10 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

In reply to your telegram.
My darling Bogey,
   I do not "understand" why you have sent this telegram, so my reply is rather in the dark. Still, I must send it. Please do not come here to me. That is what I wish to say, and I say it deliberately. It is not easy to write so to you. I will try and explain my reasons. I want you to have your freedom as an artist. You asked for it at Menton. I thought it was a mistake - that you did not mean it and only wrote under influence. But then after I left Montana you asked for it again. You were willing to join me if I wanted you - you were prepared, like a shot to be of help to me. (But that is exactly like saying to a person if you want to borrow money, borrow from me, or Fathers telling me I could count on him up to £50 if the necessity arose. It is not the gesture of people who deeply understand each other.) On the other hand your own personal feeling was not that at this most critical of all moments in her life I could not leave Wig. Golly - no! It was my work - May would be too late - my novel - and so on. Reverse the positions, darling. Hear me saying that to you!
   It is no good. I now know that I must grow a shell away from you. I want, ‘I ask for' my independence. At any moment in the future you may suddenly leave me in the lurch if it pleases you. It is a part of your nature. I thought that it was almost the condition of your working that we were together. Not a bit of it! Well, darling Boge, for various reasons I cant accept this. And now that I am making a bid for health - my final bid - I want to grow strong in another way, too. Ida is leaving here on Saturday. [To John Middleton Murry, 8 February 1922.]

My dear Elizabeth,
   Thank you so much for your letter. But what horrid snow. There must be too much of it. I hope it now settles down and the sun shines warm. It seems impossible that I missed you at Randogne. You were in my thoughts as we waited at the station & I tried to catch a glimpse of your chalet. I hate to think I did not see you.
   It served me right about John. After my agonies as to what would become of him - relief breathed in the poor boy's letter. He was like a fish off a line, swimming in his own element again, and never dreaming really of coming here. He made me feel like a very stuffy old Prospero who had been harbouring a piping wild Ariel. I hope he does stay where he is. It would be much the best plan. PoorJohn! Its horrible to think how I have curtailed his freedom. In my silly innocence I felt certain he couldn't bear not to know what this Russian man said and so on. But not a bit of it. He is hand in hand with his new novel - I see them rather like the couple in Donne's Ecstasy. But I do hope he wont change his ideas now. Bad weather and no posts are a trial which he hasn't experienced yet in solitude. He would repent of coming to Paris Im sure while he is seething with work which will out. Id much rather be alone until May too, now that I know his sentiments.
 [To Elizabeth, Countess Russell, 8 February 1922.]