An ongoing collection of relevant quotes from VW as I read my way through her oeuvre. Updated daily.
I never felt anything like the general insecurity.
Aug 12, 1914; Letter to Ka Cox
Well—I wonder what we shall do. I’d give a lot to turn over 30 pages or so, & find written down what happens to us…. At this moment, I feel as if the human race had no character at all—sought for nothing, believed in nothing, & fought only from a dreary sense of duty.
Jan 15, 1915; Diary
The future is dark, which is on the whole, the best thing the future can be.
Jan 18, 1915; Diary
I saw a beautiful woman in the Bus; who could hardly contain her laughter because a great military gentleman was thrown on to her lap, like a sack of coals, which seemed to tickle her greatly, & the more she laughed, the nicer I thought her. About one person in a fortnight seems to me nice—most are nothing at all.
Jan 28, 1915; Diary
keep well, and dont think that life is a thing to be thrown up into the air like a ball, which I’m sure is your present frame of mind.
Feb 12, 1916; Letter to Ka Cox
It is wonderful how entirely detached from sanity the aristocracy are; one feels like a fly on the ceiling when one talks to them.
March 26, 1916; letter to Duncan Grant.
we want to do so many things. Why can’t one be turned back and live everything over again, perhaps rather more slowly?
March 27, 1916; letter to Margaret Llewelyn Davies
I saw Lytton yesterday, who told me he had heard that you and Duncan and possibly others had all got influenza at Wissett. I should be very grateful if anyone who hasn’t go it would send a line to say how you are. I hear Clive had it, and Adrian too, and Nellie went for a holiday and was in bed with it all the time; and Ott’s got it… I saw Ka, who seems rather feeble still. I do hope you are all right. Please dont start a move with the germs still in you.
Oct 9, 1916; letter to Vanessa
If Shakespeare were to awake now! The thought of what he would see in the sky and on the earth is at once appalling and fascinating.
December 21, 1916; review in the TLS
The spring season is full of disease; and a small break in your life might keep you healthy for a year.
March 23, 1917 letter to Vanessa
Clouds brewed over the sea, & it began to rain at tea; then great thunder claps, & lightning. Difficult to distinguish thunder from guns. German prisoners walked across the field.
September 5, 1917; Diary
But oh dear, how little one believes what anyone says now. I feel we’ve sunk lower than ever before this summer.
September 9, 1917 letter to Margaret Llewelyn Davis
Heard guns & saw two airships maneuvering over the sea & valley.
September 11, 1917; Diary
Aeroplanes over the house early, which may mean another raid.
September 29, 1917; Diary
They heard guns over London & saw lights last night. Another raid. We heard nothing, save Mrs Hammond, who heard the guns very loud, as she went home.
September 30, 1917 ; Diary
Anxious about raids. Another last night between 7 & 8: we listened but saw & heard nothing.
October 1, 1917 ; Diary
16 German aeroplanes have just passed over Richmond—They haven’t done us any harm—we went and sat in the cellar and listened to them, and Nelly nearly had hysterics. The people next door saw them perfectly from the top window. A man in the street says one has been brought down in the Park—They sounded quite near, but I dont know if they dropped bombs or whether it was only our guns. Carrington has just rung up to say there were 35 over Gordon Sqre but didnt drop bombs.
October 6, 1917 letter to Vanessa
The K. Shuttleworths advertise the birth of a [posthumous son] with the statement “His Perfect Gift” a good title for an Academy picture, or a Mrs Ward novel, & rather a terrible testimony to the limelight now desired by the rich upon their sacrifices.
October 9, 1917; Diary
We had Zeppelins over last night. They are said to have destroyed Swan and Edgar at Piccadilly. We only heard the guns at a distance, and never heard the warning at all.
October 20, 1917 letter to Vanessa.
Happily… for Alix she didn’t presumably wander in Piccadilly all night, or the great bomb which ploughed up the pavement opposite Swan & Edgar’s might have dug her grave. We heard two soft distant but unmistakable shocks about 9.30; then a third which shook the window; then silence. It turns out that the Zeppelin came over, hovered unseen for an hour or two & left. We heard no more of it.
October 20, 1917; diary
The moon grows full, & the evening trains are packed with people leaving London. We saw the hole in Piccadilly this afternoon. Traffic has been stopped, & the public slowly tramps past the place, which workmen are mending, though they look small in comparison with it… “business goes on as usual” so they say.
October 22, 1917; diary
December 6, 1917; diary