22 Dec 1921

22 December 1921

Chalet des Sapins, Montana-sur-Sierre, Switzerland

Brett dearest
   I reply immediately. Yes I feel certain that Marie Loo had brilliancy. And don't think I am a stickler for the old laws of technique, as such. I am not. But I still cant see how you simplify a figure and leave the face out of the simplification. Its not that the face is "literary", it doesn't "tell a story" (anymore than a face justifiably in painting does) but that is the effect it gives when joined on to the stiff little body. It seems to float in the air, not to belong. And the trees in the background - of course one sees practically nothing of them in a photograph. They look weak stemmed, somehow. I don't know why I look at them. If I didn't know they had meant much to you I shouldn't see them but I cant see their part in the design.
   I sympathise beyond words with your desire to discover, to explore, with your impatience at last with flower pieces. I am sure you are absolutely right and that its the only way one can ever be satisfied completely with what one is doing. I mean your whole mind, all your sensibility and intelligence must be at work and a little bit over. It seems to me the only way I can express that sympathy for you is by being as dead honest as I can be; risking your being offended or hurt. You know my opinion is only a personal opinion. But I give it to you - not quite easily - because for all we may think or believe - it is terribly hard to be honest where our hearts are involved!
[To Dorothy Brett, 22 December 1921.]

Darling precious Anne,
   Suddenly, this afternoon, as I was thinking of you there flashed across my inward eye a beautiful poppy that we stood looking at in the garden of the Headland Hotel, Looe. Do you remember that marvellous black sheen at the base of the petal and the big purplish centre? Then that took me back to our improvised cafe - just the same table with a bottle on it and ourselves out of space and time . . . for the moment! And from that I began to think of your tres blue eyes that I love so and your neck, and the comb you wore in your hair the last time you dined with us and a pink pinny you had on the first time I ever saw you in the studio in Paris. These things are not the whole of my Anne, but they are signs and tokens of her and for them and for a thousand others what wouldn't I give at this moment to put my arms round her and give her a small squeeze!
   Well, darling woman, even at this distance its a joy to know that you are you, and I am thankful that we are walking the earth at the same time. I never turn in your direction without giving you an invisible hail. You are one of those rare beings my dear that one praises Life for. Bless you and David this Christmas and a Merry Merry Nouvelle Annee to you both. Please give him a butterfly kiss from me and blow softly down his neck. Why cant I come and see! I am certain there is not one of your friends who would appreciate him more than I could. But I still pin my faith on to a star (I expect David thinks that quite an ordinary feat) and believe that we shall all sit down together under a flowery tree somewhere and laugh. [To Anne Drey, 24 December 1921.]