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VW Diary - 30th April 1926

This is not written very seriously.—obviously not—to try a pen, I
think. And it is now [Friday] April 30th, the last of a wet windy month,
excepting the sudden opening of all the doors at Easter, & the summer
displayed blazing, as it always is, I suppose; only cloud hidden. I have
not said anything about Iwerne Minster. Now it would amuse me to see
what I remember it by. Cranbourne Chase: the stunted aboriginal forest
trees, scattered, not grouped in cultivations; anemones, bluebells, violets,
all pale, sprinkled about, without colour, livid, for the sun hardly shone.
Then Blackmore Vale; a vast air dome & the fields dropped to the
bottom; the sun striking, there, there; a drench of rain falling, like a veil
streaming from the sky, there & there; & the downs rising, very strongly
scarped (if that is the word) so that they were ridged & ledged; then an
inscription in a church "sought peace & ensured it", & the question,
who wrote these sonorous stylistic epitaphs?—& all the cleanliness of
Iwerne village, its happiness & well being, making me ask, as we tended
to sneer. Still this is the right method, surely; & then tea & cream—
these I remember: the hot baths; my new leather coat; Shaftesbury, so
much lower & less commanding than my imagination, & the drive to
Bournemouth, & the dog & the lady behind the rock, & the view of
Swanage, & coming home.
And then it was horror: Nelly; faced her going; was firm yet desolate;
on Tuesday she stopped me on the landing said "Please ma'am may I
apologise?" & this time we had been so resolute & implicitly believed
her that I had written 6 letters. No cooks however came; & I had enough
look into the 'servant question' to be glad to be safe again with Nelly.
Now I vow come what may, never never to believe her again. "I am too
fond of you ever to be happy with anyone else" she said. Talking of
compliments, this is perhaps the greatest I could have. But my mind is
wandering. It is a question of clothes. This is what humiliates me—
talking of compliments—to walk in Regent St, Bond Str &c: & be
notably less well dressed than other people.
Yesterday I finished the first part of To the Lighthouse, & today
began the second. I cannot make it out—here is the most difficult abstract
piece of writing—I have to give an empty house, no people's characters,
the passage of time, all eyeless & featureless with nothing to cling to:
well, I rush at it, & at once scatter out two pages. Is it nonsense, is it
brilliance? Why am I so flown with words, & apparently free to do
exactly what I like? When I read a bit it seems spirited too; needs com-
pressing, but not much else. Compare this dashing fluency with the
excruciating hard wrung battles I had with Mrs Dalloway (save the end).
This is not made up: it is the literal fact. Yes, & I am rather famous. For
the rest, we dally about the Nation. Maynard, dressed in a light overcoat,
is back; hums & haws about standing for the Provost of King's. We
tell him Lydia would like it. He says it means middle age & respectability.
I feel some sympathy for him. This is because he is going grey, I tell
Clive. Clive's back; Nessa departing, & I worrying about my clothes,
& how Roger last night upset me by saying that Nessa finds fault with my
temper behind my back. Then (at Ralph's new left handed establishment)
Inez, rather like Vivien [Eliot] to look at, searches into my eyes with her
greenish pink-rimmed ones, & says, I must tell you two things: then she
tells me that she admires me. That swallowed (doubtfully) she says, Did
you ever have an affair with Oliver? The connection is this: she disliked
me, from jealousy. I protest I never kissed him, & he never looked at
me. She refuses to believe. So she has been refusing to believe for years—
A queer little interview, stage managed by Oliver & she: at last brought
off. I called in Leonard, & I think convinced her.