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

By Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky; Jay Leyda et al. | Go to book overview

of fleeting happiness, and there the reckless, impenetrable night, and sorrow and dismay--such do not have to go to the Caucasus.50

That, for now, is the first journey to you, Arseni Arkadyevich. Your

MUSORGSKY

Till Monday morning. In Petrograd.


105. To ARSENI GOLENISHCHEV-KUTUZOV, Tver

Petrograd, 22 July, '73 Midday.

DEAREST COUNT ARSENI ARKADYEVICH,

Your delightful epistle, entitled a Tveriad, afforded me a cluster of delights and I thank you. Sepulchral Tver, standing in the very center of the "field of death of Russians," the provincial heat-lightning lady and heavy-jowled governor-moon himself, these sprinkle my memory with such fresh and lively recollections of that which has just happened, but is already past--drawn aside to the historical path and risen again in those welcome shining images which so brightly lured me to the house of Zaremba, the Empire of China or the Province of Kaluga. I thank you once again. Just as my sinful dissentress, Sister Marfa, found greeting and sincere response in your artistic mind, this martyr of yours, refreshing her pricked bare feet with the tears of the first beatitude, trembling at the thought that a stranger, that an impertinent eye could slyly watch and soil her complete sincere surrender to her beloved, will not leave my mind: thus truly and full of love the picture sketched by you is completed by the shuddering of the martyred criminal on trial before human justice, rotted through to the last fibre, and, very likely, in the presence of an extremely pure public, able only to buy and sell.

Write your martyr, dear, and if, accidentally, in Russia's "field of death" at Tver, should arise a depressing ghost that would, for a moment, stop your hand--drive it away: "Vade retro Satanas" and remember: the inspired artist always is an impartial judge, and further remember: "Burn away the hearts of men with the Word of prophetic truth"51 (the Gospels and the Bible).

And I begin the writing of my Khovanshchina. I received your

____________________
50
At the beginning of 1873 Golenishchev-Kutuzov had ignored a decree ordering him to serve in the High Office of the Governor of the Caucasus at Tiflis.
51
The altered last lines of Pushkin's poem The Prophet--inspired by Isaiah 6.

-219-

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