Letter from Halina Poświatowska written 16.12. N/D

Częstochowa, 16/12

Dear Professor!

            n         When I was writing the card, I was in no condition yet to write a decent letter (weakness following bronchitis), so please forgive the stinginess of this first bit of news. In Paris, I give you my word, I behaved decently within the limits of possibility – but after all, I had to walk a bit – and the weather was rather bad. In addition, nervous tension – this fear, which I didn’t anticipate, led to complete insomnia. Well, I fainted a bit, and caught a bit of a cold waiting in the rain for some kind of transportation at the Louvre. I lay in bed again for a week, and then I had to leave.
  n         Mr Szczepański brought me to the airport; he was very polite and attentive – he waited with me almost to the moment of departure – he waited a long time. Then we were thrown into the plane, and we couldn’t land in Berlin because of the bad weather – we transported all of the Germans, without exception, to Warsaw. I was suffocating on the plane – it turns out that with my very weak heart, I can’t hold out at 6,000 metres of altitude. I gave them a bit of trouble, but was given drops of valerian and something else by an obliging young lady – I made it. At the airport, there were ??? and a cold wind and taxis out of nowhere. I had to stop in Warsaw the next day and arrange my documents; then the trip to Częstochowa.
  n         And I became ill – with great relief that I was already at home, that I didn’t have to be afraid of Paris hospitals, or the fact that my insurance ends in November along with the scholarship, and, in that case, of what I’d do on my own without money.
  n         That’s all, Professor, about my illness and its direct causes. At the moment I already feel better, so well that I quarrel with Professor Aleksandrowicz on the phone about plans for my near future. Professor Aleksandrowicz doesn’t want to hear about my going back to normal work in January, but I intend to do it even against his will. What would I do without work? And this is not just a question of finances, although of course these are also important, because how could I support myself if not from university work? Professor A. believes I can simply write – but he’s a utopian, because first of all, it’s not always possible to write, there’s not always something to be written, and second, writing is a hundred times more tiring than teaching even very unruly young people. Besides, I really like my job; I want to work …
  n         Well, the professor answers: you’ll work a month or two and you’ll be in hospital again; I: maybe not this time; after all, if I had no hope I wouldn’t be able to live at all, and even if I become really ill, well, after all there’s always Professor Aleksandrowicz, who’ll pull me out of my misery. Perverse dialectic.
  n         I apologise for this long disquisition on the subject of my own misfortunes – and I wish you a happy Holiday – and I’m glad I’ll see you and Cracow soon –