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

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Monday, 20 May 2013

Book getting

Wednesday, May 20th., Villa des Nefliers, Fontainebleau.

Since we came here I have been determined to recommence, modestly, my career as a book collector. I got addresses, bought L'Intermediaire and got catalogues; which gave me a keen pleasure. And at last I have begun to receive catalogues from second-hand booksellers in Paris. I ordered three cheap books on Sunday to make a commencement. After tea today I sought out all the books I have acquired during the year, and ranged them apart. At the end of the year I shall visually know what I have done in the way of book getting.

l'Interm√©diaire des Chercheurs et Curieux (ICC) is a monthly French magazine consisting of questions and answers from readers on various encyclopedic topics mainly to do with arthistory, genealogy, literature and religions. It appeared from 1864 to 1940, then, after a break, reappeared at the beginning of the year 1951.

I then had to decide what I should read, of heavy stuff, and I settled on Lewes's "History of Philosophy".

Last weekend I meant to plan out my average day as I mean to live it here; but I did not do so. For I am now 'settled down' definitely, and must arrange my life. One of my notions is to study French more methodically; my knowledge of it does not improve fast enough; not even as fast as my accent - and that is not saying much.

For some weeks I have been occupied with the proofs of 3 books: "Helen with the High Hand" (The Miser's Niece), "How to live on 24 hours a day", and "Buried Alive". On Monday I finished the last of these damnable nuisances. Also on Monday I began to construct Part III - Paris - of "The Old Wives Tale", and got on pretty well, in spite of a headache.

Today I wrote a complete short story, "The Tight Hand", 2,300 words. A good idea, rather spoilt; funny, really humorous, but not enough construction to it, and the effect rather anticipated. But I couldn't do it again. With me, the rough has to go with the smooth. I know I have been right in always refusing to do anything twice over, or to alter anything, once done.

Marguerite was in Paris. I had finished at 3 p.m. Madame B. came. Speaking of her cat she said: "I give him everything except liberty. I can't give him that because I haven't got it."

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