10 July 1922

Hotel Chateau Belle Vue, Sierre, Switzerland

I am in the middle of a very long story written in the same style - horrible expression! - as The Daughters of the Late Colonel. I enjoy writing it so much that even after I am asleep - I go on. The scene is the South of France in early Spring. There is a real love story in it, too, and rain, buds, frogs, a thunderstorm, pink spotted chinese dragons. There is no happiness greater than this leading a double life. But its mysterious, too. How is it possible to be here in this remote, deserted hotel and at the same time to be leaning out of the window of the Villa Martin listening to the rain thrumming so gently on the leaves and smelling the night-scented stocks with Milly? (I shall be awfully disappointed if you don't like Milly.)
   Have you read Bunin's stories. They are published in English by the Hogarth Press. The Gentleman from San Fransisco is good, but I dont care much for the others. He tries too hard. He's too determined you shall not miss the cucumbers and the dyed whiskers. And the last story called Son I can't for the life of me understand. I met Bunin in Paris and because he ad known Tchekhov I wanted to talk of him. But alas! Bunin said "Tchekhov? Ah - Ah - oui, j'ai connu Tchekhov. Mais il y a longtemps, longtemps." And then a pause. And then, graciously, "ll a écrit des belles choses." And that was the end of Tchekhov. [To William Gerhardi, 10 July 1922.]