52 Tavistock Square, London, W.C.1
16th March 1926

I have been meaning every day to write something—such millions of things strike me to write to you 
about—and never did, and now have only scraps and splinters of time, damn it all—We are rather rushed—But, 
dearest Vita, why not take quinine, and sleep under mosquitoe nets? I could have told you about fever: do tell 
me if you are all right again (a vain question: time has spun a whole circle since you had fever off the Coast of 
Baluchistan) Much to my relief, Lady Sackville wrote and told me you had arrived: also she asks me to go and 
see her, to talk about you, I suppose. "I know you are very fond of Vita"; but I haven't the courage, without you.

Last Saturday night I found a letter from you in the box: then another: What luck! I thought; 
then a third; incredible!, I thought; then a fourth: But Vita is having a joke, I thought, profoundly distrusting 
you—Yet they were all genuine letters. I have spelt them out every word, four times, I daresay. They do yield 
more on suction; they are very curious in that way. Is it that I am, as Ly Sackville says, very fond of you: are 
you, like a good writer, a very careful picker of words? (Oh look here: your book of travels. May we have it? 
Please say yes, for the autumn.) I like your letters I was saying, when overcome by the usual Hogarth Press 
spasm. And I would write a draft if I could, of my letters; and so tidy them and compact them; and ten years ago 
I did write drafts, when I was in my letter writing days, but now, never. Indeed, these are the first letters I have 
written since I was married. As for the mot juste, you are quite wrong. Style is a very simple matter; it is all 
rhythm. Once you get that, you can't use the wrong words. But on the other hand here am I sitting after half the 
morning, crammed with ideas, and visions, and so on, and can't dislodge them, for lack of the right rhythm. Now 
this is very profound, what rhythm is, and goes far deeper than words. A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in 
the mind, long before it makes words to fit it; and in writing (such is my present belief) one has to recapture this, 
and set this working (which has nothing apparently to do with words) and then, as it breaks and tumbles in the 
mind, it makes words to fit it: But no doubt I shall think differently next year. Then there's my character (you see 
how egotistic I am, for I answer only questions that are about myself) I agree about the lack of jolly vulgarity. 
But then think how I was brought up! No school; mooning about alone among my father's books; never any 
chance to pick up all that goes on in schools—throwing balls; ragging: slang; vulgarity; scenes; jealousies—only 
rages with my half brothers, and being walked off my legs round the Serpentine by my father. This is an excuse: 
I am often conscious of the lack of jolly vulgarity but did Proust pass that way? Did you? Can you chaff a table 
of officers?

Do tell me scraps of the Lorraine's talk: or what the woman says who has read Oscar Wilde. Then about 
the expeditions you make to find flowers. I must go and lunch. We have had lunch, off roast beef and Yorkshire 
pudding. Also a romantic pudding in which you find almonds lodged in cream. It is bitter cold; a black wind is 
blowing and scraping old newspapers along the street—a sound I connect with March in London.

But I was going to talk about Ottoline: and the ghastliness of that party at Ethels. It was a 
blizzard, thunder and snow; and Dadie fetched me, and we had to cross London to Chelsea. Well, by the time I 
got there, my poor old hat (I never bought a new one) was like a cabmans cape: and a piece of fur, hurriedly 
attached by a safety pin, flapping. And those damned people sitting smug round their urn, their fire, their tea 
table, thought O Lord, why cant Virginia look more of a lady: which so infuriated me, through vanity I own, and 
the consciousness of being better than them, with all their pearl necklaces and orange coloured clothes, that I 
could only arch my back like an infuriated tom cat. As for Ottoline, she is peeling off powder like flakes on a 
house; yet her skirts are above her knees: I cant describe the mingling of decrepitude and finery: and all the talk 
had to be brought back to her. There was Percy Lubbock. We were egged on to discuss the passions. He 
mumbled like an old nurse that he never had such nasty things: whereupon, in the vilest taste, I contradicted him, 
never thinking of Lady Sybil, and he bubbled and sizzled on his seat with discomfort, and said, please Mrs 
Woolf leave me alone. And I felt inclined to leave them all alone, for ever and ever, these tea parties, these 
Ottolines, these mumbling sodomitical old maids (Leigh Ashton was there too.) Talk of the romance, the 
experience and upset and devastation of Persia! Come with me further and remoter (I doubt that this is English, 
though it may be the mot juste) to the living, unconcerned, contented, indifferent middle classes of England. I've 
lived in Persia half my life; but never been among the stockbrokers, till this spring. Last week it was Lord 
Rothschilds agent—that is another brother of Leonards [Philip Woolf],—at Waddesdon. There again I fell in 
love—But Eddy says this is snobbery: a belief in some glamour which is unreal. They are again, entirely direct, 
on the top of every object without a single inhibition or hesitation—When my sister in law showed me her 
hunter (for hunting is the passion of her life) I had the thrill in the things which, they say, is the sign of a work of 
art. Then she was so worn to the bone with living. Seven miles from a village: no servant will stay; weekend 
parties at the Great House; Princess Mary playing cross word puzzles after lunch, my sister in law stripping her 
one pair of shoes and skirt to ribbons hunting rabbits in the bushes by way of amusing Princess Mary; two 
babies; and so on. Well, I felt, nothing that I shall ever do all my life equals a single day of this. But Eddy says 
he knows about it: it is my snobbery. I like Eddy: I like the sharpness of his spine: his odd indivualities [sic], and 
angles. But the young are dangerous. They mind so much what one thinks of them. One has to be very careful 
what one says. That buzzing bluebottle Clive almost involved us in a row: but it is past; and I am dining with
Clive tomorrow, to meet some mysterious admirer, for Clive thinks me so vain I must always meet admirers, and 
drink the usual champagne. 

Sure enough—here is Clive ringing up to ask us to lunch to meet Sybil—yes, Sybil's back: here's a note 
to remind you of Sybil. Then I met Rose Macaulay and George Moore (d'you remember scolding me—one of 
your scoldings—for not meeting writers?) What I say about writers is that they are the salt of the earth (even if 
to say it I must unsay something of my rapture for the middle classes—the huntresses the stock brokers) With 
both of these people, Rose and George, one can tell the truth—a great advantage. Never did anyone talk such 
nonsense as George. "Do not tell me you admire Hardy, Mrs Woolf. My good friend, tell me if he has written 
a single sentence well? Not one. Is there a single scene in all those novels one remembers?" Whatever I said he 
poohpoohed; till at last (this was at Mary's with Jack [Hutchinson] in plum coloured velvet, like a tea cosy) I 
said "Mr Moore, when one is Mr Moore, that is enough" And we floated off to waterclosets and Paris; and he 
attacked Conrad and Henry James and Anatole France: but I cant tell you how urbane and sprightly the old poll 
parrot was; and, (this is what I think using the brain does for one) not a pocket, not a crevice, of pomp, humbug, 
respectability in him: he was fresh as a daisy.

Devil, you have never sent me your photograph. Angel, you wish to know about Grizzle: she has 
eczema, and a cough. Sometimes we peer into her throat and Leonard moves a bone.

The publishing season trembles: not a review of us so far. I have done up 19 parcels to China, via 
Siberia; which as you know, must not weight over 4 lbs: each; and be open ended. Also, folded a myriad of these 
leaflets. Also rejected [Doris] Daglish on Pope. Also accepted Mary's stories. And today began a new writing 
book, having filled the old, and written close on 40,000 words in 2 months—my record. Birds flap and fluster at 
my panes; but mostly the common sparrow, the domestic hen. Never mind. In the intervals of being leaden with 
despair, I am very excited. I say, when do you get back? When shall I stop writing to you? All our plans about 
holidays are in the fire again; God knows when we shall get off: but I dont want to be poking about in Provence 
when you're here.

Yes, dearest Vita: I do miss you; I think of you: I have a million things, not so much to say, as to sink
into you.

Tell me how you are and be very careful.