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

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Saturday, 31 May 2014

In France

Tuesday, May 31st., Rue de Calais, Paris.

I went down to Moret on Saturday morning to see Davray and nearly missed the train owing to my servant. I was astonished how, during the journey on the Metro, the apprehension of missing the train at the Gare de Lyon got on my nerves, though it was a matter of no importance as there are plenty of trains. My nerves were all raw when I arrived at the Gare, and I was physically exhausted through urging the Metro train to accelerate its movements. So simple it is to lose one's sense of perspective.

In the afternoon I saw the ceremony of the annual Revision des Chevaux which takes place all over France at about this time, every horse in France, except certain mares, being at the call of the government for military purposes. It occurred under a tree in the open space between the Mairie, the church and Davray's garden. As each horse of the commune was brought up, the vet looked it over and described it very briefly for the captain to write down. At the last moment a young man galloped up on a black draught horse, and in answer to some query replied as he slipped off the horse: "C'est un etalon, comme mois."

Later Davray and I walked down to the banks of the Seine which to my astonishment was close by. A beautiful stream, broad, and surrounded by fine scenery, and not a pleasure boat in sight. Everywhere the most superb acacia trees with their aphrodisiac smell.
For more on Davray see 'Rumours of war'

On Sunday we messed about and in the afternoon went to a river restaurant where the amoreux of the district forgather and amuse themselves in swings. A partie carree of two brothers and two sisters diverted and interested me much: they were so human, and so French, and so naive; and the fleeting charm of the girls (neither of them pretty) was so soon to fade, and the men were so soon to become mature and bete.
For more on Moret see 'French excursion'

We then walked along the canal and inspected the life of the canal people. The hovels on the bank, where they live when they are in the district, were disgusting. The general landscape, viewed at large, and ignoring many small blots, was simply superb.

An English couple (a Liverpool merchant aged 32 and his pretty wife aged 24, on their honeymoon) were arrested on Saturday for having, or attempting to have, sexual intercourse in the Place de l'Archeveche. This struck me as one of the funniest examples of crass 'Englishness' and contempt for foreigners that I have ever come across - the funniest.

Additionally for May 31st., see 'A rural retreat'

We are staying here for a few weeks. The cottage is small but the landscapes and food are excellent, and I am working. Occasionally I have to go up to town. I went for a walk at 10.10 along the straight Storrington Road., and sat on stiles while thinking out my next chapter. I am making very good progress with "The Vanguard".

Friday, 30 May 2014

A painting day

Monday, May 30th., Villa des Nefliers, Fontainebleau.

Yesterday morning I had written a 1,700 word holiday article (200 words too long) for Tillotson's before 7.30 a.m. At 10 o'clock I began to do a nature morte, and with intervals for food and nap, I worked at it till a quarter to six. This is the first entire day I have ever spent at painting. The best picture I have ever done. I shall finish it today. Marguerite went to Paris after lunch to see her father and family generally, and came back with fine tales; so that most of the time I was alone with the dog, who was most gloomy. When I had done painting, I began to read "Whom god hath joined" and couldn't leave it. I read about seventy pages of it. This is the sort of book that insists on being read.

Am just reading "The Man of Property". Certainly I should say that the erotic parts - and there are plenty of them - were done under the influence of George Moore. If Galsworthy had never read and admired George Moore, the similarity is extremely remarkable.

Additionally for May 30th., see 'Election day'

To the rest of the British world, however, the day was memorable as being Election Day. I went to an enormous election party in the evening and found dozens of people seriously disturbed at the mere possibility of Labour getting a clear majority. The rancour and asperity of party politics was exposed naked in speech, tone, and gesture. Still the food and the champagne were admirable.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

War talk

Saturday, May 29th., Comarques, Thorpe-le-Soken.

On Thursday I sent off first copy of first half of "The Lion's Share".

London yesterday for the day. New English Art Club. Very interesting watercolours of Steer, etc.

Painswick Beacon, Wilson Steer, 1915
It is in relation to the Royal Academy that much of the development of the New English has been seen. The origin of the Club was in the studios of a group of young London artists in 1885. These painters had studied and worked in Paris, and felt a dissatisfaction with the exhibition potential of the very academic R.A. which was under the presidency of Sir Frederick, later Lord Leighton It was decided to mount a rival show, so in April 1886 the first exhibition of the New English Art Club was organised at which about fifty artists were represented, including Fred Brown, George Clausen, Stanhope Forbes, J.S. Sargent and Wilson Steer. Thus the scene was set: the stolid academic approach of the R.A. as opposed to the dynamic and vibrant observation of the New English - a caricature of course, as are all such comparisons. However, it is remarkable that the artistic descendants of the Impressionists continued to be associated with the New English whilst the R.A. moved by fits and starts towards a more conceptual approach and towards public gallery orientated work. During the late 19th and early 20th century the New English grew greatly in influence, and the days of Sickert, Augustus John, Tonks, Steer and William Rothenstein were a golden period indeed. In the 1920's Stanley Spencer, Paul Nash, Duncan Grant and Mark Gertler were all members - indeed almost every member of the Camden Town Group started with the New English, and it formed an essential part of their development.

Lunch with Mair at Garrick Club. Mair said that Princess Irene blew up with 300 mines on board. 

HMS Princess Irene
At about 11.14 on the morning of 27th May 1915, Sheerness witnessed the destruction of the minelayer HMS Princess Irene which was on No.28 buoy about 3 miles WSW from the town centre. The ship had been built in Scotland in the previous year to the order of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company but was requisitioned and converted for Naval use before she could sail to the Pacific. The Princess Irene had a complement of 225 officers and men, three of whom were ashore that morning as the mines were being primed on the ship's two mine decks. Also on board were a party of 80 or so Petty Officers from Chatham in addition to 76 Sheerness Dockyard workers who were completing tasks prior to the ship's planned departure to lay her mines on 29th May. Without warning, the ship was blown to pieces and her remains, and the remains of those on board, were scattered over a wide area of the surrounding river and countryside. One of the Chatham Dockyard workers, David Wills, amazingly survived the explosion but few bodies were found. Those that were located were buried in Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham. A memorial to those lost in both this and the Bulwark disaster is situated opposite Sheerness Railway Station. The cause of the disaster was thought to have been due to a faulty primer (pistol)although evidence at the Official Enquiry showed that the work of priming the lethal mines was being carried out a) in a hurry and b) by untrained personnel.

He said that whereas Fisher went to bed at 10 and rose at 5, Churchill would come to the Admiralty after dinner. Churchill sent in a telegram to be approved by Fisher; Fisher declined to approve it. On the intermediary suggesting that instead of sending a blank refusal he should draft a new telegram, he did so.

Mair said that Sir John Simon was going to be much more strict with the censorship, and that it was intended to prosecute The Times. He also said that Fisher on being appointed ordered 300 craft of various sorts. One firm alone made 24 light cruisers. There are special craft for going up the Danube, and special monitors for running over mine fields to attack Cuxhaven.

Churchill and Fisher
Admiral of the Fleet John Arbuthnot "Jacky" Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher, (1841 – 1920) was a British admiral known for his efforts at naval reform. He had a huge influence on the Royal Navy in a career spanning more than 60 years, starting in a navy of wooden sailing ships armed with muzzle-loading cannon and ending in one of steel-hulled battlecruisers, submarines and the first aircraft carriers. The argumentative, energetic, reform-minded Fisher is often considered the second most important figure in British naval history, after Lord Nelson. Fisher is primarily celebrated as an innovator, strategist and developer of the navy rather than a seagoing admiral involved in major battles, although in his career he experienced all these things. When appointed First Sea Lord in 1904 he removed 150 ships then on active service which were no longer useful and set about constructing modern replacements, creating a modern fleet prepared to meet Germany during World War I. He first officially retired from the Admiralty in 1911 on his 70th birthday, but became First Sea Lord again in November 1914. He resigned seven months later in frustration over Churchill's Gallipoli campaign, and then served as chairman of the Government's Board of Invention and Research until the end of the war.

Additionally for May 29th., see 'Parisian culture'

He took me yesterday afternoon to make the acquaintance of the Godebskis at Valvin. Husband, wife, two small kids. Poles. Among the most charming people I have ever met. Purely artistic. Godebski once owned and edited a little review. Looks like a Jew but is not one. I saw on a table a copy of Mallarme's "Divagations", with the envoifrom the author "A son vieil ami, Godebski". Not interested in anything but artistic manifestations. I said I had gas and they hadn't. Godebski said he didn't like gas lamps. I said: "For cooking." "Yes", he said, carelessly, "but with alcohol and oil they can manage." Didn't care a damn about inconveniences. A whole crowd of artistic youth there; various French accents. A picturesque, inconvenient house, full of good and bad furniture in various styles. A large attic with rafters formed the salon; a good grand piano in it.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Literary landmark

Thursday, May 28th., Victoria Grove, Chelsea.

John Lane showed me John Buchan's report on my novel. It was laudatory and kind, but not (I thought) critically appreciative. He had no fault whatever to find with the novel qua novel, but he said it would probably not be popular and that the same sort of thing had often been done before. Although it probably will not be popular, the same sort of thing has not been often done before; it has never been done before - in England. I can recall no novel of which either the essential treatment or the material is at all similar. The man is most honest, and anxious to do justice, but he clearly has not been able quite to sympathise with the latest disciple of the de Goncourts. Lane said, "I will publish it", and I said, "That is very good of you," or something like that, and that was really all that passed in the matter of the book.

For more on this see 'First novel'

Additionally for May 28th., see 'Feeling tired'

Yesterday I had more success in finding ideas for the last part of "Clayhanger" but I had no success in drawing. I seemed to spend all afternoon in merely arranging still-life objects, and I couldn't decide on any of them. But on Thursday night I did a pretty fair study of Marguerite. I couldn't read anything, except newspapers. I couldn't answer any arrears of correspondence. And after doing nothing all day I was so tired I had to go to bed at 9.15.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


Monday, May 27th., Cadogan Square, London.

My birthday. I am 62 today. I celebrated it by going to Portland Place and undergoing what for some inexplicable reason is called a thorough 'overhaul'. I had been warned that every man over 50 ought to be 'overhauled' every few years, whether he thinks he needs it or not. Dire maladies may unobtrusively begin their awful work within you, and develop and develop quite unsuspected, and then suddenly declare open war on you, and you are dead before you are prepared for death. Moreover, had I not been suffering from chronic insomnia for many years, and must not insomnia have a cause? And so on. The advice seemed sensible. As regards insomnia, my overhauler suggested that I should take a drug, 'medinol', every night for 3 months or 6 months. Apparently it is absolutely harmless, and so far as I can judge it is. The doctor also told me that I ought not to eat spinach - me who have been regarding spinach as the staff of life for many years past! Yes, such was the advice I paid for.

My nephew George Beardmore wrote to me recently enclosing a novel he has written. It is an orgy of phrasing rather than a book, but there is very real imagination in it, and a lot of very good and original writing. The plot is not good and is obscured by excessive description and capricious incident. Nevertheless the thing has distinction and a good deal of promise. I have advised him not to attempt to get it published. He clearly has it in mind to 'follow in my footsteps'. I wonder if he would have been inspired to write but for the accident of my being his uncle?

I have been reproached for writing in the Evening Standard about rare editions, first editions, beautiful editions, the argument being that such matters have no real relation to literature itself, and that what counts in a book is the stuff in it, not the presentation of the stuff in it. To my mind the argument is ridiculous. A book is a physical object as well as a medium for the transmission of thought, emotion and information. And the attributes, including the historical attributes, of the physical object react upon the person to whom the thought, emotion or information is being transmitted.

Additionally for May 27th., see 'Praise and disappointment'

Wells, Whitten and Marriott think that "A Great Man", recently published, is my best book. And Phillpotts is enchanted with it. I was touched by Wells' praise, my only surprise being that he didn't find more fault with it. As a matter of fact I could have done it better, especially towards the end. But, having conceived it as a 'lark', I fell into the error of regarding it technically as a 'lark' also. I told Wells that it was just one writing, no draft, practically no erasures, & about two months' work at most. He always seems to prefer the work which costs me the least trouble. But what is the use of talking about colours to the blind?

Monday, 26 May 2014

Real generosity

Tuesday, May 26th., Villa des Nefliers, Fontainebleau.

It must be very difficult, I think, to be really generous, ie. to give something which you need. I doubt whether in this strict sense I have ever been really generous in all my life. I felt it this afternoon, in talking with E., when it was a question of giving £20 before I had heard definitely from my architect that the landlord at Paris had undertaken to refund my deposit. I might really want that £20, and though I decided at once to give it, not from a spontaneous instinct of generosity, but unwillingly (within myself) and in obedience to my ideas of rightness and propriety. Something forced me to give it. This is not generosity. On the other hand, are those persons (few and far between as they may be) who give away what they need for themselves as selfless as they appear? What is their motivation? Surely they must have the idea, more or less consciously, that they are gaining merit by their actions either in the sight of others, or in terms of their own self-respect, or, if they are of a religious persuasion, in the sight of their god. That being the case, is it correct to say that they are really being generous? 

I have now added to my daily affairs a little systematic study of French, a little miscellaneous reading, and a little odd writing work, which for the moment is to take the shape of translating Verlaine. So, after being here over a month, I have at last got into my desired routine, completely. Routines are of course, generally speaking, a good thing. Naturally they do not suit every nature, but for someone of a naturally lazy disposition such as myself they are indispensable.

This morning I read through Part One of my novel, and thought it was devilishly good. Tomorrow I begin Part Three.

Additionally for May 26th., see 'Falling foul of the censor'

The French Censor turned it down entirely, and Davray in a letter to me this week gives the Censor's actual words. He says the figures were not official (which they were) and might give rise to polemics. Moreover that conscription was now accomplished and no more to be said. But he had kept the article since before the final conscription bill was brought into parliament. The Censor's reason for refusing the article was, of course, purely political. This article gave the arguments on both sides; it stated that conscription - certain to come - would not greatly increase the army - and spoke of the necessity of trade, munitions etc. The Censor didn't like that.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Pretty lady

Friday, May 25th., Yacht Club, London.

I returned to London Tuesday. Squire and Desmond McCarthy lunched with me at the Reform.

At night, after writing the Sardonyx article I went to Russian concert at Russian Exhibition and it was very good. The pianissimos of the Balalaika Orchestra were marvellous, especially woth music like Borodin's. On the other hand I had little use for Tchaikowsky's  'Grand Trio' (A Minor). Place pretty full.

In 1917, in order to raise funds for the Anglo-Russian hospitals, Lady Muriel Paget organised a huge Russian exhibition on the theme of "Russia in Peace and War" at the Grafton Galleries in London, which ran through May of that year. The exhibition included a series of Russian concerts (where Feodor Chaliapin sang to raise money for her), lectures on various Russian-related topics, dramatic performances of Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy, etc. The opening ceremony, presided over by Lord French, was preceded by a Russian Orthodox religious service.
More on this at 'Philanthropy'

But the chief thing yesterday was that I began on my novel about the French cocotte, with gusto.

Additionally for May 25th., see 'On sex and women'

I see that at bottom, I have an intellectual scorn, or the scorn of an intellectual man, for all sexual-physical manifestations. They seem childish to me, unnecessary symptoms and symbols of a spiritual phenomenon. (Yet few Englishmen could be more perversely curious and adventurous than I am in just these manifestations.) I can feel myself despising them at the very moment of deriving satisfaction from them, as if I were playing at being a child.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Pretty women

Tuesday, May 24th., Rue de Calais, Paris.

Mrs. Devereux and Mrs. Laye lunched with me at Sylvain's yesterday. "So you've started your carriage again?" I said to Mrs. Devereux. "Yes," she said, "I couldn't do without it. Hang expense." They had both had the good taste to have read my new book and to enjoy it thoroughly. They really have a profound sympathy with each other, these sisters. And I like to have them side by side and to sit opposite to them.
For more on Mrs. Devereux see 'Back to work'

Mrs. Devereux said that she was at a dinner party the other night at which were also W. S. Gilbert and Douglas Straight. Straight was talking about peculiarities of memory, loss of it, etc. He said that he could remember incidents from when he was in Naples at the age of two. But if he was asked where he dined last week he couldn't remember. "No, " said Gilbert. "And if you could, probably you wouldn't be able to tell us."

Mrs. Laye maintained (not apropos of the above) that men didn't like being made fun of whereas women didn't mind; she said she had been astonished at some men. She told a good thing of a very old man on his dying bed giving advice to a youngster: "I've had a long life, and it's been a merry one. Take my advice. Make love to every pretty woman you meet. And remember, if you get 5 per cent on you outlay, it's a good return."

Afterwards we went to the Exposition des Primitifs. I enjoyed it much more than I did the first time, partly because it really is good, and partly because Mrs. Devereux, who is fearfully keen on primitivism, pointed out qualities to me. By the way I knew she would be keen on Anglada's decadence at the Salon, and she is.

The Exposition des Primitifs Français was an exhibition of French medieval and early Renaissance art held at the Palais du Louvre (Pavillon de Marsan) and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris between April 12 and July 14, 1904. The exhibition had over seven hundred paintings, drawings, enamels, sculptures, and manuscripts that had been assembled from both French and international private and public collections. The exhibition’s thesis held that the French School of so-called primitive art, particularly paintings, constituted an important artistic movement between High Gothic sculpture and architecture and the emergence of the so-called Golden Age of French painting in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 

When they left me I went down to my Empire furniture shop in the Boul. Raspail and bought a book case, a fire screen, a suspensoir, and two chairs, which I am eagerly expecting tomorrow.

Friday, 23 May 2014


Sunday, May23rd., Amberley, Sussex.

I wrote 1,100 words of "The Vanguard" in the dining room during the morning, after various short strolls. I meant to write another 900 words but somehow couldn't begin. The fact is that my heart isn't in this book. I get a few ideas when I am walking about. Enough to go on, but I need some way to liven the darned thing up a bit.

Dreiser's "An American Tragedy". I have already read 150 pages of this novel. The mere writing is simply bloody-careless, clumsy, terrible. But there is power, and he holds you, because his big construction is good. The book quite woke me up last night, just as I was going off to sleep.

This house belongs to an artist, name of Stratton. His pictures abound and they are the filthiest you ever saw.

Fred Stratton. Horse and Cart in a Lanscape. 1923
Fred Stratton was born in Lincolnshire, the son of a farmer. It is not known where he studied but by the 1890s he had a studio in London. By 1900 he had moved to Amberley in Sussex where he worked with Edward Stott who had settled there in 1889 and established an artists' community in the village. Stratton exhibited widely in London and the provinces, specializing in evening summer idylls and evening subjects. However, it was as a portrait painter that he made his living and for that reason left Amberley to set up a studio in Chelsea in the late 1920s. At the outbreak of World War II Stratton was living in Peru where he remained until his death in 1960.

I have had neuralgia since we arrived here and it is not improving, which may account somewhat for my rather negative view of things at present.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

An acquaintance

Sunday, May 22nd., George Street, London.

George Moore for lunch. He is very prejudiced, especially on the old subjects of James, Conrad and Hardy, but extremely interesting, though long-winded. He said he much wished our acquaintance to continue.

He said that Christine was the finest cocotte in Literature, and that I must have lived with her, and actually witnessed the Sunday afternoon kitchen scenes, etc. I don't think he believed my denial of this, and my statement that it was all invented, including Christine. I didn't tell him that when I was hunting about for a physique for Christine I saw Madame R. accompanying her husband at a concert, and immediately fastened on her physique for Christine - sadness, puckering of the brows, etc. Moore told me he was writing five short stories about celibates. He gave me a rather fullish account of one story, which seemed very good and Moore-ish. 

For more on George Moore see 'A man of opinion'

He left at 3.30 .... Fiddled about all afternoon. No ideas. I went to the Burlington Club. Personne! But at the Reform I read Conrad's essay on de Maupassant and then I read the first part of "Yvette", and this did me good.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Comet fever

Saturday, May21st., Paris.

Undoubtedly there has been more evidence of superstition about the comet in Italy than elsewhere. On Wednesday the papers were full of the 'incontro' of the Earth with the tail - on the posters - and some of them had articles rassurants by, for example, Camille Flamarion, explaining soothingly that no harm would occur. Vast numbers of people stayed up on Wednesday night to see the comet and were decus, as there was nothing to be seen. The Italian landlady of the pension went up to the Piazza M. Angelo at 2.30 a.m. and stayed till 4. Crowds of people singing & making a row. I had heard noises and wondered what was up. Indeed, Soulie reports same thing from Toulouse - going out to a certain point to see the comet, and seeing it en masse, as if for the end of the world. Same thing in a lighter vein in Paris, where people thought the violet colour of the lightning in the tremendous storm of Thursday night meant the end of the world.

In 1910 Halley's Comet made one of its rare but regular passes by the earth. With the new scientific equipment of the era, astronomers were able to study the comet much more closely than before and observe many of the properties of it and its long tail. This observation revealed that much of the tail consisted of cyanogen, a deeply poisonous gas. The astronomers also determined that Earth might well briefly pass through the tail of the comet. They quickly determined that this would be harmless, however, and told people that the only thing to expect was that sunsets would possibly be somewhat more vivid for a while. However, the media and the public didn't entirely pick up on the harmlessness of the pass-through, and just focused on the fact that the Earth would be passing through a cloud of poisonous gas. Soon, hysteria began to build as people grew more and more fearful that poison would envelop the world. Scientists tried to reassure the public that the gas was so widely distributed that it would be unnoticeable, but the papers often failed to actually report that fact, and panic continued to mount. 
As the event drew nearer, things grew worse and worse. Con artists were able to sell pills that they claimed were ‘comet pills' to protect people from the gas. Regular prayer vigils were held in churches across the nation. The death of Mark Twain was implied to be connected somehow to the arrival of the comet. A shadow over one town drove people into a brief mass panic. Newspapers reported constantly on any news related to the comet – where the tail would hit the Earth, when it would be visible, and the like. When the time finally came for the pass itself, people barricaded themselves in their houses, filling any cracks or gaps with old rags to prevent any air from outside getting into the house. In the end, the Earth and its people rather obviously survived. The hysteria faded as Halley's Comet made its way back off into its distant and complicated orbit, and nobody died from the gases in its tail. 

We left Florence at 2.45 on Thursday, and arrived at Milan at 9.45 a.m. Auguste Foa met us at station and had a drink at hotel (Bellini). Headache all the time. 3 hours sleep. We left Milan at 8 a.m. on Friday, and left Italy about 11 a.m. No proper seats in the through carriage till we got to Montreux. Tremendous storms in the Jura and further on. We reached Paris at 11.25 p.m., half an hour late, & the hotel at 12.30. I found a large post, including a request from the Chronicle to suspend articles, as they were crowded out and a letter about a play. We went to bed about 1.30 or 2, and I had 4 hours sleep. Beautiful morning but heavy. My first act was to go to my artistic barber in the Rue de Seze. Then to buy La Nouvelle Revue Francaise.

I read over half of "A Man of Property" in the train and have many ideas about it. Distinguished, but not mighty, not complete.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

In praise of Stevenson

Thursday, May 20th., Victoria Grove, Chelsea.

I regard it as a serious and disquieting symptom, that, now that I have finished "In the Shadow", I have a positive wish to work. No man, healthy in mind and body, ever wants to work. He knows that work is good for him and will probably produce happiness, but that he should actually want to work is incredible, except of course after a too protracted holiday.

Stevenson's "Weir of Hermiston, an unfinished romance" appeared today. Chapter VI "A leaf from Christina's psalm-book" contains about 40 pages of the subtlest, surest, finest psychological analysis that I can remember. I am quite sure that there exists nowhere a more beautiful or more profoundly truthful presentation of the emotional phenomena (both in the man and in the woman) which go to the making of 'love at first sight'. On page 178 Stevenson, with secret pride I swear, says: "Thus even that phenomenon of love at first sight, which is so rare and seems so simple and violent, like a disruption of life's tissue, may be decomposed into a sequence of accidents happily concurring." ... Yes, it may, by a Stevenson; perhaps by a Meredith; but by none else of modern writers. "Weir of Hermiston" is as far beyond anything that Hardy, for example, could compass as "The Woodlanders" is beyond my "In the Shadow". Which is to say much! The mere writing of "Weir of Hermiston" surpasses all Stevenson's previous achievements.

Samoan stamp marking the 75th anniversary
 of Stevenson's death
Weir of Hermiston (1896) is an unfinished novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. Many have considered it his masterpiece. It was cut short by Stevenson's sudden death in 1894 from a cerebral haemorrhage. The novel is set in Edinburgh and the Lothians at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. The novel tells the story of Archie Weir, a youth born into an upper-class Edinburgh family. Because of his Romantic sensibilities and sensitivity, Archie is estranged from his father, who is depicted as the coarse and cruel judge of a criminal court. By mutual consent, Archie is banished from his family of origin and sent to live as the local laird on a family property in the vicinity of Hermiston. While serving as the laird, Archie meets and falls in love with Kirstie (Christina). As the two are deepening their relationship, the book breaks off. Confusingly, there are two characters in the novel called Christina.

For more on Stevenson see 'Reflections on the Writer's Craft'

Monday, 19 May 2014

Positively revolting

Thursday, May 19th., Pension White, Florence

San Miniato
Church at San Miniato yesterday morning, in intense heat. I find that after 7 weeks of sightseeing I begin to discover beauties for myself, and to be quite sure that they are beauties. For example, the pavements and some neglected bits of frescoes at S. Miniato. 

Before that I went to Cooks and got money and tickets for Paris. The place was crowded with tedious and long-winded persons. Before that I bought bindings and a Galsworthy book. In the afternoon we went to see Pauline in her nursing home. Up a dusty hill that autos thundered down and horses were thrashed up. Most satisfactory home. 
For more on Pauline Smith in Florence see 'Friends in Florence'

Restaurant Lapi
I had a fearful headache, owing to dinner eaten at the Restaurant Lappi with the Vedres & Por on Tuesday night. We saw Gordon Craig there and his withered wife. But I preferred her to him. He had the looks of an intellectual hysteric, and egotist. By bits, I wrote a Chronicle article yesterday and today. This morning I saw the awful sight of groups of tourists 'doing' the Loggia Lanzi under Italian guides who spoke English. It was positively a revolting sight. I solaced myself by getting more money from Cooks and buying an ebony stick.

Sunday, 18 May 2014


Wednesday, May 18th., Flying Cloud, at sea.

I wrote a description of Cattaro, the ride to Ragusa, and Ragusa before 6 a.m. after only about four hours sleep. After breakfast we went ashore, and visited monasteries, etc., under the direction of the head of a museum. Some of us left him early and sat in a cafe. Then rejoined the yacht at the small port and sailed to old Ragusa.

The entrance into Ragusa is formidable, a curving canyon cut deep through rock, with a warning archway at intervals, and extremely formidable battlements above. But once within the city nothing frowns on you. For years I had formed the idea that Ragusa must be among the most picturesque cities of Europe. It is. But my picture of it was completely wrong. I had thought of it as being in an advanced state of ruin, decay, and secular dirt. Despite its age - and its houses are largely fifteenth century - it is the most spick and span town I ever saw, the cleanest, the neatest, the brightest. And it is a mass of smooth granite. Its streets are paved with granite, upon which there are no irregularities to martyrise the feet. Its tram lines are more truly laid than any others I have examined in a small town. Large open-air cafes. Bands that play native music. Excellent hotels of which I sampled two. Good food. many barbers' shops. Scores and scores of beautiful women who are neither shy, coy, nor pert, but charming with dignity. Some local costumes. A large cenotaph by Mestrovic on a wall. Wild and majestic scenery all around. Ragusa is obviously a rich city, but, contrary to what too often happens with rich cities, the peasants of the countryside are not down-trodden; very much the reverse.

Ragusa had a most destructive and yet most happy effect on my preconceived notions of the Balkans.

The Republic of Ragusa, or Republic of Dubrovnik, was a maritime republic centered on the city of Dubrovnik (Ragusa in Italian and Latin) in Dalmatia (today in southernmost modern Croatia), that existed from 1358 to 1808. It reached its commercial peak in the 15th and the 16th centuries, under the protection of the Ottoman Empire, before being conquered by Napoleon's French Empire in 1808. It had a population of about 30,000 people, of whom 5,000 lived within the city walls. It had the motto Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro (Latin for "Liberty is not well sold for all the gold").

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Theatrical contrasts

Saturday, May 17th., Cadogan Square, London.

Last night to Lena Ashwell's "Once a week players" performance of Shaw's "The Devil's Disciple" at the Century Theatre, Archer Street, North Kensington. Produced by Beatrice Wilson. Beatrice said she had to produce the play in ten days, and they always did plays in this period. They dispensed practically with props and scenery. Everything very poor and cheap; but nicely done - not overstepping the modesty of nature - and the play held you, except the last five minutes which were very poor. A fellow named Henry Oscar played the lead. Evidently of much experience. Handsome. He did very well. Has done Shakespeare tours. The dialogue is exquisitely written - better than Shaw is writing now, I think. Less glittering, but as pure and fine as Congreve.
For more on Lena Ashwell see 'A fascinating woman'

I contrasted all this poverty with the great costliness of our Drury Lane production, with its lavish advertising, etc. Dean is producing "London Life" with the most notable skill. You would say he knew everything about plays and producing. Yet the taste of people generally fails somewhere. He wanted me to introduce into the part of the Prime Minister Holyoke (supposed to be a mixture of Asquith and Balfour with a touch of Rosebery) the words "Wait and see". I refused absolutely at once. Imagine the cheap roar which would follow such a despicable sally.

Friday, 16 May 2014

A happy man

Thursday, May 16th., Rue de Calais, Paris.

Morrice dined with me and stayed till 1 a.m. He has the joy of life in a high degree, and he likes living alone. "I enjoy everything," he said. "I got up this morning, and I saw an old woman walking along, and she was the finest old woman I ever did see. She was a magnificent old woman, and I was obliged to make a sketch of her. Then there was the marchand de quatre-saisons. His cry is so beautiful. I began to enjoy myself immediately I got out of bed. It is a privilege to be alive." And so on.

James Wilson Morrice (1865 – 1924) was a significant Canadian landscape painter. Morrice was born in Montreal, the son of a wealthy merchant, and studied law in Toronto from 1882 to 1889. In 1890 he left to study painting in England. The next year he arrived in Paris, where he studied at the Académie Julian from 1892-7. Morrice continued to live in Paris until the First World War, although he spent most of his winters in Canada. He made many connections in the intellectual circles of Paris, while also remaining in touch with the Canadian art world. During this period he was also regularly in contact with English expatriate intellectuals living in Paris, such as W. Somerset Maugham, Arnold Bennett, and Clive Bell. In the winter of 1911-12 he shared a studio with Matisse in Tangiers. With the advent of World War I, Morrice fled to Montreal, and then to Cuba. There he began to succumb to alcoholism. The output of his last period is uneven and infrequent. In the summer of 1922 he travelled to Algiers, where he painted with Albert Marquet. This would be the last time that he painted, as his health began to rapidly deteriorate. He died, aged 58, in Tunis.

Additionally for May 16th., see 'A 'Judas' sort of day'

Last evening Max Beaverbrook was telling us a story which he had bought from a divorce detective for £50 but dare not use. It was all to do with a woman who engaged the services of a private detective, ostensibly because of apparent infidelity by her husband. In the end it turned out that the husband was a murderer, and was given-away to the police by the detective. Another sort of "Judas"!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

First novel

Friday, May 15th., Victoria Grove, Chelsea.

At noon precisely I finished my first novel, which was begun about the middle of April last year; but five sixths of the work at least has been performed since the 1st of October. Yesterday I sat down at 3 p.m. to write, and with slight interruptions for meals, etc., kept at it till 1 a.m. this morning. The concluding chapter was written between 9 and 12 today.

My fears about "In the Shadow" are (1) that it is not well-knit, (2) that it is hysterical, or at any rate strained in tone. Still, I should not be surprised if it impressed many respectable people. The worst parts of it seem to me to be in front of my Yellow Book story, which came if for a full share of laudation.

Bennett's first success came with a story, ‘A Letter Home’, published in the Yellow Book (July 1895). Bennett, who had become devoted to the fiction of George Moore, now resolved to write a novel modelled on Moore's naturalistic mode. ‘Life being grey, sinister, and melancholy, the novel must be grey, sinister, and melancholy’. The novel, to which Bennett had given the title ‘In the Shadow’, was sent to the publisher John Lane, who asked John Buchan to report on it. Buchan's favourable comments led to the publication in 1898 of what was now called "A Man from the North."

I was thinking today that one can never really know another person; not even a, person with whom one has been intimate over an extended period. What clues do we have about the mind of someone else? What they tell us may or may not be reliable. We can observe their behaviour and form some opinion about what characterises them, but how do we know if they behave in the same way when we are absent? So, we just rub along, trying to say and do the right (meaning expected) things, at the correct time, in the proper way. It is either that or just live inside one's head. Perhaps this is behind the author's creative impulse? He really can know the characters he creates in his fiction, and fictional characters are the only hope for the thoughtful reader who wants to know someone apart from himself.

Additionally for May 15th., see 'Florentine scenes'

Yesterday I was on the Ponte Vecchio when children were going to school (8.45), & I noticed more than ever how Italian little girls have the look & the form of women. Marguerite & I have been noticing them in their short skirts for weeks. They look just like women unsuitably dressed. They are quite formees.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Wednesday, May 14th., Victoria Grove, Chelsea.

I dipped into "Adam Bede" and my impression that George Eliot will never be among the classical writers was made a certainty. Her style, though not without shrewdness, is too rank to have any enduring vitality. People call it 'masculine'. Quite wrong! It is downright, aggressive, sometimes rude, but genuinely masculine, never. On the contrary it is transparently feminine - feminine in its lack of restraint, its wordiness and the utter absence of feeling for form which characterises it. The average woman italicises freely. George Eliot of course had trained herself too well to do that, at least formally; yet her constant undue insistence springs from the same essential weakness, and amounts practically to the same expedient. Emily and Charlotte Bronte are not guiltless on this count, but they both had a genuine natural appreciation of the value of words, which George Eliot never had.

Jane Austen now is different. By no chance does she commit the artistic folly of insisting too much. Her style has the beauty and the strength of masculinity and femininity combined, and, very nearly, the weakness of neither.

In May Chapman's, there is a story by Henry James. His mere ingenuity, not only in construction, but in expression, is becoming tedious, though one cannot but admire. Also his colossal cautiousness in statement is very trying. If he would only now and then contrive to write a sentence without a qualifying clause!

Additionally for May 13th., see 'Family reflections'

This evocation by my mother of these farming, Puritanical ancestors, dust now, was rather touching in a way. It gave me larger ideas of the institution of "the family". When I thought also of my mother's mother's side (the Claytons), my father's father's side (the Bennetts, descended illegitimately, as my Uncle John once told me, from "Schemer" Brindley the engineer) and my father's mother's side (the Vernons, of whom several I believe are living now in Burslem, ignored by my father and us) - when I thought of all these four stocks gathered together and combined to produce me ... a writer, an artist pure and simple, yet with strong mercantile instincts, living on a farm after two generations of town life, I wondered. It is strange that though all my grandparents worked with their hands - weavers, potters, farmers, etc. - I have a positive aversion for any manual labour; the sole relic of all that manual dexterity, left in me, is a marked gift for juggling with balls.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Political brothers

Saturday, May 13th., Comarques, Thorpe-le-Soken.

London day before yesterday. Barber still trying to sell hairwash to me. But he is a pretty good barber. I had a dreadful neuralgia. 

Noel Buxton
Lunch with the brothers Buxton. The elder told me the younger (my opponent as to pacifism in the Daily News) had ruined his sight in reading up facts for Lloyd George's Land Valuation. He cannot read at all, and can write very little. He looks much younger in every way than the bearded M.P. I like both of them very much. The younger thought the Reform Club 'uneconomic' - especially the hall - evidently he has very little aesthetic sense.

Charles Buxton
Charles Roden Buxton (1875 – 1942) was an English philanthropist and radical British Liberal Party politician who later joined the Labour Party. His elder brother Noel Buxton was a prominent figure in British politics, as was his cousin Sidney Buxton. Noel Edward Noel-Buxton, 1st Baron Noel-Buxton PC (1869 – 1948) was a British Liberal and later Labour politician. He served as Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and between 1929 and 1930.

On the way to Sardinia House a man overtook and accosted me. It was Coveney, once articled clerk at Le Brasseur & Oakleys. I had not seen him for 23 years at least. I knew him at once and he me. It is true that he had written to me about a year ago asking if I was the A. B. he knew. He told me that S. whom I put into "A Man from the North" as Albert Jenkins, was now a middle-aged man and apparently very able.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Beautiful women

Thursday, May 12th., Rue de Calais, Paris.

I walked a good deal about Paris yesterday, arranging instalment 4 of "Hugo". I got down, via the quays, a far as the Luxembourg, and saw the temporary exhibition there of Manets, Monets, and that school. Manet's "Nana" was the chief thing. I thought how much more it had aged than the book. As a matter of fact I think Manet's conception of "Nana" rather narrow - the idea of a man who had not'knocked about' enough. The picture would be masterly had he not entitled it "Nana".

"Nana" is a painting by French painter Édouard Manet. It was completed in 1877 and was refused at the Salon of Paris the same year. The work is now at the Kunsthalle Hamburg art museum in Germany. Manet wanted to present the painting at the Salon of Paris but it was rejected because it was deemed to be contemptuous of the morality of the time. French society was not prepared for such frank depictions of prostitution, and the critics did not see the artistic qualities of the work and concentrated solely on the scene which was represented. One of the defenders of Manet was Émile Zola who in 1880 published a novel of the same name as the ninth volume of Les Rougon-Macquart series. However, there is no clear evidence of mutual inspiration in the choice of the theme and the title as the book was published three years later. Perhaps Manet found inspiration in L'Assommoir, Zola's previous book, in which the character of Nana appears for the first time.

Then I had tea, and a bad tea, on the Boul. St. Michel and came home on the omnibus having bought a reproduction of a fine sketch by some artist unknown to me for 5 sous.

At 10 p.m. I strolled down to the Folies Marigny. There is certainly only one tolerable music-hall in Paris and this is it.. The performance was rotten, of course, but the audience! Crammed, stylish; many women - some extremely beautiful; many toilettes. I only stayed an hour and walked home.

The Théâtre Marigny is a theatre in Paris, situated near the junction of the Champs-Élysées and the Avenue Marigny in the 8th arrondissement. It was originally built to designs of the architect Charles Garnier for the display of a panorama, which opened in 1883. The panorama was converted to the Théâtre Marigny in 1894 by the architect Édouard Niermans and became a home to operetta and other musical theatre.

Today I write out the sketch of instalment 4.

Additionally for May 12th., see 'Making and spending money'

I have been writing to Max Beaverbrook about what authors make from their work. We were talking about it recently. Shaw is now the most popular world-dramatist writing and even in a rotten year his income cannot be less than £20,000. As regards Oppenheim, I know that two years ago he made £20,000. There are films. I don't think Oppenheim's income is falling. It takes a long time for an established author's income to fall. Authors' incomes are as a rule grossly exaggerated. My own always is. I have a pretty extravagant lifestyle to maintain (wife, morganatic ditto, & yacht), yet I have never made more than £18,000 in a year, and I have made as low as £10,000. Until the last six or seven years Wells never made more than £12,000. Authors can only make a fair income if they have a great deal to say - like Shaw, Wells and me - and are incurably industrious as we are.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Writing furiously

Monday, May 11th., Villa des Nefliers, Fontainebleau.

Since Tuesday last I have written an average of over 2,000 words a day, including 12,500 words of "The Old Wives' Tale". I finished the second part this afternoon at 6.15 and was assez emu. This makes half of the book, exactly 100,000 words done. I had a subdued bilious attack practically all the time since Tuesday, but just managed to keep it within bounds. With all this I naturally shirked journalizing. I must not forget that I also corrected in this time, more than 250 printed pp. of proofs. I had three books to correct at once: "Buried Alive"; "How to Live on 24 Hours a Day"; and "Helen with the High Hand".

Additionally for May 11th., see 'Reflections on the writer's craft'

I read through in the type-written copy some of the later chapters of my novel, and they seemed to be ineffective and sketchy. Which severely depressed me, and to recover myself I had to read certain other chapters which I knew would not come out badly. I happened to see in an old Idler today "Q's" article on his first book. In it he says that he wrote "Dead Man's Rock" without a trace of feeling. His view is that if on revision, the work moves its author, then there is surely some good in it. Amen! Parts of my novel have had that blessed effect on me.

Saturday, 10 May 2014


Thursday, May 10th., Rue de Calais, Paris.

On Monday night when I was at "L'Enfant Cherie" by Romain Coolus, with Miss Green, I had most distinctly the sensation of being shocked. It was in the last act. An old man has been abandoned by his mistress, who has found another lover. The old man's daughter tries to get the mistress back for her father, as he is mortally struck by grief. There is a scene between the two women, in which the daughter urges her father's mistress to return to him. "Look here," she says, in effect, "even if you can't go to him altogether, you could surely see him one or two afternoons a week." I suddenly felt myself shocked; other people were in the same case. I can't at the moment remember ever having been shocked before. The experience gave me an idea of how pious Philistines must often feel, and was therefore useful. My being shocked was absurd. At the same time the scene was clumsy and bad artistically. Had it been good, should I have been shocked?

Additionally for May 10th., see 'Under the weather in Florence'

This morning, being desoriente, I went to the Pitti. In the main it left me cold. It is an unpleasant & difficult place in which to see pictures, & quite half the pictures are n.g. Crowds of people in the place.

Friday, 9 May 2014

New responsibilities

Thursday, May 9th., Yacht Club, London.

I finished my play "The Title" on Wednesday, but in order to do so I had to knock myself up and also inform people with whom I had appointments in London that I was laid aside with a chill. I wrote the last act in four days of actual work. I have also had a toothache for some days and fear I must have an extraction. Hopefully the relief deriving from removal of the offending tooth will more than compensate for the pain of the operation. I must keep my stoic principles to the fore.
For more on "The Title" see 'Scrupulously clean'

Then today I came to London to take up my duties as head of the French section of the Propaganda Department of the Ministry of Information. On the whole the first day was rather a lark. It began with a lunch of allied journalists, where I sat between Le Journal and Le Petit Parisien, and had the Debats opposite. I didn't like my room, nor my staff being on different floors from me.

British propaganda during World War I—called “an impressive exercise in improvisation” - was hastily expanded at the beginning of the war and was rapidly brought under government control as the War Propaganda Bureau (Wellington House), under the overall leadership of journalist Charles Masterman. The Bureau began its propaganda campaign on 2 September 1914 when Masterman invited 25 leading British authors to Wellington House to discuss ways of best promoting Britain's interests during the war. Those who attended included Arthur Conan Doyle, Arnold Bennett, John Galsworthy, Thomas HardyRudyard Kipling,  and H. G. Wells. During most of the war, responsibility for propaganda was divided between various agencies, resulting in a lack of coordination. It was not until 1918 that activities were centralized under the Ministry of Information.

Dinner of the Other Club. I made the acquaintance of Smuts. He has a peculiar accent (foreign) and puts his hand on your knee constantly while talking to you. A man of principles, and a fine man; but I doubt if he is the great man some of us thought. He was quite serene about the approaching end of the war.
For more on the Other Club see 'Interesting people'

Jan Christiaan Smuts, OM, CH, ED, KC, FRSPC (1870 – 1950) was a prominent South African and British Commonwealth statesman, military leader and philosopher. In addition to holding various cabinet posts, he served as prime minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948. He was a supporter of racial segregation and white minority rule. He led the Boer Commando in the Second Boer War for the Transvaal. During the First World War, he led the armies of South Africa against Germany, capturing German South-West Africa and commanding the British Army in East Africa. From 1917 to 1919, he was also one of the members of the British War Cabinet. He became a field marshal in the British Army in 1941, and served in the Imperial War Cabinet under Winston Churchill. He was the only person to sign each of the peace treaties ending the First and Second World Wars.

Additionally for May 9th., see 'A day of fun'

Homan's and Alcock's. Two quartets and a quintet before dinner at 8.45. Good male dinner, with champagne. During and after dinner, we had from Norton the finest exhibition of story-telling I ever heard. I was exhausted with laughing.

Later W. Alcock gave several parody treatments of "Three Blind Mice" according to Haydn, Chopin, Mendelssohn and Grieg. Admirable. Werg and Hill played solos. I got to the Club at 1 a.m. and a half-dressed, half-asleep waiter let me in. This was one of the finest evenings I ever spent in my life.

Thursday, 8 May 2014


Friday, May 8th., Victoria Grove, Chelsea.

Tonight I heard Yvette Guilbert sing five songs - including "La Soularde", Beranger's "Grand'mere", "Her Golden Hair was hanging down her back", and "I want you, ma Honey" (alternate verses in French and English). The performance took about 23 minutes, and she receives £70 per night (ten nights). My father, who had seen her on the previous evening, said to me at dinner at Gatti's, "I can't see £70 in what she does". "No", I said "perhaps you can't; but you can see it in the audience which pays to listen to her."

Yvette Guilbert, original name Emma Laure Esther Guilbert (1867 — 1944), French singer, reciter, and stage and film actress, who had an immense vogue as a singer of songs drawn from Parisian lower-class life. Her ingenuous delivery of songs charged with risqué meaning made her famous. As a child Guilbert attended recitation school and was unsuccessful in small comic parts; however, she succeeded as a cabaret singer from 1896 (the Moulin Rouge and the Ambassadeurs, seven years; the Folies-Bergère, nine years). She was a popular recording artist from the mid-1920s as well. Notable among her films are Les Misérables (1934) and Pêcheurs d’Islande (1934). She was also successful on tour (from 1895) in Italy, the United States, and England. Fascinating to French audiences, she scandalized the English with her gaunt decadent appearance and risqué lyrics. Guilbert owed much of her success to Xanrof (Léon Fourneau) and to Aristide Bruant, who wrote songs for her. She is also remembered for a famous poster of her, showing her in her characteristic yellow dress and long black gloves, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. She wrote How to Sing a Song (1928; L’Art de chanter une chanson), two novels, La Vedette and Les Demi-Vieilles (both 1920), and an autobiography, La Chanson de ma vie (1929; Song of My Life: My Memories).

I think I never saw the Empire so full. Yvette wore a gown of bluish-green flowered silk, and the unchangeable black gloves. To the back of the pit, where I stood, her voice came as if from an immense distance, but clear and crisp.

The Empire Theatre opened on 17 April 1884 as a West End variety theatre on Leicester Square, as well as a ballet venue. In 1887, the theatre reopened as a popular music hall named the Empire Theatre of Varieties. From 1887 to 1915, the designer C. Wilhelm created both scenery and costumes for (and sometimes produced) numerous ballets at the theatre, which established a fashion for stage design and were much imitated.

Additionally for May 8th., see 'War work'

A period of extreme vigilance now on. It is a pity here that at new moon high water is at midnight. If high water was at 6 a.m. at new moon the periods of vigilance would be fewer if there were any at all. One night out of three our Lieutenants have to spend at the telephone in the orderly room - 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. The military are all on fire preparing for an invasion. The first serious defences against an invasion are now being made. I have no belief in it myself, but the civilian part of the organisation falls on me as War Office representative for over 30 parishes, including about 15 miles of coast. I feel sure that if the Germans did manage to land events for a few days would be in a high degree disconcerting. Among other trifles for which I have the chief responsibility is a War-Fair at Islington Market - with 1,500 stalls, 6,000 helpers; the biggest thing of the kind ever organised.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Continuing Clayhanger

Saturday, May 7th., Pension White, Florence.

This morning news of the death of the King. The moved silence in which it was received in the coffee-room was most remarkable. One middle-aged man had apparently some difficulty in not crying. This afternoon I wrote a pretty fair article on the 'human nature' of the reception of the news here. I used mostly real incidents, but they had to be arranged.

Last evening I received the proof of my English Review article, "Night and Morning in Florence". I found it even more brutal than I had expected. But it is good.

Yesterday I wrote 2,700 words of "Clayhanger". Then I walked all over the town to find a subject to sketch, and found none until in despair I sat down in the Loggia Lanzi.

This morning I had written about 1,500 or 1,600 words of "Clayhanger" at 8.30, though I only went to bed last night at 11.30. Then Mr. Mock and Marguerite and I went up to San Miniato & he and I sketched. An ideal morning. This afternoon, after my article, I sketched again; and on the way home bought for 14 sous the first edition of R. H. Dana's "To Cuba and Back".

No museums for a long time now.

Additionally for May 7th., see 'Leaving Greece'

The Teodora would be quite a small steamer - on the Atlantic. here she is large; indeed 8,000 tons. The traditional phrase "dirty little Italian steamer" has ceased to be apposite. Italian shipping is about as good as any. That which has happened to Italian railways has also happened to Italian shipping. After the hurly-burly of departing is over, and the sellers of collections of foreign stamps, and the cheating money-changers, and the cigarette sellers who ask for a tip, have left the ship, you soon perceive that the Teodora is well run, and exceedingly orderly; and decorated in a touching, demode, simple style which appeals successfully to your sympathetic imagination. You perceive further, at the first meal, that she has the incomparable advantage of carrying no orchestra: she does, nevertheless, carry a barber and a cinema. No food could be more charmingly presented, and no service could be better or more urbane or delightful, no bathrooms hotter, and no pillows harder, than the Teodora's.