The deepest snowfall happened in Hampshire, some twelve inches outside. A twelve-hour power-cut, no commuter trains, supermarkets emptied by distressed consumers provided a perfect excuse to curl up by a hot fire, drink tea and complete Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway.
The party scene which ends the story is a faultless symphony. In A Writer’s DiaryWoolf writes:
It is a disgrace that I write nothing, or if I write, write sloppily, using nothing but present participles. I find them very useful in my last lap of Mrs. D. There I am now-at last at the party, which is to begin in the kitchen, and climb slowly upstairs. It is to be a most complicated, spirited, solid piece, knitting together everything and ending on three notes, at different stages of the staircase, each saying something to sum up Clarissa. Who shall say these things? Peter, Richard, and Sally Seton perhaps: but I don’t want to tie myself down to that yet. Now I do think this might be the best of my endings and come off, perhaps.
. . . Mrs. Dalloway , remarkable as it is, is truly Woolf’s starting-point as a strong writer, and not her conclusion.