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

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Friday, 7 February 2014

A cry for help.

Thursday, February 7th., Comarques, Thorpe-le-Soken.

I seemed to do nothing this morning except call on Marguerite and write letters, and just reflect for a few minutes on the first article of my second series for the Cosmopolitan. Lunch at the Reform with Ross and Chalmers Mitchell. Mitchell, aged 53, with his grey hairs, stuck to it that he had found a sound definition of poetry. I forget what it was. I told him he ought to know better at his age than to imagine that poetry could be defined. 

Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell CBE FRS DSc LLD (1864 – 1945), zoologist, was Secretary of the Zoological Society of London from 1903 to 1935. During this time he directed the policy of the London Zoo, and created the world's first open zoological park known as Whipsnade Wild Animal Park.

Hedley Le Bas told me that my amateur article outlining a policy for the Liberal Party had made a deep impression on Gulland, the Chief Whip, who said it was the best article on the subject he had seen for years and he 'should show it to Asquith'. Majestic and impressive phrase, 'Show it to Asquith'.

I think that the war is now drawing to a close & I should be rather surprised if it didn't end this year. When you see the newspapers more occupied with social & political news of the war than with military news of the war, you may bet a great change has come over the scene. The food situation here is grave. In Germany & Austria it is appalling. The United States now have 400,000 men in France & the number is increasing all the time. Up to the present however, the U.S.A. have not displayed much talent for turning men into a coherent fighting machine. They are not conceited and they admit this.

Interesting letter from Pinker about Lawrence. He is Lawrence's agent. 
He sent me a letter he had just received from Lawrence, to whit:

My dear Pinker,
I am sorry to tell you that I am coming to the last end of all my resources, as far as money goes. Do you think that Arnold Bennett or somebody like that, who is quite rich out of literature, would give me something to get along with? It is no use my trying to delude myself that I can make money in this world that is. But there is coming a big smash-up, after which my day will begin. And as the smash-up is not far off, so I am not very far from a walk-in ...
Do try and tempt a little money out of some rich, good-natured author for me will you - or I don't know what I shall do. And really, you know, one can't begin taking one's hat off to money, at this late hour of the day. I'd rather play a tin whistle in the street. What a lively world! ...
D. H. Lawrence

What a characteristic letter and how unpromising for the future. I admire Lawrence as an artist and have tried to promote his work. In 1915 May Sinclair and I were the only two writers who publicly protested against the banning of "The Rainbow". And even this year Galsworthy and I considered supporting a private edition of "Women in Love", which had not found a publisher. I am not prepared to keep Lawrence, nor to give him a lump sum, as I doubt if the latter would help him very much. I would willingly subscribe something towards a regular fund for Lawrence, say £1 a week for at least a year, if Pinker thought this would help, and if he could get other subscribers.

David Herbert Lawrence (1885 – 1930) was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D. H. Lawrence. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity, and instinct. Lawrence's opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile which he called his "savage pilgrimage." At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as, "The greatest imaginative novelist of our generation." Lawrence is now valued by many as a visionary thinker and significant representative of modernism in English literature.

Additionally for February 7th., see 'Marauding Germans' -

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.

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