Welcome to our blog!

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.

Friday, 31 January 2014

A sportsman

Thursday, January 31st., Yacht Club, London.

Collecting ideas for my article on the future of the Liberal Party. 

Then to show of the Senefelder Club at the Leicester Galleries. There was a lithograph of Forain, "Conseil Juridique" which put everything else in the show clean off the map. I couldn't think of anything that I had ever seen more perfect. 28 guineas so I didn't buy it. A loud-voiced old man in very sporting costume, and deaf, came in with a fairly young woman, who called him alternatively 'Claudie' and 'Sir Claud'. It was Claud de Crespigny, the sportsman. many of these chaps have very loud voices. He said 2s. 6d. was too high a price for entrance, had never known entrance to a gallery to be more than 1s. He was mollified when he learnt that 2s. 6d. paid for two. He had come to see a painting by Laura Knight of a prize-fighter. As soon as he saw it he shouted: "I think they ought to give you your money back. It's not like --- at all. He hasn't got those muscles on him - never had. And look at his legs. And look at the size of the ring. It's not 8 feet square." However the woman soothed him, and in the end he seemed to be quite a decent sort of chap. 
Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny (1847–1935), military adventurer and sportsman entered the navy at the age of 13, serving as a midshipman in the Warrior in 1862. In 1866 he transferred to the army and in 1867 he won the first of the many steeplechases in a racing career spanning nearly fifty years. Sir Claude considered fighting, whether with fists or pistols, to be a manly occupation, and he engaged in fisticuffs until his seventies. He devoted his life to the maxim: ‘Where there is a daring deed to be done in any part of the world, an Englishman should leap to the front to accomplish it’. In 1870, irked by the restrictions of army life, Sir Claude resigned his commission to embark on the strenuous and dangerous pursuits he was to follow for the rest of his life. His distaste for heavy betting set him apart from other gentleman riders of the time, as did the strenuous physical regimen he followed all his life. In 1882 Sir Claude took up ballooning, and he became the first European to swim the Nile rapids in 1889. In 1914, at the age of sixty-seven, Sir Claude rode in his last steeplechase, and thereafter devoted himself to the more leisurely pursuits, as he saw them, of sailing, swimming, high diving, and long-distance walking. Lean of face and of spare build, he was proud that his weight was still only 10½ stone.

Lunched at Marlborough Club. The first I saw at the Marlborough was the Duke of Marlborough. I like this chap - also he said he was very interested in my articles, and agreed with them. I liked him the first time I saw him. Ex-King Manoel was there, lunching like nobody at all with two military officers. 

Then to Reform Club to meet Wells, who was very angry with the insular commercial machinations of the aeroplane manufacturers, who, he says, are greatly over-represented on the Civil Air Transport Committee of which he is a member. He told me the latest theory is that the first floor of a well-built house is safer than the basement in an air-raid, owing to the new heavy delayed-action bombs which go through everything and burst only when they can't travel any further.

Additionally for January 31st., see 'A weak spirit' -

Having nothing to do yesterday afternoon, and Eden being at work, and two others being out, and the day being wet, I could not resist going over to Monte Carlo in the tram. I lost money at the tables and came home depressed. In the evening I played billiards, practically for the first time, Eden teaching me. Today, bad weather again. I wrote an excellent T.P. article on Monte Carlo. But at present my interest in this journal is not what it was. Monte Carlo and other things have disturbed it.

1 comment:

  1. Most interesting. Thank you for sharing. Can I confirm please this was 1918?