There is a privacy about winter which no other season gives you … Only in winter…can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.
Clive [Bell] was one of Thoby’s Cambridge friends and part of the set that began, from about the middle of March 1905, to drop by after dinner on Thursday evenings. Vanessa and Virginia had heard a great deal about these young men from Thoby so that ‘when the bell rang and these astonishing fellows came in, Vanessa and I were in a twitter of excitement. It was late at night; the room was full of smoke; buns, coffee, and whisky were strewn about; … Thoby went to open the door; in came Sydney-Turner; in came Bell; in came Strachey.'
There was little on offer besides a thrilling new kind of conversation which relied not on the usual party small talk but on ‘difficult’ silences which gave way to soaring intellectual discussions on large abstract ideas. The social conventions were ignored. These young men had no ‘manners’ in the Hyde Park Gate [the place they all grew up] sense. Instead of complimenting Virginia on her dress, they were more likely to praise (or criticise) the way in which she phrased her argument. This she found deeply satisfying.
That Christmas Day, watching Angelica being weighed in a shoe box on the kitchen scales, Bunny marvelled at her perfection. 'Its beauty is the remarkable thing about it,' he wrote to Lytton, adding prophetically, 'I think of marrying it; when she is twenty I shall be 46 - will it be scandalous?'In 1942, though Vanessa was opposed, Bunny and Angelica did indeed marry. She was 24 and he was 50. They had four daughters.