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

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

on Saturdays and Sundays, only I want to hear something new, a lot of new things, and not I alone, of course--you must be a good boy and not be sick and not hurt yourself.

Goodbye, my dear, don't be angry with me for this letter--it was Georges Sand who long ago said in some novel: "Il n'y a pas de despotisme plus grand, que celui de l'amitié"--I only confirm this truth; but this despotism may justify itself by the good, heartfelt feeling that motivates it. I press both your hands firmly, firmly. The Tyapas and Mishinkas62 all greet their dear Musoryanin.

P. S.


106. To POLYXENA STASOVA, Vienna

Petrograd. 23 July, 1873. Shpalernaya No. 6.

NICEST AND DEAR LADY,

It is with horror that I think of your perplexity concerning my prolonged silence. But whatever I may have to pay for this silence (see the civil servant in me), my soul hasn't yet become so black that I can't make a full confession. Stingy housewives usually put the cat in pantries where no mice could possibly be, because all the edibles have rotted there and mice can't be expected to eat rotten food; so it's good for the cat to seize the proper moment and sneak away from his guard- house--otherwise he'd die of hunger. After reading your nicest epistle, I feel like the cat who has sneaked away from his guard-house and has fallen upon fresh food. There is only one unfair item in this epistle: fear for the man-musician. You are too intelligent a woman to make such a mistake! If there is the slightest doubt as to the independent state of a certain man's (named so-and-so) creative powers, then there should be no doubt about what often pushes him on, i.e., this gentleman, towards creation; but if the fruits of this pushing aren't on paper "because there's no time," then truly this is the fault of a country which produces grains about whose existence it doesn't know itself, because it doesn't need them. In Russia one does encounter art, but art--that's an object of luxury: I do not speak of music alone, I love (and I think that I have a feeling for) all arts. So far a lucky star has guided me and will guide me further--I believe this, because I love and I live with such love, and I love man in art.

The Introduction to Khovanshchina (dawn over the Moscow River,

____________________
62
Characters in the Nursery cycle, drawn from the lives of the Stasov children (see p. 134).

-223-

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