“When he came to our house or we took people to his for a drink, he would arrive in the room full of hope and curiosity and exert himself to amuse. But so often his jokes fell by the way, were not recognized as jokes. Sometimes there was a brutal truth behind them which in conversation shocked people, so that although they might find his books very funny they did not find him funny at all….But he had the faculty of pulverizing other people, reducing them to silence.”
The article goes on to discuss the importance Waugh attached to conversation. It concludes with a comparison to Jonathan Swift, supported by a quote from Waugh himself in a letter to Diana Cooper where he said that he “found many affinities with the temperament (not of course the talent)” of Swift. Although not mentioned in the article, this was written a few weeks after he wrote to Cooper that a couple he had visited in the West Indies found him boring after he had thought that he “was particularly bright” with them. Mr. Wu and Mrs. Stitch, pp. 318, 320. He died less than a year later.