28 May 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

It has been tremendously hot in Paris. Like an oven. Jack and I gave up writing altogether. We were overcome and could do nothing but fan ourselves, he with a volume of Anthony Trollope (very cool) and me with my black penny paper one. The strawberries and cherries came out in swarms - very big cherries and little wild strawbugs. Finally we found a spot in the Louvre among the sculpture which was cool as a grotto. Jack had an idea of making himself a neat toga, taking the Nation for a parchment roll and standing becalmed upon a Roman pedestal until the weather changed. There are glorious things in that first room in the Louvre - Greek statues, portions of the Parthenon Frieze, a head of Alexander, wonderful draped female figures. Greek drapery is very strange. One looks at it - the lines seem to be dead straight, and yet there is movement - a kind of suppleness and though there is no suggestion of the body beneath one is conscious of it as a living, breathing thing. How on earth is that done? And they seemed to have been able to draw a line with a chisel as if it were a pencil - one line and there is an arm or a nose - perfect. The Romans are deaders compared to them. We had a long stare at the Venus de Milo, too. One can't get away from the fact - she is marvellously beautiful. All the little people in straw hats buzz softly round her. Such a comfort to see something they know. "Our Maud has ever such a fine photograph of her over the piano." But ‘she' doesn't care. [To Richard Murry, 28 May 1922.]