Yesterday the brothers McKenna at Reform Club on bad war news.
They came in together. I said "The Brothers" and they sat down with me, and asked if I'd been to any newspaper offices to get news. "My god! It's awful," said Ernest, in a quiet, disgusted, immensely pessimistic tone. I referred to Spender's two articles that day. Ernest said Spender was a good man, kept his nerve - but Reginald looked at the first article, saw one line, and said: "Now, I read nothing but that. The man who will say that - " etc. Ernest said: "There's only one thing to do. Call Parliament together at once and get more men." Reginald repeated this after him. They had evidently been long talking together and had exactly the same ideas on everything. "Robertson was right. Jellicoe was right," said Reggie oracularly. "Robertson is on the beach. Jellicoe is on the beach. In order to be on the beach you only have to be absolutely right." I have no idea what they meant by this, but it obviously meant a lot to them. Perhaps brothers who are close develop a way of communicating ideas which is perfectly intelligible to them but impenetrable to the rest of us?
Lunch at Sidney and Beatrice Webb's today. (See also 'Strolling about - February 4th.) Webb said his wife couldn't sleep on account of the war news, and he had to exaggerate his usual tranquil optimism in order to keep the household together. It was one of the rare human touches I have noticed in the said household. However, they were soon off on to the misdeeds of the Reconstruction Committee. I was told that certain of the staff of the 'Department of Information' had resigned when Beaverbrook was appointed minister over them, refusing to serve under 'that ignorant man'. They won, and were transferred to the Foreign Office - one more instance of the hand-to-mouthism of Ll. George. Went to Reform Club to see papers. Massingham was so gloomy he could scarcely speak. (See also 'A curious mixture' - March 15th.) The brothers McKenna came in, intensely pessimistic. I was rather ashamed of them. Spender's two articles in the Westminster were A1 for fortitude and wisdom. I think more and more highly of this man. (See also 'Writers for Peace - February 11th.)
Sybil Colefax gave me a very good description of the All Clear Signal in a few words at dinner.