(this is a very long list)

vita to virginia.

  • “my dear virginia, how much i like getting letters from you. with what zest do they send me to meet the day. so much do i like getting them that i keep them as the last letter to open of my morning post, like a child that keeps the bit of chocolate for the end.” (september, 1925)
  • “i am reduced to a thing that wants virginia. 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. i suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things. damn you, spoilt creature; i shan’t make you love me any the more by giving myself away like this — but oh my dear, 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.” (january, 1926)
  • “please, in all this muddle of life, continue to be a bright and constant star. just a few things remain as beacons: poetry, and you, and solitude.” (january, 1926)
  • “i am looking inward and finding the image of virginia everywhere.” (february, 1926)
  • “what i should really like to do would be to take you to some absurdly romantic place. oh what fun it would be, and virginia’s eyes would grow rounder and rounder, and presently it would all flow like water from a sparklets siphon, turned into beautiful bubbles.” (february, 1926)
  • “like a little warm coal in my heart burns your saying that you miss me. i miss you oh so much. how much, you’ll never believe or know. at every moment of the day. it is painful but also rather pleasant, if you know what i mean. i mean, that it is good to have so keen and persistent a feeling about somebody. it is a sign of vitality.” (february, 1926)
  • “i am longing to see you and have been in a state all yesterday and today.” (november, 1926)
  • “i’ve got a lovely full moon (or nearly) for you—” (january, 1927)
  • “i can’t get you out of my mind tonight; the corner of the sofa where you sat is haunted for me by your presence, the whole flat seems full of you.” (november, 1926)
  • “i can’t tell you how i hate leaving you. i don’t know how i shall get on without you– in fact i don’t feel i can; you have become so essential to me.” (january, 1927)
  • “put ‘honey’ when you write — darling, please go on loving me— i am so miserable— don’t forget me.” (january, 1927)
  • “it’s seven o'clock here but only five in london– so you’re having sibyl to tea at this moment, instead of me, and she won’t sit on the floor or say my lovely virginia, and you won’t rumple her hair– and it won’t be nearly so nice. your vita.” (january, 1927)
  • “how glad i am that you exist.” (february, 1927)
  • “i know at least that i miss you damnably: that is a good fixed star. i do, virginia; and would rather be hurt by that, and have something solid to hold on to, than flounder in a quicksand that never bruises but only smothers.” (february, 1927)
  • “this letter gets interrupted all the time, but i love you, virginia - so there - and your letters make it worse - are you pleased? i want to get home to you - please, when you are in the south, think of me, and of the fun we should have, shall have, if you stick to your plan of going abroad with me in october, - sun and cafes all day, and ? all night. my darling…please let this plan come off. i live for it.” (march, 1927)
  • “please wish that i might be there. please miss me. you say you do.” (march 1927)
  • “god, i do love you. you say i use no endearments. that strikes me as funny. when i wake up in the persian dawn, and say to myself ‘virginia... virginia...’” (march 1927)
  • “do stay two nights. you know how much i want you to.” (may, 1927)
  • “i must go to bed, but there will i think be more dreams than sleep. all your fault.” (may, 1927)
  • “i like making you jealous; my darling, (and shall continue to do so,) but it’s ridiculous that you should be.” (july 1927)
  • “do you like me? would you miss me if i disappeared? have you been depressed?” (august, 1927)
  • “i don’t exaggerate when i say that i don’t know what to do if you ceased to be fond of me, – got irritated, – got bored. […] darling forgive me my faults. i hate them in myself, and i know you are right. but they are silly surface things. my love for you is absolutely true, vivid, and unalterable.” (november, 1927)
  • “you are not only the most intelligent but also the nicest person i know.” (february, 1928)
  • “darling, i do love you so, and you are so sweet to me.” (february, 1928)
  • “i have been loving virginia enormously lately— in an intense, absent way, which has been a great satisfaction to me—like a tide flowing in and filling a lot of empty spaces. darling i do love you.” (march, 1928)
  • “you were very very charming really in spite of the lecture. and you are definite to me– my goodness, you are. my silly virginia. my darling, darling, precious virginia.” (july, 1928)
  • “all this summer i was as nervous as a cat, –starting, dreaming, brooding,– now i’m all vigorous and sturdy again, and ravenous for life once more. my dearest, i do love you. i do bless you for all you’ve been to me. this is not a joke, but a very sober truth.” (october, 1928)
  • “—light of my eyes and delight of my soul that you are.” (december, 1928)
  • “now i won’t say any more, except that there are 482.000 seconds between now and your arrival, and that is the moment i am living for.” (january, 1929)
  • “everything which is mine is yours, as you very well know—even to my heart.” (february, 1929)
  • “because, really, you don’t know how miserable i am here. i almost cease to exist. i shall revive when you come, like a watered flower.” (july, 1929)
  • “oh christ, how much i always want to see you when life becomes exciting. the fact that i don’t see you prevents these from being (some of) the happiest days of my life.” (september, 1929)
  • “why didn’t you ask me to come with you? i would have thrown everything to the winds, and would have come. but you didn’t.” (april, 1932)
  • “a young lady rushed up to me in pasadena and said she was writing a book about you and me. isn’t that nice for us?” (march, 1933)
  • “the sort of things i want to say to you require prolonged intimacy before they can squeeze themselves out. do you remember a night in burgundy, when i came along the dark passage to your room in a thunderstorm and we lay talking about whether we were frightened of death or not? that is the sort of occasion on which the things i want to say to you, - and to you only, - get said.” (june, 1933)
  • “you are the one and only person i want to see.” (april, 1933)
  • “dear mrs. woolf (that appears to be the suitable formula.) i regret that you have been in bed, though not with me—(a less suitable formula.)” (august, 1933)
  • “oh dear, how your letter touched me this morning. i nearly dropped a tear into my poached egg. your rare expressions of affection have always had the power to move me greatly, and as i suppose one is a bit strung-up (mostly sub-conciously) they now come ping against my heart like a bullet dropping on the roof. i love you too; you know that.” (september, 1940)
  • “darling - thank you for my happy hours with you. you mean more to me than you will ever know.” (october, 1940)
  • “her fluttered spirit, delicate and soft; / bumping against the lamp of life, too hard, too glassy.” (from her poem in memorian: virginia woolf)

virginia to vita.

  • “you can go on cutting my heart in two for as long as you wish.” (date unconfirmed)
  • “i cannot allow myself any sort of happiness that does not, in some way or another, involve you." (date unconfirmed)
  • “the flowers have come, and are adorable, dusky, tortured, passionate like you.” (date unconfirmed)
  • “my dear vita, i have a perfectly romantic and no doubt untrue vision of you in my mind - stark naked, brown as a satyr and very beautiful. don’t tell me this is all illusion. no doubt this bores you - but i cannot keep it to myself.” (august, 1925)
  • “i try to invent you for myself... i can get the sensation of seeing you– hair, lips, colour, height, even, now and then, the eyes and hands, but i find you going off, to walk in the garden, to play tennis, to dig, to sit smoking and talking, and then i cant invent a thing you say– this proves, what i could write reams about– how little we know anyone, only movements and gestures, nothing connected, continuous, profound, but give me a hint i implore.” (september, 1925)
  • “you will emerge like a lighthouse, fitful, sudden, remote...” (september, 1925)
  • “i have been dull; i have missed you. i do miss you. i shall miss you.” (january, 1926)
  • “i miss her. i miss the glow and the flattery and the festival. i miss her, i suppose, not very intimately. nevertheless, i do miss her.” (february, 1926)
  • “go on falling in love and being tipsy, as a woman: i like that in you.” (march, 1926)
  • “i did enjoy seeing you, and am wearing your necklace, and my exuberance after all is not my egotism, but your seduction. is your garden good?” (may, 1926)
  • “but come, dearest creature, —i will— give you one chaste kiss.” (november, 1926)
  • “please come, and bathe me in serenity again.” (december, 1926)
  • “i could only think of you as being very distant and beautiful and calm. a lighthouse in clean waters.” (january, 1927)
  • “it gets worse steadily —your being away. all the sleeping draughts and the irritants have worn off, and i’m settling down to wanting you, doggedly, dismally, faithfully —i hope that pleases you. it’s damned unpleasant for me, i can assure you.” (february, 1927)
  • “yes, darling honey, i am a misery without you. so don’t, i beg, be foolish walking over mountains. if you break a leg, i break my heart, remember.” (february, 1927)
  • “yes yes yes i do like you. i am afraid to write the stronger word.” (february, 1927)
  • “there’s nothing i wouldn’t do for you, dearest honey.” (february, 1927)
  • “i’m very fond of you, all the same—i lie in bed making up stories about you.” (march, 1927)
  • “nights and days must be devoted wholeheartedly. you must lay yourself out to enchant me every second.” (august, 1927)
  • “never do i leave you without thinking, it’s for the last time.” (october, 1927)
  • “i have never more wanted to see you than i do now — just to sit and look at you,” (october, 1927)
  • “i’m afraid you are feeling lonely tonight. i wish i were with you.” (october, 1927)
  • “should you say, if i rang you up to ask, that you were fond of me? if i saw you would you kiss me? if i were in bed would you—” (december, 1927)
  • “this is only by way of goodnight, and to say that should you ever want to see me, i am your entirely devoted but helpless and useless creature.” (january, 1928)
  • “you don’t know how much i care for you.” (january, 1928)
  • “and darling, write me something— a little poem: prose if nothing else, and we’ll sit and talk and talk: or walk. only be well and glad to see me.” (february, 1928)
  • “i think of vita: all fire and legs and beautiful plunging ways.” (march, 1928)
  • “we might go to moonlight ruins, cafés, dances, plays: converse for ever; sleep only while the moon covers herself for an instant with a thin veil.” (september, 1928)
  • “as it is, what clothes do you expect me to take? none, i hope.” (september, 1928)
  • “and so i shan’t say anything: not a word of balm to my anguish - for i am always anguished - that you were to me. how i watched you! how i felt - now what was it like? well, somewhere i have seen a little ball kept bubbling up and down on the spray of a fountain: the fountain is you; the ball me. it is a sensation i get only from you. it is physically stimulating, restful at the same time...” (october, 1928)
  • “i see you with extreme distinction. i think of the tower and the lights and the waves and you, and you—” (january, 1929)
  • “you are still the only face i have in my mind’s eye.” (february, 1929)
  • “i thought your voice, saying virginia woolf, was a trumpet call, moving me to tears… it’s an odd feeling, hearing oneself praised to 50 million old ladies in surbiton by one with whom one has watched the dawn and heard the nightingale.” (november, 1929)
  • “yes—you infected me last night with nostalgia.” (november, 1930)
  • “i want to sink into your arms and feel the festival and the firelight.” (march, 1931)
  • “find—well, just say, in so many thousand words, why you love me.” (august, 1931)
  • “the sound of your lovely balmy voice coming across the marshes last night stirred the embers of desire.” (december, 1931)
  • “now the point of you is that everything is like you — that’s very profound.” (january, 1933)
  • “you can’t smooth out all my grumps and glooms - i do realize that. but oh, darling, i can’t bear to think of all you’re doing and seeing, and i not there, and i not there! please, please, write down every scrap for me; you know how not a tassel on a table or a stain on a mat comes amiss. and how i miss you! how i miss the glow of your pearls and your warmth.” (january, 1933)
  • “my mind is filled with dreams of romantic meetings.” (february, 1935)
  • “so goodnight; and watch the stars from your tower and when one dartles, that’s me.” (january, 1939)
  • “dearest creature, how i go on seeing you, tormented.” (september, 1939)
  • “what can one say—except that i love you and i’ve got to live through this strange quiet evening thinking of you sitting there alone.” (august, 1940)
  • i long to hear from your own lips whats been worrying you - for you’ll never shake me off - no, not for a moment do i feel ever less attached.” (march, 1940)
  • “i’ve just stop talking to you. it seems so strange. it’s perfectly peaceful here — they’re playing bowls — i’d just put flowers in your room. and there you sit with the bombs falling around you. what can one say — except that i love you and i’ve got to live through this strange quiet evening thinking of you sitting alone. dearest — let me have a line… you have given me such happiness…” (september, 1940)
  • “her being “in love” (it must be comma’d thus) with me, excites and flatters and interests. (…) she shines with a candle lit radiance, stalking on legs like beech trees, pink glowing, grape clustered, petal hung.” (date unconfirmed)
aug 24 2019 ∞
aug 30 2019 +