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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Morose in Montmartre

Monday, February 15th., Rue de Calais, Paris.

I was influenza-ish all day yesterday and on Saturday evening - until last night when it passed off. We dined on Saturday and yesterday at Sylvain's, and last night went into the Casino de Paris for an hour or so.

I heard again the story of the life, death and burial of the mysterious pretty Englishwoman from Liverpool who gave lessons in English to a constant stream of messieurs chic, and expired alone at 7 rue Breda after being robbed by a Spanish male friend.The arrival of the English relatives and all that! It seemed to me I might use up a lot of the stuff in "The History of Two Old Women", which it seems more and more likely will be my next serious book.

I went last night to see "Siegfried" at the Opera, and came away in a mood to swear that nothing should ever induce me to go to the Opera again in search of my own artistic pleasure. A tame performance without any distinction of any kind.  "Siegfried" is an opera which needs the greatest tact in production. I can easily understand now, how at first Wagner's works were merely laughed at. If they were produced new today they would be laughed at. Their beauty seems to exist side-by-side with their Teutonic gawkiness. Some moments I enjoyed extremely despite all the drawbacks: still the Opera is a European scandal. It ought to be at Bucharest or Cairo.

Passage Jouffroy
I went out this afternoon (Mardi Gras) towards the Grand Boulevard. The crowd got thicker and thicker and confetti more and more plentiful. I left the rue Montmartre for the 'passages' and became blocked in the Passage Jouffroy and so returned. The carnival was nothing but an excuse for stupidity and horseplay. It began to rain, and soon rained heavily, and kept on till 8.30. I was morosely glad to see the carnival thus ruined. It may break out again tonight, though I had promised myself a concert of old music tonight, but after trudging in the wet to the hall in the rue d'Athenes, I found the place shut up. I must have mistaken the night. 

So I spent an hour at the Moulin Rouge, picking up trifles and boring myself.

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