The Musorgsky Reader: A Life of Modeste Petrovich Musorgsky in Letters and Documents

By Jay Leyda; Sergei Bertensson et al. | Go to book overview

61. To PLADIMIR NIKOLSKY
Tuesday 19 May [1870?]14Dear little friend dyainka, I am enclosing herewith the tomes with many rémerciements, especially for Vygovsky and for Troitzky.15-- The Forestry Dept. continues to interpolate corrections of the Russian language and to write introductions, and plenty of them, etc., but I keep Me invulnerable and continue to write as it sounds best to me. Perchance dyainka dear, weary and harassed as he is, has lain down to snore a little, therefore I send him a short scrawl and taking advantage of a casual chance, I heartily request the following of him:
1. Don't pay any attention to my request, because it really isn't fair:
2. Do pay attention to it, because it is fair, and the substance of the request is the following: V[otre] S(ervice?] tomorrow the brains of the small Opochinin16 will have to stand trembling before dyainka, and as I have become quite fond of this small thing, i.e., the above- mentioned youngster, I beg you, during the test of his brains, to give him a little piece of your warmth*--if he's worth it;--I hope, however, that he will be worth it: the youngster is not devoid of a sense of humor--and he has originality, and this is a good thing.

I scare myself with what I have written! Do I understand dyainka properly?--In any case, I deign to kiss him, my dyainka, most firmly --and this I'm not at all scared to do.

MODESTE

____________________
*
Musorgsky's note: I mean--don't scare him too much.
14
Musorgsky played with this date, rearranging the letters to create nonsense words whose flavor does not survive translation.
15
The first of these books is The History of the Vygovsky Hermitage, as recorded by Ivan Filippov. If Musorgsky was in the habit of keeping borrowed books for two years, the Troitzky book may be Matvei Troitzky's work on German psychology (see p. 120). It is more likely that this refers to a work by Ivan Troitzky , The History of the Schism. In this case, the mention of "Vygovsky and Troitzky," being both concerned with the period of the dissenters, would then be a remarkable forecast of Musorgsky's next major work, announced two years later: Khovanshchina.
16
One of the child relatives of his hosts, the Opochinins, was apparently to be given an examination by Nikolsky at the Alexandrovsky Lycée.

-135-

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