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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Roman New Year

Friday, January 1st., Hotel de Russie, Rome.

The Hotel de Russie is a luxury five-star hotel located in the heart of the beautiful city of Rome between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo on the Via del Babuino. The hotel is within easy walking distance of Rome's key attractions. The Vatican City, with St Peter's and the Sistine Chapel, is just a ten-minute walk from the Hotel de Russie while Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain are also within easy access. The most unique luxury hotel in Rome, Hotel de Russie provides a stunning feature - extensive, terraced gardens, the “Secret Garden”, so called, because hidden behind the building to provide a tranquil oasis amidst the bustle of central Rome

Santa Maria del Popolo
Three Madonna churches in Piazza del Popolo. I went into two this morning at 11 a.m. At S Maria del Popolo, fine church with two good chapels, lovely design, and some good baroque, mammoth music and choir. Quite a congregation. All the high altar lit up by electricity like a booth at a wakes. At S. Maria del Monte Santo, two altars were being served at once. More gorgeous priests. Congregation spread over the floor on chairs, anyhow, as at a drawing-room meeting. Collection being made by a dwarf in a short white thing over black; dirty face; very dark.

Later I went into the same church (S. M. del Popolo) again with Dorothy. Another mass afoot, but the electric illuminations of the high altar had been extinguished. Why? A larger congregation. We made out the paintings by Pinturicchio, Raphael, etc., and sculpture by Mino da Fiesole. This church ought to be seen again and again. It shall be. 

We drove up to the top of the Janiculum Hill, for the view of Rome at sunset. It was marvellous, rose-tinted; then the sun disappeared and the show was suddenly over. Crowds of people up there. Crowds everywhere for New Year's Day holiday. Then we came home from Janiculum and I wrote 1,000 words of "Raingo" in 90 minutes.

One of the chief curses of Roman street life is the hooting of the motors. Incessant and peculiarly strident. If isn't altered the population will develop some nervous disease.

I have just finished re-reading "The Sinews of War" by me and Phillpotts. Enjoyed it. Very well plotted, but the characterisation left something to be desired. The most interesting character was the villain Walter Pollexfen: amoral, charming, dangerous, a consummate actor; a sort of minor megalo-maniac. I began to think as I was reading that I had made him so interesting because I liked him best, and if I had to be one of the characters from the book I would certainly choose to be him. It is a good adventure yarn. I am not ashamed of it. Phillpotts provided the scenario, which took him I reckon about four days, and I did all the writing; seems unfair that his name gets priority on the spine!

Additionally for January 1st., see 'Measles' -

Mrs. Kennerley was here today to have tea with Ma. She said, speaking of the diseases of children: "We never used to think of having the doctor for measles. I had all my children down at once. We kept them in the sitting-room during the day, and carried them upstairs at night. They went on quite well. It is different now. People seem to be more afraid, but we never used to think of the doctor in those days."
"Those days" would be 15 or 16 years ago.

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