BRACERS Record Detail

To access the original letter, email the Ready Division.

Collection code 
Class no. 
Document no. 
Box no. 
Source if not BR 

Texas, U. of, HRC

Morrell, Ottoline
Form of letter 
BR's address code (if sender) 
Notes, topics or text 

Full text. "Wednesday morning … Your lovely long letter of Monday and yesterday". Sends her old letters: one from Forsyth; other from "the man who translated Spinoza, whom I reviewed [W. Hale White, trans., Spinoza's Ethics, The Nation, 8 (12 Nov. 1910): 278, 280]; he is "Mark Rutherford" whom she may have read.
"Please return them. I also found a typewritten copy of my article on history which I will send you to keep. I think it contains some things I cut out before publishing." Wrote to Una Birch [Pope-Hennessy] about her book. "I found Robert Bridges delightful" at Oxford. Loves Keats's letters.


Previous letter to Morrell, 17107; next letter, 131528

Wed. morning
in the train2

My Darling —

Your lovely long letter of Monday and yesterday3 was given me just as I was starting to catch the 8.30 train — and I thought of my lazy Ottoline still in bed, where I should have liked to be. I do most fully understand all you say about Philip4 — it seems to me most natural that the affection you give him should be only increased by our love. I think it would be a great mistake to force him to realize what you feel. You have told him what was necessary to avoid deceit, and after that it ought to rest with him whether he is to know more or to know less. If he prefers to know less, you ought obviously to fall in with that, I should say. But of course one can’t be sure that he won’t gradually get more detached — and perhaps it would be as well if he did.

I am sure people don’t grow tired of you — and whatever “people” may do, I am quite sure I never shall. How should I? You have such a quality, and all your ways are so delightful, and all the things that in the long run count, both big and small, are so wonderfully perfect, that having once found you I can feel quite sure of keeping my love. I think there is much more doubt the other way. You have only had the best of my répertoire so far — some of my pieces are much less agreeable. However, I hope they will never be put on the stage again.

I fished out two old letters yesterday* which I am sending as you like letters. One is from poor old Forsyth,5 in answer to one I wrote to him when he ran away with Mrs Boys6 — the other is from the man who translated Spinoza, whom I reviewed;7 he is “Mark Rutherford”8 whom you may have read. Please return them. I also found a typewritten copy of my article on History 9 which I will send you to keep. I think it contains some things I cut out before publishing.

Today I go first to the Dr.,10 with whom I have an appointment at 10, then to look for houses in Chelsea,11 then to Waterloo to fetch my bicycle which has been waiting there since I left Fernhurst.12 Then I get back to Cambridge to tea and talk to undergrads at John’s13 about Adult Suffrage.14 I will send you just a line later in the morning, which ought to reach you by the same post as this, if you stay at Studland15 till Thursday.

All you say about Una Birch16 seems to me exactly right. I wrote to her about her book, and said much the same (with the edge off) as I had said to you. No, one ought not to need to hitch great things on to one’s own personal ones. Yet there is a strange intimate connection of them in those who feel both. The personal things become penetrated with the greatness of the great ones,17 and the great ones get the intensity of the personal ones. They heighten each other, though neither really depends on the other.

Yes, I found Oxford dons very trying. There were hardly any that I really made friends with. I found Robert Bridges18 delightful, but he was very much not a don. I think at Cambridge they are a little better, because they work at more progressive things, such as science — it is deadening going over the old ground year after year.

No, I haven’t got Keats’s letters,19 but I love them. Do give them to me and mark them. In this horrid full train I can’t say all the things I want to say. But let me know as soon as you can about Friday. Any time after 10, and any place. I am free the whole day. Should we go to Richmond20 then? Should I come to Bedford Square21 for the morning or part of it, and then we could go out later. Monday I am free either all day or from one o’clock — it depends on the Whiteheads.22 I can stay in town the night Monday if it is any use. Will you telegraph where and when Friday?23

Now I really must stop. Goodbye my Dearest Life. All my heart and mind are yours.


*I was fetching out your letter24 asking me to come to Burnley,25 which I kept, after reading it very carefully and extracting all I could — which was why I answered curtly, because I was surprised at myself.

Edited by K. Blackwell 2017/04/27
Verified twice with Texas scan (b&w and colour): K. Blackwell 2017/04/19
Transcribed AD 2014/04/08
Proofed AW 2014/05/22
Exp AD 2014/07/30
TS Checked AW 2014/11/06

    • 1. Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873–1938), Bloomsbury hostess, patron of the arts and artists, and object of literary caricature by D.H. Lawrence and Aldous Huxley. Born a Cavendish-Bentinck, she was the half-sister of the sixth Duke of Portland.
    • 2. Russell was in the train from Cambridge, where he had spent the past few nights. It was the beginning of the Easter term.
    • 3. Ottoline’s letter 113383, dated Monday, 24 April 1911.
    • 4. Philip Edward Morrell (1870–1942), Liberal MP 1906–18. He and Ottoline were married in 1902, with a daughter, Julian, surviving from twins born in 1906.
    • 5. Andrew Russell Forsyth (1858–1942), FRS, mathematician, whose letter 1156 is dated 21 February 1910. He is grateful for Russell’s sympathetic letter.
    • 6. Marion Amelia Pollock (d. 1920) was married first to Sir Charles Vernon Boys, FRS, then to Forsyth.
    • 7. In The Nation, 12 Nov. 1910 (B&R C10.07; Papers 6: 20).
    • 8. William Hale White (1821–1913), who translated Spinoza’s Ethics and who, under his pseudonym, published an autobiography and other works dealing with the spirit. See White’s letter 3553 to Russell. White was so pleased with the review that he asked the editor to publish anonymously a note of appreciation. When White died, Bertie commented to Ottoline: “Spinoza … was his religion, and the chief passion of his life I believe. You will remember his letter to me about Spinoza. I wish I had known him.” “Rutherford”’s writing followed in the same Quaker vein as The Journal of John Woolman, which Bertie had given Ottoline at Studland and of which she states in her letter 113386 (crossing his) she had read most. (The presentation copy of Woolman is currently [30 April 2017] for sale.) Russell had read all the “Rutherford” books. In Clara Hopgood “Spinoza comes in more definitely than in most  of them” (letter 17883).
    • 9. Bertie published “On History” in The Independent Review in 1904 (B&R C04.12; Papers 12: 5). The typescript is not extant
    • 10. Unidentified; but see letter 131528.
    • 11. Chelsea was where Bertie and Alys lived in 1902–05.
    • 12. Waterloo (not yet a tube station) was the terminus of the rail line Bertie must have taken to London at some point. Fernhurst is a small town in Surrey where the Pearsall Smith family had homes. Most recently Bertie and Alys had rented Van Bridge cottage, which was the last home he and Alys shared. “I then rode away on my bicycle, and with that my first marriage came to an end” (Auto. 1: 204).
    • 13. St. John’s College, Cambridge.
    • 14. Russell was one of the organizers of the Cambridge branch of the People’s Suffrage Federation in early 1911 (Papers 12: 289). He had switched from strong support of women’s suffrage to the broader campaign for complete adult suffrage.
    • 15. The Morrells’ Dorset vacation resort favoured by writers and painters, where Bertie spent 18–20 April with Ottoline. She returned to London on the 26th. The house, “Cliff End”, was close enough to the beach for Ottoline and Julian to pick up shells (Miranda Seymour, Ottoline Morrell: Life on the Grand Scale, rev. edn. [London: Sceptre, 1998], p. 126).
    • 16. Writer Una Birch married soldier-writer Richard Pope-Hennessy in 1910. Russell had recently critiqued her 1911 book, Secret Societies and the French Revolution. See letters 79443 and 56617.
    • 17. Cf. The Problems of Philosophy, last page: “through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind also is rendered great”; and even the last page of the Autobiography: “to allow moments of insight to give wisdom at more mundane times” (3: 223).
    • 18. Bridges (1844–1930), a physician, was poet laureate 1913–30. When Russell lived at Bagley Wood, near Oxford, Bridges was at Boar’s Hill where Gilbert Murray lived. There is no sign that Bridges taught at Oxford, at least during Russell’s time near there, so he was indeed “very much not a don”. Russell's library includes a copy of Bridges’ Shorter Poems (1891) and Achilles in Scyros (a play, 1892), both with the Bertrand and Alys Russell bookplate.
    • 19. Letters of John Keats to His Family and Friends (1891) is in Russell’s library and is inscribed “B from O | 1911. May.” See record 17206. Some passages are marked, not in his characteristic way but presumably by Ottoline.
    • 20. Bertie intended to take Ottoline to visit his childhood home, Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park.
    • 21. The London home of Philip and Ottoline Morrell was at 44 Bedford Square, London WC1.
    • 22. Alfred North (1861–1947) and Evelyn (1866–1961) Whitehead. He and Bertie were still at work on Principia Mathematica, of which the first volume had been published. Evelyn advised Bertie on keeping his affaire with Ottoline discreet.
    • 23. Ottoline did: “Meet me British Museum 11.35” (letter 113390).
    • 24. Ottoline's letter (69184) of 25 November 1910. Bertie’s reply does not survive, only his earlier letter (17055) in 1910, accepting an invitation from her to lunch. Ottoline was hurt by the impersonal nature of the later reply (see letter 113393).
    • 25. The constituency of Burnley, Lancs., was narrowly won by Philip Morrell in the general election of December 1910. Bertie had canvassed for Philip in the Henley (South Oxfordshire) constituency in the general election of January 1910, but it is unknown whether he helped out in Burnley.

    Re B&R C10.07

    Re B&R C04.12

    Russell letter no. 
    Reel no. 
    Frame no. 
    Record no. 
    Record created 2014/05/20
    Record last modified 2017/05/15
    Created/last modified by blackwk