|© Bailey Higgins (2015)|
Leonard Woolf [British writer, husband of Virginia Woolf] in Sowing: An Autobiography of the Years 1880 to 1904. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1960, pp. 145-146—
[Cambridge University philosopher J.M.E.] McTaggart was one of the strangest men, an eccentric with a powerful mind which, when I knew him, seemed to have entirely left the earth for the inextricably complicated cobwebs and O altidudos of Hegelianism. He had the most astonishing capacity for profound silence that I have ever known. He lived out of college, but he had an "evening" once a week on Thursdays when, if invited or taken by an invitee, you could go and see him in his rooms in Great Court. The chosen were very few, and Lytton [Strachey], Saxon and I, who were among them, every now and again nerved ourselves to the ordeal. McTaggart always seemed glad to see us, but, having said good evening, he lay back on his sofa, his eyes fixed on the ceiling, in profound silence. Every five minutes he would roll his head from side to side, to stare with his rather protuberant, rolling eyes round the circle of visitors, and then relapse into immobility. One of us would occasionally manage to think of something banal and halting to say, but I doubt whether I ever heard McTaggart initiate a conversation, and when he did say something it was usually calculated to bring to a sudden end any conversation initiated by one of us. Yet he did not seem to wish us not to be there; indeed, he appeared to be quite content that we should come and see him and sit for an hour in silence.