V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written August 17,1897
Published: First published in 1929 in the journal Proletarskaya Revolyutsiya No. 2-3. Sent from Shushenskoye to Switzerland. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 123-125.
Translated: The Late George H. Hanna
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

August 17

The day before yesterday, Mother dearest, I received your letter of July 29 (August 10) and also a letter from Manyasha.

I am surprised that you are always saying that I do not write often; for a long time, as far as I remember, I have been writing every week and sometimes twice a week— with every post, that is.

I am also beginning to wonder about the box of books; since I received information from Krasnoyarsk at the end of June that the books should arrive about that time and that a further 9 rubles would have to be paid on them, I have heard nothing more, although I immediately (July 1) sent two letters to Krasnoyarsk about the books, one of them with money.[1] An acquaintance who had promised to see about my books has turned out to be irresponsible in the extreme and does not even answer my letters.[2] I have written a postcard with a pre-paid answer to Popova, perhaps she will reply. It is a most annoying business! The worst of it is that they do not even write, do not inform me of the state of affairs! Has the carrier’s office been holding it up? The scoundrels probably do not even guarantee to deliver goods in time, nor accept responsibility for delays, do they?

Anyuta also writes about the loss of your letters (by the way, I have received Gumplowicz and Archiv from   her—my thanks for the two books). I do not know which letters have been lost, I always acknowledge those I receive. One letter was lying about for some two months in Minusinsk, as I wrote before. I then wrote a complaint to the Minusinsk post office and enclosed the envelope of that letter as documentary evidence.[3] If registered letters or packages by book post are lost, you must keep the receipts and absolutely must demand compensation; that is the only way to teach these Siberian Ivan Andreiches[4] to be careful.

There is nothing I can write about myself. The letters are short because life is very monotonous; I have already described the appearance Of things from the outside; inwardly day differs from day only because today you are reading one book, tomorrow you will read another; today you take a walk to the right of the village, tomorrow to the left; today you write one article, tomorrow another (I have now been distracted from my main work by writing an article[5]). I am perfectly well, of course, go shooting now and again. The weather is nasty—wind, cold, autumn rain, so I stay at home most of the time. Probably there will be some fine days in September. I intend going to Minusinsk to buy myself a few things—a lamp, some things for the winter, etc. I am thinking of going with Prominsky.

Thank Manyasha for her letter. She wrote asking me what I should like from abroad; Mitya, she says, wants a steel watch.... Hm! Hm! I have a watch and it still keeps time, but an alarm clock would be (or, rather, might be) very useful because here I sleep far too much and have probably not only made up for the sleep I lost in the remand prison but have badly overdone it.... Only how will you send it here?... Unless you wait till someone comes....

It is quite clear that Anyuta, as long as she lives in the country, cannot fulfil my requests for books. If she should chance to be in Berlin or Leipzig on the way back, then perhaps she will be able to. I have already written that the writer has agreed to my request to send me books, and that   I have received several from him (and shall probably receive more in future)-which means that I am well enough off in this respect and as yet do not experience any shortage.

Kisses for you and my sisters,

V. U.


[1] The letters have been lost.—Ed. —Lenin

[2] It is not known who this was.—Ed.

[3] The letter has been lost.—Ed.

[4] Lenin refers here to Ivan Kuzmich Shpekin, the postmaster in Gogol’s comedy The Inspector-General.

[5] In August and September 1897, Lenin worked on the article, “The Handicraft Census of 1894–95 in Perm Gubernia and General Problems of ’Handicraft’ Industry”. Material from this article was also used in The Development of Capitalism in Russia.

The article was intended for the journal Novoye Slovo but was not published in that journal, which was suppressed in December 1897. The article was first published in 1898 in a miscellany of Lenin’s writings entitled Economic Studies and Essays (see Collected Works, Vol. 2, pp. 355–458).

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