My Dearest, so here’s my apartment saga. It’s a grandiose subject. It scares me and I can’t deal with it. It’s too big for me.
Sometime in the summer I went with Ottla in search of housing, and although I don’t believe it’s possible to do this calmly, I went to look nonetheless. There was a little house for rent starting in November. Ottla, who is also looking for peace, however, in her own way, got a burning desire to rent this house. Ottla ordered everything to be painted, bought all sorts of wicker furniture (I don’t know a more comfortable chair than this one), and managed to keep all this a secret from the rest of the family.
When I got back from Munich, I was filled with new determination, I went to the apartment rental office, where I was immediately offered to look at an apartment in one of the most beautiful mansions in the city. It has two rooms, a hallway, half of which has been converted into a bathroom. 160 crowns a year. It’s simply a dream come true! I went [to see it]. The rooms are tall and beautiful, purple with gold, everything is almost like in Versailles. The apartment had only one drawback. The former tenant had to invest so much money into the apartment that he wasn’t ready to part with it just like that. Therefore, to give it up, he was looking for someone willing to at least partially compensate him for incurred costs (the electric wiring and telephone, bathroom installation, and building the closets). He is asking (probably a quite modest) sum 1,650 crowns for everything. It's too expensive for me.
However, I found another apartment with a little lower ceiling on the third floor in the same mansion. However, it was not completely clear, if the apartment is for rent or not. I then went into despair. I went to Ottla’s house in this state of mind. It had just been completed. At first, there were a lot of flaws and shortcomings that I don’t have the time right now to spell them out. Now it completely suits me. I’m happy with everything: there’s marvelous street, it’s quiet inside, only a thin wall separates us from the neighbor, but the neighbor is quiet enough; I usually eat dinner alone and usually stay until midnight. And now suddenly a deal has been reached with the apartment in the mansion: He’s willing to rent it to me.
But perhaps I should put this apartment behind me now, and not go see it. But in fact I have already rented it, but the manager, of course, is willing to release me from this verbal contract. I’ve said so little! Now, I need to think it over, decide, and move quickly.
Life is increasingly becoming a nightmare, and especially difficult for those who have no personal life. Personal life is, at any rate, that moderately dirty and uncomfortable place where one can rest.
A snow storm. I learned that the heir to the throne is more seriously ill than we’d thought. I can imagine the trepidation of the Empress, exacerbated by Grigory’s disappearance. The poor, dear woman – I pity her from the bottom of my heart yet cannot express any sympathy to her.
Certain “conspirologists” assured us that things wouldn’t go beyond a “palace coup” – that is, the tsar would be forced to abdicate the throne in favour of his son Alexei, with supreme power being handed over to a special council consisting of individuals who “understood the Russian people”. I thought this plan astonishing. I’d never yet encountered an individual possessed of such an understanding.
British farmers feed swans starving from the cold.
In Massine Diaghilev developed the love for glory. I was not passionate either about works of art or glory. Diaghilev noticed this and left me alone. Left alone I ran after the girls, I liked them. Diaghilev thought that I was bored, but I was not. I practiced my dances and composed ballets alone. Diaghilev did not like this. See more
He did not want me to do things alone, but I could not agree with him. He often quarrelled. I used to lock my door — our rooms were communicating — and would let in no one. I was afraid of him. I knew that all my life was in his hands. I would not leave the room. Diaghilev was also alone. He was annoyed because everyone noticed our quarrel. He hated to hear people asking. “What is the matter with Nijinsky?” He went to Stravinsky for help — that was in a London hotel. Stravinsky took Diaghilev side because he thought that Diaghilev would leave me. I felt hatred against Stravinsky, as he was defending a wrong cause. I pretended to be defeated. Stravinsky thought that I was a nasty person. I was twenty-one years old, young, and often made mistakes, but I always wanted to correct them. Noticing that no one liked me, I pretended that I was disagreeable. I did not like Diaghilev, but lived with him; I hated Diaghilev from the first day of our acquaintance, because I knew his power. I was poor and 65 roubles were not enough to keep my mother and myself from starvation. I understood Diaghilev from the first moment and pretended to agree with him at once. One had to live, and therefore it was all the same to me what sort of sacrifice I had to make. I worked hard at my dancing and was always tired. But I pretended not to be tired at all in order that Diaghilev should not be bored with me. I know what he felt, he loved boys and therefore could not understand me. I do not want people to think that Diaghilev was a villain and that he should be imprisoned. I would cry, if people were to harm him. I do not love him, but he is a human being. Loving everyone, I do not want to cause pain to anyone. Everyone will be shocked reading this lines, but I want to to publish them during my lifetime, knowing their effect.
When the earth is consumed in war, and all of humanity is divided into two irreconcilable camps, there must be such a person as would throw himself down to the floor of his cell and pray on his knees for all, for his enemies and his brothers. In the epoch of all-consuming cruelty and blindness, there must remain those who are capable of opposing the desire for revenge and hatred, who are capable of exorcising the spirit of insanity with their benediction. This must be the poet’s calling.
Conclusions of the Strategic Council: Military operations in 1917 will be decisive; offences will be launched on various fronts without sparing any and all resources available to the allied armies.
How are the Caucasus? We read in the papers and hear on the streets that the population there is being conscripted. Is this correct? There was another draft recently in Moscow, but only for the workers. As for the larger picture, the political landscape seems to be shrouded in mystery.
Malevich is living at his dacha, and says that he will be able to rent you two rooms there on the upper floor in the summer for 20 roubles a month.
Well goodbye for now. Best wishes, write soon, and stay in good health.
Today, while standing in the tram vestibule, I gave someone a rough push and said, “Why aren’t you moving right down inside the carriage?” When I saw that this someone was a pale-faced, haggard Chinaman, I felt a painful pang of guilt, as if I’d slighted a guest in my own house. How many of these Chinamen traipse the streets of Petersburg? And to think – their native land, their homes, they’ve left it all behind – and what awaits them in the future? Nothing. Lord, have mercy on these wretched vagabonds and make their lot a little easier!
Whether their are guests or not on Saint Valentine's Day, why not vary the menu by having something pleasing to eat and some dainty decorations? The children and even the older people will enjoy the surprise and variety of it, and variety, you know, is "the spice of life."