21 February 1921

21 February 1921

Villa Isola Bella, Menton, France

Dearest, said Moyra Moore, moving over to the hostess & stroking her cheek with a poor pale tulip, do tell me about the spreading chestnut tree - was it before my time or after? Oh you wicked child, said the hostess, looking regretfully at the tulip. But the poet piped: It was a poem by Longfellow!

At that the dark young man sat up suddenly & stopped making rings.

Goldsmith, please! he said shortly - as though Goldsmith was a friend of his & that really was a bit too steep. The young poet looked as if he was going to cry. Oh come now, said the Cabinet Minister pleasantly - & the hostess sighed with relief that they had begun to talk about something simple enough for him to join in. Surely it was Longfellow. It was certainly Longfellow in my young days. And because he was a Cabinet Minister they all smiled kindly as though he had said something quite amusing!

All but the dark young man - who looked terrible!   

[KM Notebooks, undated.]