13 December 1920

13 December 1920

Villa Isola Bella, Menton, France

I have just received your letter. Do not fear your letters. Let me try and explain why I did not reply to you. I felt, somehow, that you felt it necessary to assume a personality with me that wasn't wholly you. Perhaps I was quite wrong. But I feel there was a strain - an uneasiness. And then - I must own - after talking so much about imagination it seemed to me impossible for you to have understood Gertler so little as to mind his being cross - and to almost boast that you wouldn't cook eggs for him any longer but just gave him the saucepan and let him look after himself! Now I feel sure that was not true. I feel certain you have looked after Gertler to the very limit of your powers - but why did you think I'd admire you for being such a poor artist as not to understand a sick person's psychology? There was (or I felt; please forgive me if I am wrong) a kind of frosty breath, light but chill, of falseness in this ... and so I kept silent.
But, dear Brett, don't worry about telling me everything. We shall know each other by our work. The time to work is here. We cannot afford to delay. I have chosen deliberately to leave my friends for a time. If they do not understand then I must do without their understanding. I have left the company and gone away and I can neither return nor welcome my friends until some of this work is done. You see, Brett, the days are so short and who knows whether there is going to be a long evening? I, for one, don't dare count on one.
But forgive me for failing you as a friend. If you knew how I wish you
Joy!
Would you give my love to Koteliansky if you ever see him?
[Letter to Dorothy Brett in Collected Letters, 9 December 1920]