11 June 1922

Hotel d'Angleterre, Montana-sur-Sierre, Switzerland

Elizabeth has such a character staying with her. I wonder if you happen to know her - Lady Mary Mallett - one time private secretary to the Dear Queen. She is the spit of all those people - large hat with lace veil caught on her shoulder with a diamond brooch, figure, gloves, shoes, rolled umbrella and hair. M. has had tremendous conversations about the D.Q's dislike of seeing anyone without her cap and so on. But I can't get off the subject of Venice with her. She will describe Venice to me and all its beauties. When she says the word beauties she shuts her eyes. She is painting a series of water colours of wild flowers in her spare time. I think Elizabeth is suffering tortures at having her so very much on the spot, though.
   I must get up and start work. There's a huge beetle creeping over my floor, so cautiously, so intently. He has thought it all out. One gets fond of insects here; they seem to be in their place and its pleasant to know they are there. M. was saying the other night how necessary snakes are in creation. Without snakes there would be a tremendous gap, a poverty. Snakes complete the picture. Why? I wonder. I feel it, too. I read an account of unpacking large deadly poisonous vipers at the Zoo the other day. They were lifted out of their boxes with large wooden tongs. Can't you see those tongs? Like giant asparagus tongs & think of one's feelings if they suddenly crossed like sugar tongs too. Brrr! [To Dorothy Brett, 11 June 1922.]