Monday 20 July

Here the door opened, & Morgan came in to ask us out to lunch with him at the Etoile, which we did, 
though we had a nice veal & ham pie at home (this is in the classic style of journalists). It comes of Swift 
perhaps, the last words of which I have just written, & so fill up time here.

I should consider my work list now. I think a little story, perhaps a review, this fortnight; having a 
superstitious wish to begin To the Lighthouse the first day at Monks House. I now think I shall finish it in the 
two months there. The word 'sentimental' sticks in my gizzard (I'll write it out of me in a story—Ann Watkins 
of New York is coming on Wednesday to enquire about my stories). But this theme may be sentimental; father 
& mother & child in the garden: the death; the sail to the lighthouse. I think, though, that when I begin it I shall 
enrich it in all sorts of ways; thicken it; give it branches & roots which I do not perceive now. It might contain 
all characters boiled down; & childhood; & then this impersonal thing, which I'm dared to do by my friends, the 
flight of time, & the consequent break of unity in my design. That passage (I conceive the book in 3 parts: 1. at 
the drawing room window; 2. seven years passed; 3. the voyage:) interests me very much. A new problem like 
that breaks fresh ground in ones mind; prevents the regular ruts.

Last night Clive dined with us; & Nelly is rather waspish about it this morning; & tried to run away 
before Ottoline came; but it proved to be Adrian; & then we talked of cancer, & Clive got set, & Ottoline came, 
in tea kettle taffeta, all looped & scolloped & fringed with silver lace, & talked about Rupert & Jacques, & re-
told, with emendations, the story of Ka & Henry Lamb & herself. She has been working over these old stories 
so often, that they hold no likeness to the truth—they are stale, managed, pulled this way & that, as we used 
to knead & pull the crumb of bread, till it was a damp slab. Then the old motor was heard hooting & there was 
Philip & Julian [Morrell], at which, at Julian that is, Clive cheered up, & was very brisk & obliging as he knows 
how. We argued the case of the aristocracy v. the middle class. I rather liked it. But one seldom says anything 
very profound. I like the sense of other people liking it, as I suppose the Morrells do, for they settle on us like 
a cloud of crows, once a week now. My vanity as a hostess is flattered. Sometimes a buttery crumb of praise 
is thrown to me—"Lady Desborough admires your books enormously—wants to meet you"—& then Clive, 
looking at my photographs in Vogue says of the one last year—"That is charming—but must be taken very long 
ago, I suppose"—so you see how I switch back from pleasure to pain, & time was when I should have ended the 
evening fast stuck in black despair, gone to bed like a diver with pursed lips shooting into oblivion. But enough, 
enough—I coin this little catchword to control my tendency to flower into phrase after phrase. Some are good 

What shall I read at Rodmell? I have so many books at the back of my mind. I want to read voraciously 
& gather material for the Lives of the Obscure—which is to tell the whole history of England in one obscure life 
after another. Proust I should like to finish. Stendhal, & then to skirmish about hither & thither. These 8 weeks 
at Rodmell always seem capable of holding an infinite amount. Shall we buy the house at Southease? I suppose