Written: 10 January, 1899. 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 574-575.
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.
January 10, 1899
Dear Maria Alexandrovna,
Many thanks for the letter and the parcel. We have not received it yet because we have a new postman and the registered mail has been held up. The postman tried to be stand-offish and did not want to take power of attorney to receive correspondence, but now everything has been arranged. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves during the holidays in Minusjnsk and had a break that will last us for a long time. At Christmas almost the whole district was in town, so we saw the New Year in very pleasantly at a big party. When the company broke up everyone was saying “A wonderful New Year’s party?” The main thing was the splendid mood. We mulled some wine; when it was ready we put the hands of the clock at “12” and saw the old year out in proper style, everybody sang whatever he could and some fine toasts were pronounced-we drank ’To Mothers”, “To Absent Friends”, and so on, and in the end danced to a guitar. One of the comrades draws well and he has promised to draw some of the outstanding scenes of the New Year’s party- If he keeps his promise you will get a very good idea of our New Year’s eve. Altogether it was a real holiday. Volodya battled on the chessboard from morning till evening and … won all the games, of course; then we went skating (a pair of Mercury skates was sent to Volodya as a gift from Krasnoyarsk and on these you can cut figures and do all sorts of tricks. I, too, have some new skates, but I skate as badly on the new ones as on the old, or rather I do not skate but strut like a chicken, the art is a little too much for me!), sang in chorus and even went driving in a troika. We wore out our hosts completely! They admitted that another day of it and they would have taken to their beds. E .E. looks much better than she did in St. Petersburg despite her illness (she cannot eat meat or bread at all). She is very pleased with the way their family has taken shape and is afraid only of returning to Russia. There is nothing to be said in praise of the others. Tonechka looks particularly bad—she suffers from anaemia and eczema. Even Zina has grown thin and nervous. They all gasped and expressed astonishment at our healthy rustic appearance, and E. E. even declared that I am fatter than Zinochka. Mother did not go away with us for the holidays and was pretty miserable. They have all announced their intention of coming to us in Shushenskoye for Shrovetide. All of us, the Shushenskoye public, including Oscar and Prominsky, dream of the arrival of the visitors and have already decided who will stay with whom, what treat we can best arrange for them, etc.
However, it is still a long time to Shrovetide and we have returned to our normal occupations and have cleared the skating rink; Volodya is hurrying with his ’markets”. I have received Anya’s letter of December 24 but shall not write a separate letter to her because I would only have to write the same things; there is one little note for her She is indignant that I give my letters to Volodya to “edit” but in most cases I describe our Shushenskoye life in humorous terms and Volodya comes in for a lot of badinage in them; I would not write such letters if I did not give them to him to read before I send them off.
One of the letters I received from the écrivain’s wife [This refers to N. A. Struve, wife of P. B. Struve.—Editor] informed me that two of her letters to us had gone astray. A pity! About my photograph. Last spring I asked for a family photograph that you liked to be sent to you. Apparently my request was not fulfilled. I am now going to write for my latest pictures to be ordered and sent to Podoisk I do not know if I should have recognised DI. if I had met him in the street, in some other, more suitable circumstances. Perhaps I should. By the way, Vasily Vasilyevich has started reading Bios and has taken it to the factory and asked us to leave it with him for a while, and Zinaida Pavlovna was going to write to her sister in Tula and ask her to send her Bios to Podolsk. That’s that. I must stop I embrace you and Anya fondly and send regards to all. So does Mother.