27 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

   The hotel servants are just a little bit impudent and that's nice, too. There is no servility. I meant to tell you the barber was in raptures with your still life. I think that's a great compliment, don't you? It grows before ones eyes said he, "il y a de la vie. Un movement dans les feuilles." Excellent criticism. He, good man, was small & fair & like all barbers smelt of a violet cachou and a hot iron. He begged, he implored me to go to a cinema near here. Downstairs it was a little mixed but upstairs on the balcon there were armchairs of such a size and beauty that one could sleep in them. . . Oh Brett, how I like simple people - not all simple people, some are simple pigs - but on the whole - how much more sympathetic than the Clive Bells of this world. Whatever else they have - they are alive. What I cannot bear is this half existence, this life in the head alone. Its deadly boring.
   I think my story for you will be about Canaries. The large cage opposite has fascinated me completely. I think & think about them - their feelings, their dreams, the life they led before they were caught, the difference between the two little pale fluffy ones who were born in captivity & their grandfather & grandmother who knew the South American forests and have seen the immense perfumed sea. . . Words cannot express the beauty of that high shrill little song rising out of the very stones. It seems one cannot escape Beauty - it is everywhere.  [To Dorothy Brett, 26 February 1922.]