MOSCOW, March 5, 1890.
. . . As for me, I have a cough too, but I am alive and I believe I’m well. I shan’t be with you this summer, as I am going in April, on affairs of my own, to the island of Sahalin, and shall not be back till December. I am going across Siberia (eleven thousand versts) and shall come back by sea. I believe Misha wrote to you as though someone were commissioning me to go, but that’s nonsense. I am commissioning myself to go, on my own account. There are lots of bears and escaped convicts in Sahalin, so that in case messieurs the wild beasts dine off me or some tramp cuts my throat, I beg you not to remember evil against me.
Of course if I have the time and the skill to write what I want to about Sahalin, I shall send you the book immediately that it comes into the world; it will be dull, a specialist’s book consisting of nothing but figures, but let me count upon your indulgence: you will suppress your yawns as you read it. . . .
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