19 October 1922

La Prieuré, Fontainebleau, Avon

My dear Koteliansky
I hope this letter will not surprise you too much. It has nothing to do with our business arrangements. Since I wrote I have gone through a kind of private revolution. It has been in the air for years with me. And now it has happened very very much is changed.
When we met in London and discussed ‘ideas' I spoke as nearly as one can the deepest truth I knew to you. But even while I spoke it I felt a pretender - for my knowledge of this truth is negative, not positive as it were cold, and not warm with life. For instance all we have said of ‘individuality' and of being strong and single, and of growing - I believe it. I try to act up to it. But the reality is far far different. Circumstances still hypnotise me. I am a divided being with a bias towards what I wish to be, but no more. And this it seems I cannot improve. No, I cannot. I have tried. If you knew how many notebooks there are of these trials, but they never succeed. So I am always conscious of this secret disruption in me - and at last (thank Heaven!) it has ended in a complete revolution and I mean to change my whole way of life entirely. I mean to learn to work in every possible way with my hands, looking after animals and doing all kinds of manual labour. I do not want to write any stories until I am a less terribly poor human being. It seems to me that in life as it is lived today the catastrophe is imminent; I feel this catastrophe in me. I want to be prepared for it, at least. [To S. S. Koteliansky, 19 October 1922.]