other, and I very much want to see all of you,--this is understandable, isn't it true?
I've long wanted to answer you, but all my laziness found proper pretext for its justification.
First, I wanted to write you something quite positive about Ratcliff, but at this moment I simply can't do this fully. Two days ago I took the score of two acts to Fyodorov:100 the second act--230 pages, the third--140, altogether 370 pages--92 1/2 leaves; the paper came to 1 ruble 53 1/2 kopeks silver. Fyodorov has given them to the copyists, but he couldn't give me a tentative date for the staging of the opera. All dates till January, he says, have been assigned, which means that the opera can go on only after New Year's. Besides, Serov has sent two acts of his new four-act opera [ The Power of Evil], and these two acts are already being copied. However everything depends on the Director.101 As long as I haven't given in the whole opera, I can't consider I have a right to press an exact date for the production. Very likely the swifter in sending his completed work will go on first, which is quite just. However, I will see the Director himself in a few days.
Thus the vagueness of Ratcliff's fate was the first, or so to say, legal reason for the tardiness of this reply, when all of a sudden, to make things worse, I came across Samarin's book on the Jesuits,102 I am reading it, I look into their doctrines, and I find an inestimable treasure: a justification for all kinds of mischief, within the theory of "plausibility." If you have before you several paths, you may choose the one of least "plausibility" (least honest, least in harmony with your conscience, with your inner convictions) if only it coincides with your benefit, with your inclination. I may answer you or not. Not to answer would be less "plausible," but would coincide with my laziness.____________________