Down By The River Ouse

Patti Smith, The River Ouse.


The noon of April 28, 1941, after she wrote an emotive suicide letter to her husband Leonard, Virginia Woolf walked some blocks engulfed in depression, filled the pockets of her coat with stones and she threw herself into the Ouse River, in Sussex (England).

This is a transcription of the suicide letter:

“I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.”


2 thoughts on “Down By The River Ouse

  1. Dear Genealogist
    One of the most elegant of such notes ever.
    By ‘these times’ many people have wondered whether she referred as much to the war going on in the world as that terrible conflict inside her mind.
    I am never sure.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy


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