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Monday, 4 November 2013

A literary evening

Thursday, November 4th., Cadogan Square, London.

I walked to the Savoy Hotel for the luncheon given to Osbert Sitwell prior to his departure for America. 60 people at this lunch. It was exceedingly well done. Birrell, aged 76, was in the chair, and as lively as a boy. He made two excellent informal speeches. 

Francis Birrell

Francis Birrell (1889 -1935) was a British journalist, editor, translator and literary critic, of the so-called Bloomsbury Group and counted as a friend of the authors James Elroy Flecker  and David Garnett. Between 1915 and 1919 he worked in France for the War Victims Relief Committee of the Society of Friends. Along with Garnett he ran during the 1920s in London, the bookstore Birrell and Garnett, 33 Gerrard Street, near the British Museum. There the members of the Bloomsbury Group, preferably bought their books.

I got home at 4 p.m., and did oddments and had tea, and then went to bed for two hours 5.15 to 7.15. 

Leonard and Virginia Woolf in 1926
We were ten minutes late for dinner at H. G. Wells's, and H. G. himself was eleven minutes late. The Shaws were there, and Frank Wells, and Marjorie Craig (H.G.'s morning secretary) and the Leonard Woolfs. Both gloomy these last two. But I liked both of them in spite of their naughty treatment of me in the press.

Shaw talked practically the whole time, which is the same thing as saying he talked a damn sight too much. After dinner he and Dorothy and Virginia Woolf and H. G. formed a group and never moved. I formed another group with Charlotte Shaw and Jane Wells, and never moved either. I really wanted to have a scrap with Virginia Woolf; but got no chance.

Additionally for November 4th., see 'London again' -

Then tea at A.B.C. Shop opposite Charing Cross. Down into smoking room. A few gloomy and rather nice men. One couple of men deliberately attacking dish of hot tea-cakes. Terrible. Familiar smell of hot tea. A.B.C shops are still for me one of the most characteristic things in London.

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