Beloved, my Heart’s Refuge, tomorrow I shall see you — I shall see love in your dear dear eyes. You cannot know how I hunger for you and ache for your arms. Yet I feel you always with me in spirit — from all the pain of the world I creep close close to you. I don’t know what I should do without the thought of you. I read in the Camb. Mag.3 about the sort of thing that happens in America — lynching Germans, branding negroes with red-hot irons and then roasting them over slow fires, at the instigation of women. When I read of great cruelties by masses of men, something quivers in my very soul, and I feel as if the only thing would be to crawl away and die, alone. The despair of it all is so terrible. And at those times it is only love that counts against the despair, and it has to be very great love — it has to be as strong as an angry Continent. — I remember always the platform at Lewis.4 — The world makes me suffer still; I do not get used to it, and I do not wish to, for if I did I should be powerless against it. Your love makes it possible to go on realizing, though I try not to realize too often, what the world is. O my loved one, I love your generosity and freedom and strength — my soul clings to you — in all happiness and in all suffering, it is to you my thoughts fly. Oh I want you, I want you, Beloved, Light of my Life, more than ever before my Heart’s Comrade.
[document] The letter was edited from the unsigned original in BR’s hand in the Malleson papers in the Russell Archives.
[date] The date assigned to this letter comes from references to The Cambridge Magazine and the Lewes platform.
read in the Camb. Mag. “An Instance of Mob Law”, Cambridge Magazine 7 (1 June 1918): 765. The article was an excerpt from The New Republic.
remember always the platform at Lewis BR should have written “Lewes”. He was responding to Colette’s mention of Lewes in her letter of 4 June (BRACERS 113134). He wrote about it in his Autobiography (2: 20). The first mention in their correspondence of this event, which shook up both of them, was in BR’s letter of 7 January 1918 (BRACERS 19266); they reminisced about it several more times in 1918 and even as late as April 1920 (BRACERS 19643). BR and Colette had spent a Sunday walking on the South Downs and were on the train platform at Lewes waiting to return to London. “The station was crowded with soldiers, most of them going back to the Front, almost all of them drunk, half of them accompanied by drunken prostitutes, the other half by wives or sweethearts, all despairing, all reckless, all mad. The harshness and horror of the war world overcame me, but I clung to Colette” (Auto. 2: 26).