Aldous Huxley came yesterday afternoon to do what he had called on the telephone 'pay his homage'. He looked older and more distinguished. His clothes seemed to be Italian and in material if not in fit very nice. Altogether he looked better and talked more easily. We agreed on nearly all literary questions except the value of his "Antic Hay". He likes that book, thinks it has a point to it.
He seems to agree with my few criticisms of "Uncle Spencer". He said his wife had driven him in a Citroen from Florence to Ostend, over the Alps etc. Said she was mad about driving and a bit inclined to be a speed-merchant. He told me some funny tales about Fascism. One friend of Mussolini's made 40 million lire in two years. He had four very big motor cars of the .......... Company. It was found out that in exchange for these cars he had let the company off taxation for two years - had promised to do so and had done so. The consideration for this great act seems rather trifling to me. Also he insisted on an edict enforcing the little red glass reflectors on the backs of bicycles. The Cabinet was not in favour of it, but he got it through, apparently behind their backs. I told Aldous there was bound to be a big rumpus in Italy soon. He thought there was too, but he couldn't see quite what was to be done against 400,000 well-armed Fascists, the only power in the country.
I asked Aldous to come early and he came early. After one and a half hours I had to tell him I had to go out. So he left. very agreeable meeting, this was.