Saturday 27 March

To continue—I don't know why I should really tell the story of the Nation—it doesn't figure largely 
in our lives. But Leonard met Phil Baker, who says he will get £300 as lecturer at the School of Economics 
easily if he wants it. He came in that night & said this & then we went off on a blowing night to dine at Rose 
M.'s 'pothouse', as I so mistakenly called it. There were 10 second rate writers in second rate dress clothes, 
Lynds, Goulds, O'Donovan: no, I won't in any spasm of hypocritical humanity include Wolves. L. by the way 
was in his red brown tweed. Then the pitter patter began; the old yard was scratched over by these baldnecked 
chickens. The truth was that we had no interests private; literature was our common ground; & though I will 
talk literature with Desmond or Lytton by the hour, when it comes to pecking up grains with these active stringy 
fowls my gorge rises. What d'you think of the Hawthornden prize? Why isn't Masefield as good as Chaucer, or 
Gerhardi as good as Tchekov: how can I embark with Gerald Gould on such topics? He reads novels incessantly; 
got a holiday 3 years ago, & prided himself on reading nothing but Tchekhov; knows all about a novel in the 
first chapter. Sylvias & Geralds & Roberts & Roses chimed & tinkled round the table. A stout woman called 
Gould got steadily more & more mustard & tomato coloured. I said Holy Ghost? when Mr O'Donovan said the 
whole of the coast. Lodged on a low sofa in Rose's underground cheerful, sane, breezy room I talked to a young 
cultivated man, who turned out to be Hinks, Roger, British Museum, mild aesthete, variety of Leigh Ashton; 
but thank God, not a second rate journalist. All the time I kept saying to myself Thank God to be out of that; out 
of the Nation; no longer brother in arms with Rose & Robert & Sylvia. It is a thinblooded set; so 'nice', 'kind', 
respectable, cleverish & in the swim.

Then our set at Nessa's last night, was hardly at its best. L. & Adrian silent & satirical; old
Sickert rather toothless & set; I driven to chatter, not well; but Nessa & Duncan don't consolidate & order these 
parties; so home in a spasm of outraged vanity, & not that altogether, for I had worked honestly if feebly, & L. 
had not; & then he was off early this morning to Rodmell where Philcox is in the thick of building & drains: so I 
had no time to uncrease my rose leaf; had to try & work, to finish the rather long drawn out dinner scene [in To 
the Lighthouse], & was just striking oil when in comes Angus to tell me Eddy was on the phone: would I go to 
Rimsky Korsakov with him on Tuesday. I agreed—more, asked him to dinner. Then was all a whirl & flutter of 
doubts; detested the engagement; could not settle; suddenly shook my coat, like a retriever; faced facts; sent 
Eddy a wire, & a letter "Cant come—detest engagements", & pondered where shall I spend the day? decided on 
Greenwich, arrived there at 1; lunched; everything fell out pat; smoked a cigarette on the pier promenade, saw 
the ships swinging up, one two, three, out of the haze; adored it all; yes even the lavatory keepers little dog; saw 
the grey Wren buildings fronting the river; & then another great ship, grey & orange; with a woman walking on 
deck; & then to the hospital; first to the Museum where I saw Sir John Franklin's pen & spoons (a spoon asks a 
good deal of imagination to consecrate it)—I played with my mind watching what it would do,—& behold if I 
didn't almost burst into tears over the coat Nelson wore at Trafalgar with the medals which he hid with his hand 
when they carried him down, dying, lest the sailors might see it was him. There was too, his little fuzzy pigtail, 
of golden greyish hair tied in black; & his long white stockings, one much stained, & his white breeches with the 
gold buckles, & his stock—all of which I suppose they must have undone & taken off as he lay dying. Kiss me 
Hardy &c—Anchor, anchor,—I read it all when I came in, & could swear I was there on the Victory—So the 
charm worked in that case. Then it was raining a little, but I went into the Park, which is all prominence & 
radiating paths; then back on top of a bus, & so to tea. Molly [McCarthy] came, a warm faithful bear, of whom I 
am really fond, judging from the steady accumulation of my desire to see her these last 3 or 4 weeks, 
culminating in my asking her to come, as I so rarely ask anyone to come. Saxon came, with his great 
grandfather's diary, which it pleases him I should like, & call like him; & then reading & bed. I think my rose 
leaf is now uncrumpled. Certainly I shall remember the ships coming up (here Tomlin rings, but I won't see 
him—solitude is my bride, & she is adulterated by Clive & Mary tonight) & Nelson's coat long after I have 
forgotten how silly & uncomfortable I was at Nessa's on Friday.