Letter to Inessa Armand, January 19, 1916

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19/I. 1916

Dear Friend,

This is my third postcard to you. This time in French, to make the work easier for the censors, if they are the cause of this delay with the mail. As a matter of fact I have been worrying for several days now at the absence of any news from you! If you were offended with me, you would probably have written to other friends, but as far as I know you have not written to anybody. If I don’t get a letter from you within the next few days I shall write to our friends to find out whether you are ill. I have inquired several times about poste restante mail, but there is nothing.

The conflict with our young Polish friend has been settled satisfactorily; it was just a slight “misunderstanding” (that is his statement of the case). Now everything is going well; the journal is already being made up; it should be issued in January.[1]

We have written to “your” editor in one of the towns of Romansh Switzerland.[2] He simply doesn’t answer. Strange, is it not? We are all looking forward to your making arrangements about novels and short stories in Paris, where you will probably find lots of people, writers, publishers and so on, since you are working in the National Library and are well acquainted with these people.

The weather is fine. Last Sunday we went for a lovely walk up “our” little mountain. The view of the Alps was very beautiful; I was so sorry you were not there with us.

Recently Camille Huysmans delivered a very long “diplomatic” speech at the congress of the Dutch party.[3] I don’t know whether you will be able to find the text of it in the French newspapers. If you don’t, you will find it here. He touched, “in passing”, on the September conference and protested strongly against the “attempts at expropriation” (he doesn’t want to be “expropriated”, this secretary!) and so on and so forth. A big diplomatist, a politician!... What unworthy means!

How are you getting on? Are you content? Don’t you feel lonely? Are you very busy? You are causing me great anxiety by not giving any news about yourself!... Where are you living? Where do you eat? At the “buffet” of the National Library?

Again I ask for letters poste restante.

Sincerely yours,


P.S. Again nothing! No letters from you.

  1. A reference to the journal Vorbote.—Ed.
  2. A reference apparently to Paul Golay, editor of the newspaper Le Grutléen in Lausanne.—Ed.
  3. Camille Huysmans delivered a report at the emergency Congress of the Social-Democratic Party of Holland held in Arnhem on January 9, 1916, in which ha tried to prove that the Second International had not broken down, and put forward a “democratic programme of peace”. Lenin criticised Huysmans’s speech in his lecture “ ‘Peace Terms’ in Connection with the National Question” (see Lenin Miscellany XVII, p. 237).