N. Krupskaya


To Lenin’s Sister Maria

Written: 11 September, 1898. Letter sent from Shushenskoye to Podesk
Published: 1929 in the journalProletarshaya Revolyufsiya No. 5 Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 563-566.
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.

September 11 1898

Today I am going to write an enormously long letter; Volodya has gone off to Krasnoyarsk and the place seems empty without him, the “regime” has changed. As there is suddenly nothing to do this evening the best thing is to scribble a letter. I can run on about this and that for any length of time, but that is all it will be—just “this and that’.

Today, dear Manya, 1 got your long, long letter, and Volodya received a postcard from Tula, I suppose from 0.1. I have put it in his desk. I imagine it must be boring for 0.1. to hang about in Tula and, in general, his present state of uncertainty is not of the pleasantest and in a strange town it is particularly miserable; but the worst is over, that endless “sit—down at Azov”.[Don and Zaporozhye Cossacks were besieged in the fort of Azov in l641 they “sat” in the fort for over a year before abandoning it to the Turks—Editor] By now D.I. may perhaps be in Podoisk … in any case the question has probably been settled.

We are having a marvellous autumn, except that in the early morning it is cold and at night there are frosts. Because of this Volodyn has taken all his warm things with him—a warm cap, winter coat, mittens and warm socks. He put in a request about his teeth a long time ago; now his toothache has gone and permission has come for him to spend a week in Krasnoyarsk. At first Velodya thought he would not go, but then he yielded to temptation. I am very glad that he will be making this trip, it will liven him up and be will be seeing people—he was vegetating here in Shusha. He was also glad to be going. The day before he left not a single book was opened. I spent all my time repairing his winter equipment while lie sat on the windowsill talking excitedly and giving me all sorts of advice—to have the double windows put in properly, to keep the door well locked (he even borrowed a saw from our landlord and set about sawing a piece off the door to make it fasten more easily. In general, he has been worrying a lot about our safety—he has persuaded Oscar to come to us to sleep and he has been teaching me how to use a revolver. He slept badly that night but when I woke him up in the morning—that was when the coachman was already here—he was so cheerful he began singing a song of triumph. I do not know whether he will be pleased with the trip. He couldn’t resist taking a mountain of books with him—five of the fattest tomes—and intends to make notes in the Krasnoyarsk library in addition to that. I hope the books will remain unread. When in Krasnoyarsk Volodya is under an obligation to buy for himself two caps, linen for his shirts, a sheepskin greatcoat for family use, skates, etc. I wanted to order him to buy material for a blouse for Promiosky’s daughter but since Volodya went to Mother to find out how many “pounds” of cloth to buy for a blouse he had to be relieved of that onerous duty. I have received a short note from Volodys sent from Miausinsk; although he grumbles at having to wait for a steamer I gathered that the journey is beginning satisfactorily.

During Volodya’s absence I intend: (1) to carry out full repairs to his suits; (2) learn to pronounce English for which I have to learn by heart 12 pages of various exceptions in Nurok’s book; (3) finish reading an English book I have started. And then do some general reading. Volodya and I began to read The Agitator (“For Nadyn” is written on The Agitator in Anya’s hand and I keep intending to thank her for it, but so far have done nothing but intend) and we have been tormented by English pronunciation so now I have promised him to learn Nurok by heart. These days I am doing the cooking. Mother has an awful cold in the head which has developed into a severe chill, so I am running the show. Mother has become quite used to Shushenskoye and in her letters describes the wonderful Shushenskoye autumn. Before Voledya left we all went with him on a shoot for grey–hen. The season is now open for grey–hen and partridge They are noble birds—you don’t have to crawl in swamps for them like you do for ducks and things. But no matter how many times we went out we never saw either a grey—hen or a partridge, but still the walks were fine. By the way, we once saw about twenty partridge; we were riding on a cart, all the Shushenskoye colony, when suddenly a whole flock of them rose from both sides of the road; you can imagine what our sportsmen were like. Volodya actually groaned. Still, he managed to take aim, but the partridge simply walked away without even bothering to fly. Altogether that was a sorrowful shoot; we didn’t kill anything, though Oscar shot Jenny in the eyes and we thought the dog would be blinded, but she recovered. Jenny is awfully miserable without Volodya, she keeps close to me all the time and barks for no good reason.

You see what nonsense I am writing because there is nothing happening outside the family. That is why Volodya writes about one and the same thing in his letters—when things outside are so monotonous one completely loses one’s sense of time. Volodya and I once got to the state when we could net rsmethber whether V.V. had visited us three days or ten days before. We had to adduce a whole series of arguments to settle the issue. We only just managed it. Volodya intended writing home from Minusinsk, so some parts of my letter will probably be repeated. Perhaps not, though. Mine is a purely feminine letter, net much in it. I recently received a letter from the writer’s wife, who writes that she is reading the proofs of Volodya’s book,[N. A. Strnve read the first part of the proofs of the symposium Economic Studies and Essays—Editor] she had the seventh signature at the time. She was afraid there would not be ten signatures in the book—there is a new law about the number of letters to a signature If not, Karyshev[Lenin’s article was entitled “On the Question of our Factory Statistics (Professor Karysliev’s New Statistical Exploits),” Collected Works, Vol. 4, pp. 13-45.—Editor] can be shoved in, too; it would be a good idles, except that the book will be held up. We are expecting it any day. Volodya hopes to finish the “markets” by the New Year, but he is rather doubtful about it. And that’s that. I have received Maria Alexandrovna’s letter of August tO and for some reason was particularly glad to have it. Many kisses for her.

By the time you receive my letter you will probably be getting ready to leave. I wish you every success. There was a time when I very much wanted to go to Belgium. Perhaps I shall feel like going abroad again, just to take a look at the wide world—when that is possible. But for the time being it is not to be thought of. I suppose you will wait for Anya, won’t you? When did she expect to get back? [Meshcheryakova][The name was cut out for purposes of secrecy.—Editor] is a very fine person, a bit wild, but amazingly forthright and good. It is time to stop. Again, many kisses for you and Maria Alexandrovna from me and Mother.