30 December 1920

30 December 1920

Villa Isola Bella, Menton, France

... I thought also of the Princess B. It's a bit bewildering - her unlikeness to the faces ‘we' recognise or would recognise. She has a quick rapacious look - in fact she made me think of a gull with an absolutely insatiable appetite for bread, and all her vitality, her cries, her movements, her wheelings depend upon the person on the bridge who carries the loaf. This would of course be hidden. But this is what she is when she is really she and not ‘enchanted.'

... But the champagne was no good at all. It might have been writing water. I had to drink it because it was there, but there was something positively malicious in the way the little bubbles hurled themselves to the rim, danced, broke - they seemed to be jeering at me.

... Does one ever know? One never knows. She realised how foolish it would be to ask the question: "What are you thinking of?" And yet if she did not ask the question she would never be sure he was not thinking of ... Even if she asked it how could she be certain he did not make up the answer.

Peace of mind. What is peace of mind? Did I ever have it. It seems ‘yes' and yet perhaps that is only deception. But at Bandol for instance or even Hampstead - Ah - who knows? Peace of mind. The other will not give up his secret. What is it? He evades the answer. "I swear on my honour", "look here I'm absolutely in the dark". She cannot believe and yet she has to believe - she does not believe. The letters disappear. All the other letters are left on the table but not those. Why? I am to forget everything - to behave as though everything has not been. But I can't. Because I don't know what has been. I only know he denies a wrong (not an obvious wrong) which was committed. It must have been committed. People don't write like that pour rien - de l'amitié pure. So whenever I look at him and whenever I am with him there is that secret and I can't give him all I long to give him nor can I rest in him because of it. I have no abiding place. Peace of mind. Yes, I had it when I was first here. Yes, I had it fully when I wrote Miss Brill.

No, I've been poisoned by these ‘letters'. How can he know someone so ‘strange' to me? To us? Not only know her but cherish her? Accounts with Jack (temporary).[KM Notebooks]