N. Krupskaya


To Lenin’s Mother

Written: 1 October, 1900. Letter sent from Ufa to Podolsk
Published: 1931 in Lenin’s Letters to Relatives Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 592-593.
Translated/Edited: George H. Hanna and Robert Daglish.
Transcription/Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 2008. You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as the source/editing/transcription/markup information noted above.

Her Excellency Maria Alexandrovna Ulyanova,
Sharonov’s House,
Bakhmetyevskaya Street.

October 1, 1900

Dear Maria Alexandrovna,

I received a letter from Manya a longtime ago but, as usual, allowed other things to intervene. You probably moved to Moscow a long time ago. How are you? Are you keeping well? Has D.I. left for Yuriev? Will Manyasha’s case soon come to an end?[Lenin’s sister Maria Ilyiniclina Ulyanova was arrested on September 30, 1899 and sent to Nizhny Novgorod until the preliminary investigation was over. She returned to Moscow at the end of December.—Editor] I once received a letter from Anyuta and answered it immediately, but my letters are not always delivered at the proper time and I sometimes receive letters from Volodya in different order from what he wrote them in. Although Voiodya now writes more frequently, I still know very little about the way he is living there; I know he has taken up some English language courses, and that he cannot get into his stride …. Zina and her husband blame me for not writing enough about Volodya, but what can I write to them? Volodya is quite unable to write about the ordinary side of life. Let him write to them himself. They are not thinking of moving to Russia yet and have not done anything about it-I think they should. It will soon be March 11 and even Zina will be her own mistress then. Five months and eleven days-I no longer know whether that is much or little. I do not know whether I shall be able to leave Lila on the 11th by the morning train as I have long been intending. Incidentally, there is nothing so very bad about Ufa except the mud, and I have long since become an Ufa patriot. We have fixed ourselves up well—in provincial style—a good apartment, good food, etc., in short we have adapted ourselves somewhat to provincial life. Time goes like a machine that has been wound up and I have some nice children as pupils. In general, I am very fond of teaching children, and at the moment the children are very nice, especially one tiny little girl. I give lessons to the numerous progeny of a local millionaire merchant—he has five of them. They are very strict, the way our merchants are, and I actually like the way the children are brought up. The parents do not dress them up, they have very few toys, no nursemaids, plenty of freedom, the youngsters are in the street all day, the children clean their own boots, tidy up their rooms (even wash clothes). In general, there is nothing aristocratic about them and they are not spoiled. They all learn very willingly, both the youngsters and the older ones. The youngest girl (seven years old) is very nice, a delightful character, clever, pretty, and such an industrious and attentive pupil I have never seen. Every day she is. “simply longing” to read, write and do arithmetic. And when there is something just a bit more interesting, her eyes flash. She now waits for me every time on the staircase and reports to me on all the events in the lives of the children. In short, this little girl has completely captivated me. Such wonderful children do exist! She is a happy-go-lucky kid, laughs a lot and has not been drilled (sometimes she wipes her nose on her frock). There is also a nice boy, but of a different kind. In general, I usually get interested in the boys and girls I teach, the pity is that the lessons take up too much time, they are foolishly arranged. I have taken up some French language courses here (soon German courses will open). Three times a week, an hour a time, six rubles a month; the courses are conversational, and so far I ant very satisfied. I am the senior in a group of four. The Frenchman is an experienced teacher and conducts a very lively lesson, but the pupils are rather inert. It is a pity I have no French books here at all, and the French teacher gives us June newspapers to read or magazines with no beginning and no end. Has Manyasha (she probably lies) any French fiction or, in general, any French books? None of the people here know any languages, so I with my half-baked knowledge am considered a specialist in this field; it is difficult to get any foreign books. I also go to the German teacher and write essays ten pages long for him, but we meet only once a week and that is too little for practice. I read German fiction on my own, but it’s still more difficult for me to speak German than French. And that is how the day passes up to 8 o’clock in the evening, and in the evening lam rarely able to do anything, few evenings pass without somebody calling in. There you have the smallest details of the way I spend my time. Mother sends her best regards and I send many kisses. I shall not write a separate letter to Manyasha since I should only have to repeat what I have written, but instead I simply embrace her, That’s all. All the best.