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

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Monday, 16 June 2014


Saturday, June 16th., Cadogan Square, London.

I messed about in the morning and went to see South Kensington Museum; but I did not get any good ideas for my last act. Kitty Roberts and Dorothy and I played tennis in the Square from 12.15 to 1.15. Cynthia Noble came for lunch. Then I had a heavy sleep. I started out for a walk to get ideas but felt too tired and read "La Princesse de Cleves", which has a classic feel.

Eugene Goossens and Alick Shepeler came for dinner. Eugene began to play and sing our opera "Judith". He has evidently set out to do something not too incomprehensible. Better than I had expected. Dramatic. Effective. My libretto seemed quite good. He talked of a production at Covent Garden next year.

For more on Eugene Goossens and the opera "Judith" see 'Another first night'

A young girl from Liverpool called yesterday afternoon, with a packet which an uncle in Peking had charged her to deliver to me personally. So she had come from Liverpool on purpose, though some weeks ago I had told her that she mustn't. She seemed resentful against her uncle; said she knew nothing about the matter and couldn't understand her uncle. I opened the packet. It contained simply the the documents of a British Government official at Peking deeply possessed of a grievance about being dismissed from the Salt administration, and an appeal to me to see that Justice was done. Pathetic.

Additionally for June 16th., see 'Jubilee atmosphere'

Never since first I came to London has the West End been so crowded with sightseers, so congested by the business of pleasure: lines of women, gay and perspiring in the hot sun, recklessly ruffling their light thin frocks in scrambles for seats on the tops of buses; straw-hatted and waistcoatless men continually discussing the price of seats to view the procession, and the fortunes made and lost thereby; the thoroughfares packed with vehicles six and eight deep, and the drivers in their grey felt hats as imperturbable as ever, save for a stronger tendency to quarrel cynically among themselves for right of way. On all sides the sound of hammers on wood, and the sight of aproned carpenters working with the leisurely content of men earning eighteen pence an hour. In all the gutters poles springing up, decorated with muslins and streamers and gilt apexes, and here and there patches, daily growing bigger, of red and blue draperies covering the yellow wood of jubilee stands. Everything, taken separately, ugly and crude, yet in combination, by sheer immensity and bold crudity, certain in the end to produce a great spectacular effect.

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