To Vanessa Bell
52 Tavistock Sqre [W.C.1]
May 19th [1926]

I have done your commissions so far as posting the letters go—not very arduous so far. You seem almost as maltreated as we are—it is a good deal colder than February, generally raining, and now and then a black fog. One came on as I was starting for your show—so I gave it up, and you must wait for criticism which will I know profoundly interest you. Meanwhile Ihear that your still life is greatly admired; I hope, bought. probably you have heard from better sources however. The only papers I have seen say nothing about Adeney and compare Duncan to Fragonard—but this is the spiteful [Evening] Standard man.

We should be grateful if you could have some talk with Angus. I think you could make him see the sort of difficulty that arises better than we could—it is mainly the languor and slowness, I think; I can't help feeling some-times that the irregularity of the Press and the strain of its being such agamble (I suppose we are certain now to have a loss next year) will alwaysbe more worrying to him than to most people. And that of course reacts upon us. But we leave it to your tactful nature.

We are having rather a grind at the moment to get Viola [Tree] going again. Twenty four sandwichmen are parading the West End today, andI have just travelled Kensington High Street—which almost made me vomit with hatred of the human race. Innumerable women of incredible mediocrity, drab as ditchwater, wash up and down like dirty papers against Barkers and Derry and Toms. One was actually being sick or fainting in the middle of the street. All our past—George Gerald Marny and Emma—rose about me like the fumes of cabbage. And I had to sit next a man int he tube who picked his ears with a large pin—then stuck it in his coat again. Meanwhile you are in Venice—Rain or no rain, Duncan with a sore throat or not (I hope he's better—please give him my fondest love)—its better than this.

But to the Keynes'—Maynard has decided not to stand for the Provostry.He says he would always be called the Provost and not Keynes: he would become respectable; he would sink and disappear. Also the more you refuse, the more you are requested. So he is not lost to Bloomsbury. But as every-one agrees that he would almost certainly have failed, the arguments do not convince me. Leonard said he seemed greatly depressed. I have seen nothing of them. On the other hand I sat next Mrs Gilchrist of Cardiff last night at Figaro, and she told me that her husband had not a dram of ambition. Needless to say, she had known Saxon when he was in Eton collars. One could have told that far off to look at her. Also she asked me how many people Covent Garden seats. I said roughly 6,000; but advised her to ask the attendant. And there was Ralph and Frances [Marshall], connubial, furtive; James [Strachey] and Noel, both grey as badgers and sleek as moles (I have just been to the Zoo, and noted these facts accurately.) And Adrian and Karin are inseparable; and are re-arranging the house, beds being now only one wall off—I mean, bedrooms next door. Morgan [Forster] came to tea yesterday; but we argued about novel writing, which I will not fret your ears with—his mother is slowly dispatching him, Ithink—He is limp and damp and milder than the breath of a cow. Mr Brace came—the American publisher. He says they would most warmly welcome a children's story illustrated by Mrs Bell. Do for Gods sake bestir yourself. What other news? Mary has rung up to ask me to go and seeher rooms, with the "lovely new decorations." Shall I thrust her through with a few home truths?—I didn't go—couldn't face Jack on a sofa recovering from tonsilitis. And she joins the parrokeet in France soon, I gather.

I'm panting to pull up my [bath and lavatory] plugs at Rodmell, and when poor old Angus comes back, I suppose we shall at last get therefor 5 days. God knows if we shall motor with Gwen—here's Hubert Waley—come to discuss his infernal pamphlet—and you are safe at Venice; how happy you are—and you dont want anybody—and you don't have electric light at half cock, as we do since the strike. But then you never saw armoured cars convoying frozen meat along Oxford Street. I shall have lots of stories to tell you about that.

Love to Angus and D[uncan].