Tuesday 23 February

Here is the usual door bell/ & I think Gwen came in, & I was rather sodden & wretched, feeling that I 
had nothing to give her, & she everything to ask. As I foretold, she is enmeshed in a net of fire: that is the truth;
loves net; the fiery net of—who was it?—that was scorched to death: & hers is more painful than his, & more
enduring. Yet how seldom one envisages what one knows! Her net lies on me; but it does not burn me. And I
do little futile kindnesses to her, which are little good to anybody; & I don't do them, & I feel compunction. Of 
all this I have little appetite to write, being exacerbated 1. because Nelly won't make marmalade; 2. because 
a certain function impends; 3. because I can't go, in deference to L.'s wish, to Mortimer's farewell party, 4. 
because Dadie asked me to tea, & I did not go; 5. because—the last because I cannot now remember—a vague
dissatisfaction: spring & funerals; yellow lights & white blossoms; beautiful black yellow pointed squares—& so
on. Vita is a dumb letter writer, & I miss her. I miss the glow & the flattery & the festival. I miss her, I suppose, 
not very intimately. Nevertheless, I do miss her, & wish it were May 10th; & then I don't wish it; for I have such 
a razor edge to my palette that seeing people often disgusts me of seeing them.

I am blown like an old flag by my novel. This one is To the Lighthouse. I think it is worth saying for my 
own interest that at last at last, after that battle Jacob's Room, that agony—all agony but the end, Mrs Dalloway, 
I am now writing as fast & freely as I have written in the whole of my life; more so—20 times more so—than 
any novel yet. I think this is the proof that I was on the right path; & that what fruit hangs in my soul is to be 
reached there. Amusingly, I now invent theories that fertility & fluency are the things: I used to plead for a kind 
of close, terse, effort. Anyhow this goes on all the morning; & I have the devils own work not to be flogging 
my brain all the afternoon. I live entirely in it, & come to the surface rather obscurely & am often unable to 
think what to say when we walk round the Square, which is bad I know. Perhaps it may be a good sign for the 
book though. Of course it is largely known to me: but all my books have been that. It is, I feel, that I can float 
everything off now; & "everything" is rather a crowd & weight & confusion in the mind.

Then I have seen Lytton: seen Eddy; Mary; I forget: I have been discreet in my society, & enjoyed it. 
Perhaps I am again brisking, after my lethargy. The publishing season is about to begin. Nessa says Why don't 
you give it up? I say, because I enjoy it. Then I wonder, but do I? What about Rome & Sicily? And Manning
Sanders is not worth the grind. Am I a fanatical enthusiast for work, like my father? I think I have a strain of 
that, but I don't relish it. Tonight Francis Birrell & Rose Macaulay dine with us. To celebrate the occasion, I 
have bought a toast rack & a bedspread, which covers that atrocious chest of drawers wh. has worried me these 2 
years. I am now so pleased with the colour that I go out & look at it.