Are you using a browser that doesn't support JavaScript?
Have you disabled JavaScript?
If you have disabled JavaScript, you must re-enable JavaScript to use this page. To enable JavaScript:
Close
Close
Close
 
Simple Version Library | Calendar | Page Viewer | Help Videos

VW Diary - 6th May 1926

(one of the curious effects of the Strike is that it is difficult to remember
the day of the week). Everything is the same, but unreasonably, or
because of the weather, or habit, we are more cheerful, take less notice,
& occasionally think of other things. The taxis are out today. There are
various skeleton papers being sold. One believes nothing. Clive dines in
Mayfair, & everyone is pro-men; I go to Harrison [dentist], & he shouts
me down with "Its red rag versus Union Jack, Mrs Woolf" & how
Thomas has 100,000. Frankie dines out, & finds everyone pro-
Government. Bob [Trevelyan] drops in & says Churchill is for peace,
but Baldwin wont budge. Clive says Churchill is for tear gas bombs,
fight to the death, & is at the bottom of it all. So we go on, turning in
our cage. I notice how frequently we break of[f] with "Well I don't
know." According to L. this open state of mind is due to the lack of
papers. It feels like a deadlock, on both sides; as if we could keep fixed
like this for weeks. What one prays for is God: the King or God; some
impartial person to say kiss & be friends—as apparently we all desire.

Just back from a walk to the Strand. Of course one notices lorries
full of elderly men & girls standing like passengers in the old 3rd class
carriages. Children swarm. They pick up bits of old wood paving.
Everything seems to be going fast, away, in business[?]. The shops are
open but empty. Over it all is some odd pale unnatural atmosphere—
great activity but no normal life. I think we shall become more in-
dependent & stoical as the days go on. And I am involved in dress
buying with Todd [editor of Vogue]; I tremble & shiver all over at the
appalling magnitude of the task have undertaken—to go to a dress-
maker recommended by Todd, even, she suggested, but here my blood
ran cold, with Todd. Perhaps this excites me more feverishly than the
Strike. It is a little like the early hours of the morning (this state of
things) when one has been up all night. Business improved today. We
sold a few books. Bob cycled from Leith Hill, getting up at 5 a.m. to
avoid the crowd. He punctured an hour later, met his tailor who mended
him, set forth again, was almost crushed in the crowd near London, &
has since been tramping London, from Chelsea to Bloomsbury to gather
gossip, & talk, incoherently about Desmond's essays & his own poetry.
He has secreted two more of these works which 'ought to be published'.
He is ravenous greedy, & apelike, but has a kind of russet surly charm;
like a dog one teases. He complained how Logan teased him. Clive calls
in to discuss bulletins—indeed, more than anything it is like a house
where someone is dangerously ill; & friends drop in to enquire, & one
has to wait for doctor's news—Quennel, the poet, came; a lean boy,
nervous, plaintive, rather pretty; on the look out for work, & come to
tap the Wolves—who are said, I suppose to be an authority on that
subject. We suggested Desmond's job. After an hour of this, he left,
— here Clive came in & interrupted. He has been shopping in the
West End with Mary. Nothing to report there. He & L. listened in at
7 & heard nothing. The look of the streets—how people "trek to work"
that is the stock phrase: that it will be cold & windy tomorrow (it is
shivering cold today) that there was a warm debate in the Commons—

Among the crowd of trampers in Kingsway were old Pritchard,
toothless, old wispy, benevolent; who tapped L. on the shoulder & said
he was "training to shoot him"; & old Miss Pritchard, equally frail,
dusty, rosy, shabby. "How long will it last Mrs Woolf?" "Four weeks"
"Ah dear!" Off they tramp, over the bridge to Kennington I think;
next in Kingsway comes the old battered clerk, who has 5 miles to walk.
Miss Talbot has an hours walk; Mrs Brown 2 hours walk. But they all
arrive, & clatter about as usual—Pritchard doing poor peoples work for
nothing, as I imagine his way is, & calling himself a Tory.

Then we are fighting the Square on the question of leading dogs.
Dogs must be led; but tennis can be played they say. L. is advancing to
the fight, & has enlisted the Pekinese in the Square. We get no news from
abroad; neither can send it. No parcels. Pence have been added to milk,
vegetables &c. And Karin has bought 4 joints.

It is now a chilly lightish evening; very quiet; the only sound a distant
barrel organ playing. The bricks stand piled on the building & there
remain. And Viola was about to make our fortune. She dined here,
Monday night, the night of the strike.