Advance of age. I now sit down to brush my hair and put my collar and tie on. I also take a decided pleasure in forming habits, and re-forming old ones connected with the furniture from Fontainebleau, whose little peculiarities of locks and knobs etc. I recognise again with positive satisfaction. The pleasure of doing a thing in the same way at the same time every day, and savouring it, should be noted.
I am now at close on p. 1000 of "War and Peace". Curious the episode of Lavrushka the valet, and Napoleon, in which he takes a historical incident, and feigns that as recounted in history it is all wrong, and gives you what he alleges to be the real truth. Even in this early book his theory of war is already fairly complete and obvious.
In the Evening Standard I have written about E. M. Forster's new volume of short stories, "The Eternal Moment" which can only fortify his reputation as an imaginative writer. It comprises remarkable things, and one quite startling thing - The Machine Stops. This tale, of the far future, is in the vein of H. G. Wells when he is fantastic. Mr. Forster has done the fantastic before; but never with such complete success. Indeed Mr. Wells might have been content to sign The Machine Stops. It is original; it is full of imaginative invention; it hangs together; it is terrible (but with a hopeful close); it is really impressive in a high degree. It ought not to be missed. If the majority of readers who like this sort of story are not enthusiastic about The Machine Stops, then I will enter a retreat for critics who have prophesied falsely, and in future write nothing but reviews of new editions of seventeenth century versifiers whom nobody except their editors has ever heard of.