21 October

21 October 1920

Villa Isola Bella Menton, France

To be free - to be free! Thats all I ask. There's nine oclock striking gently, beautifully from a steeple in the old town. The sound floats across the water. I wish you were here and we were alone . . .
Did I tell you I have a little bookcase made by a carpenter wot lives on the hill? He made it most rarely: dovetailed the corners - isn't that right - and cut a little ornament on the top shelves and then painted it pale yellow. 24 francs. His wife sent with it a bouquet of zinnias the like of which Ive never seen. These people with their only child a lovely little boy of about five live in their own house with their own garden. He seems to work for his own pleasure. Where do they get the money? The little boy who's like an infant St. John wears little white overalls, pink socks and sandals. "Dis bonjour a Madame! Ou est ton chapeau! Vite! Ote-le!" And this hissed in a terrible voice with rolling eyes by the father. The little boy slowly looks up at his father and gives a very slow ravishing smile.
Its really queer about these people. Marie was saying the mimosa tree leans - its got a list on it - and of course, prophesying that ("esperons toujours que non Madame mais") it will fall and crush us all. When she described how the tree leant she took the posture - she became a mimosa tree - little black dress trimmed with crepe white apron, grey hair, changed into a tree. And this was so intensely beautiful that it made me almost weep. It was Art, you know. I must get up. The day is still unbroken. One can hear a soft roaring from the sea and that's all. Goodbye for now my darling Heart. [Letter to J. M. Murry in Collected Letters 1920]