The actress Ingrid Bergman had a short relationship with the photographer Robert Capa. I love this quotation from a letter he sent her, with its idea of a ‘merry mind’.  I started thinking about people I know who can be described this way.

Ingrid’s autobiography was on the spartan bookshelves in the reception area of the Alpine hotel where we spent New Year.  I picked it up out of curiosity and started reading, finding it more compelling than I expected.  As I didn’t finish it there, it landed in my bag home.  It’s now sitting in a basket waiting to be packed and sent back to the hotel, along with another book to enrich their limited library and assuage my biblioklept guilt.

‘Do not go away.  There are very few precious things in life – not life itself – but the merry mind.  It was, it is, your merry mind that I love, and there are very few merry minds in a man’s life.’  Robert Capa in a letter to Ingrid Bergman, quoted in Ingrid Bergman: My Story, Ingrid Bergman & Alan Burgess, p. 185.

PS – I have now packed the book up ready to send to the hotel from which I ‘borrowed’ it. Confession leads to reparation and, I hope, redemption.


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