8 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

When you wrote Thursday with icicles it was warm, really hot here and sunny. I had a most extraordinary afternoon. Got ready to go to Cooks & lost my cheque book. Spent an hour with Jack turning the whole room into a haystack. No sign. Went off to Cooks to stop all cheques. I had to wait to explain to see my entire account, to go to the intelligence department where my name ‘Mansfield' was cried like a vegetable & finally escaping prison by a hair we went off to the Bon Marché to buy a very simple light hat. Have you been there? Its one of the wonders of the world. Having fought to the lift we got out on to an open gallery with about 5,000 hats on it, 10,000 dressing gowns, and so on. But the gallery looked over the entire ground floor & the whole of the ground floor was taken up with untrimmed ‘shapes' & literally hundreds & hundreds of women - nearly all in black - wandered from table to table turning & turning over these shapes. They were like some terrible insect swarm - not ants more like blowflies. Free balloons were given away that day & fat elderly women with little eyes & savage faces carried them. It was exactly like being in hell. The hats were loathesome. Jack as usual on such occasions would not speak to [me] and became furious. If I said ‘Do you like that?' he replied ‘No. Horribly vulgar? If I timidly stretched out a hand he hissed ‘Good God!' in my ear. We got out of the place at last. Then while waiting for a taxi a woman tried to commit suicide by flinging herself at his umbrella with which he was prodding the pavement.  [To Ida Baker, 8 April 1922.]