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It's better than a bat in the eye with a burnt stick!

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

And make sure to visit The Arnold Bennett Society for expert information and comment on all aspects of the life and work of AB.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Changing perceptions

Saturday, February 29th., London.

I finished the humorous novel: "Buried Alive" on Thursday morning. Except one chapter, which I thought would be the best in the book, it is all pretty good. I handed the complete MS over to Pinker yesterday.
We have certainly been living at a great pace; at least I have. Out almost every night. Yesterday I went over the Evening News office, and much wanted to use it up for a story. Whitten came to lunch on Tuesday and ordered 16 articles. Pett Ridge came on Wednesday for lunch, and told us a funny story about a page at a ladies club who made an income by cutting politenesses out of telegrams which he was entrusted with for despatch. Lanchester dined here last night. And on Thursday night we dined with Humberston - well got up dinner - male. Wednesday dined at the Atkins'.
We have been to the Exhibition of Fair Women at the New Gallery. The clous of the show were three Sargents, all of which I should have greatly admired six years ago - and now I did not care for them at all. Ugly colouring and much mannerism. And I used to think he was a great man!

Exhibition of Fair Women (International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, London), 1908
Start Date: February 1908 End Date: March 1908
Type: Annual exhibition
Description: Exhibition of works with female subjects.
418 exhibits in total, including 24 sculptures by Dalou.
Display Arrangement: Mixed displays of painting, sculpture and works on paper.

We went to the British Museum. Elgin marbles the greatest sensation I have had for a long time. I used to think them cold. Now I see how passionately they were done. The illuminated MS. also made an entirely new appeal to me. And I was more than ever determined to do some decent illumination.

Writer's reflections

Sunday, February 28th., Paris.

I have been exceptionally industrious lately! I finished another section of "A Great Man" yesterday at 3.30 p.m., having written nearly 10,000 words in a week. I ought easily to complete the book by March 20. It seems amusing enough, and very good in places. But if I treated this as a draft, and really thought out types and made the book fuller, I could make it much better. However, I have a mania for producing a lot just now. And further, this sort of book, though I can do it, is scarcely my natural genre.  I do not take quite the same terrific interest in it as I take in a serious book, nor do I get quite the same satisfaction out of a passage which I know to be well done. And often I have the greatest difficulty in starting my day's work. I am all right when I have started. But the starting is penible.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

False alarms

Sunday, February 27th., Thorpe-le-Soken.

Went to London on Wednesday afternoon last without this volume. Snow. Dined at Lord Swaythling's. About twelve diners. I sat by Viscountess Camperdown. Bad music.
Lord Chancellor came late, and informally, straight from House of Lords. He came up to talk to me - said he had often seen me at the Reform. he gave me the best praise of "The O.W. Tale" I have ever had viva voce. he said he knew Asquith liked my late appreciation of Asquith. I said I didn't always praise ministers, referring to my slanging of himself as Head of Press Bureau. He seemed to catch this and smiled. He is a captivating man.

Stanley Owen Buckmaster, 1st Viscount Buckmaster, GCVO, PC, KC (1861 – 1934) was a British lawyer and Liberal politician. He was Lord Chancellor under Asquith between 1915 and 1916. At the 1906 general election, Buckmaster was elected as Liberal Member of Parliament for Cambridge, losing the seat in at the January 1910 general election. He then sat for Keighley, Yorkshire, from 1911 to 1915. He was a Member of the Council of the Duchy of Lancaster and served under Asquith as Solicitor-General from 1913 to 1915. He was knighted in 1913. In 1915 he was sworn of the Privy Council, raised to the peerage as Baron Buckmaster, of Cheddington in the County of Buckingham, and appointed Lord Chancellor, a post he held until December 1916, when Asquith was ousted as Prime Minister.

Walker came at noon to discuss Shaw's idiotic proposal for a coalition of Intelligentsia. W.A.R.C. meetings all afternoon till 7, after lunch with Masterman about an article I was to write for him in the USA.

At home, we learnt that small German raids expected. All local garrisons doubled. two batteries in the village etc. Great excitement. I had heard nothing of this in London.
As regards this 'great invasion scare', two batteries 'stood by' yesterday morning from 4 a.m. till sunrise and today from 5.30 a.m. till sunrise, all ready to move off - except that bits weren't in harness. The reinforcement which came in a hurry from Colchester here consists of convalescent wounded gunners from the front, appointed only to light duty and to extreme emergency duty. In the fatigue of yesterday's field day (which was utterly useless) the wounds of two of the gunners were reopened. It is considered that the early morning standing by is connected with high water, and that some attempt at landing is feared. Only the ammunition column remains in Thorpe. The two batteries have taken with then 100 rounds per gun. the rest is stored in our outbuildings.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


Sunday, February 26th., Rue de Grenelle, Paris.

Reviews of "The Card" much too kind on the whole. Six on the first day, 6 or 8 on the second. Dixon Scott's in M. Guardian one of the best I ever had, and no effusiveness either.
He writes for example:

  • "The Card is genuine Bennett; it flings a happy light on the whole fascinating Bennett problem; and indeed the really fundamental thing to say about it, comparatively, is not that it ought to have 'Clayhanger's' qualities, but that 'Clayhanger' would be better if it had some of the qualities of 'The Card'. 
  • And: " ... it is probably true that to enjoy 'The Card' completely you must be lucky enough to be born a little nearer to the centre of things than London. To appreciate Mr. Bennett's art, a purely provincial product, to see all that it stands for and all that it is bringing us, you too must be a provincial ..."
  • And: " ... it is the very furiosity of the fun, the element of fantasy and extravagance, that gives the last touch of truth to the tale as a picture of reality."

I did practically no work between Monday and Saturday, but 3,500 words on these two days. In between I was mysteriously ill. I hope to finish the second part of "Hilda" a week today. But tant pis if I can't.
News of edition of "Sacred and Profane Love" with my water-colour cover arrived from United States on Wednesday, together with figures showing that Doran had sold about 35,000 copies of my various books (in about eight months I think). This does not include Dutton's books nor Brentano's editions of "Buried Alive".

Monday, 25 February 2013

Extreme cold

Thursday, February 25th., Vevey.

Fifteen degrees C. of cold this morning at 7 a.m., 13 degrees at 8.15. I went out yesterday afternoon. Strong north-east wind and very hard frost. I had my face wrapped up but after a mile I could not stand it any longer, and had to come home. It was a terrifying and very painful cold: the keenest I have been in.
Finished this morning last chapter but one of "Denry" or "The Card". So busy with this, and advance articles for New Age, that no time or disposition for a journal.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Exciting times

Wednesday, February 24th., Paris.

I walked about Paris most of yesterday, and bought a few reproductions and engravings of pictures. Towards evening I had collected my ideas. I began to write at 9.15 p.m., and finished a short chapter before 12.30.
Just now, as negotiations about two of my plays are pending, I am in a great state of secret excitement and have postponed going to see friends and asking them to see me and generally organising a social campaign, until something has been decided one way or another. I had a letter from Louis Calvert this morning as to "The Wayward duchess".

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Writing for a living

Wednesday, February 23rd., Fulham Park Gardens, London.

Sitting with me in his dark little office at Black and White after lunch, Eden Philpotts, heavily wrapped up and pale after a long attack of influenza, told me something of his life. After leaving school at seventeen, he came to London and entered an insurance office. His first idea was to be an actor. He studied elocution etc. at the School of Dramatic Art, and after two years found he was unfitted entirely for acting. Then, having already written a little, he turned to literature with seriousness. For eight years he wrote from 6 to 9 in the evening. At the end of that time he could earn £400 a year by his pen. He left the insurance office, married, and lived by his pen comfortably till Black and White offered him, through his agent, the post of assistant editor. As this meant an assured revenue he accepted it. He works three days a week, machine-writing, free from responsibility, and the rest of the time he gives to novels and short stories.

Eden Phillpotts (1862 – 1960) was an English author, poet and dramatist. He was born in Mount Abu, British India, educated in Plymouth, Devon, and worked as an insurance officer for 10 years before studying for the stage and eventually becoming a writer. He co-wrote two plays with his daughter Adelaide Phillpotts. 
He was the author of many novels, plays and poems about Dartmoor. His Dartmoor cycle of 18 novels and two volumes of short stories still have many avid readers despite the fact that many titles are out of print. Phillpotts also wrote many other books with a Dartmoor setting. He was for many years the President of the Dartmoor Preservation Association and cared passionately about the conservation of Dartmoor. 

Today I publish my first book, "A Man from the North". I have seen it mentioned in several papers among "Books Received". Beyond that, I have scarcely thought of it. The fact has not at the moment interested me. But during the last few days I have been several times naively surprised that some of my friends are not more awake and lively to the fact than they seem to be. Perhaps it has interested me more than I thought?
Drove to Monmouth yesterday and stopped en route at Ross on Wye. Grey, cold, bone aching sort of day. S. not feeling too well but being brave. Hoping for a pleasant weekend exploring the local area in spite of the weather!

Friday, 22 February 2013

A 'jolly' visit.

Tuesday, February 22nd., Hotel Ruhl, Nice.

H.G.Wells at "Lou Pidou"
We were due at H.G.Well's, Quartier St. Mathieu, Grasse, for lunch. It soon began to rain. Nevertheless the continuously mounting drive to Grasse was very beautiful. Little seems to have changed in that region in the last five years. Nor at Grasse either. The rendezvous with H.G. was for noon in the cours at Grasse. We arrived precisely at twelve, and he was there, signalling, in a big doggy overcoat with the collar turned up, in the rain. Plenty of mud. we left our car and got into his Citroen. Drive of about ten minutes, narrow, curving, up and down, thoroughly bad little road. He has the dependence of a larger house, but is building a house of his own on the opposite side of a little valley.

Odette Keun, Wells, Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard
on the terrace at "Lou Pidou"
Odette Keun came rapidly downstairs to greet us. She enveloped us in welcome. The 'feminine touch' all over the place. Excellent lunch, Provencale, with appreciable garlic in it. An original lunch. We went over to the new house in process of construction. Well, H.G. designed it himself and got an architect to 're-draw the plans'. What he would call a jolly little house. But it wouldn't suit me. Rooms too small, and windows too large, and no tradition behind the design. Still the open-air rooms will be very 'jolly' for eating and sitting about in. Much charm in the situation. We greatly enjoyed this visit. It was very invigorating in every way.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Culture in the provinces

Saturday, February 21st., Comarques, Thorpe-le-Soken.

Pianoforte recital by F.M. at Frinton Hall last night in aid of Tendring Parish funds. Hall centrally heated but draughty. Uncomfortable chairs. Rush-bottomed chair (cost about 3s.) for pianist. Old Broadwood baby grand. Pedal creaked. Rotten tone. Ladies of Frinton and Tendring parishes in evening dress. two parsons who felt they must speechify afterwards. Pianist a man about 40, agreeable, slightly curt smile. Ferocious look when he was playing often. Beethoven, Rameau, Chopin, Scarlatti, Debussy, Liszt, etc. Piano impossible. Intense, almost tragic sadness of provincial music affairs, second-rate or tenth-rate under bad conditions. A gentle snobbishness (artistically) among the women. One man (friend of the pianist) called out 2 or 3 times after a piece, amid the applause, " 'Core, 'core," very loudly and staccato. And he had his encore. Audience determined to appreciate high-class music, and applauding the noisiest and most showy. Crass inertia and stupidity of sundry women around me, determined to understand and to enjoy nothing.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A terrific wind

Sunday, February 20th., Royal York Hotel, Brighton.

All secure in the hotel. But terrific wind beating on the S. windows and general shaking. Go out. You then see hotels from outside. Blocks of stone and yellow light, immensely secure. very brilliant in lower stages. Aquarium a cluster of lights with its absurd little tower. Moon in cloudy sky. Little crowds at two points near pier. Vast sea of foam for about 200 yards out. Rows of little people in half-distance silhouetted like a long-toothed saw against this. I find the general look of these groups of people perhaps the most interesting. So small. waves breaking over jetty and over Marine Drive. Waves coming between jetty and pier, running along wall of jetty in a line like the curves of a long rope shaken to imitate waves. Noise of naked shingles. Plenty of suffused light about. Sheet lightning from time to time.

There was a wonderful sunset the night before, salmon (and a salmon sea) in south, pink to east and sapphire to west. In fifteen minutes it was all grey. But while it lasted the sky was a composition in itself.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A depressing encounter

Friday, February 19th., Rue de Calais, Paris.

I paid a call in the afternoon. Something depressed me afterwards, either I had caught a chill or it was something else, and I had the greatest difficulty in forcing myself to recommence work. However, I dined at the Place Blanche and sat down to write at 9 p.m. It is a good thing I never write down here my moods and things.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Tales of adventure

Monday, February 18th., Cadogan Square, London.

At Harold Snagge's yesterday and day before. Basil Lubbock (author of "Round the Horn before the Mast") told various of his adventures in two wars and in Klondyke and as a seaman. He said, and repeated, that he had met only one or two British cowards. Practically everybody was brave in danger. He expected shell-shock, and also 'panic' affecting a number of people together.

Alfred Basil Lubbock, British sailorman, yachtsman and marine author, was born on the 9th of September 1876 , and died at Monks Orchard, Blatchington, Sussex on the 3rd September 1944. He wrote extensively on maritime matters, particularly the latter days of sail, including a wealth of detail and personal reminiscences collected from numerous
square-rig masters. He was a keen yachtsman, hunter and cricketer;
he was a member of the Society for Nautical Research.
John Masefield wrote of him:
"The last 70 years of the sailing ship (roughly from 1850-1920) were full of change and experiment, as iron supplanted wood, and chain and wire replaced hemp. Extraordinary ships were produced in those years in these islands, in the United States and in Germany. Most of these ships were small (as ships are reckoned now), few of them lived long; and they are now gone, like so many of the men who sailed them. Basil Lubbock made a most readable and sailor-like record of them just before it was too late. He put in his record thousands of vivid memories from old seamen, and of beautiful portraits of ships now scrap or coral. He was only just in time. The ships and sailors were gone or going; the businesses had been wound up or changed and their papers destroyed. The patience, perseverance and hard work put into each of his books can only be known by those who have tried such things. He is honoured throughout the seven seas as one who wrote the history of the sailing ship as she was in the generations of her greatest splendour just before she ceased to be."

Either he or Snagge told of some of the methods of the Ford works. When the employees come in and hang up their street things, the hook is whisked up high in the air, and does not come down again until shutting-off time, so that nobody can prepare to go in advance. Also a man had been employed for some time and thought he was doing quite all right, when the manager sent for him and told him he could leave as they didn't want men like him. He asked why? "Look at these photographs," said the manager. One snapshot showed the man stooping to speak to a fellow workman as he was passing from one spot to another. The other showed him looking into a doorway which was forbidden. I should want very high wages for work in these conditions, I think.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Busy in Brighton

Thursday, February 17th., Royal York Hotel, Brighton.

Yesterday appeared the first of my series of articles in the Chronicle. In discussing the opinion of the young man of 1960 about "Chantecler" I said "the young man of 1960, whose mother's parents probably met the night before last and were rather taken with each other"! The editor cut this phrase out.

'Chantecler' is a verse play in four acts, written by Edmond Rostand. It is notable in that all the characters are farmyard animals including the main protagonist, a chanticleer, or rooster. The play centres on the theme of idealism and spiritual sincerity, as contrasted with cynicism and artificiality. Much of the play satirizes modernist artistic doctrines from Rostand's romanticist perspective. He was inspired to write the play after spending time in the farm country around his home in the south of France, where he had moved for health reasons after the phenomenal success of Cyrano de Bergerac. Although he began writing the play in 1902, its completion was repeatedly delayed due to Rostand's perfectionism and illnesses. The play finally premiered on 7 February 1910 at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin in Paris.

I began to write the second part of "Clayhanger" on Tuesday. I did 2,000 words, and a New Age article, and a lot of letters at night, and a description of "Clayhanger" for the publisher's catalogue. I was very exhausted.
£12 odd is my share of result of nine performances of "What the Public Wants" at Glasgow recently.
I wrote to Trench on Tuesday telling him definitely I wouldn't alter the last act of "The Honeymoon".

Two thousand words of "Clayhanger" today, and an evening of heavy correspondence. And I walked twice to Hove, and once to Black Rock, and once to the end of the pier.

We had tea with Mrs. Granville Barker (Lillah McCarthy) who asked me to write a monologue for her. I said I thought I would.

Lillah McCarthy (1875 – 1960) was an English actress and theatrical manager. She was born in Cheltenham and made her first appearance on the stage in 1895. She joined Wilson Barrett at the Lyric, London, in 1896-97, and after touring in Australia she became leading lady with him in 1900. She married Harley Granville-Barker in 1906, assumed the management of the Little Theatre, London, in 1911, and was associated with her husband in the management of the Savoy. In 1915 she played with her husband's company at Wallack's Theatre in New York City

Marguerite finished copying her first short story "Les Chouettes" today. And I read it. I was quietly astonished by the excellence of its construction, its little fine apercus, and its general stylishness and genuine interestingness.
I got half-way through Trevena's "Granite" and then chucked it. Fine things in it but diffuse. Too damned moral. Not widely enough occupied with emotion in general, nor with beauty. Admirable style. The work of a man who doesn't know enough. Enfin, narrow.

Ernest George Henham was a Canadian-British author who wrote novels at the beginning of the 20th Century about Dartmoor and Devon, England. Henham was born in 1870 and his writings include a series of novels based on Dartmoor, the moorland in Devon, England, where he lived much of his life. He created a pseudonym, John Trevena, for many of his books. Henham wrote more than two dozen books, which were published between 1897 and 1927. He was considered a recluse, but often used people he encountered in real life for the characters in his work. 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

New beginnings

Wednesday, February 16th., Fulham Park Gardens, London.

The preoccupation of removing to a new house is now almost over, after three days of incessant manual work, arranging books, clothes, furniture, and pictures. A householder for the first time I found myself yesterday wandering without aim through the house, staring at finished rooms, and especially at the terracotta effects of my new study, with a vague satisfaction. But stronger, more insistent than this satisfaction, is the feeling of graver and complicated responsibilities, and a sort of anxiety for the future.
And I wonder, at the age of 30, whether the great game is worth the candle?
I return with regretful fancy to the time when, with lighter cares and the highest hopes that ignorance could induce, I lived in Raphael Street, and in Cowley Street, on about 15s. a week.

See also January 27th. - "A Practical Philosopher".

Last night I set to work on a long criticism of George Moore.

As I opened the front door this morning to leave for the office, the postman put a parcel in my hand. It was from John Lane, and it contained the first copy of my first book, "A Man from the North". I untied it hastily, and after glancing at the cover, gave it to Tertia to read. Tonight I looked through the tale, picking out my favourite bits. The style seemed better than I had hoped for.

A Man from the North was Arnold Bennett's first novel - published in 1898. Fleeing a drab and 
dead-end existence, Richard Larch moves south from Bursley to London, intent upon pursuing a career as a writer. Great things are expected of him by those he has left behind, but will he fulfil their expectations and publish a novel, or be consumed by all the metropolis has to offer? 
He is also looking for companionship and love, but finds his high hopes dashed when life in the capital is fraught with difficulties, and a glittering career proves to be more elusive than anticipated. Melancholic and starkly realistic.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Hard writing

Wednesday, February 15th., Rue de Grenelle, Paris.

I got as far as the death of Mrs. Lessways in "Hilda Lessways" on Sunday afternoon, and sent off the stuff as a specimen to Pinker yesterday. 33,000 words.
During this time I haven't had sufficient courage to keep a journal.
I suspect that I have been working too hard for 5 weeks regularly. I feel it like an uncomfortable physical sensation all over the top of my head. A very quick sweating walk of half an hour will clear it off, but this may lead, and does lead, to the neuralgia of fatigue and insomnia and so on, and I have to build myself up again with foods.
Yesterday I signed the contract with Vedrenne and Eadie for "The Honeymoon" at the Royalty Theatre. This is a line I quite like from the play: "Far from the madding crowd is a mistake on a honeymoon.... Solitude! Wherever you are, if you're on a honeymoon, you'll get quite as much solitude as is good for you every twenty-four hours. Constant change and distraction -- that's what wants arranging for. Solitude will arrange itself."

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Laughing gas?

Wednesday, February 14th., Yacht Club, London.

I met Dr. Shufflebotham (Stoke) and went with him to the Palladium (where the entertainment was awful). He told me one of the principal poison-gas factories was in Burslem. He said they had gradually learnt the effects of the gases on the Germans by the effect of the gases on their own work people, over half of whom had been on compensation during the past year. He told a funny tale of how in the early days there was a massed band Sunday fete (semi-religious) in Burslem Park to which all the children in white came after Sunday School. Children began to cry. People said it was symptom of whooping cough. then to cough. Further symptoms. Then adults began to cry and cough. Word went round at once, gas escaping from a factory. Everyone fled from the park. Bandsmen dropped their instruments. two of them met at gates. "Bill, where's thy bloody drum?" "It's where thy bloody cornet is lad."

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Moved by music

Saturday, February 13th., London.

Yesterday afternoon, a sandwich man in Coventry Street, stooping with difficulty owing to his encumbrances, picked up a cigarette out of the gutter.
"My first of the day," he exclaimed to his mate who was in front of him. 
I have been told by my mother that when I was young I used to be taken out for walks by my Uncle Len, by the canal or to Bradwell Woods near Tunstall; apparently I got into the habit of picking up cigarette ends for him to 'recycle' later! I saw nothing unusual in this behaviour at the time.
In either 1893 or 1894 I heard a Wagner opera for the fist time with understanding. It was at Drury Lane and we sat in the balcony. There was no crush on entering, not more than a dozen people had collected when the doors opened. At most 40 people occupied the balcony, and the other parts of the immense building were similarly forlorn. Nevertheless it was an excellent performance with Alvarez and (I think) Klapsky as chief stars.
Contrast: Tonight with Frank I went to a Wagner orchestral concert (promenade) at Queen's Hall, under Henry J. Wood. We got there a quarter of an hour before the commencement and already the entrance hall was packed with an eager tumultuous mass (excited by expectation) struggling to get at the ticket offices. At eight o'clock the vast floor (promenade) and the upper circle were crowded in every part, and in the balcony only a few reserved seats were left, which in turn were taken before the second piece on the programme had been played. The audience was enthusiastic, keenly anticipatory; and the orchestra under the magnetic influence of the occasion played in a fashion which steadily increased the exquisite nervous tension of its hearers. At the opening bars of "The Flying Dutchman" overture I felt those strange tickling sensations in the back which are the physical signs of aesthetic emotion. The mysterious effects of orchestral colour contrast dazed and dazzled Frank's willing ears till he existed simply as a "receiver" - receiver of a microphone or other phonetic instrument ...
The waves of sound swallowed him up, and at the end he emerged, like a courageous child from the surf of a summer sea, dripping wet, breathless, and enraptured.

In 1893, Robert Newman became the first manager of the Queen's Hall. He had the idea for a series of concerts, at affordable prices for a mass audience, with a proportion of the audience able to promenade in a designated space without seats. Newman hired Henry Wood as the conductor for these "promenade concerts", and summarised his idea to Wood: 
"I am going to run nightly concerts and train the public by easy stages. Popular at first, gradually raising the standard until I have created a public for classical and modern music". 

The first "Promenade Concert" took place on Saturday 10 August 1895, with Henry Wood conducting his new "Queen's Hall Orchestra". This first season of concerts ran ten weeks, and was initially called "Mr Robert Newman's Promenade Concerts". To keep concerts affordable, Newman set his ticket prices at 1s for a single promenade concert ticket, and 1 guinea for a season ticket, transferable among more than one person, and valid for all that season's concerts. Newman and Wood included regular concerts within the series of "Wagner Nights" (Mondays) and "Beethoven Nights" (Fridays), and gradually began to introduce new works, or "novelties", by the composers of the day to promenade concerts audiences.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


Friday, February 12th., Vevey.

Girl with voluptuous laugh, short and frequent. Half Scotch, half English. Age 24. very energetic, obstinate, and 'slow in the uptake'. Red cheeks. Good looking. Athletic. Shy - rather coy. Always the voluptuous laugh being heard, all over the hotel. A wanton laugh, most curious. Her voice also has a strange voluptuous quality. They say the Scotch women are femmes de temperament. This one must be, extremely so. And her athleticism must be an instinctive remede contre l'amour. Manners and deportment quite irreproachable, save for this eternal, rippling, startling laugh. It becomes more and more an obsession. One waits to hear it.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Writers for peace (or war?)

Monday, February 11th., Yacht Club, London.

I came up a day earlier in order to meet Grey at Spender's as one of the 'Writers' Group'. The 'Writers' Group' now consists of George Paish, A.G. Gardiner, J.A. Spender, J.A. Hobson, Graham Wallas, Lowes Dickinson, Gilbert Murray, Hartley Withers, Leonard Hobhouse and myself. We lunched first at Cafe Royal, the name of which had rather startled Gardiner & Co., at the start. At Spender's there were also invited M'Kenna, Runciman and Buckmaster. Webb and Henderson had been invited to lunch with us. They came also.
Grey looked younger than I had expected. Hair scarcely grey. Trousers too wide. He played with a pencil case half the time. He looked well, and spoke easily, clearly and well.

Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon (1862 – 1933), better known as Sir Edward Grey, Bt, was a British Liberal statesman. He served as Foreign Secretary from 1905 to 1916, the longest continuous tenure of any person in that office. He is probably best remembered for his remark at the outbreak of the First World War: "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time". Ennobled as Viscount Grey of Fallodon in 1916, he was Ambassador to the United States between 1919 and 1920 and Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords between 1923 and 1924. He also gained distinction as an ornithologist.

We all sat in chairs in Spender's study in Sloane Street, surrounded by Spender's watercolours, some of which were very good.

John Alfred Spender (1862 – 1942) was a British journalist, newspaper editor, and author. He is best known for serving as the editor of the London newspaper the Westminster Gazette from 1896 until 1922. Under Spender's direction, the Westminster Gazette never had a wide circulation, nor did it make a profit. Nonetheless it was the most influential evening newspaper in Britain, for which Spender received the credit. The veteran editor Frederick Greenwood regarded theWestminster Gazette under Spender as "the best edited paper in London," and his leaders became essential reading for politicians on both sides of the political aisle. In them his priority was Liberal unity. He balanced ideological expression in the pages of his paper, avoiding the polemical heights attained by his counterparts in other Liberal publications. Though this occasionally earned him the ire of both Liberal factions in a debate, his loyalty to the Liberal leadership was rewarded with their confidences, which provided him with invaluable insight into the inner workings of contemporary politics.

Grey said that both Italy and Roumania had not been asked to come in. They suggested coming in and gave their terms, which in the main we had to agree to, in order to prevent them being inimically neutral, or, as regards Roumania, going over to the other side. He said that agreement with Russia as regards giving her Constantinople, was result of Turkey, after promising to be neutral, wantonly attacking her ports. He explained why none of the principal governments dared make peace - they could offer nothing to their peoples to show for the war.

While the war was being fought, there were a series of agreements made among the Allies for dividing up the spoils. In March 1915, France was promised Alsace-Lorraine, control of the left bank of the Rhine and German colonies in Africa while Britain was allowed to take over German colonies in Africa and the Pacific. In April of the same year, Italy was tempted to join the war on the side of the Allies by promises of Austrian and Turkish territory. In August 1916, Rumania was promised territories in Transylvania and Bukovina. The Big Three (France, Britain and the USA) had to respect these treaties when they were making the territorial settlement after the war.

Paish made it absolutely clear that unless men could go back to the fields this autumn there would be famine in 1920 - spring. There seemed to be no light at all until M'Kenna, who came late, said that the only hope was a new attempt at an International Labour Conference. He said he was quite sure that International Labour could agree on something reasonable, and that if they did, the hands of governments would be forced. M'Kenna was valuable in insisting that the idea of us trying to make peace now on the assumption that we had won was idiotic. He said that if we held out till 1920 we could have everything we wanted. He showed how tenacious Germany had always been in all her wars, and that even the Labour terms of peace gave no help to pacifist Germans. All were agreed that this Government must be overthrown.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A little licentiousness

Thursday, February 10th., Cadogan Square, London.

I have now read positively as much as I shall read of Fleuret's "Histoire de la Bienheureuse Fille Raton".

Fernand Fleuret (1883-1945) grew up in Normandy, with his grandfather. He studied at various schools. Undisciplined student, he was sent to the Jesuits. Based in Paris, where he earned his living as a journalist, and begian his career as a writer by producing a stylish and fanciful poetry that appealed to the literary and artistic circles of the time. Tiring of his socialite life style, he settled in southern France and married the feminist Gabrielle Réval, 15 years his senior. Later, eager to resume his bohemian life, he returned to the capital, but nevertheless kept a deep affection for Gabrielle Reval who supported him until the end. Pascal Pia said of him: "No trade has been more enjoyable or more productive than the company of Fleuret and his work . I should have said it earlier and I should have shown how, by an extraordinary encounter, erudition, humour and poetry made of Fleuret a character not so common to find, and as, perhaps, there had been none since Nerval."

It contains a good idea - that of professional fornication for the love of god - and some excellent scenes. But it is not quite good enough, and much of its attraction depends on its extreme licentiousness. Indeed, you can see the author passing on from scene to scene, each exceeding the previous one in licentiousness, exactly in the manner of a mere bawdy book. I did not read by any means all the middle part of it. Still it is a book to examine.

I saw by chance in the Nation a wonderful description of a thunder and hailstorm at a popular resort on a mountain top, by D. H. Lawrence. He can do it sometimes. In fact he can damned well do it sometimes!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Gathering more material

Saturday, February 9th., London.

Last night I told Walter Roch we would go home by bus instead of taxi because it was more interesting.

He agreed. We had to wait 5 minutes in Piccadilly for a 19 or 22 bus. (I took a chill here which much impaired my night's rest.) While waiting a very little oldish, spinsterish, thin misshapen, stooping woman came slowly along, carrying two large neat parcels, strapped together, with a string handle. She was neatly dressed, polished shoes, but misshapen and queer - probably about 45. She could walk with great difficulty a few yards only, using all her might to lift the bulky double passage, and then stop and rest and start again. She seemed so exhausted that I went up to her and asked if she wanted a bus. She said "No", but I didn't think she meant it. She then said she had to get to Holborn and that the 44 bus went there. I said "You're on the wrong side of the road," and I almost picked up the package to carry it across Piccadilly for her. She said she didn't want a bus, hadn't any money. She seemed to me to too neat and self-important and obstinate for me to offer her the fare.
Then in the bus we saw a respectable man kiss a little girl. She got out and left him.
So that we were rewarded for our bus ride.

ROCH , WALTER FRANCIS ( 1880 - 1965 ), politician and landowner . He was educated at Harrow. In 1908 , at 28 yrs of age, he was elected M.P. (Lib.) for Pembrokeshire , and continued to represent the constituency in parliament until 1918 . He had also become a barrister at the Middle Temple in 1913 . Although he remained on the back benches, he was a prominent member of the Liberal governments, and in 1917 was chosen a member of the Royal Commission on the Dardanelles Campaign . He was mentioned as a possible future Prime Minister, but he chose to support Asquith rather than Lloyd George , a decision which put an end to his political career. Roch was the author of Mr. Lloyd George and the War ( 1920 ). In 1934 he was appointed J.P. for Monmouthshire . Roch and his wife spent the last 25 yrs of his life at Tŷ Nant , Llanarth ,Raglan, Mon. , presiding over their estates at Llanarth and Llanover .

Friday, 8 February 2013

Clairvoyant at work

Thursday, February 8th., Yacht Club, London.

Dined at Madame Van der Velde's, and sat at a spiritualistic seance with a clairvoyant named Peters, who brought his son, a youth in the R.A.M.C., home for a few hours on leave. This son said there were 500 professed spiritualist soldiers at Aldershot. Theosophist. Peters (pere), man of 45 or so. Short. Good forehead. Bald on top, dark hair at the sides. Quick and nervous. Son of a barge owner. Present: Yeats, Mr. and Mrs. Jowitt (barrister - she very beautiful), Roger Fry, hostess and me. Peters handled objects brought by each of us. His greatest success, quite startling, was with the glass stopper of a bottle brought by Jowitt. He described a man throwing himself out of something, down, with machinery behind him, and a big hotel or big building behind him. Something to do with water, across water. He kept repeating these phrases with variations. The stopper had belonged to a baronet (I forget his name) who threw himself off a launch, in a response to a challenge from X., at 3 a.m. into the Thames, after a party up river. He was drowned.
He succeeded with my toothpick, in getting me to the Potteries, and into the office of the Staffordshire Knot or Sentinel, and described a man that might be either Goold or the editor of the Sentinel, and said that known or unknown to me, this man had greatly influenced me. He insisted on the word 'Zola'. 'Zola'. He said there was a message to tell me. I hadn't done my best work. I am morally sure he hadn't the least idea who I was. And even if he had, he didn't know the toothpick belonged to me, even if he knew that it was I who had brought it, which he might conceivably have done as it was the last thing he picked up off the tray. I made full notes.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Marauding Germans

Monday, February 7th., Thorpe-le-Soken.

On Saturday night great excitement about two men who, challenged by sentry of the ammunition park near the station at 7.15 p.m., had run away. Ammunition of all the district is kept there, including 300,000 rounds of rifle etc. etc. The marauders vanished, though pursued. Clacton was called up by telephone, and kept up most of the night. Officers were called from dinner. The missing men were supposed to correspond with two escaped Germans interned from Dorset. the one best seen had a rope and walked noiselessly, - hence rubber shoes! Why? etc. etc. No capture yesterday either. The funniest thing is that one of the guard, or perhaps it was the sentry himself, says that the marauder must be a German because when challenged the fellow distinctly called out "VON".

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

An impressive personality

Saturday, February 6th., Rome.

I did a little bit of reflection on my new novel in the church of S. Maria del Popolo.
Then at 11.40 we drove to the Lateran Museum, and saw the sculpture.

The Lateran Museum (Museo Lateranense) was a museum founded by the Popes and housed in the Lateran Palace, adjacent to the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, Italy. It ceased to exist in 1970. Pope Gregory XVI (1831–1846) established the Museo Profano Lateranense (or Museo Gregoriano Profano) in 1844 which was made up of statues, bas-relief sculptures and mosaics of the Roman era. It was expanded in 1854 under Pius IX (1846–1878) with the addition of the Museo Pio Cristiano. The three collections were transferred, under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII (1958–1963), from the Lateran Palace to the Vatican. They were reopened to the public in 1970. Their collections are still called "ex Lateranense" to indicate their former place of display.

The mosaic 'unswept floor of a dining room' is very amusing, and throws a light on Roman table manners etc. "Sophocles" equal to its reputation. Nothing else that really remained in the memory, though there are lots of very fine things. We found no pictures at all. Some damaged frescoes. 

The Christian Museum we wouldn't look at. Somehow Rome makes one notably anti-Christian. What chiefly struck me was the desire of the custodiani for human society. Of course one may say that all they are after is a tip. But long after he perceived clearly that I had no tip for him, one of them followed me about. I have noticed the same thing at Naples museums.
I finished Mrs. Millin's "God's Step-children". It is a decidedly good book.

SARAH GERTRUDE MILLIN 1889 – 1968. For more than thirty years Sarah Gertrude Millin was South Africa’s leading literary figure. In a prolific writing career that began in 1919 with the publication of her first novel, The Dark River, she produced sixteen more novels, two major biographies, two autobiographies, six war diaries, a volume of short stories, a collection of essays and a sociological account of South Africa. Her reading public spanned continents. In particular, her 1924 novel, God’s Step-children, with its central theme of the “sin” of miscegenation, brought her to the attention of the reading public in the United States. However, the racism of that view and her conservative political attitudes in general have detrimentally affected her status in South African literary history and present a challenge to a genuine critical assessment of her work.

Grand Hotel Plaza, Rome
We dined with the Sullivan's at the Grand Hotel. The atmosphere of the Grand Hotel is as if it is always Sunday there. At another table there was a solitary old woman, fat and ugly and distinguished. I cried aloud at the sight of her entrance - she was so queer and so impressive. Afterwards in the lounge she had five men, not all old, in tow. She dominated them, talked like a man and laughed loudly, also like a man. We learned she was from Naples, and an author. I didn't catch the name clearly. Anyhow I had never heard it before. Not often      do you see such an impressive personality.

I returned to reading Tchekoff's letters to his wife Olga. They are good, if monotonous. Olga is always setting herself right in footnotes against his false accusations  against her of negligence in the matter of writing to him. She is right to do so, but it is funny.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

An intoxicating day

Saturday, February 5th., Hotel Savoy, Cortina.

Il Principe Ereditario [of Italy] arrived here on Thursday. Band and popular applause. Plenty of people in the street. Peasant girls staring at the hotel long after the Prince had definitely disappeared within. Secretaries or underlings of some sort, from one to six of them, are continuously standing on the first floor landing in front of the Crown Prince's suite. You might almost think he was more important than Mussolini!

Umberto was the son of Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy, who became King in 1900 and abdicated in May 1946, in favor of HRH Crown Prince Umberto. It was, of course, during his long reign that Fascism manifested itself as Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, rose to political power. And it was Mussolini who led Italy into chimerical colonial adventures and into an ill-fated alliance with Nazi Germany. Prince Umberto was a dutiful son. In the Italian context, he was thought of as a liberal, and was no admirer of Mussolini. He and Princess Maria José, daughter of the universally admired World War I hero, King Albert I of Belgians and Queen Elisabeth, lived away from Rome in Naples, again to avoid appearances with Il Duce. They were a popular and attractive couple and did much to help the royal family’s public image by visiting hospitals and undertaking goodwill trips around the country and the world. Winston Churchill, who met Umberto, praised him as by far the most intelligent and competent political figure in Italy at the time.

Today, at last, we made our excursion up to Tre Croci. A magnificent day. We took a two-horse sleigh and the professor of ski-ing, and picked up the Huxleys at the Hotel Belleoni. Tre Croci is 600 metres higher than Cortina. As you rise the sky seems to get bluer and the air clearer, and the craggy reddish mountains more grand. The beauty of the severe landscapes, and the quality of the air were exhilarating to the point of intoxication sometimes.

All the way up - 8 kilometres - the road was patrolled by gendarmes at a distance of about 200 yards apart, because the Crown Prince was going up there to lunch. Strange, to think of all those gendarmes standing nearly all day in the cold (only a few of them had boards to stand on - and remember it was freezing hard), well-uniformed, barbered, cleaned, with wives and children probably - all so that the Crown Prince should see them as he drove up in his sleigh.

We took lunch with us - against my advice - and a good thing we did, for the big hotel at the top was all  sixes and sevens with excitement and preparations about and for the Prince. We had difficulty in getting cocktails. The Head Waiter was not polite. After the cocktails we took our food out into the open and ate in the sunshine. Rather messy and my hands were soon very cold; but we enjoyed it.

The ski-ers started, under guidance of the Professor, and I and Peter (Huxley's dog) kept near them in the sleigh. We met every now and then, and I saw several fine runs and several falls. Dorothy was doing very well. They were all enjoying themselves enormously. I got home first. Dorothy said it was the finest day she had ever had in all her life. Certainly a most marvellous day, even for me, with air, sunshine, superb landscapes, and a universal clarity.

A Spanish costume ball at night, but only two Spanish costumes and Dorothy's Spanish shawl.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Strolling about

Monday, February 4th., Cadogan Square, London.

Yesterday, walking on the Thames Embankment near Grosvenor Road, met Sidney Webb and his wife. Beautiful morning. they were quite happy strolling along. Of course I stopped them. I said to Sidney, "Well, how do you like things?" (meaning the first Labour government, being in the Cabinet, etc.). He said, "Oh, I think it's a jolly lark." Then they asked me rather anxiously what I thought of the Cabinet - that was their first question - and my answer pleased them. Discussed various individuals. Told me how people were impressed by the really business-like qualities of the new ministers. I said, "Evidently they are business-like - the praise is quite justified." "Well," said Mrs. Webb as they left, "they do work. You see they've no silly pleasures." I said, "I hope they have; I hope they have!" She wouldn't have it. And as they walked off Sidney said, about 'silly pleasures', "And here she is taking me out for a constitutional." Evidently he didn't like that. Clearly these two are never tired of their job. And they have no pleasures except their job, and no distractions except perhaps reading novels.

Sidney and Beatrice Webb, (respectively, born 1859, London—died 1947, Liphook, Hampshire; born 1858, Gloucester —died 1943, Liphook), English Socialist economists (husband and wife), early members of the Fabian Society, and co-founders of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Sidney Webb also helped reorganize the University of London into a federation of teaching institutions and served in the government as a Labour Party member. Pioneers in social and economic reforms as well as distinguished historians, the Webbs deeply affected social thought and institutions in England. The Webbs, and their Fabian Socialism, very deeply influenced British radical thought and British institutions during the first half of the 20th century. The exact extent of their influence will always be a matter of dispute, partly because once they had founded an institution (such as the London School of Economics) they were uninterested in directing its development, and partly because many of their ideas were taken up by others, and they were never concerned with demanding credit for them. Some of their effectiveness as a partnership can be attributed to the fact that their gifts were remarkably complementary—Sidney supplying the mastery of facts and publications, and Beatrice the flashes of insight. Of immense importance, too, was their complete contentment with each other and with the pattern of life they had chosen. This sublime satisfaction sometimes caused irritation to those who disagreed with their values and found them impervious to criticism. But no one ever doubted either their ability or their record of completely disinterested public service.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

An atmospheric setting

Wednesday, February 3rd., Rome.

Reflecting on the different ways people choose to live their lives. For some, fulfilment arises from activity, experience and sensation; for others from personal reflection, tranquillity and detachment. Of course they are not mutually exclusive, nor can they be consistently successful as routes to contentment.

After tea I went into S. Maria of the Miracles in the P. del Popolo, because it was open, and I was too feeble to walk.
Twin churches in Piazza del Popolo - S. Maria del Miracolo on the right
<www. gizmoweb.org/>
All at once in a different world (with the lounge of the Russie just across the street). Church scarcely lit. A few people, chiefly old and poor. A choir boy or acolyte moves about, bowing to altar every time he passes in front of it, lighting a bit of electric light. The a bigger acolyte, a tall man, appears, and climbs up and does things to the altar. people come in, like the others chiefly old and poor and mainly women, but a few aged men. The priest comes with hands together, and kneels at altar, and begins to chant and the congregation gives the responses. I should say quite twenty minutes this goes on. It is wonderful how the congregation remembers the responses. meanwhile the boy, having left bell-ringing to the priest, begins to light tall altar candles by a light on the end of a long stick. He has difficulty with some of them. Somebody hidden behind the altar helps with a still longer stick - uncanny effect of this longer stick moving about without hands. At last all lighted. An older priest, only in black - no ornaments, has come and sat at a desk within the choir. Church now lit. Very effective. Then an organ (?American) in a gallery strikes up. It is awful. Also a small hidden choir, equally awful. A tremendously long and monotonous choral business. I left before it was over. I had been in the church fifty minutes at least.

Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto are two churches in Rome. They are located on the Piazza del Popolo, facing the northern gate of the Aurelian Walls, at the entrance of Via del Corso on the square. The churches are often cited as "twin", due to their similar external appearance: they have indeed some differences, in both plan and exterior details. The origin of the two churches traces back to the 17th-century restoration of what was the main entrance to the Middle Ages and Renaissance Rome, from the Via Flaminia (known as Via Lata and Via del Corso in its urban trait). Pope Alexander VII commissioned the monumental design of the entrance of Via del Corso to architect Carlo Rainaldi. Both were financed by cardinal Girolamo Gastaldi, whose crest is present in the two churches. Santa Maria dei Miracoli was begun in 1675 and finished in 1681. With a circular plan, it has an elegant 18th century bell tower by Girolamo Theodoli and an octagonal cupola. The interior has a rich stucco decoration by Antonio Raggi, Bernini's pupil. At the high altar is the miraculous image of the Virgin which has given the church its name. The first chapel on the right-hand side has an altar dedicated to Our Lady of Bétharram, named after a shrine near Lourdes. The order of Priests of the Sacred Heart was founded at Bétharram. There is a reproduction of Renoir's Madonna at Bétharram.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Subject for a novel?

Saturday, February 2nd., Cadogan Square, London.

Yesterday, lunch at Savoy.

For many years I have been fighting against the instinct to write a novel about a grand hotel. The big hotel-de-luxe is a very serious organisation; it is in my opinion a unique subject for a serious novel; it is stuffed with human nature of extremely various kinds. The subject is characteristic of the age; it is as modern as the morning's milk; it is tremendous and worthy of tremendous handling. I dare say it's beyond me. But nobody else had caught hold of it, and if I'm not audacious I'm nothing!

Reeves Smith, Rupert Carte, Thornewill and Temple showed me over the hotel. This visit shows that the instinct is still strong in me!

Sir George Reeves-Smith (17 July 1863 – 29 May 1941) was an English hotelier. Hired by Richard D'Oyly Carte in 1900 to replace César Ritz as manager of the Savoy Hotel, he remained in the post until his death four decades later. In addition to running the Savoy, he was general manager of the other hotels and restaurants in the Savoy group and was a director of the Savoy Theatre. He was also instrumental in establishing charitable medical institutions in England and Switzerland.

The waiters' tips are put in a tronc, and divided each week into parts (French word). Some men get a little over one part, and some as low as one eighth of a part. A part may mean £8 or £10 a week. It appears that if any waiter is cheating he can usually be detected by the law of averages. The waiters have their own clerical work done; but it is checked by the hotel, 'to see fair play'. The maitre d'hotel takes no share in the tips. In the credit department, I found that all mistakes on the wrong side, in bills, if waiters' fault, have to be paid by the waiters.
I heard that the Savoy alone took in receipts a total of a million a year, about £3,000 a day.
Chambermaids keep their own tips individually. Ditto valets. Door-porters pool their tips.
Tale of the head of the Cloakroom; been there for ages; remembers people's faces, often without troubling as to their names. He took an overcoat from an old gentleman, and gave it back to him at the end without a word.
Guest:         How did you know that this is mine?
Employee:   I don't know, sir.
Guest:         Then why do you give it to me?
Employee:   Because you gave it to me, sir.

Kitchen. Head Chef under thirty. Worked his way up. Wore a natty little cravat without collar. Stores. Fish in tanks. The man who calls out the orders as they come down is called the aboyeur. I didn't see a great deal of special interest in the kitchens, except the patent washer-up.
Power Station. Artesian wells. geared turbines. Power for carpet-sweepers, pumping etc. The Power Station looks like the stoke-hold, rather, of the Lusitania. Run by oil now. Ventilated by vast draughts of cold air through trumpet-like things. water heaters for both.
Graph Office. (Capt. Jack) Graphs for various receipts. in summer receipts for rooms go up, and restaurant receipts go down. Londoners away in summer. Hence there are two publics. The travelling and the home publics - very distinct.
Audit Dept. every bill separately checked - but afterwards. Every query on them has to be cleared up.
Printing Office. All menus, cards, programmes, and large bills. In their spare time they do the hotel's commercial printing (such as order forms).
Repairs Dept. I didn't see this. But they plan all their big carpets down there. However, I saw througha window in the side street the room where 10 to 12 women repair the hotel linen every day.
Laundry. Clapham. I didn't see it. An Americam expert said it was undoubtedly the finest equipped laundry in the world.
Bedroom and suites. 6 guineas a day for double bed and sitting room, bath etc. 9 guineas for two bedrooms and sitting room. It pleases visitors best that the rooms should be if anything too warm when shown. Thornewill had given orders previous night that one suite should not be let, so that I might see it at my ease.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Approaching contentment

Monday , February 1st., London.

Today I took up my novel again, and after roughly scribbling 2,300 words in three hours, began actually to have a dim vision of some of the characters - at last. To "get way on", there is nothing like seizing the pen and writing something, anything about one's characters.
If I could spend every day as I have spent today, happiness would be almost within grasp. A couple of hours editorial work in the office in the morning. After dinner I read myself to sleep with d'Annunzio's "Annales d'Anne", and when I awoke I went to pay some money into the bank. Then I schemed out in my head the next chapter of my novel.
Before tea, Mrs. Sharpe came upstairs for a talk, a talk which continued until sometime after tea was over.
From six to nine I worked fairly easily at my novel, drafting 2,300 words - a complete chapter. After supper, I opened a new copy of Arnold's "Essays in Criticism" (Second series) and read the essay on Tolstoy.
I shall read myself to sleep (for the second time today) with Maria Edgeworth's "Belinda". In spite of the laziest liver in the world, I am well nigh content with myself tonight.