V O L U M E 8 , D O C U M E N T 4 9 4 b 9 3
her experience, from which a certain instinct has formed, leading (relatively and
provisionally) toward what is right, whereas in that other case her weak logic fell
That is why it seems to me that more attention ought to be paid to her actions
than to her words, especially when they were said heatedly to someone with whom
she had been on bad terms for a long time
It is easy to grasp that she
was excited, also because beforehand she had gotten into an argument with Paul
about a somewhat unfriendly comment about
Besides, her words would
not have offended you in any way, if you had heard them yourself; you would just
have laughed and would have toned down their sense a little. In an hour of reason-
able conversation you would certainly have come to agree with each other on the
entire affair, whereas in writing misunderstandings always arise.
Your sister is temperate and reasonable. Every word of hers also has an intended
sense, and so it is easy for her to voice an opinion of someone without much fan-
fare, without saying it directly; that is why it is also much more impressive and
credible. You know well that your sister is not well disposed toward my mother
(just as vice
she may say what [she] wishes, yet precisely because of this,
her view will surely be one-sided, even though it does not seem so.
Now I beg your pardon for the liberty I took, for three reasons:
1. because my mother was unfairly hurt (not that she had broken out into lamen-
tations, as is often heard said),
2. because I like you personally,
3. because Papa is surely essentially in agreement with my mother (and not the
contrary, which the “humorous
insinuates), and both are anything but un-
Very cordial regards, yours,
Read Dostoevsky one day, when you have time.
Vol. 8, 494b. To Vero Besso
[after 28 March
Dear Vero,
Your letter, with the fine and conciliatory manner in which you deal with touchy
subjects, pleased me very
His father’s worthy
who already views
things with circumspection. My postcard was not meant to be malicious. It was a
kind of defense against further abuse; it was as if someone opens his umbrella when
he’s surprised by a hail storm. My sister’s reports don’t have that effect. She illus-
trated and described the reception with
What really put me off was the
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