13 July 1922

Hotel Chateau Belle Vue, Sierre, Switzerland

People on the whole understand Tchekhov very little. They persist in looking at him from a certain angle & he's a man that won't stand that kind of gaze. One must get round him - see him, feel him as a whole. By the way isn't Tolstoi's little essay on The Darling a small masterpiece of stupidity.
   - - And when you say you don't think T. was really modest. Isn't it perhaps that he always felt, very sincerely, that he could have done so much more than he did. He was tormented by Time, and by his desire to live as well as to write. ‘Life is given us but once.' Yet, when he was not working he had a feeling of guilt; he felt he ought to be. And I think he very often had that feeling a singer has who has sung once & would give almost anything for the chance to sing the same song over again - Now he could sing it . . . But the chance doesn't return. I suppose all writers, little and big, feel this but T. more than most. But I must not write about him; I could go on and on and on. . . [To William Gerhardi, 10 July1922.]