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

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Friday, 8 March 2013

Walking about

Tuesday, March 8th., Royal York Hotel, Brighton.

Last evening at 7.30 I received a letter from Trench accepting "The Honeymoon" definitely. (And today I heard from Lee Mathews who had received the second £100) I had a great fit of triumph, as I thought about all this Haymarket play might mean. But it soon passed. I had been looking for this Haymarket acceptance for weeks as a sort of goal, but it meant nothing to me, really. In fact this morning I soon found a new source of worry, as my Chronicle article did not appear as it ought to have done.
Rottingdean 1920s

I wrote 1200 words yesterday, though not making a start until nearly 5 o'clock. And 2,300 words today. But it will take me all my time to finish the second part of "Clayhanger" by next Thursday. Yesterday morning, being not fit enough for work, I walked to Rottingdean and back along the cliffs. The sight of sea and downs did me a sort of vague spiritual good.

Man bearing a card: Blind, through boy throwing mortar. Discharged by four hospitals. Incurable.
He evidently had been a street beggar for some time. He had the continual stamping movement of such beggars. What a tragedy! It wouldn't bear much thinking about. Useful for my book though:

Amid the crowd, stamping and tapping his way monotonously along with the assured obstinacy of a mendicant experienced and hardened, came a shabby man bearing on his breast a large label with these words: "Blind through boy throwing mortar. Discharged from four hospitals. Incurable." Edwin's heart seemed to be constricted. He thought of the ragged snarling touts who had fawned to him at the station, and of the creatures locked in the cellars whence came beautiful odours of confectionery and soup through the pavement gratings, and of the slatternly women who kept thrusting flowers under his nose, and the half-clad infants who skimmed before the wind yelling the names of newspapers. All was not triumph! Where triumph was, there also must be the conquered.

Dudley tunnel and limestone caverns entrance
Recently I was strolling on some canals in the Black Country. I seem to have an affinity with canals, probably to do with my being descended from James Brindley. I am pleased that I started "Clayhanger" with a canal scene. Apparently, at one time, there were more canals in Tipton than in Venice, but that is likely to be the only resemblance between those two places! I also went into the Dudley limestone mine-workings by boat. Entrance tunnel only just wide enough for the boat and very little headroom. Curtains of limescale on the walls 'weeping' through the brickwork. Opening out into large caverns which had been hewn from the rock by miners. Mysterious tunnel entrances and shafts wherever one looked. Fascinating, if claustrophobic.

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