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

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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Mysterious person

Sunday,  April 3rd., Pension White, Florence.

Wet morning. Uffizzi. Great struggling crowd at the vestiaire. I only went in to get a first impression of the gallery: not of the pictures. Immense staircase to climb: it corrects your inadequate notion of the size of the building. A general impression of carelessness & poverty in the housing of the collection. Irregularity of rooms, etc. One feels that such a collection ought to be housed if not with grandeur and splendour, at any rate with a certain conventional distinction. Great crowds in the principal rooms. In this house of pictures, all turns & corners, some of the pictures are absolutely in the dark. I took the covered gallery to the Pitti. Too tired when I reached there, to look at anything. I went out into the rain. Called at S. Trinita during a mass, made a sketch, and walked home in the rain.

Lunch yesterday with Francis Grierson at Pension Paoli. He still looks astoundingly young. His wig was curiously long, his moustache of course dyed. But he had not the skin, wrinkles, nor above all the gestures of a very old man. He can't be far off seventy. he may be more than seventy. He said he seldom went out now, and would not dress for dinner under any circumstances. Therefore ate in his room in the hotel. Ate little. He had very good ideas about food and general management of the physical machine. Mysterious person. When I asked him if the New Age paid him for his articles he said no, "somebody else pays me". He said he could not work for nothing now, and vaguely that he had lost his money.

Benjamin Henry Jesse Francis Shepard (1848 – 1927) was a composer and pianist, who also wrote under the pen name of Francis Grierson. He was born in Birkenhead, England, but his family migrated to Illinois, United States while Jesse was still a baby. Shepard traveled in Europe, finding audiences even among royalty, and impressed the French novelist Alexandre Dumas, fils. Shepard was involved withSpiritualism and stated that many of his musical performances were the result of the spirits of famous composers channeling through him. He was invited to live in San Diego by a pair of real-estate developers, the High brothers, who enticed him by promising to build a mansion to his specifications. The result was the Villa Montezuma (named after the ocean liner which brought Shepard to America). Shepard died while giving a piano performance.

Additionally for April 3rd., see 'Living for today'

Every morning just now I say to myself: Today, not tomorrow, is the day you have to live, to be happy in. Just as complete materials for being happy today as you will ever have. The supply of time is truly a daily miracle, an affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it. You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. A highly singular commodity, showered upon you in a manner as singular as the commodity itself. No one can take it from you. And no one receives either more or less than you receive. Live as though this day is your last of joy. "How obvious, if thought about" - yet it is just what we forget. Sheer M. Aurelius, of course.

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