Petrograd, 2 August, '73
My dear little dove, Nadezhda Vasilyevna, do spoil Musoryanin as you used to by forwarding, I beg you, the enclosed to Vladimir Vasilyevich to whatever country he's now in, in case this epistle does not find him amongst you:--I am glad he has been talked out of his trip to Vienna, although I wrote him there; I also wrote Polyxena Stepanovna there for forwarding, but as soon as I learned that she was to be in Reichenhall at the end of July, I hastily wrote her to that same Reichenhall. I don't know if my epistle has been received.--How are you getting on, my little dove? And I, disorderly man that I am, see nothing but paper, so much do I labor in the defense of government interests. However, our new opera Khovanshchina is in work and the work boils, although it is too soon to transfer it to paper. I've become so severe with myself that it's laughable, and the more severe I become, the more disorderly I behave. How people get anything done in an orderly way--I don't know; but I can't and because of this, very likely, I attempt to overcome Sisyphus himself. I'm in no mood for small things; however, the composition of small pieces may be relaxing during the contemplation of larger works. But my relaxation is in the contemplation of the large works, when I manage to get away from government cookery, and land in my own sphere: thus all that goes topsy-turvy with me--downright disorderliness.
I bow very low to Marguerite Matveyevna,85 because I remember her very well; I greet the young lady:86 probably she has grown so tall, if one could only realize that people always grow up. And I stand guilty before Fräulein Ernestine [ Kiel, governess]--I didn't do what I was supposed to and what I wished to do. But I haven't given it up, not at all do I give it up and I will do it.
Now your little hand, my dear little dove; all right, do spoil Musoryanin.
Severe to myself and still disorderly,