихи, со мной сделалось какое-то не то удушье, не то боль в сердце, очень испугавшая меня. Однако дошел до самого леса. Наши все поехали после. Приятная прогулка. Вера Вас[ильевна]. Чай. Ука. Ландыши и ночные фиалки. Назад на козлах ехал. Боб здоров. Ужин. Флегонт опоздал. Винт. В ту минуту, как пишу, гроза. 9 May. Put on a new set of clothes. Attended church, but since it was crowded I stood near the door, and not for long. Vonifaty Sangursky [28]. Called in at the big house. Vera Vasilyevna suggested we drive to the forest. I worked and finished the andante, with which I am very pleased. Bob is unwell. Immediately after lunch I walked via Yurchikha to the big forest (from the direction of Nesvadkov). Before reaching Yurchikha, I experienced something between a feeling of suffocation and a pain in the heart which gave me a huge fright [29]. However, I reached to the forest. All our people came later. A pleasant walk. Vera Vasilyevna. Tea. Uka. Lilies-of the valley and night violets. Travelled back on the coach-box. Bob is better. Supper. Flegont was late. Vint. A thunderstorm is going on as I write this.

Thursday 10/22 May 1884

10 мая. Вчерашняя гроза загнала меня в спальню без всякого чтения. При свете свечи стал было дремать, но сильный удар грома разбудил меня... Однако дождя почти не было. Спал отлично. Сегодня охлаждение в воздухе. Все утро прогулял, — был далеко в стороне Косары. Перед обедом приходил Вотя Сангурский с рисунками и этюдами. После обеда сидел в гостиной, потом немножко работал; приглашённый Григом качался на столбе. Снова работал. После того долговременно ристалище на столбе с Бобом и Алёшей в присутствии Юрия. Весело было, особенно оттого, что Боб невероятно наслаждался. После ужина винт, в коем мы с Флегонтом победили. В доме идёт разговор о спектакле Таси и тех девочек. Все являлись во время чаю. 10 May. Last night's storm drove me to my bedroom without any reading. In the candlelight I started to doze, but a loud clap of thunder woke me... However, there was almost no rain. Slept excellently. Today there's a coolness in the air. I spent all morning walking, — I went far off in the direction of Kosara. Before lunch Votya Sangursky came with some drawings and studies. After lunch I sat in the drawing-room, then worked a little; Grigi invited me to go for a swing on the post. Worked again. Afterwards I spent a long time racing around on the post with Bob and Alyosha whilst Uka looked on. It was merry, especially as Bob enjoyed himself incredibly. Vint after supper, in which Flegont and I were the victors. There is talk going on in the house about the performance in which Tasya and the other girls are to appear. Everyone appeared at tea time.

Friday 11/23 May 1884

11 мая. Опять ветрено и холодно, и была в 5 ч[асов] буря, с пылью, без дождя. 1-я часть сюиты под названием контрасты с темами:

до того мне опротивела, что я, провозившись с ней целый день, решил бросить и написать что-нибудь совсем иначе. Утром был на Никол[аевскьом] хлебном поле у высокой могилы. После обеда выжимал из себя неудавшуюся часть сюиты. Что за причина? Как я тяжело работать стал! Неужели окончательно старость? (Забыл упомянуть про странные сны сегодняшней ночью: странствование с Бобом, гувернантка Тарновских, Макшеев и т. д.) Английский язык. За чаем Нина, Лизав[ета] Вас[ильевна]. После ужина (с керосином) винт. Злился, но сегодня больше всего на Флегонта за его выговор мне. Получил утром известие от Пахульского о неудачном исполнении каприччио в Париже.

Again it is cold and windy, and at 5 o'clock there was a dust storm, but no rain. The 1st movement of the suite entitled contrasts with the themes:

has become so obnoxious to me that, having spent the entire day tinkering with it, I decided to abandon it and write something entirely different [30]. This morning I was at the Nikolayev cornfield near the high grave. After lunch I spent some time squeezing out of myself the unsuccessful movement for the suite. What is the reason? How hard I'm finding it to work! Is old age finally catching up with me? (I forgot to mention the strange dreams I had last night: wandering with Bob, the Tarnovskys' governess, Maksheyev, etc.) [31] English language. Nina [32] and Lizaveta Vasilyevna were at tea. After supper (by kerosene lamp) there was vint. I was irritable, but today this was directed more at Flegont for telling me off. Received news from Pachulski this morning about the unsuccessful performance of the capriccio in Paris [33].

Saturday 12/24 May 1884

12 мая. В 9 часов пошел пешком в Тарапун и лишь к обеду пешком же вернулся, — здоровая прогулка! Сидел на балконе, болтал с Натой, пытался на велосипеде ездить и т. д. Играл Моцарта. После чая начал было возиться опять с опротивевшими контрастыамы, но вдруг блеснула новая мыслёнка, и дело на лад пошло. Бегание у столба с Алёшей и Бобом (он наконец меня просто с ума сведет своей несказанной прелестью). Приходил Ник[олай] Вас[ильевич] и говорил о статье Revue по поводу красных закатов. Заходили в церковь (чудный вечер; жидовское гулянье; M-me Круаза). За ужином Нина и Маня. Пылал приживальщицким гневом на составе ужина. За винтом ужасно сердился, но не по поводу карт, а вообще, так себе, на что-то неопределенное, что можно назвать Z. — Да, этот Z менее мучителен и, пожалуй, более основателен, чем Х, — но тем не менее и он неприятен. 12 May. At 9 o'clock walked to Tarapun and only reached home on foot in time for lunch, — a splendid walk! Sat on the balcony and chatted to Nata, attempted to ride a bicycle, etc. Played Mozart. After tea I was starting to tinker again with the hideous contrasts, but a new idea suddenly dawned on me and things started going much better. Run around the post with Alyosha and Bob (he has finally managed to drive me quite mad with his ineffable charm). Nikolay Vasilyevich came and spoke about the Revue article concerning the redness of the sunsets. We called into the church (superb evening; the Jewish festival; M-de Croazot) [34]. Nina and Manya were at supper. Fumed with the rage of a hanger-on at the supper menu. Got terribly angry during vint, but not because of the cards, but at myself in general, at something indefinable, something that can be called Z. Yes, this Z is less tormenting and, perhaps, more well-founded than X, but in any case it's just as unpleasant [35].

Sunday 13/25 May 1884

13 мая. Воскр[есенье]. Адский ветер, губящий все посевы бураков. Обедня отошла рано, и я долго не знал, что с собой делать. Наконец пошел к Ал[ександре] Ив[ановне] и сидел у ней в гостиной вместе с Сестрицей. Занимался. После обеда сидел в кабинете, и Боб со мной. Гулял через силу; все ещё вчерашняя усталость даёт себя чувствовать. После чая пописывал. Качался с Бобом и какими-то девчонками. После ужина, по поводу появления разом Сабанеева и Ром[ана] Еф[имовича], произошло недоразумение насчёт того, кому быть в партии, и я было ушел к себе и принялся за Английский, но скороза мной пришёл Лёва. Играл довольно счастливо, но наделал в последнем робере с Ром[аном] Ефим[овичем] ошибок и до сих пор не могу себе простить, что вместо пик пошел с червей!!! Z меня сегодня особенно мучает. Да простит мне Господь столь скверные чувства. Модест прислал мне портреты Коли и наследника. 13 May. Sunday. An infernal wind is ruining all the beetroot crops. Mass ended early, and for a long time I didn't know what to do with myself. In the end I went to see Aleksandra Ivanovna and sat with her and Sestritsa in he drawing-room. Worked. After lunch I sat in the study; Bob was with me. I reluctantly went for a walk; all my tiredness from yesterday is still making itself felt. After tea I wrote a little. Had a swing with Bob and some girls or other. After supper Sabaneyev and Roman Yefimovich arrived at the same time, and this led to a misunderstanding about who was to play; I was going to study the English language in my room, but Lev soon came to fetch me. The game went well, but I made a lot of mistakes in the last rubber with Roman Yefimovich, and cannot forgive myself that instead of spades I played hearts!!!! Z is tormenting me today especially badly. May the Lord forgive me such loathsome thoughts. Modest has sent me photographs of Nikolay and the heir apparent [36].

Monday 14/26 May 1884

14 мая. С утра неожиданно пошел мелкий тихий дождичек и шел до самого вечера. Я ходил утром долго по саду. Занимался до обеда удачно. После обеда читал с Бобом Крылова. Гулял по Николаевскому полю. Сторож и знакомство с ним. Чай один (Саша легла с Натой спать) пил. Немного бегал ради Боба у столба. Был (по её приглашению) у сестрицы. Она обиделась, что её в Вербовку отсылают, и захотела в монастырь. Саша приходила со мной утром говорить об этом. Сначала (утром) я недоброжелательно отнесся к сестрице, но, побывав у ней, отлично понял её чувство. За ужином Ник[олай] Вас[ильевич] и Верлоп. Винт. Я невероятно был раздражен и зол, но не по игре, а Z меня мучил, что тем более досадно, что утром он улегся было. 14 May. From this morning onwards it gently drizzled with rain until the evening. I took a long stroll around the garden this morning. Worked until lunch time [37]. After lunch I read Krylov [38] with Bob. Walked across the Nikolayev field. The watchman and his acquaintance. I drank tea alone (Sasha and Nata had gone off for a sleep). Ran near the post for a while for Bob's sake. Visited (at her suggestion) Sestritsa. She has taken offence at being exiled to Verbovka and she wanted to go to the monastery. Sasha came to speak to me about it this morning. Initially (this morning) I was ill-disposed towards Sestritsa, but, having spent a little time with her, I fully understand her feelings. Nikolay Vasilyevich and Verlop [39] were at supper. Vint. I was incredibly irritable and spiteful, but it wasn't the game, but Z which was tormenting me, which is all the more frustrating since it had subsided this morning.

Tuesday 15/27 May 1884

15 мая. Опять утром шел дождичек. Гулял по саду. Писал последнюю варьяцию (финал-polacca). После обеда ходил в дубковый яр (пастухи-картежники) и вернулся через Смелянскую дор[огу]. После чая опять работал. Увидев Варю, шедшую к Саше, зашел в дом; потом посетил Алекс[андру] Ив[ановну]. Сидели с ней у Веры Вас[ильевны] и беседовали при неистовой суетне детей. После ужина был винт с Ром[аном] Еф[имовичем]. Я по обычаю бесился неизвестно на что, впрочем, больше всего на Ник[олая] Вас[ильевича], громко толковавшего о разных разностях и о том, как он промочил ноги. Спать лег, не читавши и не писавши дневника: пишу это днём позже. 15 May. Drizzling again this morning. I strolled around the garden. Wrote the last variation (the polonaise-finale). After lunch walked to Dubkov Yar (shepherds playing cards) and returned via the Smelyansky road. After tea worked again. When I saw Varya making towards Sasha I went into the house; then I went to see Aleksandra Ivanovna. I sat with her at Vera Vasilyevna's and chatted amidst a frightful hullabaloo from the children. After supper played vint with Roman Yefimovich. As usual I was raging about I don't know what, however, mostly with Nikolay Vasilyevich, who was ranting on about various things, and about how his feet came to be wet. Went to bed without reading or without writing my diary: I'm writing this a day late.

Wednesday 16/28 May 1884

16 мая. Утром ходил по саду, а потом забрел в Рудню и вернулся через кирпичный завод. Писал до самого обеда. Обедали en petit comité: сестрица уехала в монастырь, Лёва в свои экономии. После обеда сидел в гостиной, потом работал и погулял по саду. После чая опять работал. Узнав, что Боб у столба, пошел туда и застал его с Флегонтом. Много возни было. Приходили Лиз[авета] и Вера Вас[ильевны] за сиренью. Долго с Бобом и Флегонтом сидели на скамье у оранжереи. Вечер чудный. Занимался английским. Успехи мои в понимании читаемого значительны, — но все ещё ничего не понимаю когда Miss Eastwood говорит. Ужинал без Саши (она в большом доме). Сабанеев. Винт. Флегонт ломался, я выиграл. This morning took a stroll around the garden, and then wandered into Rudnya, and back via the Brick Works. Wrote until lunch time. We lunched en petit-comité: Sestritsa has gone off to monastery, and Lev to his farms. After lunch I sat in the drawing-room, then worked and strolled around the garden. After tea I worked again. Learning that Bob was at the post, I went there and found him with Flegont. There was a fussing about. Lizavera and Vera Vasilyevna came for some lilacs. Bob, Flegont and I sat on the bench near the green-house. Wonderful evening. Studied English. My progress in being able to understand what I read is remarkable, — but I still cannot understand anything when Miss Eastwood speaks [40]. We had supper without Sasha (she was in the big house). Sabaneyev. Vint. Flegont was broken, and I won.

Thursday 17/29 May 1884

17 мая. Вознесенье. Серая, тихая, но свежая погода. Алёша ушел тотчас после чая в церковь, а я, не гуляя, засел за работу и писал до 12 час[ов]. Гулял с большим наслаждением по Никол[аевскому] полю. Обедал в большом доме. Разговор о катастрофе на Никол[аевской] жел[езной] дор[оге]. После обеда сидел в гостиной, болтая с M-me Круаза, Ал[ександрой] Ив[ановной] и т. д. Пришла M-me Ярошевская. Когда в 4 часа я уходил, Лиз[авета] Вас[ильевна] со слезами на глазах говорила об Алекс[андре]. Михайл. Чай с Натой вдвоем. Занимался с большим напряжением. Качание в саду в 2 приема. M-me Власовская представила меня M-me Альгзен. Второй раз усиленно качался с Бобом, Алёшей, Апалатиком. Играл Моцарта и восхищался. Мысль о сюите из Моцарта. За ужином явилась М-ме Плесская и позже Кружилин. Я отказался от винта и, посидевши у стола, пришёл к себе в 11 часов. 17 May. Ascension. Grey, calm, but fresh weather. Straight after tea Alyosha went off to church, whilst I, without taking a stroll, got down to work and wrote until 12 o'clock. Had a very pleasurable walk on the Nikolayev field. Had lunch in the big house. The conversation was about the accident on the Nikolayevsky railway [41]. After lunch sat in the drawing-room and chatted with Madame Croazot, Aleksandra Ivanovna, etc. Mrs Yaroshevskaya arrived [42]. When I was leaving at 4 o'clock Yelizaveta Vasilyevna, with tears in her eyes, spoke to me about Aleksandra [43]. Mikhail [44]. Tea for two with Nata. Worked with great effort. Two sessions of swinging in the garden. Mrs Vlasovskaya presented Mrs Algzen to me [45]. Second time around took a vigorous swing with Bob, Alyosha, and Apaletik [46]. Played Mozart and was enchanted. Idea for a suite from Mozart [47]. Mrs Plesskaya appeared at supper time, and later Kruzhilin [48]. I declined to play vint, and, after sitting at the table, went to my room at 11 o'clock.

Friday 18/30 May 1884

18 мая. Я слишком напрягаюсь в работе, как будто меня погоняют. Напряжение это и нездорово, да, вероятно, и на бедной сюите отразится. Утром (чудесная погода) ходил на Пляковские бураки, которые прорывают. Занимался очень удачно (вариации перед финалом). После с Бобом на крыше сидел (куда только не заберусь я ради этого ангела!). По жаре бегал с ним же у столба. За сим пил чай (Вера Вас[ильевна] и разговоры о несчастной Анне Петровне), а потом неистово работал, дабы иметь возможность завтра начать с нового. Сестрица вернулась из монастыря. Перед ужином заходил к ней. После ужина играл, по желанию Боба, в особую игру—секрет, — преглупая игра. Винт. Я был очень tired and played whithaut great pleasure. Проиграл. 18 May. I am straining myself too much in my work, as if I were being driven forward. This straining is unhealthy, and will probably have an effect on the poor suite. This morning (wonderful weather) I walked to the Plyakov beetroot fields, which are being ploughed up. Worked very successfully (the variations before the finale). Afterwards sat on the roof with Bob (where I would only venture for the sake of this angel!). Ran with him near the post in the heat. After that, I drank tea (Vera Vasilyevna and conversation about poor Anna Petrovna), then worked furiously, so that I can start something fresh tomorrow. Sestritsa has returned from the monastery. Before supper I called in to see her. After supper I played, at Bob's request, a special game—secret—a most silly game. Vint. I was very tired and played without great pleasure [49]. I lost.

Saturday 19/31 May 1884

19 мая. Праздновалось Тасино 16-тилетие. Погода изрядная. Утром написал вариацию. Обед был парадный, с шампанским. Ходил в Тростянку. Чай пил у себя. Писал письма. С Бобом (голубчиком) ходил на скалы, там присоединились к лодочной компании и вернулись с ним домой. Заходили с Бобом к зеленому домику и сидели Эм[мой] Фед[оровной]. Играл Бобу детские песни. У всенощной. Вечер с танцами; я был тапером. Боба невыразимо забавляло, что я на задаваемые им темы играл кадрили. По окончании, когда все расходились, Ната, бывшая очень задумчивой, вдруг сказала мне: «ах, Петичка, право, жить не стоит!». Такие слова в устах столь здоровой и цельной натуры, как Ната, про извели на меня очень грустное впечатление. В течение вечера Вера Вас[ильевна] вспоминала былое, и, по-видимому, с сожалением. Но все то, что она вспоминает, мне лично противно и возврата всего этого не хотелось. 19 May. Celebrations for Tasya's 16th birthday. The weather is fair. Wrote a variation in the morning. Lunch was festive with champagne. Walked to the Trostyanka. Drank tea in my room. Wrote letters. Walked to the cliffs with (golubchik) Bob, where we met up with a boating party, and then I returned home with him. Bob and I called in at the green house and sat with Emma Fyodorovna [50]. I played Bob some children's songs. Attended the all-night vigil. A soirée with dances; I was at the piano. Bob was inexpressibly fascinated that I could play quadrilles on the themes he proposed. At the end when everyone had left, Nata, who was in a very pensive mood, suddenly said to me: "ah, Petichka, life is really not worth living!". Such words on the lips of so strong and wholesome a nature as Nata, made a very sad impression on me. During the course of the evening Vera Vasilyevna recalled the past and, evidently, with regret. But everything she recalled was personally abhorrent to me, and I had no wish to be reminded of it all.

Sunday 20 May/1 June 1884

20 мая. Воскр[есенье]. В церковь опоздал. Пошел было походить (признаться, удирая от выходивших из церкви Даньки и tutti quanti), но вдруг случилось неприятное происшествие, вследствие коего, прямо от Николаевской экономии... я полетел домой... Ходил потом в большой дом. Сидел в гостиной с Ал[ександрой] Ив[ановной] и Лиз[аветой] Вас[ильевной]. Последняя рассказывала о Пашковых. Потом сидел у Веры Вас[ильевны]. Говорили с ней о Тане. Дома успел написать варьяцию. После обеда поездка в Вербовку в ландо с Лёвой, Сашей и Бобом. До Майдана шел пешком. От Лебедовки, где мы заходили к Анне Иван[овне], я с Бобом шли пешком. В Вербовке пили чай, бродили по саду и всюду с Бобом. Дома нас все встретили с радостью, ибо беспокоились. После ужина винт, в коем я проиграл 7½ рублей. Очень не везло. 20 May. Sunday. I was late for church. I intended going off for a stroll (I must confess, fleeing from Danka and tutti quanti, who were coming out of the church), but suddenly something unpleasant happened, as a result of which I dashed straight from the Nikolayev farm... and flew back home… Later I walked over to the big house. Sat in the drawing room with Aleksandra Ivanovna and Lizaveta Vasilyevna. The latter was telling us about the Pashkovs. Then I sat with Vera Vasilyevna. We spoke about Tanya. At home I managed to write a variation. After lunch there was a trip to Verbovka in the landau with Lev, Sasha and Bob. Walked as far as Maidan. From Lebyodovka, where we called in on Anna Ivanovna, I walked with Bob. At Verbovka we drank tea, wandered around the garden and everywhere with Bob. Returning home, everyone welcomed us joyfully because they had been worried about us. After supper there was vint, in which I lost 7½ rubles. Very out of luck.

Monday 21 May/2 June 1884

21 мая. Погода Каменская, в хозяйственном отношении губительная, в гуляльном жестокая. Зато я хорошо работал сегодня, ибо написал целых четыре варьяции. Утром только тур сада сделал и потом работал, а в 12½ кончил в ожидании Боба, обещавшего прийти петь учиться, но обманувшего. После обеда с Бобом по поводу ходуль, бродили по пучинам и дебрям недостроенного большого дома. Гулял по Никол[аевскому] полю. Чай без Наты, но с сестрицей и с Тасей, которая то и дело кого-нибудь осуждала, Miss Eastwood даже дурой назвала. Занимался. Ходил, тщетно ища Боба, по местечку, потом в поле Тростянском был. Мы с Сашей и с Сестрицей были в большом доме, потом ужинали (необыкновенно вкусно) у Плесских. По возвращении домой в винт играли, и я немного выиграл. 21 May. Pure Kamenka weather: ruinous for farming and horrible for walking. On the other hand I worked well today because I wrote four whole variations. This morning I just did a turn around the garden and then worked. Stopped at 12.30 in anticipation of Bob who had promised to come for a singing lesson, but he let me down. After lunch I wandered around the unfinished big house with Bob on stilts, because of the labyrinthine thicket. Took a stroll around the Nikolayev field. Tea without Nata, but with Sestritsa and Tasya, who kept complaining about various people; they even called Miss Eastwood a fool. Worked. Went in vain to look for Bob at the usual place, then to the Trostyansky field. Sasha, Sestritsa and I were at the big house, and then we had supper (extremely delicious) at the Plesskys. Back at home we played vint and I won a little.

Tuesday 22 May/3 June 1884

22 мая. Ночью просыпался от боли в горле и тошноты, и весь день был нездоров, хотя и занимался хорошо. Перед обедом приходил Боб, и я играл ему мои песни. После обеда с величайшим усилием добрел до Тростянки и назад. После чая сел было заниматься, но Боб увлек меня ходулями. После безнадежного дня вдруг начали подходить тучи, однако ж ничего или почти ничего из них не вышло. Несколько раз выходил, ища Боба. Как только я не работаю и не гуляю (а это для меня та же работа), — начинаю жаждать Боба и скучать без него. Страх как я люблю его. За ужином были участвующие в спектакле ветеринар (незадолго перед тем приехавший и мной принятый), Сабанеев и т. д. Репетиция. Я аккомпанировал Тасины куплеты. Несимпатичен этот спектакль. Винт с перерывами. Ник[олай] Вас[ильевич]. Я выиграл очень много. 22 May. Woke in the night with a sore throat and a feeling of nausea; I felt unwell all day but still managed to work well [51]. Bob came to see me before lunch and I played him my songs. After lunch with a huge effort I made it to the Trostyanka and back. I was going to work after tea, but Bob distracted me with his stilts. After an unpromising day the clouds began to gather, but nothing, or almost nothing, came of them. I went out a few times, looking for Bob. As soon as I stop working or walking (and that is also work for me), I start to long for Bob and to miss him. I love him so terribly. The participants in the performance were at supper: the veterinarian (who had arrived not long before, and whom I had received), Sabaneyev, etc. Rehearsals. I accompanied Tasya's couplets. An unappealing performance. Vint with interruptions. Nikolay Vasilyevich. I won a great deal.

Wednesday 23 May/4 June 1884

23 мая. Утро было как-то особенно восхитительно. В саду встретил Веру Вас[ильевну] с Влад[имиром] Андр[еевичем] и ходил вместе с ними. Успешно занимался. Боб ездил встречать Лёву и Гришу и не обедал. После обеда я ходил в Тростянку. Сестрица (с которой я вообще недостаточно ласков) порядочно раздражала меня сегодня своей перепиской с г. Лоди, в коей я играю роль секретаря. Кончил сюиту. Перед ужином бродил по саду и по площади. Чудный вечер. Ходули. За ужином опять сестрица с Лоди. Репетиция—Femmes savantes?!! Я очень нервен был: все меня раздражало, и не без причины: боль или, лучше сказать, странное ощущение в горле, давно не проходящее, начинает беспокоить меня, да и ещё маленькое как бы геморроидальное страдание. По окончании курьезной репетиции был винт. Мне везло. Был очень не в духе, несмотря на то. 23 May. The morning was somehow exceptionally enchanting. In the garden I ran into Vera Vasilyevna with Vladimir Andreyevich, and walked together with them. Worked successfully. Bob has gone to meet Lev and Grigi and wasn't at lunch. After lunch I walked to the Trostyanka. Sestritsa (with whom, on the whole, I'm not affectionate enough) thoroughly annoyed me today through her correspondence with Mr Lodi in which I play the role of her secretary. Finished the suite [52]. Before supper strolled around the garden and the drive. Marvellous evening. Stilts. During supper Sestritsa was still on about Lodi. Rehearsal: Femmes savantes?!! I was very jittery: everything upset me not without cause: the pain, or perhaps it would be better to say, the strange sensation in my throat which has lasted a long time, is beginning to worry me, and I still have slight discomfort as if from haemorrhoids as well. After the curious rehearsal concluded—vint. I was in luck, but very out of sorts for all that.

Thursday 24 May/5 June 1884

24 мая. Письмо от Пахульского, в коем присылает мне объявление о продаже «Дворянинова». Разнообразные чувства, при сем испытанные. Писал длинное письмо к Н[адежде] Ф[иларетовне] насчёт планов о покупке имения, кои решено отложить в сторону. Ходил в большой [дом] и долго беседовал с Вер[ой] Вас[ильевной]. Или я очень ошибаюсь, или она ещё не совсем изменила старым своим чувствам. После обеда, на коем были Яков Исаич с ассистентом, мы все волновались по причине шедшей на нас грозной тучи. Она и радовала, и пугала, и разочаровывала... но наконец столь давно жданный дождь был. Я сидел у себя, боясь молнии и в то же время восхищаясь. За чаем Лёва и Гриша. Экзамен. Прогулка к кирпичному заводу. Ходули. Гаврюша Аполат. После ужина чтение с Бобом Гоголя и мечты о постановке Ревизора. Тасин спектакль отменен. Винт. Николай Васильевич. 24 May. Letter from Pachulski, in which he enclosed the notice of sale for "Dvoryaninovo" [53]. I had mixed feelings about this. I wrote a long letter to Nadezhda Filaretovna concerning my plans to purchase an estate, and which I have decided to set aside. Walked over to the big house and chatted with Vera Vasilyevna. Either I am very much mistaken or she still retains some of her old feelings. After lunch, at which Yakov Isaich and his assistant were present [54], we were all perturbed by the thunder cloud gathering over us. It gladdened us, frightened us and enchanted us... and in the end the long-awaited rain arrived. I sat in my room, fearful of the lightning, while at the same time fascinated by it. Lev and Grisha were there for tea [55]. Examination. Walked to the brick works. Stilts. Gavriil Apolat. After supper I read Gogol with Bob, and dreamed about staging The Inspector-General. Tasya's production has been cancelled. Vint. Nikolay Vasilyevich.

Friday 25 May/6 June 1884

25 мая. Целый день меня беспокоило и до крайности раздражало все то же странное ощущение в глотке. Утром занимался переложеньем на 4 руки варьяций. После обеда ходил за станцию на Пляковские бураки. Песни рабочих. Жуки. За чаем Саша рассказывала про то, как Сестрица смотрит на мои отношения к Нате. Потом появился ветеринар, коего я счел долгом занимать. Писал, занимался английским и все беспокоился о своей глотке. С мальчиками перед ужином забавлялся ходулями, pas de géants и т. д. После ужина долго ждали Флегонта, а у меня между тем голова разболелась так, что с трудом играл в винт. Везло ужасно и мне было ужасно жаль Сашу. Очень мучился не самим чувством Z, а тем, что оно во мне есть. Лег спать, Не писавши. Спал лихорадочно. 25 May. All day I was alarmed and extremely irritated by that same strange sensation in my throat. This morning I worked on arranging the variations for 4 hands. After lunch walked beyond the station to the Plyakov beetroot fields. The workers' songs. Beetles. During tea Sasha told us how Sestritsa regards my relations with Nata. Then the veterinarian appeared, and I considered it my duty to keep him entertained. Wrote, studied English, and continued to worry about my throat. In the company of the boys I amused myself before supper with the stilts and pas de géants, etc. After supper we had to wait a long time for Flegont, and I had such a headache that it was an effort to play vint. I was terribly in luck and felt terribly sorry for Sasha. I was greatly tormented, not by the feeling of Z itself, but because it is in me [56]. Went to bed without writing. Slept feverishly.

Saturday 26 May/7 June 1884

26 мая. Проснулся после хорошего, но с лихорадочными перерывами сна, очень не в духе и боясь глотки. Воздержался от вкушения пищи, думая, что этим предупрежу, и действительно, сначала долго ничего не было, но теперь (пишу это утром, в 12½, после прогулки) более, чем когда-либо. Что это? Вероятно, вздор, но нервам от того не легче. Получил письмо от Губерта, сообщающее мне предложение Бесселя насчёт переделок Опричника. Был значительно взволнован этим. Вследствие легкого нездоровья и чудной погоды не занимался, а пошел в Тростянку через Дубков-Яр, и очень бы усладительна была прогулка, если бы не глотка. Обед состоялся поздно. Были Ник[олай] Вас[ильевич] и Сабанеев. Сидел на балконе на лестнице с Бобом и Тасей, которая чесала мне голову. Адель Андреевна (тоже обедавшая) что-то ораторствовала про мою знаменитость. Потом пописывал дома. Только в 5½ Ната позвала меня к чаю. Переезд Сестрицы. Написал 2 варьяции. Прошелся по саду: акации благоухают. Веру Вас[ильевну] встретил. У всенощной очень приятно было (сегодня канун Троицына дня). От[ец] Алекс[андр] в скуфье. Боб расшиб себе колено (Апалат и ходули). Мое беспокойство. Доктор. Винт. Везло до гадости. 26 May. Woke after a good sleep, interrupted however by periods of feverishness, extremely out of sorts and fearing for my throat. I refrained from eating food, thinking that this would be a precautionary measure; and indeed, to begin with, there was no problem, but now (I'm writing this at 12.30 after my walk) it is worse than ever. What is it? It is probably nothing at all, but this does not help my nerves. I received a letter from Hubert, informing me of Bessel's proposal for the revision of The Oprichnik [57]. I was quite perturbed by this. As a consequence of my slight indisposition, and the wonderful weather, I did not work, and went to the Trostyanka through Dubkov-Yar, and the walk would have been very pleasant, but for my throat. Lunch was served late. Nikolay Vasilyevich and Sabaneyev were there. I sat on the balcony steps with Bob and Tasya who combed my hair for me. Adel Andreyevna (who was also at lunch) held forth about my fame. Then I wrote a little at home. Only at 5.30 did Nata call me for tea. Sestritsa has changed rooms. Wrote out 2 variations. Walked around the garden: the acacia is smelling fragrant. Came across Vera Vasilyevna. It was quite delightful at vespers (today is the eve of Trinity Day). Father Alexander was in his velvet calotte. Bob injured his knee (Apalat and the stilts). My concern. The doctor. Vint. Was sickeningly lucky.

Sunday 27 May/8 June 1884

27 мая. Троиц[ын] день. Обедня. Сильная, почти невыносимая духота. Едва вытерпел коленопреклонение. У Алекс[андры] Ив[ановны] чай пил в столовой. Она была необыкновенно как-то ласкова ко мне. Приезд Мити. Встретил их около линии (Даня). После обеда опять началось ощущение. Тучи ходили, и перепадали дожди. Я успел заняться. Отъезд Анны Петровны. Прогулка вдоль линии. После ужина танцы. Винт впятером. 27 May. Trinity Day. Mass. Heavy, almost unbearable, stuffiness. Barely managed to hold out to the genuflection. Drank tea in the dining room with Aleksandra Ivanovna. She was unusually affectionate towards me for some reason. Mitya arrived. I met them near the railway line (Danya). After lunch the sensation began again. Clouds gathered and it began to rain intermittently. I managed to work. Anna Petrovna left. Stroll along the railway line. Dances after supper. Vint for five.

Monday 28 May/9 June 1884

28 мая. Духов день. Погода не дурная, но дождь хотя и был, а все мало. Совершил благодаря серенькому утру чудную прогулку по Никол[аевскому] полю почти к Зрубанцу. Падение Боба с лошади из-за комедиантства этой дряни Митьки. Хорошо, что благополучно. После обеда Митя убивал ради удовольствия собак. Я возненавидел сразу мерзкого мальчишку, и так был возмущен и расстроен, что с трудом принимал участие в игре в буриме и в secrétaire, устроенной в большом доме Верой Васильевной. Прошелся по большой улице на Покровской стороне. Немного занялся. После ужина винт с Сабаневым и Флегонтом. Мне не везло. Я был ужасно утомлён и лёг спать сейчас после возвращения домой. Просыпался ночью от изжоги. 28 May. Whit Monday. The weather is not bad, and even though there was rain, it wasn't much. Thanks to the grey morning skies I had a splendid walk over the Nikolayev field almost as far as Zrubanets. Bob fell from his horse because of the tomfoolery of that good-for-nothing Mitya. Thankfully all was well. After lunch Mitya was killing dogs for his own amusement. I have taken an instant dislike to that vile urchin, and was so indignant and upset that it was with an effort I took part in the game of bouts-rimés and secrétaire which Vera Vasilyevna had arranged at the big house. Took a stroll along the main street on the Pokrovsky side. Worked a little. After supper I played vint with Sabaneyev and Flegont. I was out of luck. Was dreadfully tired and retired to bed as soon as we got home. Awoke with heartburn during the night.

Tuesday 29 May/10 June 1884

29 мая. Совершил утром большую прогулку на Пляковские бураки. Лёва с дрянью (Господи, прости) уехал в Чигирин. Приехал учитель. Я занимался сначала переложением варьяций, потом выбором моих ф[орте]п[ианных] пьес для издания Ausgewählte Werke, предпринимаемого Петр[ом] Ив[анови]чем. Приехал учитель для мальчиков. Обед с Сабанеевым, с пельменями и с учителем, коего мне пришлось занимать. Поездка в ландо в Пруссы: Саша, Ната, Тася, Сестрица и я. Очень приятно было бы, если бы не ощущение, начавшее было проходить, но явившееся с новой силой. Дома за ужином странная выходка хозяйки дома, открыто восстанавливающей своих детей против ближайших и, во всяком случае, почтенных родных. Ах, зачем, зачем это все?... Был в большом доме. Присутствовал при игре в мельники и беседовал с Лиз[аветой] и Вер[ой] Вас[ильевнами]. 29 May. Took a long walk this morning to the Plyakov beetroot fields. Lev has gone off to Chigirin with that good-for-nothing (may the Lord forgive me). The teacher arrived. I began by working on the arrangement of the variations, and then made a selection of my piano pieces for the Selected Works edition which Pyotr Ivanovich has undertaken to publish [58]. The teacher came for the boys. Lunch at Sabaneyev's (pelmeni) [59], with the teacher, whom I had to entertain. Trip to Prussy in the landau: Sasha, Nata, Tasya, Sestritsa, and I. It would have been very pleasant, were it not been for the sensation which had started to pass, but has now come back with renewed vigour. At home during supper we had the peculiar antics of the mistress of the house, openly pitting her children against their loved ones, or at any rate, against their venerable relatives. Oh, why, why all this...? Went to the big house. I was there for the game of Millers, and chatted with Lizaveta and Vera Vasilyevna.

Wednesday 30 May/11 June 1884

30 мая. С утра ощущение. Совершил большую прогулку по Никол[аевскому] полю. Занимался 1) вариациями, 2) корректурой Моцарта. За обедом разговор шел с немцем (вообще очень разговорчивым) о классицизме, учении и проч. Перед самым обедом порядочный дождь шел. После обеда вдруг и совершенно неожиданно ощущения как не бывало, — а вечером снова вернулось. После обеда корректура. Снаряжал Боба в верховую поездку. Ходил к мельницам. Сумасшедший Еврей. При закате солнца сидел на крыше и следил за градовой тучей, шедшей в стороне, а также за Натой, пожиравшей только что привезенные из Верб[овки] огурцы. После ужина винт вдвоем с Флегонтом. Возвращение Лёвы из Чигирина. Чай. Ник[олай] Вас[ильевич]; мотыльки; Ник[олай] Вас[ильевич] заходил прощаться. Ощущение. 30 May. The sensation has been there since this morning. Completed a long walk over the Nikolayev field. Worked on 1) the variations, 2) the Mozart proofs [60]. During lunch I spoke with the German (a highly talkative man in general) about classicism, learning, and so on. Just before lunch a decent amount of rain fell. Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, after lunch the sensation vanished as if it had never been there, — only to return again in the evening. Proofs after lunch. Fitted out Bob for his journey on horseback. Walked over to the mills. A mad Jew [61]. Sat on the roof at sunset; watched a hail-cloud move away, and Nata tucking into some cucumbers which had just been brought over from Verbovka. After supper there was vint for two with Flegont. Lev's return from Chigirin. Tea. Nikolay Vasilyevich; butterflies; Nikolay Vasilyevich called in to say goodbye. The sensation.

Thursday 31 May/12 June 1884

31 мая. Целый день ходили тучи и падали дожди, а вечером даже сильный дождь. Успел утром отгулять свои 2 часа; шел от Смел[янской] дор[оги] межой у могилы к Пляковским полям; спускаясь к станции, имел вид на довольно невдалеке гремевшую тучу. Занимался «Фигаро», и кончил. После обеда часа два был неразлучен с чудным, несравненным моим Бобом; сначала он валялся на балконе, на скамейке и очаровательно томился и болтал о моих сочинениях (Каменна Москва). Потом у меня сидел и заставлял меня играть. После чая я занимался. Перепадали дожди. Приехал председатель съезда. Мальчики наши с немцем и англичанином уехали в 7 часов и только около 10 вернулись; мы все страшно беспокоились; оказалось, что дождь их в Пруссы загнал. Винт с председателем. Сильный дождь. Телеграмма от Модеста, что он болен и остался в Петербурге. Целый день ощущение. Спал полночи в кабинете. 31 May. Thunder clouds were flying overhead all day and it was raining; in the evening there was even a hefty downpour. This morning I managed to take my two-hour walk; going from the Smelyansky road verge near the grave towards the Plyakov fields; as I went down towards the station I caught sight of a rumbling thunder cloud not so far away. Worked on "Figaro" and finished it. For about two hours after lunch I was inseparable from my wonderful, incomparable Bob; at first he lounged about on the balcony, and on a bench, languished enchantingly and prattled on about my works (Stone Moscow) [62]. Then he sat in my room and made me play. After tea I worked. It rained intermittently. The chairman of the convention arrived. Our boys went off with the German and the Englishman at 7 o'clock and they only returned around 10; we were all terribly anxious, but it turned out that the rain had driven them to take shelter in Prussy. Vint with the chairman. Heavy rain. Telegram from Modest to say that he is ill and has remained in Petersburg. The sensation all day. Slept half the night in the study.

Notes and References

  1. Tchaikovsky was composing the Valse mélancolique from his Suite No. 3, Op. 55.
  2. Vint, a card game based on whist and preference, a Russian forerunner of bridge. More about vint, see Vadim Bakhirev, Русский карточный игрок [The Russian card player] (Saint Petersburg, 1880), p. 114-120.
  3. Roman Yefimovich Derichenko, the physician at Kamenka. See Записки о П. И. Чайковском(1962), p. 37-38.
  4. Bob became the main source of pleasure and consolation for Tchaikovsky at Kamenka. He confided to Modest the next day in Letter 2481: "Bobik is playing an important part in my life here. Our friendship is terrific—and for the first time he is displaying a strong liking toward me. At first he only allowed himself to be adored, while now he seems to have begun to value my adoration. And truly I do adore him, and the longer it lasts, the more powerful it becomes. What a delightful specimen of humankind he is! He often comes in for a chat, but he respects the hours when I work—I mean in the mornings when I am writing. I am also working hard at my English [...] Bobik, the Suite and English are the three great attractions of Kamenka". The intensification of Tchaikovsky's feelings for his nephew is the second striking feature of the Kamenka diary after the usage of the symbols "X" and "Z". A careful reading of the diary entries with "X" and "Z" makes it quite clear that they had no connection to Tchaikovsky's feelings towards his nephew, as some biographers have suggested. In fact, "Z", the principal symbol used in the diary, occurs solely in the context of cards and gambling, and as a result of his earlier daily disappointments and distress in regard to his routine in the Davydov household, while "X" represents the consequent resentment directed at himself. See also Alexander Poznansky, Tchaikovsky. The quest for the inner man (1993), p. 436-440.
  5. In Letter 2481 to his brother Modest that same day, Tchaikovsky wrote: "I am writing a suite in a leisurely manner. A charming form but the word is disgusting [...] the scherzo I have composed, and I am now inventing the indispensable waltz-like movement. But it seems to me more and more that I have exhausted my powers and if I do not steal from others I do steal a lot from myself".
  6. Letter 2481 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 2/14 May 1884.
  7. One of the five photographs (Nos. 41 to 45) taken in April 1884 in Moscow by Marian Konarsky.
  8. In Letter 2482 to Nadezhda von Meck of the same day, the composer admitted: "My English studies are going so well that I can almost read fluently and this occupation is becoming easier and more pleasant with every day".
  9. Nikolay Vasilyevich Davydov (1826-1916), Lev's elder brother. He and his family lived in a separate house, called the "green one". See Записки о П. И. Чайковском(1962), p. 16-17; also Aleksandr Davydov, Воспоминания: 1881-1955 [Recollections: 1881-1955] (Paris, 1982), p. 22-26.
  10. Nikolay Rayevsky (1771-1829), a much decorated general who fought in the war of 1812 against Napoleon. After his father's death his mother Yekaterina (neé Samoylova), a niece of Grigory Potemkin, remarried General Lev Denisovich Davydov (1743-1801) and they settled down in her estate in Kamenka. From her marriage to the general Rayevsky she had two sons: Aleksandr and Nikolay, who then became stepbrothers to the children from her second marriage to Lev Davydov: Aleksandr, Pyotr, Vasily and Sofya. Vasily Davydov took part in the Decembrist movement and was sent to Siberia by Nicholas I. Vasily Davydov (1792-1855) had eleven children, among them Lev, Tchaikovsky's brother-in-law. More about the Rayevsky and Davydov's families, seeЗаписки о П. И. Чайковском(1962), p. 3-10.
  11. Vera Vasilyevna Butakova (1848-1923), Lev Davydov's sister. In the late 1860s she was in love with Tchaikovsky, but her feelings were not reciprocated (see Alexander Poznansky, Tchaikovsky. The quest for the inner man (1993), p. 102-105). Widowed two years earlier, she now lived at the 'big house' in Kamenka, and seemed still to harbour some of her youthful infatuation with Tchaikovsky, appearing constantly to be luring Tchaikovsky into embarrassing encounters.
  12. Anna Lvovna Sokolova, tutor to the Davydov children, who was terminally ill. Aleksandra Davydova and her daughter Elizaveta were taking care of her.
  13. Yekaterina ("Tusya") Bazilevsky, the infant daughter of Lev Davydov's niece Aleksandra (née Peresleni, 1862-1937).
  14. Grigory Ivanovich Butakov ("Grigi"), the older son of Lev Davydov's sister Vera Butakova.
  15. Brown, an Englishmen who taught the children of Lev's younger brother Aleksey (1846-1909).
  16. Vladimir Andreyevich Plessky was the manager of Nikolay Davydov's estate, and landowner of the neighbouring estate at Yanovka. The composer had friendly relations with Vladimir and his Swiss-born wife Yuliya (who was also governess to Lev Davydov's daughters), and their children Boris, Mikhail and Dolya. See Записки о П. И. Чайковском(1962), p. 36.
  17. Flegont Biesterfeldt, tutor to Lev Davydov's children.
  18. Tchaikovsky's cousin on his father's side, Anastasia Vasilyevna Popova (1807-1894), known to the composer and his family as 'Sestritsa' = 'Little Sister'.
  19. The Trostyanka woods, near Kamenka.
  20. Élégie, the first movement of the Suite No. 3.
  21. The formal announcement of the marriage on 15/27 April 1884 of Russian Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich to the German Princess Elisabeth of Saxe-Altenburg, who assumed the title of Grand Duchess Yelizaveta Mavrikyevna (1865–1927). Tchaikovsky had met the Grand Duke four years earlier, and the two men became friends.
  22. The composer's nephew Yury Davydov later recalled that: "The house in which Aleksandra Ivanovna Davydova lived with her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren [...] was called the 'big house', although it was not particularly large in size. Lev Davydov's house was called 'the little homestead' (малый двор), or often 'the homestead', sounding a note of disdain". See Записки о П. И. Чайковском(1962), p. 12.
  23. Pelageya Osipovna Kostetsky, governess to the Davydov children.
  24. Dolly was the governess to the Plesskys' children.
  25. Yury Sabaneyev, manager of the neighbouring estate at Yurchan. See Записки о П. И. Чайковском(1962), p. 41.
  26. Natalya Andreyevna Plesskaya ("Nata") was Vladimir Plessky's sister , and a very close friend and confidant of Tchaikovsky's own sister Sasha. See Записки о П. И. Чайковском(1962), p. 36-37.
  27. The lily-of-the-valley was Tchaikovsky's favourite flower, about which he wrote a long poem at the end of 1878. For the special significance of lily-of-the-valley in the composer's life and for the poem itself, see Alexander Poznansky, Tchaikovsky. The quest for the inner man (1993), p. 335-338.
  28. Vonifaty (Boniface) or "Votya" Sangursky, a boy from Kamenka and Tchaikovsky;s protegé. The composer took much interest in his education and sent him to study painting at the Art school in Moscow. Later Vonifaty became a teacher of drawing. Some of his paintings are preserved in the Tchaikovsky House-Museum at Klin.
  29. According to Dr Anton Neumayr, this decription "probably matches the functonal breathing diturbance, called Da Costa syndrome or effort syndrome, which gives the patient the feeling of no longer being able to inhale sufficiently". See Anton Neumayr, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), vol. 3 (1997), p. 302.
  30. These two themes were subsequently used by Tchaikovsky in the second movement of his Concert Fantasia for piano and orchestra, Op. 56, composed the following month.
  31. Tarnovsky and Maksheyev were acquaintances of Tchaikovksky from Moscow.
  32. Nina Nikolayevich Davydova, daughter of Nikolay Davydov, and Lev Davydov's niece.
  33. Władysław Pachulski (1855-1919), Polish violinist who worked as secretary to Nadezhda von Meck, and subsequently married her daughter Yuliya. The Italian Capriccio, Op. 45, had been composed by Tchaikovsky four years earlier, in 1880.
  34. Madame Croazot was the governess of Nikolay Davydov's daughters: Mariya (known as "Manya") and Varvara.
  35. Here Tchaikovsky himself makes a tentative effort to describe the feelings that he designated "X" and "Z". This self-observation seems to be related to different aspects of one and the same psychological experience, which Tchaikovsky, inclined to introspection, sought to comprehend, but either found difficult to express in words in the diary, or simply decided just to avoid any such written formulation. It is evident that "X" was used in connection with a misanthropic anger at those around him (see for instance his displeasure with Flegont, a day earlier) and "Z" the guilt resulting from such emotion, especially in the context of playing cards.
  36. Nikolay ("Kolya") Konradi (1868-1922), the sixteen-year-old deaf-mute pupil of Modest Tchaikovsky. The heir apparent to the Russian throne was at this time was Grand Duke Nikolay Aleksandrovich, the future Tsar Nicholas II.
  37. A few sketches of the Third Suite have survived in Tchaikovsky's notebook, preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive (ref. a2, No. 15). One sketch from the finale, inscribed "Trio for polonaise", is dated 14/26 May 1884.
  38. Ivan Andreyevich Krylov (1769-1844), playwright and author of Russian fables.
  39. Verlop was a local architect who was attempting to complete the works on the 'big house' on the Davydovs' estate.
  40. Martha Elizabeth Eastwood (1839-1909) was the English-born tutor to the youngest of Lev Davydov's children.
  41. On 13/25 May 1884 a postal train was derailed between Moscow and Saint Petersburg, resulting in several deaths.
  42. Mrs Yaroshevskaya was a neighbouring landowner.
  43. Aleksandra Mikhaylovna Davydova, the wife of Lev's older brother Vasily Davydov, She was suffering from breast cancer.
  44. Presumably Mikhail Plessky, the son of Vladimir and Yuliya Plessky.
  45. Acquaintances of the Davydov family from Kamenka.
  46. "Apaletik" was Gavriil Apolat, a friend of Vladimir Davydov's from Kamenka.
  47. This idea was eventually realised three years later as the Suite No. 4, Op. 61, "Mozartiana".
  48. Kruzhilin was the landowner of a neighbouring estate to the Davydovs' at Kamenka.
  49. Tchaikovsky wrote this last sentence in English.
  50. A local resident of Kamenka.
  51. Here Tchaikovsky describes an onset of tonsillitis (later in the diary referred as the "sensation") that lasted about two weeks. In Letter 2502 to Nadezhda von Meck written on 7/19 June, Tchaikovsky provided a summary of his illness: "I had some sort of inflammation in my throat with a strong fever and such a terrible pain in my throat that during course of one day I could not even swallow a little sip of water. It is much better now, but I feel very weak". Some 20h-century biographers interpreted this innocent description by Tchaikovsky of his sore throat as a "revelation of self-tormenting morbidity" — see Nicolas Slonimsky, Further light on Tchaikovsky (1938), p. 145-146.
  52. Three days later, in Letter 2494, Tchaikovsky told Nadezhda von Meck: "I have finished writing the suite and I am resting for the moment but when I am in Grankino, staying with my brother Modest, I will start orchestrating it". The orchestration was completed on 19/31 July, and the Suite No. 3 was first performed at a Russian Musical Society concert in Saint Petersburg on 12/24 January 1885, conducted by Hans von Bülow.
  53. Dvoryaninovo was a nearby estate which Tchaikovsky had considered purchasing. For some time he had harboured a wish to own a piece of property where he could live in seclusion, since he felt tired of living as "hanger-on". In Letter 2488 to Nadezhda von Meck, 9/21 May 1884, he described his ideal home in detail, perhaps in the hope that she would help him to acquire it. At this time Dvoryaninovo was being put up for sale at a price far beyond Tchaikovsky's means and he decided to postpone such plans indefinitely.
  54. Yakov Isaich was a local farm manager.
  55. Grigory ("Grisha") (1870-1919) and Lev (1868-1935) were sons of Lev Davydov's younger brother Aleksey.
  56. It seems that Tchaikovsky again had experienced very strong resentment against himself during the card game, coded as "Z".
  57. Vasily Bessel (1843-1907), Tchaikovsky's former publisher in Saint Petersburg, held the rights to Tchaikovsky's earlier opera The Oprichnik (1870-72). The composer objected to the Imperial Theatres' proposal to revise the opera, pleading that he would first need to revise it.
  58. See Letter 2498 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 31 May/12 June 1884.
  59. Pelmeni is a dish of boiled meat dumplings.
  60. Tchaikovsky worked on his publisher request to revise his 1875 Russian translation of Mozart's opera Le nozze di Figaro. He also wrote a new translator's preface for the 1884 edition.
  61. Kamenka at this time had a large Jewish population.
  62. "Stone Moscow" was the name Tchaikovsky's nephew Vladimir Davydov (Bob) gave to his coronation cantata Moscow, written the previous year.