V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1929 in the journal Proletarskaya Revolyutsiya No. 8-9. Sent from Shushenskoye to Podolsk. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 276-278.
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 22

I received your letter long ago, dear Manya, but I have been terribly lazy lately and have got all behind with my letter-writing; there are several letters I must answer. It must be due to my present way of life; I spend whole days (as much as five hours at a time) out walking, somehow it is even difficult to read. The summer was foul, but autumn so far has been marvellous. Volodya also does a lot of walking, but he still does some work, although far less than before.

What have you decided? When are you leaving and where are you going? When I read your letter to Volodya in which you asked him what institution you should enter, I remembered what a quandary I was in at your age. First I decided to become a village schoolmistress, but I was unable to find a place and wanted to go to the provinces. Then when the Bestuzhev courses were started I joined them, expecting to be told about everything I was interested in, but when they began to talk about something quite different I left. In short, I was in a hopeless quandary. I was twenty-one before I heard that there was such a thing as the “social sciences”; up till then my idea of serious reading had been either the natural sciences or history, and so first I would try to read Rossmässler, then the history of Philip II of Spain. You are placed in very different circumstances. Whether it is worth while learning “how to make a living”, I don’t know; I think it is not worth while. If money is needed you can get a job on some railway, where at least you will be able to work off the necessary number of hours and have   no cares, you will be as free as a bird; but all this pedagogy, medicine and so on absorbs a person more than it should. It is a pity to waste time on special training when there is so much you want to know and should know, and, after all, your knowledge of languages will always feed you. Volodya and I are in trouble with languages; we both are rather bad at them; we take a lot of trouble over them, but we are still not good. We have taken up English again. How often we have done so before! I am beginning for the tenth time, at least. You are probably far ahead of me by now. Anya knows English quite well, doesn’t she? But I keep forgetting to ask you whether you have made the acquaintance of Meshcheryakov? I believe he is in Moscow now. He is as much in love with Belgium as you are. At one time I corresponded with him, and I then had a good knowledge of all Belgian affairs and was very interested in them. If you see him, try to find out where his wife is. A friend of hers wrote me that she had gone to Munich. I should be sorry to lose touch with her. She is a very nice person. I don’t know whether we shall ever meet again. All my St. Petersburg acquaintances have been so scattered in all directions that I don’t know who is where. At first we wrote to one another, but now our correspondence is gradually drying up. It is no good writing letters, you can never really discuss anything, and you begin ... the result is that before you know where you are a misunderstanding arises. I do not know how Kuba is getting on, she wrote little, but it looked as if her nerves were giving out. But I have written so much there will be no space left for Volodya, so I had better stop. Many kisses for you, Maria Alexandrovna and Anyuta. Mother sends regards to all.

All the best,

August 22, 1899

I was very pleased, Manyasha, when I read that at last you had got Bernstein for me;[2] I have been and still am waiting very impatiently for it. People have written to me from Yakutia that they are reading Bernstein and we   have not yet got it here! The more they shout about him, and the more various thick-headed bourgeois and “young” (in all respects) non-bourgeois make use of him, the more necessary it is to make the speedy acquaintance of this “newest” hero of opportunism.

On October 9, 1899 (N.S.) there will be a Parteitag[1] in Hanover and they will talk about Bernstein.[3] I should very much like to have reports of it. Please try to get them for me; it is quite possible to do so in one of the following ways. Write to your acquaintances abroad (I ask Anya to do this, too) to send those issues of the newspapers in which the reports are printed, even if it is only Frankfurter Zeitung, which can enter Russia. If the acquaintances do not undertake to send either Vorwarts[4] or Frankfurter Zeitung, perhaps you can subscribe to Frankfurter Zeitung for October through the Moscow post office. (I know you can subscribe for three months, but that is too long and too expensive, 4 rubles 70 kopeks. Perhaps you can subscribe for a month?) If you are abroad yourself, then please buy those issues and send them.

I am not sending you any literary jobs because I am not writing anything now and do not intend to write. But if you go abroad I shall probably ask you to look out for some good old books for me.

All the best,
V. U.


[1] Party congress.—Ed.

[2] Bernstein’s book (see Note 169). For Lenin’s opinion of the book see Letter No. 98.

[3] The Hanover Congress of the German Social-Democratic Party was held October 9-14, 1899. The report on the chief item on the agenda—“The Attack on the Basic Views and Tactics of the Party”, was delivered by August Bebel. Lenin wrote that this speech against the opportunists would “long remain as a model of the defence of Marxist views and of the struggle for the truly socialist character of the workers’ party” (Collected Works, Vol. 19, p. 300). Although the congress opposed Bernstein’s revisionist views, it did not give an extensive criticism of Bernsteinism.

[4] Vorwärts (Forward)—a daily newspaper, central organ of the Ger- man Social-Democratic Party.

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