YALTA, February 15, 1900.
DEAR ALEXEY MAXIMOVITCH,
Your article in the Nizhni-Novgorod Listok was balm to my soul. What a talented person you are! I can’t write anything but belles-lettres, you possess the pen of a journalist as well. I thought at first I liked the article so much because you praise me in it; afterwards it came out that Sredin and his family and Yartsev were all delighted with it. So peg away at journalism. God bless you!
Why don’t they send me “Foma Gordeyev”? I have read it only in bits, and one ought to read it straight through at a sitting as I have just read “Resurrection.” Except the relations of Nehludov and Katusha, which are somewhat obscure and made up, everything in the novel made the impression of strength, richness, and breadth, and the insincerity of a man afraid of death and refusing to admit it and clutching at texts and holy Scripture.
Write to them to send me “Foma.”
“Twenty-six Men and a Girl” is a good story. There is a strong feeling of the environment. One smells the hot rolls.
They have just brought your letter. So you don’t want to go to India? That’s a pity. When India is in the past, a long sea voyage, you have something to think about when you can’t get to sleep. And a tour abroad takes very little time, it need not prevent your going about in Russia on foot.
I am bored, not in the sense of weltschmerz, not in the sense of being weary of existence, but simply bored from want of people, from want of music which I love, and from want of women, of whom there are none in Yalta. I am bored without caviare and pickled cabbage.
I am very sorry that apparently you have given up the idea of coming to Yalta. The Art Theatre from Moscow will be here in May. It will give five performances and then remain for rehearsals. So you come, study the stage at the rehearsals, and then in five to eight days write a play, which I should welcome joyfully with my whole heart.
Yes, I have the right now to insist on the fact that I am forty, that I am a man no longer young. I used to be the youngest literary man, but you have appeared on the scene and I became more dignified at once, and no one calls me the youngest now.
More letters here