I half expected O'Connor tonight - kept the evening free for him - but he did not come. So after some hesitation I determined to spend it by myself, just to see how I got through with it. The restaurant was too full, and the service slow, and I didn't enjoy my dinner and I ate too much, and read the Tribune all through. I came home at 9.30, and read a little of Voltaire's "Candide" - I bought a nice edition of his "Contes" yesterday, half-bound, for two francs, and enjoyed it very much.
Then I meditated on the serial and got one or two notions. I was very gloomy at first, but got cheerful about eleven. I think I could accustom myself to reading in longer spells, and to spending evenings alone fairly comfortably if I tried.
I am reading George Moore's "The Lake". It is so smoothly written, and so calm and beautiful that I can enjoy reading it without even taking in the sense. Frequently I have read half a page without grasping the meaning at all, or trying to grasp it. It is a most curious novel, perhaps not really good, but certainly distinguished in a Yeats-y way.
Additionally for February 8th., see 'Clairvoyant at work'
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.