15 July 1922

Hotel Chateau Belle Vue, Sierre, Switzerland

Dear Mr Gibbons,
   I am appalled that I expressed myself so clumsily as to make it possible for you to use the word ‘plagiarism'. I beg you to forgive me; it was far from my meaning. It was absorbed I meant. Perhaps you will agree that we all, as writers, to a certain extent, absorb each other when we love. (I am presuming that you love Tchekhov.) Anatole France would say we eat each other, but perhaps nourish is the better word. For instance Tchekhov's talent was nourished by Tolstoi's Death of Ivan Ilyitch. It is very possible he never would have written as he did if he had not read that story. There is a deep division between the work he did before he read it & after. . .All I felt about your stories was that you had not yet made the ‘gift' you had received from Tchekhov your own. You had not yet, finally, made free with it & turned it to your own account. My dear colleague, I reproach myself for not having made this plainer. [To Arnold Gibbons, 13 July 1922.]