Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Castle Watches

[D. H. Lawrence to Lady Cynthia Asquith]

Lerici, per Fiascherino,
Golfo della Spezia, Italy.

The Shortest Day.
21st December, 1913.
Dear Mrs. Asquith,

ou never answered my highly diverting and beautiful letter, only shed a tear over Frieda--which I call skimpy. So I refuse to write you a letter. I'd send you a visiting card if I'd got one, with "All Seasonable Greetings" written on it.

How is the winter treating you? If badly, you'd better come here and set up in a beautiful little tower over the Pine Wood and the Sea--for 140 francs a month.

We went to a castle the last week-end--ancient Italian Fortress, walls three yards thick. There it sits keeping an eye on the two rivers that come crawling insidiously out of the foggy Apennines, as if expecting them to pounce. But they don't--they only swallow each other and go with trailing skirts haughtily through the mountain doors to the sea. But the castle watches, whether or not. And it gives one the fidgets. And the artist gentleman painted in the manner of various definite gentleman artists--their ghosts haunted his canvases like the ghosts of old dead soldiers his castle hall. And the servants crouched in a corner of the great dark kitchen, making polenta cakes.

A merry Christmas--though you don't deserve it, for sending Frieda only a little bottle of tears and me not even a sugared almond. Also a merry Christmas to Don John, and to Mr. Asquith.

D. H. Lawrence

-from The Letters of D. H. Lawrence edited by Aldous Huxley (London: William Heinemann, 1956.) p. 171-72.

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