I sat an hour in the sun sketching on Monday morning. Yesterday morning: the Gothic Palazzo (? Davanzato) which Professor Volpi the owner has fitted up as a museum. The most complete 'show' house I ever saw. The professor even has the generosity to leave incunables lying about. What amused us - I met Mr. Mock therein by accident - was the holes in the floor of the drawing-room through which enormous stone balls could be dropped on the heads of hostile visitors in the hall below. There is something exquisitely cheerful about this device.
Por called in the afternoon, and stayed an hour though I was ill. He said that all progressive periodicals in the U.S.A. had suffered a set-back, & were either paying their authors half-rates, or had been bought up by reactionaries, or something else had happened to them.
This morning, fired by a letter from Martin: Palazzo Riccardi. Yes, the Gozzoli frescoes quite came up to my expectations; but it would be quite impossible to enjoy them under the actual conditions: a man flicking a portable electric light around all the time, and the Wild West accent in the back of my neck. The other show-parts of the Palazzo are not worth more than the half lire charged. But of course I was unwell.
Additionally for May 4th., see 'The General Strike'
Today was the first day of the general strike.
Many more motors about. I walked round to Victoria, which was shut up (both stations) one small entrance guarded by policemen. I heard someone say that a train had gone somewhere during the morning.
Yet in the vast empty stations Smith's book stalls were open. So were (outside) the cafes.
The populace excited and cheery, on this first day of the strike.
No evening paper. News from the Wireless at very short intervals, half hour intervals at night up to midnight.
I should think that all theatres would soon be closed.
Already today there has been a noticeable increase in gravity in the general demeanour.