A Love Letter to Valeriya Arsenyeva

I’m still chopping away at the first of two volumes full of Tolstoy’s letters. I have so many I’d like to put up, but I don’t have time, nor the patience. Maybe in the future.

Anyway, in this particular letter, our Tolstoy is macking on some chick he assumed guardianship over upon her father’s death (very scandalous situation, indeed). She was 20 and Tolstoy was 28 when the fireworks flew, but only after a year, they broke up. Ok, read on if you have the time…

Moscow, 2 November 1856

I arrived last night and have just got up, and I rejoiced to feel that my first thought was of you and that I was sitting down to write, not in order to keep a promise, but because I really want to. Throughout the journey, your favorite, the foolish man, got completely out of hand and talked such nonsense and made such absurd, though delightful, plans that I began to be afraid of him. He reached the point of wanting to go back in order to return to Sudakovo, to say a lot of foolish things to you and never to part from you again. Fortunately I’ve long since got used to despising his arguments and paying no attention to him. But when he started arguing, his friends the good man whom you don’t like also began to argue and tore the foolish man to shreds.

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