My friend Arseni, it is quiet in the warm, cozy home, at the writing- table--only the fireplace sputters. Sleep is a great wonder-worker for those who have tasted the affliction of this earth, thus sleep reigns-- powerful, tranquil, loving. In this silence, in the peace of all minds, all consciences and all desires--I, adoring you, I alone threaten you. My threat has no anger: it is as calm as sleep without nightmares. Neither goblin, nor ghost, I stood before you. I should like to stay a simple, artless, unfortunate friend to you. You have chosen your path --go! You disdained all; an empty intimation, the joking sorrow of friendship, the assurance in you and in your thoughts--in your creations, you disdained the cry of the heart--and you do disdain it! It's not for me to judge; I am no augur, no oracle. But, at leisure from the anxieties that are coming for you alone, do not forget
"The narrow, tranquil, peaceful room,56 And me, my friend, do not curse."
23-24 December, '75. At night, "sunless."
My good généralissime, perhaps you have become doubtful about Musoryanin. The second act of our Khovanshchina is ready--I wrote it during the holidays, right through the night.--It seems to have turned out well. Well, I will certainly drag it to you on Sunday (you have graciously decreed that the 2nd of January [Stasov's birthday] is not to be observed: God will judge you, but as you wish--"the beloved must be obeyed"). The thing is this, my dear, a lad has gone astray, drawn by various desires. And he who has strayed is none other than M. Arseni Kutuzov-Golenishchev-Count--and this is the way it is: he has decided to get married! and this is no joke, he says it's the real thing. So yet another "takes leave, to go to his native village," never to return. God! here one succumbs to the stagnation of a little clerk, stabbing after any little idea that appears (and one is glad to stab it!), but there people, who don't succumb to this civil stagnation, get mar-____________________