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In the Mountains   By: (1866-1941)

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E text prepared by Laura MacDonald ( and Marc D'Hooghe (




Macmillan and Co., Limited St. Martin's Street, London 1920


July 22nd.

I want to be quiet now.

I crawled up here this morning from the valley like a sick ant, struggled up to the little house on the mountain side that I haven't seen since the first August of the war, and dropped down on the grass outside it, too tired even to be able to thank God that I had got home.

Here I am once more, come back alone to the house that used to be so full of happy life that its little wooden sides nearly burst with the sound of it. I never could have dreamed that I would come back to it alone. Five years ago, how rich I was in love; now how poor, how stripped of all I had. Well, it doesn't matter. Nothing matters. I'm too tired. I want to be quiet now. Till I'm not so tired. If only I can be quiet....

July 23rd.

Yesterday all day long I lay on the grass in front of the door and watched the white clouds slowly passing one after the other at long, lazy intervals over the tops of the delphiniums, the row of delphiniums I planted all those years ago. I didn't think of anything; I just lay there in the hot sun, blinking up and counting the intervals between one spike being reached and the next. I was conscious of the colour of the delphiniums, jabbing up stark into the sky, and of how blue they were; and yet not so blue, so deeply and radiantly blue, as the sky. Behind them was the great basin of space filled with that other blue of the air, that lovely blue with violet shades in it; for the mountain I am on drops sharply away from the edge of my tiny terrace garden, and the whole of the space between it and the mountains opposite brims all day long with blue and violet light. At night the bottom of the valley looks like water, and the lamps in the little town lying along it like quivering reflections of the stars.

I wonder why I write about these things. As if I didn't know them! Why do I tell myself in writing what I already so well know? Don't I know about the mountain, and the brimming cup of blue light? It is because, I suppose, it's lonely to stay inside oneself. One has to come out and talk. And if there is no one to talk to one imagines someone, as though one were writing a letter to somebody who loves one, and who will want to know, with the sweet eagerness and solicitude of love, what one does and what the place one is in looks like. It makes one feel less lonely to think like this, to write it down, as if to one's friend who cares. For I'm afraid of loneliness; shiveringly, terribly afraid. I don't mean the ordinary physical loneliness, for here I am, deliberately travelled away from London to get to it, to its spaciousness and healing. I mean that awful loneliness of spirit that is the ultimate tragedy of life. When you've got to that, really reached it, without hope, without escape, you die. You just can't bear it, and you die.

July 24th.

It's queer the urge one has to express oneself, to get one's self into words. If I weren't alone I wouldn't write, of course, I would talk. But nearly everything I wanted to say would be things I couldn't say. Not unless it was to some wonderful, perfect, all understanding listener, the sort one used to imagine God was in the days when one said prayers. Not quite like God though either, for this listener would sometimes say something kind and gentle, and sometimes, stroke one's hand a little to show that he understood. Physically, it is most blessed to be alone. After all that has happened, it is most blessed. Perhaps I shall grow well here, alone. Perhaps just sitting on these honey scented grass slopes will gradually heal me. I'll sit and lick my wounds. I do so dreadfully want to get mended! I do so dreadfully want to get back to confidence in goodness.

July 25th... Continue reading book >>

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