BRACERS Record Detail for 19338

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Recent acquisition no.
Document no.
Box no.
Source if not BR
Malleson, Constance
Malleson, Constance
Form of letter
BR's address code (if sender)
Notes and topics

"Wed. July 31." "My Darling—Thank you for your letter."

There are two condensed transcriptions of this letter:

Document .052427, record 99889.
Document .201127, record 116366.


Letter 56

BRACERS 19338. ALS. McMaster
Previous Brixton letter, BRACERS 116363; next letter, BRACERS 18683
Edited by K. Blackwell, A. Bone, N. Griffin and S. Turcon

<Brixton Prison>1
1st sheet2
Wed. July 31.

My Darling

Thank you for your letter.3 I am not worried or depressed any longer. I am afraid you never got a letter I sent you that should have arrived last Friday. Probably the wrapper4 came off. But I hope this will reach you. It contains a letter to Helen Dudley5 — you can tell Clare.6 I don’t know Helen Dudley’s address. No doubt Clare does.a I approve highly of your taking my flat from Sp. 1st. Never mind gossip — let the Attic to friends if necessary. But I hope Helen will take it, though I doubt it. — From what my brother has just told me, I may be let out quite soon after Parlt. rises.7 But it is doubtful. Please tell Miss Rinder to obey my brother. This is important.8 — Unless it is quite necessary,b I will not go to T.H. when I come out. I want to be with you. I cannot wait. I will make it all right with my brother. Here is everything cut and dried: [There is no need to worry about money for holidays.]

   You take my flat Sp. 1, and let the Attic.                   LET US NOW TREAT PLANS
   My nominal residence is still Gordon Sq.                 AS SETTLED
  ? We go 1st for 1 week to Ashford if they can have us and you have no work?
   Then we accept Rinders’ kind offer of Winchelsea,9 or go to sea [Damn the expense] (But anyhow Winchelsea is close to the sea)c
   When you have to come back to London we go to my flat, and I spend a good deal of the day-time at Gordon Sq. (eating and working).
   Drop the question of shelves for my flat10 for the present.

I was set on 1 week at Ashford unless you see objections;d the 1st that I am free, if they can have us. I would go to T.H. if necessary for 2 or 3 nights after that, before Rinders’ cottage.11 How fearfully kind of the Rinders. What do you wish about Ashford?e Could we be freely together at night at the Rinders’ cottage? If so, I am less set on Ashford. Settle all this as you think best. I can well afford £20 for holiday.f

I am sorry you didn’t get the letter I wrote last Wed. evening, if you didn’t.g It was a letter saying how grateful I was for yours telling me about Ranalow12 etc., and how I sympathized with every word you said and how immensely glad I was to know more of your events.

I will tell my brother all about you, in a letter I will send by you next time. It is best. But you can hold up the letter if you think fit.

All the depression I had is past. I have new ideas, confidence in the future, absolute faith in your love. Since my brother saw Cave I have realized that this time will end.13 Beloved, I simply can’t put off being with you after I come out. You don’t know how I have been hungering for your arms. My mind is very active over philosophy. I expect to do a great deal of first-rate work during the winter, if the Govt. will let me. And you will be doing first-rate work too — and we shall be together. Is it possible we shall both live till then? Goodbye my Heart’s Comrade. Every thought of my heart yearns for you.


Coal Ask Clare, and order as much as you are allowed.14  Servant Get some one to come at 11 or 12 (not earlier) every day. Make Mrs Saich15 (18 Little Russell Str.) put things back as I used to have them. Has Eliot brought the things I sent for?16 If not, please make Miss Rinder write to him and remind him. I shall give you the Persian bowl,17 if it arrives unbroken. — You can show Clare my letter to Helen.18

Get Helen’s address from Clare, and telegraph: Shall want flat September 1st if convenient. Russell.19 (Telegraph if you like)

Am writing by same post to Miss Rinder about flat and Miss Dudley and Clare, because I am afraid you may not get this before you go away. (Another sheet elsewhere)20


  • 1

    [document] The letter was edited from the initialled sheet in BR’s handwriting in the Malleson papers in the Russell Archives. The sheet was folded twice, leaving bare the quarter-sheets of the verso on which BR did not write. Tears in the sheet have been mended in two places by cellotape.

  • 2

    1st Sheet A second sheet was not located. It may exist in transcribed form only, as the second part of the typescripts at document .052423, BRACERS 99884, and Letter 55.

  • 3

    your letter Presumably it was Colette’s letter of 28 July 1918 (BRACERS 113146).

  • 4

    the wrapper BR put wrappers around some smuggled-out letters to identify their intended recipients.

  • 5

    Helen Dudley An American from Chicago with whom BR become involved during his 1914 trip to the United States. She followed him back to London, was rebuffed by him, and ended up renting his Bury Street flat in late 1916 or early 1917. In May 1918 she sublet it to Clare Annesley.

  • 6

    you can tell Clare Clare Annesley (1893–1980), an artist and Colette’s sister, who was subletting BR’s flat from Helen Dudley. It was all right now to inform Clare of Colette’s relationship with BR.

  • 7

    I may be let out … after Parlt. rises Since Parliament was set to adjourn for the summer on 8 August 1918, this statement stands as BR’s most optimistic forecast about the remission of his sentence. It was made after Frank had pushed the Home Secretary for a release date early in August, but a few days before Sir George Cave’s dispatch of a rather discouraging letter to BR’s brother (5 Aug. 1918, BRACERS 57178). BR’s hopes had obviously been boosted by Frank’s report of his audience with Cave on 26 July, delivered verbally during his prison visit earlier on the day that Letter 68 was written.

  • 8

    Rinder to obey my brother The purpose of this strong injunction is unclear. It does not help that in Rinder’s letter of 8 August 1918 she told BR that she was “obeying your brother ‘in all things’, but am sorry it means leaving all the work to him” (BRACERS 79624). Frank did make extended trips outside London.

  • 9

    Rinders’ kind offer of Winchelsea Rinder offered her family’s cottage as a place to stay once BR left prison. Windmill Cottage was in Icklesham, near Winchelsea. Although not on the coast, it was not far away. BR was then able to go there because the prohibited areas order had been withdrawn.

  • 10

    shelves for my flat BR had previously asked Colette to investigate the installation of shelves in his Bury Street flat to accommodate his extensive library.

  • 11

    Rinders’ cottage See note 9 above.

  • 12

    didn’t get the letter … about Ranalow Frederick Ranalow (1873–1953), a baritone, was born in Dublin and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. In a message as G.J. in a letter from Frank and Elizabeth Russell, 6 June 1918 (BRACERS 46918), Colette wrote: “At Manchester I made friends with Ranalow, who sings Figaro.” Colette had written more expansively about Ranalow two days earlier in a letter she later designated “official”, which BR did not receive (BRACERS 113134). “On my way up to Manchester I found myself in the same railway carriage as Frederick Ranalow (nice though naive) who sings in Figaro for <Sir Thomas> Beecham.” Thus BR’s query in Letter 28. Again, a response was not forthcoming until Colette’s letter of 26 July 1918 (BRACERS 113145): “Ranalow. But I never saw him again; and had told you all there was to tell in a previous letter. On tour one runs into theatre people in that way, specially on Sunday trains.…”

  • 13

    Since my brother saw Cave … time will end When Frank met the Home Secretary Sir George Cave on 26 July, he was assured that BR would be granted “6 weeks remission for work” (BRACERS 46929). However, this was a verbal promise, perhaps even a misunderstanding. When Frank pushed for an even earlier release of early August in his letter to Cave on 29 July (BRACERS 57181), he replied on 5 August (BRACERS 57178) that the Prison Commissioners would be justified in granting a release date of the end of September. BR told Ottoline and Colette on 8 August that it was a “blow” (Letters 61 and 62 respectively). Privately Cave wrote Frank that he “intend<ed> to re-consider the matter towards the end of August; but I am unwilling that your brother should be told this, as I must keep a free hand” (11 Aug. 1918, BRACERS 57182).

  • 14

    Coal … allowed. Coal had been rationed since the end of 1916, due to the displacement of men and railway transportation from the mines in favour of military needs. Colette noted, in her message in Frank's letter of 1–2 August 1918 (BRACERS 46931), that she not only “found a very desirable tenant but have been given 3 ton of coal as a present!”

  • 15

    Mrs Saich BR’s cleaning lady. “The charwoman at my flat” (Auto. 2: 58n.).

  • 16

    Has Eliot brought the things I sent for? T.S. Eliot did come to tea with Colette at her flat (After Ten Years [London: Cape, 1931], pp. 126–7). Some of BR’s things were still at the Marlow cottage he shared with the Eliots.

  • 17

    Persian bowl “Would you also perhaps say that your Persian bowl had been (and is) your most important objet d’art?” Colette posed this question in her letter of 2 January 1950 (BRACERS 98449). In Letter 103 BR asked Colette to put the Persian bowl on its ebony stand on the mantelpiece in place of a bust of Voltaire.

  • 18

    my letter to Helen Not extant.

  • 19

    Get Helen’s address … convenient. Russell He drew a line through these words and then added the sentence in parentheses, thus cancelling his strikeout of the telegram’s text.

  • 20

    (Another sheet elsewhere) This sheet, placed elsewhere in the book used for smuggling letters, was not identified.

Textual Notes
  • a

    I don’t know … Clare does. Inserted.

  • b

    Unless it is quite necessary, Inserted.

  • c

    (But anyhow … to the sea) Inserted; and the closing parenthesis was substituted for a closing bracket.

  • d

    unless you see objections Inserted.

  • e

    How fearfully … Ashford? Inserted.

  • f

    If so … £20 for holiday. Inserted.

  • g

    , if you didn’t Inserted.

Transcription Public Access
Record no.
Record created
May 26, 2014
Record last modified
Oct 03, 2022
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