and next morning wrote out the entire libretto (six whole pages), us for a plot which I trust will play a rather important role in Rusand Musorgsky is to give me, today or tomorrow, his definite answer, whether or not he accepts this thing, and if it's yes, then in what shape it's to be. So, dear Lady Paulina, the Russian stage will be obliged to sian music. You've probably long since guessed what the piece was: Hans and Grete by Spielhagen. We're calling the opera Bobyl. But I've made tremendous changes and inserts, so actually only one of the original motifs, with the gun in the forest, has been kept; it is self-understood that the Landgraf and Landgrafina (at the end) have been transformed into [Russian] landowners in some distant province . . .
August 20, 1870
. . . I've lots of news . . . Musorgsky has already begun the divination scene of his new opera: it's simply a miracle . . .40
18 August, 1870
Being extremely fearful (as you know) of the little musical sins of my cookery, it may be that I should never have decided to print, within my lifetime, the damned "Seminarist" and I acknowledge you, my dear, together with Ludmila Ivanovna, as the cause of its appearance in public, as you (and one other good man A. P. Op[ochinin]) were able to electrify me with warm words.
I deem it useful to describe for you the procession of the above- mentioned "Seminarist" through the fires of Gehenna. This prodigal____________________