Written: 14 October, 1898. Letter sent from Shushenskoye to Podesk
Published: 1929 in the journal Proletarshaya Revolyufsiya No. 5 Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 569-571.
Translated/Edited: George H. Hanna and Robert Daglish.
Transcription/Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 2008. You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as the source/editing/transcription/markup information noted above.
Dear Maria Alexandrovna,
Immediately Volodya had left for Krasnoyarsk I wrote you a detailed letter and did the same on his return from there. You have probably received both those letters. Well all that is a matter of the past. It is winter here now, our River Shush is frozen hard, we have had some snow but it has disappeared. It is quite cold (five below), which has not prevented Volodya going off to the island all day to shoot hares, although so far this year lie has not yet managed to dispose of a single hare. He is warmly dressed and it will not do him any harm to get a breath of fresh air; he has recently been buried in his “markets” up to the ears, writing from dawn to dusk. The first chapter is ready now and it seemed very interesting to me. I play at being the “un-understanding reader” and am supposed to judge whether the exposition of the “markets” is sufficiently clear; I try to be as “un-understanding” ns possible, but there is not much I can find fault with. It is awfully strange that we have not yet heard a word from the écri vain about the book, we think it has fallen through. Lately the post has been pretty miserable. Yesterday we had a good laugh; there was nothing in the post except newspapers, and Mother began to accuse the postman of mischievously hiding letters, our friends of being utterly, selfish, us of giving him too few tips; and then she said we grudged money for the postman but otherwise wasted it. Why did we go to see Kurnatovsky the day before yesterday? We only interrupted his work and ate his dinner. In the end we all started laughing and got rid of the unpleasant feeling we always get when there is not much in the post. We did once go to see Kurnatovsky,[They made the journey on October 11, 1898.—Editor] who works at a sugar refinery about twenty versts from here. It was on a Sunday and, although it was cold, the sun was shining in a clear blue sky and away we went. We were dressed in all our winter things, Volodya was in his winter coat and felt boots and they wrapped me in the “family” sheepskin, so that I was covered from head to foot. Kurnatovsky proved to be terribly busy, has no holidays and works 12 hours a day- We really did take him away from his work (but that was good for him) and we really did eat his dinner, too. We looked over the sugar refinery, the director was unusually attentive to the “important foreigners” (although Volodyn in his felt hoots and quilted trousers looked like the giant from Hop-o’-My-Thumb and the wind had made my hair stand on end); he tried to justify the rotten conditions in which the workers have to work, turned the talk to that subject himself and extended his kindness so far that, despite his elegant and prosperous appearance, he rushed to give Volodya a stool to sit on and himself brushed the dust from it. I almost burst out laughing. In a month’s time Kurnatovsky is coming to us on a visit and perhaps Bazil and Tonechka will also manage to call in some day. I do not know whether Volodya told you that Bazil and Gleb are asking to be transferred to Nizhne-Udiask, where they have been offered jobs as engineers. We now use the Minusinsk library through the people in Tesinskoyo, although he library is a very poor one. Anyway, we have enough books. Anyuta once asked me what I am doing. I am busy on a popular booklet that I want to write, but still do not know how it will turn out.[This appears to refer to Krupskaya’s Zhenshchina-Rabotnitsa (The Working Woman), a book she wrote while in Shushenskoye.—Editor] That, so to say, is my chief occupation and in addition I do whatever else comes along-study English, read, write letters, take an interest in Volodya’s work, go for walks, stitch on buttons …. We are now living like real householders; we have piled stable manure round the bottom of the walls outside our house, put in the double windows, made a wonderful little window that opens to air the rooms, planted a garden beside the house and put a fence round it. We have hired a girl who helps Mother with the housework and does all the dirty work. Thank you, dear Maria Alexandrovna, for your offer to send us underwear and household utensils. We do not need any clothes, before we left for Shushenskoye we overhauled our things very thoroughly and as far as household utensils are concerned, we brought some things with us from St. Petersburg and all we need are such kitchen utensils as beaters, tongs, fire irons and similar items. Volodya also has everything he needs; at one time ho had no nightshirts but he bought some material in Krasnoyarsk and now they are ready, but for I don’t know how many days he has been unable to find time to try them on Volodya is always wondering where I get sufficient material for long letters; in his letters he writes only about things of general human interest, while I write about all the little things …. I am still in debt to Anyutn, I have not answered a letter of hers, but tell her not to grumble and not to count letters.
How are you all? Has Manya left? Was she very excited at leaving? Did she go alone or with the Meshcheryakovs? How has D.I.’s affair turned out? Has he received permission to live in Podolsk? Are Anyuta and MT. pleased with their journey? But I could keep on asking questions till tomorrow. Regards to everyone and many kisses for you and Anyuta. Mother sends best regards. Volodya can write himself. Again many kisses.
What is Manya’s address?