Saturday, May 4, 2013

'She would promise never never to forget.'

Then Katherine died, horribly and sadly, at the age of thirty-four, in the Gurdjieff commune near Fontainebleau, on 9 January 1923. Virginia heard the news at breakfast on the 16th, from Nelly, who'd seen it in the morning paper. Immediately, she began another relationship with her, which continued, and revised, the unsatisfactory failed living friendship. This posthumous relationship began in memory and remorse. At once she wished she had not let things go, had not taken offence when Katherine didn't write, had not found it all 'too difficult.' For the first time she realised that she had 'never given her credit for all her physical suffering & the effect it must have had in embittering her.' She felt depressed, disappointed, flat: there seemed 'no point in writing any more.' The echo had gone: 'Katherine won't read it. Katherine's my rival no longer.' The loss of the rival was as important as the loss of the friend. 'There's no competitor. I'm cock -- a lonely cock whose crowing nothing breaks -- of my walk.'

- Hermione Lee, Virginia Woolf