the wrath of scribblers, and above all--compilers of poetical works.
In all this, I count as my obligation and even make it a joy for myself to bring to Your Highness my most tender congratulations and I have the pleasure to call myself
most humble servant,
AULIC COUNCILOR MODESTE,
SON OF PIOTR, MUSORGSKY
Petrograd, 22 May, '75
MY BELOVED ARSENI,
I was sure it would happen. You reminded me by your friendly confession of "the holy minute," when, discreet and silent, I understood your artistic soul. This minute shines brightly through the swampy darkness of official ink.
You are mistaken in one thing only: what do you thank me for? Did I ever dare to show you anything? I was fond of you and I am fond of you--and that's all. Why am I so fond--ask your artistic soul: you will find the answer.
Now about this: whatever obscure hole-in-the-corner critics say--I guarantee that "Hashish" will do its work, that you, in time, will be able to score off your critics, hashished (!) as they are and, consequently, not having understood the tragic quality and strength of the subject. Do not hold it against them, create, as the spirit commands and forgive the judges.
If Shuisky is demanded--print it; do not fear; the printed word is reliable. But Shuisky must be understood on the stage, so that "the descendants of the orthodox may know the past fate of their own land."25 You are severe towards yourself--be more severe: you stand before society and before the people. Do get Shuisky printed.
Do not deprive society of the "trifles" either. Poetic works in compact form, with a sincere relationship between the author and his subject, remain behind in the reader's memory imperceptible to him, and make him the author's friend. This is the best path to intimate acquaintance with a poet, always valuable for the poet if such ac-____________________