Photo by Renaud Camus (copied from Flickr)

I drove a different way, the last time, taking a road that turned out not to be a road at all, wherein I mean it began as a road and then abruptly melted away so that there I was rolling over the South Downs where I thoroughly startled a young man who had a mustache like a walrus and a puppy with eyes like a seal, who buried itself down in the grass with the butterflies, and watched my giant blue ship of a car lurch by on the way to see you, Virginia, whom I could see picking mulberries from the tree at the end of your garden, appearing every now and then in the distance as I rose over the rise of each hill.

Seeing you, from a distance, gives a sensation of the same family as that which you experienced when you wrote to me last November, when everything was white and the hedges looked as if they had grown old in the night, and everything glistened and was still, like Sleeping Beauties park, and you had that knowing that I had been but five minutes earlier in your bed, intertwined and naked, with the night sky between the curtains, the stars getting bigger and bigger and odder and odder, and the firelight flickering on the ceiling.

Now, it has been snowing again. Snow means such special things to me. It means the fat plop plop as it is shovelled off the roofs and falls into the courtyard below whilst I watch how fitfully you sleep. It means the strange melancholic halloo by which the deer are called to be fed, and which brings them bounding from all corners of the park whilst you and I hide, luminous and remote and irresponsible, beneath the old oak trees. It means these things in an intimate way, like the ticking of the clock in one’s own room means something; and is part of one. Now, without Virginia, life without Virginia, Vita without Virginia. Now there is only slush.

And, after five months of solitude I am still no longer a person, but a rag-heap for other people to pick over, a straw whirling down a drain, and I find life altogether too intoxicating in its pain.

I must tell you, my darling Virginia, that I wrote to Harold suggesting that I might have saved you, if only I had been there and had known the state of mind you were getting into.

Harold says I am probably right.

Natascha Graham

Natascha Graham

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