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Meditations and Impressions


Picture of Dostoyevsky

December 28

My Dear Mikhail,

Welcome back from the Provinces. Tell Pavel I'll give him 200 serfs for his servant, if indeed she is as pretty as you say she is. Write me and let me know. (She's not a ... is she?)

You know, Mikhail, the other day I was taking a stroll along the grounds when, while I was sitting underneath a cherry tree resting, I saw the serfs toiling the land on my estate (all two thousand souls), and I had this splendid thought....

God gave the day, God gave the strength for it.
And the day and the strength were consecrated to labour
And that labour was its own reward....

Labour is its own reward! What a splendid idea. What do you think? I think it's a capital idea.
And now, Mikhail, I'm afraid I must be going. I have to take my afternoon nap. And then I have to tell cook what to prepare for dinner tonight. I'm having guests. I'm afraid, Mikhail, that nothing would ever get done around here if it were not for me (sigh)

Oh, how the aristocracy suffers. But we must not lament, but bear our cross with aplomb. What a noble thought, eh, Mikhail? God save the King!

Mikhail, before I go I have to tell you my move. But first my critique of your move. It was as expected as it was necessary. That's all I have to say on the matter. Except I will concede you have not made a mistake. But do not forget the game is afoot and there's many a slip 'twixt the cup and lip." But, nonetheless, I congratulate you as a gentleman and a Russian. I, on the other hand, have made a mistake, unfortunately. However, I shall endeavor to ameliorate that blunder by flogging one of my serfs. But presently I shall make the following move, f3-e3, and leave you to contemplate the nature of my furrowed brow.

Your Long Suffering Opponent,


P. S. The house serfs are all rooting for me. Bless them.

A White Rose

The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
Oh, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a cream-white rosebud,
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.