27 Dec 1921

27 December 1921

Chalet des Sapins, Montana-sur-Sierre, Switzerland

Dearest Ottoline,
   Isn't it astonishing how a scent can carry one back - - - When I opened your envelope the delicious strange perfume quite overwhelmed me - and the queer thing was what it took me to was walking out into the air after having heard the Balalaika orchestra. It was a night in spring - wasn't it? I know I felt that we had shared something wonderful, and that just for that moment we were walking the earth together and it was happiness.
   How lovely the little handkerchiefs are with the swans sailing round them. They arrived on Christmas Day its very self too. You know how one watches for that Christmas post at this distance. I was in bed too which made my longing even more fearful. I had to wait until someone crept up the stairs instead of lurking at the door. I really feel I could write an entire book with each chapter beginning "The post did not come that day" or "That morning the post was late". And I at least would thrill and shiver with the horror of it. Its awful to spend such emotions on postmen! But there it is.
   We had a ‘proper' Christmas - even to a Tree, thanks to the Mountain who revels in such things and would like all the year to be December. The house whispered with tissue paper for days, a pudding appeared out of the bosom of the air and the sight of that fired even my gentle Ernestine who began, from the sounds, to gambol on the ground floor and toss the iron rings of the stove on to the floor. The crackers however would not pull which cast a little gloom over M. who relishes crackers and the mottoes which were German were very depressing: "Madchen moch ich Frau dir sehn." I am glad it is all over - but the traces, the signs remain for a long time . . . [To Ottoline Morell, 27 December 1921.]

Brett I must speak of this new photograph at once. It is extraordinary how different it is to the other. In fact it is almost frightening to know what a photograph can do. Now I do see a design that I simply did not see before. I mean I see a movement which starts at the tip of the parasol, touches the tip of Marie Loos head, goes round the doll and ends by almost touching with a light brush tip the dog & the black babby, before it "disappears" (if you know what I mean) behind that dark tree. One sees too, for the first time, the importance of the pyramidal shadow below the parasol and a kind of fluid beauty - flowing beauty in the grass. I seem to see what you are getting at - the sudden arrest, poise, moment captured of the figure in a flowing shade and sunlight world. To put it in another way, the decor was there and you have superimposed Marie Loo on it, or she has superimposed herself for you. Id give a great deal to see this picture in the fiesh. The legs do still worry me. But the other photograph didn't do it anything like justice, my dear; it is intensely interesting, and the doll an echo of the Marie Loo design - M.L. in very little - completing her like a small shadow, is excellent. Yes, its easy to see why you are not content with flowers . . . I hope all this means something. Isn't it a curse one cant speak instead of write. [To Dorothy Brett, 26 December 1921.]

Darling Anne
   Words fail me. The parcil came today. It had been detained by the Customs, but it arrived ‘intacte comme un bébé' & really when I took out that exquisite garment I felt that wherever you were, you wonderful woman, you must have felt my thrill. It is all, colour, shape, design, perfume, perfect. Anne, will you please realise how I appreciate every stitch. I have looked and looked, really fed on those colours. I felt that in two minutes, so radiant was the little garment it would flap its sleeves and begin to sing. The yellow, ma chere, the blue, ma chere, the beads, the ribbon - the lining - oh dear, I could say a separate prayer to you for each separate piece.
   But nothing has escaped my eye, Anne. I feel that this little coat like everything that your hands touch has a life of its own and its precious to me.
   Please let me put my arms round you & give you the biggest hug for it, "David, isn't she a wonder! Dont we agree about her! What other human being would send such a present?"
   In fact, Ive got it on this minute and I feel transported.
                      Bless you, precious woman -
I wrote to you in Paris. But Im not sure whether I put the right address - rue Odessa.
To Anne Drey, 26 December 1921.]