YALTA, January 19, 1900.
DEAR VASSILY MIHAILOVITCH,
In November I wrote a story [Footnote: “In the Ravine.”] fully intending to send it to Russkiya Vyedomosti, but the story lengthened out beyond the sixteen pages, and I had to send it elsewhere. Then Elpatyevsky and I decided to send you a telegram on New Year’s Eve, but there was such a rush and a whirl that we let the right moment slip, and now I send you my New Year wishes. Forgive me my many transgressions. You know how deeply I love and respect you, and if the intervals in our correspondence are prolonged it’s merely external causes that are to blame.
I am alive and almost well. I am often ill, but not for long at a time; and I haven’t once been kept in bed this winter, I keep about though I am ill. I am working harder than I did last year, and I am more bored. It’s bad being without Russia in every way. . . . All the evergreen trees look as though they were made of tin, and one gets no joy out of them. And one sees nothing interesting, as one has no taste for the local life.
Elpatyevsky and Kondakov are here. The former has run up a huge house for himself which towers above all Yalta; the latter is going to Petersburg to take his seat in the Academy — and is glad to go. Elpatyevsky is cheerful and hearty, always in good spirits, goes out in all weathers, in a summer overcoat; Kondakov is irritably sarcastic, and goes about in a fur coat. Both often come and see me and we speak of you.
V. A. wrote that she had bought a piece of land in Tuapse. Oy-oy! but the boredom there is awful, you know. There are Tchetchentsi and scorpions, and worst of all there are no roads, and there won’t be any for a long time. Of all warm places in Russia the best are on the south coast of the Crimea, there is no doubt of that, whatever they may say about the natural beauties of the Caucasus. I have been lately to Gurzufa, near Pushkin’s rock, and admired the view, although it rained and although I am sick to death of views. In the Crimea it is snugger and nearer to Russia. Let V. A. sell her place in Tuapse or make a present of it to someone, and I will find her a bit of the sea-front with bathing, and a bay, in the Crimea.
When you are in Vosdvizhenka give my respects and greetings to Varvara Alexyevna, Varya, Natasha, and Glyeb. I can fancy how Glyeb and Natasha have grown. Now if only you would all come here for Easter, I could have a look at you all. Don’t forget me, please, and don’t be angry with me. I send you my warmest good wishes. I press your hand heartily and embrace you.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:07