8 Dec 1921

8 December 1921

Chalet des Sapins, Montana-sur-Sierre, Switzerland

   I have read your Elinor Colhouse more than twice, and I shall read it again. I do congratulate you sincerely from my heart. lt's amazingly good! So good one simply can't imagine it better. One pushes into deep water easily, beautifully, from the first sentence, and there's that feeling - so rare - of ease, of safety, of wishing only to be borne along wherever the author chooses to take one.
   But how you have conveyed the contrast between Elinor and Richard! Am I fantastic in dating it from the moment when Richard leaves her after their first meeting, when he opens the door on to the brilliant light one feels the appeal of his fairness and her darkness in an astonishing way. That moment remains with me throughout the book. Let me dare to say it's almost a mystical interpretation of their relations.
   Why aren't you here - that we might talk it over and over. I'd like to recall so much - scene after scene rises in my mind. But although it is Elinor's book and a triumph for Elinor it's your presentation of Richard which I admire so tremendously. I don't mean only his boyish charm - though Heaven knows that is potent enough - or even his naturalness - which at times takes my breath away. But it's Richard's innocence of the wiles and arts of Life! It's the sight of him, in the midst of all that scheming and plotting and his horror, finally, that this should happen to him. . . .
   Of course, all the detail, so fastidious, so satisfying, is beyond praise.
   Elinor lives. I see her, hear her, recognise those fingers with the long pointed brilliant nails, look into that little brain.
   Yes, I honour you for it. It's an achievement. I rejoice in your success.  [To Sydney Schiff, 5 December 1921.]

<He is dead. The doctor is there and Major Hunter is still there. Her sister has been telephoned for and Jimmie's brother, Arnold. Both are on their way. He is dead. His riding boots stand side by side, his cold[?] clothes are put away. But his watch still ticks on the dressing table. The glass has cracked, but it seemed to be going quite normally otherwise. The watch has escaped.>
[KM Notebooks 2, undated.]