11 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Ida is leaving here on Saturday. She will be with you on Sunday. Tell her what you want her to do, if you intend leaving Switzerland. And write to me about everything. But my very soul rebels against when its fine you prefer your work & your work is more urgent than this affair in Paris has been. When it snows you might as well be playing cribbage with me! And also that remark "Moreover the rent is paid here!"
   No, darling, please. Let me be alone here. This queer strain in you does not, for some extraordinary reason in the very least atom lessen my love for you. Id rather not discuss it. Let it be! And I must work now until May. These ‘affairs' are 1000 times more disturbing than 1000 train journeys. Pax, darling. You will see Ida on Sunday. But for the last time I ask you not to join me. I cannot see you until May.
               Your loving
Please just accept this. Its awfully hard having ‘it' to fight as well as my other not dear Bogies!
Dearest Bogey
   I have just opened my letter to say your Sunday & Monday ones have come - about the snow, about Elizabeth, about your staying there. If the weather is fine by now I dare say your doubts will have taken wings, too. But for my part - I would rather stay here alone. I have seen the worst of it by myself i.e. going alone to Manouhkin, having no one to talk it over and so on. I want now intensely to be alone until May. Then IF I am better we can talk things over and if I am not I shall make some other arrangement. There's no need to look ahead. But that is my very calm collected feeling. So if you do want to leave the chalet before May - let us still be independent of each other until then - shall we?
 [To John Middleton Murry, 8 February 1922.]

As to the flowers - I haven't had a flower yet. Tulips are 1.50 each. The F.O. [Faithful One = Ida Baker] can't find anything sweet and reasonable. And it had been my plan to send you a basket the very first thing. Nothing but my horrid poverty stops that basket arriving. Manoukhin says that by the second week in May Ill feel perfectly well. Its exactly like being in prison and hearing somehow that there is a chance you may be let out. Now I know what a prisoner's dreams must be. I feel inclined to write a long story about a gaol bird. But I shouldn't know how to end it.
   I wonder how your novel is going? I am hard at Shakespeare again, tapping away at him like the birds tapped at my half coconut on the window sill.
   The F.O. has been looking for small flats. Yesterday she found one - "very nice", where five girls with bobbed hair lived with their uncle. It was, she confessed rather full of beds at the moment. But when the girls, who were from the country had gone the beds would be whisked away. And the concierge was most agreeable. The house very quiet. It seemed to me rather a strange menage but I went to see over it today. Really the F.O. is like Una in the Fairy Queen. She is too innocent for words to express. That flat! Those bobbed haired girls! ‘Uncle' had departed but two cigars remained to prove as F.O. murmured to me "that a man lived there". And the BEDS. Merciful Powers! There was something horribly pathetic about it in the pale afternoon light, in its attempts at gaiety, at real flowering. But the whole place will haunt me for ever. I said to the F.O. as we left "But its a bawdy-house." And after a long pause she said "Dear me! I had never imagined such a thing. But I quite see what you mean!" [To Elizabeth, Countess Russell, 8 February 1922.]