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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Books and Persons

Thursday, March 12th., Rue d'Aumale, Paris.

I have tried for two days to find rhythms for two poems that I have found ideas for - one elegiac and the other Aristophanic, and can't.

I have read through the first part of "Old Wives'Tale", and am deeply persuaded of its excellence. Aussi ai-je pris mes dispositions pour commencer la deuxieme partie samedi. The ideas have come quite easily.

Today I had a notion for a more or less regular column of Literary notes - title 'Books and Persons' for the New Age, and I wrote and sent off the first column at once. I began to work this morning in bed at 6 a.m.

Yesterday I cycled in showers and through mud to Fontainebleau to meet the architect at the new house. Found it damp; but the works more advanced than I expected.

Been reading Lord Acton. I am driven to the conclusion that his essays are too learned in their allusiveness for a plain man. I should say that for a man specialised in the history of the world during the last 2,500 years they would make quite first-class reading.

Described as “the magistrate of history,” Lord Acton was one of the great personalities of the nineteenth century and is universally considered to be one of the most learned Englishmen of his time. He made the history of liberty his life's work; indeed, he considered political liberty the essential condition and guardian of religious liberty. Lord Acton is popularly remembered for his pungent aphorisms – “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” – but of far deeper significance was his lifelong study of the history of freedom.

Additionally for March 12th., see 'Triumph of hope over reason'

I nodded acquiescence but I was nearly laughing aloud, and telling her that I preferred to dispense with these mysterious services. As I was arranging terms with her, I marvelled that I should be assisting at such an interview. And yet - supposing there were after all something in it! I was not without hope. She had distinctly impressed me, especially by odd phrases here and there which seemed to indicate a certain depth of character in her. I went away smiling - half believing that the whole thing was a clever fraud, and half-expecting some happy result.
Tonight I sent her a cheque. I wondered, as I wrote it out, whether twelve months hence I should be wanting to burn these pages which recorded my credulity, or whether with all the enthusiasm of my nature I should be spreading abroad the report of Mrs. L's powers.

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