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VW Diary - 20th May 1926

Waiting for L. to come back from chess with Roger: 11.25. I think
nothing need be said of the Strike. As tends to happen, one's mind slips
after the crisis, & what the settlement is, or will be, I know not.
We must now fan the books up again. Viola & Phil Baker were both
struck on the wing. Viola comes, very tactfully, as a friend, she says, to
consult after dinner. She is a flamboyant creature—much of an actress—
much abused by the Waleys & Marjories; but rather taking to me. She
has the great egotism, the magnification of self, which any bodily display,
I think, produces. She values women by their hips & ankles, like horses.
Easily reverts to the topic of her own charms: how she shd. have married
the D. of Rutland. "Lord — (his uncle) told me I was the woman
John really loved. The duchess said to me 'Do make love to John &
get him away from —. At any rate you're tall & beautiful—' And I
sometimes think if I'd married him—but he never asked me—Daddy
wouldn't have died. I'd have prevented that operation: Then how he'd
have loved a duke for a son in law! All his life was dressing up—that
sort of thing you know." So she runs on, in the best of clothes, easy &
familiar, but reserved too; with the wiles & warinesses of a woman of
the world, half sordid half splendid, not quite at her ease with us, yet
glad of a room where she can tell her stories, of listeners to whom she
is new & strange. She will run on by the hour—yet is very watchful not
to bore; a good business woman, & floating over considerable acuteness
on her charm. All this however, is not making her book move, as they say.
Eddy came in to tea. I like him—his flattery? his nobility? I dont
know—I find him easy & eager. And Vita comes to lunch tomorrow
which will be a great amusement & pleasure. I am amused at my relations
with her: left so ardent in January—& now what? Also I like her presence
& her beauty. Am I in love with her? But what is love? Her being 'in
love' (it must be comma'd thus) with me, excites & flatters; & interests.
What is this 'love'? Oh & then she gratifies my eternal curiosity: who's
she seen, whats she done—for I have no enormous opinion of her poetry.
How could I—I who have such delight in mitigating the works even of
my greatest friends. I should have been reading her poem tonight:
instead finished Sharon Turner—a prosy, simple, old man; the very spit
& image of Saxon. a boundless bore, I daresay, with the most intense zeal
for "improving myself", & the holiest affections, & 13 children, & no
character or impetus—a love of long walks, of music; modest, yet
conceited in an ant like way. I mean he has the industry & persistency in
recounting compliments of an ant, but so little character that one hardly
calls him vain!