Pertaining to the following quote from Ada, Part 1, Chapter 17:
"I am sentimental," she said. "I could dissect a koala but not its baby. I like the words damozel, eglantine, elegant. I love when you kiss my elongated white hand."
In his Lectures on Russian Literature he pointedly makes clear his views on "sentimentality" and "sensitivity"—and the difference therein:
We must distinguish between 'sentimental' and 'sensitive'. A sentimentalist may be a perfect brute in his free time. A sensitive person is never a cruel person. Sentimental Rousseau, who could weep over a progressive idea, distributed his many natural children through various poorhouses and workhouses and never gave a hoot for them. A sentimental old maid may pamper her parrot and poison her niece. The sentimental politician may remember Mother's Day and ruthlessly destroy a rival. Stalin loved babies. Lenin sobbed at the opera, especially at the Traviata.
And given VN's penchant pour le mot juste—not to mention Van and Ada's behaviour during the rest of the novel—this is certainly not not an accident. One is reminded of his quote about loathing Van Veen.