I resumed "A Great Man" today.
I walked a good deal yesterday: extremely cold. I called in at the Petit Palais and saw some good things that I had not noticed before.
I was in search of ideas for the continental part of "A Great Man". But I could not keep my mind off the serious novel which is to make a third to "Anna" and "Leonora". I thought of a fine name for the title: "Carlotta". About 6 o'clock, after useless efforts all day, I got the leading idea I wanted for "A Great Man". In the evening, concert. Quartets of Brahms and Beethoven, and songs by Brahms, Schumann and Schubert. Full House. The affair was most inspiriting. Again I could not keep my thoughts off 'Carlotta' (as I shall now call it), and it seems that after all I may do this book before I do "The History of Two Old Women" ... This morning, snow.
Somerset Maugham came up for tea. He has a very calm almost lethargic demeanour. He took two cups of tea with pleasure and absolutely refused a third; one knew instantly from his tone that nothing would induce him to take a third. He ate biscuits and gaufrettes very quickly, almost greedily, one after the other without a pause, and then suddenly stopped. He smoked two cigarettes furiously, in less time than I smoked one, and solidly declined a third. I liked him. He said he had sold a play to Liebler through Fred Kerr, on the terms of £300 down, and £100 every quarter until they produced it - in advance of royalties. I asked him if he liked the Quartier Montparnasse and he said: "Yes; the atmosphere of it is rather like Oxford." He said that as soon as he could he should spend three years in travel.
See "Woman" November 17th.