I heartily embrace you, my dear, and the 3rd act is also being thought over--the regeneration of the 2nd act will not hinder it.
12 February '76
[Written across the top of this letter:]
My host Naumov greets you zealously. He is in ecstasy over your letter: I could not help reading it aloud to him; and his ecstasy derives from your notice and care for us little ones.
Little dove Ludmila Ivanovna, you have so consoled me with your energetic, splendid letters. You are right, little dove! Among people there must still be real people, when "playing false" depresses us and makes us suffer. All (almost all) "play us false" in our enlightened age in which everything you could wish progresses, except humanness. Not behind one's back, but right before one's eyes has been perpetrated an impertinent treason à bout portant of the best, vital, omnipotent conceptions of art in that very home, where, once upon a time, boiled new life, where new powers of thought were united, where new tasks of art were discussed and evaluated. But let's not bother about C. Cui and N. Rimsky-Korsakov: "there is no shame for the dead."8 All that is here written was felt and realized in your home, my dear. "Truth loves not a lying atmosphere." Then there were no lies at your house, neither by us nor by them--the very walls told no lies on that memorable evening: all was truth, and such truth!--the aforesaid gentlemen ( Cui and Korsakov) have abjured the covenant of art--to speak "truthfully" with the people.
I am yours irrevocably for Friday, March 5, little dove; it looks as though Borodin will not betray us: it's too late and it would be aimless. O, if only Borodin could lose his temper!
P. A. Naumov is grateful to you, my own, from the bottom of his heart, and wanted to visit you himself, but caught the grippe--now he's gradually getting rid of it. And as I read him your letter, he flushed and paced up and down the room: what a one--he said--how lovely and good Ludmila Ivanovna is! Ach, you, little dove (this is he speaking to himself. But I am as ever: your Musinka, yes and only that.____________________