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

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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

More potboiling

Tuesday, April 18th., Fulham Park Gardens, London.

I finished the draft of "Anna Tellwright" just before Easter - having written it at the rate of eight or ten thousand words a week - and till that was done I had no leisure for keeping a journal or spare energies for observation. I went home at Easter in order to collect facts useful for the novel, and I got what I wanted.
The novel however is to rest till after Whitsuntide. In the meantime I am doing a one-act farce, "The Arrival", and some short stories - one called "Marooned in London", and a great deal of work for the Academy. I wrote to George Sturt at the end of March to say that the time between Easter and Whitsuntide I propose to spend in 'potboiling'.
As the draft of my novel progressed I got thoroughly interested in it, and I finished it with good hopes of the excellence of the complete thing. It was with difficulty that I resisted the temptation to proceed with the second writing immediately after Easter.

Today I sat on a Coroner's Jury at Fulham and heard four cases, including one suicide through religious mania. I was struck by several things:
     The decency of people in general;
     The common sense and highly-trained skill of the coroner;
     The dramatic quality of sober fact. In two instances, the deceased persons had died from causes absolutely unconnected with the superficial symptoms. Thus a woman who had brought on a miscarriage and died had died from heart disease;
     The sinister influence of the ugliness amid which the lower classes carry on their lives;
     The enormous (as it were) underground activity of the various charitable and philanthropic agencies which spread themselves like a network over London. It would seem that nothing could happen, among a certain class of society, without the cognizance of some philanthropic agency;
     The dullness and the conscientiousness of a jury;
     The absolute thoroughness with which suspicious deaths are inquired into.

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