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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Examples of fatuity

Sunday, May 1st., Pension White, Florence.

Yesterday morning Rickards and I went to La Badia, where he showed me in some detail the tomb sculptures of Mina da Fiesole. He was not much struck with the cloisters of San Marco. In the afternoon we went to the royal villas of Castello & Petraia. Sensations of heat, quiet and cypress-effects that really were worth having. From the terraces you have a fine view of the perfectly flat plain. Curious furnitures at Petraia; a mixture but some rooms very original & beautiful. You can't forget the reflection of pale chairs in a dark marble floor. The fatuity of the life there must have been excessive. The Games Room, etc. The horrible little private chapel. Two of the 'finest fountains in Italy' it seems, by John of Bologna and Trbola. But after all it was the cypresses and the roofs and the distant hills, and the cloud and sky effects against the cypresses that were the chief things. For fatuity, the glass case with singing fluttering birds, and the play of floor-jets of water in a silly ugly grotto must be remembered. We had guides of some individuality, decent, quiet, and open to suggestion: otherwise the guide business would have been very trying. We came and went in a dusty tram, and while waiting for it to go back sucked oranges in the narrow & tedious, but watered, main street of Castello. In this street I saw a notice of an Italian opera called 'Sullivan', of which the scene & characters were London, to be done today at the Castello theatre. (Box Office open first on such a day at such an hour) It must therefore be a stock piece.

In the evening the Mocks and Marguerite and I went to 'Monna Vanna', at the Verdi. Georgette le Blanc, Jean Froment, Severin Mars. This was the worst dramatic performance, without any exception, that I have ever seen anywhere. The whole conception of the interpretation of the play was fatuous and vulgar. Poorish, fashionable audience. Reception cold.

Additionally for May 1st., see 'A Paris Night'

On Saturday I dined with Martin at the Restaurant Italien and then we went to Buffalo Bill. Most lugubrious, for besides bad weather there was bad lighting and little to see. We left almost at once and went to the Bal Tabarin in "the ball of the models of the two salons."

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