13 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

By the way, for proof of your being a writer you had only to mention a bath chair & it crept into your handwriting. It was a queer coincidence. I had just been writing a bath chair myself and poor old Aunt Aggie who had lived in one & died in one, glided off; so that one saw her in her purple velvet steering carefully among the stars and whimpering faintly as was her terrestial wont when the wheel jolted over a particularly large one. But these conveyances are not to be taken lightly or wantonly. They are terrible things. No less.
   I hope if you do come to Paris at Easter you will come and see me. By then I expect I shall have a little flat. I am on the track of a minute appartement with a wax-bright salon where I shall sit like a bee writing short stories in a honeycomb. But these retreats are hard to find.
   I am here undergoing treatment by a Russian doctor Ivan Manoukhin, who claims to have discovered a cure for tuberculosis by the application of X rays. It is a mystery. But it sounds marvellous. And at present I am full of wandering blue rays like a deep sea fish. The only real trouble is its terribly expensive. So much so that when I read the price I felt like Tchekhov wanted Anna Ivanovna to feel when she read his story in a hot bath - as though someone had slung her in the water & she wanted to run sobbing out of the bathroom. But if it all comes true it means one will be invisible once more - no more being offered chairs and given arms at sight. A close season for ever for hot water bottles and glasses of milk. Well people dont realise the joy of being invisible - its almost the greatest joy of all. But Ill have to write at least a story a week until next May, which is a little bit frightening.  [To  William Gerhardi, 8 February 1922.]

My darling Marie,
  You do write the most satisfactory letters! One seems to get so much out of them; they've such a flavour, if you know what I mean. All the difference between very dull cold mutton and very excellent lean beef with chutney & a crisp salad! I start with an appetite and end with one.
  It must be fun to be shopping. Its rather hard to realise that ‘V' doesn't care a great deal about clothes. I should care if I were on a desert island & had to try on my hats & see the effect in the lagoon. Perhaps, though, Mack doesn't take them very seriously. That makes a difference. Jack is like a brother in that respect: I mean he talks them over and criticises them just as a brother does. Poor Ida has been flattening her nose against the windows in the Rue de la Paix and is completely demoralised for the moment. She can only talk about garments that appear to be moulded on, with heavy embroidery, russian backs & the fascinating new boleros. Fancy boleros coming back! Its such an absurd word too, isn't it. I expect by the time we are old dolmans will be all the rage again and I shall meet you - where? - flashing with jet bugles.
  Yes, I do miss the chalet. Hotels are odious places, and I hate restaurants. But with this hope of getting better I can put up with anything. I don't dare look ahead, Marie. I feel just like a prisoner must feel who's been told there is a chance of his release. Its too much happiness to think of walking along by myself with nobody handing me a chair or offering me an arm or coming to meet me with a hot water bottie in one hand and a glass of milk in the other! If you have a small private God, say a prayer for me! [To Charlotte Beauchamp Perkins, 10 February 1922.]