My dear lovely Darling,
It was dreadful seeing you so sad3 — I did want to put my arms round you and kiss your eyes and say words of love, and let your tears come. It is dreadful when you suffer. I will do so much, so much, to make up to you when I come out. Beloved, I am grateful for your letter — I have hated not knowing what was happening to you. The first thing that strikes me is how extraordinarily you keep growing. When I think what you were when I first knew you4 — but again now, quite lately, you have grown in knowledge and wisdom. O my Dear I love you love you — I feel so deeply intimate. As you grow I become more intimate, more at home with you. I seem to live in the depths of your instincts. All that you say in your letter5 is so natural to me. There are times when I feel like your little child, and want your arms to keep me warm and safe against the night — and there are other times when I feel I have just managed to leap across a fearful chasm that you too must cross, and I want to tell you where and how to leap. I feel such misery when I think of all the pain you have ahead of you — in our earliest days I hardly dared to touch you because I knew if I did I must introduce you to the Pain of the World. Goodnight Beloved — my arms are round you, my lips are on your dear eyesb — I am murmuring “my lovely one, my Darling, my Heart’s Joy.” O love me my Heart for all my being is yours.
[document] The letter was edited from document 201122, a typescript dated only “WEDNESDAY EVENING” in Colette’s hand, in the Malleson papers in the Russell Archives. There is a retyped version at RA1 710.052420, which is verbally identical. Variant readings from document 200322, which appears to be a later composite letter, were rejected. See also note 1 to Letter 46.
[date] A typed note that came to McMaster with a related composite letter (BRACERS 19325) indicates that although the original letter is missing, it was written on a “‘Wed. evg.’, probably on or abt 24 July 1918.”
when I first knew you BR and Colette were brought together through their work at the No-Conscription Fellowship. They met for the first time on 31 July 1916 at the Lavender Hill police station, where Clifford Allen was surrendering to the authorities. They met again at a political dinner on 13 September that year. She and BR became lovers in the early hours of 24 September, after attending a convention of the NCF’s London Division. BR wrote his first letter to her later that same day (BRACERS 19041).