Virginia Woolf, Observing

A passage of exceptional precision in The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. 1:

On Sunday Lytton came to tea. I was alone, for L. went to Margaret. I enjoyed it very much. He is one of the most supple of our friends; I don’t mean passionate or masterful or original, but the person whose mind seems softest to impressions, least starched by any formality or impediment. There is his great gift of expression of course, never (to me) at its best in writing; but making him in some respects the most sympathetic & understanding friend to talk to. Moreover, he has become, or now shows it more fully, curiously gentle, sweet tempered, considerate; & if one adds his peculiar flavour of mind, his wit & infinite intelligence — not brain but intelligence — he is a figure not to be replaced by any other combination.

Stephen Schenkenberg @schenkenberg