“You see, you accomplish so much. You are one perpetual Achievement; yet you give the impression of having infinite leisure. One comes to see you: you are prepared to spend two hours of Time in talk. One may not, for reasons of health, come to see you: you write divine letters, four pages long. You read bulky manuscripts. You advise grocers. You support mothers, vicariously. You produce books which occupy a permanent place on one’s bedside shelf next to Gerard MANLY Hopkins and the Bible. You cast a beam across the dingy landscape of the Times Literary Supplement. You change people’s lives. You set up type. You offer to read and criticise one’s poems, - cirticise, in the sense which you have given to the word, meaning illumination, not the complete disheartenment which is the legacy of other critics. How is it done?”—Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf
This cd has a bunch of really awesome recordings. Mostly Bloomsbury members, but also recordings of Nellie Boxall, Lottie Hope & Louie Mayer. They were all cooks for the Woolfs at some point or another, and, as the years went by, became regular characters in Woolf’s diaries.
Louie Mayer worked for the Woolfs from 1934 until 1969 when Leonard Woolf died. Here she gives a moving account of the day Virginia Woolf committed suicide.
I am in no fit state to write to you. … I can only tell you that I am really shaken, which may seem to you useless and silly, but which is really a greater tribute than pages of calm appreciation, - and then after all it does touch me so personally and I don’t know what to say about that either, only that I feel like one of those wax figures in a shop window on which you have hung a robe stitched with jewels. It is like being alone in a dark room with a treasure chest full of rubies and nuggets and brocades. Darling, I don’t know and scarcely even like to write, so overwhelmed am I, how you could have hung so splendid a garment on so poor a peg. Really this isn’t false humility; really it isn’t. I can’t write about that part of it, though, much less ever tell you verbally.”—
Vita Sackville-West on Orlando in a letter to Virginia Woolf