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

--"Qu'est ce que c'est?" "Enfin, vous devinez bien, le fameux Petrow." "Ça a eu lieu?" "Le 26 décembre." "Oh, mais certainement" . . . "But do you know how fine Nordet is in Indigo?" 46"Mais c'est miraculeux, mon très cher: je l'idolâtre, moi, cette petite là." The devil take them,--these financiers, these unenigmatic sphinxes of the nineteenth century. This is what Russia, beloved by me, sinner that I am, has stumbled against! Lord! . . .

Yours, my dear,

MUSINKA

So on Saturday I am yours.


158. To ARSENI GOLENISHCHEV-KUTUZOV

[ 1 November, 1875]

MY DEAR FRIEND ARSENI,

What have you done with yourself! You little dove, coming across the whole yard with your bad leg, coming to me, at the same time that I was climbing the stairs from the main entrance, asking about you. "He just left." Lord, what a calamity! I dreamt about and prepared to absorb the Shuisky that is a million thousand times dear to me, and I did not absorb it. I dreamt about and imagined hearing "In Ruins" 47--it didn't turn out that way. After what you have done with yourself, tell me, friend: what have you done with me? My nerves are in shreds. All that is written here is the truth. I've questioned everyone at home except the Naumin (my host) who has gone to the Huguenots.

And how could you, friend, have felt misgivings and run from the lady of the house!48 I'm surprised you didn't trust me: she had been prepared by me for you, she waited (for she told me that you are nice); I assure you that she is a perfect lady, as shy as you are, but affection-

____________________
46
Blanche Nordet in Johann Strauss' first operetta, Indigo und die Vierzig Raiiber ( 1871), which reached Russian audiences in 1875.
47
Among Golenishchev-Kutuzov's papers a curious history was revealed for this poem. Begun in the spring of 1875 as a large-scale picture of conflict between peasant and landlord, it was later revised around more cautious images: a long- awaited thunderstorm, rain, and the agony of an abandoned girl.
48
This is Maria Izmailovna Fyodorova, sister-in-law and now common-law wife of Pavel Naumov. Musorgsky lived in their apartment for more than four years, beginning that July. This Christmas Musorgsky dedicated a song to her (undoubtedly about her, too)--to "the little lady under the Christmas tree"--The Incomprehensible (dated "21 December, year '75").

-315-

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