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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.
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Monday, 23 September 2013
Monday, September 23rd., Les Sablons.
Young men marched about the village yesterday to the accompaniment of one grotesquely sounding brass instrument - difficult to imagine anything uglier or less dignified than this music, to which even portly, grave firemen in uniform will consent to parade themselves. I asked the barber what the noise was about, and he explained that it was the young conscripts who had on the previous day received their marching orders (feuilles de route) and were being merry (no doubt factitiously) previous to their departure a fortnight hence. Immediately afterwards entered another customer, a middle-aged man who put the same question that I had put. "C'est qu'ils ont recu leurs feuilles," replied the barber; these were his exact words I think. The enquirers eyes questioned for a second or so, and then he understood. Several middle-aged men began talking about the shortness of service nowadays. They were all agreed: "Deux ans - c'est rien."
Lately I have several times seen grown men and women holding cows on a rope in a field while the cows pastured. This morning I saw a man and a woman and a boy entirely occupied with five grazing cows. Economically justified this means, must mean, that any device for tethering the cows (granted the absence of hedges and of trees suitably placed for tethering) would cost more than the value of the labour of these three persons. Smollett would enquire as to this. On the opposite side of the road were several cows tethered in an orchard. The absence of hedges in France has certain inconveniences.
Additionally for September 23rd., see 'Visit from Huxley' - http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/tuesday-september-23rd.html
Aldous Huxley came yesterday afternoon to do what he had called on the telephone 'pay his homage'. He looked older and more distinguished. His clothes seemed to be Italian and in material, if not in fit, very nice. Altogether he looked better and talked more easily. We agreed on nearly all literary questions except the value of his "Antic Hay". He likes that book, thinks it has a point to it.