Friday, May 25, 2007

Edith Wharton in the Gobi Desert

January 12, 1937.

Dearest B. B.,

This is just a flying line, first to thank you for your good letter, & secondly to tell you that Gillet proposes to come here for a brief holiday (three or four days) on Feb. 17 or 18, & that it wd be delightful if you & Nick could coincide with him- that is to say, if his visit cd fall somewhere, it doesn't matter where, within the circle of yours -

I'm very sorry que la source a tari (the Book-source) for the moment but I'm so used to this break of continuity in my work that I can't take it very tragically in your case. It is probably just the tank filling up. A propos of which, in looking this morning through an old diary-journal I have a dozen time began & abandoned, I found this: (Dec. 10, 1934.)

'What is writing a novel like?
The beginning: A ride through a spring wood.
The middle: The Gobi desert.
The end: Going down the Cresta run.'
The diary adds: 'I am now' (p. 166 of 'The Buccaneers') in the middle of the Gobi desert.'-
Since then I've been slowly struggling toward the Cresta run, & don't yet despair of sliding down.- Meanwhile, Robert is reading us (in the intervals of political news on the wireless) Granville-Barker's 'Hamlet.' But last night we made him break away & read us the 3 great -greatest - scenes in Esmond. And great they are.

-from The Inmost Heart: 800 Years of Women's Letters edited by Olga Kenyon; Foreword by P. D. James (New York: Konecky & Konecky, 1992.) p. 178.

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