5 December 1922

La Prieuré, Fontainebleau, Avon

There is a small steep staircase to a little railed off gallery above the cows. On the little gallery are divans covered with persian carpets (only two divans). But the whitewashed walls and ceiling have been decorated most exquisitely in what looks like a persian pattern of yellow, red and blue by Mr Salzmann. Flowers, little birds, butterflies, and a spreading tree with animals on the branches, even a hippopotamus. But Bogey all done with the most real art - a little masterpiece. And all so gay, so simple, reminding me of summer grasses and the kind of flowers that smell like milk. There I go every day to lie and later I am going to sleep there. Its very warm. One has the most happy feelings listening to the beasts & looking. I know that one day I shall write a long long story about it. At about 5.30 the door opens and Mr Ivanov comes in, lights the lantern and begins milking. I had quite forgotten the singing wiry silvery sound of milk falling into an empty pail & then heavier plonk-plonk! ‘Mr' Ivanov is a very young man, he looks as though he had just finished his studies, rather shy, with a childlike beaming smile. [To J. M. Murry, 6 December 1922.]