Yesterday I could not write and had leisure to think about myself. I saw that even now my life was not fully planned out; that I was not giving even an hour a day to scientific reading, to genuine systematic education; and that the central inspiration for my novel was not fine enough.
I began to rectify this, resuming my Spencer. I bought Taine's "Voyage en Italie", and was once again fired to make fuller notes of the impressions of the moment, of choses vues. Several good books by him consist of nothing else.
I must surely by this time be a trained philosophic observer - fairly exact and controlled by scientific principles. At the time one can scarcely judge what may be valuable later on. At the present moment I wish for instance, that some school mistress had written down simply her impression of her years of training; I want them for my novel. The whole of life ought to be covered thus by "impressionists", and a vast mass of new material of facts and sensations collected for use by historians, sociologists and novelists. I really must try to do my share of it more completely than I do.
So, today I worked from 6 to 7.45. Then, after breakfast, I read Epictetus and Spencer, did my Italian and my piano. After lunch I read Conrad's new book "The Secret Agent", then went out and collected ideas for my novel.
After tea I wrote letters and took a stroll with my wife. After dinner more piano; and French poetry; then this journal. In short a damned virtuous, high-minded day