7 May 1921

7 May 1921

Hotel Beau Site, Clarens-Montreux, Switzerland

Dearest Bogey
It was a great pleasure to hear from you today & to get your postcards of Bandol & Arles. This time I am numbering & keeping your letters . . . You took me back to Graviers - especially those big pebbles. They are so plain in my memory, big, round, smooth. I see them. I am glad you saw the Allegres, even tho’ it was sad. The postcards are v. impressive. So was your desire to see a bullfight. I rolled my eyes.
After my hymn in praise of the weather it changed on Saturday night, to heavy rolling mists & thick, soft rain. The mountains disappeared, very beautifully, one by one. The lake became grave and one felt the silence. This, instead of being depressing as it is in the South, had a sober charm. I don’t know how it is with you; but I feel the South is not made pour le grand travail. There is too much light. Does that sound heresy? But to work one needs a place (or so I find) where one can spiritually dig oneself in . . . And I defy anybody to do that on the Riviera. Now this morning the mist is rolling up, wave on wave, and the pines & the firs, exquisitely clear, green and violet-blue show on the mountain sides. This grass, too, in the foreground, waving high, with one o’clocks like bubbles & flowering fruit trees like branches of pink & white coral . . .One looks & one becomes absorbed. Do you know what I mean? This outer man retires and the other takes the pen . . . In the South it is one long fête for the outer man. But perhaps, after your Tour in Provence you won’t be inclined to agree. (I mean about it being not ideal for working.)

[To John Middleton Murry in Collected Letters, 9 May.]