Neither yesterday nor today have I been quite sufficiently bursting with health to think seriously of the plot of the second part of "Hugo". However I have got the plan and the 'feel' of it, and also one or two detached episodic notions. The weather has been thoroughly wet and rotten.
I walked down to the Louvre in it yesterday, and had a desire to commission copies of the Botticelli frescoes on the Daru staircase - in watercolours. It was a great day for copyists. I saw scores. One old man, who was copying a Raphael head, struck me particularly. He had leaned back against the rail to rest for a few minutes. He was old and poor, shabby, rather dirty, with shaggy thin grey hair. And he seemed absolutely disgusted, hopeless, and feebly bitter. I could not help feeling shocked by the sight, for of course this man had started out in life with the idea that he was going to succeed as a painter. Was I perhaps so shocked because I could see an alternative reality for myself in his experience?
|Art students and copyists in the Louvre -|
I bade goodbye to my stupid femme de menage this morning. She told me a few days ago that her husband had returned to her, and that they were both going to their native district of Auvergne. This origin I am told explains her singular and astonishing stupidity. On Tuesday she achieved a miracle of stupidity in the way of trying to keep milk cool under a jug of cold water - no doubt to crown her career. It would have been an excellent idea for milk-cooling if the water had not got into the milk. She has been here for eight months and we have never exchanged 'general' ideas - not once.
Additionally for June 2nd., see 'Feeling poorly'
Up till noon I still hoped, in spite of millions of experiences, that I might be able to work in the afternoon. I glanced through all the newspapers, and made my head worse just as it was easing. I took nothing but milkless tea until the evening, and then a morsel of arrowroot. To starve and to lie flat - this is my only treatment.