Vita Sackville-West.

L’Amour, même la Passion amoureuse …. cet attachement traumatique qui fleurit sur les ruines de nos âmes, possède notre esprit et notre corps, cernés et occupés de l’intérieur. Même entre femmes, nous n’avons pu inventer ou créer au-delà de ces ruines, tant la guerre masculine quotidienne est réelle.


January 21, 1926


I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone : I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way.

You, with all your un-dumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it. And yet I believe you’ll be sensible of a little gap. But you’d clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it would lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark : I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal. So this letter is just really a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become.
……………….. – but oh my dear, my Virginia, I can’t be clever and stand-offish with you : I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don’t love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defences. And I don’t really resent it.

We have re-started, and the train is shaky again. I shall have to write at the stations – which are fortunately many across the Lombard plain.

Venice. The stations were many, but I didn’t bargain for the Orient Express not stopping at them. And here we are at Venice for ten minutes only, – a wretched time in which to try and write. No time to buy an Italian stamp even, so this will have to go from Trieste.

The waterfalls in Switzerland were frozen into solid iridescent curtains of ice, hanging over the rock; so lovely. And Italy all blanketed in snow.

We’re going to start again. I shall have to wait till Trieste tomorrow morning
…………………………… – an entire night away from you … so many hours painfully patient, which endure my unfaithful soul and its wandering thoughts.



September 3, 1950

My darling,

It was a real event in my life and my heart to be with you. We do matter to each other, don’t we? however much our ways may have diverged. I think we have got something indestructible between us, haven’t we? … what a bond, Lushka darling ; a bond of childhood and subsequent passion, such as neither of us will ever share with anyone else.

It has been a very strange relationship, ours; unhappy at times, and happy, happy; but unique in its way, and infinitely precious to me.

One certainty : we always come together again however long the gaps in our meetings may have been. Time, and now Death, seem to make no difference.

This is a sort of love letter I suppose. Odd that I should be writing you a love letter after all these years – when we have written so many to each other.

Oh, you sent me a book about Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Thank you, darling generous Lushka and you gave me a coal-black briquet. It lights up into the flame of love which always burns in my heart whenever I think of you. You said it would last for three months, but our love has lasted for forty years and more.

Your Mitya