The young ladies, Vanessa was twenty-one or twenty-two, Virginia eighteen or nineteen-were just as formidable and alarming as their father, perhaps even more so. I first saw them one summer afternoon in Thoby’s rooms; in white dresses and large hats, with parasols in their hands. Their beauty literally took one’s breath away, for suddenly seeing them one stopped astonished and everything including one’s breathing for one second also stopped, as it does when in a picture gallery you suddenly come face to face across the fields the lovely temple of Segesta.

Leonard Woolf: Sowing 1880-1904


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