59 The Vale
Dear Mrs. Berenson,
I am writing this letter in the most unhappy state.
To-day Mr. Laurence of the Medici Society told me about his request he had done to you & that you declined it. Though I do not exactly know what he requested of you, and what you answered him, I am so unhappy to think that surely he requested of you something too much even for your immense kindness, which you have ever been showing to me. I am very angry with him & very angry with myself. I heartily beg your pardon and B.B.’s.
I think he requested you to write a letter recommending me to your American friends or something like that. It was really more than silly for the Medici Society to ask you for that, as if you had not done so, more than I really deserve, with the letters you already gave me. Really the publishers are so awfully keen about the commercial aspect of books. Your friendship & kindness is too sacred & precious a thing to be thus used.
When the head of the American branch of the Medici Society came here, I understand, there was a talk about my lecturing tour in the United States. The Medici Society was of course considering its efficacy as an advertisement of my book. I confess I did not reject the plan, as I thought, they may take advantage of it as they like; I may thus make some money to go through such an expensive country as America and may see the country & private collections, too. Poverty is really a miserable thing. In the present condition of mine, I was about to do whatever, if not dishonorable, to make money.
Then the Medici people said about the desirability to get a letter of recommendation from you. I said that you kindly wrote such nice letters to your friends of Harvard & Philadelphia and that I cannot request you for more. They said, it is not my matter, let them think about it. At that point I should have flatly forbidden them. Instead, how stupid & weak I was, I only said, I for myself do not like it. Sometime ago I learned with astonishment that they made Mr. Binyon write a letter, perhaps for the same advertizing purpose. Long afterward I learned it, to my great regret. I think they repeated it again with you. It was good you declined them. Henceforward I must be more careful about myself & my friends. I am so unsuspecting, all the same I feel guilty that I did not explicitly, & firmly forbid them. Here I beg your pardon with my whole heart, that I caused or at least I did not prevent, such a disagreeable thing to you.
It is unbearable for me to think that you may have imagined Yashiro intending to exploit your kindness & protection. Whatever human weaknesses Yashiro has, he is at least exempt from such a baseness.
I am so unhappy to-day, just the weather is so miserable. From morning I felt so depressed & about noon I learned this sad news.
Excuse me this scrawl. I am so agitated that I can write in no other way. Give my hearty respect & love to B.B. Here in London how I miss I Tatti. In Florence I could come to you every now & then, and could feel warmth. Here I feel myself quite an exile. If not in Florence, how I want to go back to my country!! to my poor Mamma.
During the day I am buried in my work, but when night comes I am miserable, I feel so lonely. I am now reading Clara Schuman’s life, of which I remember I heard Miss Davies talk in your Salon, when you invited her. To-day I was reading the pages which tell of Clara’s unhappiness, her love being thwarted by her father, & so my leadenness increased, instead of being lessened by the reading.
Good bye to you & Good bye to B.B. & believe me as your loving little friend & pupil,
P. S. I failed to post this letter yesterday. Last night I went with Waley to Queen’s Hall & heard Mozart. I am happier to-day. In the world there is nothing which pleases me so completely as Mozart.