27 Mar

27 March 1920

Villa Flora, Menton - France

Don't feel bitter! We must not. Do let us ignore the people who aren't real and live deeply, the little time we have here. It really does seem that the world has reached a pitch of degradation that never could have been imagined - but we know it - we are not deceived. And the fact of our knowing it and having suffered, each in our own way cannot make Life - the Life of the Universe - what we mean when we stand looking up at the stars or lie watching the ladybird in the grass - or feel - talking to one we love - less marvellous. I think that we - our generation - ought to live in the consciousness of this huge, solemn, exciting, mysterious background. Its our religion - our faith. Little creatures that we are we have our gesture to make which has its place in the scheme of things. We must find what it is and make it - offer up ourselves as a sacrifice. You as a painter and me as a writer. What is it that urges us? Why do you feel that you must make your discovery and that I must make mine? That just because we are artists and the only free people we are obedient to some law? There's the mystery! And we shall never solve it - we shall only know a little more about it by the time we die and thats all - and its enough.
But, Brett, just because we DO feel this - I know you do, too - we cant afford to be bitter and oh, we musn't let the wrong people into our Holy of Holies. Dont think, darling, I am become an elderly fogey. I believe like anything in happiness and being gay and laughing but I am sure one can't afford to be less than ones deepest self always. [To Dorothy Brett in Collected Letters, 26 March 1920]