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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.
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Monday, 7 July 2014
I am here for a few days painting. The beds are rather hard but I had a good night last night in spite of slight dyspepsia owing to cider. I have done my first watercolour of the castle, a ruin. The hotel is on the high bank of the river and the sound of water can be heard night and day. there are two dams just nearby. The food is good. We are served by a young person who looks 16 but is really 22. She is married (to a soldier) and has a daughter whom I often fondle. She is nice. I have an excellent bathroom (with a geyser) and had a hot bath at 6.45 this morning.
There is another painter at the hotel. He has been here for a month and is, I think, a fool. There is also an American woman who arrived here, I am told, from Paris this week. They go on excursions together and eat together in a private room. Possibly she is his mistress. Certainly a Frenchwoman would deduce so! But with these American women it is always possible that she isn't. I saw her in a dressing-gown this morning. She could be between 35 and 40 and is fairly ugly. Definitely not a virgin I should say.
The weather here is marvellous at present. Seems a long way in every way from London, but I shall have to be back there on Thursday when I think I must go to see Galsworthy's new play "The Foundations" at the Royalty.
I hope to complete another watercolour this afternoon.
Additionally for July 7th., see 'In Arras'
When you actually reach Arras you cannot be deceived for an instant as to what has happened to the place. The first street you see is a desolation, empty and sinister. Everywhere the damage of shells is visible. In the brief intervals of the deafening cannonade can be heard one sound - blinds and curtains fluttering against empty window frames. As we went further into the city we saw sights still stranger. Of one house nothing but the roof was left, the roof made a triumphal arch. All the streets were covered with powdered glass.