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A Galloping French Rat

TO Gerald Berners, 3 November 1947, from Paris

...I've just spent a week end with Alvilde & the young Stravinskys were there. He says his father always says that you are the only English composer worth anything at all. Alvilde is greatly improved ... much nicer, I think you would like her now....

Funny you've been reading Tolstoy - I re-read Anna Karenina. I see it is quite different from what I remembered - Anna so hateful, Karenin such a charming man, Vronsky such a bore. Far the best drawn character is Dolly - his own wife I suppose. It's nothing like so good as War & Peace is it - which did he write first? ...

Did I tell you that on my 1st night in this utterly luxurious flat I was woken up by a vast RAT sitting on my tummy? So like Paris somehow. It jumped off (when I spoke to it) with exactly the same amount of noise & impact as a great dane would have made & galloped away over the parquet like a cart horse.

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