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Friday, 4 October 2013

Life in wartime

Monday, October 4th., Comarques, Thorpe-le-Soken.

Mrs. Green today said that she had been talking to a young Sub. at Queen Alexandra's Hospital, Millbank, wounded in Dardanelles. He told her that one day they had to put up wire entanglements and there were no posts. A number of stiff corpses of Turks were lying about. They upended them and stuck them into the ground like posts, and fastened the wire to their heads. Mrs. Green said to us: "What will the youths of 19 be like afterwards, who have been through this kind of thing, and got used to it?"

I should say that in most respects, and to all appearance, they will be like others who have not been through it.

Started 6th. instalment of "The Lion's Share" today.

Owing to the war, Septimus has closed his studio and is working in Sheffield for the Vickers company, where he is supervising a group of women producing shells. He has left his family in the Potteries. He works 11 hours a day on the day shift, 13 on the night shift (from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m.). He writes that he is "... mightily sick of the whole business. I could put up with days but the man who started night work ought to be shot. The strain is too great. The living and working in false light & rotten atmosphere and sleeping while the sun shines is as fatal to the strongest constitutions as it would be to a flower. The work itself has its picturesque side. The interior lit up by large electric arc lights, & small individual bulbs on each lathe, the hum of the machinery, the noise of hammers & the anvil, the clink of shells, people going to and fro with trucks loaded with shells & someone active at each lathe, produces a wonderful effect seen through an open doorway from across the yard, on a dark night."

Additionally for October 4th., see 'Parisian views' -

I then came out and surveyed Paris from the front. I could distinguish most of the landmarks - Notre Dame, Pantheon, Invalides, Gare de Lyon, St. Sulpice, and Louvre. Never before had I had such a just idea of the immense size of the Louvre. I could also see the Opera, (that centre of Paris qui s'amuse) with its green roof (? copper). And it looked so small and square and ordinary. And I thought of the world-famed boulevards and resorts lying hidden round about there. And I thought: Is that all it is? For a moment it seemed impossible to me that, as a result of a series of complicated conventions merely, that collocation of stones, etc. (paving stones and building stones) could really be what it is - a synonym and symbol for all that is luxurious, frivolous, gay, viscious, and artistic. I thought: "Really, Paris is not Paris after all; it is only a collocation of stones." The idea, though obvious enough, was very striking for a minute or two.

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