52 Tavistock Square [W.C.1]

Sunday 8th May 1927


Well, well. Clive must have a genius for invention. He not only kept them all—Dadie, Raymond, Nancy 
[Cunard] and some American—on the roar with his account of what Leonard said and what I said, but he made 
Dadie, who was my informant, so convinced of the truth of it that I had great difficulty in assuring him that the 
whole tour hadn't been a complete failure. I should be much interested to know why he does this. There must be 
some obscure jealousy at work I think. He grudges, not your affection for me, which doesn't exist, but mine for 
you—Or he wants to parade his knowledge of our affairs. You are kind but foolish to hand me on his praises, by 
way of solace. Dont you know that Singe knows flattery now a mile off, and it has no effect on him? But I'm so 
badly in want of your pictures that I shall risk more indiscretions. Clive, I believe, is the only real danger, and he, 
I hear, is expected at 50 [Gordon Square] tonight. But warn me next time anyone malicious is in the house, and 
I'll change my tone.

I haven't as much gossip as I might have, as Nelly is still away, so I cant ask people to dinner, and I 
am in an unsociable mood. A ring came at the bell last night and we refused to budge; at last we peered out 
of the bathroom window and saw Julia Strachey standing looking up at us: we ducked, and she went away. 
But Ottoline is at Gower Street; Vita is back; Raymond is back. Vita I have just seen, but only flying through 
London, rather distracted. Here's a profound secret (which I expect the whole of London knows) Harold is 
leaving the Foreign Office. You must admit this is to his credit. He is over 40: has no money of his own; and 
is throwing up his career just as he's getting to the top—Apparently diplomatic society is so boring that he cant 
face even becoming an ambassador. Really, I think its a feather in Bloomsbury's cap: a goose feather if you like. 
No doubt he'll step into something much better; they always do: still, all his relations, Vita says, will be heart 
broken. She was appreciative, I admit; had passed Cassis on Tuesday in her ship, and thought of you. I could not 
hold out hopes that you had thought of her.

I sent you two copies of the Lighthouse, one from the Press, and one from me (but I think I forgot to 
write your name in it.) I hope you'll write and criticise it. I would like your good opinion, which is more than 
one can say of most people. Probably the subject was a little unwise: But then one falls in to these things all in 
a second—I made it up one afternoon in the Square—without any premeditation, that I can see—How do you 
make up pictures? Suddenly all in a second? The bore with a book is that everyone thinks they have to talk to 
one about it. This will begin next week, I suppose: and they will all say different things, and I shall be very angry 
and very pleased and all the same, rather bored; because I have 2 other books I want to write; but still I should 
like your opinion, good or bad, Duncans, Morgan's, Lyttons: that's all, I think. Leonard says its my best book; 
but then I think he has to.

There seems a curse on the Press—We were about to see Mervyn Arnold-Forster and settle the 
future; and now Ka writes to say he is probably dying. He suddenly became paralysed, and has pneumonia. So 
what are we to do now? Angus, Leonard says, was cheered by the news, but can we do with Angus? Then our 
lives have been made a burden by Mary [Hutchinson]. I told you, I think, how furious she was that we were not 
bringing her book out now. She so rattled poor old Angus that he promised to do it by the end of May. Now 
begins a series of letters and telegrams. One comes to say "Please wire printer to change BOULE on page 79 to 
BUHL." So we wire printer. Next day another wire, "very sorry, please wire printer to change BUHL to BOULE 
unless you ascertain from authorities that BUHL is correct." I fly upstairs, search through dictionaries; discover 
that BUHL is the German form of BOULE and is now in use. So we leave it. Next morning comes a long letter 
marked urgent. She has been to an antiquary in Sussex and he tells her that the most correct form is certainly 
BOULE, as that is the original name of the maker, who was French. Still she has her doubts, and will we consult 
Roger Fry, by whose opinion she will abide? Meanwhile the book is to be held up: Roger is in France; and so on 
and so on. But I'm not going to renew friendship without an explanation. Doubtless she won't want to renew 
friendship: But I'm not going to decorate her table (I dont mean aesthetically—its my mind thats my jewel) when 
all the time she's accusing my heart of corruption and my liver of rottenness. Besides, I should like a good scene. 
Colefax is testy about the Desmond fund, I hear, and so I'm not invited; but the MacCarthys have netted £700 
and are, now, it is said, in the depths of gloom, scraping and paring to pay it off. At least this is Molly's view of 
it—"What are we to do with all this money? It only means more debts" but Desmond has vanished to the 
continent, in the highest health and spirits.

What else? Quentin came to lunch. That boy is really a marvel. He drank two full tumblers of strong 
Spanish wine, where I can only take a wineglass; and it was a hot day; and then he went off to shop, and seemed 
quite as steady as usual, and came back to tea, and had a long argument with me about poetry and painting. 
Probably I am almost as spotted with the maternal taint as you are. My pride rises at the sight of him, and I find 
myself boasting to the char about his height and his age as if I were Aunt Mary. I only wish they didn't both 
(Quentin and Julian, I mean) think Bernard Shaw greater than Shakespeare. Quentin sees nothing in poetry. For 
God's sake dont tell me you put in by mistake a drop too much of the old Bell in them—I always thought you 
were playing with gunpowder in that marriage, and you scarcely deserved to come off as well as you did.

I have written to Mr King [doctor] to say that you will take Angelica to see him as soon as you come 
back. He lives somewhere at the other side of Maida Vale. Burn Wilson's letter—

London is pretty horrid, for some reason: so flat, so obvious, after Rome.

But no more of that. Only to make up for your indiscretion you might tell me what you think of Raphael and 
Michael Angelo: but not until you've told me about the Lighthouse.

Our motor car depends on the sales: so far much better than Dalloway but it may stop all in a second.

What a terrific letter!

By the way, your story of the Moth so fascinates me that I am going to write a story about it. I could 
think of nothing else but you and the moths for hour's after reading your letter.

Isn't it odd?—perhaps you stimulate the literary sense in me as you say I do your painting sense.

God! How you'll laugh at the painting bits in the Lighthouse!

Yr B.