29 Dec 1921

29 December 1921

Chalet des Sapins, Montana-sur-Sierre, Switzerland

My dear Sydney
   I answer your letter, as you suggest, immediately. Yes, I used the word friendship too lightly. I hang my head. It was badly done and you were right to rebuke me e I do understand. I wince, yes I confess its painful to me to read what you write at the bottom of the second page "I have not got any friends at all", and the sentences that follow. At the same time I value the remark immensely. There is a deep separateness in me which responds to it, even though I am for ever without a complete complement. But its a strange truth that the fact of you and Violet is not only a joy, its an extraordinary consolation to believe in you and in her as one does. (Violet dearest, speak to me just one moment, will you? I feel sometimes diffident of speaking to you directly. I feel there are so many others near you who claim your attention. I count on Sydney telling you whatever there is to tell. No, the truth is nearer. I write to you and to him. But you know that.) I agree absolutely with what you say when you define the forces that go to make friendship and the part played by knowledge. The more one thinks of the image of knowledge as clothing the more valuable it becomes. It is one of the images that delight the mind so much that almost apart from one's self one's mind goes on receiving it, turning it to the light, trying it, experimenting with it. Or that is what my mind has been doing . . . proving the truth of it mathematically speaking. [To Sydney Schiff, 31 December 1921.]

   Do tell me how you are - when you have time. I wish I knew that you were really better. Do you believe at all in people like Coué, the auto-suggestion man? If my Russian fails me I shall try him. It becomes really comic like something out of Rabelais - there ought to be pages & pages beginning "And then she tried . . ."
   We are still reading Jane Austen. M. falls in love with all the heroines, even with Fanny Price but I should be content to walk in the shrubbery with Mr Knightley. I remain faithful to him. Its greater fun for M. than for me, for all the engagements come as a complete surprise to him. He almost swoons with anxiety when Mr D. follows E1iza's father into the library and demands her hand, and once it is all happily settled and a fortune of ten thousand a year bestowed upon them his relief is extreme.
  Poor M! If I were really a generous creature I would make him a widow so that he could have all this himself from the very beginning. 
  A Happy New Year, a New Year of lovely weather, dearest Ottoline.
  With warm love from
             Katherine. [To Ottoline Morell, 27 December 1921.]