Written: Written March 7, 1899
Published: First published in 1931 in Lenin’s Letters to Relatives. Sent from Shushenskoye. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 245-246.
Translated: The Late George H. Hanna
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive. You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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Mlle Marie Ouljanoff,
Rue des Minimes, 40,
Again I am guilty of great unpunctuality, dear Manya, but do not be angry. Your letter came just before our guests arrived. We resolved to celebrate Shrovetide in style and invited everyone from the town (six people). Our quiet Shusha suddenly became crowded and noisy. We spent the time in real holiday fashion and the five days passed before we realised it. On the last day Mikhail Alexandrovich also came (he is now our nearest neighbour and we hope to see him often—he lives 35 versts from here). After the visitors it took us all a long while to get back to normal again. Volodya has immersed himself in an article in reply to Struve. Still that eternally new question of the markets. It looks as though Volodya will have to put in quite a lot of time on polemics in defence of the postulates made in his Studies. He intends to write about Kablukov, too. I have no regular occupation, I just read. I have now been ten whole months in Shusha and have not managed to get anything done, I am always going to do something. Spring is in the air. The ice on the river is covered with water all the time and the sparrows in the willow trees are chirping furiously; the bullocks low as they pass up and down the street and the landlady’s hen under the stove clucks so loudly in the morning that she wakes everyone up. The streets are muddy. Volodya is more and more often thinking of his gun and waders, and Mother and I are thinking of planting some flowers. From this description you can get some idea of the way we pass our time and will realise that there is not a great deal of material here for letter-writing. Judging by your letter, your life is the exact opposite of ours—there is life and movement all round you. You seem to be entering into local life and to be full of its interests. Thanks for the newspaper cuttings, send some more. Your irritation at your lack of knowledge of French only impresses upon us the pitiful knowledge of languages that Volodya and I possess—his knowledge is a little better, but mine is very poor. We have got hold of Turgenev in German and intend to start translating from Russian into German, but so far we have neither a dictionary nor a grammar and, even if we had, it is hardly likely we should study. Apparently we shall get to know languages only when we go abroad and necessity forces us to study them seriously. When are you thinking of coming home? Will you have to take any examinations? Do you feel very homesick in Brussels? Have you many friends?
Oh yes—did you know that Anatoly is very ill? The doctors have diagnosed consumption and he has a high temperature all the time. Kuba was given permission to go to Yeniseisk for three weeks and she has gone there. She writes rarely and only to clear her conscience, so I don’t know how she is getting on—probably not too well. Zina is still the same as usual, merry and vivacious. And so, good-bye. Many kisses. All the best. Mother asks me to kiss you. Write more often.
Best wishes, Manyasha, and I, too, thank you for the cuttings. I have nothing to add to Nadya’s letter.
 See Letter No. 78.—Ed.