Dear Dorothy —
How nice of you to write to me,2 and how very glad I am you are happy and H.C.3 too. It is all so good — it cheers one to think of. What a joy that you have no more war pictures.4 Dorothy my dear you can do, together, many great things — and you can help him to be productive. The world is going to have desperate need of productive people of your generation — it is good to know of some. — You are quite right about how I sometimes feel! — So glad you have work — it simplifies life so much. So you and H.C. are happy in this world of wreckage, and that is something to rejoice in. I am happy too when I can forget the havoc and death everywhere.5 Goodbye and much love to you both.
Tell H.C. I disagree with even a theoretical preference for a thinking-machine existence. Thinking needs data, which can only be got adequately from life; and emotion is quite as valuable in itself as thought, if it is the right sort of emotion.
[document] The verso of the initialled, thrice-folded sheet in BR’s hand is blank, save for “Miss Mackenzie” written twice. The paper is a half-sheet ruled on one side and rotated 90 degrees for writing. It was a donation by Mrs. Cousens to the Russell Archives in 1978.
nice of you to write to me Cousens’ letter is not extant in the Russell Archives.
H.C. Hilderic Cousens. See Dorothy Cousens.
no more war pictures Cousens was severely traumatized by the death in action of her then fiancé, Lieut. A. Graeme West. BR may have been alluding to her nightmares or other symptoms of grief and distress, which (as she recalled over 60 years later in a letter to Kenneth Blackwell: BRACERS 121877) were eased by his kindness.
I am happy too when I can forget the havoc and death everywhere To judge from the Brixton letters, such moments of forgetfulness were rare. As BR wrote years later, “always pity brought me back to earth” (Prologue, Auto. 1: 13).