52 T.[avistock] S.[quare, W.C.1]

Friday, 18th Feb. 1927

Sweet Honey,

Nelly has just brought into the Studio where I'm correcting proofs of the Lighthouse your cable "Agree 
about Doran". Its not a very intimate message, but it gives me a little thrill of pleasure, and I make you say 
instead Good morning Virginia. Good morning Vita. Yes I want you more and more. You'll like to think of me 
unhappy I know. Well, you can.

Last time I wrote in such a tearing hurry I was ashamed to send it, so now I'm beginning early: but 
there'll be endless interruptions. I want to know, particularly, among a crowd of other things, have you talked 
to Harold about giving up silk stockings and swords and gold lace and humbug and nonsense [diplomacy] and 
becoming a sensible man? If so, what has he said? Now you will have got over your torrent of talk, and might 
have a little serious conversation. At a conclave here the other night it was universally agreed that he was a loss 
to the world as it is: much too good for that everyone said: but then he's ambitious, some one said. Nonsense, I 

You are sitting by the Kasran (I dont know what the name is) [Kasvin] Gate, and seeing us all as little 
bright beads in a plate miles beneath. You see us, and you think we dont see you. I assure you I'm conscious of 
you all day long, soaring above my head. And am I a bright bead, or a dull bead, in the plate? Or dont I exist?

We're still talking, you'll be surprised to hear, about love and sodomy and Bunny's last book, Vita and 
Eddy, and Desmond's fund, shall it be for his debts or his holiday?—with Lytton, Clive, Morgan, Raymond, 
Mary etc. There we sit in Clive's smoky room, with the brandy and the tumblers, and Mary wears a black patch 
on her left cheek and a golden turban. How nice you look shingled! she says. Why dont you do it? I say. But 
think if I were to look a horror for a whole six weeks! she says. I see thats a serious matter—Then says he's 
worked it out and one spends 3 hours on food, 6 on sleep, 4 on work, 2 on love. Lytton says 10 on love. I say the 
whole day on love. I say its seeing things through a purple shade. But you've never been in love they say.

Monday, Feb 21st

It gets worse you'll be glad to hear, steadily worse. Todays the day when I should be trotting out to buy 
you your loaf, and watching for your white legs—not widow Cartwrights—coming down the basement steps. 
Instead you're on the heights of Persia, riding an Arab mare I daresay to some deserted garden and picking 
yellow tulips.

My solace is what?—dining with Ethel Sands to meet Violet Bonham Carter, and laboriously correcting 
two sets of proofs. My goodness how you'll dislike that book [To the Lighthouse]! Honestly you will—Oh but 
you shan't read it. Its a ghost between us. Whether its good or bad, I know not: I'm dazed, I'm bored, I'm sick to 
death: I go on crossing out commas and putting in semi-colons in a state of marmoreal despair. I suppose there 
may be half a paragraph somewhere worth reading: but I doubt it.

I read Cowper: The Task [1785]. Now there's a man with a dash of white fire in him. It comes so 
strangely, among such flummery: one line, one phrase. Theres no Cowper in Persia, you'll say: if there were, 
read some of the Task. The domestic scenes are lovely: and then this white fire: what I call central transparency. 
For a long poem of course you need a mould: and lines to fall smooth one after another: but also now and again 
what saves one is the wave rising solitary; a line about a hare perhaps; something said still with the formal lilt, 
but completely in his own voice. This seems to me the triumph of style.


Ethel's party wasn't bad; I liked Violet Bonham Carter, save that she gets too close, and cranes too near. 
Philip Ritchie told me I was the chief coquette in London. "allumeuse" Clive corrected him. Then my suspenders 
came down, dragging with them an old rag of chemise—why didn't you tell me one must fasten one's suspenders 
properly? I can dress now in 5 minutes: just think of that. But always some misery like suspenders clips my 
wings of glory; and Good God, I must buy a hat.

Well darling: no letter from you since Monday week. I must wait till next Monday, a whole fortnight 
I suppose. How are you? Any malaria? How's Dotty? Does she like Persia? My love to her. Oh I'm so solitary, 
except for Leonard: Clive went this morning. We had an affecting farewell. I think I cried. I feel so fond of him, 
and then he's in an odd state—God knows whats happening, save that I feel sure Mary is angry with me, and
thinks I'm at the bottom of it. Of what, though? God knows.

I think we shall probably go to Greece the end of March and be back the end of April: and then I shall
spend May motoring in Spain with Dadie—hah hah!—and June in Italy with Nancy [Cunard]; and July in 
Rodmell with Pinker; and August in Geneva with Ramsay Macdonald. But there'll be one night with you at Long 
Barn. Snore—Snore—Snore.

Your Virginia

P. To T. has sold 915. What about your story?