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Thursday, 17 October 2013

In Antwerp

Friday, October 17th., Grand Hotel, Antwerp.

This morning: absolutely perfect October weather. Musee Royale. very fine old masters. Modern side rotten. Market Place. Endless time on chimes from 11.30 to 11.41. We went into cathedral - and the carillon started again for 11.45. Big pictures in cathedral veiled in green. Louche-ness of ecclesiastical attendants. Market afoot in Market Place.

After lunch we visited port. Finest thing in Antwerp. We were first struck by little brasseries along good main street, each with a little grue, aproned and nu-tete, sitting outside sewing, to attract; they must be extraordinarily attractive to sailors. Scores of these places. Glimpses of streets encore plus louche. Immense impression of travail. 30 miles of quays. new basins still being constructed. Bridge from one road to another opened for passage of steamer. Much traffic held up on both sides. By the time it is closed again, hundreds of workmen collected, and dozens of heavy wagons. Some men chewing monstrous lumps of bread. 

Red Star liner Lapland  had arrived from U.S.A. Long processions of returned emigrants therefrom; some stupid, some full of character. One procession solely men (with a long camion in the middle full of their handbags); another both of men and women; all had little round discs on breast.

I saw one steamer move out (scraping her side all the way) and a larger one come into a basin with 4 tugs. Immense area of port. Superb view of Antwerp with spires from one spot, over blue water. Magnificent sunset; all masts and derricks gradually became black and silhouetted. drove back to town passing through 2 streets full of cafe concerts. Same effect of silhouette against superb red and orange. Port full of grain and wood.

Additionally for October 17th., see 'A writer's day' -

I printed the title page of the MS. of "Riceyman Steps". I have no longer the interest keen enough to do an elaborate title page; but for a simple one the title page I did was not too bad.

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