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.
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.