23 March 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

My Dear Elizabeth,
   I have been on the point of writing to you for days. And now - merciful Powers! - it's winter again with real live snow, and I've not been out of this hotel once since I arrived in Paris eight weeks ago except to go to the clinic and back. Oh to be on grass - fed again after all this hay and dry food. I've read Michelet and Madame d'Epinay and Remy de Gourmont (exasperating old stupid as often as not) and I cling to Shakespeare. But even Shakespeare. . . It's awful. However the Russian promises that after this week I really begin to mend, so have no right to make moan.
   But cities are the very devil, Elizabeth, if one is embalmed in them. And here's this postcard of the Chalet Soleil in summer in all its ravishing loveliness, with two perfect guardian angels, large, benign, frilly ones, in full leaf, behind it. I think they are oaks. I cherish, embedded in Twelfth Night a sprig of mignonette from the bush that ran wild in its second generation by the front door. And do you remember smelling the geraniums in the late afternoon in the hall? It seemed just the time and the place to smell those geraniums - I can't even imagine what going back there would be like; it would be too great happiness. But I shall remember that day for ever. [...]
   My book has died down. Mrs. Hamilton (Bertie's friend) tore my hair out beyond words in Time and Tide. How awful such reviews are. One's whole world trembles. John's book is just born. (Speaking confidentially to you alone) I wish I could be enthusiastic about it. It's a horrid fate. Have you read anything very good? Is your tour beginning soon?   [To Elizabeth, Countess Russell, 24 March 1922.]