24 Feb

24 February 1920

Villa Flora, Menton - France

There is a book which we must positively not be another week without. It is Forster's Life of Dickens. How is it people refer to this & have many a time & oft talked of it to me & yet - as though it was of course a very good Life a very good Life indeed - about as good as you could get & immensely well worth reading. But so dispassionately - so as a matter of course. Merciful Heavens! Its one of the most absolutely fascinating books I have ever set eyes on. [. . .]
I had your Saturday (home again) letter today. Fancy winter back again & here we go from sun to sun. Ill tell L.M. to write to Harlow Downs and Ill write to Belle in case she hears from any of her friends of anything. Dont get agitated or desperate for a minute. When we're back we'll get what we want. I have no possible doubt. You do realise darling theres a chance I may have to return here next winter - a big big chance? Its for the sun, and I cant risk taking 10 years getting well when I might take 2. If I do come here of course it will be with Connie & Jinnie & Ill leave L.M. in charge of the house & you. Id come from November till May. Rendall saw me yesterday. He says my lung is better even in a week but my old rheumatism which has located itself at present quite definitely in the right hip joint is 'very troublesome'. It could be cured by baths but then my lungs wont stand baths - so Ill have to get them going before I can cure it. It doesn't prevent me from living my life however [. . .] Who made God?
Wig. (I don't mean I did).
[To J.M. Murry in Collected Letters]

Oh to be a writer a real writer given up to it and to it alone! Oh I failed today I turned back, looked over my shoulder and immediately it happened I felt as tho' I too were struck down. The day turned cold & dark on the instant. It seemed to belong to summer twilight in London - to the clang of the gates as they close the garden - to the deep light painting the high houses to the smell of leaves & dust, to the lamp light, to that stirring of the senses to the languor of twilight - the breath of it on one's cheek - to all those things which (I feel today) are gone from me for ever ... I feel today that I shall die soon - & suddenly but not of my lungs.

There are moments when Dickens is possessed by this power of writing - he is carried away - that is bliss. It certainly is not shared by writers today. For instance the death of Merdle - dawn fluttering upon the edge of night. One realises exactly the mood of the writer and how he wrote as it were for himself. It was not his will he was the fluttering dawn and he was Physician going to Bar. And again when the [. . .]

[KM Notebooks, dated February 1920 by J.M. Murry]