15 May 1921

15 May 1921

Hotel Beau Site, Clarens-Montreux, Switzerland

Yesterday as we came to one part of the valley - it was a road with a solid avenue of poplars - a green wall on either side - little wooden carts came spanking towards us. The man sat on the shafts. The woman, in black with a flat black hat, earrings & a white kerchief sat in front with the children. Nearly all the women carried huge bunches of crimson peonies - flashing bright. A stream of these little carts passed & then we came to a town & there was a huge fair going on in the market square. In the middle people were dancing, round the sides they were buying pigs and lemonade, in the cafes under the white & pink flowering chestnut trees there were more people & at the windows of the house there were set pots of white narcissi and girls looked out - they had orange & cherry handkerchiefs on their heads. It was beyond words gay and delightful. Then further on we came to a village where some fete was being arranged. The square was hung with garlands & there were cherry coloured masts with flags flying from them and each mast had a motto - framed in leaves - AMITIE - TRAVAIL - HONNEUR - DEVOIR. All the men of the village in white shirts & breeches were stringing more flags across & a very old man sat on a heap of logs plaiting green branches. He had a huge pipe with brass fittings.
Oh dear. In some parts of the Rhone valley there are deep, deep meadows. Little herd boys lie on their backs or their bellies & their tiny white goats spring about on the mountain slopes.

[To John Middleton Murry in Collected Letters, 15 May.]