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

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Friday, 25 April 2014

Out of the war

Wednesday, April 25th., Yacht Club, London.

I wrote the last scene but one of "The Roll Call" today and was exhausted. Lunched alone at crowded Reform Club.

I walked down past Buckingham Palace this morning. Two naval petty officers outside in full fig, and their women. A police superintendent (?) and a policeman at gates. Former said to latter: "We'd better be getting 'em in," and then, to the sailors, "You decorations? Come on. Come along. Come on," curtly, as if they had done some deed suspicious, and not valorous. The sailors talked with their women for a few moments, and then went obediently within the precincts. They were two roughish, short, thick-set chaps. I wonder what they had done to earn their decorations?

Called at Reform Club, where I spent 40 minutes with Wells and an American journalist-lecturer-professor named Macdonald, over here for the New York Nation. Wells was talking about the after-war exacerbationary reaction on nerves, which would cause rows, quarrels, etc. unless it was consciously kept well in hand, and Macdonald said that a year or so after the San Francisco earthquake prominent S.F. men would disappear; they were in sanatoria, etc. Also lifelong friends, such as business partners, would quarrel over some trifle, each go to his solicitor, and never speak to one another again.

Additionally for April 25th., see 'In Arcadia'

Then begins a hundred mile drive across the Pelponnesus Peninsula to Nauplia. A crow would measure the distance as forty miles; the odd sixty are made up in loops and hair-pin turns. The scenery is consistently stupendous. This region is the original Arcadia, where the Athenian met the great god Pan and concluded a bargain with him. Considered as Arcadia the countryside is not in the least what it decently ought to be. A few small poplar trees of tender green, some olives, some cypresses, some belled goats, but in the main untilled and very desolate slopes! Plainly many groves must have vanished since Pan helped to win wars, because he could not possibly have stayed in a province which as it now stands must be excessively unsuited to the happiness of persons of the Pan temperament.

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