52 Tavistock Sqre. [W.C.1]

Feb. 17th 1926

You are a crafty fox to write an alphabet letter, and so think you have solved the problem of dumbness. 
Well, I shall write a news letter—Princess Mary has a cold. Oulton Hall has been burnt down with the loss of 
much valuable plate. Sidney Waterlow has been removed, some say forcibly, to Siam, where it is thought he will 
impress the natives.

What else has happened in the great world of politics and society? I have been considering the question 
of snobbery. Eddy very kindly gave me dinner at the Ivy. (D'you remember the Ivy?) Of course I said, driving 
home, Now I'll pay the cab. Eddy said nonsense. I said you're a damned aristocrat, and I will pay the cab. Which 
I did, and gave him not only my well known lecture upon Russells and Herberts but a new chapter, added for 
his benefit, called, How no aristocrat can write a book. So we quarrelled over this for a bit, and next day, oddly 
enough, I had to defend him—against someone who shall be nameless—from the charge of being an arriviste
What motive can he have in coming to Bloomsbury etc? Well, I said, it shows his intelligence. But, they said, 
with that name and appearance, he can't be intelligent. Damn you, I said, thats Russells and Herberts the other 
way round all over again. So it is. And which is worse—Mayfair snobbery, or Bloomsbury? I've been awfully 
worried by elderly relations. Three old gentlemen, round about 60, have discovered that Vanessa is living in sin 
with Duncan Grant, and that I have written Mrs Dalloway—which equals living in sin. Their method of showing 
their loathing is to come to call, to ask Vanessa if she ever sells a picture, me if I've been in a lunatic asylum 
lately. Then they intimate how they live in Berkley Sqre or the Athenaeum and dine with—I don't know whom: 
and so take themselves off. Would this make you angry? And why philosophically speaking as Koteliansky the 
Russian used to say, do 20 years in time make this gulf between us?

Then there was Rodmell. Now that was a joy—I cant tell you how lovely,—the water meadows soaking 
wet, but now and then the sun coming out and stroking the downs. D'you remember how they turn from green 
to blue, like opals? I don't think you ever walk. You are always charging at the head of an army—but I walk, 
nosing along, making up phrases, and I'm ashamed to say how wrapped up I get in my novel. Really, I am a little 
alarmed at being so absorbed—Why should one engross oneself thus for so many months? and it may well be 
a mirage—I read it over, and think it is a mirage: but I can scarcely do any thing else. I got up on to the Downs 
though, where you went plunging in the motor, and then came down to tea, and sat over a wood fire, and read 
some poetry, and a manuscript, (thinking still of my own novel) then cooked an omelette, some good coffee; 
and wanted a little drop of wine, with you. (Have you been tipsy often? Do you know it was 4 weeks yesterday 
that you went?) Yes, I often think of you, instead of my novel; I want to take you over the water meadows in 
the summer on foot, I have thought of many million things to tell you. Devil that you are, to vanish to Persia 
and leave me here!—dabbling in wet type, which makes my fingers frozen; and setting up the poems of Mrs 
Manning Sanders, which the more I set them, the less I like. And, dearest Vita, we are having two waterclosets 
made, one paid for by Mrs Dalloway, the other by The Common Reader: both dedicated to you.

Then I lunched with Lytton at Kettners. First I was so dazzled by the gilt and the warmth that in my 
humility I felt ready to abase myself at the feet of all the women and all the waiters; and really humbled at the 
incredible splendour of life. Halfway through lunch, reason triumphed; I said this is dross; I had a great argument 
with Lytton—about our methods of writing, about Edmund Gosse, about our friendship; and age and time and 
death and all the rest of it. I was forgetting Queen Elizabeth—He is writing about her. He says that she wrote to 
an ambassador "Had I been crested and not cloven you would not have dared to write to me thus." "Thats style!" 
I cried. "It refers to the male and female parts" he said. Gosse told him this, adding that of course, it could not
be quoted. "You need some excuse for lunching with Gosse," I said. But Lytton thinks me narrow minded about 
Gosse. I say I know a mean skunk when I see one, or rather smell one, for its his writing I abominate. And, Vita, 
answer me this: why are all professors of English literature ashamed of English literature? Walter Raleigh Calls 
Shakespeare "Billy Shaxs"—Blake, "Bill"—a good poem "a bit of all right." This shocks me. I've been reading 
his letters. But dear old Lytton—he was infinitely charming, and we fitted like gloves, and I was very happy, 
we nosed about the book shops together, and remarked upon the marvellous extent of our own reading. "What 
haven't we read?" said Lytton. "Its a question of life, my dear Lytton" I said, sinking into an arm chair: And so it 
all began over again.

What bosh letters are, to be sure! I dont think this gives you much idea of what I have done for the last 
fortnight. There are immense tracts unnamed. I daresay the dumb letters are best. Ethel Sands has just been to 
tea. We have been sitting over the gas fire; the crane still goes on lifting. She says I am very attractive and asks 
me to stay with her. (I put that in to make you jealous—) But no, you wont be jealous, not in Persia, where the 
air is rose-coloured, and this—what you call Gloomsbury—is so infinitely remote and mean. You may have 
discovered entire new countries in your own soul. Your soul may be highly prominent at the moment. But what I 
was going to say was that none of this letter is really very true, because I have been a great deal alone, two days, 
not able to write rather tired (but not ill—very well for the most part); and the rest of the time the usual muddle 
of thoughts and spasms of feeling. None of this does one ever explain:

But oh yes—I should awfully like to see you.

Yr VW.