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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Prize fighting

Thursday, June 30th., Cadogan Square, London.

We left in the car for Easton Glebe at 10.47, 17 minutes late, and got there at 12.40. Jane Wells was in an easy chair and then walking about and she ate lunch with us. Said to be better. But when I asked H.G. privately: "Is she better?" he said "No". We sat in a summer house after lunch, and had tea there at 3.20 and left at 4.5.
See also, 'Thinking of H.G.' - September 25th., http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/sunday-september-25th.html

Harry Preston gave a dinner at the Green Park Hotel for the Walker-Milligan prize fight. About 22 covers. I had one end of a long table. Grant Morden was very interesting about James White's suicide. He said that James lost his head in the end. The matter of finding money to take up the shares had been arranged; it then fell through; but it was picked up again, and X.Y. undertook to 'find the difference'. X.Y.'s secretary sat up all night waiting for White to come, but White had gone down to his house at Swindon and fixed everything up for his suicide.

James White (17 May 1877 – 29 June 1927) was an English financier, property developer and speculator. From a working-class family in Lancashire, he worked at a number of jobs before becoming well known in the years before the First World War as a boxing promoter. From that, he moved into property and other transactions, making large sums of money in major deals. He became a racehorse owner and theatre proprietor. White finally overreached himself financially, and being unable to meet his huge liabilities, committed suicide at the age of 50.

Desolate sight at Olympia. Thousands of empty seats. The world-championship fight - Walker v. Milligan - was the most exciting I ever saw. Milligan was soon done in. Walker won tremendously. And yet he got scarcely a hand (being American) whereas Milligan, smashed to bits and tottering (with stitches in his lip), was terrifically cheered. This because of Milligan's mad pluck. Walker crossed himself before fighting.

Mickey Walker, aka the Toy Bulldog, had a very aggressive style. He liked to swarm all over his opponents, always boring in, never letting up. He had heavy hands, and given the opportunity could flatten his opponents at any time.The Toy Bulldog fought five times in 1927, defending his belt just once against European middleweight champion Tommy Milligan in London on June 30th.
The Associated Press followed the action. “Walker floored Milligan in the seventh round, the European champion was down for a count of seven the first time and needed nine after the second knockdown before he was able to regain his feet. He managed to get by the round, however…Milligan came back strong enough in the eighth to hold Walker off and make a contest of it…A right to the jaw was the deciding blow… Milligan went down for the fifth and last time.”

Michael Arlen drove me home and came in for a drink. He said his new book had been a great frost.

Michael Arlen (1895 – 1956), original name Dikran Kouyoumdjian, was an Armenian essayist, short story writer, novelist, playwright, and scriptwriter, who had his greatest successes in the 1920s while living and writing in England. Although Arlen is most famous for his satirical romances set in English smart society, he also wrote gothic horror and psychological thrillers. Very much a 1920s society figure resembling the characters he portrayed in his novels, and a man who might be referred to as a dandy, Arlen invariably impressed everyone with his immaculate manners. He was always impeccably dressed and groomed and was seen driving around London in a fashionable yellow Rolls Royce and engaging in all kinds of luxurious activities. 

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