BOGIMOVO, June 12, 1891.
Enchanting, amazing Lika!
Captivated by the Circassian Levitan, you have completely forgotten that you promised my brother Ivan you would come on the 1st of June, and you do not answer my sister’s letter at all. I wrote to you from Moscow to invite you, but my letter, too, remained a voice crying in the wilderness. Though you are received in aristocratic society, you have been badly brought up all the same, and I don’t regret having once chastised you with a switch. You must understand that expecting your arrival from day to day not only wearies us, but puts us to expense. In an ordinary way we only have for dinner what is left of yesterday’s soup, but when we expect visitors we have also a dish of boiled beef, which we buy from the neighbouring cooks.
We have a magnificent garden, dark avenues, snug corners, a river, a mill, a boat, moonlight, nightingales, turkeys. In the pond and river there are very intelligent frogs. We often go for walks, during which I usually close my eyes and crook my right arm in the shape of a bread-ring, imagining that you are walking by my side.
. . . Give my greetings to Levitan. Please ask him not to write about you in every letter. In the first place it is not magnanimous on his part, and in the second, I have no interest whatever in his happiness.
Be well and happy and don’t forget us. I have just received your letter, it is filled from top to bottom with such charming expressions as: “The devil choke you!” “The devil flay you!” “Anathema!” “A good smack,” “rabble,” “overeaten myself.” Your friends — such as Trophim — with their cabmen’s talk certainly have an improving influence on you.
You may bathe and go for evening walks. That’s all nonsense. All my inside is full of coughs, wet and dry, but I bathe and walk about, and yet I am alive. . . .
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:07