9 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Advise me - will you? I am looking for a tiny flat - very small - a mouse's hole just big enough to nibble a pen in. If I find anything suitable I shall take it until the end of May and Ida will look after it to save money on servants and so on. But (this is where I want your advice) to whom can I apply for a reference? They are sure to ask me for at least two - can you think of anybody? I wish you would answer this as soon as possible, Bogey. A card will suffice, as they say. Its rather urgent. Flats are so scarce here and I want to be settled as soon as possible once something is found. Of course it may all be a wild goose's chase. Ida has gone off to an agent this afternoon. But there it is!
   I have started a new Shakespeare notebook. I hope you will let me see yours one day. I expect they will be legion by that time. And reading with the point of view of taking notes I begin to see those marvellous short stories asleep in an image as it were. For instance
             . . . 'Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream
             Goes to and back, lackeying the varying tide
              To rot itself with motion.'
That is terrible, and it contains such a terribly deep psychological truth. That ‘rots itself ' . . .And the idea of ‘it' returning and returning, never swept out to sea finally. You may think you have done with it for ever but comes a change of tide and there is that dark streak reappeared, more sickeningly rotten still. I understand that better than I care to. I mean - alas! - I have proof of it in my own being.  [To John Middleton Murry, 7 February 1922.]

No, I dare not look out of prison at these delights. They are too much. And yet I do nothing else in bed at night when the light is out. I range the world over. It is just what prisoners must do when their time is getting short. I must write a story one day about a man in prison. Murry has answered my letter.He does not want to come to Paris. He feels it would do his work harm. So he is staying in Switzerland. But he says he will come and "fetch" me in May. By that "fetch" I know he hasn't the slightest faith in Manouhkin. Indeed, after saying "what terrific news" he never mentions it. I might have picked up a shilling. Men are odd creatures. But he is very happy and well looked after. In fact he sounds perfectly blissful. So there it is.
   This isn't a letter dearest, just a word to answer yours. I dreamed last night Ottoline had taken to painting & gave an exhibition out of doors - at Garsington. One immense canvas was a portrait of Philip called "Little Pipsie head-in-air". I can see it now. What fools our dreams make of us! But Ottoline was delighted with her work. She kept wandering about saying "such lovely reds, dont you think so? S0 warm!" I must get up. I have a whole story to finish. Ive got a job on the Nation to write a story a month for them & Cassells want some more and The Sketch. What places to let ones poor little children go wandering in. It cant be helped. They are like waifs singing for pennies outside rich houses which I snatch away & hand to Manouhkin.
 [To Dorothy Brett, 6 February 1922.]