N. Krupskaya


To Lenin’s Sister Maria

Written: 24 January, 1899. Letter sent from Shushenskoye to Brussels
Published: 1931 In Lenin’s Letters to Relatives. Printed from the original
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 576-577.
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 24

Dear Manya,

You are probably thinking that I am a faithless creature-promised to write and then … not a word. If the truth be told, you ought to be scolding me. I intended writing long ago, but kept on putting it off. First of all, let me tell you how we spent Christmas. We had a wonderful time. All the people from the district came into town, most of them for three or four days. There are very few of us in Shushenskoyo and it was very pleasant to be among people. We now know everybody in the district. We had a real festive time-went skating. I was laughed at, but since Minusinsk I have made progress. Volodya learned a lot of figures in Minusinsk and he now amazes the Shushenskoye public with his “giant steps” and ’Spanish leaps”. Another amusement was chess. People played literally from morning to night. Only Zina and I did not play. But even I caught the infection and played once against a poor player and checkmated him. Then we sang, in Polish and Russian. V.V. has a guitar and so we sang to guitar accompaniment. We also did some reciting and talked to our heart’s content. Best of all was our New Year’s party (Volodya, incidentally, was tossed, it was the first time I had seen that performance and I had a good laugh). We are expecting visitors here at Shrovetide. I do not know whether they will come, but I hope they dd. I cannot say that the Minusinsk people look well; Tonechka has awful anaemia and she is terribly thin and pate. Zina has also grown thinner but the worst thing is that she has become extremely nervous; the male side is also weak. Gleb kept lying down, first on the sofa, then on the bed. On top of everything, we wore our hosts out completely. Towards the end of the holidays they were having 10 to 16 people to dinner every day. They themselves admitted that if they had had another day of it they would have collapsed. Mother did not go with us, she was afraid of the cold.

After Minusinsk we returned to our usual occupations. Volodya got down to his “markets”. He is now writing the lost chapter and the book will be ready by February. 1 got a letter from the icri vain’s wile in the last post. The letter was a jubilant one. The new journal Nachalo has been sanctioned, permission for it came quite unexpectedly and the fuss and bother going on there now is something terrible. The letter makes you feel how excited the people there are. She writes, by the way, that the Webb translation is very good, and that it will soon be out. Nice to know. We are having n marvellous steady winter. So far there has not been a suggestion of the terrible Siberian frosts, the sun shines as if it were spring and we are already talking about how the winter passed without our noticing it (although it has by no means passed). How are you getting on there? It seems that you count the letters you get and don’t write very often yourself. That’s not the way. Do you see much of Belgian life? In general, do you like what you have seen of it? But do write more often and I will try to be more punctual. Mother sends her kisses. When will you be going home? You have probably become a real Frenchwoman. I am jealous in advance of your knowledge of the language, how I would like to know even one foreign language thoroughly.

Good-bye and all the best,