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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Monday, 18 March 2013

Prowling the forest

Wednesday, March 18th., near Fontainebleau.

In two hours of working this morning (1,600 words) I absolutely exhausted myself, so that after lunch I was so fichu that I scarcely knew what to do. In 3 days 4,000 words of "Old Wives Tale", 2 articles, some verse, and general scheme of long article on London theatrical situation. Also ideas for a big play about journalism for the Stage Society, designed to thrill London. Marguerite came back last night from 2 days in Paris, and brought two books - new, French, fresh as fruit. Astonishing the pleasure of merely contemplating them as they lay on the table. I must really, once settled in Fontainebleau, resume the good habit of buying a book a day.
Worried about the finances of Fontainebleau lately. Still I kept myself in hand very well until the moment arrived last night for me to receive a crucial letter from Pinker. It was handed to me in the dark street. I had some difficulty in not stopping to read it under a gas lamp. I read it at the station. All right. No mistake, the constant practice of M. Aurelius and Epictetus has had its gradual effect on me. Have never worked better than these last days. Lovely weather, but chilly. Chilblains on hands. Immense pleasure, pretty nearly ecstatic sometimes, in looking at the country, in being in it, particularly by the Seine and in the forest. I said to myself the other morning that the early savage used to prowl about from his cave like that, and that I might almost meet one in the forest; whereupon it occurred to me that I was exactly the early savage over again, prowling round his cave, with the same sniffing sensations of instinctive joy in nature. Very curious this getting down to the bedrock.
Reading continues to be unsatisfactory. No work of longue haleine to read. Can't begin till we are installed in Fontainebleau. Also I can't stick to the piano: not enough music here; nothing but Chopin's Mazurkas and Preludes, and Mozart's Sonatas. Thus, though enormously productive, I have time on my hands, even with journeys to Fontainebleau and reading six newspapers a day.
Last week I began a column of book gossip for the New Age. Pleasure in making it rosse. Writing under a pseudonym, I seemed to think that as a matter of fact it must be rosse. Strange! This week's was better than last.

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