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

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

105a. POLYXENA STASOVA to MODESTE MUSORGSKY, St. Petersburg [A Draft]

[ Salzburg]

Nice, dear Musoryanin (what is this I hear) my husband writes me that he has found you looking considerably thinner, changed, (not the one we knew in Pargolovo), in general not Musoryanin-like.59 What does this mean? I implore you, not in the name of a woman who is dear to you (there are interests higher than those of the heart), but in the name of Russian art so dear to you and art in general, which you serve--take care of yourself. What depresses you? If it is office work that has exhausted you--let them pass over you with their promotions, ranks, rewards, the gracious looks of His Highness or Any Other Ness--don't waste yourself, don't be too zealous; sit in the same spot for 10 years, you'll lose nothing by it, and Russian music will only gain, because you will have conserved your strength and health for it. Do the failures of life worry you--but who among the great have ever had an easy life? . . . Financial conditions bad?--but what are your friends for? Is it possible that we all exist only to hear and to enjoy or disapprove your musical creations? Won't all of us really be happy to welcome you to all we have? What then is the value of friendship if it consists only of pleasant conversations and music? However, why should I dwell on my feelings toward you, which, I trust, are slightly familiar to you? But perhaps all this is nonsense and there is simply some physiological cause that disturbs you. Then brush it aside. What are doctors for? . . . Let's speak frankly and directly, the way people should long ago have spoken: your head often aches--perhaps this is caused by the very remedies you are using for your throat ailment? Instead of these, as I long ago said, one could call upon Dr. Rauchfus60 or some other ace of his specialty--they will cure you. My little dove, dear Musoryanin, just think, he who began with Boris has much ahead of him, oh, so much! Is it possible that you would ruin yourself prematurely, just as Glinka ruined himself, but not in the same way.61 No, I don't even want to think of it. Listen, when I come back to Petersburg in September and when all my ailments have vanished, I want again to luxuriate in your music, as we used to last year in Pargolovo

____________________
59
See Letter 101a.
60
Dr. Karl Rauchfus was a famous specialist in children's diseases. Why does Polyxena Stasova recommend him to Musorgsky?
61
It was not one of Glinka's eternal petty complaints that killed him, but syphilis.

-222-

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