Letter 74

Date mid/late October 1865
Addressed to Modest Tchaikovsky
Where written Saint Petersburg
Language Russian
Autograph Location Klin (Russia): Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve (a3, No. 1443)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 86–87
Notes A humorous invitation

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Обед в субботу 16 окт[ября] по церемоньялу назначен у королевы Нидерландской Екатерины Андреевны. Кавалерам быть в полном парадном мундире, дамам в русском платье. При великой княжне Модестине дежурной фрейлиной назначается княжна Ленина.
Пётр IV-й

P.S. Быть никак не позже 4½, ибо тётя Катя не любит ждать.

A dinner has been ceremoniously fixed for Saturday, 16 October, with the Queen of the Netherlands, Yekaterina Andreyevna. Gentlemen are to attend in full gala uniform, ladies in Russian costume. To the Grand Duchess Modestina the Princess Lenina [1] has been appointed lady-in-waiting [2].
Pyotr IV

P. S. Be there not later than 4.30, because Aunt Katya doesn't like to have to wait.

Notes and References

  1. Nikolay Sergeyevich Lenin (1847-1899), a student at the Imperial School of Jurisprudence who was friends with Modest, though three years older than him. As is clear from this and other letters, he shared Modest's homosexual inclinations (which in Modest's case had begun to manifest themselves at around this time). See Пётр Чайковский. Биография, том I (2009), p. 188-189.
  2. Tchaikovsky had a penchant for turning masculine names into feminine ones, especially in letters to Modest, and, as Alexander Poznansky observes, the appearance of this sort of wordplay "always served to indicate Tchaikovsky's involvement in some predicament that he at least perceived to have a distinctly homoerotic coloring" — see Tchaikovsky. The quest for the inner man (1993), p. 77.