Thursday 14 May

The first day of summer, leaves visibly drawing out of the bud, & the Square almost green. Oh what a 
country day—& some of my friends are now reading Mrs D. in the country.

I meant to register more of my books temperatures. C.R. does not sell; but is praised. I was really 
pleased to open the Manchester Guardian this morning & read Mr Fausset on The Art of V.W. Brilliance 
combined with integrity; profound as well as eccentric. Now if only the Times would speak out thus, but the 
Times mumbles & murmurs like a man sucking pebbles—did I say that I had nearly 2 mumbling columns on 
me there? But the odd thing is this: honestly I am scarcely a shade nervous about Mrs D. Why is this? Really 
I am a little bored, for the first time, at thinking how much I shall have to talk about it this summer. The truth 
is that writing is the profound pleasure & being read the superficial. I'm now all on the strain with desire to 
stop journalism & get on to To the Lighthouse. This is going to be fairly short: to have father's character done
complete in it; & mothers; & St Ives; & childhood; & all the usual things I try to put in—life, death &c. But 
the centre is father's character, sitting in a boat, reciting We perished, each alone, while he crushes a dying 
mackerel—However, I must refrain. I must write a few little stories first, & let the Lighthouse simmer, adding to
it between tea & dinner till it is complete for writing out.

Yesterday was a terrific chatter day—Desmond on top of Dr Leyes, Lord Olivier on top of
Desmond, James & Dadie to finish off with, while L. had I forget how many press interviews & committees into 
the bargain. The League of Nations is booming (Innes, I mean.) But I meant to describe my dear old Desmond, 
whom it rejoiced me to see again, & he held out both his hands, & I set him in his chair & we talked till 7 
o'clock. He is rather worn & aged; a little, I think, feeling that here's 45 on him & nothing achieved, except 
indeed the children, whom he dotes on—Micky to write, Dermod & Rachel trilling & warbling on flute & piano: 
all his human relations very fertile & flourishing, but oh, he said, talking of Houseman, don't let him give up the 
Corn Exchange & take to literature! I saw him thinking of his 50 articles for 5 years, his welter of old articles 
lying dusty in boxes, & now Geoffrey Scott promoted to do Donne, which Desmond should have done in the 
year 1912. I remember him telling me the story at Brunswick Square. So I said I would take the thing in hand & 
see it through which touched him, for children are not enough, after all; one wants something to be made out of 
oneself alone—& 5 boxes of dusty articles are rather raggy & rotten for 45 years. And he praised the C.R. with 
enthusiasm; & will write on it, & so we chattered along; Vernon Lee, with her cheap rings in exquisite taste; & 
her idiomatic Italian; & her spiteful way of seeing things, so that she dare not write her memoirs; Lily Langtry 
coming down the playhouse steps & her daughter looming behind her, loveliness that "struck me in the breast"; 
also Logan & Ottoline—how Alys is ill of the cancer again—"a most unhappy miserable life poor woman—" L. 
having the new Mrs B.R. on one side, would be chafed to death by Ott. next door; but like a fool, Logan made 
none of this clear, & only complained that the village peace of Chelsea would be destroyed by O. wh. naturally 
she resented. In all this, Desmond acts as solvent & go between, everyone sponging on his good nature & sense. 
What else did we discuss? The E[lizabe]thans? The Phoenix; poor Ray Litvin's miserable big mouth, & little 
body; when L. came, & then the dinner party, I just having time for a race round the Square; both Dadie & James 
very easy & affable, indeed for Dadie I feel considerable affection—so sensitive & tender is he, & one of these 
days will get a pull on himself, & be less of a quicksilver. Indeed, staying on he talked very seriously & 
excitedly of his dissertation & poets use of words, how they fix on to a word & fill it out with meaning & make 
it symbolic. But what these scholars want is to get at books through writing books, not through reading them.

But I must remember to write about my clothes next time I have an impulse to write. My love of clothes 
interests me profoundly: only it is not love; & what it is I must discover.