London absolutely as usual in summer, except the 'call to arms' on the taxis. Atkins lunched with me at Reform. A few days ago there was a rumour in Essex that 160,000 Russians were being landed in Britain to be taken to France. I almost believed it myself at first, but after an hour I became quite sceptical. Atkins believed in this preposterous story, but had not much inside news. Belloc said it was a question of whether Germans would break through Allies' lines yesterday or today. Spender told me a lot of useful stuff for articles.
He also said that Kitch. had 150,000 recruits before he would admit 100,000, and that he now actually had over 200,000 while still advertising for them. Recruiting organisation had broken down and the recruiting campaign was off.
Conference at Wellington House of 'eminent authors'. Hall Caine, Zangwill, Parker among them. Masterman in chair.
Zangwill talked a great deal too much. The sense was talked by Wells and Chesterton. Rather disappointed in Gilbert Murray, but I liked the look of R.H.Benson. Masterman directed pretty well, and Claud Schuster and the Foreign Office representative were not bad. Thomas Hardy was all right.
Barrie introduced himself to me. Scoth accent; sardonic canniness. Afterwards I went with Wells to his flat; all alone there (unusually!). A young Vowles came in with his own recruiting story, which I arranged to turn into an article. I was much pleased with the serious, confident and kind demeanour of everyone. But Spender told me that the Military Clubs were full of old officers in a panic. I had such a fearful headache after the conference that I had to dine alone at the Club. I bought "The Riddle of the Sands" - very annoying style.
Robert Erskine Childers was shot by an Irish Free State firing squad Nov. 24, 1922, after being convicted of having a small pistol. He had been one of the leaders, with Eamon de Valera, of the Irish Republican Army rebellion against the Free State leadership of Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith. His son, Erskine Hamilton Childers, was president of Ireland in 1973-4.