Written: 4 March, 1903. Letter sent from London to Samara
Published: First published in the Fourth Edition of the Collected Works.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 605-606.
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.
March 4, 1903
Dear Maria Alexandrovna,
It is ages since I wrote to you, so long that I have even forgotten when I sent my last letter. The fact of the matter is that I have completely forgotten how to write letters and regard them with feelings of loathing. Every time it requires quite a lot of will power to take up the pen. Once I start to write, however, the letter writes itself, I even begin to like it, but it is very difficult to start.
Volodya is not at home now,[In late February and early March 1903 Lenin visited Paris where he lectured at the Russian Social Sciences Higher School and spoke to Russian political émigré on the agrarian programme.—Editor] he has gone for a breath of fresh air. I am always glad when he makes a trip somewhere because it has a very refreshing effect on him. A change of surroundings soothes the nerves-otherwise life drags on very monotonously, the same impressions and the same people day after day. And one does get sick of poring over books. This time I wanted to go with Volodya but again it didn’t come off—a lot of work had piled up and Mother is so very sick that I did not want to, could not, in fact, leave her alone. She has had a very bad attack of influenza and has had to keep to her bed for about a week. At first the doctor was afraid it might be typhus She has now completely recovered, but the weakness remains. She wants to get out into the country as soon as possible, but we shall not be able to manage it before May, and even then I don’t know how. Volodya is not keen ongoing to the country, he is very fond of Prague.[Prague is mentioned instead of London for secrecy.—Editor] I have also got used to Prague but shall nevertheless be glad to get away from here. I should like to write in greater detail about the way we live but there does not seem to be anything to write. How I should like to stay with you now! You wrote about your apartment in your last letter and I got a very clear conception of the way you live there. I was able to picture to myself the frosty weather, the fire in the stove, how you wait for Manya to return from work and how Manya comes in out of the frost. Life in Samara must be like life in Samara must be likelife in Ufa. “Give me the wings of a swallow…” But now I am beginning to ramble. Sometimes I feel terribly homesick, today especially. By the way, that is how I am, I am always feeling drawn to somewhere else.
You will probably think we have no amusements at all here, but we go somewhere almost every evening; we have been to the German theatre a number of times and to concerts and we study the people and the local way of life. It is easier to observe here than anywhere else. Volodya is very keen on these observations and gets as enthusiastic about them as about everything he does. It was hard to begin this letter and now it is a pity to stop. I embrace you and Manya fondly, my dear ones. All the best.
Mother sends regards.