22 December 1920

22 December 1920

Villa Isola Bella, Menton, France

I have to thank you for a most lovely sumptuous garment. One feels like a bird with its winter wooly wings on in it. And the colouring is so lovely and fair. I want to scold you for having sent it to me and at the same time to make you feel how admiringly Im saying: "Thank you very much indeed, please".
I wonder where you will be for Christmas. Having M. with me has turned it into a fete. My treasured Marie is determined that Christmas shall be kept here & bought the mistletoe all in readiness for the arrival of Monsieur. The kitchen is a progression of lives from a poor dead bird leaning its tired head on a tuft of watercress (oh how awful it looks!) onwards. And because the weather is chill, blue & white weather, log fires roar in the chimleys. This little house is a perfect darling. Its not beautiful, its shabby and the bedroom wallpaper is baskets of pink flowers and in the dining room there is a big corpse of a clock that sometimes at dreadful intervals & for no reason begins to chime - never to tick. But there is a feeling over everything as though it were a real resting place. I have taken it until the end of 1922 and even so Im frightened at the idea of saying goodbye to it then. I love this country, too, more and more. It is winter now - many trees are bare but the oranges, tangerines & lemons are all ripe; they burn in this clear atmosphere - the lemons with gentle flames, the tangerines with bright flashes & the oranges sombre. My tiny peach tree still clings to a few exquisite leaves - curved like peaches & the violets are just beginning. More and more (for how long? No matter. A moment is forever) one lives - really lives.
[Letter to Dorothy Brett in Collected Letters]