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Full text of "The journal of a disappointed man"

♦ 



HANDBOLND 
AT THE 



UMNERSITY OF 
TORONTO PRESS 



THE JOURNAL OF A 
DISAPPOINTED MAN 



Br THE SAME AUTHOR 

ENJOYING LIFE 

AND OTHER LITERARY REMAINS 

-F W. N. P. BARBELLION 

THIRD IMPRESSION 
Crown 8vo,, cloth, 6s. net 



'he Journal 
of a Disappointed Man 

BY W. N. P. BARBELLION 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION 

BY H. G. WELLS 






LONDON 
CHATTO & WINDUS 



First Published March 31, 1919. 

Second Impression April 25, 1919. 

Third Impression July 11, 1919. 

Fourth Impression November 13, 1919. 

Fifth Impression April 27, 1920. 



All rights reserved 



' I returned, and saw under the sun, that the 

race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the 

strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet 

riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour 

to men of skill ; but time and chance 

happeneth to them all. For man 

also knoweth not his time; as the 

fishes that are taken in an evil 

net, and as the birds that are 

caught in the snare ; so are 

the sons of men snared in 

an evil time, when it 

falleth suddenly 

upon them.' 



"V 



INTRODUCTION 

Your egoist, like the solitary beasts, lives only for himself; 
your altruist declares that he li/es only for others; for either 
there may be success or failure, but for neither can there be 
tragedy. For even if the altruist meets nothing but ingrati- 
tude, what has he to complain of ? His premises abolish 
his grounds of complaint. But both egoist and altruist aie 
philosophical abstractions. The human being by nature 
an'l necessity is neither egoist nor altruist ; he trims a diffi- 
cult corurse between the two ; for the most part we are, witliin 
the limits of our powers of expression, egotists, and our desire 
is to think and if possible talk and write about this marvellous 
experiment of ourselves, with all the world — or as much as 
we can conveniently assemble — for audience. There is 
variety in our styles. Some drape the central figure; some 
let it rather appear than call attention to it; some affect a 
needless frankness: ' / am an egotist, mind you, and I pre- 
tend nothing else'; some by adopting a pose with acces- 
sories do at least develop so great and passionate an interest 
in the accessories as to generalise and escape more or less 
completely from self. An egotism like an eggshell is a thing 
from which to escape; the art of life is that escape. The 
fundamental art of life is to recover the sense of that great 
self-forgetful continuous life from which we have individualh' 
budded off. Many people have done this through religion, 
which begins with a tremendous clamour to some saviour 
god or other to recognise us and ends in our recognition of 
him; or through science, when your egotist begins with: 
' Behold me ! I, I your humble servant, am a scientific 
man, devoted to the clear statement of truth,' and ends with 

vii 



viii INTRODUCTION 

so passionate a statement of truth that self is forgotten alto- 
gether. 

In this diary of an intensely egotistical young naturalist, 
tragically caught by the creeping approach of death, we have 
one of the most moving records of the youthful aspects of 
our universal struggle. We begin with one of those bright 
schoolboys that most of us like to fancy we once were, that 
many of us have come to love as sons or nephews or younger 
brothers, and this 3^oungster is attracted by natural science, 
by the employments of the naturalist and by the thought of 
being himself some day a naturaUst. From the very begin- 
ning we find in this diary the three qualities, from the narrowest 
to broadest ' Observe me,' he says to himself, ' I am 
observing nature.' There is the self-conscious, self-centred 
boy. But he also says ' I am observing nature !' And at 
moments comes the clear light. He forgets himself in the 
twilight cave with the bats or watching the stariings in the 
evening sky, he becomes just you and I and the mind of 
mankind gathering knowledge. And the diary, as the keen 
edge of untimely fate cuts down into the sensitive tissue, 
shows us presently, after outcries and sorrow and darkness 
of spirit, the habits of the observer rising to the occasion. 
Not for him, he reaUses, are the long hfe, the honours oi 
science, the Croonian lecture, the listening Royal Society, 
one's memory embalmed in specific or generic names, the 
sure place in the temple of fame, that once filled his bojdsh 
dreams. But here is something close at hand to go on 
observing manfully to the end, in which self may be forgotten, 
and that is his own tormented self, with desire still great and 
power and hope receding. ' I will go on with this diary,' 
I read between the lines. 'You shall have at least one 
specimen, carefully displayed and labelled Here is a re- 
corded unhappiness. When you talk about hfe and the 
rewards of hfe and the justice of life and its penalties, what 
you say must square with this.' 



INTRODUCTION ix 

Such is what we have here. It will be going beyond the 
necessities of this preface to expatiate upon a certain thread 
of unpremeditated and exquisite beauty that runs tfirough 
the story this diary tells. To all sensitive readers it will be 
plain enough, and those who cannot see it plain do not 
deserve to have it underUned for them, that, still unseeing, 
they may pretend to see. Nor need we dilate upon the 
development of the quahty of this diary from the rather fussy 
egotism of the earher half. But it may be well to add a few 
explanatory facts that the opening chapters rather take for 
granted. Barbellion began life at a material as well as a 
physical disadvantage; neither of his parents were sturdy 
people, his mother died at last of constitutional heart weak- 
ness, and his father belonged to that most unfortunate class, 
the poor educated, who Uve lives of worry in straitened cir- 
cumstances. Barbellion's father was a newspaper reporter 
in a west country town, his income rarely exceeded a couple 
of hundred pounds a year; the educational facilities of the 
place were poor, and young Barbellion had to get such 
learning as he could as a day boy at a small private school, 
his father supplementing this meagre training and presently 
taking him on as an apprentice reporter. How the passion 
for natural science arose does not appear in this diary; we 
already find the naturahst formed in the first schoolboy 
entries. An uncle, a chemist, seems to have encouraged the 
tendency, and to have given him textbooks and other help. 
Somehow at any rate he acquired a considerable amount of 
knowledge; by the time he was eighteen he was already 
publishing quite excellent observations of his own in such 
periodicals as the Zoologist, and by the time he was twenty 
he could secure an appointment as assistant naturalist to the 
director of a well-known marine biological station. It was 
a success, as the reader will learn, gained only to be renounced. 
His father was ill and he had to stand by his family; our 
economical country cannot afford to make biologists out of 



X INTRODUCTION 

men who can earn a living as hack reporters. Poverty and 
science are sisters wherever the flag of Britain waves; for 
how could the rich live if we wasted money on that sort of 
thing ? But the dream was not altogether abandoned, and 
in 1 91 1 Barbellion got a post, one of the dozen or so of rare 
and coveted opportunities to toil in a scientific atmosphere 
that our Empire affords; he secured an assistantship at the 
Natural History Museum, South Kensington, to which a 
living wage was attached, a fair equivalent to a reporter's 
earnings. The rest of the story needs no helping out. Let 
me only add that since 1911 Barbellion, in spite of his steadily 
diminishing strength, has published articles in both British 
and American periodicals, that entirely justify the statement 
that in him biological science loses one of the most promising 
of its recent recruits. His scientific work is not only full and 
exact but it has those literary quaUties, the grace, the power 
of handling, the breadth of reference, which have always dis- 
tinguished the best EngHsh biological work, and which mark 
off at once the true scientific man from the mere collector 
and recorder of items. With this much introduction Bar- 
beUion may be left to tell the tragedy of his hopes and of the 
dark, unforeseen, unforeseeable, and inexphcable fate that 
has overtaken him. 

H. G. WELLS. 



PART I 



The Journal begins when its author is a little 
over 13 years old. (The following are 
selected entries.) 



1903 

January 3. 

Am writing an essay on the hfe-history of insects and 
have abandoned the idea of writing on 'How Cats Spend 
thek Time.' 

January 17. 

Went with L' out catapult shooting. While walking 

down the main road saw a Goldfinch, but very indistinctly 
— it might not have been one. Had some wonderful 
shots at a tree creeper in the hedge about a foot away 

from me. While near a stream, L spotted what he 

thought to be some Wild Duck and brought one down, 
hitting it right in the head. He is a splendid shot. We 
discovered on examining it that it was not a Wild Duck 
at all but an ordinary tame Wild Duck — a hen. We ran 
away, and to-night L— tells me he saw the Farmer enter 
the poulterer's shop with the bird in his hand. 

January 19. 

Went to A Wood with S and L . Saw a 

Barn Owl {Strix flammea) flying in broad dayhght. At 

A Woods, be it known, there is a steep cliff where wl 

were all out cHmbing to inspect and find all the Hkely places 

for birds to build in, next spring. S and I got along 

all right, but L , being a bit too careless, let go his hold 

on a tree and fell headlong down. He turned over and over 
and seemed to us to pitch on the back of his neck. How- 
ever, he got up as cheerfully as ever, saying, 'I don't hke 
that — a bit of a nasty knock.' 

February 8. 

Joe became the mother of one kitten to-day. It was 

A 



2 THE JOURNAL OF [1903 

born at 1.20. It is a tiny little thing. One would almost 
call it deformed. It is gray. 

March 18. 

Our Goldfinch roosts at 5.30. Joe's kitten is a very 
small one. 'Magpie' is its name. 

March 28. 

Went our usual ramble. But we were unfortunate 
from the very beginning. First, when we reached the 
'Nightjar Field,' we found there were two men at the 
bottom of it cutting the hedge, so we decided not to 
venture on, as Gimbo and Bounce were with us, and it 
would look like poaching. Later on, we came to a splendid 
wood, but had to withdraw hastily from it, an old farmer 
giving us a severe chase. There were innumerable rabbits 
in the wood, so, of course, the dogs barked hard. I gave 
them a sound beating when we got back out of danger. 
The old farmer is known as 'Bale the Bell-hanger.' 

April 2. 

I was glad yesterday to see the egg season so well in. 
I shall have to get blow-pipes and egg drills. Spring has 
really arrived and even the grasshoppers are beginning 
to stridulate, yet Burke describes these little creatures 
as being 'loud and troublesome' and the chirp unpleasant. 
Like Samuel Johnson, he must have preferred brick walls 
to green hedges. Many people go for a walk and yet are 
unable to admire Nature simply because their power of 
observation is untrained. Of course some are not suited 
to the study at all and do not trouble themselves about 
it. In that case they should not talk of what they do 
not understand. ... I might have noticed that I have 
used the term 'Study of Nature.' But it cannot be called 
a study. It is a pastime of sheer delight, with naught 
but beautiful dreams and lovely thoughts, where we are 
urged forward by the fact that we are in God's world 
which He made for us to be our comfort in time of trouble. 
, , , Language cannot express the joy arid happy forget- 



I9033 A DISAPPOINTED MAN 3 

fulness during a ramble in the country, I do not mean 
that all the ins and outs and exact knowledge of a naturalist 
are necessary to produce such delight, but merely the 
common objects — Sun, Thrush, Grasshopper, Primrose, 
and Dew. 

April 21. 

S and I have made a little hut in the woods out of a 

large natural hole in the ground by a big tree. We have 
pulled down branches all around it and stuck in upright 
sticks as a paling. We are training ivy to grow over the 
sticks. We smoke 'Pioneer' cigarettes here and hide the 
packets in a hole under the roots of the tree. It's like a sort 
of cupboard. 

August 6. 

In the evening, S and I cycled to S , and when it 

was dark we went down on the rocks and lit a fire which 
crackled and burnt in the dusk of the evening. . . . 
Intend to do a bit to Beetles these hols. Rev. J. Wood 
in the B.O.P. has incited me to take them up, and it is 
really time, for at present I am as ignorant as I can hang 
together of the Coleoptera. 

December 24. 

Went out with L to try to see the squirrels again. We 

could not find one and were just wondering if we should 

draw blank when L noticed one clinging to the bark of 

a tree with a nut in its mouth. We gave it a good chase, 
but it escaped into the thickest part of the fir tree, still 
carrying the nut, and we gave up firing at it. Later on, 

L got foolishly mischievous — owing, I suppose, to our 

lack of sport — and unhinged a gate which he carried 
two yards into a copse, and threw it on the ground. Just 
then, he saw the Squirrel again and jumped over the 
Hedge into the copse, chasing it from tree to tree with his 
catty. Having lost it, he climbed a fir tree into a Squirrel's 
drey at the top and sat there on the tree top, and I, below, 
was just going to lift the gate baci? when I looked up 



4 THE JOURNAL OF [1904 

and saw a farmer watching me, menacing and silent. 

I promptly dropped the gate and fled. L from his 

Squirrel's drey, not knowing what had happened, called 
out to me about the nest — that there was nothing in it. 
The man looked up and asked him who he was and who 

I was, L would not say and would not come down. 

The farmer said he would come up. L answered that 

if he did he would 'gob' [i.e. spit] on him. Eventually 

L climbed down and asked the farmer for a glass of 

cider. The latter gave him his boot and L ran away. 



1904 
January 23. 

Went to the meet of the Stag hounds. Saw a hind in 

the stream at L^ with not a horse, hound, or man in sight. 

It looked quite unconcerned and did not seem to have 
been hunted. I tried to head it, but a confounded sheep- 
dog got there before me and drove it off in the wrong 
direction. I was mad, because if I had succeeded in heading 
it and had there been a kill, I should have got a slot. Got 
home at 6.30, after running and walking fifteen miles — 
tired out. 

April 5. 

Just read Stalky & Co. Of Stalky, Beetle, and M'Turk, 
I like Beetle best. 

April 14. 

Won the School Gymnasium championship (under 
fifteen). 

August 25. 

Had quite an adventure to-day. D — • — and I cycled to 

the Lighthouse at . On the way, in crossing the 

sands near the Hospital Ship we espied a lame Curlew 
which could hardly fly. I gave chase, but it managed to 
scramble over a gut full of water about two yards wide. 
D took off his boots and stockings and carried me over 



I904] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 5 

on his back, and we both raced across the sands to where 
the Curlew lay in an exhausted state. I picked him up 
and carried him off under my arm, like the boy with the 
Goose that laid the golden eggs. All the time, the bird 
screamed loudly, opening its enormously long bill and 
struggling to escape. Arrived at the gut again, we found 
that the incoming tide had made the gut wider and deeper 
so that we were cut off from the mainland, and found it 
necessary to wade across at once before it got deeper. 
As I had to cany a pair of field-glasses as well as my 
boots and stockings, I handed over the struggling bird to 

D . While w^ading across, I suddenly sank to my waist 

in a sandpit. This frightened me, and I was glad to reach 

the other side in safety. But on arrival I found D , but 

no Curlew. In wading across the current, he grew flurried 
and let it go. The tide swept it upstream, and the poor 
bird, I fear, perished by drowning. . . . Knocked up 

my friend P . who is skipper of the ship A'^ ., and 

asked him if he had a fire so that I could dry myself. He 
replied that they had no fire but that his 'missus ' would 
look out a pair of pants for me. Before falling in with 
this plan unconditionally, I thought it best to inspect the 
garment. However, it was quite clean — a pair of blue 
serge seaman's trousers, very baggy in the seat and far 
too long. But I turned up the bottoms and hid the 
baggy part underneath my overcoat. So, I got back 
home ! 

September 8. 
Wet all day. Toothache. 

September 9. 

Toothache. 

September 10. 

Toothache. 

September 11. 

Toothache. 



6 THE JOURNAL OF [1905 

Xmas Day. 

Mother and Dad wanted to give me one of G. A. Henty's, 
but, fearing lest I did not want it, they did not put my 
name in it, so that if I wished I could change it. Intend 
doing this. Am reading the Origin of Species. It requires 
careful study, but I understand it so far and shaU go on. 

December 26. 

I have caught nothing in my traps yet. A little while 
ago I set a springe and two horse-hair nooses in the reed 
bed for water rails. I have bought a book on practical 
trapping. 

1905 
January 15. 

I am thinking that on the whole I am a most discontented 
mortal. I get fits of what I caU 'What's the good of 
anything?' mania. I keep asking myself incessantly 
till the question wears me out : 'What's the good of 
going into the country naturalisingl what's the good of 
studying so hard? where is it going to end? will it lead 
anywhere?' 

February 17. 

When I can get hold of any one interested in Natural 
History I talk away in the most garrulous manner and i 
afterwards feel ashamed of myself for doing it. 

May 15. 

The Captain, in answer to my letter, advises me to 
join one of the ordinary professions and then follow up 
Nat. History as a recreation, or else join Science Classes 
at S. Kensington, or else by influence get a post in the 
Natural History Museum. But I shall see. 

June 9. 

During dinner hour, between morning and afternoon 

school, went out on the S B River Bank, and 

found another Sedge Warbler's nest. This is the fifth I 



I9053 A DISAPPOINTED MAN 7 

have found this year. People who live opposite on tlie 

T V hear them sing at night and tliink they are 

Nightingales 1 

June 27. 

On reviewing the past egg-season, I find in all I have 
discovered 232 nests belonging to forty-four species. I 
only hope I shaD be as successful with the beetle-season. 

August 15. 

A hot, sultry afternoon, during most of which I was 
stretched out on the grass beside an upturned stone where 
a battle royal was fought between Yellow and Black Ants. 
The victory went to the hardy little Yellows. . . . By 
the way, I held a Newt by the tail to-day and it emitted 
a squeak ! So that the Newt has a voice after aU. 

August 26. 

In bed with a feverish cold. I am afraid I have very 
few Nat. His. observations to make. It is hard to observe 
anything at all when lying in bed in a dull bedroom with 
one small wndow. Gulls and Starlings pass, steam engines 
whistle, horses' feet clatter down the street, and some- 
times the voice of a passer-by reaches me, and often the 
loud laugh that speaks the vacant mind. I can also hear 
my own cough echoing through my head, and, by the 
evening, the few pages of Lubbock's Anis, Bees, and 
Wasps which I struggled to get through during the day 
rattle through my brain till I am disgusted to find I have 
them by heart. The clock strikes midnight and I wait 
for the morning. Oh ! what a weary world. 

October 13. 

Down with another cold. Feeling pretty useless. It's 
a wonder I don't develop melancholia. 

November 6. 

By 7 a.m. H and I were down on the mudflats 

of the River with field-glasses, watching Waders. Ringed 
Plover in great numbers. 



8 THE JOURNAL OF [1906 

1906 

January 13. 

I have always had one ambition to be a great naturalist. 
This is, I suppose, a child's fancy, and I can see my folly 
in hoping for such great things. Still, there is no reason 
why I should not become a learned naturalist if I study 
hard. I hope that whatever I do I shall do in the hope 
of increasing knowledge of truth and not for my own 
fame. This entry may suggest that I am horribly con- 
ceited. But really I am as humble as possible. I know 
I have advanced beyond many others, and I know I 
shall advance further, but why be conceited? . . . What 
a short life we have, and what heaps of glorious work to 
be done ! Supper bell — so I am off. . . . This reads 
like Isaac Walton's funny mixtures of the sublime with 
the ridiculous. He discusses abstract happiness and the 
best salmon sauce all in one breath. 

February 26. 

Although it is a grand achievement to have added but 
one jot or tittle to the sum of human knowledge it is 
grander still to have added a thought. It is best for a 
man to try to be both poet and naturalist — not to be 
too much of a naturalist and so overlook the beauty of 
things, or too much of a poet and so fail to understand 
them or even perceive those hidden beauties only revealed 
by close observation. 

March 17. 

Woke up this morning covered with spots, chest in- 
flamed, and bad cough. H carted me down from the 

Attic to the Lower Bedroom, and when the Dr came 
he confirmed the general opinion that I had measles. It 
is simply disgusting, I have somewhere near 10,000 
spots on me. 

April 27. 

Went to A Woods, where, strange to say, I again 

saw Mary. But she had a tribe of friends with her, so 



I9063 A DISAPPOINTED MAN 9 

did not speak, but watched her from a distance through 
my field-glasses. 

May 8. 

On interviewing my old friend Dr. H , found I had 

chickenpox. This instead of being a Diary of a Natural- 
ist's observations^ will be one of infectious diseases. 

May 28. 

[Letter from Editor of Countryside to my brother 
saying that if the Countryside grew he might be able to 
offer me a billet. 'Meanwhile he will be able to get along 
with his pen ... he wiU soon make a living and in time 
too a name.'] Tliis is a bit of all right. I shall always 
be on the look-out for a job on a N. H. Journal. 

December 7. 

Went to F Duckponds. Flocks of Wigeon and 

Teal on the water. Taking advantage of a dip in the land 
managed to stalk them splendidly, and for quite a long 
time I lay among the long grass watching them through 
my field-glasses. But during the day Wild Duck are not 
particularly Hvely or interesting birds. They just rest 
serenely on the water hke floating corks on a sheet of glass. 
Occasionally one will paddle around lazily. But for the 
most part they show a great ennui and seem so sleepy 
and tired that one would almost think to be able to 
approach and feed them out of the hand. But I moved 
one hand carelessly and the whole flock was up in a 
minute and whizzing across the river. Afterwards, at 
dusk, on returning to the ponds, they had come back; 
but now that the sun was down, those dozy, flapdoodle 
creatures of the afternoon were transformed into quacking, 
quarrelsome, blustering birds that squabbled and chivvied 
each other, every moment seizing the chance of a luxuri- 
ous dip, flinging the ice-cold water off their backs with 
a shake of the tail that seemed to indicate the keenest- 
edged delight. 

^ Up to 191 1, the Journal is mainly devoted to records of obser- 
vations in general Natural History and latterly in Zoology alone. 



10 THE JOURNAL OF [1907 

It was now quite dark. A Snipe rose at my feet and 
disappeared into the darkness. Coots and Moorhens 
clekked, and a Little Grebe grew bold and began to dive 
and fish quite close to me, methodically working its way 
upstream and so quartering out its feeding area. 

A happy half-hour ! Alas ! I enjoy these moments the 
more as they recede. Not often do I realise the living 
present. That is always difficult. It is the mere shades 
— the ghosts of the dead days — that are dearest to me. 

Spent my last day at school. De Quincey says (or was 
it Johnson?) that whenever we do anything for the last 
time, provided we have done it regularly for years before, 
we are a Httle melancholy, even though it has been dis- 
tasteful to us. . . . True. 

December 14. 

Signed my Death Warrant, i.e., my articles appren- 
ticing me to journalism for five years. By Jove ! I shall 
work frantically during the next five years so as to be 
ready at the end of them to take up a Natural History 
appointment. 



1907 
March I. 

As long as he has good health, a man need never despair. 
Without good health, I migJit keep a long while in the 
race, yet as the goal of my ambition grew more and more 
unattainable I should surely remember the words of 
Keats and give up : 'There is no fiercer Hell than the 
failure of a great ambition.' 

March 14. 

Have been reading through the Chemistry Course in 
the Harmsworth Self-Educator and learning all the latest 
facts and ideas about radium. I w^ould rather have a 
clear comprehension of the atom as a solar system than 
a private income of ;^ioo a year. If only I had eyes to 
go on reading without a stop 1 



I907] A DISAPPOINTED MAN Ii 

May I. 

Met an old gentleman in E , a naturalist with a 

great contempt for the Book of Genesis. He wanted to 
know how the Kangaroo leapt from Australia to Palestine 
and how Noah fed the animals in the Ark. He rejects 
the Old T. theogony and advised me to read 'Darwin and 
J. G. Wood ! ' Sniy old man ! 

May 22. 

To Challacombe and then walked across Exmoor. This 
is the first time I have been on Exmoor. My first experi- 
ence of the Moors came bursting in on me with a flood 
of ideas, impressions, and delights. I cannot write out 
the history of to-day. It would take too long and my 
mind is a palpitating tangle. I have so many things to 
record that I cannot record one of them. Perhaps the 
best thing to do would be to draw up an inventory of 
things seen and heard and trust to my memory to fill in 
the details when in the future I revert to this date. Too 
much joy, like too much pain, simply makes me prostrate. 
It wounds the organism. It is too much. I shall try to 
forget it all as quickly as possible so as to be able to return 
to egg-collecting and bird-watching the sooner as a calm 
and dispassionate observer. Yet these dear old hills. 
How I love them. I cannot leave them without one 
friendly word. I ^vish I were a shepherd ! 

At the 'Ring of Bells' had a long yarn with the 
landlord, who, as he told us the story of liis hfe, was 
constantly interrupted but never disconcerted by the 
exuberant loyalty and devotion of his wife — a stout, florid, 
creamy woman, who capped every story with : 'Ees 
quite honest, sir; no 'arm at all in old Joshua.' 

June 5. 

A half-an-hour of to-day I spent in a punt under a 
copper beech out of the pouring rain listening to Lady 

's gamekeeper at A talk about beasts and local 

politics — just after a visit of inspection to the Heronry 
in the fire on the island in the middle of the Lake. It 



12 THE JOURNAL OF [1907 

was delightful to hear him describing a Heron killing 
an Eel with 'a dap on the niddick,' helping out the figure 
with a pat on the nape of his thick bull neck. 

July 22. 

Am reading Huxley's Crayfish. H brought me 

in that magnificent aculeate Chrysis ignita. 

August 15. 

Met her in the market with M . I just lifted my hat 

and passed on. She has the most marvellous brown eyes 
I have ever seen. She is perfectly self-possessed. A bad 
sign this. 

August 18. 

When I feel ill, cinema pictures of the circumstances of 
my death flit across my mind's eye. I cannot prevent 
them. I consider the nature of the disease and all I said 
before I died — something heroic, of course 1 

August 31. 

She is a ripping girl. Her eyes are magnificent. I have 
never seen any one better looking. 

October i. 

In the afternoon dissected a Frog, following Milnes 
Marshall's Book. Am studying Chemistry and attending 
classes at the Evening School and reading Physiology 
(Foster's). Am also teaching myself German. I wish 
I had a microscope. 

October 3. 

What heaps of things to be done ! How short the time 
to do them in ! An appetite for knowledge is apt to rush 
one off one's feet, like any other appetite if not curbed. 
I often stand in the centre of the Library here and think 
despairingly how impossible it is ever to become pos- 
sessed of all the wealth of facts and ideas contained in 
the books surrounding me on every hand. I pull out 



I9083 A DISAPPOINTED MAN 13 

one volume from its place and feel as if I were no more 
than giving one dig with a pick in an enormous quarry. 
The Porter spends his days in the Library keeping strict 
vigil over this catacomb of books, passing along between 
the shelves and yet never paying heed to the almost 
audible susurrus of desire — the desire every book has to 
be taken down and read, to hve, to come into being in 
somebody's mind. He even hands the volumes over 
the counter, seeks them out in their proper places or 
returns them there without once realising that a Book 
is a Person and not a Thing. It makes me shudder to 
think of Lamb's Essays being carted about as if they 
were fardels. 

October 16. 

Dissected an Eel. CasseU's Natural History says the 
Air-bladder is divided. This is not so in the one I opened. 
Found what I beheve to be the lymphatic heart in the 
tail beneath the vent. 



1908 
March 10. 

Am working frantically so as to keep up my own work 
with the daily business of reporting. Shorthand, type- 
writing, German, Chemistry classes. Electricity lectures. 
Zoology (including dissections) and field work. Am 
reading Mosenthal's Muscle and Nerve. 

April 7. 

Sectioned a leech. H has lent me a hand micro- 
tome and I have borrowed an old razor. My table in 
the Attic is now fitted up quite like a Laboratory. I get 
up every morning at 6 a.m. to dissect. Have worked at 
the Anatomy of Dytiscus, Lumhricus, another Leech, and 
Petromyzon fluviatilis all collected by myself. The 
'branchial basket' of Petromyzon interested me vastly. 
But it's a brute to dissect.^ 

^ There are numerous drawings of dissections scattered througli 
tlae Journal about this period, 



14 THE JOURNAL OF [1908 

May I. 

Cycled to the Lighthouse at the mouth of the Estuary. 
Underneath some telegraph wires, picked up a Landrail 
in excellent condition. The colour of the wings is a 
beautiful warm chestnut. While sweeping the sandhills 
with my field-glasses in search of Ring Plover, which 
nest there in the shingle beaches, I espied a Shelduck 
{Tadorna) squatting on a piece of level ground. On 
walking up cautiously, found it was dead — a Drake in 
splendid plumage and quite fresh and uninjured. Put 
him in my poacher's pocket, alongside of the Landrail. 
My coat looked rather bulgy, for a Shelduck is nearly as 
big as a Goose. Heard a Grasshopper Warbler — a rare bird 

in North . Later, after much patient watching, saw 

the bird in a bramble bush, creeping about like a mouse. 

On the sea-shore picked up a number of Sea Mice 
{Aphrodite) and bottled them in my jar of 70 per cent., 
as they will come in useful for dissection. Also found 
the cranium of a Scyllium, which I will describe later on. 

Near the Lighthouse watched some fishermen bring in 
a large Salmon in a seine net worked from the shore. It 
was most exciting. Cycled down three miles of hard 
sand with the wind behind me to the village where I had 
tea and — as if nothing could stay to-day's good luck — 

met Margaret . I showed her one by one all my 

treasures — Rail, Duck, Skull, Sea Mice, etc., and felt 
Hke Thomas Edward, beloved of Samuel Smiles. To her 
I must have appeared a very ridiculous person. 

'How do you know it's the skull of a dog-fish?' she 
asked, incredulous. 

'How do I know anything?' I said, a little piqued. 

On arriving home found T awaiting me with the 

news that he had discovered a Woodpecker's nest. When 
will the luck cease? I have never had such a flawless 
ten hours in le grand air. These summer days eat into 
my being. The sea has been roaring into my ears and 
the sun blazing down so that even the backs of my hands 
are sunburnt. And then ; those coal-black eyes. Ali ! 
me, she is pretty. 



\ 



1908] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 15 

May 2. 

Dissected the Sheldrake. Very entertained to discover 
the extraordinary asymmetry of the syrinx. . . . 



May 3. 

Dissected Corncrake, examining carefully the pessulus, 
bronchidesmus (incomplete), tympani-form and semi-lunar 
membranes of a very interesting syrinx. . . . 

May 6. 

Dissected one of the Sea Mice. It has a remarkable 
series of hepatic ducts running into the ahmentary canal 
as in Nudibranchs. . , , 



May 9. 

Spring in the Woods 

Among the Oak Saplings we seemed enveloped in a 
cloud of green. The tail green grasses threw up a green 
Hght against the young green of the Oaks, and the sun 
managed to trickle through only here and there. Bevies 
of swinging bluebells grew in patches among the grass. 
Overhead in the oaks I heard secret leaf whispers — those 
little noiseless noises. Birds and trees and flowers were 
secretive and mysterious like expectant motherhood. 
AU the Hve things plotted together, having the same 
big business in hand. Out in the sunlit meadows, there 
was a different influence abroad. Here everything was 
gay, Uvely, irresponsible. The brook prattled like an 
inconsequential schoolgirl. The Marsh Marigolds in 
flamboyant yellow sunbonnets played ring-a-ring-a-roses. 

An Oak Sapling should make an elderly man avuncular. 
There are so many tremendous possilnHties about a well- 
behaved young oak that it is tempting to put a hand 
upon its shoulder and give some seasoned, timberly 
g,dvice: 



i6 THE JOURNAL OF [1908 

June I. 

A Sjnall Red Viper 

Went to L Sessions. After the Court rose, I tran- 
scribed my notes quickly and walked out to the famous 
Valley of Rocks which Southey described as the ribs of 
the old Earth poking through. At the bottom of one of 
the hills saw a snake, a Red Viper. Put my boot on him 
quickly so that he couldn't get away and then recognised 
him as a specimen of what I consider to be the fourth 
species of British Serpent — Vipera rubra. The difficulty 
was to know how to secure him. This species is more 
ferocious than the ordinary V. hera, and I did not hke 
the idea of putting my hand down to seize him by the 
neck. I stood for some time with my foot so firmly 
pressed down on its back that my leg ached and I began 
to wonder if I had been bitten. I held on and presently 
hailed a baker's cart coming along the road. The man 
got out and ran across the grass to where I stood. I 
showed him what I had beneath my boot and he produced 
a piece of string which I fastened around the snake's tail 
and so gently hauled the little brute up. It already 
appeared moribund, but I squashed its head on the grass 
with my heel to make certain. After parting with the 
baker, to whom all thanks be given, I remember that 
Adders are tenacious of hfe and so I continue to carry 
him at string's length and occasionally wallop him against 
a stone. As he was lifeless I wi-apped him in paper and 
put him in my pocket — though to make assurance doubly 
sure I left the string on and let its end hang out over 
my pocket. So home by a two hours' railway journey 
with the adder in the pocket of my overcoat and the 
overcoat on the rack over my head. Settled down 
to the reading of a book on Spinoza's Ethics. At home 
it proved to be quite alive, and, on being pulled out 
by the string, coiled up on the drawing-room floor and 
hissed in a fury, to my infinite surprise. Finished hirri 
off with the poker and so spoilt the skin. 



i9o8] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 17 

July 18, 
Have had toothache for a week. Too much of a coward 

to have it out. Started for P early in the morning 

to report Mr Duke, K.C. After a week's pain, felt a little 
dicky. AU the way in the train kept hardening myself 
to the task in front of me by recollecting the example 
of Zola, who killed pain ^^ith work. So all day to-day 
I have endeavoured to act as if I had no pain — the worst 
of all pains — toothache. By the time I got home I was 
rather done up, but the pain was actually less. This 
gave me a furious joy, and, after days of morose silence, 
to-night at supper I made them all laugh by bursting 
out violently with, T don't know whether you know it 
but I've had a horrible day to-day.' I explained at length 
and received the healing ointment of much sympathy. 
Went to bed happy with tooth still aching. I fear it was 
scarcely playing the strict Zolaesque game to divulge 
the story of my sufferings. . . . No, I am not a martyr 
or a saint. Just an ordinary devil who's having a rough 
time. 



August ly. 

Prawning 

Had a glorious time on the rocks at low tide prawning. 
Caught some Five-Bearded RockHngs and a large Coitus 
bubalis. The sun did not simply shine to-day — it came 
rushing down from the sky in a cataract and flooded the 
sands with light. Sitting on a rock, with prawning net 
over my knees I looked along three miles of flat hard 
and yellow sands. The sun poured down on them so 
heaviJy that it seemed to raise a luminous golden yellow 
dust for about three feet high. 

On the rocks was a pretty flapper in a pink sunbonnet 

— also prawning in company of S , the artist, who 

has sent her picture to the Royal Academy, They saw 
I was a naturalist, so my services were secured to pro- 
nounce my judgment on a 'fish' she had caught. It was 
a Squid, 'an odd little beast,' in truth, as she said. 

B 



i8 THE JOURNAL OF [1908 

'The same class of animal,' I volunteered, 'as the 
Cuttlefish and Octopus.' 

'Does it sting ? ' 

'Oh, no!' 

'Well, it ought to with a face like that.' She laughed 
merrily, and the bearded but youthful artist laughed too. 

'I don't know anything about these tilings,' he said 
hopelessly. 

'Nor I,' said the naturalist modestly. 'I study fish.' 

This was puzzHng. 'Fish?' What was a Squid then? 

. . . The artist would stop now and then and raise 
his glasses at a passing ship, and Maud's face occasionally 
disappeared in the pink sunbonnet as she stooped over 
a pool to examine a seaweed or crab. 

She's a dear — and she gave me the Squid. What a 
merry little cuss ! 

September i. 

Went wth Uncle to see a Wesleyan minister whose 
fame as a microscopist, according to Uncle, made it worth 
my while to visit him. As I expected, he was just a silly 
old man, a diatomaniac fond of pretty-pretty slides and 
not a scientific man at all. He lectures Bands of Hope 
on the Butterfly's Life History and hates his next-door 
neighbour, who is also a microscopist and incidentally 
a scientific man, because he interests himself in 'parasites 
and those beastly things.' 

I remarked that his friend next door had shown me 
an Amphioxus. 

'Oh ! I expect that's some beastly bacteria thing,' 
he said petulantly. 'I can't understand Wilkinson. 
He's a pervert.' 

I told him what Amphioxus was and laughed up my 
sleeve. He likes to think of Zoology as a series of pretty 
pictures illustrating beautiful moral truths. The old 
fellow's saving grace was enthusiasm. . . . Having 
focused an object for us, he would stand by, breathless, 
while we squinted down his gas-tube, and gave vent to 
tremendous expletives of surprise such as 'Heavens,' or 



1908] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 19 

'Jupiter.' His eyes would twinkle with delight and 
straighway another miracle is selected for us to view. 
They are all miracles,' he said. 

'Those are the valves' — washing his hands with in- 
visible soap — 'no one has yet been able to solve the pro- 
blem of the Diatom's valves. No one knows what they 
are — no, nor ever will know — why? — why can't we see 
behind the valves? — because God is beliind the valves 
— that is why ! ' Amen. 

October i. 
Telegraphed 1000 words of Lord 's speech at T . 



Spent the night at a comfortable country inn and read 
IMoore's lyrics. 'Row gently here, my Gondolier,' ran 
through my head continuously. The Inn is an old one 
with a long narrow passage that leads straight from front 
door to back with wainscoted smoke room and parlours 
on each side. China dogs, bran on the floor, and the 
picture of Derby Day with horses galloping incredibly, 
the drone of an old crony in the bar, and a pleasant barmy 
smell. Slept in a remarkable bedroom full of massive 
furniture, draped with cloth and covered with trinkets. 
The bed had a tremendous hood over it hke a catafalque, 
and lying in it made me think I was an effigy. Read 
Moore tiU the small hours and then found I had left my 
handbag downstairs. Lit a candle and went on a voyage 
of discovery. Made a considerable noise, but roused 
no one. Entered drawing-room, kitchen, pantries, parlour, 
bar — everywhere looking for my bag and dropping candle 
grease eveywhere ! Slept in my day shirt. Tired out 
and slept like a top. 

November 3. 

Aristotle's Lantern 

Dissected the Sea Urchin {Echinus esculenius). "Very 
excited over my first view of Aristotle's Lantern. These 
complicated pieces of animal mechanism never smell of 
musty age — after aeons of evolution. When I open a 



20 THE JOURNAL OF [1909 

Sea Urchin and see the Lantern, or dissect a Lamprey 
and cast eyes on the branchial basket, such structures 
strike me as being as finished and exquisite as if they 
had just a moment before been tossed me fresh from the 
hands of the Creator. Tliey are fresh, young, they smell 
new. 

December 3. 

Hard at work dissecting a Dogfish. Ruridecanal 
Conference in the afternoon. I enjoy this double hfe I 
lead. It amazes me to be laying bare the brain of a dogfish 
in the morning and in the afternoon to be taking down 
in shorthand what the Bishop says on Mission Work. 

December 4. 

Went to the Veterinary Surgeon and begged of him 
the skull of a horse. Carried the trophy home under my 
arm — bare to the public view. 'Wh}', Lor', 'tis an ole 
'orse's jib,' M said when I got back. 



1909 

March 7. 

My programme of work is : (i) Continue German. 
(2) Sectioning embryo of {a) Fowl, (6) Newt. (3) Paper 
on Arterial Sj^stem of Newts. (4) Psychology of Newts. 
(5) General Zoological Reading. 

May 2. 

To C Hill. Too much taken with the beauty of 

the Woods to be able to do any nesting. Here are some 
of the things I saw : the bark on several of the trees in 
the mazzard orchards rubbed into a beautifully smooth, 
polished surface by the Red Devon Cows when scratching 
where it itched; I put my hand on the smooth almost 
cherry-red patch of bark and felt dehghted and grateful 
that cows had fleas : the young shoots of the whortle- 
berry plants on the hill were red tipped with the gold of 
an almost horizontal sun. I caught a little lizard which 



I909] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 21 

slipped across my path. . . . Afar off do\vn in the valley 
I had come through, in a convenient break in a holly bush, 
I could just see a Cow sitting on her matronly haunches 
in a field. She flicked her ears and two starHngs settled 
on her back. A Rabbit swept out of a sweet-brier bush 
and a Magpie flew out of the hedge on my right. 

In another direction I could see a field full of luscious, 
tall, green gi-ass. Every stalk was so full of sap that 
had I cut one I am sure it would have bled great green 
drops. In the field some lambs were sleeping; one woke 
up and looked at me with the back of its head to the low 
sun, which shone through its two smaU ears and gave 
them a transparent pink appearance. 

No sooner am I rebaptized in the sun than I have to 
be turning home again. No sooner 'So 'the sudden Hlies 
push between the loosening fibres of the heart' than I 
am whisked back into the old groove — the daily round. 
If only I had more time ! — more time in which to think, 
to love, to observe, to frame my disposition, to direct 
as far as in me hes the development and unfolding of my 
character, if only I could direct all my energies to the 
great and difficult profession of Hfe, of being man instead 
of trifling with one profession that bores me and dabbling 
in another. 



June 5. 

On Lundy Island 

Frankie is blowing Seagulls' eggs in the scullery. His 
father, after a day's work at the farm, is at his supper 
very hungry, yet immensely interested, and calls out 
occasionally, — 

"Ow you're getting on. Foreman?' 

'All right, Capt.,' says Frankie affectionately, and the 
unpleasant asthmatic, wheezy noise of the egg-blowing 
goes on. . . . There are three dogs asleep under the 
kitchen table; all three belong to different owners and 
neither one to A . 



22 THE JOURNAL OF [1909 

June 6. 

Out egg-collecting with the Lighthouse Keepers. They 
walk about the cliffs as surefooted as cats, and feed their 
dogs on birds' eggs collected in a little bag at the end of 
a long pole. One dog ate three right off in as many 
minutes, putting his teeth through and cracking tlie 
shell, then lapping up the contents. Crab for tea, 

June 7. 

After a glorious day at the N. end of the Island with 
the Puffins, was forced to-night to take another walk, 
as the smell of Albert's tobacco, together \\dth that of 
his stockinged feet and his boots removed, was asphyxi- 
ating, 

June 9. 

The governess is an awfully pretty girl. We have been 
talking together to-day and she asked me if I were a 
naturalist. I said 'Yes.' She said, 'Well, I found a funny 

little beetle yesterday and Mr S said I ought to have 

given it to you.' Later, I felt she was looking at me, so I 
looked at her, across the beach. Yes ! it was true. When 
our eyes met she gave me one of the most provokingly 
pretty smiles, then turned and went up the cliff path 
and so out of my life — to my everlasting regret. 

Return to-night in a cattle steamer. 

June 18. 

Dr , M.A., F.R.S., D.C.L., LL.D., called in the 

ofiice to-day, and seeing Dad typing, said, 'Are you Mr 
Barbellion ? ' Dad replied in the affirmative, whereupon 
the Doctor handed him his card, and Dad said he thought 
it was his son he wanted to see. He is an old gentleman 
aged eighty or thereabouts, with elastic-sided boots, an 
umbrella, and a guardian nephew — a youngster of about 
sixty. But I paid him due reverence as a celebrated 
zoologist and at his invitation [and to my infinite pride] 
accompanied him on an excursion to the coast, where 
he wanted to see Philoscia Couchii, which I readily turned 
up for him. 



I909] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 23 

I chanced to remark that I thought torsion in gastro- 
pods one of the most fascinating and difficult problems 
in Zoology. Why should a snail be twisted round? 

'Humph,' said he, 'why do we stand upright?' I was 
not such a fool as to argue with him, so pretended his 
reply was a knock-out. But it enabled me to size him 
up intellectually. 

In the evening dined with him at his hotel. ... He 
knows Wallace and Haeckcl personally, and I sat at his 
feet with my tongue out hstening to personal reminiscences 
of these great men. However, he seemed never to have 
heard of GaskeU's Theory on the Origin of Vertebrates. 



June 27. 

Walked to V . As usual. Nature with clockwork 

regularity had all her taps turned on — larks singing, 
cherries ripening, and bees humming. It all bored me 
a little. Why doesn't she vary it a little? 

August 8. 

A cold note from Dr saying that he cannot under- 
take the responsibility of advising me to give up journal- 
ism for zoology. 

A hellish cold in the head. Also a swingeing inflamma- 
tion of the eyes. Just heard them singing in the Chapel 
over the way : 'God shall wipe away aU tears from their 
eyes.' Hope so, I'm sure. 

August 9. 

A transformation. After a long series of drab experi- 
ences in Sheffield, etc., the last being the climax of yester- 
day, an anti-cyclone arrived this morning and I sailed 
like an Eagle into cloudless, windless weather ! The 
Academy has published my article, my cold is suddenly 
better, and going down by the sea this afternoon met 
Mary 1 



24 THE JOURNAL OF E1910 

August 20. 
Had an amusing letter from my maiden-aunt F- 



who does not like 'the agnostic atmosphere' in my 
Academy article. Poor dear ! She is sorry if I really feel 
like that, and, if I do, what a pity to put it into print. 
Then a Bible reference to the Epistle to the Romans. 

Xmas Day. 

Feehng ill — like a sloppy Tadpole. My will is paralysed. 
I visit the Doctor regularly to be stethoscoped, ramble 
about the streets, idly scan magazines in the Library 
and occasionally rink — with palpitation of the heart as 
a consequence. In view of the shortness, bitterness, and 
uncertainty of life, all scientific labour for me seems 
futile. 



1910 
January 10. 

Better, but stUl very dicky : a pallid animal : a weevil 
in a nut. I have a weak heart, an enervated nervous 
system; I suffer from lack of funds with which to carry 
on my studies; I hate newspaper-reporting — particularly 

some skinny-witted speaker like ; and last, but not 

least, there are women; all these worries fight over my 
body like jackals over carrion. Yet Zoology is all I want. 
Wliy won't Life leave me alone? 

January 15. 

Reading Hardy's novels. He is altogether delightful 
in the subtlety with which he lets you perceive the first 
tiny love presentiments between his heroes and heroines 
— the casual touch of the hands, the peep of a foot or 
ankle underneath the sldrt — all these in Hardy signify 
the cloud no bigger than a man's hand. They are the 
susurrus of the breeze before the storm, and you awuit 
what is to follow with palpitating heart. 



igio] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 25 

February 3. 

For days past have been living in a state of mental 
ebullition. All kinds of pictures of Love, Life, and Death 
have been passing through my mind. Now I am too 
indolent and nerveless to set them down. Physically I 
am such a wreck that to carry out the least intention, 
such as putting on my boots, I have to flog my will Hke 
an Arab with a slave 'in a sand of Ayaman.' Three 
months ago when I got up before breakfast to dissect 
rabbits, dogfish, frogs, newts, etc., this would have seemed 
impossible. 

February 6. 

Still \nsit Dr 's surgery each week. I have two 

dull spots at the bottom of each lung. What a fine ex- 
pressive word is gloom. Let me write it : GLOOM. . . . 

One evening coming home in the train from L County 

Sessions I noticed a horrible, wheezy sound whenever 
I breathed deep. I was scared out of my life, and at once 
thought of consumption. Went to the Doctor's next 
day, and he sounded me and reassured me. I was afraid 
to tell him of the little wheezy sound at the apex of each 
lung, and I believed he overlooked it. So next day, very 
harassed, I went back to him again and told him. He 
hadn't noticed it and looked glum. Have to keep out of 
doors as much as possible. 

The intense internal Mfe I lead, worrjdng about my 
health, reading (eternally reading), reflecting, observing, 
feehng, loving and hating — with no outlet for superfluous 
steam, cramped and confined on every side, without 
any friends or influence of any sort, without even any 
acquaintances excepting my colleagues in journalism 
(whom I contemn) — all this vidll turn me into the most 
self-conscious, conceited, mawkish, gauche creature in 
existence. 

March 6. 

The facts are undeniable : Life is pain. No sophistry 
can win me over to any other view. And yet years ago 



26 THE JOURNAL OF [1910 

I set out so hopefully and healthfully — what are birds' 
eggs to me now'^ My ambition is enormous but vague. 
I am too distributed in my abilities ever to achieve dis- 
tinction. 

March 22. 

Had a letter from the Keeper of Zoology at the British 
Museum, advising me of three vacancies in his Dept., 
and asking me if I would like to try, etc. ... So that 

Dr 's visit to me bore some fruit. ^ Spent the morning 

day-dreaming. . . . Perhaps this is the flood tide at last ! 
I shall work like a drayhorse to pull through if I am 
nominated. ... I await developments in a frightfully 
turbulent state of mind. I have a frantic desire to control 
the factors which are going to affect my future so per- 
manently. And this ferocious desire, of course, collides 
with a crash all day long with the fact that however much 
I desire there will still remain the unalterable logic of 
events. 

April 7. 

. . , How delicious all this seemed ! To be alive — 
thinking, seeing, enjoying, walking, eating — all quite 
apart from the amount of money in your purse or the 
prospects of a career. I revelled in the sensuous enjoy- 
ment of my animal existence. 

June 2. 

Up to now my life has been one of great internal strife 
and struggle — the struggle with a great ambition and a 
weak will — unequal to the task of coping with it. I have 
planned on too big a scale, perhaps. I have put too great 
a strain on my talents, I have whipped a flagging will, 
I have been for ever cogitating, worrjang, devising means 
of escape. Meanwhile, the moments have gone by un- 
heeded and unenjoyed. 

' He had spoken about me to the Museum authorities, and it 
was his influence which got me the nomination to sit for the 
examination. 



1 910] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 27 

June 10. 

Legginess is bad enough in a woman, but bandy legginess 
is impossible. 

Solitude is good for the soul. After an hour of it, I feel 
as loft}'' and imperial as Marcus Aurelius. 

The best girl in the best dress immediately looks dis- 
reputable if her stockings be downgyved. 

Some old people on reaching a certain age go on living 
out of habit — a bad habit too. 

How much I can learn of a stranger by his laugh. 

Bees, Poppies, and Swallows ! — and all they mean to 
him who really knows them ! Or a White Gull on a piece 
of floating timber, or a troop of shiny Rooks close on the 
heels of a ploughman on a sunny autumn day. 

June 30. 

My egoism appals me. Likewise the extreme intensifi- 
cation of the consciousness of myself. Whenever I walk 
down the High Street on a market day, my self-conscious- 
ness magnifies my proportions to the size of a Gulliver — 
so that it is grievous to reflect that in spite of that the 
townsfolk see me only as an insignificant bourgeois youth 
who reports meetings in shorthand. 

July 17. 

We sang to-night in Church, 'But when I know Thee 
as Thou art, I'll praise Thee as I ought.' Exactly ! Till 
then, farewell. We are a great little people, we humans. 
If there be no next world, stiU the Spirit of Man will have 
lived and uttered its protest. 

J Illy 22. 

Our Simian Ancestry 

How I hate the man who talks about the 'brute 
creation,' with an ugly emphasis on bride. Only Christians 
are capable of it. As for me, I am proud of my close 
kinship with other animals. I take a jealous pride in my 
Simian ancestry. I like to think that I was once a mag- 
nificent hairy feUow living in the trees and that my frame 



28 THE JOURNAL OF [1910 

has come down through geological time via sea jelly and 
worms and Amphioxus, Fish, Dinosaurs, and Apes. Who 
would exchange these for the palhd couple in the Garden 
of Eden? 

August 9. 

I do not ever like going to bed. For me each day ends 
in a httle sorrow. I hate the time when it comes to put 
my books away, to knock out my pipe and say 'Good-night,' 
exchanging the vivid pleasures of the day for the darkness 
of sleep and oblivion. 

August 23. 

Spent the afternoon and evening till ten in the woods 

with Mary . Had tea in the Haunted House, and 

after sat in the Green Arbor until dark, when I kissed 
her. 'Achilles was not the worse warrior for his probation 
in petticoats.' 

September i. 

I hope to goodness she doesn't think I want to marry 
her. In the Park in the dark, kissing her. I was testing 
and experimenting with a new experience. 

September 4. 

Last evening, after much mellifluous cajolery, induced 
her to kiss me. My private opinion about this whole affair 
is that all the time I have been at least twenty degrees 
below real love heat. In any case I am constitutionally 
and emotionally unfaithful. I said things which I did 
not believe just because it was dark and she was charming. 

September 5. 

Read Thomas k Kempis in the train. It made me so 
angry I nearly flung it out of the window. 'Meddle not 
with things that be too deep for thee,' he says, 'but read 
such things as yield compunction to the heart rather 
than elevation to the head.' Forsooth ! Can't you see 
me? 



r9io] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 29 

September 15. 

A puzzling afternoon : weather perfect, the earth 
green and humming hke a top, yet a web of dream overlaid 
the great hill, and at certain moments, which recurred 
in a kind of pulsation, accompanied by subjective feelings 
of vague strife and effort, I easily succeeded in letting 
all I saw — the field and the blackberry bush, the whole 
valley and the apple orchards — change into something 
unreal, flimsy, gauzelike, immaterial, and totally unex- 
perienced. Suddenly when the impression was most vivid, 
the whole of this mysterious tapestry would vanish away 
and I was back where 2 and 2 make 4. Oh 1 Earth ! 
how jealously you guard your secrets 1 

October 4. 

Sat at the Civil Service Commission in Burlington 
House for the exam, for the vacancy in the B. M. No 
luck at all with the papers. The whole of my nine months' 
assiduous preparation helped me in only two questions. In 
fine, I have not succeeded, I shall not obtain the appoint- 
ment, and in a few weeks I shall be back in the wilds of 

N again under the old regime, reporting platitudes 

from greasy guardians of the poor, and receiving con- 
dolences from people not altogether displeased at some 
one else's misfortune. 

October 14. 

Returned home from London. Felt horribly defeated 
in crossing the threshold. It was so obviously returning 
after an unsuccessful flight. 

October 22. 

Dissected a Sqitilla for which I paid 2s. 6d. to the 
Plymouth Marine Laboratory. 

October 23. 

Amhition 

Am attempting to feel after some practical philosophy 
of living — something that will enable me to accept dis- 



30 THE JOURNAL OF [1910 

appointment witli equanimity and Town Council meetings 
with a broad and tolerant smile. At present, ambition 
consumes me. I was ambitious before I was breeched. 
I can remember wondering as a child if I were a young 
Macaulay or Ruskin and secretly deciding that I was. 
My infant mind even was bitter with those who insisted 
on regarding me as a normal child and not as a prodigy. 
Since then I have struggled with this canker for many a 
day, and as success fails to arrive it becomes more gnawing. 

October 24. 

In the morning a Town Council and in the afternoon 
a Rural Council. With this abominable trash in my 
notebook waiting to be written up and turned into 'copy,' 
and with the dream pictures of a quiet studious life in 
Cromwell Road not yet faded from my mind, where can 
I turn for consolation? That I have done my best? 
That's only a mother's saying to her child. 

Perhaps after all it is a narrow hfe — this diving and 
delving among charming little secrets, plying diligently 
scalpel and microscope and then weaving the facts obtained 
into theoretic finespun. It is all vastly entertaining to 
the naturalist but it leaves the world unmoved. I some- 
times envy the zealot with a definite mission in Ufe. Life 
without one seems void. The monotonous pursuit of 
our daily vocations — the soldier, sailor, candlestick- 
maker — ^so they go on, never living but only working, 
never thinking but only hypnotising themselves by the 
routine and punctuality of their Uves into just so many 
mechanical to3's warranted to go for so long and then 
stop when Death takes them. ... It amazes me that 
men must spend their precious days of existence for the 
most -part in slaving for food and clothing and the bare 
necessaries of existence. 

To sum up my despondency, what's the good of such 
a life? Where does it lead? Where am I going? Why 
should I work? What means this procession of nights and 
days wherein we are all seen moving along intent and 
stern as if we had some purpose or a goal? ... Of 



I9IO A DISAPPOINTED MAN 31 

course to the man who beUeves in the next world and a 
personal God, it is quite another matter. The Christian 
is the Egoist par excellence. He does not mind annihilation 
by arduous labour in this world if in the next he shall 
have won eternal life. ... He is reckless of to-day, 
extravagant in the expenditure of his life. This intoler- 
able fellow will be cheerful in a dungeon. For he flatters 
himself that God Almighty up in Heaven is all the time 
watching through the keyhole and marking him down 
for eternal life. 



October 26. 

The nose-snuffling, cynical man who studies La Roche- 
foucauld, and prides himself on a knowledge of human 
motives, is pleased to point out that every action and 
every motive is selfish, from the philanthropist who 
advertises himself by his charities to the fanatic who lays 
down his life for a cause. Even secret charities, for they 
give pleasure to the doer. So your cynic thinks he has 
thus, with one stroke of his psychological scalpel, laid 
human nature bare in all its depravities. All he has done 
really is to reclassify motives — instead of grouping them 
as selfish and unselfish (which is more convenient) he 
lumps them together as selfish, a method by which even 
he is forced to recognise different grades of selfishness. 
For example, the selfishness of a wife-beater is lower than 
the selfishness of a man who gives up his life for another. 

October 28. 

The result arrived. As I thought, I have failed, being 
fourth with only three vacancies. 

November 7. 

It is useless to bewail the course of fortune. It cannot 
be much credit to possess — though we may covet — those 
precious things, to possess which depends on circumstances 
outside our control. 



i2 THE JOURNAL OF [lyio 

November 9. 

Dined at the Devonshire Club in St James's Street, 

W., with Dr H and Mr , the latter showing 

the grave symptomatic phenomena of a monocle and 
spats. A dinner of eight courses. Only made one mistake 
— put my salad on my dish instead of on the side dish. 
Horribly nervous and reticent. I was apparently ex- 
pected to give an account of myself and my abiUties — 
and with that end in \dew, they gave me a few pokes in 
my cranial ribs. But I am a peculiar animal, and, before 
unbosoming myself, I would require a happier mis-en- 
scene than a West End Club, and a more tactful method 
of approach than ogling by two professors, who seemed 
to think I was a simple penny-in-the-slot machine. I 
froze from sheer nervousness and nothing resulted. 

November 11. 

Returned home and found a letter awaiting me from 

Dr A offering me £60 a year for a temporary job 

as assistant at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. 

Left London horribly depressed. They e\ddently 
intend to shuffle me off. 

Read Geo. Gissing's novel. Born in Exile. Godwin 
Peak, with his intense pride of individuality, self -torturing 
capacities, and sentimental languishment, reminds me 
of myself. 

November 20. 

A purulent cold in the nose. My heart is weak. Palpi- 
tation after the least exertion. But I shall soon be 
swinging my cudgels in the battle of hfe, so it won't do 
to be hj^ochondriacal. . . . Let all the powers of the 
world and the Devil attack me, yet I will win in the end 
— though the conquest may very well be one which no 
one but myself \\ill view. 

Have accepted the Plymouth appointment. 



I9IOJ A DISAPPOINTED MAN 33 

November 30. 

Struggling in the depths again within the past few 
days with heart attacks. Am slowly getting better of 
them and trying to forget as soon as may be visions of 
sudden death, coffins, and obituary notices. 

December 2. 

Death 

At first, when we are very young, Death arouses our 
curiosity, as it did Cain in the beginning. ^ It is a strange 
and very rare phenomenon which we cannot comprehend, 
and every time we hear of some one's death, we try to 
recall that person's appearance in life and are disappointed 
if we can't. The endeavour is to discover what it is, this 
Death, to compare two things, the idea of the person alive 
and the idea of him dead. At last some one we know 
well dies — and that is the first shock. ... I shall never 

forget when our Matron died at the D School. . . . 

As the years roll on, we get used to the man with the 
scythe and an acquantance's death is only a bit of gossip. 

Suppose the HeUfire of the orthodox really existed ! 
We have no assurance that it does not ! It seems in- 
credible, but many incredible things are true. We do 
not know that God is not as cruel as a Spanish inquisitor. 
Suppose, then, He is ! If, after Death, we wicked ones 
were shovelled into a furnace of fire — we should have to 
burn. There would be no redress. It would simply be 
the Divine Order of things. It is outrageous that we 
should be so helpless and so dependent on any one — 
even God. 

December g. 

Sometimes I think I am going mad. I live for days 
in the mystery and tears of things so that the commonest 
object, the most familiar face — even my own — become 
ghostly, unreal, enigmatic. I get into an attitude of 
almost total scepticism, nescience, solipsism even, in a 
world of dumb, sphinx-like things that cannot explain 

* In Byron's poem. 



34 THE JOURNAi OF [1910 

themselves. The discovery of how I am situated — a 
sentient being on a globe in space overshadows me. I 
wish I were just nothing. 

Later : Wliile at a public meeting, the office-boy 
approached me and immediately whispered without 
hesitation, — 

'Just had a telephone message to say that your father 

is at the T Railway Station, lying senseless. He 

has evidently had an apoplectic fit.' 

(How those brutal words, 'lying senseless,' banged 
and bullied and knocked me down. Mother was waiting 
for me at the door in a dreadful state and expecting the 
worst.) 

Met the train with the Doctor, and took him home in 
the cab — still alive, thank God, but helpless. He was 
brave enough to smile and shake me by the hand — with 
his left, though he was speechless and the right side of 
his body helpless. A porter discovered him at the 
railway terminus Ijdng on the floor of a second-class 
carriage. 

December 10. 

He is a trifle better. It is fifteen years since he had 
the first paralytic stroke. 

Am taking over all his work and have written at once 
resigning the Plymouth appointment. 

December 23. 

It really did require an effort to go upstairs to-day to 
his bedroom and say cheerfully I was not going to P. 
after all, and that the matter was of no consequence to 
me. I laughed gaily and Dad was relieved. A thundering 
good joke. What annoys me is that other folk — the 
brainless, heartless mob, as Schopenhauer remarks, still 
continue to regard me as one of themselves. ... I had 
nearly escaped into a seaside laboratory, and now sud- 
denly to be flung back into the dirt and sweat of the 
newspaper world seems very hard, and it is very hard. 



191 1] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 35 

December 26. 

Windy Ash 

With the dog for a walk around Windy Ash. It was 
a beautiful winter's morning — a low sun giving out a 
pale Hght but no warmth — a luminant, not a fire — the 
hedgerows bare and well trimmed, an Elm lopped close 
showing white stumps which gHstened Uquidly in the 
sun, a Curlew whistling overhead, a deeply cut lane washed 
hard and clean by the winter rains, a gunshot from a 
distant cover, a creeping Wren, silent and tame, in a 
bramble bush, and over the five-barred gate the granite 
roller with vacant shafts. I leaned on the gate and saw 
the great whisps of cloud in the sky like comets' tails. 
Everything cold, crystalline. 



1911 
January 2< 

As a young man — a very young man — my purpose was 
to plough up aU obstacles, brook no delays, and without 
let or hindrance win through to an almost immediate 
success ! But witness 1910 ! 'My career' so far has been 
hke the White Knight's, who fell off behind when the 
horse started, in front when it stopped, and sideways 
occasionally to vary the monotony. 

January 30. 

Feeling ill and suffering from attacks of faintness. My 
ill health has produced a change in my attitude towards 
work. As soon as I begin to feel the least bit down, I am 
bound to stop at once as the idea of bending over a desk or 
a dissecting dish, of reading or studying, nauseates me 
when I think that perhaps to-morrow or next day or next 
week, next month, next year I may be dead. What a 
waste of life it seems to work ! Zoology is repugnant 
and philosophy superfluous beside the bUss of sheer living 
— out in the cold polar air or indoors in a chair before 
a roaring fire with hands clasped, watching the bustling, 
soothing activity of the flames. 



36 THE JOURNAL OF [iQn 

Then, as soon as I am well agahi, I forget all this, grow 
discontented with doing nothing and work like a Tiger. 

February ii. 

Walked in the country. Coming home, terrified by a 
really violent attack of palpitation. Almost every one 
I met I thought would be the unfortunate person who 
would have to pick me up. As each one in the street 
approached me, I weighed him in the balance and con- 
sidered if he had presence of mind and how he would 

render first aid. After my friend, P. C. , had passed, 

I felt sorry that the tragedy had not already happened, 
for he knows me and where I Uve. At length, after sundry 
leanings over the river wall, arrived at the Library, which 
I entered, and sat down, when the full force of the palpi- 
tation was immediately felt. My face burned with the 
hot blood, my hand holding the paper shook with the 
angry pulse, and my heart went bang ! bang ! bang ! 
and I could feel its beat in the carotids of the neck and 
up along the Torcular herophili and big vessels in the 
occipital region of the head. Drew in each breath very 
gently for fear of aggravating the fiend. Got home (don't 
know how) and had some sal volatile. Am better now 
but very demoralised. 

February 13. 

Feel Uke a piece of drawn threadwork, or an undeveloped 
negative, or a jelly fish on stilts, or a sloppy tadpole, 
or a weevil in a nut, or a spitchcocked eel. In other 
words and in short — ill. 

February 16. 

After some days \\dth the vision of sudden death con- 
stantly before me, have come to the conclusion that it's 
a long way to go to die. Am coming back anyhow. Yet 
these are a few terrible pages in my history. 



1 91 1 J A DISAPPOINTED MAN 37 

March 4. 

. . . The Doctor's orders 'Cease Work' have brought on 
in an aggravated form my infatuation for zoological 
research. I lie in bed and manufacture rolling periods 
in praise of it, I get dithyrambic over the zoologists 
themselves — Huxley, Wallace, Brooks, Lankester. I 
chortle to reflect that in zoology there are no stock exchange 
ambitions, there is no mention of slum life. Tariff Reform 
is not included. In the repose of the spacious laboratory 
by the seaside or in the halls of some great Museum, life 
with its vulgar struggles, its hustle and obscenity, scarcely 
penetrates. Behind those doors, life flows slowly, deeply. 
I am ascetic and long for the monastic seclusion of a 
student's life. 

March 5. 

From One Maiden Lady to Another. {Authentic) 

'My dear Sister, — You have been expecting to hear 
from me I know, I have had inflammation to my eyes 
twice in 3 weeks so I thought I had better let the Doctor 
see and he says it is catarrh of the eyes and windpipe. 
I am inhaling and taking lozenges and medicine. You 
will be sorry to learn Leonora Mims has been taken to a 
Sanatorium viith Diptheria, we heard yesterday, she is 
better, poor Mrs Mims herself quite an invalid, she has 
to walk with a stick, I believe you know she has had to 
have her breast cut off, they keep a servant as she can't 
do anything, old Mrs Point is 87 I think it is so they too 
have a lot of trouble, Fred Mims has just got married. . . . 

'Poor old Mrs Seemsoe is just the same, she doesn't 
know anybody but she talks, the nurse put a grape in 
her mouth but she didn't know what to do with it, I 
think it is very sad. She was taken about a fortnight 
before Easter, Will you tell me dear if tliis is right receipt 
for clothes | oz. carbolic in | pint of rose water. Harry 
Gammon's 2 little children have measles, poor Maisie 
has gone with her Aunt Susan, poor old Joe Gammon 
they say had very little to leave, w« don't know where 



38 THE JOURNAL OF [iQn 

Robert gets his money from. I dare say you saw that 
Tom Sagg has married another of Ned Smith's daughters 
and we hear these Smith girls are rare housekeepers and 
this girl that has married Tom Sagg has made all her 
own linen. Mrs Wilkins, the butcher's wife is going to 
have a Uttle one after 15 years, our Vicar has been laid 
up with an abscess, he told us about his brother the other 
day, he says as brothers they love each other very much. 
We have 3 very sad cases of men ill in the village. We 
had 4 but one man died of cancer. 

'Yr loving Sister Amy.' 

VoDa ! 

March 7. 

If I die I should like to be buried in the cherry orchards 
at V . 

How the beastly mob loves a tragedy ! The sudden 
death of the Bank Manager is simply thrilhng the town, 
and the newspapers sell like hot cakes. Scarcely before 
the body is cold the coincidence of his death on the anni- 
versary of his birth is discussed in every household; 
every one tells everybody else where they saw him last 
— 'he looked all right then.' The policeman and the 
housemaid, the Mayor and the Town Clerk, the cabman 
and the billposter, stand and discuss the deceased gentle- 
man's last words or what the uidow's left v^ith. 'Ah ! 
well, it is very sad,' they remark to one another with no 
emotion and continue on their way. 

March 10. 

On coming downstairs in the evening played Ludo 
with H . At one stage I laughed so much in con- 
junction with that harlequin H that I got cramp 

in the abdominal muscles and the tears trickled down 
my face. 

March 13. 

H and I play Ludo incessantly. We've developed 

the gambhng fever, and our pent-up excitement every 



191 1] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 39 

now and then explodes in fiendish cackles, and Mother 
looks up over her spectacles and says, 'William, WilHam, 
they'll hear in the street presently.' 



A Character 

For this world's unfortunates, his is the ripe sympathy 
of a well-developed nature, standing in strong contrast 
with the rest of his personality, which is wholly self- 
centred, a little ungenerous, and what strong men of 
impeccable character call 'weak.' If you are ill he is 
delightful, if you are robust or successful he can be very 
objectionable. To an influenza victim he goes out of 
his way to carry a book, but if you tell him with gusto 
you have passed your exam, he says, 'Oh, but there's not 
much behind it, is there? ' 'Oh ! no,' I answer, comforting 
him, 'it is really a misfortune to be a success.' And so 
only the bankrupts, dipsos (as he calls them), ne'er-do- 
weels, and sudden deaths ever touch his heart or tap 
his sympathy. He is a short, queery, dressy little fellow, 
always spruce and clean. His joy consists in a glass of 
beer, a full stomach, a good cigar, or a pretty girl to flirt 
with. He frequents drinking saloons and billiard rooms, 
goes to dances and likes to be thought a lady's man. 'Um,' 
he will say, with the air of a connoisseur, 'a Httle too 
broad in the beam,' as some attractive damsel walks down 
the street. Any day about twelve you can see both of 
us, 'the long and the short of it ' (he is only half my height 
and I caU him .5), walldng together in the Park, and 
engaged in the most heated discussion over some en- 
tirely trivial matter, such as whether he would marry a 
woman with sore eyes, etc., etc. More than once we 
have caught cabmen idle on the cab - rank or police- 
men on point duty jerking their thumbs backward at 
us and expressing some facetious remarks which we 
longed to overhear. I usually wallc in the gutter to bring 
my height down a bit. 

A good raconteur himself, he does not willingly suffer 
a story from another. The varmint on occasion finishes 



40 THE JOURNAL OF Uon 

your joke off for you, which is his delicate way of 
intimating that he has heard it before. He is a first-class 
mimic, and sends every one into a thousand fits wliile he 
gives you in succession the Mayor and all the Corporation. 
He also delights me at times by mimicking me. His mind 
is receptive rather than creative : it picks up all sorts 
of gaudy ideas by the wayside like a magpie, and I some- 
times enjoy the exquisite sensation of hearing some of 
these petty pilferings (which he has filched from me) 
laid at my feet as if they were his own. The ideas which 
are his own are always unmistakable. 

His favourite poems are Omar and the Ballad of Reading 
Jail, his favourite drinks Medoc or a Cherry Mixture. 
Me he describes as serpentulous with Gibbon-like arms, 
pinheaded, and so on. He amuses me. In fact I love 
liim. 

March i6. 

No one will ever understand without personal experi- 
ence that an exceedingly self-conscious creature Hke 
myself driven in on himself to consume himself is the 
unhappiest of men. I have come to loathe myself : my 
finicking, hypersensitive, morbid nature, always think- 
ing, talking, writing about myself for all the world as if 
the world beyond did not exist ! I am rings within rings, 
circles concentric and intersecting, a maze, a tangle : 
watching myself behave or misbehave, always reflecting 
on what impression I am making on others or what they 
think of me. Introduce me to a stranger and I swell 
out as big as Alice. Self-consciousness makes me pneu- 
matic, and consequently so awkward and clumsy and 
swollen that I don't know how to converse — and God help 
the other fellow. 

Later : Youth is an intoxication without wine, some one 
says. Life is an intoxication. The only sober man is the 
melancholiac, who, disenchanted, looks at life, sees it as it 
really is, and cuts his throat. If this be so, I want to be 
very drunk. The gieat thing is to live, to clutch at our 
existence and race away with it in some great and 



191 1] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 41 

enthralling pursuit. Above all, I must beware of all ulti- 
mate questions — they are too maddeningly unanswerable 
— let me eschew philosophy and burn Omar. 

In this week's T. P.'s Weekly a youth advertises : — 
'Young thinkers interested in philosophy, religion, 
social reform, the future of humanity, and aU freethought, 
please communicate with " Evolution," aged 21 ! ' All 
right for 21. 

Laler : I have in mind some work on the vascular 
system of larval newts. In the autumn I see a large piece of 
work to be done in animal psychology — namely, fre- 
quency of stimulus and its relation to habit formation. 
Yet the doctor advises long rest and the office work 
remains to be done. I must hack my way through some- 
how. I sit tr5dng to disentangle these knots; then some 
one plays a dreamy waltz and all my fine edifices of the 
wiU vanish in mist. Is it worth while? Why not float 
with the tide? But I soon throw off these temptations. 
If I hve, I shall play a fine game ! I am determined. 
A lame-dog life is of no use. 



April 17. 

Railway Travel 

A journey in a railway train makes me sentimental. 
If I enter the compartment a robust-minded, cheerful 
youth, fresh and whistling from a walk by the sea, yet, 
as soon as I am settled down in one comer and the train 
is rattling along past fields, woods, towns, and painted 
stations, I find myself indulging in a saccharine sadness 
— very toothsome and jolly. I pull a long face and gaze out 
of the window wistfully and look sad. But I am really 
happy — and incredibly sentimental. 

The effect is produced, I suppose, by the quickly chang- 
ing panoramic view of the country, and as I see everything 
sliding swiftly by, and feel myself being hurtled forward 
willy-nilly, I am sub-conscious of the flight of Time, of 
the eternal flux, of the trajectory of my own life. . . . 
Timid folk, of course, want some Rock of Ages, something 



42 THE JOURNAL OF C1911 

static. They want life a mill pond rather than the 
torrent which it is, a homely affair of teacups and tabby 
cats rather than a dangerous expedition. 

April 22. 

Who will rid me of the body of this death? My body 
is chained to me — a dead weight. It is my warder. I can 
do nothing without fii'st consulting it and seeking its 
permission. I jeer at its grotesqueness. I chafe at the 
thongs it binds on me. On this bully I am dependent 
for everything the world can give me. How can I preserve 
my amour propre when I must needs be for ever wheedling 
and cajoling a despot with delicate meats and soft couches? 
— I who am proud, ambitious, and full of energy ! In the 
end, too, I know it intends to carry me off. ... I should 
like though to have the last kick and, copying De Quincey, 
arrange to hand it over for dissection to the medical men 
— out of revenge. 

'Hope thou not much* fear thou not at all' — my 
motto of late. 

April 30. 

I can well imagine looking back on these entries later 
on and blushing at the pettiness of my soul herein re- 
vealed. . . . Only be charitable, kind reader. There 
are three Johns, and I am much mistaken if in these 
pages there will not be found something of the John 
known to himself, and an inkling, perhaps, of the man 
as he is knowTi to his Creator. As a timid showman 
afraid that unless he emphasises the feature of his exhibit, 
they wdll be overlooked, let me, hat in hand, point out 
that I know I am an ass, that I am still hoping (in spite 
of ill health) that I am an enthusiast. 

May 2. 

Maeterlinck's Wisdom and Destiny is distilled Marcus 
Aurehus. I am rather tired of these comfortable philoso- 
phers. If a man be harassed by Fate with a red rag and 
a picador let him turn and rend him — or try to, anyway. 



1911] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 43 

May 8. 

Staying by the Sea 



I have been living out of doors a lot lately and am 
getting sunburnt. It gives me infinite pleasure to be 
sunburnt — to appear the man of the open air, the open 
road, and the wild life. The sun intoxicates me to-day. 
The sea is not big enough to hold me nor the sky for me 
to breathe in. I feel I should like to be swaying with all 
the passions, throbbing with life and a vast activity of 
heart and sinew — to hve magnificently— with an un- 
quenchable thirst to drink to the lees, to plumb the depth 
of every joy and every sorrow, to see my life flash in the 
heat. Ah ! Youth ! Youth ! Youth ! ! ! In these 
moments of ecstasy my happiness is torrential. I have 
the soul of the poppy flaming in me then. I am rather 
like the poppy in many ways. ... It is peculiarly 
appropriate. It must be my flower ! I am the poppy ! ! 

May 9. 

L was digging up the ground in his garden to-day 

and one shovelful came up thick and shapely. He laid 
the sod on its back gently without breaking it and said 
simply, 'Doesn't it come up nice ? ' His face was radiant ! 
— Real happiness lies in the little things, in a bit of 
garden work, in the rattle of the teacups in the next room, 
in the last chapter of a book. 

May 14. 

Returned home. I hate hving in this little town. If 
some one dies, he is sure to be some one you had a joke 
with the night before. A suicide — ten to one — implicates 
your bosom friend, or else the little man at the bookshop 
cut liim down. There have been three deaths since I 
came home — I knew them all. It depresses me. The 
town seems a mortuary with all these dead bodies lying 
in it. Lucky for you, if you're a fat, rubicund, unimagin- 
ative physician. 



44 THE JOURNAL OF [1911 

May 16. 

Two more people dead — one a school friend. Sat on 
a seat on the river bank and read the Journal of Animal 
Behaviour. It made me long to be at work. I foamed at 
the mouth to be sitting there perforce in an overcoat on 
a seat doing nothing like a pet dove. A weak heart 
makes crossing a road an adventure and turns each da}' 
into a dangerous expedition. 

May 18. 

A dirty ragamuffin on the river's bank held up a tin 
can to me with the softly persuasive words, — 

"Ere. Mister, BAIT.' 

'What are you going to do with it?' 

'Fish.' 

'What for?' 

'Salmon.' 

We have aU tried to catch salmon ^^ith a bent pin. 
No matter though if no salmon be caught. Richard 
Jefferies said, 'If there be no immortality still we shall 
have had the glory of that thought.' 



May 19. 

Old Diaries 

Spent some happy time reading over old diaries. I 
was grieved and surprised to find how much I had for- 
gotten. To forget the past so easily seems scarcely loyal 
to oneself. I am so selfishly absorbed in my present self 
that I have grown not to care a damn about that ever 
increasing collection of past selves — those dear, dead 
gentlemen who one after the other have tenanted the 
temple of this flesh and handed on the torch of my life 
and personal identity before creeping away silently and 
modestly to rest. 

June 6. 

Brilliantly fine and warm. Unable to resist the sun, 
so I caught the ten train to S and walked across 



'911] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 45 

the meadow (buttercups, forget-me-nots, ragged robins) 
to the Dipper stream and the ivy bridge. Read ardently 
in Geology till twelve. Then took off my boots and socks, 
and waded underneath the right arch of the bridge in 
deep water, and eventually sat on a dry stone at the 
top of the masonry just where the water drops into the 
green salmon pool in a solid bar. Next I waded upstream 
to a big slab of rock tilted at a comfortable angle. I lay 
flat on this with my nether extremities in \\-ater up to my 
knees. The sun bathed my face and dragon flies chased 
up and down intent on murder. But I cared not a tinker's 
Demetrius about Nature red in tooth and claw. I was 
quite satisfied with Nature under a June sun in the cool 
atmosphere of a Dipper stream. I lay on the slab com- 
pletely relaxed, and the cool water ran strongly between 
my toes. Surely I was never again going to be miserable. 
The voices of children playing in the wood made me 
extra happy. As a rule I loathe children. I am too much 
of a youth still. But not this morning. For these were 
fairy voices ringing through enchanted woods. 

June 8. 
Brilliantly fine and warm. Went by train to C- 



Woods. Took first-class return on account of the heat. 
Crossed the meadow and up the hill to the mill leaf, where 
we bathed our feet and read. Ate a powerful lunch and 
made several unsuccessful grabs at Caddie flies. I want 
one to examine the mouth parts. After lunch we sat on 
the foot-bridge over the stream, and I rested on it flat 
in the face of the sun. The sun seemed to burn into my 
very bones, purging away everything that may be dark 
or threatening there. The physical sensation of the 
blood flow beneath the skin was good to feel, and the 
heat made every tissue glow with a radiant well-being. 
When I got up and opened my eyes all the colours of the 
landscape vanished under the silvery wliiteness of the 
intense sunlight. 

We put on our boots and socks (our feet seemed to have 
swollen to a very large size) and wandered downstream 



46 THE JOURNAL OF [ign 

to a little white house, a gamekeeper's cottage, where the 
old woman gave us cream and milk and home-made bread 
in her beautiful old kitchen \nth open hearth. China 
dogs, of course, and on the wall an old painting represent- 
ing the person of a page boy (so she said) who was once 
employed up at the squire's. An unwholesome atmo- 
sphere of pigs pervaded the garden, but as this is not 
pretty I ought to leave it out. . . . 

June 14. 

BrilKantly fine. Went by the early train to S 



Walked to the ivy bridge and then waded upstream to 
the great slab of rock where I spread mj^self in the sun 
as before. The experiment was so delightful it is worth 
repeating a hundred times. Ir this position I read of 
the decUne and fall of Trilobites, of the Stratigraphy of 
the Lias and so on. Geology is a ver^' crushing science, 
yet I enjoyed my existence this morning with the other 
flies about that stream. 

June 20. 

Sat at Liverpool University for the practical exam. 
Zoology, Board of Education. 

At the close the other students left but I went on 
working. Prof. Herdman asked me if I had finished. 
I said 'No,' so he gave me a little more time. Later he 
tame up again, and again I said 'No,' but he replied that 
he was afraid I must stop. 'What could you do further ? ' 
he asked, picking up a dish of plankton. I pointed out 
a Sagitta, an Oikopleura, and a Noctiluca, and he replied, 
'Of course I put in more than you were expected to identify 
in the time, so as to make a choice possible.' Then he 
compHmented me on my woitten papers which were sent 
in some weeks ago, and looking at my practical work he 
added, 'And this, too, seems to be quite excellent.' 

I thanked him from the bottom of a greedy and grate- 
ful heart, and he went on, 'I see you describe yourself 
in your papers as a journaUst, but can you tell me exactly 
what has been your career in ZoolOjgy?' 



191 1] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 47 

I answered of course rather proudly that I had had 
no career in Zoology. 

'But what school or college have you worked at ? ' he 
persisted. 

'None,' I said a little doggedly. 'What I know I have 
taught myself.' 

'So you've had no training in Zoology at all?' 

'No, sir.' 

'Well, if you've taught yourself all you know, you've 
done remarkably weD.' 

He stiU seemed a little incredulous, and when I ex- 
plained how I got a great many of my marine animals 
for dissection and study at the Pl5^mouth Marine Labora- 
tory, he immediately asked me suspiciously if I had 
ever worked there. We shook hands, and he \vished 
me all success in the future, to which I to myself devoutly 
said Amen. 

Came home very elated at having impressed some one 
at last. 

Now for DubHn. 

June 30. 

Oeconomic biology may be very useful but I am not 
interested in it. Give me the pure science. I don't want 
to be worr5nlng my head over remedies for potato disease 
nor cures for fleas in fowls. Heaven preserve me from 
ever becoming a County Council lecturer or a Government 
Entomologist ! ^ . . . Give me the recluse life of a scholar 
or investigator, full of leisure, culture, and delicate skill. 
I would rather know Bergson than be able to stay at 
the Ritz Hotel. I would rather be able to dissect a star- 
fish's water-vascular system than know the price of 
Consols. I should make a most industrious country 
gentleman with £5000 a year and a deer park. . . . My 
idea is to withdraw from the mobile vulgus and spend 
laborious days in the Ubrary or laboratory. The world 
is too much with us. I long for the monotony of monastic 
Jj.fe ! Father Wasmann and the Abbe Spallanzani are 

* See entry for October 8, 1913. 



48 THE JOURNAL OF [ign 

the type. Let me set my face towards them. Such lives 
afford poor material for novelists or dramatists, but so 
much the better. Hamlet makes fine reading, but I 
don't want to be Hamlet myself. 

Jidy 6. 

In the afternoon went out dredging in fifteen fathoms 

off the pier at I , but without much success. . . . 

Got a large number of interesting things, however, in the 
tow net, including some advanced eggs of Loligo and a 
Tomopteris. . . . 

July 7. 

Went to the trout stream again. After stretching a 
mushn net crosswise on the water for insects floating 
down, sat on the footbridge and read Geology for the 
Dubhn Examination. Later, waded downstream to a 
hazel bush on the right bank beneath a shady oak. 
Squatted right down on the bush, which supported me 
hke an arm-chair — and, with legs danghng in the cool 
water, opened a Meredith and enjoyed myself, 

July 28. 

Had to write backing out of the Dubhn Examination 
for which I am nominated to sit. I am simply not fit 
for the racket of such a journey in my present state of 
health. My chances of success, too, are not such as to 
warrant my drawing on Dad for the money. He is still 
ill, and secretly agitated, I fear, because I am so bent 
on giving up his work. It looks, however, as if newspaper 
journaHsm is to be my fate. It was the refinement of 
torture having to write, 

July 31. 

Had a letter from Dr S enough to wring tears from 

a monument. 

Sat like a valetudinarian in the Park all day getting 
fresh air — among the imbeciles, invalids, and children. 
Who cares? 'But, gentlemen, you shall hear.' 



191 1] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 49 

August 4. 

Still another chance — quite unexpectedly received a 
second nomination this morning to sit for another exam, 
for two vacancies in the British Museum. Good luck 
this. 

August II. 

Very hot, so went to S , and bathed in the salmon 

pool. Stretched myself out in the water, delighted to 
find that I had at last got to the very heart of the country- 
side. I was not just watching from the outside — on the 
bank. I was in it, and plunging in it, too, up to my 
armpits. What did I care about the British Museum or 
Zoology then? All but the last enemy and object of 
conquest I had overcome — for the moment perhaps 
even Death himself was under heel — I was immortal — 
in that minute I was always prostrate in the stream — 
sunk deep in the bosom of old Mother Earth who cannot 
die! 

August 14. 

At 4 p.m. to the Salmon Pool for a bathe. 87.3 in the 
shade. The meadow was delicious in the sunshine. It 
made me want to hop, flirt my tail, sing. I felt ever such 
a bright-eyed wily bird ! 

August 17. 

Caught the afternoon train to C , but unfortunately 

forgot to take with me either watch or tubes (for insects). 
So I applied to the station-master, a youth of about 
eighteen, who is also signalman, porter, ticket-collector, 
and indeed very factotal — even to the extent of providing 
me with empty match boxes. I agreed with him to be 
called by three halloos from the viaduct just before the 
evening train came in. Then I went up to the leat, set 
up my muslin net in it for insects floating down, and 
then went across to the stream and bathed. Afterwards, 
went back and boxed the insects caught, and returned 
to the little station, with its creepers on the walls and 

P 



50 THE JOURNAL OF [191 1 

over the roof, all as delightfully quiet as ever, and the 
station youth as delightfully silly. Then t^ie httle train 
came around the bend of the line — green puffing engine 
and red coaches, like a crawling caterpillar of gay colours. 

August 20. 

A trapper killed a specimen of Tropidonotus natrix 
and brought it to me. I gave him sixpence for it and am 
just going to dissect it. 

August 21. 

There are folk who notice nothing. (Witness Capt. 
M' Whirr in Conrad's Typhoon.) They live side by side 
with genius or tragedy as innocent as babies; there are 
heaps of people who live on a mountain, a volcano, even, 
without knowng it. If the stars of Heaven fell and the 
Moon were turned into blood some one would have to 
dii"ect their attention to it. . . . Perhaps after all, the 
most obvious things are the most difficult to see. We all 
recognise Keats now, but suppose he was only 'the boy 
next door' — why should I read his verses? 

August 27. 

Preparing a Snake's Skull 

Prepared the skull of grass snake. I fancy I scooped 
out the eyes with patent dehght — I suppose symbolically, 
as though, on behalf of the rest of suffering humanity, 
I were wiping off the old score against the beast for its 
behaviour in the Garden of Eden. 

September 5. 

At 2.30 Dad had three separate 'strokes' of paralysis 
in as many minutes, the third lea\dng him helpless. They 
sent for me in the Library, where I was reading, and I 
hurried home. Just as I entered the bedroom where he 
and Mother were another attack came on, and it was with 
the utmost difficulty that with her help I managed to 
get him from the chair to the bed. He struggled with his 
left arm and leg and made inarticulate noises which 



iQiil A DISAPPOINTED MAN 51 

sounded as if they might be groans. I don't know if 
he was in pain. Dear Mother. 

September 14. 

Dad cannot Hve long. Mother bears up wonderfully 
well. Tried to do some examination w^ork but failed 

utterly. A is watching in the sick-room with Mother, 

who will not leave. 

8.30. The nurse saj^ he will not live through the 
night. 

8.45. Telegraped for A to come. 

II. o. A came downstairs and had a little supper. 

12.0. Went to bed. H and the others lit a fire 

and we have all sat around it silent, listening to its murmur. 
Every one felt cold. Dad has been unconscious for over 
an hour. 

1.45 a.m. Heard a noise, then heard Mother coming 
downstairs past my bedroom door with some one — 

sobbing. I knew it must be all over. H was helping 

her down. Waited in my bedroom in the dark for three 

parts of an hour, when H came up, opened the door 

slowly and said, 'He's gone, old man.' It was a tre- 
mendous relief to know that since he had to die his suffer- 
ings and cruel plight were over. FeU asleep from sheer 
exhaustion and slept soundly. 

September 18. 

The funeral. It is not death but the dreadful possibilities 0/ 
life which are so depressing.^ 



September 21. 

A Day in Autumn 

A cool, breezy autumn day. The beach was covered 
with patches of soapy foam that shook tremulously in 
the wind — all the rocks and everything were drenched 
with water, and the spray came off the breaking waves 
Uke steam. A red sun went lower and lower and the 

1 Italics added 191 7. 



52 THE JOURNAL OF [1911 

shadows cast by the rocks grew very long and grotesque. 
Underneath the breaking waves, the hollows were green 
and dark like sea caverns. Herring gulls played about 
in the air balancing themselves as they faced the breeze, 
then sweeping suddenly around and downwards with the 
wind behind them. We all sat down on the rocks and 
were very quiet, almost monosyllabic. We pointed out 
a passing vessel to one another or chucked a bit of shingle 
into the sea. You would have said we were bored. Yet 
deep down in ourselves we were astir and all around us 
we could hear the rumours of divine passage, soft and 
mysterious as the flight of birds migrating in the dark. 

The wnd rose and tapped the line against the flag- 
staff at the Coastguard Station. It roared through my 
hair and past my ears for an hour on end till I felt quite 
windswept and bleak. On the way home we saw the 
wind darting hither and thither over the long grass like 
a lunatic snake. The wind ! Oh ! the wind — I have an 
enormous faith in the curative properties of the wind. 
I feel better already. 

October 17. 

Staying in Surrey. Exam, over and I feel fairly con- 
fident — after an agony for a few days before on account 
of the development of a. cold which threatened to snatch 
the last chance out of my hands. 

Justifiable Mendacity 

Sitting on a gate on the N, Downs I saw a long way 
oelow me in the valley a man standing in a chalk pit 
and wielding a stick vigorously. For some reason or 
another the idea came to me that it would be interesting 
if he were in the act of kilUng a Snake — he so far away 
below and I above and unnoticed quietly watcliing him. 
At dinner to-night, this revised version of the story came 
out quite pat and natural and obviously interested the 
assembly. I added graphically that the man was too far 
away for me to be able to say what species of Snake it was 



191 1] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 53 

he was killing. I possess the qualifications of an artistic 
liar. Yet I can't regard such a story as a lie — it was 
rather a justifiable emendation of an otherwise uninterest- 
ing incident. 



October 24. 

Une Caractere 

. . . She is a tiny little old lady, very frail and very 
delicate, with a tiny voice like the noise of a fretsaw. 
She talks incessantly about things which do not interest 
you, until your face gets stiff with forcing a polite smile, 
and your voice cracked and your throat dry \dth saying, 
'Yes,' and 'Really.' 

To-night I attend the Zoological Society to read my 
first paper, so I am really in a fluster and want to be 
quiet. Therefore to prevent her from talking I write two 
letters which I represent as urgent. At 6.15 desperate, 
so went out for a walk in the dark London streets. 
Returned to supper and to Her. After the wife, the hus- 
band is intellectual pjnrotechnics. Referring to the 
Museum, — 

'Would you have there, I suppose, any insects, in a 
CEise like, what you might say to study to yourself when 
no one is by?' he inquired. 

6.40. It is now one hour before I need leave for the 
meeting, and whether I sigh, cough, smoke, or read the 
paper, she goes on. She even refuses to aUow me to scan 
the lines below photos in the Illustrated London Neivs. 
I write tliis as the last sole resource to escape her de- 
vastating prattle and the ceaseless hum of her tiny gnat- 
like mind. She tliinks (because I told her so) that I am 
preparing notes for the evening meeting. 

Later : Spent an absolutely damnable day. Am sick 
tired, bored, frantic with her voice wliich I have been 
able to share with no one except the intellectual giant, 
her husband, at tea time. In order to break the flow of 
chatter, I would rudely interrupt and go on talking, by 
this means keeping m}^ end up for as long as I could, and 



54 THE JOURNAL OF E^Qn 

enjoying a short respite from the fret-sawing voice. But 
I tired of tliis and it was of no permanent vahie. When 
I broke in, she still went on for a few sentences unable 
to stop, and lo ! here was the spectacle of two persons 
alone together in a room both talking at the same time 
and neither listening, I persisted though — and she had 
to stop. Once started, I was afraid to stop — scared at 
the certain fact of the voice beginning to saw again. 
After a while the fountain of my artificial garrulity dried 
up, and the Voice at once leaped into the breach, resuming 
— amazing and incredible as it seems — at the precise 
point where it had left off. At 7 I am quite exhausted 
and sit on the opposite side of the hearth, staring with 
glassy eyes, arms drooping at my sides and mouth druling. 
At 7.5 her cough increases, and she has to stop to attend 
to it. With a fiendish smile I push back my chair, and 
quietly watch her cough. . . . She coughs continuously 
now and can talk no longer. Thank God ! 8 p.m., left 
for the meeting, where I read my paper in a state of awful 
nervousness. ... I read out all I had to say and kept 
them amused for about ten minutes. I was very excited 

when Dr got up and praised the paper, ^ saying it 

was interesting, and hoping I should continue the ex- 
periments. The chairman. Sir John Rose Bradford, 
asked a question, I answered it and then sat down. After 
the meeting we went upstairs to the library, had tea and 
chatted with some of the big people. . . . Zoology is 
certainly delightful, yet it seems to me the Zoologists are 
much as other people. I like Zoology. I wish I could 
do without Zooloisists. . . . 



October 30. 

Home once more. The Natural History Museum im- 
pressed me enormously. It is a magnificent building — 
too magnificent to work there — to follow one's profession 
in a building like that seems an altogether too grandiose 

^ The paper was 'Distant Orientation in Batrachia' — detailing 
experiments on the homing faculty in newts. 



1911] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 55 

manner of life. A pious zoologist might go up to pray 
in it — but not to earn his daily bread there. 

October 31. 

I'm in, in, in !!!!!!!! ! being first with 141 marks 

to spare. Old M [the servant] rushes up to my sister's 

bedroom with the news just after 7 a.m., and she says, 
'Fine, fine,' and comes down in her nightgown to my 
bedroom, where we drink our morning cup of tea together 
— and talk ! I'm deUghted. What a magnificent obstacle 
race it has been ! Still one ditch — the medical exam ! 
Wired to friends. 

November i . 
This is the sort of letter which is balm to me : — 

'My darling W , — I need hardly tell you how 

absolutely delighted we w^ere at the grand news of this 
morning. You must be feeling a huge glow of satisfaction 
with the knowledge of your object attained through 
untold difficulties. I don't wish to butter you up, or to 
gush, but I must honestly say that I feel tip-top proud 
of my old Beano. I admire your brains more than ever, 
and also your indomitable pluck and grit, and your quiet 
bravery in disappointment and difficulty. . . .' 

November 14. 

The three most fascinating books in Science that I 
have so far read are (easily) : — i. Darwin's Expression 
of the Emotions. 2. Gaskell's Origin of Vertebrates. 3. 
Bergson's Le Rire. 

Went to the dentist in the afternoon. Evening chiefly 
occupied in reading Le Rire. By my halidom, it is an 
extraordinarily interesting book I 

November 29. 

... I am always looking out for new friends — assajnng 
for friendship. . . . There is no more delightful adven- 
ture than an expedition into a rich, many-sided personality. 
Gradually over a long probation — for deep minds are 



5*3 THE JOURNAL OF [191 1 

naturally reticent— piece after piece is added to the 
geography of your friend's mind, and each piece pleases 
or entertains, while in return you let him steal away 
piece after piece of your own territory, perhaps saving 
a bit up here and there — such as an enthusiasm for 
Francis Thompson's poetry — and then letting it go un- 
expectedly. It's a deHghtful reciprocity. 

I dream of 'the honeyed ease of the Civil Servant's 
working day' (Peacock). Yet the French say Songes soni 
mensonges. 

December 13. 

In the Park it was very dark and she said, — 

'If I lose you I shan't be able to find my way home.' 

'Oh ! I'll look after you,' I said. 

Both being of the same mind at the same time we sat 
down on a seat together when a fortunate thing happened. 
It began to rain. So I offered her part of my overcoat. 
She nestled in under my arm and I kissed her out of 
hand. Voila ! A very pretty Httle girl, 'pon my word. 

December 20. 

The thing is obsessing me. After an early supper 
called and found my lady ready to receive me. No one 
else at home. So walked into the oak-panelled room 
with the red-curtained windows, took off my coat and 
scarf. She followed and switched off the light. There 
was a roaring fire in the grate. She is very amorous and 
I am not Hippolytus, so we were soon closely engaged 
in the large chair before the fire. As we sailed thus, close 
hauled to the wind, with double entendres and she 
trembled in the storm (and I was at the helm) the garden 
gate slammed and both of us got up quickly. I next 
heard a key turn in the lock and a foot in the passage : 
'Mr ' she said. . . . 

She switched on the light, went out swiftly into the 
passage, and meeting him conducted him to her office, 
while I as swiftly put on overcoat and scarf, and slipped 
out through the open door, stumbling over his bicycle, 



i9"3 A DISAPPOINTED MAN 57 

but of course not stopping to pick it up. Later she tele- 
phoned to say it was all right. Very reheved ! . . . She 
recalls Richepin's La Glu. 

December 21. 

She is a fine sedative. Her movements are a pleasant 
adagio, her voice piano to pianissimo, her conversation 
breaks off in thrilling aposiopoeses. 

An awful comedy this morning — for as soon as I was 
securely 'gagged' the dentist went out of the room. She 
approached, leered at me helpless, and said provokingly, 
'Oh ! you do look funny.' Minx. On returning he said to 
her, 'Would you hke to hold his hand?' 

She : 'Oh ! not just now.' 

And they grinned at one another and at me waiting to 
be tortured. 



December 23. 

... On the Station waited for an hour for the train. 
Gave her a box of sweets and the Bystander. We walked 
up the platform to extreme end in the dark and kissed ! 
But it was very windy and cold. (I noticed that !) So 
we entered an empty luggage guard's van on rail beside 
platform left there by shunters. Here we were out of 
the wind and far better off. But a shunter came along 
and turned us out. She gave me a silver match-box. 
But I believe for various reasons that it is one of her own 
and not a new one. Said 'Good-bye.' 

December 28. 

At R . Played the negligent flaneur, recUning on 

the Chesterfield, leaning against the grand piano, or 
measuring my length on the mat before the fire. 

December 31. 

To-morrow I begin duties at the British Museum of 
Natural History. I cannot quite imagine myself a Museum 
assistant. Before I get there I know I shall be the strangest 



58 A DISAPPOINTED MAN [r9„ 

assistant on the staff. It will be singing my song in a 
strange land and weeping — I hope not too bitterly — 
down by the waters of a very queer Bab37lon. 

Still, I have burnt my bridges hke Caesar — or burnt 
my ships like Cortez. So forward 1 



PART II— IN LONDON 

1912 
January 21, 

Am at last beginning to get more content with the 

work at the Museum, so that I muse on Bernard Shaw's 

saying, 'Get what you like or you'll grow to like what 

you get.' I have a terrible suspicion that the security 

of tenure here is like the lion's den in the fable — Nulla 

vestigia retrorsum. Of course I am wonderfully proud of 

being at the Museum, although I am disappointed and 

write as if I were quite blase. 

January 25. 

I should be disappointed if at the end of my career 
(if I hve to see it through) I do not \vin the F.R.S. I 
should very much Hke it. . . . My nature is very mixed 
— ambitious above all things and yet soon giddy with 
the audacity of my aspirations. The B. M. and my 
colleagues make me feel most inferior in fact, but in 
theory — in the secrecy of my own bedchamber — I feel 
that there are few men there my equal. 

April 26. 

Down with influenza. A boarding-house with the 
'flue! 

May 8. 

Went home to recuperate, a beef jelly in one pocket 
and sal volatile in the other. On arrival, my blanched 
appearance frightened Mother and the others, so went 
to bed at once. 'Fate's a fiddler, life's a dance.' 

May 12. 

Weak enough to sit down before dressing-table while 
I shave and brush my hair. Dyspepsia appalling. The 

59 



6o THE JOURNAL OF [191 2 

Doctor in Kensington seemed to think me an awful wreck 

and asked if I were concealing . 

Reading Baudelaire and Verlaine. 

May 24. 

Bathing 

Sat on a seat overlooldng the sand-hills with stick 
between my legs like an old man, and watched a buxom 
wench aet. 25 run down the path pursued by 'Rough' 
and two little girls in blue. Later they emerged from a 
striped bathing tent in the glory of blue bathing dresses. 
It made me feel quite an old man to see the girl galloping 
out over the hard level sands to the breakers, a child 
chnging to each hand. Legs and arms twinkled in the 
sun which shone with brilliance. If life were as level as 
those sands and as beautiful as that trio of girls I 



May 26. 



Two Young Men Talking 



With H in his garden. He is a great enthusiast. 

'I disapprove entirely of your taste in gardening,' I 
said. 'You object to the " ragged wilderness " style, I 
Uke it. You like lawns laid out for croquet and your 
privet hedges pruned into " God Save the King " or 
" Dieu et mon droit." My dear boy, if you saw Mr 

's wilderness at you'd be so shocked you'd cut 

and run, and I imagine there'd be an affecting reunion 
between you and your beloved geraniums. For my part, 
I don't like geraniums : they're suburban, and all of a 
piece with antimacassars and stuffed birds under glass 
bells. The colour of your specimens, moreover,' I rapped 
out, ' is vulgar — like the muddied petticoats of old 
market women.' 

H , quite unmoved, replied slowly, 'Well, here are 

some like the beautiful white cambric of a lady of fashion. 
You've got no taste in flowers — you're just six feet of 
grief and patience.' We roared with laughing. 

'Do stop watering those damned plants,' I exclaimed 



1912) A DISAPPOINTED MAN 61 

at last. But he went on. I exclaimed again and out of 
sheer ridiculousness, in reply he proceeded to water the 
cabbages, the gravel path, the oak tree — and me 1 While 
I writhed with laughing. 

May 27. 

By the Sea 

Sat upon a comfortable jetty of rock and watched the 
waves without a glimmer of an idea in my mind about 
anything — though to outward view I might have been 
a philosopher in cerebral parturition with thoughts as 
big as babies. Instead, little rustling dead leaves of 
thoughts stirred and fluttered in the brain — the pimple 
e.g. I recollected on my Aunt's nose, or the boyishness 

of Dr 's handwriting, or Swinburne's hues : 'If the 

golden-crested wren Were a nightingale — why, then 
Something seen and heard of men Might be half as sweet 
as when Laughs a child of seven.' 

I continued in this pleasurable coma all the afternoon 
and went home refreshed. 

May 29. 

Have returned to London and the B. V±. My first 
day at the M. Sat at my table in a state of awful apathy. 

At least temporarily, I am quite disenchanted of Zoology. 
I work — God save the mark — in the Insect Room ! 

On the way home, purchased : — 

Peroxide of hydrogen (pyorrhoea threatened). One 
bottle of physic (for my appalling dyspepsia). 

One flask of brandy for emergencies (as my heart is 
intermittent again). 

Prussic acid next. 

Must have been near pneumonia at R . Auntie 

was nervous, and came in during the night to see how I 
was. 

June 20. 

It caused me anguish to see my article returned from 
the Fortnightly and lying in a big envelope on the table 



62 THE JOURNAL OF [1912 

when I returned home this evening. I can't do any work 
because of it, and in desperation rushed off to the stately 
pleasure domes of the White City, and systematically 
went through all the thrills — from the Mountain Railway 
to the Wiggle Woggle and the 'Witching Waves. 

June 21. 

To-day I am easier. The cut worm forgives the plough. 
But how restless this disappointment has made me. . . . 
I have no plans for recuperation and cannot settle down 
to work. 

July 6. 

On my doctor's advice, went to see Dr P , a lung 

speciahst. M found a dull spot on one of my lungs, 

and, not feeUng very sure, and without telUng me the 

nature of his suspicion, he arranged for Dr P to see 

me, allo\\dng me to suppose he was a stomach authority 
as my dyspepsia is bad. 

Well : it is not consumption, but my lungs and physique 
are such that consumption might easily supervene. As 

soon as Dr P had gone, M appended the following 

lugubrious yarn : — 

Whenever I catch cold, I must go and be treated at 
once, aU my leisure must be spent out of doors, I must 
take cream and milk in prodigious quantities and get 
fat at all costs. There is even a question of my giving 
up work. 

July 10. 

A young but fat woman sitting in the sun and oozing 
moisture is as nasty as anytliing in Baudelaire. 

July 14. 

A 'Brilliant Career' 

My old head master once prophesied for me 'a brilliant 
career.' That was when I was in the Third Form. Now 
I have more than a suspicion that I am one of those who, 
as he once pointed out, grow sometimes out of a brilliant 



1 91 2] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 63 

boyhood into very commonplace men. This continuous 
ill health is having a very obvious effect on my work 
and activities. With what courage I possess I have to 
face the fact that to-day I am unable to think or express 
myself as weU as when I was a boy in my teens — witness 
this Journal ! 

I intend to go on however. I have decided that my 
death shall be disputed all the way. 

Oh ! it is so humiliating to die ! I writhe to think of 
being overcome by so unfair an enemy before I have 
demonstrated myself to maiden aunts who mistrust me, 
to colleagues who scorn me, and even to brothers and 
sisters who believe in me. 

As an Egotist I hate death because I should cease to 
be I. 

Most folk, when sick unto death, gain a little consola- 
tion over the notoriety gained by the fact of their decease. 
Criminals enjoy the pomp and circumstance of their 
execution. Voltaire said of Rousseau that he wouldn't 
mind being hanged if they'd stick his name on the gibbet. 
But my own death would be so mean and insignificant. 
Guy de Maupassant died in a grand manner — a man of 
intellect and splendid physique who became insane, 
Tusitala's death in the South Seas reads Uke a romance. 
Heine, after a hfe of sorrow, died with a sparkling witti- 
cism on his hps; Vespasian with a jest. 

But I cannot for the life of me rake up any excitement 
over my own immediate decease — an unobtrusive passing 
away of a rancorous, disappointed, morbid, and self- 
assertive entomologist in a West Kensington Boarding 
House — what a mean little tragedy 1 It is hard not to 
be somebody even in death. 



A sing-song to-night in the drawing-room; all the 
boarding - house present in full muster. There was a 
German, Schulz, who sat and leered at his inamorata — 
a sensual-looking, pasty-faced girl — while she gave us 
daggers-and-moonhght recitations with the most un- 



64 THE JOURNAL OF [igi* 

warranted self-assurance (she boasts of a vvalking-on part 

at one of the theatres); there was Miss M hstening 

to her fiance, Capt. O (home from India), singing 

Indian Love Songs at her; there M^as Miss T , a sour 

old maid, who knitted and snorted, not fully conscious 
of this young blood coursing around her; Mrs Barclay 
Woods pursued her usual avocation of imposing on us 
all the great weight of her immense social superiority, 
clucking, in between, to her one chick — a fluffy girl of i8 
or 19, who was sitting now in the draught, now too close 
to a ' common ' musician of the Covent Garden Opera; 
finally our hostess, a divorcee, who hated all males, even 
Tom-cats. We were a pathetic little company— so motley, 
ill-assorted — who had come together not from love or 
regard but because man is a gregarious animal. In fact, 
we sat secretly criticising and contemning one another 
. . . yet outside there were so many millions of people 
unknown, and overhead the multitude of the stars was 
equally comfortless. 

Later : . . . Zoology on occasion still fires my ambition ! 
purely I cannot be djang yet. 

Whatever misfortune befalls me I do hope I shall be 
able to meet it unflinchingly. I do not fear ill-health in 
itself, but I do fear its possible effect on my mind and 
character. . . . Already I am slowly altering, as the 
Lord liveth. Already for example my sympathy with 
myself is maudlin. 

Whenever the blow shall fall, some sort of a reaction 
must be given. Heine flamed into song. Beethoven 
wrote the 5th S5'mphony. So what shall I do when my 
time comes ? I don't think I have any lyrics or sym- 
phonies to write, so I shall just have to grin and bear it — 
like a dumb animal. ... As long as I have spirit and 
buoyancy I don't care what happens — for I know that 
for so long I cannot be accounted a failure. The only 
real failure is one in which the victim is left spiritless^ 
dazed, dejected with blackness all around, and within, 
a knife slowly and unrelentingly cutting the strings of his 
heart. 



1912] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 65 

My head whirls \\dtl; conflicting emotions, struggling, 
desperate ideas, and a flood of impressions of all sorts of 
things that are never sufficiently sifted and arranged to 
be caught down on paper. I am brought into this world, 
hustled along it and then hustled out of it, with no time 
for anytliing. I want to be on a great hill and square up 
affairs. 



August 28. 

. . . After tea, we all three walked in Kensington 
Gardens and sat on a seat by the Round Pond. My 
umbrella fell to the ground, and I left it there wth 
its nose poking up in a cynical manner, as She re- 
marked. 

' It's not cynical,' I said, ' only a little knowing. Won't 
you let yours fall down to keep it company ? Yours is 
a lady umbrella and a good-looking one — they might flirt 
together.' 

' Mine doesn't want to flirt,' she answered stiffly- 



September 13. 

At C , a tiny little village by the sea in N- 



Looking up from a rockpool, where I had been watching 
Gobies, I saw three children racing across the sands to 
bathe, I saw a man dive from a boat, and I saw a horse- 
man gallop his mare down to the beach and plunge about 
in the line of breakers. The waters thundered, the mare 
whinnied, the children shouted to one another, and I 
turned my head down again to the rockpool with a great 
thumping heart of happiness : it was so lovely to be conscious 
of the fact that out there this beautiful picture was awaiting 
me whenever and as often as I chose to lift my head. I 
purposely kept my head down, for the picture was so 
beautiful I did not want to hurt it by breathing on it, 
and I kept my head down out of a playful self-cheating 
delight ; I decided not to indulge myself. 

B 



66 THE JOURNAL OF [i9i« 

September i6. 

Out in the Bay dredging for Echinoderms with ' Carrots.' 
BrilHantly fine. The haul was a failure, but, being out 
in a boat on a waveless sea under a cloudless sky, I was 
scarcely depressed at this ! Wc cruised along from one 
little bay to another, past smugglers' caves and wiiite 
pebble beaches, the dredge all the while growling along the 
sea bottom, and ' Carrots ' and I lying listless in the bows. 
I was immensely happy. My mercury was positively 
ringing the bell. 

Who, then, is ' Carrots ' ? He is a fine brawny boat- 
man who jumps over the rocks like a Chamois, swims like 
a Fish, pulls like an Ox, snorts like a Grampus — a sort 
of compound zoological perfection, built eclectically. 

September i8. 

Early Boughies 

Up the village, Mrs Beavan keeps a tiny little shop and 
runs a very large garden. She showed us all about the 
garden, and introduced us to her husband, whom we 
discovered in an apple tree — an old man, aged 76, very 
hard of hearing, and with an impediment in his speech. 
He at once began to move his mouth, and I caught odd 
jingles of sound that sounded like nothing at all — at first, 
but which gradually resolved themselves on close atten- 
tion to such familiar landmarks as ' Early Boughies,' 
' Stubbits,' ' Ribstone Pippins ' into a discourse on Apples. 
The following curious conversation took place between 
me and the deaf gaffer, aged 76, standing in the apple 
tree, — 

' These be all appulls from Kent — I got 'em all from 
Kent.' 

' How long have you lived in C ?' 

' Bunyard & Son — that's the firm — they live just outside 
the town of Maidstone.' 
' Do you keep Bees here ?' 

' One of these yer appulls is called Bunyard after the 
firm — a fine fruit too.' 



I9I2] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 67 

' Your good wife must be of great assistance to you in 
your work.' 

' Little stalks maybe, but a large juishy appull for all 
that.' 

Just then I heard Mrs B saying to E , — 

' Aw yes, he's very active for 76. A little deaf, but he 
manages the garden all 'eesulf, I bolsters 'un up wi' meat 
and drink — little and often as they zay for children. . . . 
Now there's a bootifuU tree, me dear, that 'as almost 
beared itself to death, as you may say.' 

She picked an apple off it shouting to poor Tom still 
aloft,— 

' Tom what's the name of this one ?' 

* You should come a bit earlier, zir,' replied T. ' 'Tis 
late a bit now doan't 'ee zee ?' 

' No — what's its name I want,' shouted his spouse. 

' Yes, yes, give the lady one to take home — there's 
plenty for all,' he said. 

' ' What is the NAME ? THE NAME OF THIS YER 
APPULL,' screamed Mrs B., and old Tom moving his 
bones slowly down from the tree answered quite un- 
moved, — 

'Aw the name ? Why, 'tis a common kind of appull — 
there's a nice tree of 'em up there.' 

' Oh ! never mind, 'tis a Gladstone,' said Mrs B., turning 
to us. 

' A very fine Appull,' droned the old boy. 

September 28. 

Back in town again. Wandered about in a somnambu- 
listic way all the afternoon till I found myself taking tea 
in Kew Gardens. I enjoyed the wind in my face and hair. 
Otherwise there is nothing to be said — a colourless day. 

October 10. 

Came across the following arresting sentence : ' Pale, 
anaemic, cadaverous, bad teeth and disordered digestion 
and a morbid egotism.' Yes, but my teeth are not bad. 



68 THE JOURNAL OF [1912 

October 20. 

On the N. Downs 

Under the oak where 1 sat the ground was covered with 
dead leaves. I kicked them, and I beat them with my 
stick, because I was angry that they were dead. In the 
coppice, leaves were quietly and majestically floating 
earthwards in the pomp of death. It was very thrilling 
to observe them. 

It was a curious sensation to realise that since the last 
time I sat under the old oak 1 had been right up to the 
N. of England, then right down to the S.W., and back 
once more to London town. I bragged about my kinetic 
activity to the stationary oak and I scoffed at the old hill 
for having to remain always in the same place. 

It gave me a pleasing sense of infinite superiority to 
come back and see everything the same as before, to sit 
on the same old seat under the same old oak. Even that 
same old hurdle was lying in the same position among the 
bracken. How sorry I was for it ! Poor wretch — unable 

to move — to go to Whitby, to go to C , to be totally 

ignorant of the great country of London. . . . 

Day dreamed. My own life as it unrolls day by day 
is a source of constant amazement, delight, and pain. 
I can think of no more interesting volume than a detailed, 
intimate, psychological history of my own life. I want 
a perfect comprehension at least of myself. . . . 

We are all such egotists that a sorrow or hardship — 
provided it is great enough — flatters our self-importance. 
We feel that a calamity by overtaking us has distinguished 
us above our fellows. A man likes not to be ignored even 
by a railway accident. A man with a grievance is always 
happy. 

October 23. 
Over to see E . Came away disillusioned. 

October 25. 

Met her in Smith's book shop looking quite bewitching. 
Hang it all, I thought I had finished. Went home with 



I9I2] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 69 

her, watched her make a pudding in the kitchen, then we 
sat by the fireUght in the drawing-room and had supper. 
Scrumptious (not the supper). 

October 27. 

Quarrelled with D ! The atmosphere is changed at 

the flat — my character is ruined. D has told them 

I'm a loose fellow. I've always contrived to give him 
that impression — I liked to be cutting my throat— and 
now it's cut ! 

November i. 

D came and carried me off to the flat, where they 

asked why I hadn't been over — which, of course, pleased 
me immensely. 

November 6, 

Doctor M is very gloomy about my health and talks 

of S. Africa, Labrador, and so on. I'm not responding to 
his treatment as I should. 

November 11. 

Met her this evening in Kensington Road. ' I timed 
this well,' said she, ' I thought I should meet you.' Good 
Heavens, I am getting embroiled. Returned to the flat 
with her and after supper called her ' The Lady of Shalott.' 

' I don't think you know what you're talking about ' — 
this stiffly. 

' Perhaps not,' I answered. ' I leave it to you.' 

' Oh ! but it rests with you,' she said. 

Am I in love ? God knows — but I don't suppose God 
cares. 

November 15. 

On M 's advice went to see a stomach specialist — 

Dr Hawkins. As I got there a little too early walked up 
the street — Portland Place — on the opposite side (from 
shyness) past an interminable and nauseating series of 
night bells and brass plates, then down again on the right 



70 THE JOURNAL OF [1912 

side till I got to No. 66 which made me flutter — for ten 
doors ahead I mused is the house I must call at. It made 
me shiver a little. 
The specialist took copious notes of my evidence and 

after examining me retired to consult with M . What 

a parade of ceremony ! On coming back, the jury returned 
a verdict of ' Not proven.' I was told I ought to go out 
and live on the prairies — and in two years I should be 
a giant! But where are the prairies? "What 'bus? If 
I get worse, I must take several months' leave. I think 
it will come to this. 

November 16. 

Arthur came down for the week end. He likes the 
Lady of Shalott. She is ' not handsome, but arresting, 
striking ' and ' capable of tragedy.' That I beHeve she 
has achieved already. ... If she were a bit more gloomy 
and a bit more beautiful, she'd be irresistible. 

November 22. 

He: 'Have a cigarette? I enjoy lighting your 
cigarettes.' 

She: ' I don't know how to smoke properly.' 

He : ' You smoke only as you could.' 

She: 'How's that?' 

H.: ' Gracefully, of course.' 

S. : 'Do you think I Hke pretty things being said to 

me?' 

H. : ' Why not, if they are true. Flattery is when you 
tell an ugly woman she is beautiful. Have you so poor 
an opinion of yourself to think all I say of you is flattery ?' 

S. : ' Yes. I am only four bare walls, — with nothing 
inside,' 

H.: What a deliciously empty feehng that must be. 
. . . But I don't think you're so simple as all that. You 
bewilder me sometimes.' 

S.: 'Why?' 

H.: ' I feel Hke Sindbad the Sailor.' 



I9I2] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 7^ 

S.: 'Why?' 

H.: ' Because I'm not George Meredith.' 

The title of ' husband ' frightens me. 

"December 9. 

It's a fearful strain to go on endeavouring to live up 
to time with a carefully laid-out time-table of future 
achievements. I am hurrying on with my study of Italian 
in order to read the Life of Spallanzani in order to include 
him in my book — to be finished by the end of next year; 
I am also subsidising Jenkinson's embryological lectures 
at University College with the more detailed account of 
practical and experimental work in liis text-book; I have 
also started a lengthy research upon the Trichoptera — all 
with a horrible sense of time fleeing swiftly and oppor- 
tunities for work too few ever to be squandered, and, in 
the background, behind all this feverish activity, the black 
shadow that I might die suddenly with nothing done — 
next year, next month, next week, to-morrow, now ! 

Then sometimes, as to-night, I have misgivings. Shall 
I do these things so well now as I might once have done 
them? Has not my ill-health seriously affected my 
mental powers ? Surely the boy of 1908-10 was almost 
a genius or — seen at this distance — a very remarkable 
youth in the fanatical zeal with which he sought to 
pursue, and succeeded in gaining, his own end of a 
zoological education for liimself. 

It is a terrible suspicion to cross the mind of an am- 
bitious youth that perhaps, after all, he is a very common- 
place mortal — that his life, whether comedy or tragedy, 
or both, or neither, is any way insignificant, of no account. 

It is still more devastating for him to have to consider 
whether the laurel wreath was not once within his grasp, 
and whether he must not ascribe his own incalculable loss 
to his stomach simply. 

December 15. 

A very bad heart attack. As I write it intermits every 
three or four beats. Who knows if I shall live thro' 
to-night ? 



72 THE JOURNAL OF [191 2 

December 16. 

Here I am once more. A passable night. After break- 
fast the intermittency recommenced — it is better now, 
with a dropped beat only about once per half-hour, so 
that I am almost happy after yesterday, which was Hell. 
The world is too good to give up without remonstrance 
at the beck of a weak heart. 

Before I went to sleep last night, my watch stopped — 
I at once observed the cessation of its tick and wondered 
if it were an omen. I was genuinely surprised to find 
myself still ticking when I awoke this morning. A moment 
ago a hearse passed down the street. ... Yes, but I'm 
damned if I haven't a right to be morbid after yesterday. 
To be ill like this in a boarding house ! I'd marry to- 
morrow if I had the chance. 



December 22. 

SoUas's ' Ancient Hunters ' 

Read Sollas's book Ancient Hunters — very thrilling — 
mind full of the Aurignacians, Mousterians, Magdalenians ! 
I have been peering down such tremendous vistas of time 
and change that my own troubles have been eclipsed into 
ridiculous insignificance. It has been really a Pillar of 
Strength to me — a splendid tonic. Paheontology has its 
comfortable words too. I have revelled in my littleness 
and irresponsibility. It has relieved me of the harassing 
desire to live, I feel content to live dangerously, indifterent 
to my fate; I have discovered I am a fly, that we are all 
flies, that nothing matters. It's a great load oft my life, 
for I don't mind being such a micro-organism — to me the 
honour is sufficient of belonging to the universe — such a 
great universe, so grand a scheme of things. Not even 
Death can rob me of that honour. For nothing can alter 
the fact that I have lived; / have been I, if for ever so short 
a time. And when I am dead, the matter which composes 
my body is indestructible — and eternal, so that come 
what may to my ' Soul,' my dust will always be going on, 
each separate atom of me playing its separate part — I shall 



I9I3. Jan.] a disappointed MAN 73 

still have some sort of a finger in the Pie. When I am 
dead, you can boil me, burn me, drown me, scatter me — 
but you cannot destroy me: my little atoms would merely 
deride such heavy vengeance. Death can do no more than 
kill you. 



December 27. 

' It is a pleasure to note the success attending the career 
of Mr W. N. P. Barbellion now engaged in scientific work 
on the staff of the Natural History Museum . . .' etc., 
etc. 

This is a cutting from the local paper — one of many 
that from time to time I once delightedly pasted in the 
pages of the Journal. Not so now. 



... At 23, I am a different being. Surrounded by all 
the stimulating environment of scientific research, I am 
cold and disdainful. I keep up the old appearances but 
underneath it is quite different. I am a hypocrite. I 
have to wear the mask and cothornoi, finding the part 
daily more difficult to bear. I am living on my immense 
initial momentum — while the machinery gradually slows 
up. My ceireer ! Gadzooks. 



1913 

January 3. 

From the drawing-room window I see pass almost daily 
an old gentleman with white hair, a firm step, broad 
shoulders, healthy pink skin, a sunny smile — always 
singing to himself as he goes — a happy, rosy-cheeked old 
fellow, with a rosy-cheeked mind. ... I should like to 
throw mud at him. By Jove, how I hate him. He makes 
me wince with my own pain. It is heartless, indecently 
so, for an old man to be so blithe. Life has, I suppose, 
never lain in wait for him. The Great Anarchist has 
spared him a bomb. 



74 THE JOURNAL OF [Feb., 1913 

January 19. 

My Aunt, aged 75, who has apparently concluded from 
my constant absences from Church that my spiritual life 
is in a parlous way, to-day read me her portion from a 
large book with a broad purple-tasseled bookmark. I 
looked up from ' / Promessi Sposi ' and said ' Very nice.' 
It was about someone whose soul was not saved and who 
would not answer the door when it was knocked. It is 
jolly to be regarded as a wicked, libidinous youth by an 
aged maiden Aunt. 

January 22. 

This Diary reads for all the world as if I were not living 
in mighty London. The truth is I live in a bigger, dirtier 
city— ill-health. Ill-health, when chronic, is like a perma- 
nent ligature around one's life. What a fine fellow I'd 
be if I were perfectly well. My energy for one thing 
would lift the roof off. . . . 

V\'e conversed around the text : ' To travel hopefully is 
better than to arrive and true success is to labour.' She 
is—well, so graceful. My God ! I love her, I love her, 
I love her ! ! ! 



February 3. 

A Confession 

H B invited me to tea to meet his fiancee. 

Rather pleased with the invitation— I don't know why, 
for my idea of mj^self is greater than my idea of him and 
probably greater than his idea of himself. 

Yet I went and got shaved, and even thought of bu5nng 
a new pair of gloves, but poverty proved greater than 
vanity, so I went with naked hands. On arriving at 
Turnham Green, I removed my spectacles (well knowing 
how much they damage my personal appearance). How- 
ever, the beauty of the thing was that, tho' I waited as 
agreed, he never turned up, and so I returned home again, 
crestfallen— and, with my spectacles on again. 



I9I3. Feb.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 75 

February g. 

. . . ' Now, W , talk to me prettily,' she said as soon 

as the door was closed on them. 

' Oh ! make him read a book,' whined her sister, but 
we talked of marriage instead — in all its aspects. Bless 
their hearts, I found these two dear young things simply 
sodden with the idea of it. 

In the middle I did a knee-jerk which made them scream 
with laughing — the patellar rellex was new to them, so I 
seized a brush from the grate, crossed to Her and gently 

tapped: out shot her foot, and cried: ' Oh, do do it 

to me as well.' It was rare fun. 

' Oh I pretty knee, what do I see ? 
And he stooped and he tied up my garter for me.' 

February lo. 

News of Scott's great adventure ! Scott dead a year 
ago ! ! The news, when I saw it to-night in the Pall Mall 
Gazette, gave me cold thrills. I could have wept. . . . 
What splendid people we humans are ! If there be no 
loving God to watch us, it's a pity for His sake as much 
as for our own. 

February 15. 

Tried to kiss her in a taxi-cab on the way home from 
the Savoy— the taxi-cab danger is very present with us — 
but she rejected me quietly, sombrely. I apologised on 
the steps of the Flats and said I feared I had greatly 
annoyed her. ' I'm not annoyed,' she said, ' only sur- 
prised ' — in a thoughtful, chilly voice. 

We had had supper in Soho, and I took some wine, and 
she looked so bewitching it sent me in a fever, thrumming 
my fingers on the seat of the cab while she sat beside me 
impassive. H:t shoulders are exquisitely modelled and a 
beautiful head is carried poised on a tiny neck. 

February 16. 

Walking up the steps to her flat to-night made me pose 
to H (who was with me) as Sydney Carton in the 



76 THE JOURNAL OF [Feb.. 1913 

picture in A Tale of Two Cities on the steps of the scaffold. 
He laughed boisterously, as he is delighted to know of 
my last evening's misadventure. 

At supper, a story was told of a man who knocked at 
the door of his lady's heart four tim js and at last was 
admitted. I remarked that the last part of the romance 

was weak. She disagreed. H exclaimed, ' Oh ! but 

this man has no sentiment at all !' 

' So much the worse for him,' chimed in the others. 

' He was 66 years of age,' added Mrs . 

' Too old,' said P. ' What do you think the best age 
for a man to marry ?' 
H. : ' Thirty for a man, twenty-five for a woman.' 
She: ' That's right: it still gives me a little time.' 
P. : ' What do you think ?' (to me). 
I replied sardonically, — 
' A young man not yet and an old man not at all.' 

' That's right, old wet blanket,' chirruped P . 

' You know,' I continued, delighted to seize the oppor- 
tunity to assume the role of youthful cynic, 'Cupid 
and Death once met at an Inn and exchanged arrows, 
since when young men have died and old men have 
doted.' 

H was charming enough to opine that it was impos- 
sible to fix a time for love. Love simply came. 
We warned him to be careful on the boat going out. 

'Yes, I know,' said H (who is in love with P ). 

' My brother had a dose of moonlight on board a boat 
when he sailed and he's been happy ever since.' 
P.: ' How romantic !' 
H. : 'A great passion !' 

' The only difference,' I interjected in a sombre mono- 
tone, ' between a passion and a caprice is that the caprice 
lasts a little longer.' 
' Sounds like a book,' She said in contempt. 
It was — Oscar Wilde ! 

P insisted on my taking a biscuit. ' Don't mind 

me,' she said. ' Just think I'm a waitress and take no 
notice at all.' 



I9I3. March] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 77 

H.: ' Humph ! I never see him taking no notice of a 
waitress.' 

(Sneers and Curtain.) 



February 24. 

H came home last night and told me that she said 

as he came away, ' Tell W I hate him.' So it's all 

right. I shall go over to-morrow again — Hurrah ! My 
absence has been felt then. 



March 7. 

Came home, lay on my bed, still dressed, and rumin- 
ated. ... 

First a suspicion then a conviction came to me that I 
was a cad — a callous, selfish, sensation-hunting cad. . . . 
For the time being the bottom was knocked out of my 
smug self-satisfaction. For several long half-hours I 
found myself drifting without compass or stars. I was 
quite disorientated, temporarily thrown off the balance of 
my amour propre. Then I got up, lit the gas and looking 
at myself in the mirror, found it was really^ true, — I was 
a mean creature, wholly absorbed in self. ■■ 

As an act of contrition, I ought to have gone out into 
the garden and eaten worms. But the mirror brought 
back my self-consciousness and I began to crawl back 
into my recently discarded skin — I began to be less loathe- 
some to myself. For as soon as I felt interested or amused 
or curious over the fact that I had been really loathesome 
to myself I began to regain my equilibrium. Now, I and 
myself are on comparatively easy terms with one another. 
I am settled on the old swivel. ... I take a lot of 
knocking off it and if shot off soon return. 

To-day, she was silent and melancholy but wonderfully 
fascinating. One day I am desperate and the next cold 
and apathetic. Am I in love ? God knows ! She came 
to the door to say ' Good-night,' and I deliberately strangled 
my desire to say something. 



78 THE JOURNAL OF [March, 191 3 

March 9. 

In bed till 12.30 reading Bergson and the O.T. 

Over to the flat to supper. E was cold and silent. 

She spurned me. No wonder. I talked volubly and quite 

brilliantly with the definite purpose of showing up J 's 

somnolence. I also pulled his leg. He hates me. No 
wonder. After supper, he went in to her studio and 
remained there alone with her while she worked. At 
II p.m. he was still there when I came away in a whirlwind 

of jealousy, regrets, and rage. G said he was going 

to stay on until he saw ' the blighter oft the premises,' 
Neither of us would go in to turn him out. 

I love her deeply and once my heart jumped when I 
thought I heard her coming into the room. But it was 
only P . Did not see her again — even to say ' Good- 
night.' -. ^ 

March 10. 

Work in the evening in our bedroom — two poor miserable 

bachelors — H reading Equity Law, a rug around his 

legs before an empty grate, while I am sitting at the table 
in top-coat, with collar up, and writing my magnum opus, 
which is to bring me fame, fortune and — E ! 

H says that this morning I was putting on my 

shoes when he pointed out a large hole in the heel of my 
sock. 

' Damn ! I shall have to wear boots,' I said — at least 
he says I said it, and I am quite ready to believe him. 
Such unconsciousness of self is rare with me. 

March 15. 

[At a public dinner at the Holborn Restaurant] J- 



replied to the toast of the Ladies. Feeble ! H and I 

stood and had a silent toast to E and N by just 

winking one eye at each other. He sat opposite me. 

H I had been asked to reply to this toast I should have 
said with the greatest gusto, something as follows, — 

[Here follows the imaginary speech in full, composed 
the same night before going to sleep ] 



1 91 3, April] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 79 

Yet I am taken for a soft fool ! My manner is soft, 
self-conscious, shy. What a lot of self-glorification I lose 
thereby ! What a lot of self-torture I gain in its stead ! 

March 17. 

To-day went to the B. M. but did very little work. 
Thought over the matter carefully and decided to ask 
E — — to marry me. Relief to be able to decide. I was 
happy too. 

Yesterday P came in to us from E 's studio and 

said, — 

' E sends her love.' 

^' To whom ? ' H inquired. 

;^,* I don't know,' P replied, smiling at me. 

March 18. 

Had a long conversation with H last night. He 

says all E intended to convey was that the quarrel 

was over. ... I felt relieved, because I have no money, 
but — a large ambition. Then I am selfish, and have not 
forgotten that I want to spend my holidays in the Jura, 
and next year three weeks at the Plymouth Laboratory. 

March 19. 

Went over to see E . We had an awkward half-an- 

hour alone together. She was looking be\\itching I I 
am plunging more and more into love. Had it on the tip 
of my tongue once. I am dreadfully' fond of her. 

' I have a most profound gloom over mo,' I said. 

' Why don't you try and get rid of it ?' she asked. 

' I can't until Zeus has pity and rolls away the clouds.' 

April 21. 

We are sitting up in our beds which are side by side in 

a room on the top story of a boarding house in Road. 

It is 11.30 p.m. and I am leaning over on one side lighting 
the oil lamp so as to boil the kettle to make Ovaltine 
before going to sleep. 



8o THE JOURNAL OF [April. 1913 

'Whom have I seduced?' I screamed. 'You rotter, 
don't you know that a dead passion full of regrets is as 
terrible as a dead body full of worms ? There, I talk 
literature, my boy, if you were only Boswell enough to 

take it down. ... As for K I shall never invite 

him to dinner again. He comes to me and whines that 
nobody loves him, and so I say, " Oh ! poor lad, never 
mind, if you're bored, why, come to my rooms of an 
evening and hear me talk — you'll have the time of your 
life." And now he's cheeky.' 

H. (sipping his drink and very much preoccupied with 
it) replied abstractedly, ' When you die you'll go to Hell.' 
(I liked his Homeric simplicity.) ' You ought to be buried 
in a fireproof safe.' 

Silence. 

H. (returning to the attack), ' I hope she turns you 
down.' 

' Thank you,' I said. 

' As for P ,' he resumed, ' she's double-Dutch to me.' 

' Go to the Berlitz School,' 1 suggested, ' and learn the 
language.' 

' You bally fool. ... All you do is to sit there and 
smile like a sanguinary cat. Nothing I say ever rouses 
you. I believe if I came to you and said, " Here, Pro- 
fessor, is a Beetle with 99 legs that has lived on granite 
in the middle of the Sahara for 40 days and 40 nights," 
you'd simply answer, " Yes, and that reminds me I've 
forgotten to blow my nose." ' 

The two pyjamaed figures shake with laughing, the 
light goes out and the sanguinary conversation continues 
on similar lines until we fall asleep. 



April 26. 

Two Months' Sick Leave 

In a horrible panic — the last few days — I believe I am 
developing locomotor ataxy. One leg, one arm, and my I 
speech are affected, i.e. the right side and my speech centre. 
M is serious. ... I hope the disease, whatever it is. 



191 3, April] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 8l 

will be sufficiently lingering to enable me to complete my 
book. 

R is a dear man. I shall not easily forget his 

kindness during this terrible week. . . . Can the Fates 
have the audacity ? . . . Who can say ? 

April 27. 

I believe there can be no doubt that I have had a slight 
partial paralysis of my right side (like Dad). I stutter a 
little in my speech when excited, I cannot write properly 
(look at this handwriting), and my right leg is rocky at 
the knee. My head swims. 

It is too inconceivably horrible to be buried in the Earth 
in such splendid spring weather. Who can tell me what 
is in store for me ? . . . Life opens to me, I catch a 
glimpse of a vision, and the doors clang to again noiselessly. 
It is dark. That will be my liistory. Am developing a 
passionate belief in mj/ book and a fever of haste to com- 
plete it before the conge dSfinitif. 

April 29. 

Saw M again, who said my symptoms were alarming 

certainly, but he was sure no definite diagnosis could be 
made. 

April 30. 

Went with M to see a well-known nerve specialist 

— Dr H . He could find no symptoms of a definite 

disease, tho' he asked me suspiciously if I had ever been 
with women. 

Ordered two months' complete rest in the country. 
H chased me round his consulting room with a drum- 
stick, tapping my nerves and cunningly working my 
reflexes. Then he ticlded the soles of my feet and pricked 
me with a pin — all of which I stood like a man. He wears 
a soft black hat, looks like a Quaker, and reads the Ver- 
handUmgen d. Gesellschaft d. Nervenarzten. 

M is religious and after I had disclosed my physique 

to him yesterday (for the 99th time) he remained on his 

F 



82 THE JOURNAL OF [May. 1913 

knees by the couch in his consulting room (after working 
my reflexes) for a moment or two in the attitude of prayer. 
When the Doctor prays for you — better call in the under- 
taker. My epitaph ' He played Ludo well.' The game 
anyhow requires moral stamina — ask H . 

May 5. 

At R . Mugged about all day. Put on a gramo- 
phone record — then crawled up into a corner of the large, 
empty drawing room and ate my heart out. Heart has 
a bitter tastC' — if it's your own. 

May 6. 

Sat in the ' morning room ' feeling ill. In the chair 
opposite sat Aunt Farmy, aged 86, knitting. I listened 
to the click of her needles, while out in the garden a thrush 
sang, and there was a red sunset. 

May 8. 

Before I left R , A [my brother] had written 

to Uncle enclosing my doctor's letter. I don't know the 

details except that Dr M emphasised the seriousness 

and yet held out hope that two months' rest would allay 
the symptoms. 

May II. 

At Home 

I made some offensive remark to H whom I met 

in the street. This set him off. 

' You blighter, I hope you marry a loose woman. May 
your children be all bandy-legged and squint-eyed, may 
your teeth drop out, and your toes have bunions,' and 
so on in his usual lengthy commination. 

I turned to the third man. 

' Bob — this ! — after all Fve done for that young man ! 
I have even gone out of my way to cultivate in him a 
taste for poetry — until he is now, in fact, quite wrapped 
up in it — indeed, so much so. that for a time he was nothing 
but a brown paper parcel labelled Poetry.' 



X9I3, May] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 83 

H. (doggedly) : ' When are you going to die ?' 

' That, Master H ,' I answered menacingly, ' is on 

the knees of the Gods.' 

H. : ' I shan't beUeve you're dead till I see your tomb- 
stone. I shall then say to the Sexton, " Is he really dead, 
then ?" and the Sexton will say, " Well, 'ee's buried onny 
way." ' 

Bob was not quite in sympathy with our boisterous 
spirits. 



May 15, 

Gardening 

Sought out H as he was watering his petunias in 

the garden. He informed me he was going to London on 
Monday. 

H.: ' Mother is coming too.' 

B.: 'Why?' 

H.: 'Oh! I'm buying my kit — shirts and things. I sail 
at the beginning of July.' 

B. : 'I suppose shirts are difficult to buy. You wouldn't 
know what to do with one if you had one. Your mother 

will lead you by the hand into a shop and say, " H , 

dear, this is a shirt," and you'll reply with pathos, " Mother, 
what are the wild shirts saying ?" ' 

H.: ' You're a B.F.' (goes on watering). 

' I wonder what you'd do if you were let loose in a big 
garden,' I began. 

H.: 'I should be as happy as a bird. I should hop 
about, chirrup and lay eggs. You should have seen my 
tomato plants last year — one was as tall as father.' 

B.: ' Now tell me of the Gooseberry as big as Mother,' 

Mutual execrations. Then we grinned and cackled at 
each other, emitting weird and ferocious cachinnations. 
Several times a day in confidential, serious tones — after 
one of these explosions — we say, ' I really believe we're 
mad.' You never heard such extraordinary caterwaulings. 
Our snappy conversations are interrupted with them every 
minute or so 1 



84 THE JOURNAL OF [May, 191 3 

May 23. 

Stagnancy 

A stagnant day. Lay still in the Park all day with just 
sufficient energy to observe. The Park was almost empty. 
Every one but me at work. Nothing is more dreary than 
a pleasure ground on workdays. There was one man a 
little way off throwing a ball to a clever dog. Beliind me 
on the path, some one came along wheeling a pram. I 
listened in a kind of coma to the scrunching of the gravel 
in the distance a long time after the pram was out of 
sight. Far away — the tinkle of Church bells — in a village 
across the river, and, in front, the man still throwing the 
ball to his clever dog. 



May 25. 

Death 

... I suppose the truth is I am at last broken in to 
the idea of Death. Once it terrified me and once I hated 
it. But now it only annoys me. Having lived with the 
Bogey for so long, and broken bread with liim so often, 
I am used to his ugliness, tho' his persistent attentions 
bore me. Why doesn't he do it and have done with me ? 
Why this deference, why does he pass me everytliing but 
the poison ? Why am I such an unconscionably long time 
dying? 

What embitters me is the humiliation of having to die, 
to have to be pouring out the precious juices of my life 
into the dull Earth, to be no longer conscious of what goes 
on, no longer moving abroad upon the Earth creating 
attraction and repulsions, pouring out one's ego in a 
stream. To think that the women I b^ve loved will be 
marrying and forget, and that the men I have hated will 
continue on their way and forget I ever hated them — the 
ignominy of being dead ! What voluble talker likes his 
mouth to be stopped with earth, who relishes the idea of 
the carrion worm mining in the seat of the intellect ? 



1 91 3. May] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 85 

May 29. 

Renunciation 

Staying at the King's Hotel, . Giddiness very bad. 

Death seems unavoidable. A tumour on the brain ? 

Coming down here in the train, sat in corner of the 
compartment, twined one leg around the other, rested my 
elbow on the window ledge, and gazed out helplessly at 
the exuberant green fields, green woods, and green hedge- 
rows. The weather was perfect, the sun blazed down. 

Certainly, I was rather sorry for myself at the thought 
of leaving it all. But I girded up my loins and wrapped 
around me for a while the mantle of a nobler sentiment; 
i.e. I felt sorry for the others as well — for the two brown 
carters in the road ambling along with a timber waggon, 
for the two old maids in the same compartment with me 
knitting bedsocks, for the beautiful Swallows darting over 
the stream, for the rabbit that lopped into the fern just 
as we passed — they too were all leaving it. 

The extent of my benign compassion startled me — it 
was so unexpected. Perhaps for the first time in my life 
1 forgot all about my own miserable ambitions — I forgave 
the successful, the time-servers, the self-satisfied, the over- 
weening, the gracious and condescending — all, in fact, 
who hitherto have been thorns in my flesh and innocently 
enough have goaded me to still fiercer efforts to win 
thro'. ' Poor people,' I said. ' Leave them alone. Let 
them be happy if they can.' With a submissive heart, 1 
was ready to sit down in the rows of this world's failures 
and never have thought one bitter word about success. 
To all those persons who in one way or another had foiled 
my purposes I extended a pardon with Olympian gravity, 
and, strangest of all, I could have melted such frosty 
moral rectitudes with a genuine interest in the careers of 
my struggling contemporaries. With perfect self-abnega- 
tion, I held out my hand to them and wished them all 
' God Speed.' 

It was a strange metempsychosis. Yet of a truth it is 
no use being niggardly over our lives. We are all of us 
' shelling out.' And we can afford to be generous, for we 



86 THE JOURNAL OF [May, 191 3 

shall all — some early, some late — be bankrupt in the end* 
For my part, I've had a short and boisterous voyage and 
shan't be sorry to get into port. I give up all my plans, 
all my hopes, all my loves and enthusiasms without remon- 
strance. I renounce all — I myself am already really dead. 

May 30. 

Last night the sea was as flat as a pavement, a pretty 
barque vdth all her sails out to catch the smallest puff of 
wind — the tiniest inspiration — was nevertheless without 

motion — a painted ship on a tapestry of violet. H 

Hill was an immense angular mass of indigo blue. Even 
rowing boats made little progress and the water came off 
the languid paddles in syrupy clots. Everything was 
utterly still, the air thick — like cottonwool to the touch 
and very stifling; vitality in living things leaked away 
under a sensuous lotus influence. Intermittently after 
the darkness had come, Bullpoint Lighthouse shone like 
the wink of a lascivious eye. 



Pottering about all day on the Pier and Front, listening 
to other people's talk, catching snippets of conversation — 
not edifying. If there were seven wise men in the town, 
I would not save it. Damn the place I 

May 31. 

... I espied her first in the distance and turned my 
head away quickly and looked out to sea. A moment 
after, I began to turn my head round again slowly with the 
cautiousness and air of suspicion of a Tortoise poking its 
head out from underneath his shell. I was terrified to 
discover that in the meantime she had come and sat down 
on the seat immediately behind me with her back to 
mine. We sat like this back to back for some time and 
I enjoyed the novel experience and the tension. A few 
years ago, the bare sight of her gave me palpitation of the 
heart, and, on the first occasion that I had the courage 



191 3. JUNE] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 87 

to stop to speak, I felt livid and the skin on my face 
twitched uncontrollably. 

Presently I got up and walked past — in the knowledge 
that she must now be conscious of my presence after a 
disappearance of three years. Later we met face to face 
and I broke the ice. She's a pretty girl. ... So too 
is her sister. 

Few people, except my barber, know how amorous I 
am. He has to shave my sinuous lips. 

June 3. 

Spent many dreadful hours cogitating whether to accept 
their invitation to dinner. ... I wanted to go for several 
reasons. I wanted to see her in a home-setting for the 
first time, and I wanted to spend the evening with three 
pretty girls. I also had the idea of displaying myself to 
the scrutinising gaze of the family as the hero of the old 
romance: and of showing Her how much I had progressed 
since last we met and what a treasure she had lost. 

On the other hand, I was afraid that the invitation was 
only a casual one, I feared a snuffy reception, a frosty 
smile and a rigid hand. Could I go up and partake of 
meat at their board, among brothers and sisters taking 
me for an ogre of a jilt, and she herself perhaps opposite 
me making me blush perpetually to recall our one-time 
passionate kisses, our love letters and our execrable verses 
to each other ! There seemed dreadful possibilities in 
such an adventure. Yet I badly wanted to experience 
the piquant situation. 

At 7 p.m., half an hour before I was due, decided on 
strong measures. I entered a pub. and took a stiff whisky 
and soda, and then set off with a stout heart to take the 
icy family by storm — and if need be live down my evil 
reputation by my amiability and urbanity ! 

I went — and of course everything passed off in the most 
normal manner. She is a very pretty girl — like velvet. 
Before dinner, we walked in the garden — and talked only 
of flowers. 



88 THE JOURNAL OF [June, 1913 

June 4. 

On the Hill, this morning, felt the thrill of the news of 
my own Death: I mean I imagined I heard the words, — 

' You've heard the news about B ?' 

Second Voice: ' No, what ?' 

• He's dead.' 

Silence. 

Won't all this seem piffle if I don't die after all ! As 
an artist in life I oiight to die: it is the only artistic ending 
— and I ought to die now or the Third Act will fizzle out 
in a long doctor's bill. 

June 5. 

A New Pile in' the Pier 

Watched some men put a new pile in the pier. There 
was all the usual paraphernalia of chains, pulleys, cranes, 
and ropes, with a massive wooden pile swinging over the 
water at the end of a long wire hawser. Everything was 
in the massive style — even the men — very powerful men, 
slow, ruminative, silent men. 

Nothing very relevant could be gathered from casual 
remarks. The conversation was without exception mono- 
syllabic: ' Let go,' or ' Stand fast.' But by close attention 
to certain obscure movements of the man on the ladder 
near the water's edge, it gradually came thro' to my 
consciousness that all these powerful, silent men were up 
against some bitter difficulty. I cannot say what it was. 
The burly monsters were silent about the matter. . . . 
In fact they appeared almost indifferent — and tired, oh ! 
so very tired of the whole business. The attitude of the 
man nearest me was that for all he cared the pile could 
go on swinging in mid-air to the crack of Doom. 

Thej^ continued slow, laborious efforts to overcome the 

secret difficulty. But these gradually slackened and 

finally ceased. One massive man after another abandoned 

his post in order to lean over the rails and gaze like a 

mystic into the depths of the sea. No one spoke. No 

one saw anything not even in the depths of the sea. One 



I9I3. June] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 89 

spat, and with round, sad eyes contemplated the trajectory 
of his brown bolus (he had been chewing) in its descent 
into the water. 

The foreman, an original thinker, lit a cigarette, v.'hich 
relieved the tension. Then, slowly and with majesty, he 
turned on his heel, and walked away. With the sudden 
eclipse of the foreman's interest, the incident closed. I 
should have been scarcely surprised to find him behind 
the Harbour-master's Office playing ' Shove-ha'penny ' or 
skittles with the pile still swinging in mid-air. . . . After 
all it was only a bloody pile. 

June II. 

Depression 

Sufl[ering from depression. . . . The melancholy fit 
fell very suddenly. All the colour went out of my life, 
the world was dirty gray. On the way back to my hotel 

caught sight of H , jumping into a cab, after a visit to 

S Sands. But the sight of him aroused no desire in 

me to shout or wave. I merely wondered how on earth 
he could have spent a happy day at such a Sandy place. 

On arriving at , sank deeper into my morass. It 

suffocated me to find the old famJliar landmarks coming 
into view . . . the holiday-makers along the streets how 
I hated them — the Peg Top Hill how desolate — all as 
before — how dull. The very fact that they were all there 
as before in the morning nauseated me. The sea-coast 
here is magnificent, the town is pretty — I know that, of 
course. But all looked dreary and cheerless — just the 
sort of feeling one gets on entering an empty house with 
no fire on a winter's day and nowhere to sit down. . . . 
I felt as lonely and desolate as a man suddenly fallen from 
the clouds into an unknown town on the Antarctic Con- 
tinent built of ice and inhabited by Penguins. Who are 
these people ? I asked myself irritably. There perhaps 
on the other side of the street was my own brother. 
But I was not even faintly interested and told the cabman 
to drive on. The spray from the sea fogged my spectacles 
and made me weary. 



90 THE JOURNAL OF [June, 191 3 

June 14. 

The Restlessness of the Sea 

The restlessness of the sea acts as a soporific on jangled 
nerves. You gaze at its incessant aciivities, unwillingly 
at first because they distract your attention from your 
own cherished worries and griefs; — but later you watch 
with complete self-abandon — it wrenches you out of your- 
self — and eventually with a kind of stupid hypnotic stare. 



Dr Spurgeon 

The day has been overcast, but to-night a soft breeze 
sprang up and swept the sky clear as softly as a mop. 
The sun coming out shone upon a white sail far out in the 
channel, scarcely another vessel hove in sight. The white 
sail glittered like a piece of silver paper whenever the 
mainsail swung round as the vessel tacked. Its solitari- 
ness and whiteness in a desert of marine blue attracted 
the attention and held it till at last I could look at nothing 
else. The sight of ii — so clean and white and fair — set 
me yearning for all the rarest and most exquisite things 
my imagination could conjure up — a beautiful girl, with 
fair and sunburnt skin, brown eyes, dark eyebrows, and 
small pretty feet; a dewdrop in a violet's face; an orange- 
tip butterfly swinging on an umbel of a flower. 

The sail went on twinkling and began to exert an almost 
moral influence over me. It drew out all the good in me. 
I longed to follow it on white wings — an angel I suppose — 
to quit this husk of a body ' as raiment put away,' and 
pursue Truth and Beauty across the sea to the horizon, 
and beyond the horizon up the sky itself to its last tenuous 
confines, no doubt with a still small voice summoning 
me and the rest of the elect to an Agapemone, with Dr 
Spurgeon at the door distributing tracts. 

I can scoff like this now. But at the time my exaltation 
was very real. My soul strained in the leash. I was full 
of a desire for unattainable spiritual beauty. I wanted 
something. But I don't know what I want. 



191 3, June] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 91 

June 16. 

My Sense of Touch 

My sense of touch has always been morbidly acute. I 
like to feel a cigarette locked in the extreme corner of my 
mouth. When I remove it from my mouth then I hold 
it probably up in the fork between two fingers. If I am 
waiting for a meal I finger the cool knives and forks. If 
I am in the country I plunge my hand with outspread 
fingers into a mass of large-topped grasses, then close my 
fingers, crush and decapitate the lot. 

June 27. 

Camping Out at S Sands 

A brilliant summer day. Up early, breakfasted, and, 
clad in sweater and trousers, walked up the sands to the 
boathouse with bare feet. 

Everything was wonderful ! I strode along over the 
level sands infatuated with the sheer ability to put one 
leg in front of the other and walk. I loved to feel the 
muscles of my thighs working, and to swing my arms in 
rhythm with the stride. The stiff breeze had blown the 
sky clear, and was rushing through my long hair, and 
bellowing into each ear. I strode as Alexander must have 

done ! 

Then I stretched my whole length out along a flat plank 
on the sands, which was as dry as a bone and warm. There 
was not a soul on the sands. Everything was bare, clean, 
windswept. My plank had been washed clean and white. 
The sands — 3 miles of it — ^were hard and purified, level. 
My eye raced along in every direction — there was nothing 
— not a bird or a man — to stop it. In that immense 
windswept space nothing was present save me and the 
wind and the sea — a flattering moment for the egotist. 

At the foot of the cliffs on the return journey met an 
old man gathering sticks. As he ambled along dropping 
sticks into a long sack he called out casually, ' Do you 



92 THE JOURNAL OF [June, 191 3 

believe in Jesus Christ ?' in the tone of voice in which 
one would say, ' I think we shall have some rain before 
night.' ' Aye, aye,' came the answer without hesitation 
from a boy lying on his back in the sands a few yards 
distant, ' and that He died to save me.' 
fc Life is full of surprises like this. The only other sounds 
I have heard to-day were the Herring Gull's cackle. Your 
own gardener will one day look over his rake and give 
you the correct chemical formula for carbonic acid gas. 
I met a postman once reading Shelley as he walked his 
rounds. 



June 28. 

I am writing this by the lamp in the cabin among the 

sandhills waiting for H to arrive from town with 

provisions. I wear a pair of bags, a dirty sweater, and 
go without hat or shoes and stockings. There is a ' Dead- 
wood Dick ' atmosphere here. I'm a sort of bronco- 
breaker or rancher off duty writing home. In a minute I 

haven't the slightest doubt, H will gallop into the 

compound, tether his colt and come in ' raising Cain ' for 
a belly-full of red meat. ... If I am going to live 
after all (touch wood) I shall go abroad and be in the 
open. 

I eat greedily, am getting very sunburnt, am growing 
hairy (that means strength !), and utter portentous oaths. 
If I stayed here much longer I should grow a tail and 
climb trees. 

After a supper of fried eggs and fried bread done to a 
nicety, turned in at ten, and both of us lay warm and 
comfortable in bed, smoking cigarettes and listening to 
Hoffmann's Barcarolle on the gramophone. We put the 
lamp out, and it pleased us to watch the glow of each 
other's cigarettes in the dark. . . . Neither of us spoke. 
. . . Went to sleep at midnight. Awoke at sunrise to 
hear an Owl still hooting, a Lark singing, and several 
Jackdaws clattering on our tin roof with their claws as 
they walked. 



191 3. July] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 93 

July I. 

In London Again 

Returned to London very depressed. Am not so well 
as I was three weeks ago. The sight of one eye is affected, 
and I am haunted by the possibihty of blindness. Then 
I have a numb feeling on one side of my face, and my right 
arm is less mobile. 

Left darling Mother in a very weak state in bed, with 
neuritis and a weak heart. She cried when I said ' Good- 
bye,' and asked me to go to Church as often as I could, 
and to read a portion of Scripture every day. I promised. 
Then she added, ' For Dad's sake;' just as if I would not 
do it for her. Poor dear, she suffers a deal of pain. She 
does not know how ill I am. I have not told her. 

July 3- 

Back at work. A terrible day. Thoughts of suicide — 
a pistol. 

July 8. 

I get thro' each day with the utmost difficulty. I 
have to wrestle with every minute. Each hour is a con- 
quest. The three quarters of an hour at lunch comes as 
a Godsend. I look forward to it all the morning, I enter 
into it with joyful rehef with no thought of the dreadful 
moment im.pending when I must return and re-enter my 
room. By being wise like this, I manage to husband my 
spirits and am relatively cheerful for one hour m the middle 
of each difficult day.| 

July 9. 

Several times I have gone to bed and hoped I should 
never wake up. Life grows daily more impossible. To-day 
I put a slide underneath the microscope and looked at it. 
It was like looking at something thro' the wrong end of 
a telescope. I sat with eye glued to the ocular, so as to 
keep up a pretence of work in case some one came in. 
My mind was occupied with quite different affair?. If 



94 THE JOURNAL OF [July, 191 3 

one is pondering on Life and Death, it is a terrible task 
to have to study Mites. 

July 10. 

Am doing no work at all. . . . I sit motionless in my 
chair and beat the devil's tatoo with my thumbs and 
think, think, think in the same horrible circle hour after 
hour. I am unable to work. I haven't the courage to. 
I've lost my nerve. 

At five I return ' home ' to the Boarding-house and get 
more desperate. 

Two old maids sat down to dinner to-night, one German 
youth (a lascivious, ranting, brainless creature), a lady 
typist (who takes drugs they say), a dipsomaniac (who has 

monthly bouts — H carried him upstairs and put him 

to bed the other night), two invertebrate violinists who 
play in the Covent Garden Orchestra, a colonial lady 
engaged in a bedroom intrigue with a man who sits at 
my table. What are these people to me ? I hate them 
all. They know it and are offended. 

After dinner, put on my cap and rushed out anywhere 
to escape. Walked to the end of the street, not knowing 
where I was going or what doing. Stopped and stared 
with fixed eyes at the traffic in Kensington Road, un- 
determined what to do with myself and unable to make 
up my mind (volitional paralysis). Turned round, walked 
home, and went straight to bed 9 p.m., anxiously looking 
forward to to-morrow evening when I go to see her again, 
but at the same time wondering how on earth I am to get 
through to-morrow's round before the evening comes. . . . 
This is a hand-to-mouth existence. My own inner life 
is scorching up all outside interests. Zoology appears as 
a curious thing in a Bagdad bazaar. I sit in my room at 
the B. M. and play with it; I let it trickle thro' my fingers 
and roll away like a child plajdng with quicksilver. 

July II. 

Over to the flat. She was looking beautiful in a black 
press, with a white silk blouse, and a Byron collar, negli- 



I9I3. Aug.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 95 

gently open in front as if a button had come out. She 
said I varied: sometimes I went up in her estimation, 
sometimes down; once I went down very low. I under- 
stood her to say I was now UP 1 Alleluia ! 

July 14. 

... It would take too long and I am too tired to write 
out all the varying phases of this day's life — all its im- 
pressions and petty miseries chasing one another across 
my consciousness or leap-frogging over my chest like 
gleeful fiends.* 

July 21. 

Thoroughly enjoyed the journey up to town this morning. 
1 secretly gloated over the fact that the train was dashing 
along over the rails to London bearing me and all the 
rest of the train's company upon their pursuits — wealth, 
fame, learning, I was inebriated with the speed, ferocity, 
and dash of living. ... If the train had charged into 
the buffers I should have hung my head out of the window 
and cheered. If a man had got in my way, I'd have 
knocked him down. The wheels of the carriage were 
singing a lusty song in which I joined. 

July 30. 

. . . We talked of men and women, and she said she 
thought men were neither angels nor devils but just men. 
1 said I thought women were cither angels or devils. 

' I am afraid to ask you which you think me.' 

* You needn't,' I said shortly. 

August 9. 

Horribly upset with news from home. Mother is really 
ill. The Doctor fears serious nerve trouble and says she 
will always be an invalid. This is awful, poor dear ! 
It's dreadful, and yet 1 have a tiny wish buried at the 

1 ' The life of the Soul is different ; there is nothing more changing, 
more varied, more restless ... to describe the incidents of one 
hour would require 9.n eternity.' — Journal of Eugenie de Gutrin. 



96 THE JOURNAL OF [Aug., 1913 

bottom of my heart that she may be removed early from 
us rather than Hnger in pain of body and mind. Especially 
do 1 hope she may not live to hear any grievous news of 
me. . . . What irony that she should lose the use of her 
right arm only two years after Dad's death from paralysis. 
It is cruel for it reminds her of Dad's illness. . . . What, 

too, w^ould she think if she could have heard M 's first 

words to me yesterday on one of my periodical visits to 
his consulting room, ' Well, how's the paralysis ?' 



In the evening went over to see her. She was wearing 
a black silk gown and looked handsome. . . . She is 
always the same sombre, fascinating, lissom, soft-voiced 
She ! She herself never changes. . . . What am I to 
do ? I cannot give her up and yet I do not altogether 
wish to take her to my heart. It distresses me to know 
how to proceed. I am a wily fish. 

August 10. 

Sat in the gardens with her. We sat facing the sun 
for a while until she was afraid of developing freckles and 
turned around, deliberately turning her back on good 
King Sol. ... I said it was disrespectful. 

' Oh ! he doesn't mind,' she said. ' He's a dear. He 
kissed me and said, " Turn round my dear if you like." ' 

Isn't she tantalising ? 

I wanted to say sarcastically, ' I wonder you let him 
kiss you,' but there was a danger of the remark reviving 
the dead. 

August 14. 

I tried my best, I've sought every loophole of escape, 
but I am quite unable to avoid the melancholy fact that 
her thumbs are — lamentable. I am genuinely upset 
about it for I like her. No one more than I would be more 
delighted if they were otherwise. . . . Poor dear ! how 
I love her ! That's why I'm so concerned about her 
thumbs. 



191 3. Sept.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 97 

August 21. 

A wire from A came at 11.50 saying, ' Darling 

Mother passed peacefully away yesterday afternoon.' . . . 
Yesterday afternoon I was writing Zoology and all last 
night I slept soundly. ... It was quite sudden. Caught 
the first train home. 

August 23. 
The funeral. 

August 31. 

Staying at the Hotel du Guesclin at Cancale near St 
Malo with my dear A . 

This flood of new experiences has knocked my diary 
habit out of gear. To be candid, I've forgotten all about 
myself. I've been too engrossed in living to stand the 
strain of setting down and in cold blood writing out all 
the things seen and heard. If I once began I should blow 
thro' these pages like a wliirlwind. . . . But what a 
waste of time with M. le batcher waiting outside with his 
bisque to take us mackerel fishing ! . . , 

September 8. 
Returned to Southampton yesterday. Have spent the 

night at Okehampton in Devonshire en route for T 

Rectory. This morning we hatched the ridiculous idea of 
hiring two little Dartmoor ponies and riding out from the 

town. A rides fairly well tho' he has not been 

astride a beast for years. As for me, I cannot ride at 
all ! Yet I had the idea that I could easily manage a 
pretty little pony with brown eyes and a long tail. On 
going out into the Inn yard, was horrified — two horses 
saddled — one a large traction beast. ... I climbed on 
to the smaller one, walked him out of the yard and down 
the road in good style without accident. Once in the 
country, however, my animal, the fresher of the two, 
insisted on a smart trot which shook me up a good deal 
so that I hardly kept my seat. This eventually so annoyed 

G 



98 THE JOURNAL OF [Sept., 191 3 

the animal that it began to fidget and zigzag across the 
road — no doubt preparing to break away at a stretch 
gallop when once it had rid itself of the incomprehensible 
pair of legs across its back. 

I got off quickly and swopped horses with A . 

Walked him most of the way, while A cantered for- 
ward and back to cheer me on. Ultimately however 
this beast, too, got sick of walking and began to trot. 
For a time I stood this well and began to rise in my saddle 
quite nicely. After two miles, horrible soreness super- 
vened, and I had to get off— very carefully, with a funny 
feeling in my legs — even looked down at them to assure 
myself they were not bandy ! In doing so, the horse — 
this traction monster — stepped on my toe and I swore. ^ 

On nearing the village, L arrived, riding A 's 

animal and holding his sides for laughing at me as I crawled 
along holding the carthorse by the bridle. Got on again 
and rode into the Rectory grounds in fine style like 
a dashing cavalier, every one jeering at me from the 
lawn. 

September 28. 

Having lived on this planet now for the space of 24 
years, I can claim with some cogency that I am qualified 
to express some sort of opinion about it. I therefore 
hereby record that I find myself in an absorbingly interest- 
ing place where I live, move and have my being, dominated 
by one monstrous feature above all others — the mystery 
of it all ! Everything is so astonishing, my own existence 
so incredible ! 

Nothing explains itself. Every one is dumb. It is like 
walking about at a masqued Ball. . . . Even I myself 
am a mystery to me. How wonderful and frightening that 
is — to feel yourself — your innermost and most substantial 
possession to be a mystery, incomprehensible. I look at 
myself in the mirror and mock at myself. On some days 
I am to myself as strange and unfamiliar as a Pterodactyl. 
Xher§ i§ a certain grim humour in finding myself here 



1 91 3. Oct.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 99 

possessed of a perfectly arbitrary arrangement of linea- 
ments when I never asked to be here and never selected 
my own attributes. To the dignity of a human being it 
seems like a coarse practical joke. . . . My own freakish 
physique is certainly a joke. 



October 4. 

In London Again 

K comes in from her dancing class, nods to me, 

hugs her sister around the neck and says, — 

' Oh ! you dear thing, you've got a cold.' 

' I shouldn't do that,' I remark, green-eyed, ' she's in 
an awful wax to-night.' 

She: ' Oh ! I don't mind K !' 

(Laughter !) 

October 8. 

Heard a knock at the door"' last night, and, thinking it 

was R , I unbolted it and let in a tramp who at once 

asked God to bless me and crown all my sorrow with joy. 
An amiable fellow to be sure — so I gave him some coppers 
and he at once repeated with wonderful fervour, ' God 
bless you, sir.' 

' I wish He would,' I answered, ' I have a horrible cold.' 

' Ah, I know, I gets it myself and the hinfluenza — have 
you had that, sir ?' 

In ten minutes I should have told him all my personal 
history. But he was thirsting for a drink and went off 
quickly and left me with my heart unburthened. London 
is a lonely place. 

To-day journeyed to where I gave evidence as an 

expert in Economic Entomology at the County Court in 
a case concerning damage to furniture by mites for which 
I am paid ;^8 8s. fee and expenses and travelled first class. 
What irony ! (See June 30, 1911.) 



100 THE JOURNAL OF [Oct., 1913 

October ii. 

I may be a weak, maundering, vacillating fool but I 
cannot help loving her on one day, being indifferent the 
next and on some occasions even dislilcing her. . . . 
To-day she was charming, with a certain warm glossy 
perfection on her face and hair. . . . And she loves me — 
I could swear it. ' And when a woman woes . . .' etc. 
How difficult for a vain and lonely man to resist her. 
She tells me many times in many dainty ways that 
she loves me without so much as stopping her work to 
talk. 

I wish I were permanently and irresistibly enamoured. 
I want a houleversement. ... 



October 13. 

Went to see a Harley Street oculist about the sight of 
one eye, which has caused a lot of trouble and worry of 
late and continuously haunted me with the possibility 
of blindness. At times, I see men as trees walking and 
print becomes hopelessly blurred. 

The Specialist however is reassuring. The eye is healthy 
— no neuritis — but the adjustment muscles have been 
thrown out of gear by the nervous troubles of last spring. 

• « • • • • • 

Was ever man more sorely tempted ? Here am I lonely 
and uncomfortable in diggings with a heart like nascent 
oxygen. . . . Shall I ? Yes, but. . . . And I have 
neither health nor wealth. 



October 22. 

The British Museum Reading Room . 

I saw it for the first time to-day ! Gadzooks ! ! This 
is the only fit ejaculation to express my amazement ! It's 
a pagan temple with the Gods in the middle and all around, 
various obscure dark figures prostrating themselves in 
worship. 



I9I3. Oct.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN loi 

October 29. 

For any one who is not simply a Sheep or Cow or whose 
nervous organisation is a degree more sensitive than the 
village blacksmith's, it is a besetting peril to his peace of 
mind to be constantly moving about an independent 
being, with loves and hates, and a separate identity among 
other separate identities, who prowl and prowl around like 
the hosts of Midian — ready to snarl, fight, seize you, bore 
you, exasperate you, to arouse all your passions, call up 
all the worst from the depths where they have lain hidden. 
... A day spent among my fellows goads me to a frenzy 
by the evening. I am no longer fit for human companion- 
ship. People string me up to concert pitch. I develop 
suspicions of one that he is prying, of another that he 
patronises. Others make me horribly anxious to stand 
well in their eyes and horribly curious to know what they 
think of me. Others I hate and loathe — for no particular 
reason. There is a man I am acquainted with concerning 
whom I know nothing at all. He may be Jew, Gentile, 
Socinian, Pre-adamite, Anabaptist, Rosicrucian-I don't 
know, and I don't care, for I hate him. I should like to 
smash his face in. I don't know why. ... In the whole 
course of our tenuous acquaintance we have spoken scarce 
a dozen words to each other. Yet I should like to blow 
up his face with dynamite. If I had £200 a year private 
income I should be in wait for him to-morrow round a 
corner and land him one — just to indicate my economic 
independence. He would call for the police and the 
policeman — discerning creature — on arrival, would surely 
say, ' With a face like that, I'm not surprised.' 



R said to me this morning, ' Well, have you heard ?' 

with an exuberance of curiosity that made my blood boil — 
he was referring to my Essay still at the bar of the opinion 
of the Editor of the English Review. ' You beast,' I 
snapped and walked off. 

R shouted with laughter for he realises my anger 

with him is only semi-serious: it is meant and not meant: 



102 THE JOURNAL OF [Oct., 191 3 

meant, for it is justified by the facts ; not meant, for I 
can't be too serious over anything au fond. 



Of all the grim and ridiculous odds and ends of chance 
that Fortune has rolled up to my feet, my friendship 
with a man like B is the grimmest and most ridicu- 
lous. He is a bachelor of sixty, rather good-looking, 
of powerful physique and a faultless constitution. . . . 
His ignorance is colossal and he once asked whether 
Australia, for example, tho' surrounded by water, is 
not connected up with other land underneath the sea. 
Being himself a child in intelligence (tho' commercially 
cunning), he has a great respect for my brains. Being 
himself a strong man, he vi^ws my ill-health with much 
contempt. His private opinion is that I am in con- 
sumption. When asked once by a lady if I were not 
going to be ' a great man ' one day, he replied, ' Yes — if 
he lives.' I ought to walk six miles a day, drink a bottle 
of stout with my dinner, and eat plenty of onions. His 
belief in the curative properties of onions is strong as 
death. ... 

His system of prophylaxis may be quickly sum- 
marised, — 

(i) Hot whisky ad lib. and off to bed. 
(2) A woman. 

These two sterling preventives he has often urged upon 
me at the same time tipping out a quantity of anathemas 
on doctors and physic. . . . 

He is a cynic. He scoffs at the medical profession, the 
Law, the Church, the Press. Every man is guilty until 
he is proved innocent. The Premier is an unscrupulous 
character, the Bishop a salacious humbug. No doctor will 
cure, for it pays h^m to keep you ill. Every clergyman 
puts the Sunday-school teacher in the family way. His 
mouth is permanently distorted by cjmicism. 

He is vain and believes all women are in love with him. 
When playing the Gallant, he turns on a special voice, 
wears white spats, and looks like a Newmarket ' Crook.' 



191 3, Oct.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 103 

' I lost my 'bus,' a girl says to him. ' Lost your bust,' he 
answers, in broad Scotch. ' I can't see that you've done 
that.' . . . His sexual career has been a remarkable one, 
he claiming to have brought many women to bed, and 
actually to have lain with women of almost all European 
nationalities, for he has been a great traveller. . . . 

This man is my devoted friend ! . . . And truth to 
tell I get on with him better than I do with most people. 
I like his gamey flavour, his utter absence of self-con- 
sciousness, and his doggy loyalty to myself — his weaker 
brother. He may be depraved in his habits, coarse in 
his language, boorish in his manners, ludicrous in the 
wrongness of all his views. But I like him just because 
he is so hopeless. I get on with him because it is so 
impossible to reclaim him — my missionary spirit is not 
intrigued. If he only dabbled in vice (for an experi- 
ment), if he had pale, watery ideas about current litera- 
ture — if — to use his own favourite epithet — he were genteel, 
I should quarrel. 



October 30. 

Have developed a passion foi a piece of sculpture by 
R. Boeltzig called the Reifenwerferin — the most beautiful 
figure of a woman. I am already devoted to Rodin's 
' Kiss ' and have a photo of it framed in my bedroom. 
Have written to Bruciani's. 

I suspect that my growing appreciation of the plastic 
ait is with me only distilled sensuality. I enjoy my 
morning bath for the same reason. My bath is a daily 
baptism. I revel in the pleasure of the pain of the cold 
water. I whistle gleefully because I am clean and cool 
and nude early in the morning with the sun still low, 
before the day has been stained by clothes, dirt, pain, 
exasperation, death. . . . How I love myself as I rub 
myself down ! — the cool, pink skin — I could eat it ! I 
want to be all day in a cold bath to enjoy the pain of 
mortifying the flesh — it is so beautiful, so soft, so in- 
scrutable — if I cut out chunks of it, it would only bleed. 



1^4 THE JOURNAL OF [Nov., 1913 

November 8. 

The other morning R said hyperbolically that he 

hadn't slept all night for fear that, before he had time to 
put an arresting hand on my shoulder and say ' Don't,' 
I might have gone and become ' Entangled.' . . . 

. . . No, I'm as firm as a rock, my dear. But in 
imagination the affair was continued as follows, — 
She: ' I am fond of you, you know.' 
He: ' I wish you wouldn't say these things to me — 
they're quite embarrassing.' 

She: ' Oh ! my dear, I'm not serious, you know — you're 
such a vain young man.' 
He: ' Well, it's equally embarrassing any way.' 
She: ' Then I am serious.' 
Tears. 

I say: * I wish you would take me only for what I am — 
a blackguard with no good intentions, yet no very evil 
ones — but still a blackguard, whom you seem to find has 
engaging manners.' 

I breathe freely hoping to have escaped this terrible 
temptation and turn to go. But she, looking up smiling 
thro' a curtain of wet eyelashes, asks, — 

'Won't the blackguard stop a little longer?' In a 
moment my earth works, redoubts, and bastions fall down, 
I rush forward impetuously into her arms shouting, ' I 
will, I will, 1 will as long as for eternity.' 

(Curtain.) 

I dramatised this little picture and much more last 
night before going to sleep when I was in a fever. I 
should succumb at once to the first really skilful coquette. 

November 9. 

Ludo 

We played Ludo together this evening and she won 
2s. 6d. Handsomely gowned in black and wearing black 
ornaments, she sat with me in the lamplight on the sofa 
in the Morris Room, with the Ludo board between us 
placed on a large green cushion. Her face was white as 



1913. Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 105 

parchment and her hair seemed an ebony black. I lolled 
in the opposite corner, a thin, elongated youth, with fair 
hair all stivvered up, dressed in a light-brown lounge suit 
with a good trouser crease, a soft linen collar and — a red 
tie ! Between us, on its green cushion the Ludo board 
with its brilliantly coloured squares: — all of it set before 
a background formed by the straight-backed, rectangular, 
settle-like sofa, with a charming covering which went 
with the rest of the scheme. 

' Rather decorative,' remarked in an audible voice, 

turning her head on one side and quizzing. I can well 
believe it was. She looked wholly admirable. 

November 21. 

My Nightmare 
Can't get rid of my cough. I have so many things to 
do — I am living in a fever of haste to get them done. Yet 
this cough hinders me. There is always something which 
drags me back from the acliievf ment of my desires. It's 
like a nightmare; I see myself struggling violently to 
escape from a monster which draws continuously nearer, 
until his shadow falls across my path, when I begin to 
run and find my legs tied, etc. The only difference is 
that mine is a nightmare from which I never wake up. 
The haven of successful accomplishment remains as far 
off as ever. Oh ! make haste. 

November 29. 

The English Review has returned my Essay ! — ^This is a 
keen disappointment to me. ' I wish I could use this, but 
I am really too full,' the Editor writes. To be faintly 
encouraged and delicately rejected — why I prefer the 
printed form. 

December 1. 

More Irony 

Renewed my cold — I do nothing all day but blow my 
nose, cough, and curse Austin Harrison. 

M thinks the lungs are all right. ' There is nothing 

there, I think,' said he, this morning. Alleluia ! I've 



io6 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec, 1913 

had visions of consumption for weeks past and M- 



himself has been expecting it. I always just escape: I 
always almost get something, do something, go somewhere, 
I have dabbled in a variety of diseases, but never got one 
downright^ — but only enough to make me feel horribly 
unfit and very miserable without the consolation of being 
able to regard myself as the heroic victim of some in- 
curable disorder. Instead of being Stevenson with tuber- 
culosis, I've only been Jones with dyspepsia. So, too, in 
other directions, big events have always just missed me: 
by Herculean efforts I succeeded in giving up newspaper 
journalism and breaking thro' that steel environment — 
but only to become an Entomologist I I once achieved 
success in an Essay in the Academy, which attracted 
attention — a debut, however, that never, developed. I 
had not quite arrived. It is always not quite. 

Yesterday, I received a state visit from the Editor of the 
Furniture Record seeking advice on how to eradicate mites 
from upholstering ! I received him ironically — but little 
did he understand. 

I shot up like a ball on a bagatelle board all steamy 
into zoology (my once beloved science) but at once rolled 
dead into the very low hole of Economic Entomology ! 
Curse. . . . Why can't I either have a first-rate disease 
or be a first-rate zoologist ? 

Now just think what a much better figure I should 
have cut, from the artistic view point, had I remained a 
newspaper reporter who had taught himself prodigious 
embryology out of F. M. Balfour's Textbook, who had 
cut sections of fowls' eggs and newt embryos with a hand 
microtome, who had passionately dissected out the liidden, 
internal anatomy of a great variety of animals, who could 
recite Wiedersheim's Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates 
and patter off the difference between a nephridium and a 
ccelomic duct without turning a hair — or the phylogenetic 
history (how absorbing !) of the kidney — pronephros, 
mesonephros and metanephros and all the ducts ! . . . 
All this, over now and wasted. My hardly- won knowledge 
^ See entry for November 27, 1915. 



I9I4. Feb.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 107 

wrenched away is never brought into use — it lies piled up 
in my brain rotting. I could have become a first-rate 
comparative anatomist. 

December 3. 

Cold better. So back at work — gauging ale at Dun- 
fermline as R puts it. 

December 9. 

In the evening found it quite impossible to stay in the 
house any longer: some vague fear drove me out. I was 
alarmed to be alone or to be still. It is my cough, I think. 

Had two glasses of port at the Kensington Hotel, con- 
versed with the barmaid, and then came home. 

December 10. 

' Don't be an old fossil,' she said to me to-night, irrele- 
vantly. 

' A propos of what ?' I inquired. 

' Mother, here's W proposing to E ! Do come,' 

cried , with intent to confuse. 1 laughed heaitlessly. 

Dear, dear, where will it all end ? It's a sad business 
when you fall in love with a girl you don't like. 

December 26. 

Spent a romping day at the Flat. Kissed her sister 
twice under the mistletoe, and in the evening went to a 
cinema. After supper made a mock heroic speech and 
left liilarious. 

1914 
February 4. 

. . . Finally and in conclusion I have fallen ill again, 
have again resumed my periodical visits to the Doctor, 
and am swallowing his rat-poison in a blind faith as afore- 
time. In fact, I am in London, leading the same solitary 
life, seeing no one, talking to no one, and daily struggling 
with this demon of ill- health. Can no one exorcise him? 
The sight of both my eyes is affected now. Blindness ? 
B continues whoring, drinking, sneering. R as 



io8 THE JOURNAL OF [Feb.. 1914 

usual, devoid of emotion, cold, passionless, Shavian, and 
self-absorbed, still titillates his mind with etching, sociology, 
music, etc., and I have at last ceased to bore him with 
what he probably calls the febrile utterances of an over- 
wrought mind. 

Such is my world ! Oh ! I forgot — on the floor below 
me is a corpse — that of an old gentleman who passed 
away suddenly in the night. In the small hours, the land- 
lady went for the Doctor over the w^ay, but he refused to 
come, saying the old man was too aged. So the poor 
gentleman died alone — in tliis rat hole of a place. 

February 7. 

Intending to buy my usual 3d. packet of Goldflakes, 
entered a tobacconist's in Piccadilty, but once inside 
surprised to find myself in a classy west-end establishment, 
which frightened my flabby nature into buying De Res?:ke's 
instead. I hadn't the courage to face the aristocrat behind 
the counter with a request for Goldflakes — probably not 
stocked. What would he think of me ? Besides, I shrank 
from letting him see I was not perfectly well-to-do. 

February 14. 

I wonder what this year has in store for me ? The 
first twenty-four years of my life have hunted me up and 
down the keyboard — I have been right to the top and 
also to the bottom — very happy and very miserable. Yet 
I prefer the life that is a hunt and an adventure. I don't 
really mind being chased like this. I almost thrive on the 
excitement. If I knew always where to look with any 
degree of certainty for my next day's life I should yawn ! 
'What if to-day be sweet,' I say, and never look ahead. 
To me, next week is next century. 

The danger and uncertainty of my life make me cherish 
and hug closely to my heart various little projects that 
otherwise would seem unworthy. I work at them quickly, 
frantically, sometimes, afraid to whisper to a living soul 
what expectations I dare to harbour in my heart, \^'hat 
if now the end be near ? Not a word ! Let me go onw'ard. 



I9I4. Feb.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 109 

February 16. 

To-day I have reviewed the situation carefully, ex- 
haustively. I have peered into every aspect of my life 
and achievements and everything I have seen nauseates 
me. I can find no ray of comfort in anything I have done 
or in anything I might do. My life seems to have been 
a wilderness of futile endeavour. I started wrong from 
the very beginning. At the moment of my birth I was 
coming into the world in the wrong place and under wrong 
conditions. Why seek to overcome such colossal initial 
disadvantages ? In this mood I found fault with my 
parentage, my inheritance, all my mental and physical 
disabilities. . . . 

This must be a form of incipient insanity. Even as a 
boy, I can remember being pretcrnaturally absorbed in 
myself and pr tcrnaturally discontented. I was ac- 
customed to exhaust my mind by the most harassing 
cross-examinations — no Counsel at the Bar ever treated 
a witness more mercilessly. After a day of this sort of 
thing, when silently and morbidly in every spare moment, 
at meals, in school, or on a walk, I would incessantly ply 
the questions, ' What is the ultimate value of your work, 
ciii bono P" etc. I went to bed in the evening with a 
feeling of hopelessness and dissatisfaction — haggard with 
considerations and reconsiderations of my outlook, my 
talent, my character, my future. In bed, I tossed from 
side to side, mentally exhausted with my efforts to obtain 
some satisfying conclusion — always hopeful, determined 
to the last to be able to square up my little affairs before 
going to sleep. But out of this mazy, vertiginous mass 
of thinking no satisfaction ever came. Now, I thought — 
or the next moment — or as soon as I review and revise 
myself in this or in that aspect, I shall be content. And 
so I went on, tearing down and reforming, revising and 
reviewing, till finally from sheer exhaustion and VQry 
unhappy I fell asleep. 

Next morning I was all right. 



no THE JOURNAL OF [Feb., 1914 

February 20. 

Am feeling very unwell. My ill-health, my isolation, 
baulked ambitions, and daily breadwinning all conspire 
to bring me down. The idea of a pistol and the end of it 
grows on me day by day. 

February 21, 

After four days of the most profound depression of 
spirits, bitterness, self-distrust, despair, I emerged from 
the cloud to-day quite suddenly (probably the arsenic and 
strychnine begins to take effect) and walked up Exhibition 
Road with the intention of visiting the Science Museum 
Library so as to refer to Schafer's Essentials of Histology 
(I have to watch myself carefully so that I may act at 
once as soon as the balance of mind is restored). In the 
lobby was a woman screaming as if in pain, with a passer- 
by at her side saying sternly, ' What is the matter with 
you ? ' as if she were making herself ridiculous by suffering 
pain in public. 

I passed by quickly, pretending not to notice lest — after 
all — I should be done out of my Essentials of Histology. 
Even in the Library I very nearly let the opportunity 
slide by picking up a book on squaring the circle, the 
preface and introduction of which I was forced to read. 

March 4. 

The Entomological Society 

There were a great many Scarabees present who exhibited 
to one another poor little pinned insects in collecting- 
boxes. ... It was really a one-man show. Prof. Poulton, 
a man of very considerable scientific attaiimients, being 
present, and shouting with a raucous voice in a way that 
must have scared some of the timid, unassuming collectors 
of our country's butterflies and moths. Like a great 
powerful sheep-dog, he got up and barked, ' Mendelian 
characters,' or ' Germ plasm,' what time the obedient 
flock ran together and bleated a pitiful applause. I 
suppose, having frequently heard these and similar phrase s 



I9I3. March] A DISAPPOINTED MAN iii 

fall from the lips of the great man at these reunions, they 
have come to regard them as symbols of a ritual which 
they think it pious to accept without any question. So 
every time the Professor says, ' Allelomorph,' or some 
such phrase, they cross themselves and never venture to 
ask him what the hell it is all about. 

March 7. 

A Scots Fir 

Have been feehng very ' down ' of late, but yesterday 
I saw a fine Scots Fir by the roadside — tall, erect, as 
straight as a Parthenon pillar. The sight of it restored 
my courage. It had a tonic effect. Quite unconsciously 
I pulled my shoulders back and walked ahead with renewed 
vows never to flinch again. It is a noble tree. It has 
strength as a giant, and a giant's height, and yet kindly 
withal, the branches drooping down graciously towards 
you — like a kind giant extending its hands to a child. 

March 22. 

A Stagnant Day 

Went to bed late last night so I slept on soundly till 
9 a.m. Went down to the bath-room, but found the door 
was shut, so went back to my bedroom again, lay down 
and dosed a while, tliinldng of nothing in particular. 
Went down again — door still locked — swore — returned 
once more to my room and reclined on the bed, with door 
open, so that I could hear as soon as the bath-room door 

opened. . . . Rang the bell, and Miss brought up 

a jug of hot water to shave with, and a tumbler of hot 
water to drink (for my dyspepsia). She, on being inter- 
rogated, said there was some one in the bath-room. I 
said I wanted a bath too, so as she passed on her way 
down she shouted, ' Hurry up, Mr Barbellion wants a bath 
as well.' Her footsteps then died away as she descended 
lower into the basement, where the family lives, sleeps, 
and cooks our food, 
^t length, hearing the door open, I ejaculatedj ' the 



112 THE JOURNAL OF [March, 1914 

Lord be praised,' rushed down, entered the bath-room and 
secured it from further intruders. I observed that Miss 

senior had been bathing her members, and that the 

bath, tho' empty, was covered inside wth patches of 
soap — unutterably black ! Oh ! ]\Iiss ! 

Dressed leisurely and breakfasted. When the table was 
cleared wrote a portion of my essay on Spallanzani. . . . 

Then, being giddy and tired, rang for dinner. Miss 

laid the table. She looked very clean. I said, ' Good- 
morning,' and she suitably replied, and I went on reading, 
the Winning Post. Felt too slack to be amiable. Next 
time she came in, I said as pleasantly as I could, ' Is it 
all ready ?' and being informed proceeded to eat forthwith. 

In the afternoon, took a 'bus to Riclimond. No room 
outside, so had to go inside — curse — and sit opposite a 
row — curse again — of fat, ugly, elderly women, all off to 
visit their married daughters, the usual Sunday jaunt. 
At Hammersinith got on the outside, and at Turn ham 
Green was caught in a hail storm. Very cold all of a 
sudden, so got off and took shelter in the doorway of a 
shop, which was of course closed, the day being Sunday. 
Rain, wind, and hail continued for some while, as I gazed 
at the wet, almost empty street, thinking, re-tliinking and 
thinking over again the same thought, viz., that the 'bus 
ride along this route was exceptionally cheap — probably 
because of competition with the trams. 

The next 'bus took me to Richmond. Two young girls 
sat in front, and kept looking back to know if I was 
' game.' I looked through them. Walked in the Park 
just conscious of the singing of Larks and the chatter of 
Jays, but harassed mentally by the question, ' To whom 
shall I send my essay, when finished ?' To shelter from 
the rain sat under an oak where four youths joined me 
and said, ' Worse luck,' and ' Not half,' and smoktd 
cigarettes. They gossipped and giggled like girls, put 
their arms around each other's necks. At the dinner last 
night, they said, they had Duck and Tomato Soup and 
Beeswax {' Beesley, you know, the chap that goes about 
with Smith a lot ') wore a fancy waistcoat with a dinner 



1 91 4, March] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 113 

jacket. When I got up to move on, they became con- 
vulsed with laughter. I scowled. 

Had tea in the Pagoda tea-rooms, dry toast and brown 
bread and butter. Two young men opposite me were 
quietly playing the fool. 

' Hold my hand,' one said audibly enough for two lovers 
to hear, comifortably settled up in a corner. Even at a 
side view I could see them kissing each other in between 
moutlifuls of bread and butter and jam. 

On rising to go, one of the two hilarious youths removed 
my cap and playfully placed it on top of the bowler which 
his friend was wearing. 

' My cap, I think,' I said sharply, and the young man 
apologised with a splutter. I glared like a kill-joy of 
sixty. 

On the 'bus, coming home, thro' streets full of motor 
traffic and all available space plastered with advertise- 
ments that screamed at you, I espied in front three pretty 
girls, who gave me the ' Glad Eye.' One had a deep, 
musical voice, and kept on using it, one of the others a 
pretty ankle and kept on showing it. 

At Kew, two Italians came aboard, one of whom went 
out of his way to sit among the girls. He sat level with 
them, and kept turning his head around, giving them a 
sweeping glance as he did so, to shout remarks in Italian 
to his friend behind. He thought the girls were prostitutes, 
I think, and he may have been right. I was on the seat 
behind this man and for want of anything better to do, 
studied his face minutely. In short, it was fat, round, and 
greasy. He wore black moustachios with curly ends, his 
eyes were dark shining, bulgy, and around his neck was 
wrapped a scarf inside a dirty linen collar, as if he had 
a sore throat. I sat behind him and hated him steadily, 
perse veringly. 

At Hammersmith the three girls got off, and the bulgy- 
eyed Italian watched them go with lascivious eyes, looking 
over the rail and down at them on the pavement — still 
interested. I looked down too. They crossed the road 
in front of us and disappeared. 

H 



114 THE JOURNAL OF [March, 1914 

Came home and here I am writing this. This is the 
content of to-day's consciousness. This is about all I 
have thought, said, or done, or felt. A stagnant day I 



March «6. 

Home with a bad influenza cold. In a deplorable 
condition. The best I could do was to sit by the fire and 
read newspapers one by one from the first page to the 
last till the reading became mechanical. I found myself 
reading an account of the Lincoln Handicap and a column 
article on Kleptomania, while advertisements of new books 
were devoured with relish as delicacies. My mind became 
a morass of current Divorce Court News, Society Gossip — 
' if Sir A. goes Romeward, if Miss B. sings true ' — and 
advertisements. I went on reading because I was afraid 
to be alone with myself. 

B arrived at tea and after saying he felt very ' pin- 
eyed ' swallowed a glass of Bols gin — the Gin of Antony 
Bols — and recovered sufficiently to inform me delightedly 
that he had just won £50. He told me all the story; 
meanwhile, I, tired of wiping and blowing my nose, sat 
in the dirty armchair hunched up with elbows on knees 

and let it drip on to the dirty carpet. B , of course, 

noticed nothing, which was fortunate. 

Some kinds of damned fool would have been kindly 

and sympathetic. I must say I like old B . I like 

him for his simpleness and utter absence of self-conscious- 
ness, which make him as charming as a child. Moreover, 
he often makes me a present of invaluable turf tips. Of 
course, he is a liar, but his lies are harmless and on his 
mouth like milk on an infant's. My own lies are much 
more dangerous. And when you are ill, to be treated as 
tho' you were well is good for hypochondriacs. 

April 15. 

H 's wedding. Five minutes before time, I am told 

I made a dramatic entry into the church clad in an audaci- 
ously light pair of Cashmere trousers, lemon-coloured 



I9I4, April] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 115 

gloves, with top hat and cane. The latter upset the 
respectability frightfully — it is not comme ilfmit. 

April 16. 

... If I am to admit the facts they are that I eagerly 
anticipate love, look everywhere for it, long for it, am 
unhappy withoiit it. She fascinates me — admitted. I 
could, if I would, surrender myself. Her affection makes 
me long to do it. I am sick of living by myself. I am 
frightened of myself. My life is miserable alone, and 
sometimes desperately miserable when I long for a little 
sympathy to be close at hand. 

I have often tried to persuade R to share a flat 

with me, because I don't really wish to marry. I struggle 
against the idea, I am egotist enough to wish to shirk the 
responsibilities. 

But then I am a ridiculously romantic creature with 
a wonderful ideal of a woman I shall never meet or if I 
do she won't want me — ' that (wholly) impossible She.' 

R in a fiat v/ith me would partly solve my difficulties' 

I don't love her enough for marriage. Mine must be 
grand passion, a houleversement — for I am capable of it. 

April 17. 

A Humble Confession 

The Hon. , son and heir of Lord , to-day invited 

me to lunch with him in Square. He is a handsome 

youth of twenty-five, with fair hair and blue eyes . . . 
and ! such an aristocrat. Good Lord. 

But to continue: the receipt of so unexpected an invita- 
tion from so glorious a young gentleman at first gave me 
palpitation of the heart. I was so surprised that I scarcely 
had enough presence of mind to listen to the rest of his 
remarks and later, it was only with the greatest difficulty 
that I could recall the place where we arranged to meet. 
His remarks, too, are not easy to follow, as he talks in a 
stenographic, Alfred- Jingle-Hke manner, jerking out dis- 
jected members of sentences, and leaving you to make 



ii6 THE JOURNAL OF [April, 1914 

the best of them or else to Hell with you — by the Lord, I 
speak English, don't I ? HI said, ' I beg your pardon,' 
he jerked again, and left me often equally unenlightened. 

On arriving at his home, the first thing he did was to 
shout down the stairs to the basement: 'Elsie, Elsie,' 
while I gazed with awe at a parcel on the hall table 

addressed to ' Lord .' Before lunch we sat in his 

little room and talked about , but I was still quite 

unable to regain my self-composure. I couldn't for the 

life of me forget that here was I lunching with Lord 's 

son, on equal terms, with mutual interests, that his sisters 
perhaps would come in directly or even the noble Lord 
himself. I felt like a scared hare. How should I address 
a peer of the realm ? I kept trying to remember and 
every now and then for some unaccountable reason my 

mind travelled into shire and I saw Auntie C 

serving out tea and sugar over the counter of the baker's 
shop in the little village. I luxuriated in the contrast, 
tho' I am not at all inclined to be a snob. 

He next offered me a cigarette, which I took and lit. 
It was a Turkish cigarette with one end plugged up with 
cotton-wool — to absorb the nicotine — a thing I've never 
seen before. I was so flurried at the time that I did not 
notice this and lit the wrong end. With perfect ease and 
self-possession, the Honourable One pointed out my error 
to me and told me to throw the cigarette away and have 
another. 

By this time I had completely lost my nerve. My 
pride, chagrin, excessive self-consciousness were entangling 
all my movements in the meshes of a net. Failing to 
tumble to the situation, I inquired, ' Why the lorong end ? 

Is there a right and a wrong end ?' Lord 's son and 

heir pointed out the cotton- wool end, now blackened by 
my match. 

' That didn't burn very well, did it ?' 

I was bound to confess that it did not, and threw the 
smoke away under the impression that these wonderful 
cigarettes with right and wrong ends must be some special 
brand sold only to aristocrats, and at a great price, and 



I9I4. April] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 117 

possessing some secret virtue. Once again, handsome 

Mr drew out his silver cigarette-case, selected a 

second cigarette for me, and held it towards me between 
his long delicate fingers, at the same time pointing out 
the plug at one end and making a few staccato remarks 
which I could not catch. 

I was still too scared to be in full possession of my 
faculties, and he apparently was too tired to be explicit 
to a member of the bourgeoisie, stumbling about his 
drawing-room. The cotton-wool plug only suggested to 
me some sort of a plot on the part of a dissolute scion of 
a noble house to lure me into one of his bad habits, such 
as smoking opium or taking veronal. I again prepared to 
light the cigarette at the wrong end. 

' Try the other end,' repeated the young man, smiling 
blandly. I blushed, and immediately recovered my 
balance, and even related my knowledge of pipes fitted 
to carry similar plugs. . . . 

During lunch (at which we sat alone) after sundry visits 
to the top of the stairs to shout down to the kitchen, he 
announced that he thought it wasn't last night's affair 
after all which was annoying the Cook (he got home late 
without a latch-key) — it was because he called her ' Cook ' 
instead of Mrs Austin. He smiled serenely and decided 
to indulge Mrs A., his indulgent attitude betrapng an 
objectionable satisfaction with the security of his own 
unassailable social status. There was a trace of gratifica- 
tion at the little compliment secreted in the Cook's annoy- 
ance. She wanted Mr Charles to call her Mrs Austin, 
forsooth. Very well ! and he smiled down on the little 
weakness de haute en has. 



I enjoyed this little experience. Turning it over in my 
mind (as the housemaid says when she decides to stay on) 
I have come to the conclusion that the social parvenu 
is not such a vulgar fellow after all. He may be a bore — 
particularly if he sits with his finger tips apposed over a 
spherical paunch, festooned with a gold chain, and keeps 



Il8 THE JOURNAL OF [April. 1914 

on relating in extenso how once ho gummed labels on 
blacking bottles. Often enough he is a smug fellow^ yet, 
truth to tell, we all feel a little interested in him. He is 
a traveller from an antique land, and we sometimes like to 
listen to his talcs of adventure and all he has come through. 
He has traversed large territoiies of human experience, he 
has met strange folk and lodgi d in strange caravanserai. 
Similarly with the man who has com'' down in the world 
— the fool, the drunkard, the embezzler — he may bore us 
with his maudlin sympathy with himself yet his stories 
hold us. It must be a fine experience within the limits 
of a single life to traverse the whole keyboard of our social 
status, whether up or down. I should lilve to be a peer 
who grinds a barrel organ or (better still) a one-time organ- 
grinder who now lives in Park Lane. It must be very 
dull to remain stationary — once a peer always a peer, 

April 20. 

Miss heard me sigh to-day and asked what it might 

mean. ' Only the sparks flying upward,' I answered 
lugubriously. 

A blackguard is often unconscious of a good deal of his 
wickedness. Charge him with wickedness and he will 
deny it quite honestly — honest then, perhaps, for the first 
time in his life. 

An Entomologist is a large hairy man with eyebrows 
lil^e antennae. 

Chronic constipation has gained for me an unrivalled 
knowledge of all laxatives, aperients, purgatives and 
cathartic compounds. At present I arrange two gun- 
powder plots a week. It's abominable. Best literature 
for the latrine: picture puzzles. 

April 23. 

A Foolish Bird, 

With a menacing politeness, B to-day inquired of 

a fat curate who was occupying more than his fair share 
of a seat on top of a 'bus, — 

' Are you going to get up or stay where ye are, sir ?' 



I9I4. aprilj a disappointed man 119 

The foolish bird was sitting nearly on top of B , 

mistaking a bomb for an egg. 

' I beg your pardon,' replied the fat curate. 

B repeated his inquiry with more emphasis in the 

hideous Scotch brogue. 

' I suppose I shall stay here tilb,I get down^presently.' 

' I don't think you will,' said B . 

' What do you mean ? ' asked the fat one in falsetto 
indignation. 

' This,' B grunted, and shunted sideways so that 

the poor fellow almost slid on to the floor. 

....•♦• 

A posse of police walking along in single file always 
makes me laugh. A single constable is a Policeman, but 
several in single file are ' Coppers.' I imagine every one 
laughs at them and I have a shrewd suspicion it is one of 
W. S. Gilbert's legacies — the Pirates of Penzance having 
become part of the national Consciousness. 

On Lighting Chloe's Cigarette 

R remarked to-day that he intended writing a lyric 

on lighting Chloe's cigarette. 

' Ah !' I said at once appreciative, ' now tell me, do 
you balance your hand — by gently (ever so gently) resting 
the extreme tip of your little finger upon her chin, and ' 
(I was warming up) ' do you hold the match vertically or 
horizontally, and do you light it in the dark or in the 
light ? If you have finesse, you won't need to be told 
that the thing is to get a steady flame and the maximum 
of illumination upon her face to last over a period for as long 
as possible.' 

' Chloe,' replied R , ' is wearing now a charming 

blouse with a charming V-shaped opening in front. Her 
Aunt asked my Mother last night tentatively, " How do 
you like Chloe's blouse? Is it too low?" My Mother 
scrutinised the dear little furry, lop-eared thing and 
answered doubtfully, " No, Maria, I don't think so." ' 
How ridiculous ! Why the V is a positive signpost. 



120 THE JOURNAL OF [May. 1914 

My dear fellow,' I said to R , ' I should refuse to be 

bluffed by those old women. Tell them you know.' 

• •••••• 

Carlyle called Lamb a despicable abortion. What a 
crime ! 

May 2. 

Developed a savage fit. Up to a certain point, perhaps, 
but beyond that anxiety changes into recklessness — you 
simply don't care. The aperients are causing dyspepsia 
and intermittent action of the heart, which frightens me. 
After a terrifying week, during which at crises I have felt 
like dropping suddenly in the street, in the gardens, any- 
where, from syncope, I rebelled against this humiliating 
fear. I pulled my shoulders back and walked briskly 
ahead along the street with a dropped beat every two or 
three steps. I laughed bitterly at it and felt it could stop 
or go on — I was at last indifferent. In a photographer's 
shop was the picture of a very beautiful woman and I 
stopped to look at her. I glowered in thro' the glass 
angrily and reflected how she was gazing out with that 
same expression even at the butcher's boy or the lamp- 
lighter. It embittered me to think of having to leave 
her to some other man. To me she represented all the 
joy of life which at any moment I might have had to quit 
for ever. Such impotence enraged me and I walked off 
up the street with a whirling heart and the thought, ' I 
shall drop, I suppose, when I get up as far as that.' Yet 
don't think I was alarmed. Oh ! no. The iron had 
entered me, and I went on with cynical indifference waiting 
to be struck down. 

. . . She is a very great deal to me. Perhaps I love 
her very much after all. 

May 3. 

Bad heart attack all day. Intermittency is very refined 
torture to one who wants to live very badly. Your pump 
goes a ' dot and carry one,' or say ' misses a stitch,' what 



1 914. ^lAY] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 121 

time you breathe deep, begin to shake your friend's hand 
and make a farewell speech. Then it goes on again and 
you order another pint of beer. 

It is a fractious animal within the cage of my thorax, 
and I never know when it is going to escape and make 
off with my precious life between its teeth, I humour 
and coax and soothe it, but,. God wot, I haven't much 
confidence in the little beast. My thorax it appears is an 
intolerable kennel. 

May 10. 

In a very cheerful mood. Pleased with myself and 
everybody till a seagull soared overhead in Kensington 
Gardens and aroused my vast capacities for envy — I wish 
I could fly. 

May 24. 

In L with my brother, A — — . The great man is 

in great form and very happy in his love for N . He 

is a most delightful creature and I love him more than 
any one else in the wdde world. There is an almost 
feminine tenderness in my love. 

We spent a delightful day, talking and arguing and 
insulting one another. ... At these stances we take 
delight in anaesthetising our hearts for the purposes of 
argument, and a third person would be bound to suppose 
we were in the throes of a bitter quarrel. We pile up 
one vindictive remark on another, ingeniously seeking out 
— and with malice — weak points in each other's armour, 
which previous exchange of confidences makes it easy to 
find. Neither of us hesitates to make use of such private 
confessions, yet our love is so strong that we can afford 
to take any liberty. There is, in fact, a fearful joy in 
testing the strength of our affection by searching for 
cutting rejoinders — to see the effect. We rig up one 
another's cherished ideals like Aunt Sallies and then knock 
them down, we wax sarcastic, satirical, contemptuous in 
turn, we wave our hands animatedly (hand-waving is a 



122 THE JOURNAL OF [May. 1914 

great trick with both of us), get flushed, point with our 
fingers and thump the table to cHnch some bit of repartee. 
Yet it's all smoke. Our love is unassailable — it's like the 
law of gravitation, you cannot dispute it, it underhes our 
existence, it is the air we breathe. 

N is charming, and thought we were quarrelling, 

and therefore intervened on his side ! 

May 31. 

R outlined an impression he had in Naples one 

day during a sirocco of the imminence of his own death. 
It was evidently an isolated experience and bored me a 
little as I could have said a lot myself about that. When 
he finished I drew from my pocket an envelope with my 
name and three addresses scribbled on it to help the 
police in case of syncope as I explained. I have carried 
this with me for several years and at one time a flask of 
brandy. 

June 3. 

Went to see the Irish Players in The Playboy. Sitting 
in front of me was a charming little Irish girl accompanied 
by a male clod with red-rimmed eyes like a Bull-terrier's, 
a sandy, bristly moustache like a housemaid's broom, and 
a face like a gluteal mass, and a horrid voice that crepitated 
rather than spoke. 

She was dark, with shining blue eyes, and a delightful 
little nose of the utmost import to every male who should 
gaze upon her. Between the acts, the clod hearkened to 
her vivacious conversation — hke an enchanted bullock. 
Her vivacity was such that the tip of her nose moved up 
and down for emphasis and by the end of the Third Act 
I was captured entirely. Lucky dog, that clod ! 

After the play this little Irish maiden caught my eye 
and it became a physical impossibility for me to check a 
smile — and oh ! Heavens ! — she gave me a smile in return. 
Precisely five seconds later, she looked again to see if I 
was still smiling — I was — and we then smiled broadly and 
openly on one another — her smile being the timorous 



1914. June] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 123 

ingenue's not the glad eye of a femme de joie. Later, on 
the railway platform whither I followed her, I caught her 
eye again (was ever so lucky a fellow ?), and we got into 
the same carriage. But so did the clod — ah ! dear, was 
ever so unlucky a fellow ? Forced to occupy a seat some 
way off, but she caught me trying to see her thro' a mid- 
night forest of opera hats, lace ruffles, projecting ears and 
fat noses. 

Curse ! Left her at High Street Station and probably 
will never see her again. This is a second great oppor- 
tunity. The first was the girl on Lundy Island. These 
two women I shall always regret. There must be so many 
delightful and interesting persons in London if only I could 
get at them. 



June 4. 

Rushed off to tell R about my little Irish girl. Her 

face has been ' shadowing ' me all day. 

June 6. 

A violent argument with R re marriage. He says 

Love means appropriation, and is taking the most elaborate 
precautions to forfend passion — just as if it were a militant 
suffragette. Every woman he meets he first puts into 
a long quarantine, lest perchance she carries the germ of 
the infectious disease. He quotes Hippolytus and talks 
like a mediaeval ascetic. Himself, I imagine, he regards 
as a valuable but brittle piece of Dresden china wliich must 
be saved from rough handling and left unmolested to 
pursue its high and dusty destiny — an old crock as I 
warned him. By refusing to plunge into life he will live 
long and be a well preserved man, but scarcely a living 
man — a mummy rather. I told him so amid much 
laughter. 

' You're a reactionary,' says he. 

' Yes, but why should a reactionary be a naughty 
boy?' 



124 THE JOURNAL OF [June, 1914 

June 7. 

^My ironical fate lured me this evening into another 
discussion on marriage in which I had to talce up a position 
exactly opposite to the one I defended yesterday against 

R . In fact, I actually subverted to my own pressing 

requirements some of R 's own arguments ! The 

argument, of course, was with Her. % 

Marriage, I urged, was an economic trap for guileless 
young men, and for my part (to give myself some necessary 
stiffening) I did not intend to enter upon any such hazard- 
ous course, even if I had the chance. Miss said I 

was a funk — to me who the day before had been ham- 
mering into R my principle of ' Plunge and damn 

the consequences.' I was informed I was an old woman 
afraid to go out without an umbrella, an old tabby cat 
afraid to leave the kitchen fire, etc., etc. 

' Yes, I am afraid to go out without an umbrella,' I 
argued formally, ' when it's raining cats and dogs. As 
long as I am dry, I shall keep dry. As soon as I find 
myself caught in the rain or victimised by a passion, I 
shan't be afraid of falling in love or getting wet. It 
would be a misadventure, but I am not going in search 
of one.' 

All the same the discussion was very galling, for I was 
acting a part. 

. . . The truth is I have philandered abominably with 
her. I know it. And now I am jibbing at the idea of 
marriage. ... I am such an egotist, I want, 1 believe, 
a Princess of the Blood Royal. 

June 9. 

Some days ago sent a personal advertisement to the 
newspaper to try to find my little Irish girl who lives at 
Netting Hill Gate. To-day they return me the money 
and advert., no doubt mistaking me for a White Slave 
trafficker. And by this time, I'm thinking, my little Irish 
girl can go to blazes. Shall spend the P.O. on sweets or 
monkey nuts. 



I9I4. June] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 125 

June 10. 

Lupus 

It is raining heavily. I have just finished dinner. In 
the street an itinerant musician is singing dolefully, ' 
Rest in the Lord.' In my dirty little sitting room I begin 
to feel very restless, so put on my hat and cloak and walk 
down towards the Station for a paper to read. It is all 
very dark and dismal, and I gaze with hungry eyes in 
thro' some of the windows disclosing happy comfortable 
interiors. At intervals thunder growls and lightning 
brightens up the deserted dirtiness of the Station Waiting 
Room. A few bits of desolate paper lie about on the 
floor, and up in one corner on a form a crossing-sweeper, 
motionless and abject, driven in fiom his pitch by the 
rain. His hands are deep in his trousers' pockets, and 
the poor devil lies with legs sprawling out and eyes closed: 
over the lower part of his face he wears a black mask to 
hide the ravages of lupus. ... He seemed the last man 
on earth — after every one else had died of the plague. 
Not a soul in the, ^station. Not] a^ train. And^this is 
June ! 

June 15. 

Measuring Lice 

)j Spent the day measuring the legs and antennae of lice 
to two places of decimals ! 

To the lay mind how fantastic this must seem ! Indeed, 
I hope it is fantastic. I do not mind being thought odd. 
It seems almost fitting that an incurable dilettante like 
myself should earn his livelihood by measuring the legs 
of lice. I like to believe that such a bizarre manner of 
life suits my incurable frivolousness. 

I am a Magpie in a Bagdad bazaar, hopping about, 
useless, inquisitive, fascinated by a lot of astonishing 
things: e.g., a book on the quadrature of the circle, the 
guhbertushed fustilugs passage in Burton's Anatomy of 
Melancholy, names like Mr Portwine or Mr Hogsflesh, 
Tweezer's Alley or Pickle Herring Street, the excellent, 



126 THE JOURNAL OF [June, 1914 

conceitful sonnets of Henry Constable or Petticoat Lane 
on a Sunday morning. 

Colossal things such as Art, Science, etc., frighten me. 
I am afraid I should develop a thirst that would make 
me wish to drink the sea dry. My mind is a disordered 
miscellany. The world is too distracting. I cannot apply 
myself for long. London bewilders me. At times it is a 
phantasmagoria, an opium dream out of De Quincey. 

June 17. 

Prof. Geo. Saintsbury's book on Elizabethan literature 
amuses me. George, there can be no doubt, is a very 
refined, cultivated fellow. I bet he don't eat periwinkles 
with a pin or bite his nails — and you should hear him 
refer to folk who can't read Homer in the original or who 
haven't been to Oxford — to Merton above all. He also 
says non so che for je ne sais quoi. 

June 26. 

... I placed the volume on the mantelpiece as if it 
were a bottle of physic straight from my Dispensary, and 
I began to expostulate and expound, as if she were a sick 
pel son and I the doctor. . . . She seemed a little nettled 
at my proselytising demeanour and gave herself out to be 
very preoccupied — or at any rate quite uninterested in 
my physic. I read the book last night at one sitting and 
was boiling over with it. 

' I fear I have come at an inconvenient time,' I said, 
with a sardonic smile and strummed on the piano. . . . 
' I must really be off. Please read it (which sounded like 
" three times a day after meals ") and tell me how you 
like it. (Facetiously.) Of course don't give up your 
present manual for it, that would be foolish and un- 
necessary.' ... I rambled on — disposed to be very 
playful. 

At last calmly and horribly, in a thoughtful voice she 
answered, — 

' I think you are very rude: you play the piano after I 



X914, June] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 127 

asked you to stop and walk about just as if it were your 
own home.' 

I remained outwardly calm but inwardly was very sur- 
prised and full of tremors. I said after a pause, — 

' Very well, if you think so, . . . Good-bye.' 

No answer; and I was too proud to apologise. 

' Good-bye,' I repeated. 

She went on reading her novel in silence while I got as 
far as the door — very upset. 

' Au revoir.' 

No answer. 

' Oh,' said I, and went out of the room leaving my lady 
for good and all and I'm not sorry. 

In the passage met Miss . ' What ? ' she said, 

' going already ?' 

' Farewell,' I said sepulchrally. ' A very tragic fare- 
well/ which left her wondering. 



June 29. 



Ai the Albert Hall 



Went with R to the Albert Hall to the Empress of 

Ireland Memorial Concert with massed bands. We heard 
the Symphonic Pathetique, Chopin's Funeral March, 
Trauermarsch from Gotterdammerung, the Ride of the 
Valkyries and a solemn melody from Bach. 

This afternoon I regard as a mountain peak in my 
existence. For two solid hours I sat like an Eagle on a 
rock gazing into infinity — a very fine sensation for a 
London Sparrow. . . . 

I have an idea that if it were possible to assemble the 
sick and suffering day by day in the Albert Hall and keep 
the Orchestra going all the time, then the constant ex- 
posure of sick parts to such heavenly air vibrations would 
ultimately restore to them the lost rhythm of health. 
Surely, even a single exposure to — say Beethoven's Fifth 
Symphony — must result in some permanent reconstitution 
of ourselves body and soul. No one can be quite the same 
after a Beethoven Symphony has streamed thro' him. 



128 THE JOURNAL OF [June, 1914 

If one could develop a human soul like a negative the effect 
I should say could be seen. ... I'll tell you what I 
wish they'd do — seriously: divide up the arena into a 
series of cubicles where, unobserved and in perfect privacy, 
a man could execute all the various movements of his 
body and limbs which the music prompts. It would be 
such a delicious self-indulgence and it's torture to be 
jammed into a seat where you can't even tap one foot or 
wave an arm. 

The concert restored my moral health. I came away 
in love with people 1 was hating before and full of com- 
passion for others I usually contemn. A feeling of im- 
measurable well being — a jolly bonhomie enveloped me 
like incandescent light. At the close when we stood up to 
sing the National Anthem we all felt a genuine spirit of 
camaraderie. Just as when Kings die, we were silent 
musing upon the common fate, and when the time came 
to separate we were loath to go our several ways, for we 
were comrades who together had come tluo' a great 
experience. For my part 1 wanted to shake hands all 
round — happy travellers, now alas ! at the journey's end 
and never perhaps to meet again — never. 

• ••••»• 

R and I walked up thro' Kensington Gardens like 

two young Gods 1 

' I even like that bloody thing,' I said, pointing to the 
Albert Memorial. 

We pointed out pretty girls to one another, watched the 
children play ring-a-ring-a-roses on the grass. We laughed 
exultingly at the thought of our dismal colleagues . . . 
tho' I said (as before !) 1 loved 'em all — God bless 'em — 
even old . R said it was nothing short of in- 
solence on their part to have neglected the opportunity of 
coming to the Concert. 

Later on, an old gaffer up from the country stopped us 
to ask the way to Rotten Row — 1 overwhelmed him \vith 
directions and happy descriptive details. I felt like 
walking with Mm and showing him what a wonderful 
place the world is. 



I9I4. June] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 129 

After separating from R very reluctantly — it was 

horrible to be left alone in such liigh spirits, walked up 
towards the Round Pond, and caught myself avoiding the 
shadows of the trees — so as to be every moment out in 
the blazing sun. I scoffed inwardly at the timorousness 
of pale, anaemic folk whom I passed iiiding in the shadows 
of the elms. 

At the Round Pond, came across a Bulldog who was 
biting out great chunks of water and in luxuriant waste- 
fulness letting it drool out again from each corner of his 
mouth. I watched tliis old fellow greedily (it was very 
hot), as well pleased with liim and his liquid ' chops ' as with 
anything 1 saw, unless it were a girl and a man lying full 
length along the grass and kissing beneath a sunshade. 
I smiled; she saw me, and smiled, too, in return, and then 
fell to kissing again. 

June 30. 

Dinosaurs 

There are books which are Dinosaurs — Sir Walter 
Raleigh's History of the World, Gibbon's Decline and Fall 
oj the Roman Empire. There are men v/ho are Dinosaiurs — 
Balzac completing liis Human Comedy, Napoleon, Roose- 
velt. I like them all. I like express trains and motor 
lorries. I enjoy watcMng an iron gu'der swinging in the 
air or great cubes of ice caught up between iron pincers. 
I must always stop and watch these tilings. I like every- 
thing that is swift or immense: London, lightning, Popo- 
catapetl. I enjoy the smell of tar, of coal, of fried fish, 
or a brass band playing a Liszt Rhapsody. And why 
should those foolish Maenads shout Women's Rights just 
because they burn down a church ? All bonfires are 
delectable. Civilisation and top hats bore me. My own 
life is like a tame rabbit's. If only I had a long tail to 
lash it in feline rage ! I would return to Nature — I could 
almost return to Chaos. There are times when I feel so 
dour I would wreck the universe if I could. ^ 

^ ' I could eat all the elephants of Hindustan and pick my teeth 
with the Spire of Strassburg Cathedral.' 

I 



130 THE JOURNAL OF [July. 1914 

(1917: I think after three years of Armageddon I feel 
quite ready to go back to top hats and civilisation.) 

July 8. 

Sunset in Kensington Gardens 

The instinct for worship occurs rhythmically — at morning 
and evening. This is natural, for twice a day at sunrise 
and sunset — however work-sodden we may be, however 
hypnotised by daily routine — our natural impulse is 
(provided we are awake) to look to the horizon at the sun 
and stand a moment with mute lips. During the course 
of the day or night, we are too occupied or asleep — but 
sunrise is the great hour of the departure and sunset is 
the arrival at the end. Everything puts on a mysterious 
appearance — to-night the tops of the elms seemed super- 
naturally high and, pushing up into the sky, had secret 
communion with the clouds; the clouds seemed waiting 
for a ceremony, a way had been prepared by the tapissier, 
a moment of suspense while one cloud stretched to ^mother 
like courtiers in whispered conversation; a rumour cf the 
approach; then slowly the news came thro' that the sun 
had arrived for immediate departure. 

July 14. 

Have finished my essay. But am written out — obvi- 
ously. To-night I struggled with another, and spent two 
hours sucking the end of my pen. Bat after painfully 
mountainous parturition, all I brought forth were the two 
ridiculous mice of one meretricious trope and one gram- 
matical solecism. I can sometimes sit before a sheet of 
paper, pen in hand, unable to produce a word. 

July 19. 

For a walk with R in the country, calling for tea 

at Ms Uncle's house at . Played clock golf and made 

the acquaintance of Miss , a tall, statuesque lady, with 

golden hair, as graceful as an antelope and very comely, 
her two dear little feet clad in white shoes peeping out 



191 4. July] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 131 

(as R said) like two white mice one after the other as 

she moved across the lawn. 

Coming home I said to R histrionically, ' Some 

golden-haired little boy will some day rest his head upon 
her bosom, beautiful in line and depth, all unconscious of 
his luck or of his part in a beautiful picture — would that 
I were the father to make that group a fait accompli.' 

R , with meticulous accuracy, always refers to her as 

' that elegant virgin.' 



July 25. 

While sketching under Hammersmith Bridge yesterday, 

R heard a whistle, and, looking up, saw a charming 

'young tiling' leaning over the Bridge parapet smiling 
like the blessed Damozel out of Heaven. 
Come down,' he cried. 

She did, and they discussed pictures while he painted. 
Later he walked with her to the Broadway, saw her into 
a 'bus and said ' Good-bye,' without so much as an exchange 
of names. 

' Even if she were a whore,' I said, ' it's a pity your 
curiosity was so sluggish. You should have seen her 
home, even if you did not go home with her. Young man, 
you preferred to let go of authentic life at Hammersmith 
Broadway, so as to return at once to your precious water- 
colour painting.' 

' Perhaps,' replied he enigmatically. 

' Whatever you do, if ever you meet her again,' I rejoined, 

' don't introduce her to that abominable . He is 

abominably handsome, and I hate him for it. To all his 
other distinctions he is welcome — parentage, money, 
success, but I can never forgive him his good looks and 
the inevitable marriage to some beautiful fair-skinned 
woman.' 

R. (reflectively) : ' Up to now, I was inclined to think 
that envy as a passion did not exist.' 

' Have you none ?' 

' Not much,' he answered, and I believe it. 



132 THE JOURNAL OF [July. 1914 

' Smug wretch, then. All I can say is, I may have 
instincts and p^assions but I am not a pale water-colour 
artist. . . . What's the matter with you,' I foamed, 
' is that you lil^e pictures. If I showed you a real woman, 
you would exclaim contemplatively, " How lovely;" then 
putting out one hand to touch her, unsuspectingly, you'd 
scream aghast, "Oh ! it's alive, I hear it ticking." "Yes, 
my boy," I'd answer severely with a flourish, " That is 
a woman's heart." ' 

R exploded with laughter and then said, ' A truce 

to your desire for more life, for actual men and women. 
. . . I know this that last night I would not have exchanged 
the quiet armchair reading the last chapter of Dostoieffsky's 
The Possessed for a Balaclava Charge.' 

' A matter of temperament, I suppose,' I reflected, in 
cold detachment. ' You see, I belong to the raw meat 
school. You prefer life cooked for you in a book. You 
prefer the confectioner's shop to cutting down the wheat 
with your own scythe.' 

July 26, 

. The B. M. is a ghastly hole. They will give me none of 
the apparatus I require. If you ask the Trustees for a 
thousand pounds for the propagation of the Gospel in 
foreign parts they say, ' Yes.' If you ask for twenty 
pounds for a new microscope they say, ' No, but we'll cut 
off yournose with a big pair of scissors.' 

July 27. 

To a pedantic prosy little old maid who was working in 
my room this morning, I exclaimed, — 

' I'd sooner make a good dissection than go to a Lord 
Mayor's Banquet. Turtle Soup ain't in it.' 

She was uninspired, and said, ' Oom,' and went on 
pinning insects. Then more brightly, and with great 
punctilio in the pronunciation of hci words, having cleared 
her throat and drawn herself up with great deliberation 
to deliver herself of a remark, she volunteered, — 



I9I4, Sept.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 133 

" I whish I had nevah taken up such a brittle grooop 
as the Stones (Stoneflies). One dare not loook at a Stone.' 

Poor dear little old maid. This was my turn to say 
' Oom/ 

' Pretty dismal work,' I added ambiguously. Then 
with malice aforethought I whistled a Harry Lauder tune, 
asked her if she had ever heard Willie Solar sing, ' You 
made me love you,' and then absent-mindedly and in 
succession inquired, — 

' What's become of all the gold ?' 

' What's become of Waring ?' 

' What shall I sing when all is sung ? ' 

To which several categorical interrogations she ventured 
no reply, but presently in the usual voice, — 

' I have placed an Agrionine in this drawer for security 
and, now I want it, cannot find it.' 

' Life is like that,' I said. ' I never can find my Agrio- 
nines !' 

August I. 
All Europe is mobilising. 

August 2. 
WiU England join in ? 

August 12. 

We all await the result of a battle between two millions 
of men. The tension makes me feel physically sick. 

August 21 — August 24. 

In bed with a fever. I never visit the flat now, but 
her mother kindly came over to see me. 

September 25. 

[Living now in rooms alone.] 

I have — since my return from Cornwall — placed all my 

journals in a specially made cabinet. R came to 

dinner and after a glass or so of Beaune and a cigarette. 



134 THE JOURNAL OF [Sept., 191 4 

I open my ' coffin ' ^ (it is a long box with a brass handle 
at each end), and with some show of deliberation select 
a volume to read to him, drawing it from its division with 
lavish punctiliousness, and inquiring with an oily voice, 

'A little of igi2 ?' as if we were trying wines. R 

grins at the little farce and so encourages me. 



September 26. 

Doctor's Consulting Rooms — my life has been spent in 
them ! Medical specialists — Harley Street men — I have 

seen four and all to no purpose. M wrote me the 

other day, — 

' Come along and see me on Tuesday ; some day I dare 
say we shall find something we can patch.' 

He regards me with the most obvious commiseration 
and always when I come away after a visit he shakes me 
warmly by the hand and says, ' Good-bye, old man, and 
good luck.' More luck than the pharmacopoeia. 

My life has always been a continuous struggle with ill- 
health and ambition, and I have mastered neither. I try 
to reassure myself that this accursed ill-health will not 
affect my career. I keep flogging my will in the hope of 
winning thro' in the end. Yet at the back of my mind 
there is the great improbability that I shall ever live long 
enough to realise myself. For a long time past my hope 
has simply been to last long enough to convince others 
of what I might have done — had I lived. That will be 
something. But even to do that I will not allow that I 
have overmuch time. I have never at any time lived 
with any sense of security. I have never felt permanently 
settled in this life — nothing more than a shadowy locum 
tenens, a wraith, a festoon of mist likely to disappear any 
moment. 

At times, when I am vividly conscious of the insecurity 
of my tenure here, my desires enter on a mad race to 
obtain fulfilment before it is too late . , . and as fulfil- 
ment recedes ambition obsesses me the more. I am 

* See January 2nd, 19x5. 



I9I4. Sept.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 135 

daily occupied in calculating with my ill-health: trying to 
circumvent it, to carry on in spite of all. I conquer each 
day. Every week is a victory. I am always surprised 
that my health or will has not collapsed, that, by Jove ! 
I am still working and still living. 

One day it looks like appendicitis, another stoppage, 
another threatened blindness, or I develop a cough and am 
menaced with consumption. So I go on in a hurricane of bad 
dreams. I struggle like Laocoon with the serpents — the 
serpents of nervous depression that press around the heart 
tighter than I care to admit. I must use every kind of 
blandishment to convince myself that my life and my work 
are worth while. Frequently I must smother and kill (and 
it calls for prompt action) the shrill voice that cries from 
the tiniest corner of my heart, ' Are you quite sure you 
are such an important fellow as you imagine ? ' Or I fret 
over the condition of my brain, finding that I forget what 
I read, I lose in acuteness of my perceptions. My brain 
is a tumefaction. But I won't give in. I go on trying to 
recollect what I have forgotten, I harry my brain all day 
to recall a word or name, I attack other folk importunately, 
I write things down so as to look them up in reference 
books — I am always looking up the things I remember I 
have forgotten. . . ^ 

There is another struggle, too, that often engrosses all 
my energies. ... It is a horrible thing that with so 
large an ambition, so great a love of life, I should never- 
theless court disaster like this. Truly Sir Thomas Browne 
you say, ' Every man is his own Atropos.' 

In short, I lead an unfathomably miserable existence in 
this dark, gray street, in these drab, dirty rooms — miserable 
in its emptiness of home, love, human society. Now that 
I never visit the fiat, I \'isit about two houses in London — 

the Doctor's and R 's Hotel. I walk along the streets 

and stare in the windows of private houses, hungry for 
a little society. It creates in me a gnawing, rancorous 
discontent to be seeing people everywhere in I-ondon — 
millions of them — and then to realise my own ridiculously 
circiui! scribed knowledge of them. I am passionately 



136 THE JOURNAL OF [Sept.. 1914 

eager to have acquaintances, to possess at least a few 
friends If I die to-morrow, how many persons shall I 
have talked to ? or how many men and women shall I 
have known ? A few maiden aunts and one or two old 
fossils. I am burning to meet real live men, I have 
masses of mental stuff I am anxious to unload. But I 
am ignorant of people as of countries and live in celestial 
isolation. 

This, I fear, reads like a wail of self-commiseration. 
But I am trying to give myself the pleasure of describing 
myself at this period truthfully, to make a bid at least 
for some posthumous sympathy. Therefore it shall be 
told that I who am capable of passionate love am sexually 
starved, and endure the pangs of a fiendish solitude in 
rooms, with an ugly landlady's face when , . , I despair 
of ever finding a woman to love. I never meet women of 
my own class, and am unprepossessing in appeal ance and 
yet I fancy that once my reserve is melted I am not with- 
out attractions. ' He grows on you,' a girl said of me once. 
But I am hypercritical and hyperfastidious. I want too 
much, ... I search daily in the streets with a starved 
and hungry look. What a horrible and powerful and 
hateful thing this love instinct is ! I hate it, hate it, 
hate it. It wHl not let me rest. I wish I were a 
eunuch. 

' There's a beautiful young thing,' R and I say to 

one another sardonically, hoping thereby to conceal the 
canker within. 

I could gnash my teeth and weep in anger — baulked, 
frustrated as I am at almost every turn of life — in my 
profession, in my literary efforts, and in my love of man 
and woman kind. I would utter a whole commination 
service in my present state of mind. 



October 7. 

To me woman is the wonderful fact of existence. If 
there be any next world and it be as I hope it is, a jolly 
gossiping place, with people standing around the mantel- 



I9M. Oct.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 137 

piece and discussing their eaxthly experiences, I shall 
thump my fist on the table as my friends turn to me on 
entering and exclaim in a loud voice, ' WOMAN.' 



October 11. 

Since I grew up I have wept three times. The first time 
they were tears of exasperation. Dad and I were sitting 
down side by side after a wordy combat in which he had 
remained adamant and I was forced both by conscience 
and argument to give in, to relinquish my dissections, and 
go off to some inquest on a drowning fatality. The second 
time was when Mother died, and the third was to-day. 
But I am calm now. To-day they were tears of re- 
morse. . . . 

On occasion bald confession in this Journal is sweet for 
the soul and strengthens it. It gives me a kind of false 
backbone to communicate my secrets: for I am determined 
that some day some one shaU know. If God really inter- 
venes in our affairs, here is an opportunity. Let Him 
save me. I challenge Him to save me from perishing in 
this ditch. . . . It is not often I am cornered into praying 
but I did this morning, for I fed defeated this day, and 
almost inarticulate in my misery. 

Nietzsche in a newspaper 1 read to-day: For myself I 
have felt exceptionally blest having Hell's phantoms 
inside me to thrust at in the dark, internal enemies to 
dominate till I felt myself an ecstatic victor, wrenching 
at last good triumphant joys thro' the bars of my own 
sickness and weakness — joys with which your notions of 
happiness, poor sleek smug creatures, cannot compare ! 
You must carry a chaos inside you to give birth to a dancing 
star.' 

But Nietzsche is no consolation to a man who has once 
been weak enough to be brought to his knees. There I 
am and there I think I have prayed a little somehow 
to-day. But it's all in desperation, not in faith. Internal 
chaos I have, but no dancing star. Dancing stars are 
the consolation of genius. 



138 THE JOURNAL OF [Oct.. 1914 

October 12. 

Am better to-day. My better self is convinced that it 
is silly and small-minded to think so much about my own 
puny destin}^ — especially at times like these when — God 
love us all — there is a column'of casualties each day. The 
great thing to be thankful for is that I am alive and alive 
now, that I was alive yesterday, and even may be to-morrow. 
Surely that is thrilling enough. What, then, have I to 
complain of ? I'm a lucky dog to be alive at all. My 
plight is bad, but there are others in a worse one. I'm 
going to be brave and fight on the side of Nietzsche. Who 
knows but that one day the dancing star may yet be 
born 1 

October 13. 

Spent the evening in my lodgings struggling with my 
will. Too flabby to work, disinclined to read, a dreadful 
vague unrest possessing me. I couldn't sit still in my 
chair, so walked around the table continuously like a 
squirrel in a cage. I wanted to be going out somewhere, 
talking to some one, to be among hunian beings. 

Many an evening during the past few months, I have 
got up and gone down the road to look across at the win- 
dows of the flat, to see if there were a red light behind the 
curtains, and, if so, wonder if she were there, and how 
she was. My pride would never allow me to visit there 

again on my own initiative. K has managed to bring 

about a rapprochement but I go very seldom. Pride 
again. 

I wanted to do so to-night. I thought I would just go 
down the road to look up at the windows. That seemed 
to be some comfort. Why do I wish to do this? I do 
not know. From a mere inspection one would say that 
I am in love. But remember I am also ill. Three times 
to-night I nearly put on my boots and went down to have 
a look up ! What ridiculous weakness ! Yet this room 
can be a frightful prison. Shall I ? I cannot decide. I 
see her figure constantly before me — gentle, graceful, calm, 
stretching forth both hands and to me. . . . 



I9I4. Oct.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 139 

Seized a pack of cards and played Patience and went 
on playing Patience because I was afraid to stop. Given 
a weak constitution, a great ambition, an amorous nature, 
and at the same time a very fastidious one, I might have 
known I was in for trouble. 



October 14. 

Marie Bashkirtseff 

Some time ago I noticed a quotation from one, Marie 
Bashkirtseff in a book on Strindberg. and was struck with 
the likeness to a sentiment of my own. Who are you ? 
I wondered. 

This evening went to the Library and read about her 
in Mathilde Blind's introductory essay to her Journal. I 
am simply astounded. It would be difficult in all the 
world's history to discover any two persons with tempera- 
ments so alike. She is the ' very spit of me ' ! I devoured 
Mathilde Blind's pages more and more astonished. We 
are identical ! Oh, Marie Bashkirtseff ! how we should 
have hated one another ! She feels as I feel. We have 
the same self-absorption, the same vanity and corroding 
ambition. She is impressionable, volatile, passionate — 
ill ! So am I. Her journal is my journal. All mine is 
stale reading now. She has written down all my thoughts 
and forestalled me ! Already I have found some heart- 
rending parallels. To think I am only a replica: how 
humiliating for a human being to find himself merely a 
duplicate of another. Is there anything in the trans- 
migration of souls ? She died in 1886. I was born in 
1889. 

October 15. 

A man is always looking at himself in the mirror if for 
no other reason than to tie his tie and brush his hair. 
What does he think of his face ? He must have private 
opinions. But it is usually considered a little out of taste 
to entertain opinions about one's personal appearance. 

As for myself, some mirrors do me down pretty well, 



140 THE JOURNAL OF [Oct.. 1914 

others depress me ! I am bound to confess I am biassed 
in favour of the friendly mirror. I am not handsome, 
but I look interesting — I hope distinguished. My eyes 
are deep-set . . . but my worst moments are when the 
barber combs my hair right down over my forehead, or 
when I see a really handsome man in Hyde Park. Such 
occasions direct my gaze reflexly, and doubt like a thief 
in the night forces the back door ! 



To-day, M sent me dancing mad by suggesting that 

I copied R in my manner of speech and opinions. 

Now R has a damned pervasive way of conducting 

himself — for all the world as if he were a high official of 
the Foreign Office. I, on the contrary, am shy, self- 
conscious, easily overlooked, and this makes me writhe. 
As we are inseparable friends — everybody assumes that I 
am his tacky-lacky, a kind of appoggiatura to his big note. 
He, they suppose, is my guide, philosopher, and Great 
Maecenas — Oxford befriending the proletariat. The thought 
of it makes me sick — that any one should believe I imbibe 
his ideas, echo his conceits, and even ape his gestures and 
manner of voice. 

'Lost yourself?' inquired a despicable creature the 

other morning as I came out of R 's room after finding 

him out. I could have shot him dead ! . . . As for 

more than one person thinks that he alone is the brilliant 
author until at last he himself has got into the way of 
thinking it. 

' It makes me hate you like mad,' I said to him to-day. 
How can I confront these people with the naked truth ?' 

R chuckled complacently. 

' If I deny your alleged supremacy, as I did this morning, 
or if suddenly, in a fit of spleen, I'm induced to declare 
that I loathe you (as I sometimes do) ' — (more chuckles) 
— ' that your breath stinks, your eyes bulge, that you 
have swollen jugulars and a platter face: they will think 
I am either jealous or insincere. ... To be your Echo 
tho' ! — my God !' I spat. We then grinned at one 



I9I4. Oct.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 141 

another, and I, being bored, went to the lavatory and 
read the newspaper secure from interruption. 



Resignation 

In the Tube, a young widow came in and sat in front 
of me — pale-faced, grief-stricken, demure — a sort of ' Thy 
Will be Done ' look. The adaptability of human beings 
has something in it that seems horrible. It is dreadful to 
think how we have all accommodated ourselves to this 
War. Christian resignation is a feeble thing. Why won't 
this demure widow with a loud voice blaspheme against 
this iniquitous world that permits this iniquitous war ? 

October 21. 

I myself (licking a stamp) : ' The taste of gum is really 
very nice.' 

R.: 'I hate it.' 

I: 'My dear fellow' (surprised and entreating), 'en- 
velope gum is simply delicious.' 

R. : ' I never lick stamps — it's dangerous — microbes.' 

I: ' I always do: I shall buy a bookful and go away to 
the seaside with them.' 

R.: 'Yes, you'll need to.' 

(Laughter.) 

Thus gaily and jauntily we went on to discuss wines, 
whiskies, and Worthington's, and I rounded it up in a 
typical cock-eyed manner, — 

' Ah ! yes, it's only when the day is over that the day 
really begins — what ?' 

October 23. 

I expressed to R to-day my admiration for the 

exploit of the brave and successful Submarine Commander 

Max Kennedy Horton, (Name for you !) R was 

rather cold. ' His exploits,' said this bloody fool, ' in- 
volve loss of life and scarcely make me deliriously 
eulogistic' 

I cleared ray throat and began,— 



142 THE JOURNAL OF [Oct., 1914 

' Your precious sociology again — it will be the ruin of 
your career as an artist. It is so interwoven into the 
fibre of your brain that you never see anything except in 
relation to its State value. You are afraid to approve of 
a lying, thieving rogue, however delightful a rascal he 
may be, for fear of what Karl Marx might say. . . . You'll 
soon be drawing landscapes with taxpayers in the fore- 
ground, or we shall get a picture of Ben Nevis with Keir 
Hardie on the summit.' And so on to our own infinite 
mutual amusement. 



The English Review returns my Essay. I am getting 
simply furious with an ambition I am unable to satisfy, 
among beautiful London women I cannot get to know, 
and in ill-health that I cannot cure. Shall I ever find 
any one ? Shall I ever be really well ? My one solace is 
that I do not submit, it infuriates me, I resent it; I will 
never be resigned and milky. I will keep my claws sharp 
and fight to the end. 

October 24. 

iWent to Mark Lane by train, then walked over the 
Tower Bridge, and back along Lower Thames Street to 
London Bridge, up to Whitechapel, St Paul's, Fleet Street, 
and Charing Cross, and so home. 

Near Reilly's Tavern, I saw a pavement artist who had 
drawn a loaf with the inscription in both French and 
EngHsh: 'This is easy to draw but hard to earn.' A 
baby's funeral trotted briskly over the Tower Bridge 
among Pink's jam waggons, carts carrying any goods 
from lead pencils and matches to bales of cotton and chests 
of tea. 

In the St Catherine's Way there is one part like a deep 
railway cutting, the whole of one side for a long way, 
consisting of the brickwall of a very tall warehouse with 
no windows in it and beautifully curved and producing 
a wonderful effect. Walked past great blocks of ware- 
houses and business establishments — a wonderful sight; 



I9I4, Oct.] a disappointed MAN 143 

and everywhere bacon factors, coffee roasters, mercliants. 
On London Bridge, paused to feed the sea-gulls and looked 
down at the stevedores. Outside Billingsgate Market was 
a blackboard on an easel — for market prices — but instead 
some one had drawn an enormously enlarged chalk picture 
of a cat's rear and tail with anatomical details. 

In Aldgate, stopped to inspect a street stall containing 
popular literature — one brochure entitled Suspended Joy 

Life to indicate the terrible punishment meted out to , 

a League footballer. The frontispiece enough to make 
a lump come in the juveniles' throats ! Another stall 
held domestic utensils with an intimation, ' Anything on 
this stall lent for id.' A newsvendor I heard exclaim to 
a fellow-tradesman in the same line of business, — 

' They come and look at your bloody plakaard and then 
parsse on.' 

Loitered at a dirty little Fleet Street bookshop where 
Paul de Koch's The Lady with the Three Pairs of Stays 
was displayed prominently beside a picture of Oscar Wilde. 

In Fleet Street, you exchange the Whitechapel sausage 
restaurants for Taverns with ' snacks at the bar,' and the 
chestnut roasters, mth their buckets of red-hot coals, for 
Grub Street camp followers, selling L'Independance Beige 
or pamphlets entitled, Why We Went to War. 

In the Strand you may buy war maps, buttonhole flags, 
etc., etc. I bought a penny stud. One shop was turned 
into a shooting gallery at three shots a penny where the 
Inner Temple Barristers in between the case for the defence 
and the case for the prosecution could come and keep their 
eye in against the time the Germans come. 

Outside Charing Cross Station I saw a good-looking, 
well-dressed woman in mourning clothes, grinding a barrel 
organ. ... 

Returned to the Library and read the Dttblin Review 
(article on Samuel Butler), North American Review (one 
on Henry James) and dined at seven. After dinner, read: 
Evening Standard, Saturday Westminster, and the New 
Statesman. Smoked six cigarettes and went to bed. 
To-morrow Filth Symphony of Beethoven. 



144 THE JOURNAL OF [Oct.. 1914 

October 15. 

Too Late 

Yesterday's ramble has left me very sore in spirit. 
London was spread out before me, a vast campagne. But 
I felt too physically tired to explore. I could just amble 
along — a spectator merely — and automatically register 
impressions. Think of the misery of that I I want to 
see the Docks and Dockland, to enter East End public- 
houses and opium-dens, to speak to Chinamen and Lascars: 
I want a first-rate, first-hand knowledge of London, of 
London men, London women. I was tingling with antici- 
pation yesterday and then I grew tired and fretful and 
morose, crawled back like a weevil into my nut. By 
6.30 I was in a Library reading the Dublin Review I 

What a young fool I was to neglect those priceless 
opportunities of studying and tasting life and character 

in North , at Borough Council meetings. Boards of 

Guardians, and electioneering campaigns — not to mention 
inquests, police courts, and country fairs. Instead of 
appraising all these precious and genuine pieces of ex- 
perience at their true value, my diary and my mind were 
occupied only with — Zoology, if you please. I ignored 
my exquisite chances, I ramped around, fuming and 
fretting, full of contempt for ray circumscribed existence, 
and impatient as only a youth can be. What I shall 
never forgive myself is my present inability to recall that 
life, so that instead of being able now to push my chair 
back and entertain myself and others with descriptions of 
some of those antique and incredible happenings, my 
memory is rigid and formal : I remember only a few names 
and one or two isolated events. All that time is just as 
if it had never been. My recollections form only an 
indefinite smudge — odd Town Clerks, Town Criers (at 
least five of them in wonderful garb), policemen (I poached 
with one), ploughing match dinners (platters of roast beef 
and boiled potatoes and \, bespectacled student of Zoology, 
sitting uncomfortably among valiant trenchermen after 
their day's ploughing), election meetings in gemote Exmoor 



I9I4. Oct.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 145 

villages (and those wonderful Inns where I had to spend 
the night !) — all are gone — too remote to bear recital — 
yet just sufficiently clear to harass the mind in my con- 
stant endeavours to raise them all again from the dead in 
my consciousness. I hate to think it is lost; that my 
youth is buried — a cemetery without even headstones. To 
an inquest on a drowned sailor — disclosing some thrilling 
story of the wild seas off the coast — with a pitiful myopia 
— I preferred Wiedersheim's Comparative Anatomy of 
Vertebrates. I used to carry Dr Smith Woodward's 
Palcsontology with me to a Board of Guardians meeting, 
mingling Pariasaurus and Holoptycliians with tenders for 
repairs and reports from the Master. Now I take Keats 
or Tschekov to the Museum ! 

London certainly lies before me. Certainly I am alive 
at last. Yet now my energy is gone. It is too late. I 
am ill and tired. It costs me infinite discomfort to write 
this entry, all the skin of my right hand is permanently 
' pins and needles ' and in the finger tips I have lost all 
sense of touch. The sight of my right eye is also very 
bad and sometimes I can scarcely read print with it, etc., 
etc. But v/hy should I go on ? 

A trance-like condition supervenes in a semi invalid 
forced to live in almost complete social isolation in a great 
whirling city like London. Days of routine follow each 
other as svv'ifth/ as the weaver's shuttle and numb the 
spirit and turn palpitating life into a silent picture show. 
Everywhere always in the street people — millions of them 
— ^whom 1 do not know, moving swiftly along. I look 
and look and yawn and then one day as to-day I wake 
up and race about beside myself — a swollen bag ready to 
burst with hope, love, misery, joy, desperation. 

Apologia pro vita mea 

How may I excuse myself for continuing to talk about 
my affairs and for continuing to write zoological memoirs 
during the greatest War of all time ? 

Well, here are some precedents: — 

K 



146 THE JOURNAL OF [Oct., 1914 

Goethe sat down to study the geography of China, 
while his fatherland agonised at Leipsig. 

Hegel wrote the last lines of the Phenomenology oj 
Spirit within sound of the guns of Jena. 

While England was being rent in twain by civil war, 
Sir Tlioraas Browne ensconced in old Norwich, reflected 
on Cambyses and Pharaoh and on the song the Sirens 
sang. 

Lac^pede composed his Histoire des Poissons during the 
French Revolution. 

Then there were Diogenes and Archimedes. 

Ihis defence of course implicates me in an unbounded 
opinion of the importance of my own work. ' He is quite 
the little poet,' some one said of Keats. ' It is just as 
if a man remarked of Buonaparte,' said Keats, in a pet, 
' that he's quite the little general.' 

A Woman and a Child 

On the way to the Albert Hall came upon the most 
beautiful picture of young maternity that ever I saw in 
my life. She was a delightfully gii'lish j^oung creature— 
a perfect photnix of health and beauty. As she stood 
with her little son at the kerb waiting for a 'bus, smiling 
and chatting to him, a luminous radiance of happy, satisfied 
maternal love, maternal pride, womanliness streamed from 
her and enveloped me. 

We got on the same 'bus. The little boy, with his long 
hair and dressed in velvet like little Lord Fauntleroy, 
said something to her— she smiled delightedly, caught him 
up on her knees and kissed him. Two such pretty people 
never touched lips beforcv— I'm certain of it. It was 
impossible to believe that this virginal creature was a 
mother — childbirth left no trace. She must have just 
budded off the baby boy lilce a plant. Once, in her glance, 
she took me in her purview, and I knew she knew I was 
watching her. In travelling backwads from Kensington 
Gardens to the boy again, her gaze rested on me a moment 
and i, of course, rendered the homage that was due. As 



I9I4, Oct.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 147 

a matter of fact there was no direct evidence that she 
was the mother at all. 

The Albert Hall Hag 

While waiting outside the Albert Hall, an extraordinarily 
weird contrast thrust itself before me — she was the most 
pathetic piece of human jetsam that ever I saw drifting 
about in this sea of London faces. Tall, gaunt, cadaverous, 
the skin of her face drawn tightly over her cheekbones 
and over a thin, pointed, hook-shaped nose, on her feet 
brown sandshoes, dressed in a long draggle-tailed skirt, 
a broken-brimmed straw hat, beneath which some scanty 
hair was scraped back and tied behind in a knot — this 
wretched soul of some thiity summers (and what summers !) 
stood in the road beside the waiting queue and weakly 
passed the bow across her violin which emitted a slight 
scraping sound. She could not play a tune and the lingers 
of her left hand never touched the strings— they merely 
held the handle. 

A policeman passed and, with an eye on the queue, 
muttered audibly, ' Not 'arf,' but no one laughed. Then 
she began to rummage in her skirt, holding the violin by 
the neck in her right hand just as she must hold her brat 
by the arm when at home. Simultaneously sounds issued 
from her mouth in a high falsetto key; they were unearthly 
sounds, the tiny voice of an articulating corpse underneath 
the coffin lid. For a moment no one realised that she was 
reciting. For she continued to rummage in her skirt as 
she squeaked, ' Break, break, break, on thy cold gray 
stones, O sea,' etc. The words were scarcely audible 
tho' she stood but two yards off. But she repeated the 
verse and I then made out what it was. She seemeed 
ashamed of herself and of her plight, almost without the 
courage to foist this mockery of violin-playing on us — one 
would say she was frightened by her own ugliness and her 
own pathos. 

After conscientiously carrying out her programme but 
with the distracted, uncomfortable air of some one scurry- 
ing over a painful task — like a tired child gabbling its 



148 THE JOURNAL OF [Oct.. 1914 

prayers before getting into bed — she at length produced 
from her skirt pocket a small canvas money bag which 
she started to hand around. This was the climax to this 
harrowing incident — for each time she held out the bag, 
she smiled; which stretched the skin still more tightly down 
over her malar prominence and said something — an 
inarticulate noise in a very high pitch. ' A woman,' I 

whispered to R , ' she claims to be a woman.' If any 

one hesitated a moment or struggled with a purse she 
would wait patiently with bag outstretched and head 
turned away, the smile vanishing at once as if the pinched 
face were but too glad of the opportunity of a rest from 
smiling. She stood there, gazing absently — two lifeless 
eyes at the bottom of deep socket holes in a head 
which was almost a bare skull. She was perfunctorily 
carrying out an objectionable task because she could not 
kill the will to live. 

As she looked av/ay and waited for you to produce the 
copper, she thought, ' Why trouble ? Why should I wait 
for this man's aid ?' The clink of the penny recalled her 
to herself, and she passed on, renewing her terrible grimacing 
smile. 

Why didn't I do something ? Why ? Because I was 
bent on hearing Beethoven's Fifth Sj'mphony, if you 
please. . . . And she may have been a well-to-do vagrant 
— weU got up for the occasion — a clever sinmlator ? . . . 

October 28. 

Rigor Bordis 

Rigor bordis ! — I write like this as if it were a light 
matter. But to-night I was m extremis. . . - First I 
read the p^per; then I finished the bock I was reading — 
' Thiis Spake Zarathustra.' Not knowing quite what next 
to do, I took my boots off and poured out another cup 
of coffee. But these manoeuvres were only the feeble 
attempts of a cowardly wretch to evade the main issue 
which was : — 

How to occupy myself and keep myself sane during the 
hour and a half before bedtime. 



I9I4. Nov.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 149 

Before now I have tried going off to bed. But that does 
not work — I don't sleep. Moreover, I have been in the 
grip of a horrible mental unrest. To sit still in my chair, 
much less to lie in bed doing nothing seemed ghastly. 
I experienced all the cravings of a dissolute neurotic for 
a stimulus, but what stimulus I wanted I did not know. 
Had I known I should have gone and got it. The dipso- 
maniac was a man to be envied. 

Some mechanical means were necessary for sustaining 
life till bedtime. I sat down and played a game of Patience 
— no one knows how I loathe playing Patience and how 
much I despise the people who play it. Tiring of that, 
sat back in my chair, yawned, and thought of a word I 
wanted to look up in the Dictionary. This quest, for- 
gotten until then, came like a beam of bright light into 
a dark room. So looked the word up leisurely, took out 
my watch, noted the time, and then stood up with elbows 
on the mantelpiece and stared at myself in the glass. . . . 
I was at bay at last. There was simply nothing I could 
do. I would have given worlds to have some one to talk 
to. Pride kept me from ringing for the landlady. I must 
stand motionless, back to the wall, and wait for the hour 
of my release. I had but one idea, viz., that I was surely 
beaten in this game of life. I was very miserable indeed. 
But being so miserable that I couldn't feel more so, I 
began to recover after a while. I began to visualise my 
lamentable situation, and rose above it as I did so. I 
staged it before my mind's eye and observed myself as 
hero of the plot. I saw myself sitting in a dirty armchair 
in a dirty house in a dirty London street, with the land- 
lady's dirty daughter below-stairs singing, ' Little Grey 
Home in the West,' my head obscured in a cloud of de- 
pression, and in my mind the thought that if life be a test 
of endurance I must hang on grimly to the arms of the 
chair and sit tight till bedtime. 

This attitude proved a useful means of self-defence. 
When I had dramatised my misery, I enjoyed it, and 
acute mental pain turned into merely aesthetic malaise. 



150 THE JOURNAL OF [Nov.. 1914 

November 4. 

A lurid day. Suffering from the most horrible physical 
languor. Wrote the Doctor saying I was rapidly sliding 
down a steep place into the sea (like the swine I am). 
Could I see him ? 



Endured an hour's torture of indecision to-night asking 
myself whether I should go over to ask her to be my wife 
or should I go to the Fabian Society and hear Bernard 
Shaw. Kept putting off the decision even till after dinner. 
If I went to the flat, I must shave; to shave required hot 
water — the landlady had already cleared the table and 
was rapidly retreating. Something must be done and at 
once. I called the old tiling back impulsively and ordered 
shaving water, consoling myself with the reflection that it 
was still unnecessary to decide; the hot water could be 
at hand in case the worst happened. If I decided on 
matrimony I could shave forthwith. Should I ? (After 
dark I always shave in the sitting-room because of the 
better gaslight.) 

Drank some coffee and next found myself slowly, mourn- 
fully putting on hat and coat. You can't shave in hat 
and coat so I concluded I had decided on Shaw. Slowly 
undid the front door latch and went off, 

Shaw bored me. He is mid- Victorian. Sat beside a 
bulgy-eyed youth reading the Freethinker. 

November 9. 

In the evening asked her to be my wife. She refused. 
Once perhaps . . . but now . . . 

I don't think I have any moral right to propose to any 
woman seeing the state of my health and I did not actually 
intend or wish to. . . . It was just to get it off my mind 
— a plain statement. ... If I don't really and truly love 
her it was a perfectly heartless comedy. But I have good 
reason to believe I do. With me, moments of headstrong 
passion alternate with moods of perfectly immobile self- 
introspection. It is a relief to have spoken. 



I9I4. Nov.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 151 

November 10. 

Very miserable. Asked R three times to come and 

have dinner with me. Each time he refused. My nerves 
are completely jangled. Tti I'as voulu, George Dandin — 
that's the rub. 

November 11. 

She observed me carefully — I'm looking a perfect wreck 
— hi I'as voulu, George Dandin — but it's mainly ill-health 
and not on her account. 

I said, — 

' Some things are too funny to laugh at.' 

' Is that why you are so solemn ?' 

' No,' I answered, ' I'm not solemn, I am laughing — 
some things are too solemn to be serious about.' 

She saw me off at the door and smiled quietly — an 
amused faraway smile of feline satisfaction. . . . 

November 12. 

Horrible nervous depression. Thinking of suicide with 
a pistol — a Browning. Or of 10 days' mysterious dis- 
appearance, when I will go and live in a good Hotel, spend 
all my money, and live among human beings with eyes and 
noses and legs. This isolation. Am I going mad ? If I 
disappeared, it would be interesting to see if any one 
missed me. 

November 13. 

Still tliinking of suicide. It seems the only way out. 

This morning my Essay was returned by the Editor of . 

One by one I have been divested of all my most cherished 
illusions. Once my ambitions gave me the fuel with 
which to keep myself alive. One after another they have 
been foiled, and now I've nothing to burn. I am daily 
facing the fact that my ambitions have overtaxed my 
abilities and health. For years, my whole existence has 
rested on a false estimate of my own value, and my life 
been revolving around a foolish self-deception. But I 



- j2 THE JOURNAL OF [Nov.. 1914 

know myself as I am at last — and am not at all enamoured. 
The future has nothing for me. I am wearied of my life 
already. What is there for any of us to do but die ? 

November 14. 

Before going over to-night bought London Opinion 
deliberately in order to find a joke or better still some 
cynicism about women to fire off at her. Rehearsed one 
joke, one witticism from Oscar Wilde, and one personal 
anecdote (the latter for the most part false), none of which 
came off, tho' I succeeded in carrying off a nonchalant 
or even jaunty bearing. 

' Don't you ever swear ?' I asked. ' It's a good thing, 
you know, swearing is like pimples, better to come out, 
cleanses the moral system. The person who controls 
himself must have lots of terrible oaths circulating in liis 
blood.' 

' Swearing is not the only remedy.' 

' I suppose you prefer the gilded pill of a curate's sermon : 
I prefer pimples to pills.' 

Is it a wonder she does not love me ? 



I wonder why I paint myself in such horrid colours — 
why have I this morbid pleasure in pretending to those I 
love that I am a beast and a cynic ? I suffer, I suppose, 
from a lacerated self-esteem, from a painful loneliness, 
from the consciousness of how ridiculous I have made 
myself, and that most people if they knew would regard 
me with loathing and disgust. 

I am very unhappy. I am unhappy because she does 
not care for me, and I am chiefly unhappy because I do 
not care for her. Instead of a passion, only a dragging 
heavy chain of attraction . . . some inflexible law makes 
me gravitate to her, seizes me by the neck and suspends 
me over her, I cannot look away. . . . 

In the early days when I did my best to strangle my 
love — as one would a bastard child — I took courage in 
the fact that for a n.an like me the murder was necessary. 



1914* Nov.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN i53 

There were books to write and to read, and name and 
fame perhaps. To these everything must be sacrificed. 
. . . That is all gone now. No man could have withstood 
for ever that concentrated essence of womanhood that 
flowed from her. ... 

Still the declaration has made amends. She is pleased 
about it — it is a scalp. 

Yet how can I forgive her for saying she supposed it 
was a natural instinct for a girl not to leel drawn to an 
invalid like me. That was cruel tho' true. 

November 19. 

I might be Captain Scott writing his last words amid 
Antarctic cold and desolation. It is very cold. I am 
sitting hunched up by the fire in my lodgings after a meal 
of tough meat and cold apple-tart. I am full of self- 
commiseration — my only pleasure now. It is very cold 
and I cannot get warm — trjr as I will. 

My various nervous derangements take different forms. 
This time my peripheral circulation is affected, and the 
hand, arm. and shoulder are permanently cold. My right 
hand is blue — tho' I've shut up the window and piled up 
a roaring fire. It's Antarctic cold and desolation. London 
in November from the inside of a dingy lodging-house can 
be very terrible indeed. This celestial isolation will send 
me out of my mind. I marvel how God can stick it — 
lonely, damp, and cold in the clouds. That is how I live 
too — but then I am not God. 

I fall back on this Journal just as some other poor devil 
takes to drink. I, too, have toyed with the idea of drink- 
ing hard. I have frequented bars and billiard saloons and 
in fits of depression done my best to forget myself. But 
I am not sufficiently fond of alcohol (and it would take a 
lot to make me forget myself). So I plunge into these 
literary excesses and drown my sorrows in Stephens* 
Blue-black Ink. It gives me a sulky pleasure to think that 
some day somebody will know . . . 

It is humiliating to feel ill as I do. If I had consump- 
tion the disease would act as a stimulus — I could strike 



154 THE JOURNAL OF [Nov., 1914 

an attitude feverishly and be liistrionic. But to be merely 
' below par ' — to feel like a Bunny rabbit perennially 
' poorly,' saps my character and mental vigour. I want 
to crawl away and die like a rat in a hole. A bronzed 
healthy man makes me wince. Healthy people regard 
a chronic sickly man as a leper. They suspect him, some- 
tliing fishy. 

November 20. 

Still at home ill. 

If anything, R is more of a precieux than I am 

myself. At the present moment he is tickling himself 
with the idea that he's in love with a certain golden- 
haired damsel from the States. He reports to me frag- 
ments of his conversations with her, how he snatches a 
fearful joy by skirting dangerous conversational territory, 
or he takes a pencil and deftly outlines her profile or the 
rondeur of her bosom. Or he discourses at length on her 
nose or eye. I can well imagine him driving a woman 
crazy and then collecting her tears in a bottle as memen- 
toes. Then whenever he requires a little heart stimulus 
he could take the phial from his waistcoat pocket and 
watch the tears condensing. 

' Why don't you marry her out of hand and be done 
with all this dalliance ? I can tell you what's the matter 
with you,' I growled, ' you're a landscape artist. . . . 
You'll grow to resemble that mean, Jewy, secretive, petty 
creature, J. W. M. Turner, and allow no human being to 
interfere with your art. A fine artist perhaps — but what 
a man ! You'll finish up with a Mrs Danby.' 

' Yes,' he answered, quoting Tennyson with great apt- 
ness, ' and " lose my salvation for a sketch," like Romney 
deserting his wife. If I were not married I should have 
no wife to desert.' 

It is useless to argue with him. His cosmogony is 
wrongly centred in Art not life. Life interests him — he 
can't altogether resign himself to the cowl and the ton- 
sured head, but he will not plunge. He insists on being 
a spectator, watching the maelstrom from the bank and 



I9I4. Nov.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 155 

remarking exquisitely, ' Ah ! there is a very fine sorrow,' 
or, ' What an exquisite sensation.' The other day after 
one of our furious conversational bouts around this subject, 
I drew an insect, cut it out, and pinned the slip in a collect- 
ing box. Then suddenly producing the box, and opening 
it with a facetious grin, I said, — 

' Here is a jolly little sorrow I caught this morning.* 
The joke pleased him and we roared, bellowed. 

' That terrible forefinger of yours,' he smiled. 

'Like Cardinal Ricidieu's eyes — piercing?' I sug- 
gested with appreciation. (It is because I tap him on his 
shirt front in the space between waistcoat and tie aggres- 
sively for emphasis in conversation.) 

" You must regard my passion for painting,' he began 
once more, ' as a sort of dipsomania — I really can't help 
m3'self.' 

I jumped on him vehemently, — 

'Exactly, my pernickety friend; it's something abnor- 
mal and unnatural. When, for purposes of self-culture, 
I see a man deliberately lop off great branches of himself 
so as to divert his strength into one limb, I know that if 
he is successful he'll be something as vulgar as a fat woman 
at a country fair; and if he is unsuccessful he'll be just a 
pathetic mutilation. . . . You are trying to pervert a 
natural instinct. You want to paint, I believe. Quite so. 
But when a boy reaches the age of puberty he does not 
grow a palette on his chin but hair. , . . Still, now you 
recognise it as a bad habit, why need I say more ?' (' Why 
indeed ?') ' It's a vice, and I'm very sorry for you, old 
boy. I'll do all I can — come and have some dinner with 
me to-night.' 

' Oh ! thank you very much,' says my gentleman, ' but 
I'm not at all sorry for myself.' 

' I thought as much. So that we are not so very much 
agreed after all. We're not shaking hands after the boxing 
contest, but scowling at each other from the ropes and 
shaping for another round.' 

' Your pulpit orations, my dear Barbellion, in full canon- 
icals,' he reflected, ' are worthy of a larger audience. . . . 



156 THE JOURNAL OF [Nov., 1914 

To find you of all people preaching. I thought you were 
philosoplier enough to see the angle of every one's vision 
and broadminded so as to see every point of view. Be- 
sides, you arc as afraid of marriage as I am, and for the 
same reasons.' 

' I confess, when in the philosophic citadel of my own 
armchair,' I began, ' I do see every one's point of view. 
You sit on the other side of the rug and put out the sug- 
gestion tentatively that murder may be a moral act. I 
examine your argument and am disposed to accept it. 
But when you slit up my brother's abdomen before my 
eyes, I am sufficiently weak and human to punch you on 
the nose. . . . You are too cold and Olympian, up above 
the snowline with a box of paints.' 

' It is very beautiful among the snows.' 

* I suppose so.' 

(Exit.) 
November 23. 

Great physical languor, especially in the morning. It 
is Calvary to get out of bed and shoulder the day's burden. 

' What's been the matter ?' they ask. 

' Oh ! senile decay — general histolysis of the tissues,' I 
say, fencing. 

To-night, I looked at myself accidentally in the glass 
and noticed at once the alarming extent of my dejection. 
Quite unconsciously I turned my head away and shook 
it, making the noise with my teeth and tongue which means, 

' Dear, dear.' M tells me these waves of ill-health 

are quite unaccountable unless I were ' leading a dissolute 
life, which you do not appear to be doing.' Damn his 
eyes. 

Reading Nietzsche 

Reading Nietzsche. What splendid physic he is to 
Pomeranian puppies like myself ! I am a hopeless coward. 
Thunderstorms always frighten me. The smallest cut 
alarms for fear of blood poisoning, and I always dab on 
antiseptics at once. But Nietzsche makes me feel a 
perfect mastiff. 



I9I4. Nov.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 157 

The Test for True Love 

The test for true love is whether you can endure the 
thought of cutting your sweetheart's toe-nails — the ony- 
chiotomic test. Or whether you find your Julia's sweat 
as sweet as otto of roses. I told her this to-night. Pro- 
bably she thinks I only ' saw it in a book.' 

Chopin 

On Sunday, went to the Albert Hall, and warmed myself 
at the Orchestra. It is a wonderful sight to watch an 
orchestra playing from the gallery. It spurts and flickers 
like a flame. Its incessant activity arrests the attention 
and holds it just as a fire does — even a deaf man would be 
fascinated. Heard Chopin's Funeral March and other 
things. It would be a rich experience to be able to be 
in your coffin at rest and listen to Chopin's Funeral March 
being played above you by a string orchestra with Sir 
Henry Wood conducting. 

Sir Henry like a melanic Messiah was crucified as usual, 
the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 causing him the most 
awful agony. • 

November 28. ^^^.^ 

More than once lately have been to see and admire 
Rodin's recent gifts to the nation exhibited at the Victoria 
and Albert Museum. The ' Prodigal Son ' is Beethoven's 
Fifth Symphony done in stone. It was only on my second 
visit that I noticed the small pebble in each hand — a 
superb touch ! — what a frenzy of remorse ! 

The ' Fallen Angel ' I loved most. The legs of the 
woman droop lifelessly backwards in an intoxicating 
curve. The eye caresses it — down the thighs and over the 
calves to the tips of the toes — like the hind limbs of some 
beautiful dead gazelle. He has brought off exactly the 
same effect in the woman in the group called ' Eternal 
Spring,' which I have only seen in a photograph. 



158 THE JOURNAL OF [Nov.. 1914 

This morning at 9 a.m. lay in bed on my back, warm and 
comfortable, and, for the first time for many weeks, with 
no pain or discomfort of any kind. The mattress curved 
up around my body and legs and held me in a soft warm 
embrace. ... I shut my eyes and whistled the saccha- 
rine melody for solo violin in Chopin's Funeral March. I 
wanted the moment prolonged for hours. Ill-health 
chases the soul out of a man. He becomes a body, purely 
physical. 



isovemoer 29. 

This evening she promised to be my wife after a long 
silent ramble together thro' dark London squares and 
streets ! I am beside myself ! 



December 6. 

I know now — I love her with passion. Health and 
ambition and sanity are returning. Projects in view: — 
(i) To make her happy and myself worthy. 

(2) To get married. 

(3) To prepare and publish a volume of this Journal. 

(4) To write two essays for Cornhill which shall surely 
induce the Editor to publish and not write me merely long 
complimentary and encouraging letters as heretofore. 

Wired to A , ' The brave little pennon has been 

hauled down.' 

December 7. 

Have so many projects in view and so little time in 
which to get them done I Moreover I am always haunted 
by the fear that I may never finish them tliro' physical or 
temperamental disabilities — a breakdown in health or in 
purpose. I am one of those who are apt to die unex- 
pectedly and no one would be surprised. An inquest 
would probably be unnecessary. I badly want to live 
say another twelve months. Hey ! nonny-no ! a man's 
a fool that wants to die. 



I9I4. Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 159 

December 9. 

... 1 shook her angrily by the shoulders to-night and 
said, ' Why do I love you ? — Tell me,' but she only smiled 
gently and said, ' I cannot tell. . . .' I ought not to 
love her, I know — every omen is against it. . . . Then 
I am full of self-love: an intellectual Malvolio proud of 
his brains and air of distinction. . . . 

Then I am fickle, passionate, polygamous ... I am 
haunted by the memory of how I have sloughed off one 
enthusiasm after another. I used to dissect snails in a 
pie-dish in the kitchen wliile Mother baked the cakes — 
the unravelling of the internal economy of a Helix 
caused as great an emotional storm as to-day the Unfinished 
Symphony does ! I look for the first parasol in Kensington 
Gardens with the same interest as once I sought out the 
first snowdrop or listened for the first Cuckoo. I am as 
anxious to identify an instrument in Sir Henry's Orchestra 
as once to identify the song of a new bird in the woods. 
Nothing is further from my intention or desire to continue 
my old habit of nature study. I never read nature books 
— my old favourites — Waterton's Wanderings, Gilbert 
White, The Zoologist, etc. — have no interest for me — in 
fact they give me slight mental nausea even to glance at. 
Wiedersheim (good old Wiedersheimi) is now deposed by 
a text book on Harmony. My main desire just now is to 
hear the best music. In the country I wore blinkers and 
saw only zoology. Now in London, I've taken the bit 
into my mouth — and it's a mouth of iron — wanting a run 
for all my troubles before Death strikes me down. 

All this evidence of my temperamental instability alarms 
and distresses me on reflection and makes the soul weary. 
I wish I loved more steadily. I am always sidetracking 
myself. The title of ' husband ' scares me. 

December 12. 

Sir Henry Wood conducting 

Went to the Queen's Hall, sat in the Orchestra and 
watched Sir Henry's statuesque figure conducting thro' 
a forest of bows, ' which pleased me mightily.' He would 



i6o THE JOURNAL OF [Dec, 1914 

be worth watching if you were stone deaf. If you 
could not hear a sound, the animation and excitement 
of an orchestra in full swing, with the conductor cutting 
and slashing at invisible foes, make a magnificent 
spectacle. 

The face of Sir Henry Wood strikes me as very much like 
the traditional pictures of Jesus Christ, tho' Sir Henry is 
dark — the melanic Messiah 1 call him (very much to my 
own delight). Rodin ought to do him in stone — Chester- 
field's ideal of a man — a Corinthian edifice on Tuscan 
foundations. In Sir Henry's case there can be no dis- 
puting the Tuscan foundations. However swift and 
elegant the movements of his arms, his splendid lower 
extremities remain as firm as stone columns. While the 
music is calm and serene his right hand and baton execute 
in concert with the left, perfect geometric curves around 
his head. Then as it gathers in force and volume, when 
the bows begin to dart swiftly across the fiddles and the 
trumpets and trombones blaze away in a conflagration, 
we are all expectant — and even a little fearful, to observe 
his sabre-like cuts. The tension grows ... I hold my 
breath. ... Sir Henry snatches a second to throw back 
a lock of his hair that has fallen limply across liis forehead, 
then goes on in unrelenting pursuit, cutting and slashing 
at hordes of invisible fiends that leap howhng out towards 
him. There is a great turmoil of combat, but the Con- 
ductor struggles on till the great explosion happens. But 
in spite of that, you see him still standing thro' a cloud of 
great chords, quite undaunted. His sword zigzags up and 
down the scale — suddenly the closed fist of his left hand 
shoots up straight and points to the zenith — like the arm of a 
heathen priest appealing to Baal to bring down fire from 
Heaven. . . . But the appeal avails nought and it looks 
as tho' it were all up for poor Sir Henry. The music is 
just as infuriated — his body writhes with it — the melanic 
Messiah crucified by the inappeasable desire to express by 
visible gestures all that he feels in his heart. He surrenders 
— so you think — he opens out both arms wide and baring 
Ms breast, dares them all to do their worst — like the 



I9J4. Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN i6i 

picture of Moffat the missionary among the savages of the 
Dark Continent ! 

And yet he wins after all. At the very last moment he 
seems to sum.mon all liis remaining strength and in one 
final and devastating sweep mows down the orchestra 
rank by rank. . . . You awake from the nightmare to 
discover the victor acknowledging the applause in a series 
of his inimitable bows. 

One ought to pack one's ears up with cotton wool at a 
concert where Sir Henry conducts. Otherwise, the music 
is apt to distract one's attention. R.L.S. wanted to be 
at the head of a cavalry charge — sword over head — but 
I'd rather fight an orchestra with a baton. 

Beethoven' s FifUi Symphony 

Tliis symphony always works me up into an ecstasy ; in 
ecstatic sympathy with its dreadfulness I could stand up 
in the balcony and fling myself down passionately into the 
arena below. Yet there were women sitting alongside me 
to-day — knitting I It so annoyed and irritated me that 
at the enJof the first movement I got up and sat elsewhere. 
They would have sat knitting at the foot of the Cross, I 
suppose. 

At the end of the second movement, two or three other 
women got up and went home to tea ! It would have 
surprised me no more to have seen a cork extract itself 
1 rom its bottle and promenade. 

Tschaikovsky 

Just lately I've heard a lot of music including Tschai- 
kovsky's Pathetique and Fifth Symphonies, some Debussy, 
and odd pieces by Dukas, Glinka, Smetana, Mozart. I am 
chock-full of impressions of all this precious stuff and 
scarcely know what to write. As usual, the third move- 
ment of the Pathetique produced a frenzy of exhilaration; 
I seemed to put on several inches around my chest and 
wished to shout in a voice of thunder. The conventions 



i62 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec. i9M 

of a public concert hall arc dreadfully oppressive at such 
times. 1 could have eaten ' all the elephants of Hindustan 
and picked my teeth with the spire of Strassburg Cathe- 
dral.' 

In the last movement of the Fifth Symphony of that 
splendid fellow Tschaikovsky, the orchestra seemed to 
gallop away leaving poor Landon Ronald to wave his whip 
in a ridiculously ineffective way. They went on crashing 
down chords, and 3ust before the end 1 had the awful 
presentiment that the orchestra simply could not stop. 
I sat still straining every nerve in the expectancy that this 
chord or the next or the next was the end. But it went 
on pounding down — each one seemed the last but every 
time another followed as passionate and emphatic as the 
one before, until finally, whatever this inhuman orchestra 
was attempting to crush and destroy must have been 
reduced to shapeless pulp. I wanted to board the plat- 
form and plead with them, elderly gentlemen turned their 
heads nervously, everyone was breathless, we all wanted 
to call ' For God's sake, stop ' — to do anytliing to still 
this awful lust for annihilation. . . . The end came 
quickly in four drum beats in quick succession. I have 
never seen such hate, such passionate intensity of the will 
to destroy. . . . And Tschaikovsky was a Russian ! 

Debussy was a welcome change. ' L'Apres-midi d'un 
Faun ' is a musical setting to an oscitatory exercise. It is 
an orchestral yawn. Oh ! so tired ! 

Came away thoroughly delighted. Wanted to say to 
every one ' Bally good, ain't it ?' and then we would all 
shake hands and go home whistling. 

December 14. 

My rooms are littered with old concert programmes and 
the Doctor's prescriptions (in the yellow envelopes of the 
dispenser) for my various ailments and diseases, and books, 
books, books. 

Among the latter those lying on my table at this moment 
are- 
Plays oi M. Brieux. 



I9I4, Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 163 

Joseph Vance. 

The Sequel to Pragmatism : The Meaning of Truth, by 
William James. 

Beyond Good and Evil. 

Dostoievsky's The Possessed. 

Marie Bastikirtseff' s Journal. 

I have found time to read only the first chapter of this 
last and am almost afraid to go on. It would be so humilia- 
ting to find I was only her duplicate. 

On my mantelpiece stands a photograph of Huxley — 

the hero of my youth — which old B has always taken 

to be that of my grandpapa ! A plaster-cast mask of 
Voltaire when first hung up made him chuckle with in- 
decent laughter. ' A regular all-nighter. Who is it ?' he 
said 



December 15. 

Petticoat Lane 

This morning, being Sunday, went to Petticoat Lane 
and enjoyed myself. 

On turning the corner to go into Middlesex Street, as it 
is now called, the first thing I saw was a little girl — a 
Jewess — being tackled for selling Belgian button-hole flags 
by two policemen who ultimately marched her o^ to the 
police station. 

In the Lane, first of all, was a 'Royal Ascot Jockey 
Scales ' made of brass and upholstered in gaudy red 
velvet — a penny a time. A very fat man was being 
weighed and looked a little distressed on being given Ms 
ticket. 

' Another stone,' he told the crowd mournfully. 

' You'll have to eat less pork,' some one volunteered 
and we all laughed. 

Next door to the Scales was a man selling gyroscopes. 
' Something scientific, amusing as well as instructive, 
illustrating the principles of gravity and stability. What 
I show you is what I sell — price one shilling. Who ?' 

I stopped next at a stall containing nothing but caps — 



i64 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec. 1914 

' any size, any colour, any pattern, a shilling apiece — now 
then !' This show was being run by two men — a Jew in 
a fur cap on one side of the stall and a very powerful- 
looking sort of Captain Cuttle on the other — a seafaring 
man, almost as broad as he was long, with a game leg and 
the voice of a skipper in a hurricane. Both these men 
were selling caps at a prodigious pace, and with the in- 
souciance of tradesmen sure of their custom. The skipper 
would seize a cap, chuck it across to a timid prospective 
purchaser, and, if he dropped it, chuck him over another, 
crying, with a ' yo-heave-ho ' boisterousness, ' Oh ! what 
a game, what a bees' nest.' 

Upon the small head of another customer, he would 
squash down his largest sized cap saying at once, — 

' There, you look the finest gentleman — oh ! ah ! a little 
too large.' 

At which we all laughed, the customer looked silly, but 
took no offence. 

' Try this,' yells the skipper above the storm, and takes 
off his own cap. ' Oh ! ye needn't be afraid — I washed 
my hair last — year.' (Laughter.) 

Then to his partner, the Jew on the other side of the 
stall, ' Oh ! what a face you've got. Here ! 6d. for any one 
who can tell me what it is. Why not take it to the trenches 
and get it smashed in ?' 

The Jew wore spectacles and had a soft ingratiating 
voice and brown doe-like eyes — a Jew in every respect. 
' Oh !' says he, in the oleaginous Semitic way, and accurately 
taking up his cue (for all this was rehearsed patter), ' my 
wife says " my face is my fortune." ' 

' No wonder you're so hard up and 'ave got to take In 
lodgers. What's yer name?' 

' John Jones,' in a demure wheedling voice. 

' Hoo — that's not your name in your own bloody country 
— I expect it's Hullabullinsky.' 

* Do you know what my name really is ?' 

'No.' 

' It's Assenheimopoplocatdwizlinsky Kovorod.' 

(Loud laughter.) 



I9I4, Dec] a disappointed MAN 165 

' I shall call you " ass " for short.' 

I was laughing loudly at these two clowns and the 
skipper observing as much, shouted out to me, — 

' Parlez-vous Frangais, M'sieur ?' 

' Oui, oui,' said I. 

• Ah ! lah, you're one of us — oh ! what a game ! what a 
bees' nest,' and all the time he went on selling caps and 
chucking them at the purchasers. 

Perhaps one of the most extraordinary things I saw was 
a stream of young men who, one after another, came up to 
a stall, paid a penny and sv/allowed a glass of ' nerve 
tonic' — a green liquid syphoned out of a large jar — 
warranted a safe cure for 

' Inward weakness, sHghtest flurry or body oppressed/ 

Another man was pulling teeth and selling tooth powder. 
Some of the little urchins' teeth, after he had cleaned 
them as a demonstration, were much whiter than their 
faces or his. This was ' the original Chas. Assenheim.' 

Mrs Meyers, ' not connected with any one else of the 
same name in the Lane ' was selling eels at 2d., 3d. and 
6d. and doing a brisk trade too. 

But I should go on for hours if I were to tell everything 
seen in this remarkable lane during an hour and a half on 
a Sunday morning. Each stall-holder sells only one kind 
of article — caps or clocks or songs, braces, shawls, indecent 
literature, concertinas, gramophones, coats, pants, reach- 
me-downs, epergnes. The thoroughfare was crowded 
with people (I saw two Lascars in red fez caps) inspecting 
the goods displayed and attentively observed by numerous 
policemen. The alarm clocks were all going off, each 
gramophone was working a record (a different one !) and 
every tradesman shouting his wares — a perfect pandemo- 
nium. 

December 31. 

A Conversation 

' There is that easily calculable element in your nature, 
dear boy,' I said, ' by which you forego the dignity of a 
free-willed human being and come under an inflexible 



i66 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec, 1914 

natural law. I can anticipate your movements, intentions, 
and opinions long beforehand. For example, 1 know 
quite well that every Saturday morning will see you with 
The New Statesman under your arm ; I know that the words 
" Wagner " or " Shaw " uttered slowly and deliberately in 
your ear will produce a perfectly definite reaction.' 

' I bet you can't predict what I am going to buy now,' 

R replied gaily, advancing to the newspaper stall. 

He bought the Pink 'Un and I laughed. . . . 

' And so you read Pragmatism,' he mused, ' while the 
fate of the Empire stands in the balance.' 

' Yes,' said I, ' and the Paris Academy of Sciences were 
discussing the functions of 6 and the Polymorphism of 
Antarctic diatoms last September when the Germans 
stood almost at the gates of Paris.' 

This was a lucky stroke for me, for he knew he was 
rubbing me on the raw. We are, of course, great friends, 
but sometimes we get on one another's nerves. 

' I am polychromatic,' I declaimed, ' rhetorical, bass. 
You — besides being a bally fool — are of a pretty gray 
colour, a baritone and you paint in water-colours.' 

' Whereas you, of course, would paint in blood ?' he 
answered facetiously. 

His Oxford education has a firm hold on him. He says 
for example ' e converso ' instead of ' on the other hand ' 
and ' entre nous ' for ' between ourselves.' He labels his 
paragraphs a, /S, 7, instead of a, b, c, and quotes Juvenal, 
knows Paris and Naples, visits the Alps for the winter 
sports, all in the approved manner of dons. 

Not infrequently he visits the East End to study ' how 
the poor live,' he lectures at Toynbee Hall, and calls the 
proletariat ' the prolly.' In fact, he does everything 
according to the regulations, being a socialist and an 
agnostic, a follower of Shaw and a devotee of Bunyan. 
' Erotic ' he is careful to pronounce erotic to show he knows 
Greek, and the ' Duma,' the Dumd, tho' he doesn't know 
Russian. Like any don, he is alwaj's ready to discuss and 
give an opinion on any sub- supra- or circum-lunary 
subject from bimetallism to the Symphony as an art-form. 



I9I5. Jan.] a disappointed MAN 167 

' That's a dominant fifth,' I said to him the other day; 
no answer. 

' You ignorant devil/ I said, ' you don't know what a 
dominant fifth is !' 

We made grimaces at one another. 

' Who's the Master of the Mint ?' I asked him. ' That 
is an easy one.' 

' The Chancellor of the Exchequer,' was the prompt reply. 

' Oh ! that's right,' I said sarcastic and crestfallen. 
' Now tell me the shortest verse in the Bible and the date 
of Rameses II.' 

We laughed. R is a very clever man and the most 

extraordinarily versatile man I know. He is bound to 
make his mark. His danger is — too many irons in the 
fire. Here are some of his occupations and acquirements: 
Art (etching, drypoint, water-colours), music (a charming 
voice), classics, French, German, Italian (both speaking 
and reading knowledge), biology, etc., etc. He is for ever 
titillating his mind with some new thing. ' For God's 
sake, do leave it alone — you simply rag your mind to 
death. Put it out to grass — go thro' an annual season of 
complete abstinence from knowledge — an intellectual 
Lent.' 

No one more than he enjoys my ragging him like this 
— and I do it rather well. 



1915 
January i. 

I have grown so ridiculously hypercritical and fastidious 
that I will refuse a man's invitation to dinner because he 
has watery blue eyes, or hate him for a mannerism or an 
impediment or affectation in his speech. Some poor devil 
who has not heard of Turner or Debussy or Dostoieffsky 
I gird at with the arrogance of a knoMdedgeable youth of 17. 
Some oddity who should afford a sane mind endless amuse- 
ment, I write off as a lusus nafurca and dismiss with a 
flourish of contempt. My intellectual arrogance — except- 
ing at such times as I become conscious of it and pull 



i68 THE JOURNAL OF [Jan., 1915 

myself up — is incredible. It is incredible because I have 
no personal courage and all this pride boils up beliind a 
timid exterior. I quail often before stupid but overbearing 
persons who consequently never realise my contempt of 
them. Then afterwards, I writhe to think I never stood 
up to this fool; never uttered an appropriate word to in- 
terfere with another's nauseating self-love. It exasperates 
me to be unable to give a Roland for an Oliver — even 
servants and underlings ' tick me off ' — to fail always in 
sufficient presence of mind to make the satisfying re- 
joinder or riposte. I suffer from such a savage amotir 
propre that I fear to enter the lists with a man I dislike 
on account of the mental anguish I should suffer if he 
worsted me. I am therefore bottled up tight — both my 
hates and loves. For a coward is not only afraid to tell 
a man he hates him, but is nervous too of letting go of his 
feeling of affection or regard lest it be rejected or not 
returned. I shudder to think of such remarks as (re- 
ferring to me), 'He's one of my admirers, you know' 
(sardonically), or, ' I simply can't get rid of him.' 

If however my cork does come out, there is an explosion, 
and placid people occasionally marvel to hear violent 
language streaming from my lips and nasty acid and 
facetious remarks. 

Of course, to intimate friend? (only about three persons 
in the wide, wide world), I can alwaj'S give free vent to 
my feelings, and I do so in privacy with that violence 
in which a weak character usually finds some compensation 
for his intolerable self-imposed reserve and restraint in 
public. I can never marvel enough at the ineradicable 
turpitude of my existence, at my double-facedness, and the 
remarkable contrast between the face I turn to the outside 
world and the face my friends know. It's like leading a 
double existence or artificially constructing a puppet to 
dangle before the crowd wliile I fulminate behind the 
scenes. If only I had the moral courage to play my part 
in life — to take the stage and be myself, to enjoy the 
delightful sensation of making my presence felt, instead 
of tliis vapourish mumming — then this Journal would be 



I9I5. Jan.] a disappointed MAN 169 

quite unnecessary. For to me self-expression is a neces- 
sity of life, and what cannot be expressed one way must 
be expressed in another. When colossal egotism is driven 
underground, whether by a steely surface environment or 
an unworkable temperament or as in my case by both, 
you get a truly remarkable result, and the victim a truly 
remarkable pain — the pain one might say of continuously 
unsuccessful attempts at parturition. 

It is perhaps not the whole explanation to say that my 
milky affability before, say bores or clods is sheer personal 
cowardice. ... It is partly real affability. I am so 
glad to have opposite me some one who is making himself 
pleasant and affable and sympathetic that I forget for 
the moment that he is an unconscionable time-server, a 
sycophant, lick-spittle, toady, etc. My first impulse is 
always to credit folk with being nicer, cleverer, more 
honest and amiable than they are. Then, on reflection, I 
discover unplcasing characteristics, I detect their little 
motives, and hate myself for not speaking. The fellow is 
intolerable, why did I not tell him so ? Bitter recrimina- 
tions from m}/ critical self upon my flabby amiable half. 

On the whole, then, I lead a pretty disgraceful inner 
life — excepting when I pull myself together and smile 
benignly on all things with a philosophical smugness, such 
as is by no means my mood at this present moment. I 
am so envious that a reprint of one of Romney's Ramus 
girls sends me into a dry tearless anger — for the moment 
till I turn over the next page. . . . Inwardly I was exa- 
cerbated this morning when R recited, ' Come and 

have a tiddle at the old Brown Bear,' and explained how 
a charming ' young person ' sang this at breakfast the other 
m.orning. It was simply too charming for him to hear. 

To-night as I brushed my hair, I decided I was quite 

good-looking, and I believe I mused that E was really 

a lucky girl. . . . All that is the matter with me is a 
colossal conceit and a colossal discontent, qualities exag- 
gerated where a man finds himself in an environment 
which . . . 



170 THE JOURNAL OF [Jan., 1915 

You observant people will notice that this explanation 
is sometliing of a scli-defence whereby the virtue goes out 
of my confession. 1 plead guilty, but great and unprece- 
dented provocation as well. Intense pride of individuality 
forbids that I should ever be other than, shall I say, 
amiably disposed towards myself aufond, however displeased 
I may be with my environment. It is indeed impossible 
without sending him to a lunatic asylum ever to knock a 
man off the balance of his self-esteem. ... A man's 
loyalty to himself is the most pig-headed thing imaginable. 

January 2. 

The Fire Bogey 

' This Box contains Manuscripts. One guinea will be 
paid to any one who in case of danger from fire saves it 
from damage or loss.' 

Signed: W. N. P. Barbellion. 

I have had this printed in large black characters on a 
card, framed and nailed to my ' cofhn ' of Journals. I 
told the printer first to say Two Guinea'^, but he suggested 
that One Guinea was quite enough. I agreed but won- 
dered how the devil he knew what the Journals were 
worth — nobody knows. 

Next month, I expect 1 shall have a ' hand ' painted on 
the wall and pointing towards the box. And the month 
after that I shall hire a fireman to be on duty night and 
day standing outside No. 10 1 in a brass helmet and his 
hatchet up at the salute. 

These precious Journals ! Supposing I lost them ! I 
cannot imagine the anguish it would cause me. It would 
be the death of my real self and as I should take no plea- 
sure in the perpetuation of my flabby, flaccid, anaemic, 
amiable puppet-self, I should probably commit suicide. 

August 7. 

Harvey who discovered the circulation of the blood also 
conducted a great many investigations into the Anatomy 
and development of insects. But all his MSS. and draw- 



I9I3, Jan.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 171 

ings disappeared in the fortunes of war, and one half of 
his life work thus disappeared. This makes me feverish, 
living as I do in Armageddon ! 

Again, all Malpighi's pictures, furniture, books and 
MSS. were destroyed in a lamentable fire at his house in 
Bononia, occasioned it is said by the negligence of his old 
wife. 

About 1618, Ben Jonson suffered a similar calamity 
thro' a fire breaking out in his study. Many unpublished 
MSS. perished. 

A more modern and more tragic example I found re- 
cently in the person of an Australian naturalist Dr Walter 
Stimpson, who lost all his MSS., drawings, and collections 
in the great fire of Chicago, and was so excoriated by this 
irreparable misfortune that he never recovered from the 
shock, and died the following year a broken man and un- 
known. 

Of course the housemaid who lit the fire with the 
French Revolution is known to all, as well as Newton's 
' Fido, Fido, you little know what you have done.* 

There are many dangers in preserving the labours of 
years in MS. form. Samuel Butler (of Erewhon) advised 
writing in copying ink and then pressing off a second copy 
to be kept in another and separate locality. My own pre- 
cautions for these Journals are more elaborate. Those 
who know about it think I am mad. I wonder. . . . 
But I dare say I am a pathetic fool — an incredible self- 
deceiver 1 

Anyhow — the ' cofiin * of raw material I sent down to 

T while I retain the two current volumes. This is to 

avoid Zeppelins. E took the ' cofiin ' down for me 

on her way home from school, and at Taunton, inquisitive 
porters mistaking it, I suppose, for an infant's coffin 
carried it reverently outside the station and laid it down. 
She caught them looking at it just in time before her train 
left. Under her instructions they seized it by the brass 
handles and carried it back again. I sit now and with a 
good deal of curiosity fondle the idea of porters carrying 
about my Journals of confession. It's like being tickled 



172 THE JOURNAL OF [Jan., 1915 

in the palm of the hand. . . . Two volumes of abstracted 
entries I keep here, and, as soon as I am married, I intend 
to make a second copy of these. . . . Then all in God's 
good time I intend getting a volume ready for publication. 



January 30. 

Hearing Beethoven 

To the Queen's Hall and heard Beethoven's Fifth and 
Seventh Symphonies. 

Before the concert began I was in a fever. I kept on 
saying to myself, ' I am going to hear the Fifth and Seventh 
Symphonies.' I regarded myself with the most ridiculous 
self-adulation — I smoothed and purred over myself — a 
great contented Tabby cat — and all because I was so 
splendidly fortunate as to be about to hear Beethoven's 
Fifth and Seventh Symphonies. 

It certainly upset me a little to find there were so many 
other people who were singularly fortunate as well, and it 
upset me still more to find some of them knitting and some 
reading newspapers as if they waited for sausage and 
mashed. 

How I gloried in the Seventh ! I can't believe there was 
any one present who gloried in it as I did ! To be pro- 
cessing majestically up the steps of a great, an unimagin- 
able palace (in the ' Staircase ' introduction), led by Sir 
Henry, is to have had at least a crowded ten minutes of 
glorious life — a suspicion crossed the mind at one time 
' Good Heavens, they're going to knight me.' I cannot say 
if that were their intentions. But I escaped however . . . 

I love the way in which a beautiful melody flits around 
the Orchestra and its various components like a beautiful 
bird. 

January 19. 

An Average Day 

After a morning of very mixed emotions and more than 
one annoyance ... at last sat down to lunch and a 
little peace and quiet with R . We began by quoting 



191 5. Jan.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 173 

verse at one another in open competition. Of course 
neither of us listened to the other's verses. We merely 
enjoyed the pleasure of recollecting and repeating our own. 
I began with Tom Moore's ' Row gently here, my Gondo- 
lier.' R guessed the author rightly at once and 

fidgeted until he burst out with, ' The Breaths of kissing 
night and day ' — to me an easy one. I gave, ' The Moon 
more indolently sleeps to-night ' (Baudelaire), and in 
reply he did a great stroke by reciting some of the old 
French of Francois Villon which entirely flummuxed me. 

I don't believe we really love each other, but we cling 
to each other out of ennui and discover in each other a 
certain cold intellectual sympathy. 

At the pay desk (Lyons' is our rendezvous) we joked with 

the casliier — a cheerful, fat little girl, who said to R 

(indicating me), — 

' He's a funny boy, isn't he ?' 

'Dangerous,' chirped R , and we laughed. In the 

street we met an aged, decrepit news vendor — very dirty 
and ragged — but his voice was unexpectedly fruity. 

' British Success,' he called, and we stopped for the 
sake of the voice. 

' I'm not interested,' I said — as an appetiser. 

' What ! Not . . . Just one, sir: I haven't sold a 
single copy yet and I've a wife and four children.' 

' That's nothing to me — I've three \\'ives and forty 
children,' I remarked. 

' What !' in affected surprise, turning to R , ' he's 

Brigham Young from Salt Lake City. Yes I know it — 
I've been there myself and been dry ever liince. Give us 
a drink, sir — just one.' 

In consideration of his voice we gave him 2d. and passed 
on. . . . 

After giving a light to a Belgian soldier whose cigarette 
had gone out, farther along we entered a queer old music 
shop where they sell flageolets, serpents, clavichords, and 
harps. We had previously made an appointment with the 
man to have Schubert's Unfinished Symphony played to 
us, so as to recall one or two of the melodies which we 



174 THE JOURNAL OF [Jan.. 1915 

can't recall and it drives us crazy. ' What is that one in 

the second movement which goes like this?' and R 

whistled a fragment. ' I don't know,' I said, ' but let's 
go in here and ask.' In the shop, a youth was kind enough 

to say that if we cared to call next day, Madame A , 

the harp player would be home and would be ready to 
play us the symphony. 

So this morning, before Madame's appearance, this kind 
and obliging youth put a gramophone record of it on, to 
wliich we listened like two intelligent parrots with heads 
sideways. Presently, the fat lady harpist appeared and 
asked us just what we wanted to find out — a rather awk- 
ward question for us, as we did not want to ' find out ' 
any tiling excepting how the tunes went. 

I therefore explained that as neither of us had sisters 
or wives, and we both wanted, etc. ... so would she 
. . . ? In response, she smiled pleasantly and played us 
the second movement on a shop piano. Meanwhile, Henry 
the boy, hid himself behind the instruments at the rear of 
the shop and as we signed to her she would say, — 

' What's that, Henry ?' 

And Henry would duly answer from his obscurity, 
* Wood wind,' or ' Solo oboe,' or whatever it was, and the 
lad really spoke with authority. In tliis way, I began to 
find out something about the work. Before I left, I pre- 
sented her with a copy of the score, which she did not 
possess and because she would not accept any sort of 
remuneration. 

' Won't you put your name on it ?' she inquired. 

I pointed gaily to the words ' Ecce homo.' which I had 
scribbled across Schubert's name and said, ' There you are.' 
Madame smiled incredulously and we said, ' Good-bye.' 

It was a beautifully clement almost springlike day, and 
at the street corner, in a burst of joyousness, we each 
bought a bunch of violets of an old woman, stuck them 
on the ends of our walking-sticks, and marched off with 
them in triumphant protest to the B. M. Carried over our 

shoulders, our flowers amused the police and , who 

scarcely realised the significance of the ritual. ' This is 



1 91 5. Jan.] a disappointed MAN 175 

my protest/ said R , ' against the war. It's like 

Oscar Wilde's Sunflower.' 

On the way, we were both bitterly disappointed at a 
dramatic meeting between a man and woman of the 
artizan class which instead of beginning with a stormy» 
' Robert, where's the rent, may I ask ?' fizzled out into, 
' Hullo, Charlie, why you are a stranger.' 

At tea in the A. B.C. shop, wc had a violent discussion on 
Socialism, and on th'- station platform, going home, I said 
that before maiTiage I intended saving up against the 
possibility of divorce — a domestic divorce fund. 

' Very dreadful,' said R \vith mock gravity, ' to hear 

a recently affianced young man talk like that.' 

. . . What should I do then ? Marry ? I suppose so. 
Shadows of the prison-house. At first I said I ought not 
to marry for two years. Then when I am wildly excited 
with her I say ' next week.' We could. There are no 
arrangements to be made. All her furniture — flat, etc. 
But I feel we ought to wait until the War is over. 

At dinner-time to-night I was feverish to do three things 
at once : write out my day's Journal, eat my food, and read 
the Journal of Marie Bashkirtseft . Did all three — but 
unfortunately not at once, so that when I was occupied 
with one I would surreptitiously cast a glance sideways at 
the other — and repined. 

After dinner, paid a visit to the and found Mrs 

playing Patience. I told her that 12,000 lives had 

been lost in the great Itahan earthquake. Still going on 
dealing out the cards, she said in her gentle voice that that 
was dreadful and still absorbed in her cards inquired if 
earthquakes had aught to do with the weather. 

' An earthquake must be a dreadful thing,' she gently 
piped, as she abstractedly dealt out the cards for a new 
game in a pretty Morris-papered room in Kensington. 

January 20. 

At a Public Dinner 

. . . The timorous man presently took out his cigarette- 
case and was going to take out a cigarette, when he re- 



176 THE JOURNAL OF [Feb.. 1915 

collected that he ought first to offer one to the millionaire 
on liis right. Fortunately the cigarette case was silver 
and the cigarettes appeared — from my side of the dinner- 
table — to be fat Egyptians. Yet the timorous and un- 
assuming bug-hunter hesitated palpably. Ought he to 
offer his cigarettes ? He thought of his own balance at 
the bank and then of the millionaire's and trembled. 
The case after all was only silver and the cigarettes were 
not much more than a halfpenny each. Was it not im- 
pertinent ? He sat a moment studying the open case 
which he held in both hands like a hymn book, while the 
millionaire ordered not wines — but a bass ! At last 
courage came, and he inoffensively pushed the cigarettes 
towards his friend. 

' No, thanks 1' smiled the millionaire, ' I don't smoke.' 
And so, 'twas a unicorn dilemma after all. 

February 15. 

Spent Xmas week at work in her studio, transcribing my 
Journals while she made drawings. All unbeknown to her 
I was copying out entries of days gone by — how scanda- 
lised she would be if ... 1 

February 22. 

What an amazing Masque is Rotten Row on a Sunday 
morning ! I sat on a seat there this morning and watched 
awhile. 

It was most exasperating to be in this kaleidoscope of 
human life without the slightest idea as to who they all 
were. One man in particular, I noticed — a first-class 
' swell ' — whom I wanted to touch gently on the arm, slip 
a half-a-crown into his hand and whisper, ' There, tell me 
all about yourself.' 

Such ' swells ' there were that out in the fairway, my 
little cockle-shell boat was wellnigh swamped. To be in 
the wake of a really magnificent Duchess simply rocks a 
small boat in an alarming fasliion. I leaned over my 
paddles and gazed up. They steamed past unheeding. 



I9I3, Feb.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 177 

but I kept my nerve all right and palled in and out quizzing 
and observing. 

It is nothing less than scandalous that here I am aged 
25 with no means of acquainting myself with contemporary 
men and women even of my own rank and station. The 
worst of it is, too, that I have no time to lose — in my state 
of health. Tliis accursed ill-health cuts me off from 
everything. I make pitiful attempts to see the world 
around me by an occasional visit (wind, weather, and 
health permitting) to Petticoat Lane, the Docks, Rotten 
Row, Leicester Square, or the Ethical Church. To- 
morrow I purpose going to the Christian Scientists'. 
Meanwhile, the others participate in Armageddon. 

February 23. 

Looking for Lice at the Zoo 

The other day went to the Zoological Gardens, and, by 
permission of the Secretary, went round with the keepers 
and searched the animals for ectoparasites. 

Some time this year I have to make a scientific Report 
to the Zoological Society upon all the Lice which from 
time to time have been collected on animals dying in the 
gardens and sent me for study and determination. 

We entered the cages, caught and examined several 
Tinamous, Rhinochetus, Eurypygia, and many more, to 
the tune of ' The Policeman's Holiday ' whistled by a 
Mynah I It was great fun. 

Then we went into the Ostrich House and thoroughly 
searched two Kiwis. These, being nocturnal birds, were 
roosting underneath a heap of straw. When we had 
finished investigating their feathers, they ran back to 
their straw at once, the keeper giving them a friendly tap 
on the rear to hurry them up a bit. They are just like 
little old women bundling along. 

The Penguins, of course, were the most amusing, and, 
after operating fruitlessly for some time on ao trublesome 
Adele, I was amused to find, on turning around, all the 
other Adeles clustered close around my feet in an attitude 
of mute supplication. 

M 



178 THE JOURNAL OF [Feb., 191 5 

The Armadillo required all the strength of two keepers 
to hold still while I went over his carcase with lens and 
forceps. I was also allowed to handle and examine the 
Society's two specimens of that amazing creature the 
Echidna. 

BalcBmceps rex like other royalty had to be approached 
decorously. He was a big, ill-tempered fellow, and quite 
unmanageable except by one keeper for whom he showed 
a priference. While we other conspirators hid our- 
selves outside, this man entered the house quietly and ap- 
proached the bird with a gentle cooing sound. Then 
suddenly he grabbed the bill and held on. We entered 
at the same moment and secured the wings, and I began 
the search — without any luck. We must have made an 
amusing picture — three men holding on for dear life to a 
tall, grotesque bird with an imperial eye, while a fourth 
searched the feathers for parasites ! 

February 28. 

What a boon is Sunday ! I can gci out of bed just when 
the spirit moves me, dress and bath leisurely, even with 
punctilio. How nice to dawdle in the bath with a cigar- 
ette, to hear the holiday sound of Church bells ! Then 
comes that supreme moment when, shaven, clean, warm 
and hungry for breakfast and coffee, I stand a moment 
before the looking-glass and comb out my towzled hair 
with a parting as straight as a line in Euclid. That gives 
the finishing touch of self-satisfaction, and I go down to 
breakfast ready for the day's pleasure. I hate this week- 
day strain of having to be always each day at a set time 
in a certain place. 

March 3. 

I often sit in my room at the B. M. and look out at the 
traffic with a glassy, mesmerised face — a faineant. How 
different from that extremely busy youth who came to 
London in 1912. Say — could that lad be I ? How many 
hours do I waste day-dreaming. This morning I dreamed 
and dreamed and could not stop dreaming — I had not the 



1 91 5. March] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 179 

will to shake myself down to my task. . . . My memories 
simply trooped the colour. 

It surprised me to find how many of them had gone out 
of my present consciousness and with what poignancy of 
feeling I recognised them again ! How selfishly for the 
most part we all live in our present selves or in the selves 
that are to be. 

Then I raced thro' all sorts of future possibilities — oh ! 
when and how is it all going to end ? How do you expect 
me to settle down to scientific research mth all this internal 
unrest ! The scientific man above all should possess the 
' quiet mind in all changes of fortune ' — Sir Henry Wotton's 
How happy is he born and taught. 

The truth is I am a hybrid: a mixture of two very 
distinct temperaments and they are often at war. To 
keep two different natures and two different mental habits 
simultaneously at work is next to impossible. Conse- 
quently plenty of waste and fever and — as I might have 
discovered earlier for myself — success almost out of the 
question. If only I were pure-bred science or pure-bred 
art! 

March 4. 

Life is a dream and we are all somnambuloes. We know 
that for a fact at all times when we are most intensely 
alive — at crises of unprecedented change, in sorrow or 
catastrophe, or in any unusual incident brought swiftly to 
a close like a vision ! 



I sit here writing this — a mirage ! Who am I ? No one 
can say. What am I ? 'A soap-bubble hanging from a 
reed.' 

Every man is an inexhaustible treasury of human per- 
sonality. He can go on burrowing in it for an eternity if 
he have the desire — and a taste for introspection. I like 
to keep myself well within the field of the microscope, and, 
with as much detachment as I can muster, to watch myself 
live, to report my observations of what I say, feel, think. 



l8o THE JOURNAL OF [March. 1915 

In default of others, I am mj'self my own spectator and 
sclf-apprcciator — critical, discerning, vigilant, fond ! — my 
own stupid Boswcll, shrewd if silly. This spectator of mine, 
it seems to me, must be a very moral gentleman and emi- 
nently superior. His incessant attentions, while I go on 
my way misconducting myself, goad me at times into a 
surly, ill-tempered outbreak, like Dr. Jolmson. I hate 
being shadowed and reported Hke this. Yet on the whole 
— like old Samuel again — I am rather pleased to be Bos- 
welled. It flatters me to know that at least one person 
takes an unremitting interest in all my ways. 

And, mind you, there are people who have seen most 
things but have never seen themselves walldng across the 
stage of life. If someone shows them ghmpses of them- 
selves they will not recognise the likeness. How do you 
walk ? Do you know your own idiosyncrasies of gait, 
manner of speech, etc. ? 

I never cease to interest myself in the Gothic architec- 
ture of my own fantastic soul.* 

March 6, _, _, 

The Punch and Judy Show. 

Spent a most delightful half-an-hour to-day reading an 
account in the EncyclopcBdia Britannica (one of my favourite 
books — it's so ' gey disconnekkit ') the history of the 
Punch and Judy Show. It's a delightful bit of anti- 
quarian lore and delighted me the more because it had 
never occurred to me before that it had an ancient history. 
I am thoroughly proud of this recent acquisition of know- 
ledge and as if it were a valuable freehold I have been 
showing it off saying, ' Rejoice with me — see what I have 

got here.' I fired it off first in detail at ; and H 

and D will probably be my victims to-morrow. After 

all, it is a charming little cameo of history: compact, with 
plenty of scope for conjecture, theory, research, and just 
that combination of all three which would suit my taste 
and capacity if I had time for a Monograph. 

1 1 91 7. I am now editing my own Journal — bowdlerising my 
own book I • 



I9I5. March] A DISAPPOINTED MAN i8i 

March 22. 

I waste much time gaping and wondering. During a 
walk or in a book or in the middle of an embrace, suddenly 
I awake to a stark amazement at everything. The bare 
fact of existence paralyses me — holds my mind in mort- 
main. To be alive is so incredible that all I do is to lie 
still and merely breathe — like an infant on its back in a 
cot. It is impossible to be interested in anything in par- 
ticular while overhead the sun shines or underneath my 
feet grows a single blade of grass. ' The things immediate 
to be done,' says Thoreau, ' I could give them all up to 
hear this locust sing.' All my energies become immo- 
bilised, even my self-expression frustrated. I could not 
exactly master and describe how I feel during such 
moments. 

March 23. Johnson v, Yves Delage. 

I expect we have all of us at one time or another 
heard ourselves addressing to annoying, objectionable 
acquaintances some such stinging castigation as Hazlitt's 
letter to Gifford, or Burke's letter to a Noble Lord, or 
Johnson's letter to Lord Chesterfield, or Rousseau's letter 
to the Archbishop of Paris. If only I could indulge my- 
self ! At this moment I could glut my rancours on six 
different persons at least ! 

What a raging discontent I have suffered to-day ! 
What cynicism, what bitterness of spirit, what envy, hate, 
exasperation, childish petulance, what pusillanimous feelings 
and desires, what crude efforts to flout simple, ingenuous 
folk with my own thwarted, repressed self-assertiveness ! 

A solemn fellow told me he had heard from Johnson 
who said he had already had much success from collecting 
in moss.^ With an icy politeness I asked who Johnson 
was. Who the Hell is Johnson ? As a quid pro quo I 
began to talk of Yves Delage, which left him as much in 
the dark as he left me. Our Gods differ, we have a different 
hierarchy. 

1 A method of collecting insects in winter by shaking moss over 
white paper. 



l82 THE JOURNAL OF [March, 1915 

'Well, how's your soul?' said R , bursting in with 

a sardonic smile. 

I gave him a despairing look and said : 

' Oh ! a pink one with blue spots,' and he left me to my 
fate. 

Had tea with the and was amazed to find on the 

music tray in the drawing-room of these inoffensive artists 

a copy of 's Memoir on Synapta. Within his hearing, 

1 said, ' Did you and Mrs find this exciting reading ? ' 

And I held it up with a sneer. I felt I had laid bare a 

nerve and forthwith proceeded to make it twinge. , 

of course, was glib with an explanation, yet the question 
remains incalculable — just how pleased that young man 
is with himself. 

After tea went out into the Studio and watched these 
two enthusiasts paint. I must have glowered at them. 
I — the energetic, ambitious, pushing youth — of necessity 
sitting down doing nought, as unconsidered as a child 
playing on the floor. I recollected my early days in my 
attic laboratory and sighed. Where is my energy now ? 

Mrs plays Chopin divinely well. How I envied 

this man — to have a wife play you Chopin ! 

March 24. 

It is fortunate I am ill in one way for I need not make 
my mind up about this War. I am not interested in it 
— this filth and lunacy. I have not yet made up my mind 
about myself. I am so steeped in myself — in my moods, 
vapours, idiosyncrasies, so self-sodden, that I am unable 
to stand clear of the data, to marshal and classify the 
multitude of facts and thence draw the deduction what 
manner of man I am. I should like to know — if only as 
a matter of curiosity. So what in God's name am I ? 
A fool, of course, to start with — but the rest of the diag- 
nosis ? 

One feature is my incredible levity about serious 
matters. Nothing matters, provided the tongue is not 
furred. I have coquetted with death for so long now, and 
endured such prodigious ill- health that my main idea when 



1915, March] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 183 

in a fair state of repair is to seize tlie passing moment and 
squeeze it dry. The thing that counts is to be drunken; 
as Baudelaire says, ' One must be for ever drunken; that 
is the sole question of importance. If you would not feel 
the horrible burden of time that bruises your shoulders 
and bends you to the earth, you must be drunken without 
cease.' 

Another feature is my insatiable curiosity. My pur- 
pose is to move about in tliis ramshackle, old curiosity shop 
of a world sampling existence. I would try everything, 
meddle lightly with everything. Rehgions and philoso- 
phies I devour with a relish, Pragmatism and Bishop 
Berkeley and Bergson have been my favourite bagatelles 
in turn. My consciousness is a ragbag of things: all quips, 
quirks, and quillets, all excellent passes of pate, all the 
' obsolete curiosities of an antiquated cabinet ' take my 
eye for a moment ere I pass on. In Sir Thomas Browne's 
Pseudodoxia, 1 am interested to find ' why Jews do not 
stink, what is the superstition of sneezing after saluting, 
wherefore negroes are black,' and so forth. There is 
a poetic appropriateness that in a.d. 1915 I should be 
occupied mainly in the study of Lice. I like the insolence 
of it. 

They tell me that if the Germans won it would put back 
the clock of civilisation for a century. But what is a 
meagre 100 years ? Consider the date of the first Egyptian 
dynasty ! We are now only in a.d. 1915 — surely we could 
afford to chuck away a century or two ? Why not evac- 
uate the whole globe and give the ball to the Boches to 
play with — ^just as an experiment to see what they can 
make of it. After all there is no desperate hurry. Have 
we a train to catch ? Before I could be serious enough to 
fight, I should want God first to dictate to me his pro- 
gramme of the future of mankind. 

March 25. 

Often in the middle of a quite vivid ten seconds of life, 
I find I have switched myself off from myself to 
make room for the person of a disinterested and usually 



184 THE JOURNAL OF [March, 1915 

vulgar spectator. Even in the thrill of a devotional 
kiss I have overluard myself saying, ' Hot stuff, tliis 
witch.' Or in a room full of agreeable and pleasant people, 
while I am being as agreeable as I know how, comes the 
whisper in a cynical tone, ' These damned women.' I am 
apparently a triple personality: 
(i) The respectable youth. 

(2) The foul-mouthed commentator and critic. 

(3) The real but unknown I. 

Curious that these three should live together amiably 
in the same tenement ! ^ 

In a Crowd 

A crowd makes egotists of us all. Most men find it 
repugnant to them to submerge themselves in a sea of 
their fellows. A silent, listening crowd is potentially full 
of commotion. Some poor devils suffocating and unable 
any longer to bear the strain will shout, ' Bravo,' or 'Hear, 
hear,' at every opportunity. At the feeblest joke we all 
laugh loudly, welcoming this means of self-survival. 
Hence the success of the Salvation Army. To be preached 
at and prayed for in the mass for long on end is what 
human nature can't endure in silence and a good deal of 
self can be smuggled by an experienced Salvationist into 
* Alleluia ' or ' The Lord be praised.' 

Naming Cockroaches 

I had to determine the names of some exotic cock- 
roaches to-day and finding it very difficult and dull raised 
a weak smile in two enthusiasts who know them as 
' Blattids ' by rechristening them with great frivolity, 
' Fat 'eds.' 

'These bloody insects,' I said to an Australian ento- 
mologist of rare quahty. 

' A good round oath,' he answered quietly. 

' If it was a square one it wouldn't roll properly, ' I said. 
It is nice to find an entomologist with whom I can swear 
and talk bawdy. 



1915. April] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 185 

March 26. 

A Test of Happiness 

The true test of happiness is whether you know what 
day of the week it is. A miserable man is aware of 
this even in liis sleep. To be as cheerful and rosy-cheeked 
on Monday as on Saturday, and at breakfast as at dinner 
is to — well, make an ideal husband. 

• • • • • • * 

... It is a strange metempsychosis, this transformation 
of an enthusiast — tense, excitable, and active, into a 
Bceptic, nerveless, ironical, and idle. That's what ill- 
health can do for a man. To be among enthusiasts — 
zoologists, geologists, entomologists — as I frequently am, 
makes me feel a very old man, regarding them as children, 
and provokes painful retrospection and sugary sentimen- 
tality over my past flame now burnt out. 

I do wonder where I shall end up ; what shall I be twenty 
years hence ? It alarms me to find I am capable of such 
remarkable changes in character. I am fluid and can be 
poured into any mould. I have moments when I see in 
myself the most staggering possibihties. I could become 
a wife-beater, and a drug-taker (especially the last). My 
curiosity is often such a ridiculous weakness that I have 
found myself playing Peeping Tom and even spying into 
private documents. In a railway carriage I will twist my 
neck and risk any rudeness to see the title of the book my 
neighbour is reading or how the letter she is reading begins. 

April 10. 

' Why,* asks Samuel Butler, ' should not chicken be 
born and clergymen be laid and hatched ? Or why, at 
any rate, should not the clcrgymian be born full grown 
and in Holy Orders not to say already beneficed ? The 
present arrangement is not convenient ... it is not only 
not perfect but so much the reverse that we could hardly find 
words to express our sense of its awkwardness if we could 
look upon it with new eyes. ..." 

As soon as we are born, if we could but get up, bath, 



i86 THE JOURNAL OF [April. 1915 

dress, shave, breakfast once for all, if we could ' cut ' 
these monotonous cycles of routine. If once the sun rose 
it would stay up, or once we were alive we were immortal 1 
— how much forrarder we should all get — always at the 
heart of things, working without let or hindrance in a 
straight line for the millennium ! Now we waltz along 
instead. Even planets die off and new ones come in their 
place. How infinitely wearisome it seems. When an old 
man dies what a waste, and when a baby is born what a 
redundancy of labour in front ! 

Two People I hate in particular 

The man walking along the pavement in front of me 
giving me no room to pass under the satisfactory impres- 
sion that he is the only being on the pavement or in the 
street, city, country, world, universe: and it all belongs 
to him even the moon and sun and stars. 

The woman on the 'bus the other night — pouring out an 
interminable flow of poisonous chatter into the ear of her 
man — poor, exhausted devil who kept answering dreamily 
' Oom ' and ' Yes ' and ' Oom '—how I hated her for his 
sake ! 

April II. 

Beethoven's Fifth Symphony 

If music moves me, it always generates images — a pro- 
cession of apparently disconnected images in my mind. 
In the Fifth Symphony, for example, as soon as the first 
four notes are sounded and repeated, this magic popula- 
tion springs spontaneously into being. A nude, terror- 
stricken figure in headlong flight with hands pressed to 
the ears and arms bent at the elbows — a staring, bulgy- 
eyed mad-woman such as one sees in Raemaker's cartoons 
of the Belgian atrocities. A man in the first onset of 
mental agony on hearing sentence of death passed upon him. 
A wounded bird, fluttering and flopping in the grass. It 
is the struggle of a man with a steam-hammer — Fate. As 
tho' thro' the walls of a closed room — some mysterious 
room, a fearful spot — I crouch and listen and am conscious 



191 5, April] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 187 

that inside some brutal punishment is being meted out 
— there are short intervals, then unrelenting pursuit, then 
hammerlike blows — melodramatic thuds, terrible silences 
(I crouch and wonder what has happened), and the pur- 
suit begins again. I see clasped hands and appealing eyes 
and feel very helpless and mystified outside. An epileptic 
vision or an opium dream — Dostoievsky or De Quincey 
set to music. 

In the Second Movement the man is broken, an un- 
recognisable vomit. I see a pale youth sitting with arms 
hanging limply between the knees, hands folded, and with 
sad, impenetrable eyes that have gazed on unspeakable 
horrors. I see the brave, tearful smile, the changed life 
after personal catastrophe, the Cross held before closing 
eyes, sudden absences of mind, reveries, poignant retro- 
spects, the rustle of a dead leaf of thought at the bottom 
of the heart, the tortuous pursuit of past incidents down 
into the silence of yesterday, the droning of comfortable 
words, the painful collection of the wreckage of a life with 
intent to ' carry on ' for a while in duty bound, for the 
widow consolation in the child; a greyhound's cold wet 
nose nozzling into a listless hand, and outside a Tlirush 
singing after the storm, etc., etc. 

In the Third Movement comes the crash by which I 
know something final and dreadful has happened. Then 
the resurrection v/ith commotion in Heaven: tempests and 
human faces, scurryings to and fro, brazen portcullises 
clanging to, never to open more, the distant roll of drums 
and the sound of horses' hoofs. From behind the inmost 
veil of Heaven I faintly catch the huzzas of a great multi- 
tude. Then comes a great healing wind, then a few ghost- 
like tappings on the window pane till gradually the Avenue 
of Arches into Heaven come into view with a solemn 
cortege advancing slowlj^ along. 

Above the great groundswell of woe, Hope is restored and 
the Unknown Hero enters with all pomp into his King- 
dom, etc., etc. 

I am not surprised to learn that Beethoven was once on 
the verge of suicide. 



l88 THE JOURNAL OF [April, 1915 

April 15. 

There is an absurd fellow . . . who insists on taking 
my pirouettes seriously. I say irresponsibly, ' All men 
arc liars/ and he replies with the jejuneness and exacti- 
tude of a pronouncing dictionary, ' A liar is one who makes 
a false statement with intent to deceive.' What can I do 
with him ? ' Did I ever meet a lady,' he asked, ' who 
wasn't afraid of mice ?' 'I don't know,' I told him, ' I 
never experiment with ladies in that way.' 

He hates me. 

May II. 

This mysterious world makes me chilly. It is chilly to 
be alive among ghosts in a nightmare of calamity. This 
Titanic war reduces me to the size and importance of a 
debilitated housefly. So what is a poor egotist to do ? 
To be a common soldier is to become a pawn in the game 
between ambitious dynasts and their ambitious marshals. 
You lose all individuality, you become a ' bayonet ' or a 
' machine gun,' or ' cannon fodder,' or ' fighting material.' 

May 22. 

Generosity may be only weakness, philanthropy (beau- 
tiful word), self-advertisement, and praise of others sheer 
egotism. One can almost hear a eulogist winding himself 
up to strike his eulogy that comes out sententious, pom- 
pous, and full of self. 

May 23. 

The following is a description of Lermontov by Maurice 
Baring: 

' He had except for a few intimate friends an impossible 
temperament; he was proud, over-bearing, exasperated 
and exasperating, filled with a savage amour-propre and 
he took a cliildish delight in annoying; he cultivated " le 
plaisir aristocratique de d^plaire." ... He could not 
bear not to make himself felt and if he felt he was unsuccess- 
ful in tills by fair means he resorted to unpleasant ones. 



IQI5, May] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 189 

Yet he was warm-hearted, thirsting for love and kindness 
and capable of giving himself up to love if he chose. . . . 
At the bottom of all this lay no doubt a deep-seated dis- 
gust with liimsclf and with the world in general, and a 
complete indifference to life resulting from large aspira- 
tions which could not find an outlet and recoiled upon 
himself.' 
This is an accurate description of Me. 

May 26. 

The time will come — it's a great way off — when a joke 
about sex will be not so much objectionable as unintelli- 
gible. Thanks to Christian teaching, a nude body is now 
an obscenity, of the congress of the sexes it is indecent to 
speak and our birth is a corruption. Hence come a legion 
of evils: reticence, therefore ignorance and therefore ven- 
ereal disease ; prurience especially in adolescence, poisonous 
literature, and dirty jokes. The mind is contaminated 
from early youth; even the healthiest-minded girl will 
blush at the mention of the wonder of creation. Yet to the 
perfectly enfranchised mind it should be as impossible to 
joke about sex as about mind or digestion or physiology. 
The perfectly enfranchised poet — and Walt Whitman in 
' The Song of Myself ' came near being it — should be as 
ready to sing of the incredible raptures of the sexual act 
between ' twin souls ' as of the clouds or sunshine. Every 
man or woman who has loved has a heart full of beautiful 
things to say but no man dare — for fear of the police, for 
fear of the coarse jests of others and even of a break- 
down in his own highmindedness. I wonder just how 
much wonderful lyric poetry has thus been lost to the 
world ! 

May 27. 

The Pool: A Retrospect 

From above, the pool looked like any little innocent 
sheet of water. But down in the hollow itself it grew 
sinister. The villagers used to say and to beheve that it 



IQO THE JOURNAL Of [May, 1915 

had no bottom and certainly a very great depth in it could 
he felt if not accurately gauged as one stood at the water's 
edge. A long time ago, it was a great limestone quarry, 
but to-day the large mounds of rubble on one side of it are 
covered with grass and planted with mazzaxd trees, grown 
to quite a large girth. On the other side one is confronted 
by a tall sheet of black, carboniferous rock, rising sheer 
out of the inky water — a bare sombre surface on which no 
mosses even — ' tender creatures of pity,' Ruskin calls 
them — have taken compassion by softening the jagged 
edges of the strata or nestling in the scars. It is an ex- 
cellent example of ' Contortion ' as Geologists say, for the 
beds are bent into a quite regular geometrical pattern 
— syncline and anticline in waves — by deep-seated plu- 
tonic force that makes the mind quake in the effort to 
imagine it. 

On the top of this rock and overhanging the water — a 
gaunt, haggard-looking Fir tree impends, as it seems in a 
perilous balance, while down below, the pool, sleek and 
shiny, quietly waits with a catlike patience. 

In summer time, successive rows of Foxgloves one 
behind the other in barbaric splendour are ranged around 
the grassy rubble slopes like spectators in an amphi- 
theatre awaiting the spectacle. Fire-bellied Efts slip here 
and there lazily thro' the water. Occasionally a Grass- 
snake would swim across the pool and once I caught one 
and on opening his stomach found a large fire-bellied Eft 
inside. The sun beats fiercely into this deep hollow and 
makes the water tepid. On the surface grows a glairy Alga, 
which was once all green but now festers in yellow patches 
and causes a horrible stench. Everything is absolutely 
still, air and water are stagnant. A large Dytisciis beetle 
rises to the surface to breathe ana every now and then 
large bubbles of marsh gas come sailing majestically up 
from the depth and explode quietty into the fetid air. The 
honificnfss of this place impressed me even when I was 
intent only on fishing there for bugs and efts. Now, seen in 
retrospect, it haunts me. 



1 91 5, May] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 191 

May 28. 

It is only by accident that certain of our bodily func- 
tions are distasteful. Many birds eat the faeces of their 
young. The vomits of some Owls are formed into shapely 
pellets, often of beautiful appearance, when composed of 
the glittering multi-coloured elytra of Beetles, etc. The 
common Eland is known to micturate on the tuft of hair 
on the crown of its head, and it does this habitually, when 
lying down, by bending its head around and down — 
apparently because of the aroma, perhaps of sexual 
importance during mating time, as it is a habit of the male 
alone. 

At lunch time, had an unpleasant intermittency period 
in my heart's action and this rather eclipsed my anxiety 
over a probable Zeppelin Raid. Went home to my rooms 
by 'bus, and before setting off to catch my train for West 

Wycombe to stay for the week-end at a Farm with E 

swallowed two teaspoonfuls of neat brandy, filled my 
flask, and took a taxi to Paddington. At 3.50 started to walk 

to C H Farm from W. Wycombe Station, where 

E has been lodging for some weeks taking a rest 

cure after a serious nervous breakdown thro' over- 
work. As soon as I stepped out of the train, I sniffed 
the fresh air and soon made off down the road, happy to 
have left London and the winter and the war far behind. 
The first man of whom I inquired the way happened to 
have been working at the Farm only a few weeks ago, so 
I relied implicitly on his directions, and as it was but a 
mile and a half decided that my wobbly heart could stand 
the strain. I set out with a good deal of pleasurable 
anticipation. I was genuinely looking forward to seeing 

E , altho' in the past few weeks our relations had 

become a little strained, at least on my part, mainly 
because of her little scrappy notes to me scribbled in 
pencil, undated, and dull ! Yet I could do with a volume of 
'Sonnets from the Portuguese.' These letters ciiilled me. 
In reply, I wrote with cold steel short, lifeless formal notes, 
for I felt genuinely aggrieved that she should care so little 
how she wrote to me or how she expressed her love. I 



192 THE JOURNAL OF [May. 191 5 

became ironical with myself over the prospect of marrying 
a girl who appeared so little to appreciate my education 
and mental habits. [\Miat a popinjay ! — 1917-] My 
petty spirit grew disenchanted, out of love. I was false 
to her in a hundred inconsiderable little ways and even 
deliberately planned the breaking off of the engagement 
some montl^ hence when she should be restored to 
normal health. 

But once in the country and, as I thought, nearing my 
love at every step and at every bend in the road, even 
anticipating her arms around me with real pleasure (for 
she promised to meet me half way), I on a sudden grew 
eager for her again and was assured of a happy week-end 
with her. Then the road grew puzzling and I became con- 
fused, uncertain of the way. I began to murmur she 
should have given me instructions. Every now and then 
I had to stop and rest as my heart was beating so furiously. 
Espying a farm on the left I made sure I had arrived at my 
destination and walked across a field to it and entered the 
yard where I heard some one milking a cow in a shed. I 
shouted over the five-barred gate into empty space, ' Is 

this C H Farm ?' A labourer came out of the shed 

and redirected me. It was now ten to five. I was tired 
and out of sorts, and carried a troublesome little handbag. 

I swore and cursed and found fault with E and 

the Universe. 

I trudged on, asking people, as I went, the way, finally 
emerging from the cover of a beautiful wood thro' a wicket 
gate almost at the entrance to the Farm I sought. At the 
front door we embraced affectionately and we entered at 
once, I putting a quite good face upon my afternoon's 
exertions — when I consider my unbridled fury of a short 

time before. E , as brown as a berry, conducted me 

to my bec^^'^om and I nearly forgot to take this obvious 
opportunity of kissing her again. 

' How are you ?' I asked. 

' All right,' she said, fencing. 

•But really?" 

? All right' 



I9I5, May] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 193 

(A little nettled): ' My dear, that isn't going to satisfy 
me. You will have to tell me exactly how you are.' 

After tea, I recovered myself and we went for a walk to- 
gether. The beauty of the country warmed me up, and 
in the wood we kissed — I for my part happy and quite 
content with the present state of our relations, i.e., affec- 
tionate but not perfervid. 

May 29. 

Got up early and walked around the Farm before break- 
fast. Everything promises to be delightful — young calves, 
broods of ducklings, and turkeys, fowls, cats and dogs. 
In the yard are two large Cathedral barns, with enorm^ous 
pent roofs sloping down to within about two feet of the 
ground and entered by way of great double doors that 
open with the slowness and solemnity of a Castle's portal 
studded with iron knobs. It thrilled me to the marrow 
on first putting my head outside to be greeted with the 
grunt of an invisible pig that I found scraping his back on 
the other side of the garden wall. 

In the afternoon, E and I sat together in the Beech 

Wood : E on a deck chair and I on a rug on the ground. 

In spite of our beautiful surroundings we did not progress 
very well, but I attributed her slight aloofness to the state 
of her nerves. She is still far from recovered. These 
wonderful Beech Woods are quite new to me. The forest 
beech is a very different plant from the solitary tree. In 
the struggle to reach the light the Forest Beech grows lean 
and tall and gives an extraordinary suggestion of wiry 
powerful strength. On the margins of the wood, Bluebells 
were mobilised in serried ranks. Great Tits whistled — 
in the language of our allies — ' Bijou, Bijou ' and I agreed 
with every one of them. 

Some folk don't like to walk over Bluebells or Butter- 
cups or other flowers growing on the ground. But it is 
foolish to try to pamper Nature as if she were a sickly 
child. She is strong and can stand it. You can stamp on 
and crush a thousand flowers — ^theywill all come up again 
next year. 

N 



194 THE JOURNAL OF [May, 1915 

By some labyrintliine way which I cannot now recall, 
the conversation worked round to a leading question by 
E. — if in times like these we ought not to cease being in 
love ? She was quite calm and serious. I said ' No, of 
course not, silly.' My immediate apprehension was that 
she had perceived the coldness in my letters and I was 
quite satisfied that she was so well able to read the signs 
in the sky. ' But you don't wash to go on ?' she persisted. 
I persisted that I did, that I had no misgivings, no second 
thoughts, that I was not merety taking pity on her, etc. 
The wild temptation to seize this opportunity for a break 
I smothered in reflecting how ill she was and how necessary 
to wait first till she was well again. These thoughts passed 
swiftly, vaguely like wraiths thro' my mind: I was barely 
conscious of them. Then I recalkd the sonnet about 
coming in the rearward of a conquered woe and mused 
thtreon. But I took no action. [Fortunately — for me. 
1916.] 

Presently with cunning I said that there was no cloud 
on my horizon whatever — only her ' letters disappointed me 
a little — they were so cold,' but ' as soon as I saw you again 
darling, those feelings disappeared.' 

As soon as they were spoken I knew they were not as 
they might seem, the words of a liar and hypocrite. They 

became true. E looked very sweet and helpless and I 

loved her again as much as ever. 

' It's funny,' she said, ' but I thought your letters were 
cold. Letters are so horrid.' 

The incident shews how impossible is intellectual honesty 
between lovers. Truth is at times a hound which must 
to kennel. 

'Write as you would speak,' said L 'You know I'm 
not one to carp about a spelling mistake ! 

The latter remark astonished me. Was it indeed I who was 
speaking ? All the week I had been fuming over this. Yet 
I was honest : the Sun and E.'s presence were dispelling my 
ill-humours and crochets. We sealed our conversation with 
a Iciss and swore never to doubt each other again. E.'s spell 
was beginning to act. It is always the same. I cannot resist 



1915. May] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 193 

the actual presence of this woman. Out of her sight, 
I can in cold blood plan a brutal rupture. I can pay her 
a visit when the first kiss is a duty and the embrace a 
formality. But after 5 minutes I am as passionate and 
devoted as before. It is always thus. After leaving her, 
I am angry to think that once more I have succumbed. 

In the evening we went out into a field and sat together 
in the grass. It is beautiful. We lay fiat on our backs 
and gazed up at the sky. 



S. H. has died of enteric at Malta. In writing to Mrs 
H., instead of dv.'elling on what a splendid fellow he was 
I belaboared the fact that I still remembered our boyish 
friendship in every detail and still kept his photo on my 
mantelpiece and altho' ' in later years ' I didn't suppose 
we ' had a great deal in common I discovered that a 
friendship even between two small boys cannot wholly 
disappear into the void.' Discussing myself when I ought 
to have been praising him ! Ugh ! She will think what 
a conceited, puff-breasted Jackanapes. These phrases 
have rankled in my mind ever since I dropped the letter 
into the letter-box. ' Your Stanley, Mrs H., was of course 
a very inferior sort of person and naturally, you could 
hardly expect me to remain friendly with him but rest 
assured I hadn't forgotten him,' etc. 

The Luxury of Lunacy 

Yesterday, I read a paper at the Zoological Society about 
lice. There was a goodly baldness of sconce and some 
considerable length of beard present that listened or 
appeared to listen to my innocent remarks with great 
solemnity and sapience. ... I badly wanted to tell 
them some horrid stories about human lice but 1 had not 
the courage. I wanted to jolt these middle-aged gentle- 
men by performing a few tricks but I am too timid for 
such adventures. But before going to sleep I imagined a 
pandemonium in which with a perfectly glacial manner I 



196 THE JOURNAL OF [May. 1915 

pioduced lice alive from my pockets, conjured them down 
from the roof in a rain, with skilful sleight of hand drew 
them out of the chairman's beard, made the ladies scream 
as I approached, dared to say they were all lousy and 
unclean and finished up with an eloquent apostrophe after 
the manner of Thomas de Quincey (and of Sir Walter 
Ralegh before him) beginning: 

' O just, subtle and eloquent avenger, pierce the hides 
of these abominable old fogies, speckle their polished 
calvaria with the scarlet blood drops. . . .' 

But I hadn't the courage. Shelley in a crowded omni- 
bus suddenly burst out : ' O let us sit upon the ground and 
tell sad stories of the deaths of Kings, etc' I've always 
wanted to do something like that and when I have ^5 to 
spare I hope to pull the communication cord of an express 
train — my hands tingle as often as I look at it. Dr. John- 
son's courage in tapping the lamp-posts is really every- 
one's envy tho' we laugh at him for it and say, green-eyed, 
that he was mad. In walking along the pavement, I 
sometimes indulge myself in the unutterable, deeply rooted 
satisfaction of stepping on a separate flagstone where this 
is possible with every stride. And if this is impossible or 
not easy, there arises in me a vague mental uneasiness, 
some subconscious suspicion that the world is not properly 
geometrical and that the whole universe perhaps is working 
out of truth. I am also rather proud of my courageous 
self-sarrender to the daemon of laughter, especially in 
those early days when H. and I used to sit opposite one 
another and howl like hyenas. After the most cacopho- 
nous cachinnations as soon as we had recovered ourselves 
he or I would regularly remark in serious and confidential 
tones, ' 1 say — we really are going mad.' But what a 
delightful luxury to be thus mad amid the great, spacious, 
architectural solemnity with gargoyles and effigies of a 
scientific meeting ! Some people never do more than 
chuckle or smile — and they are often very humorous 
happy people, ignorant nevertheless of the joy of riding 
themselves on the snaffle and losing all control. 

Whilti boating on last summer, we saw two persons, 



I9I5. May] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 197 

a man and a girl sitting together on the beach reading a 
book with heads almost touching. 

'I wonder what they're reading?' I said, and I was 
dying to know. We made a few facetious guesses. 

' Shall I ask ?' 

' Yes, do,' said IMrs — ~. 

The truth is we all wanted to know. We were suddenly 
mad with curiosity as we watched the happy pair turning 
over leaf after leaf. 

While R leaned on his oars, I stood up in the boat 

and threatened to shout out a polite enquiry — ^just to prove 
that the ^\^ll is free. But seeing my intention the boat- 
load grew nervous and said seriously, ' No,' which unnerved 
me at the last moment so I sat down again. Why was I 
so afraid of being thought a lunatic by two persons in the 
distance whom I had never seen and probably would 
never see again ? Besides I was a lunatic— we all were. 

In our post-prandial perambulations about S. Kensington 

G and I often pass the window of a photographer's 

shop containing always a profusion of bare arms, chests, 
necks, bosoms belonging to actresses, aristocrats and 
harlots — some very beautiful indeed. Yet on the whole 
the window annoys us, especially one picture of a young 
thing with an arum lily (ghastly plant !) laid exquisitely 
across her breast. 

' Why do we suffer this ?' I asked G , tapping the 

window ledge as we stood. 

'I don't know,' he answered lamely — morose. (Pause 
while the two embittered young men continue to look in 
and the beautiful young women continue to look out.) 

Thoroughly disgruntled I said at last : ' If only we had 
the courage of our innate madness, the courage of cliildren, 
lunatics and men of genius, we should get some stamp 
paper, and stick a square beneath each photograph with 
our comments.' 

Baudelaire describes how he dismissed a glass vendor 
because he had no coloured glasses — ' glasses of rose and 
crimson, magical glasses, glasses of Paradise '—and, step- 
ping out on to his balcony, threw a flowerpot down on the 



198 THE JOURNAL OF [May, 1915 

tray of glasses as soon as the man issued into the street 
below, shouting down furiously, ' The Life Beautiful ! The 
Life Beautiful.' 

Bergson's theory is that laughter is a ' social gesture ' 
so that when a man in a top hat treads on a banana skin 
and slips down we laugh at him for his lack ' of living 
pliableness.' At this rate we ought to be profoundly 
solemn at Baudelaire's action and moreover a ' social 
gesture ' is more likely to be an expression of society's will 
to conformity in all its members rather than any dan- 
gerous ' living pHableness.' Society hates living pliable- 
ness and prefers drill, routine, orthodoxy, conformity. It 
hated the living pliableness of Turner, of Keats, of Samuel 
Butler and a hundred others. 

But to return to lunacy: the truth is we are all mad 
fundamentally and are merely schooled into sanity by 
education. Pascal wrote : ' Men are so necessarily mad 
that not to be mad would amount to another form of 
madness.' And, in fact, the man who has succeeded in 
extirpating this intoxication of life is usually said to be 
' temporarily insane.' In those melancholy interludes of 
sanity when the mind becomes rationalised we all know 
how much we have been deceived and gulled, what an 
extraordinary spectacle humanity presents rushing on in 
noise and tumult no one knows why or whither. Look at 
that tailor in his shop — why does he do it ? Some day in 
the future he thinks he will. . . . But the day never 
comes and he is nevertheless content. 

May 30. 

A brilliantly sunny day. This funny old farm-house 
where we are staying quite delights me. It is pleasant, 
too, to dawdle over dressing, to put away shaving tackle 
for a day or so, to jump out of bed in the morning and 
thrust my head out of the window into the fresh and stock- 
scented air of the garden, listen to the bird chorus or watch 
a 'scrap' in the poultry-run. Then all unashamed, I dress 
myself before a dear old lady in a flowery print gown con- 
cealing 4 thin legs and over the top of the mirror a piece 



iyi5. May] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 199 

of lace just like a bonnet, caught up in front by a piece 
of pink ribbon. On the walls Pear's Soap Annuals, on 
a side table Swiss Family Robinson and Children of the 
New Forest. Then there are rats under the floors, two 
wooden staircases which wind up out of sight, two white 
dairies, iron hapses on all the doors and a privy at the top 
of the orchard. (Tell me — how do you explain the psy- 
chosis of a being who on a day must have seized hammer 
and nail and an almanac picture of a woman in the snow 
with a basket of goodies — 'An Errand of Mercy '■ — carried 
all three to the top of the orchard and nailed the picture 
up on the dirty wall in the semi-darkness of an earth- 
closet ?) 

Got up quite early before breakfast and went birds'- 
nesting. ... It would take too long and be too senti- 
mental for me to record my feelings on looking into tht 
first nest I found — a Chaffinch's, the first wild bird's eggs 
I have seen for many years. As I stood with an egg be- 
tween thumb and forefinger, my memories flocked down 
like white birds and surrounded me. I remained still, fed 
them with my thoughts and let them perch upon my person 
— ^a second St. Francis of Assisi. Then I shoo'ed them all 
away and prepared for the more palpitating enjoyment of 
to-day. 

After breakfast we sat in the Buttercup field — my love 
and I — and ' plucked up kisses by the roots that grew 
upon our lips.' The sun was streaming down and the 
field thickly peopled with Buttercups. From where we 
sat we could see the whole of the valley below and Farmer 
Whaley — a speck in the distance — working a machine in 
a field. We watched him idly. The gamekeeper's gun 
went off in one ot the covers. It was jolly to put our heads 
together right down deep in the Buttercups and luxuriously 
follow the pelting activities of the tiny insects crawling 
here and there in the forest of grass, clambering over a 
broken blade athwart another like a wrecked tree or busily 
enquiring into some low scrub at the roots. A chicken 
came our way and he seemed an enormous bird from the 
grass-blade's point of view. How nice to be a chicken in 



200 THE JOURNAL OF [May, 1915 

a field of Buttercups and see them as big as Sunflowers ! 
or to be a Gulliver in the Beech Woods ! to be so small 
as to be able to chmb a Buttercup, tumble mto the corolla 
and be dusted yellow or to be so big as to be able to pull 
up a Beech-tree with finger and thumb ! If only a man 
were a magician, could play fast and loose with rigid 
Nature ? what a multitude of rich experiences he could 
discover for himself ! 

I looked long and steadily this morning at the magnifi- 
cent torso of a high forest Beech and tried to project myself 
into its lithe tiger-Hke form, to feel its electric sap vitalising 
all my frame out to the tip of every tingling leaf, to possess 
its splendid erectness in my own bones. I could have 
flung my arms around its fascinating body but the aus- 
terity of the great creature forbad it. Then a Hawk fired 
my ambition! — to be a Hawk, or a Falcon, to have a 
Falcon's soul, a Falcon's heart — that splendid muscle in 
the cage of the thorax— and the Falcon's pride and saga- 
cious eye !^ 



When the sun grew too hot we went into the wood where 
waves of Bluebells dashed up around the foot of the Oak 
in front of us. . . . I never knew before, the delight of 
offering oneself up — an oblation of one's whole being; 1 
even longed for some self-sacrifice, to have to give up 
something for her sake. It intoxicated me to think I was 
making another happy. . . . 

After a lunch of scrambled eggs and rhubarb and cream 
went up into the Beech Wood again and sat on a rug at 
the foot of a tree. The sun filtered in thro' the greenery 
casting a ' dim, religious light.' 

' It's like a cathedral,' I chattered away, ' stained glass 
windows, pillars, aisles — all complete.' 

1 1917. Cf . Sainte-Beuve's Essay on Maurice de Gu6rin : ' II 
aimait i. se repandre et presque k se ramifier dans la Nature. II 
a exprime en mainte occasion cette sensation diffuse, errante; 11 
y avait des jours ou, dans son amour ou calme, il enviait la vie 
forte et muette qui rdgne sons I'ecorce des chenes ; il revait £i je 
ne sais quelle metamorphose en arbre, . . .' 



I9I5, June] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 201 

' It would be nice to be married in a Cathedral like this,' 

she said. ' At C Hall Cathedral, by the Rev. Canon 

Beech . . .' 

' Sir Henry Wood was the organist.' 

' Yes,' she said, ' and the Rev. Blackbird the precentor.' 

We laughed over our silliness ! 

Shrew-mice pattered over the dead leaves and one came 
boldly into view under a bramble bush — she had never 
seen one before. Overhead, a ribald fellow of a Blackbird 

wliistled a jaunty tune. E laughed. ' I am sure that 

Blackbird is laughing at us,' she said. ' It makes me feel 
quite hot.' 

• • • « • ■ ■ 

This evening we sat on the slope of a big field where by 
lowering our eyes we could see the sun setting behind the 
grass blades — a very pretty sight which I do not remember 
ever to have noted before. A large blue Carabus beetle 
was stumbling about, Culvers cooed in the woods near by. 
It was delightful to be up 600 feet on a grassy field under 
the shadow of a large wood at sunset with my darling. 

May 31. 

Sitting at tea in the farm house to-day E cried 

suddenly, pointing to a sandy cat in the garden: 

' There, — he's the father of the little kittens in the barn 

and I'll tell you how we know. P noticed the kittens 

had big feet and later on saw that old Tom stalking across 
the garden with big feet of exactly the same kind.' 

' So you impute the paternity of the kittens to the gentle- 
man under the laurel bushes ?' 

I looked at the kittens to-night and found they had 
extra toes. 'Mr Sixtoes,' as W calls him also pos- 
sesses six toes so the circumstantial evidence looks black 
against him. 

June I. 

In the Beech Wood all the morning. Heigh-ho 1 it's 
grand to lie out as straight as a line on your back, gaze up- 
wards into the tree above, and with a caressing eye follow 



202 THE JOURNAL OF [June. 191 5 

its branches out into their multitudinous ramifications 
forward and back — luxurious travel for the tired eye. 
. . . Then I would shut my eyes and try to guess where 
her next kiss would descend. Then I opened my eyes and 
watched her face in the most extravagant detail, I counted 
the little filaments on her precious mole and saw the sun 
thro' the golden down of her throat. . . . 

Sunlight and a fresh wind. A day of tiny cameos, little 
coups d'oeil, fleeting impressions snapshotted on the mind: 
the glint on the keeper's gun as he crossed a field a mile 
away below us, sunlight all along a silken hawser which 
some Spider engineer had spun between the tops of two 
tall trees spanning the whole width of a bridle path, the 
constant patter of Shrew-mice over dead leaves, the pen- 
dulum of a Bumble-bee in a flower, and the just perceptible 
oscillation of the tree tops in the wind. Wliile we are at 
meals the perfume of Lilac and Stocks pours in thro' the 
window and when we go to bed it is still pouring in bv 
the open lattice. 

June 2. 

Each day I drop a specially selected Buttercup in past 
the little ' Peeler,' at the apex of the ' V ' to lie among the 
blue ribbons of her camisoles — those dainty white leaves 
that wrap around her bosom like the petals around the 
heart of a Rose. Then at night when she undresses, it falls 
out and she preserves it. 

In the woods, hearing an extra loud patter on the leaves, 
we turned our heads and saw a Frog hopping our way. I 
caught him and gave an elementary lesson in Anatomy. 
I described to her the brain, the pineal organ in Anguis, 
Sphenodon's pineal eye, etc. Then we fell to kissing 
again. . . . Every now and then she raises her head and 
listens (like a Thrush on the lawn) thinking she hears 
someone approach. We neither of us speak much . . . 
and at the end of the day, the nerve endings on my lips 
are tingling. 



1915. June] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 203 

Farmer Whaley is a funny old man with a soft pious 
voice. When he feeds the Fowls, he sucks in a gentle, 
caressing noise between his lips for all the world as if he 
fed them because he loved them, and not because he wants 
to fatten them up for killing. His daughter Lucy, aged 22, 
loves all the animals of the farm and they all love her; 
the Cows stand monumentally still wliile she strokes them 
down the blaze or affectionately waggles their dewlaps. 
This morning, she walked up to a little Calf in the farm- 
yard scarce a fortnight old which started to ' back ' in a 
funny way, spraddling out its legs and lowering its head. 
Miss Lucy laughed merrily and cried ' Ah ! you funny 
little thing,' and went off on her way to feed the Fowls who 
all raced to the gate as soon as they heard her footsteps. 
She brought in two double-yolked Ducks' eggs for us to 
see and marvel at. In the breakfast room stands a stuffed 
Collie dog in a glass case. I'd as soon embalm my grand- 
mother and keep her on the sideboard. 

I asked young George, the farm-boy, what bird went 
like this: I whistled it. He looked abashed and said a 
Chaffinch. I told Miss Lucy who said George was a silly 
boy, and Miss Lucy told Farmer Whaley who said George 
ought to know better — it was a Mistle-Thrush. 

The letters are brought us each morning by a tramp 
with a game leg who secretes his Majesty's Mails in a 
shabby bowler hat, the small packages and parcels going 
to the roomy tail pocket of a dirty morning coat. A de- 
cayed gentleman of much interest to us. 



June 3. 

We have made a little nest in the wood and I lead her 
into it by the hand over the briars and undergrowth as if 
conducting her to the grand piano on a concert platform. 
I kissed her. . . . 

Then in a second we switch back to ordinary conversa- 
tion. In an ordinary conversational voice I ask the trees, 
the birds, the sky. 

' What's become of all the gold ?' 



204 THE JOURNAL OF [Junb, 1915 

' What's become of Waring ?' 

' What is Love ? 'Tis not hereafter.' 

' Where are the snows of yesteryear ?' 

'Who killed Cock Robin?' 

' Who's who ?' 

And so on thro' all the great interrogatives that I could 
think of till she stopped my mouth with a kiss and we 
both laughed. 

' Miss Pender kins,' I say. ' Miss Penderlet, Miss 
Pender-au-lait, Miss Pender- filings.' 

What do I mean ? she cries. ' What's the point of the 
names ? Why take my name in vain ? Why ? What ? 
How?' 

She does not know that clever young men sometimes 
trade on their reputation among simpler folk by pretend- 
ing that meaningless remarks conceal some subtlety or 
cynicism, some little Attic snap. 



I have been teaching her to distinguish the songs of 
different birds and often we sit a long while in the Cathe- 
dral Wood while I say, ' What's that ?' and ' What's that ?' 
and she tells me. It is delightful to watch her dear serious 
face as she listens. . . . This evening I gave a viva voce 
examination as per below : 

' What does the Yellow Hammer say ?' 

' What colour are the Hedge Sparrow's eggs ? 

' Describe the Nightjar's voice.' 

' How many eggs does it lay ?' 

' Oh ! you never told me about the Nightjar/ she cried 
outraged. 

' No : it's a difficult question put in for candidates taking 
honours.' 

Then we rambled on into Tomfoolery. ' Describe the 
call- note of a motor omnibus.' ' Why does the chicken 
cross the road ?' and ' What's that ?' — when a railway 
engine whistled in the distance. 

Measure by this our happiness ! 



1913, June] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 205 

June 4. 

At a quarter past eight, this morning, the horse and trap 
were awaiting me outside, and bidding her ' Goodbye ' 1 
got in and drove off — she riding on the step down so far 
as the gate. Then we waved till we were out of sight. 
Back in London by 10 a.m. She makes slow progress, 
poor dear — her nerves are still very much of a jangle. 
But I am better, my heart is less wobbly. 

June 5. 

R ■ cannot make me out. He says one day I complain 

bitterly at not receiving a Portuguese sonnet once a week, 
and the next all is well and Love reigneth. ' Verily a 
Sphinx.' 

June 7. 

Spent the afternoon at the Royal Army Medical College 
in consultation with the Professor of Hygiene. Amid all 
the paraphernalia of research, even when discussing a 
serious problem with a serious Major, I could not take 
myself seriously. I am incurably trivial and always feel 
myself an irresponsible youth, wondering and futile, 
among owlish grown-ups. 

At 4 p.m. departed and went down on Vauxhall Bridge 
and watched a flour-barge being unloaded before returning 
to the Museum. I could readily hang on behind a cart, 
stare at an accident, pull a face at a policeman and then 
run away. 

J une 20. 

... It annoys me to find the laissez-faire attitude of 
our relatives. Not one with a remonstrance for us and 
yet all the omens are against our marriage. In the state 
of my nervous system and in the state of hers — we have 
both had serious nervous break-downs — how impossible it 
seems ! Yet they say all the old conventional things to 
us, about our happiness and so on ! . . . 

. . . Am I a moral monster ? Surely a man who can 



206 THE JOURNAL OF [June, 1915 

combine such calculating callousness with really generous 
impulses of the heart is — what ? 

The truth is I think I am in love with her: but I am 
also mightily in love with myself. One or the other has 
to give. 

June 25. 

If sometimes you saw me in my room by myself, you 
would say I was a ridiculous coxcomb. For I walk about, 
look out of the window then at the mirror — turning my 
head sideways perhaps so as to see it in profile. Or I gaze 
down into my eyes — my eyes always impress me — and 
wonder what effect I produce on others. This, I believe, is 
not so much vanity as curiosity. I know I am not prepos- 
sessing in appearance — my nose is crooked and my skin 
is blotched. Yet my physique — because it is mine — 
interests me. I like to see myself walking and talking. I 
should like to hold myself in my hand in front of me like 
a Punchinello and carefully examine myself at my leisure. 

June 28. 

Saw my brother A off at Waterloo en route for 

Armageddon. Darling fellow. He shook hands with 

P and H , and P wished him ' Goodbye, and 

good luck.' Then he held my hand a moment, said ' Good- 
bye, old man,' and for a second gave me a queer little 
nervous look. I could only say ' Goodbye/ but we under- 
stand each other perfectly. ... It is horrible. I love 
him tenderly. 

June 29. 

Sleep 

Sleep means unconsciousness: unconsciousness is a 
solemn state — you get it for example from a blow on the 
head with a mallet. It always weightily impresses me to 
see someone asleep — especially someone I love as to-day, 
stretched out as still as a log — who perhaps a few minutes 
ago was alive, even animated. And there is nothing so 
welcome, unless it be the sunrise, as the first faint gleam of 



I9I5. July] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 207 

recognition in the half -opened eye when consciousness like 
a mighty river begins to flow in and restore our love to us 
again. 

When I go to bed myself, I sometimes jealously guard 
my faculties from being filched away by sleep. I almost 
fear sleep: it makes me apprehensive — this wonderful and 
unknowable Thing which is going to happen to me for 
wliich I must lay myself out on a bed and wait, with 
an elaborate preparedness. Unlike Sir Thomas Browne, 
I am not always so content to take my leave of the sun 
and sleep, if need be, into the resurrection. And I some- 
times lie awake and wonder when the mysterious Visitor 
will come to me and call me away from this thrilling 
world, and how He does it, to wliich end I try to remain 
conscious of the gradual process and to understand it: 
an impossibility of course involving a contradiction in 
terms. So I shall never know, nor will anybody else, 

July 2. 

I've had such a successful evening — you've no idea I 
The pen simply flew along, automatically easy, page after 
page in perfect sequence. My style trilled and bickered 
and rolled and ululated in an infinite variety; you wall 
find in it all the subtlest modulations, inflections and 
suavities. My afflatus came down from Heaven in a bar 
of light like the Shekinah — straight from God, very God of 
very God. I worked in a golden halo of light and electric 
sparks came off my pen nib as I scratched the paper. 

July 3. 

The Clever Young Man 

Argued with R this morning. He is a type speci- 
men of the clever young man. We both are. Our flowers 
of speech are often forced hot-house plants, paradoxes and 
cynicisms fly as thick as driving rain and Shaw is our great 
exemplar. I could write out an exhaustive analysis of 
the clever young man and being one myself can speak 
frpm * inspired sources ' as the newspapers say. 



3o8 THE JOURNAL OF [July, 1915 

A common habit is to underline and memorise short, 
sharp, witty remarks he sees in books and then on future 
occasions dish them up for his own self-glorification. If 

the author be famous he begins, ' As says, etc' If 

unknown the quotation is quietly purloined. He is always 
very self-conscious and at the same time very self-possessed 
and very conceited. You tell me with tonic candour that 
I am insufferably conceited. In return, I smile, making 
a sardonic avowal of my good opinion of myself, my theory 
being that as conceit is, as a rule, implicit and, as a rule, 
blushingly denied, you will mistake my impudent con- 
fession for bluff and conclude there is really something far 
more substantial and honest beneath my apparent conceit. 
If, on the other hand, I am conceited, why I have admitted 
it — I agree with you — but tho' there is no virtue in the 
confession being quite detached and unashamed — still you 
haven't caught me by the tail. It is very difficult to cir- 
cumvent a clever young man. He is as agile as a 
monkey. 

His principal concern of course is to arouse and maintain 
a reputation for profundity and wit. Tliis is done by the 
simple mechanical formula of antithesis : if you like winkles 
he proves that cockles are inveterately better; if you 
admire Ruskin he tears him to ribbons. If you want to 
learn to swim — as it is safer, he shows it is more dangerous 
to know how to swim and so on. I know liis whole box of 
tricks. I myself am now playing the clever young man 
by writing out this analysis just as if I were not one 
myself. 

You doubt my cleverness ? Well, some years ago in 

R 's presence I called ' the Rev. Fastidious 

Brisk,' — the nickname be it recalled which Henley gave 
to Stevenson (without the addition of ' Rev.'). At the 
time I had no intention of appropriating the witticism as 
I quite imagined R was acquainted with it. His un- 
expected explosion of mirth, however, made me uncom- 
fortably uncertain of this, yet for the life of me I couldn't 
muster the honesty to assure him that my feather was a 
borrowed one. A few weeks later he referred to it again 



I9I5. Aug.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 209 

as ' certainly one of my better ones ' — but still I remained 
dumb and the time for explanations went for once and all. 
Now see what a pretty pickle I am in: the name ' Brisk ' or 
' F. B.' is in constant use by us for this particular person 
— he goes by no other name, meanwhile I sit and wonder 

how long it will be before R finds me out. There are 

all sorts of ways in which he might find out: he might 
read about it for himself, someone might tell him or — 
worst of all — one day when we are dining out somewhere 
he will announce to the whole company my brilliant 
appellation as a little after-dinner diversion : I shall at once 
observe that the person opposite me knows and is about 
to air his knowledge; then I shall look sternly at him and 
try to hold liim: he will hesitate and I shall land him with 
a left and right: ' I suppose you've read Henley's verses 
on Stevenson?' I remark easily and in a moment or so 
later the conversation has moved on. 



August I, 

Am getting married at Register Ofi&ce on Sep- 
tember 15th. It is impossible to set down here all the 
labyrinthine ambages of my will and feelings in rtgard to 
this event. Such incredible vacillations, doubts, fears. 
I have been living at a great rate below surface recently. 
' If you enjoy only twelve months' happiness,' the Doctor 
said to me, ' it is v/orth while.' But he makes a recom- 
mendation. ... At his suggestion E went to see 

him and from his own mouth learnt all the truth about the 
state of my health, to prevent possible mutual recrimina- 
tions in the future.^ To marry an introspective dyspeptic 
— what a prospect for her ! ... I exercise my micro- 
scopic analysis on her now as well as on myself. . . . This 
power in me is growing daily more automatic and more 
repugnant. It is a nasty morbid unhealthy growth that 
I want to liide if I cannot destroy. It amounts to being 
able at will to switch myself in and out of all my most 
cherished emotions ; it is like the case in Sir Michael Foster's 

* Cf. 1 916, November 6. 



210 THE JOURNAL OF [Aug.. 1915 

Physiology of a man who, by pressing a tumour in his 
neck could stop or at any rate control the action of his 
heart. 

August 2/ 

House pride in newly-wed folk, for example, H. and D. 
to-day at Golder's Green or the Teignmouth folk, is very 
trying to the bachelor visitor. They will carry a chair across 
the room as tenderly as tho' it were a child and until its safe 
transit is assured, all conversation goes by the board. Or 
the wife suddenly makes a remark to the husband sotto 
voce, both thereupon start up simultaneously (leaving the 
fate of Warsaw undecided) while you, silenced by this un- 
expected manoeuvre, wilt away in your chair, the preg- 
nant phrase still-born on your lips. Presently they re- 
enter the room with the kitten that was heard in the 
scullery or with a big stick used to flourish at a little 
Tomtit on the rose tree. She apologises and both settle 
down again, recompose their countenances into a listening 
aspect and with a devastating politeness, pick up the poor, 
little, frayed-out thread of the conversation where it left 
off with: 'Europe? you were saying . . .' I mobilise 
my scattered units of ideas but it is all a little chilly for the 
lady of the house if she listens with her face and speaks 
with her hps — her heart is far from me: she fixes a glassy 
eye on the tip of my cigarette, waiting to see if the ash 
will fall on her carpet. 

August 6. 

The most intimate and extensive journal can only give 
each day a relatively small sifting of the almost infinite 
number of things that flow thro' the consciousness. How- 
ever vigilant and artful a diarist may be, plenty of 
things escape him and in anj' event re-collection is not 
re-creation. . . . 

To keep a journal is to have a secret liaison of a very 
sentimental kind. A journal intime is a super-confidante 
to whom everything is told and confessed. For an en- 
gaged or married man to have a secret super-confidante who 



I9I5. Aug.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 211 

knows tilings wliich are concealed from his lady seems to 
me to be deliberate infidelity. I am as it were engaged 
to two women and one of them is being deceived. The 
word ' Deceit ' comes up against me in this double life I 
lead, and insists I shall name a plain thing bluntly. There 
is something very like sheer moral obliquity in these en- 
tries behind her back. ... Is tliis journal habit slowly 
corrupting my character ? Can an engaged or married 
man conscientiously continue to write his journal 
intime ? 

This question of giving up my faithful friend after 
September I must consider. 

Of course most men have something to conceal from 
someone. Most married men are furtive creatures, and 
married women too. But I have a Gregers Werle-hke 
passion for life to be Hved on a foundation of truth in every 
intercourse. I would have my wife know all about me 
and if I cannot be loved for what I surely am, I do not 
want to be loved for what I am not. If I continue to write 
therefore she shall read what I have written. . . . 

My Journal keeps open house to every kind of happening 
in my soul. Provided it is a veritable autochthon — I don't 
care how much of a tatterdemalion or how ugly or repulsive 
— I take him in and — I fear sponge him down with excuses 
to make him more creditable in other's eyes. You may 
say why trouble whether you do or whether you don't tell 
us all the beastly little subterranean atrocities that go on 
in your mind. Any eminently ' right-minded ' Times or 
Spectator reader will ask: ' Who in Faith's name is inter- 
ested in your introspective muck-rakings — in fact, who 
the Devil are you ?' To myself, a person of vast import- 
ance and vast interest, I reply, — as are other men if I 
could but understand them as well. And in the firm 
belief that whatever is inexorably true however unpleasant 
and discreditable (in fact true things can never lack a 
certain dignity), I would have you know Mr Times- and 
Mr Spectator-reader that actual crimes have many a time 
been enacted in the secrecy of my own heart and the only 
difference between me and an habitual criminal is that 



212 THE JOURNAL OF [Ado.. 1915 

the habitual criminal has the courage and the nerve and I 
have not. What, then, may these crimes be ? Nothing 
much — only murders, theft, rape, etc. None of them 
thank God ! fructify in action — or at all events only the 
lesser ones. My outward and visible life if I examine it 
is merely a series of commonplace, colourless and thoroughly 
average events. But if I analyse myself, my inner life, 
I find I am both incredibly worse and incredibly better 
than I appear. I am Christ and the Devil at the same 
time — or as my sister once called me — a child, a wise man, 
and the Devil all in one. Just as no one knows my crimes 
so no one knows of my good actions. A generous impulse 
seizes me round the heart and I am suddenly moved to 
give a poor devil a ^^5 note. But no one knows this because 
by the time I come to the point I find myself handing him 
a sixpenny-bit and am quite powerless to intervene. 
Similarly my murders end merely in a little phlegm. 

August 7. 

Two Adventures 

On a 'bus the other day a woman with a baby sat oppo- 
site, the baby bawled, and the woman at once began to 
unlace herself, exposing a large, red udder, which she 
swung into the baby's face. The infant, however, con- 
tinued to cry and the woman said, — 

' Come on, there's a good boy — if you don't, I shall give 
it to the gentleman opposite.' 

Do I look ill-nourished ? 

• •••••• 

' " Arma virumque cano," ' a beggar said to me this 
morning in the High Street, ' or as the boy said, " Arms 
and the man with a dog," mistaking the verb for the noun. 
Oh ! yes, sir, I remember my Latin. Of course, I feel it's 
rather invidious my coming to you like this, but everything 
is absolutely " non est " with me,' and so on. 

' My dear sir,' I answered expansively, ' I am as poor as 
you axe. You at least have seen better days you say — 
but I never have.' 



I9I5. Aug.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 213 

He changed in a minute his cringeing manner and re- 
joined: 

' No I shouldn't think you had,' eyeing me critically 
and slinking off. 

Am I so shabby ? 

August 8. 

By Jove ! I hope I live ! . . . Why does an old crock 
like myself go on li\dng ? It causes me genuine amazement. 
I feel almost ashamed of myself because I am not yet dead 
seeing that so many of my full-blooded contemporaries 
have perished in this War. I am so grateful for being 
allowed to live so long that nothing that happens to me 
except death could upset me much. I should be happy 
in a coal mine. 

August 12. 

Suffering from indigestion. The symptoms include : 

Excessive pandiculation. 

Excessive oscitation, 

Excessive eructation. 

Dyspnoea, 

Sphygmic flutters. 

Abnormal porrigo, 

A desiccated epidermis. 

August 16. 

Lice or ' Creeping Ferlies '^ 

I probably know more about Lice than was ever before 
stored together within the compass of a single human 
mind ! I know the Greek for Louse, the Latin, the French, 
the German, the Italian. I can reel off all the best reme- 
dies for Pediculosis: I am acquainted with the measures 
adopted for dealing with the nuisance in the field by the 
German Imperial Board of Health, by the British R.A.M.C., 
by the armies of the Russians, the French, the Austrians, 
the Italians. I know its life history and structure, how 

1 Cf. Burns's poem ' On a Louse.' 



214 THE JOURNAL OF [Aug., 1915 

many eggs it lays and how often, the anatomy of its brain 
and stomach and the physiology of all its little parts. I 
have even pursued the Louse into ancient literature and 
have read old medical treatises about it, as, for example, 
the De Phthiriasi of Gilbert de Frankenau. Mucins the 
lawgiver died of this disease so also did the Dictator 
Scylla, Antiochus Epiphanes, the Emperor Maximilian, 
the philosopher Pherecydes, Phihp IL of Spain, the 
fugitive Ennius, Callisthenes, Alcman and many other dis- 
tinguished people including the Emperor Arnauld in 899. 
In 955, the Bishop of Noyon had to be sewn up in a leather 
sack before he could be buried. (See Des Insectes reputes 
venimetix, par M. Amoureux Fils, Doctor of Medicine in the 
University of Montpellier, Paris, 1789.) In Mexico and 
Peru, a poll-tax of Lice was exacted and bags of these 
treasures were found in the Palace of Montezuma (see 
Bingley, Animal Biog., first edition, iii.). In the United 
Service Magazine for 1842 (cUx.. 169) is an account of the 
wreck of the Wager, a vessel found adrift, the crew in dire 
straits and Captain Cheap lyin^ on the deck — ' like an 
ant-hill.' 

So that as an ancient writer puts it, ' you must own 
that for the quelling of human pride and to pull down the 
high conceits of mortal man, this most loathesome of all 
maladies (Pediculosis) has been the inheritance of the rich, 
the wise, the noble and the mighty — poets, philosophers, 
prelates, princes. Kings and Emperors.' 

In his well-known Bridgewater Treatise, the Rev. Dr 
Kirby, the Father of Enghsh Entomology, asked : ' Can 
we believe that man in his pristine state of glory and 
beauty and dignity could be the receptacle of prey so 
loathesome as these unclean and disgusting creatures?' 
(Vol. I., p. 13). He therefore dated their creation after 
the Fall. 

The other day a member of the staff of the Lister In- 
stitute called to see me on a lousy matter, and presently 
drew some live Lice from his waistcoat pocket for me to 
see. They were contained in pill boxes with little bits of 
mushn stretched across the open end thro' which the Lice 



I9I5. Sept.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 215 

could tlirust their little hypodermic needles when placed 
near the skin. He feeds them by putting these boxes into 
a specially constructed belt and at night ties the belt 
around his waist and all night sleeps in Elysium. He is not 
married. 

In this fashion, he has bred hundreds from the egg 
upwards and even hybridised the two different species ! 

In the enfranchised mind of the scientific naturalist, 
the usual feelings of repugnance simply do not exist. 
Curiosity conquers prejudice. 

August 27. 

Am spending my summer holidays in the Lakes at 
Coniston with G and R . ... I am simply con- 
sumed with pride at being among the mountains at last ! 
It is an enormous personal success to have arrived at 
Coniston ! 

August 29. 

Climbed a windy eminence on the other side of the Lake 
and had a splendid view of Helvellyn — like a great hog's 
back. It is fine to walk over the elastic turf with the wind 
bellowing into each ear and swirling all around me in a 
mighty sea of air until I was as clean-blown and resonant 
as a sea-shell. I moved along as easily as a disembodied 
spirit and felt free, almost transparent. The old earth 
seemed to have soaked me up into itself, I became dissolved 
into it, my separate body was melted away from me, and 
Nature received me into her deepest communion — until, 
UNTIL I got on the lee side of a hedge where the calm 
brought me back my gaol of clay. 

Sepiembet i. 

Fourteen days hence I shall be a married man. But I 
feel most dejected about it. When I fell down the other 
day, I beheve I shghtly concussed my spinal column, with 
the result that my 1913 trouble has returned, but this time 
on the left side 1 paralysis and horrible vertigo and presen- 
timents of sudden collapse as I walk. 



2i6 THE JOURNAL OF [Sept., 1915 

September 2. 

I fear I have been overdoing it in this tempting moun- 
tain region. Walking too far, etc. So I am slacking. It 
was fortunate I did not get concussion of the brain — I came 
within an inch of it: the hair of my head brushed the 
ground ! 

A Buxom Rogue in Earthenware 

I knocked at the door of Sunbeam Cottage the other 
morning to know if they had a boat for hire. The door 
was promptly opened by a plump, charming little wench 
of about 17, and I caught a glimpse of the kitchen with its 
gunrack holding two fowling pieces, a grandfather clock in 
one corner and a dresser full of blueish china. 

' We don't let our boat out for hire,' she answered with 
a smile so honest and natural and spontaneous that I was 
already saying to myself I had never met with anything 
like it at all when she stretched up her bare, dairy-maid 
arm — strong, creamy and soft, just reached a big key 
strung to a wooden block and lying on the top shelf of the 
dresser and at once handed it to me with: 

* But you are quite welcome to use it and here is the key 
to the boathouse.' 

I now felt certain that she was one in a million and 
thanked her most awfully. I have never met such swiftly- 
moving generosity. 

' It's very nice on the Lake just now,' she said. ' I like 
to lie in the boat with a book and let her drift.' 

I asked her if she would not come too, but this tight 
little fairy was too busy in the house. She is Clara 
Middleton done in earthenware. 

Subsequently R and I often visited the cottage and 

we became great friends, her mother shoeing us some 
letters she received as a girl from John Ruskin — a great 
friend of hers. The gamekeeper himself said that for his 
part he could never read Ruskin's books — it was like 
driving a springless cart over a rocky road. We all laughed 
and I said he was prejudiced in view of the letters which 
began: 'My darling,' and finished up ' Yr loving J. R.' 



1 91 5, Sept.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 217 

But Mrs said he had never read them, and Madge 

(ah ! that name !) said her father had never shewn the least 
interest in them at which we laughed again, and the game- 
keeper laughed too. He is such a jolly man — they all are 
delightfully simple, charming folk and we talked of Beasts 
and Birds that live on the mountains. 



September 4. 

Bathed in the Lake from the boat. It was brilliantly 

fine. R dipped her paddles in occasionally just to 

keep the boat from grounding. Then I clambered over 
the bows and stood up to dry myself in the sun like one 
of Mr. Tuke's young men. 

September 7. 

My 26th birthday. In London again. Went straight 
to the Doctor and reported myself. I quite expected him 
to forbid the marriage as I could scarcely hobble to his 
house. To my amazement, he apparently made light of 
my paralysis, said it was a common accident to bruise the 
OS coccyx, etc. 

September 8. 

Am staying at — — for a few days to rest and try to be 
better by that fateful nth,, when I am married. 

Later : My first experience of a Zeppelin raid. Bombs 
dropped only a quarter of a mile away and shrapnel from 
the guns fell on our roof. We got very pannicky and 
went into a neighbour's house, where we cowered down 
in our dressing-gowns in absolute darkness while bombs 
exploded and the dogs barked. 

I was scared out of my life and had a fit of uncontrollable 

trembling. Later we rang up and , and thank 

Heavens both are safe. A great fire is burning in London, 
judging by the red glare. At midnight sat and drank 
sherry and smoked a cigar with Mr , my braces de- 
pending from my trousers like a tail and shewing in spite 
of dressing-gown. Then went home and had some neat 



2i8 THE JOURNAL OF [Sept.. 19x5 

brandy to steady my heart. H arrived soon after 

midnight. A motor-omnibus in Whitechapel was blown 
to bits. Great scenes in the city. 

September 9. 

Very nervy to-day. Hobbled down the road to see the 
damage done by the bombs. 

September 10. 

A smngeing cold in the head thro' running about on the 

night of the raid. Too feeble to walk far, so Mrs went 

into the town for me and purchased my wedding-ring, 
which cost £2 5s. od. 



PART III— MARRIAGE 

September 12. 

This evening we walked tliro' the Churchyard reading 
tombstone inscriptions. What a lot of men have had 
wives ! 

I can't make out what has come over folk recently: the 
wit, wisdom and irony on the old tombstones have given 
place to maudlin sentiment and pious Bible references. 
Then on the anniversary of the death the custom among 
poorer classes is to publish such pathetic doggerel as the 
following — cuttings I have taken from time to time from 
the local newspaper in : 

' Her wish: 

' " Farewell dear brother. Mother, sisters. 
My life was passed in love for thee. 
Mourn not for me nor sorrow take 
But love my husband for my sake 
Until the call comes home to thee, 
Live thou in peace and harmony." ' 

Again: 

' A day of remembrance sad to recall 
But still in my heart he is loved best of all 
No matter how I think of him — his name I oft recall; 
There is nothing left to answer me but his photo on the 
wall.' 

Or: 

' One year has passed since that sad day. 
When one we loved was called away. 
God took her home; it was His wiU, 
Forget her ? — No, we never will.' 

These piteous screeds fill me with lovingkindness and 
with contempt alternately in a pendulum-like rhythm. 
What is the truth about them ? Is the grief of these people 
as mean and ridiculous as their rhymes ? Or is it a pitiful 
inarticulateness ? Or is it merely vulgar advertisement 
of their sorrow ? Or does it signify a passionate intention 

219 



220 THE JOURNAL OF [Sept., 1915 

never to forget ? — or a fear of forgetting, the rhymes being 
used as a fillip to the memory? Or — most miserable of all 
— is it just a custom, and one followed in order to appear 
respectable in others' eyes ? Are they poor souls ? or 
contemptible fools ? 

September 14. 

There is a ridiculous Cocker spaniel at the house where 
we are staying. He must have had a love affair and been 
jilted, or else he's a sort of village idiot. The landlady 
says he's not so silly as he looks — but he looks very silly: 
he languishes sentimentally, and when we laugh at him he 
looks ' hurt.' To-day we took him up on the Down and 
it seemed to brighten him up. Really, he is sane enough, 
with plenty of commonsense and good manners. But he 
is kept at home in the garden so much, lolling about all 
day, that as E said, having nothing to do, he falls in love. 



The Saturday Review writes: The effect of the ' Brides 
and the Bath ' Case on people with any trace of nice feeling 
is perhaps not particularly mischievous, tho' the thing is 
repulsive and hateful to them. ... To gloat over the 
details of repulsive horrors, simply from motives of curiosity 
— this is bad and degrading. 

What a lot of repulsive things the nice refined people 
who read the Saturday Review must find in the world just 
now. For example the War. ' Simply from motives of 
curiosity.' Why certainly, no other than these, concern- 
ing one of the most remarkable murders in the annals of 
crime. And murders anyhow are damned interesting — 
which the Saturday Review isn't. 

Chippies 

I was surprised to discover the other day that when I 
talked of Chippies no one understood what I meant ! It 
proves to be a dialect word familiar to all residents in 
Devonshire and designating spring onions. Anyway you 



I9I5. Oct.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 221 

won't find it in Murray's Dictionary; yet etymologically 
it is an extremely interesting word and a thorougiily good 
word with a splendid pedigree. To wit: 

Italian: Cipollo. 

Spanish: Cebolla. 

French: Ciboule. 

Latin: Caepulla, dim. of c^epa (c/. cive, civot). 

Now how did this pretty little alien manage to settle 
down among simple Devon folk ? What has been the 
relation between Italy and — say Appledore, or Plymouth ?^ 

October 6. 

In London once more, living at her flat and using her 
furniture. 

The Chalcidoidea 

The Chalcidoidea are minute winged insects that para- 
sitise other insects, and in the Memoirs of the Queensland 
Museum (Vol. L, 1912) you shall find an enormous catalogue 
of them by a person named Girault who writes the following 
dedication : 

' I respectfully dedicate this little portion of work to 
science, common sense or true knowledge. I am convinced 
that hum.an welfare is so dependent upon science that 
civilisation would not endure without it, and that what is 
meant by progress would be impossible. Also I am con- 
vinced that the great majority of mankind are too ignorant, 
that education is too archaic and impractical as looked at 
from the standpoint of intrinsic knowledge. There is too 
little known of the essential unity of the Universe and of 
things included, for instance, man himself. Opinions and 
prejudices rule in the place of what is true. . . .' 

Part II. is dedicated to: 

' The genius of mankind, especially to that form of it 

1- The English Dialect Dictionary derives the word from Old 
French ckiboule, and gives a reference to Piers Plowman. "Why 
hasn't such an old and useful word become a part of the English 
language Uke others also brought over at the time of the Norman 
Conquest ? 



222 THE JOURNAL OF [Oct., 1915 

expressed in monistic philosophy, whose conceived percep- 
tion is the highest attainment reached by man.' 

I can only echo Whistler's remark one day as he stood 
before an execrably bad drawing: 'God bless my soul' 
— uttered slowly and thoughtfully and then repeated. 

The beauty of it is that the Editor adds a serious foot- 
note, dissociating himself, and a Scarabee to whom I 
shewed the Work, read it with a clouded brow and then 
said : ' I think it rather out of place in a paper of this sort.' 
(Tableau.) 

October 12. 

Down with influenza. 

October 13. 

A Zeppelin raid last night. I am down with a tem- 
perature, but our little household remained quite calm, 
thank God. We heard guns going off, and I had a fit of 
trembling as I lay in bed. Many dead of heart failure 
owing to the excitement. 

October 14. 

Still in bed. No raid last night. There were two raids 
on Wednesday, one at 9.30, and another at midnight. 
The first time the caretaker of the flats came up very 
alarmed to say ' Zeppelins about,' so we put out the lights. 
Then at midnight when everyone else was asleep I heard 
a big voice shout up from the street: ' Lights out there. 
They're about again.' Lay still in bed and waited. Dis- 
tant gunfire. 

October 17. 

Bad heart attack. 

October 18. 

Heart intermits. Every three or four minutes. M 

said that I ought to be getting used to it by now ! Phew j ! 
Very nervy and pusillanimous. Taking strychnine in 



1915. Nov.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 223 

strong doses. I hope dear E does not catch the 'flu. 

She svv^allows quinine with large hopes. 

October 19. 

Staying at R . Had a ghastly journey down, 

changing trains twice, at Clapham Junction and at Croydon, 
heart intermitting all the time in every position. Poor 
E with me. To-day surprised to find myself still alive. 

October 20. 

Better to-day. After much persuasion, I have got 

E to let the flat so that we can get away into the 

country outside the Zeppelin zone. 

October 24. 

Back in London again. Am better, bolstered up with 
arsenic and strychnine. Too nervously excited to do any 
work. 

October 25. 

The letting of our flat is now in the hands of an agent, 

and E , poor dear, is quite resigned to abandoning all 

her precious wallpapers, etc. 

November 7. 

The fiat is let and we are now living in rooms at , 

20 miles out of London, to the Westward. 

November 8. 

It is a great relief to be down in the country. Zeppelins 
terrify me. Have just had a dehghtful experience in 
reading Conrad's new book, Victory — a welcome relief 
from all the tension of the past two months. To outward 
view, I have been merely a youth getting married, catching 
the 'flu and giving up a London flat. 

Inwardly, I have been whizzing around like a Catherine 
Wheel. Consider the items: 

Concussion of the spine. 



224 THE JOURNAL OF [Nov.. 191 5 

Resulting paralysis of left leg ten days before marriage. 

Zeppelin raid (heard a cannon go off for the first time). 

Severe cold in the head day before marriage (and there- 
fore wild anxiety). 

Successful marriage with abatement of cold. J 

Return to our home. 

Ten days later, down with influenza. 

A second Zeppelin raid. 

Bad heart attack. 

Then flat sub-let and London evacuated. 

The record nauseates me. I am nauseated with mjrself 
and my self-centredness. . . . Suppose I have been 
' whizzing ' as I call it — what then ? They are but sub- 
jective trifles — meanwhile other men are seeing great ad- 
ventures in Gallipoli and elsewhere. ' The Triumph is 
gone,' exclaimed the Admiral who in a little group of 
naval officers on board the flagship had been watching 
H.M.S. Triumph sink in the ^gean. He shuts his tele- 
scope with a click and returns in great dudgeon to his own 
quarters. How I envy all these men who are participating 
in this War — soldiers, sailors, war correspondents — all who 
live and throb and are not afraid. I am a timid youth, 
anaemic, wear spectacles, and am frightened by a Zep raid ! 
How humiliating. I hate myself for a white-hvered 
craven: I am suffocated for want of more life and courage. 
My damnable body is slowly killing off all my spirit and 
buoyancy. Even my mind is becoming blurred. My 
memory is like an old man's exactly. (Ask .) 



Yet thro' all my nausea, here I remain happy to discuss 
myself and my little mishaps. I'm damned sick of myself 
and all my neurotic whimperings, and so I hereby and now 
intend to lead a new life and throw this Journal to the 
Devil. I want to mangle it, tear it to shreds. You smug, 
hypocritical readers ! you'll get no more of me. All you 
say I know is true before you say it and I know now all 
the criticism you are going to launch. So please spare 



I9I5, Nov.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 225 

yourself the trouble. You cannot enlighten me upon 
myself, I know. I disgust myself — and you, and as for 
you, you can go to the Devil with tliis Journal. 

Finis 
November 27. 

To-day, armed with a certificate from my Doctor in a 
sealed envelope and addressed 'to the Medical Officer 
examining Mr W. N. P. Barbellion,' I got leave to attend 
the recruiting office and offer my services to my King and 
Country. At the time, the fact that the envelope was 
sealed caused no suspicion and I had been comfortably 
carrying the document about in my pocket for days past. 

Of course I attended merely as a matter of form under 
pressure of the authorities, as I knew I was totally unfit — 
but not quite Jiow unfit. After receiving this precious 

certificate, I learnt that K was recruiting Doctor at 

W , and he offered to ' put me thro' in five minutes,' 

as he knows the state of my health. So at a time agreed 
upon, I went to-day and was immediately rejected as soon 
as he had stethoscoped my heart. The certificate there- 
fore was not needed, and coming home in the train I opened 
it out of curiosity. . . . 

I was quite casual and thought it would be merely inter- 
esting to see what M said. 

It was. 

' Some 18 months ago,' it ran, ' Mr BarbelHon shewed 

the just visible symptoms of ' — and altho' 

this fact was at once communicated to my relatives it was 

withheld from me and M • therefore asked the M.O. to 

respect this confidence and to reject me without stating on 
what grounds. He went on to refer to my patellar and 
plantar reflexes, by which time I had had enough, tore the 
paper up and flung it out of the railway carriage; window. 

I then returned to the Museum intending to find out 

what • — ■ — was in Clifford Allbutt's System of 

Medicine. I wondered whether it was brain or heart; 
and the very thought gave me palpitation. I hope 

P 



226 THE JOURNAL OF [Nov., 1915 

it is heart— sometliing short and sharp rather than hnger- 

ing. But I beheve it must be of the brain, the 

opposite process of softening occurring in old age. I recall 

M 's words to me before getting married: that I had 

this ' nerve weakness,' but I was more likely to succumb to 
pneumonia than to any nervous trouble, and that only 
12 months' happiness would be worth while. 



On the whole I am amazed at the calm way in which I 
take this news. I was a fool never to have suspected 

serious nerve trouble before. Does dear E know ? 

What did M tell her when he saw her before our 

marriage ? 

November 28. 

As soon as I woke up in this clear, country air this 

morning, I thought: . I have decided never 

to find out what it is. I shall find out in good time by 
the course of events. 

A few years ago, the news would have scared me. But 
not so now. It only interests me. I have been happy, 
merry, and quite high-spirited to-day. 

December 5. 

I beUeve it's creeping paralysis. My left leg goes lame 

after a short walk. Fortunately E does not take 

alarm. 

December 17. 

Spent the last two days, both of us, in a state of unre- 
lieved gloom. The clouds never lifted for a moment — 
it's awful. I scarcely have spoken a word. . . . And 
eugenically, what kind of an infant would even a Mark 
Tapley expect of a father with a medical liistory like mine, 
and a mother with a nervous system like hers ? . . . 
Could anything be more unfortunate ? And the War ? 
What may not have happened by this time next year? 
My b.ealth is grotesque. 



I9I6. Feb.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 227 

December 20. 

I wonder if she knows. I believe she does but I am 
afraid to broach the matter in case she doesn't. I think 
she must know something otherwise she would show more 
alarm over my leg, and when I went to the Recruiting 
Office she seemed to show no fear whatever lest they took 
me. Several times a day in the middle of a talk, or a 
meal, or a kiss, this problem flashes thro' my mind. I 
look at her but find no solution. However — for the 
present — the matter is not urgent. 



1916 
February i. 

Since I last wrote — a month ago — I have recovered my 
buoyancy after a blow wliich kept rne under water so long 
I thought I should never come up and be happy again. 

... I was reciting my woes to R , and gaining much 

rehef thereby, when we espied another crony on the other 
side of the street, crossed over at once, bandied words with 
him and then walked on, picking up the tliread of my 
lugubrious story just where I had left off — secretly stag- 
gered at my emotional agility. I've got to this now, — 
I simply don't care. 

February 2. 

' And she draiglet all her petticoatie. Coming thro' the 
rye.' These words have a ridiculous fascination for me; I 
cannot resist their saccharine, affectionate, nay amorous 
jingle and keep repeating them aloud all over the house — 
as Lamb once kept reciting ' Rose Aylmer.' 

February i6. 

We took possession of our country cottage to- day: very 
charming and overlooking a beautiful Park. 

Have just discovered the Journal of the De Goncourts 
and been reading it greedily. Life has really been a 



228 THE JOURNALOF [Feb.. 1916 

commodity. I am boiling over with vitality, chattering 
amiably to everyone about nothing — argumentative, san- 
guine, serious, ridiculous. I called old R a Rapscal- 
lion, a Curmudgeon, and a Scaramouche, and E a 

trull, a drab, a trollop, a callet. ' You certainly are a 
unique husband,' said that sweet little lady, and I . . . 

With me, one of the symptoms of dehrium is always a 

melodramatic truculence ! I shake my fist in R 's face 

and make liim explode with laughing. . . . The sun 
to-day, and the great, whopping white clouds all bellied 
out, made me feel inside quite a bright young dog wriggling 
its body in ecstatic delight let loose upon the green 
sward. 

' You must come down for a week end,' I said to R — — 
at lunch. ' Come down as soon as you can. You will 
find every comfort. It is an enormous house — I have not 
succeeded in finding my way about it and— it's dangerous 
to lose yourself— makes you late for dinner. When you 
arrive our gilded janitor will say: " I bcheve Mr Barbelhon 
is in the library." ' 

' Black eunuchs wait on you at dinner, I suppose,' R 

rejoined. 

' Oh ! yes and golden chandeliers and a marble stair- 
case — all in barbaric splendour. ' 

' Yes, 1 shall certainly be glad to come down,' said R , 

phlegmatically. 

And so on and so on. Words, idle words all day in a 
continuous rush. And I am sure that the match which 
lired the gun-powder was the discovery of the De Gon- 
courts' Journal ! It's extraordinary how I have been 
going on from week to week quite calmly for all the 
world as if 1 had read all the books and seen all the 
places and done everything according to the heart's 
desire. This book has really jolted me out of my com- 
placency: to think that all tliis time, I have been dead to 
so much ! Why I might have died unconscious that the 
De Goncourts had ever lived and written their colossal 
book and now I am aware of it, I am all in a fever to read 
it and take it up into my brain : I migiit die now before I 



iQiG, April] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 229 

have finished it — a thought that makes me wild wdth desire 
just as I once endured most aw^ul pangs when I felt my 
health going, and believed that I might die before having 
ever been in love — to die and never to have been in love ! 
— for an instant at a time this possibility used to make 
me writhe. 



March 22. 

R has an unpleasant habit of making some scarifying 

announcement drawing forth an explosive query from me 
and then lapsing at once into an eleusinian silence : he 
appears to take a sensuous pleasure in the pause that keeps 
you expectant. I could forgive a man who keeps you on 
tenterhooks for two puffs in order to keep his pipe alight, 

but R shuts up out of sheer self-indulgence and goes 

on gazing at the horizon with the ej^'es of a seer (he thinks) 
trying to cod me he sees a portent there only revealed to 
God's elect. 

I told him tliis in the middle of one of his luxurious 
silences. ' I VNall tell you/ he said deliberately, ' when we 
reach the Oratory.' (We were in Brompton Road.) 

'Which side of it ?' I enquired anxiously. 'This or 
that ?' 

' That/ said he, ' will depend on how you behave in the 
meantime.' 

April 3. 

We met a remarkable Bulldog to-day in the street, 
humbly following behind a tiny boy to whom it was 
attached by a piece of string. At the time we were follow- 
ing in the wake of three magnificent Serbian Officers, and 
I was particularly interesting myself in the curious cut of 
their top boots. But the Bulldog was the Red Herring 
in our path. 

' Is that a Dog ?' I asked the little boy. 

He assured me that it was, and so it turned out to be, 
tho' Bull-frog would have been a better name for it, the 
forelegs being more bandied, the back broader and the 



230 THE JOURNAL OF [April, 1916 

mouth wider than in any Bulldog I have ever seen. It 
was a super-Bulldog. 

We turned and walked on. ' There,' said R , ' now 

we have lost our Serbian Officers.' 

April 4. 

' May I use your microscope ?' he asked. 

' By all means,' I said with a gesture of elaborate polite- 
ness. 

He sat down at my table, in my chair, and used my 
instrument — becoming at once absorbed and oblivious to 
my banter as per below : 

'As Scotchmen,' I said, 'are monuments rather than 
men, this latest raid on Edinboro's worthy inhabitants 
must be called vandalism rather than murder.' 

No answer. I continued to stand by my chair. 

' How pleased Swift, Johnson, Lamb, and other anti- 
Caledonians would be. . . .' 

' Hope you don't mind my occupying your chair a little 
longer,' the Scotcliman said, ' but this is a larva, has 
curious maxillae . . .' and his voice faded away in abstrac- 
tion. 

' Oh ! no — go on,' I said, ' I fear it is a grievous absence 
of hospitality on my part in not providing you with a glass 
of whiskey. Can I offer you wattr. Sir ?' 

No answer. 

Another enthusiast ushered himself in, was greeted with 
delight by the first and invited to sit down. I pulled out 
a chair for him and said : 

' Shave, sir, or hair cut ?' 

' If you follow along to the top of the galea,' No. i 
droned on imperturbably, ' you will . . .' etc. 

I got tired of standing and talking to an empty house 
but at last they got up, apologising and making for the 
door. 

I entreated them not to mention the matter — my fee 
should be nomiinal — I did it out of sheer love, etc. 

They thanked me again and would have said more but 
I added blandly: 



)9i6, April] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 231 

' You know your way out ?' They assured me they did 
{having worked in the place for 30 years and more) — I 
thanked God — and sat down to my table once more. 

(These reports of conversations are rather fatuous: yet 
they give an idea of the sort of person I have to deal with, 
and also the sort of person I am among this sort of person.) 



April 6. 

The Housefly Problem — 1916 

For weeks past we have all been in a terrible flutter 
scarcely paralleled by the outbreak of Armageddon in 
August, 1914. The spark wiiich fired almost the whole 

building was a letter to the Times written by Dr , 

making public an ignominious confession of ignorance on 
the part of Entomologists as to how the Housefly passed 
the winter. In reply, many correspondents wrote to say 
they hibernated, and one man was even so temerarious as 
to quote to us Entomologists the exact Latin name of the 
Housefly: viz., Musca domestica. We asked for specimens 
and enormous numbers of flies at once began to arrive 
at the Museum, alive and dead — and not a Housefly among 
them ! So there was a terrible howdedo. 

One of the correspondents was^, named ' Masefield.' 
' Not Masefield the poet ?' an excited dipterist asked. I 
reassured him. 

' I've a good mind,' said Dr , ' to reply to this chap 

who's so emphatic and give him a wliigging — only he's 
climbing down a bit in this second letter in to-day's issue.' 
I strongly advocated clemency. 

But still the affair goes on. Every morning sees more 
letters and more flies sent by all sorts of persons — we seem 
to have set the whole world searcliing for Houseflies — 
Duchesses, signalmen, farmers, footmen. Every morning 
each fresh batch of flies is mounted on pins by experts in 
the Setting Room, and an Assistant's whole time is devoted 
to identifying, arranging, listing and reporting upon the 
new arrivals. At the last meeting of the Trustees a sample 
collection was displayed to show indubitably that the 



232 THE JOURNAL OF [April, 1916 

insects which hibernate in houses are not Musca domeslica 
but Pollenia rudis. I understand the Trustees were 
appreciative. 

An observant eye can now discover state visits to our 
dipterists from interested persons carrying their flies with 
them, animated discussions in the corridor, knots of 
excited enthusiasts in the Lavatory, in the Library, every- 
where — and everywhere the subject discussed is the same: 
How does the Housefly pass the winter ? As one passes 
one catches : ' In Bakehouses certainly they are to be 
found but . . .' or a wistful voice, ' I wish I had caught 
that one in my batliroom three winters ago — I am certain 
it was a Housefly.' The Doctor liimself — a gallant Cap- 
tain — wanders from room to room stimulating his lieu- 
tenants to make suggestions, and examining every answer 
to the great interrogative on its merits, no matter how 
humble or insignificant the person who makes it. Then 
of an afternoon he will entirely disappear, and word goes 
round that he has set forth to examine a rubbish heap in 
Soho or Pimlico. As the afternoon draws to its close 
someone enquires if he has come back yet ; next morning 
a second asks if I had seen him, then a third announces 
mournfully that he has just been holding conversation with 
Mm, but that nothing at all was found in the rubbish heap. 

The great sensation of all occurred last week when 

somebody ran along the corridor crying that Mr had 

just found a Houseflj'' in his room. We were all soon agog 
with the news, and the excited Captain was presently 
espied setting out for the scene of operations with a killing 
bottle and net. The insect was promptly impounded and 
identified as a veritable Musca domeslica. A consultation 
being held to sit on the body, a lady finally laid information 
that two ' forced Houseflies ' hatched the dal^ before had 

escaped from her possession. She suggested Mr 's 

specimen was one of them. 

' How would it get from your room to Mr 's ? ' she 

was immediately asked. And breatliless, we all heard her 
answer deliberately and quite audibly that the fugitive 
may have gone out of her window, up the garden and in 



I9I6, May] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 233 

by Mr 's window, oy it may have gone out of her door, 

up the corridor and in by his door. I wanted to know why 

it should have entered Mr 's room as he is not a 

dipterist but a microlepidopterist. They looked at me 
sternly and we slowly dispersed. 

This morning, the Dr. came to me with a newspaper 
cutting in Ms hand, saying, ' The Times is behindhand.' 
He handed me the slip. It was a clipping from to-day's 
Times about a sackful of flies which had been taken from 
Wandsworth Clock Tower in a state of hibernation. 

' Behindhand ?' I asked timidly, for I felt that all the 
story was not in front of me. 

' Why, yes. Don't you know ?' 

I knew notliing, but was prepared for anything. 

' The Star, tivo days ago,' he informed me, ' had a para- 
graph about this — headed "Tempus fugit"' — this last in 
a resentful tone as tho' the frivolous reporter were 
attempting to discredit our mystery. 

There was a long pause. Neither of us spoke. Then he 
slowly said: 

' I wonder why The Times is so behindhand. This is 
two days late.' 

May 5. 

Hulloa, old friend : how are you ? I mean my Diary. 
I haven't written to you for ever so long, and my silence 
as usual indicates happiness. I have been passing thro' 
an unbroken succession of calm happy days, walking in the 
woods with my darling, or doing a little gentle gardening 
on coming home in the evening — and the War has been 

centuries away. Later on towards bedtime, E reads 

Richard Jefferies, I play Patience and Mrs makes 

garments for Priscilla. 

The only troubles have been a chimney which smokes 
and a neighbour's dog which barks at night. So to be sure, 
I have made port after storm at last — and none too soon. 
To-day my cheerfulness had been rising in a crescendo till 
to-night it broke in such a handsome crest of pure delight 
that I cannot think of going to bed without recording it. 



234 THE JOURNAL OF [May, 1916 

Pachmanti 

After sitting on the wall around the fountain in the 
middle of Trafalgar Square, eating my sandwiches and 
feeding the Pigeons with the crumbs, I listened for a 
moment to the roar of the traffic around three sides of the 
Square as I stood in the centre quite alone, what time one 
fat old pigeon, all unconcerned, was treading another. It 
was an extraordinary experience: motor horns tooted in- 
cessantly and it seemed purposelessly, so that one had the 
fancy that all London was out for a joy-ride — it was a 
great British Victory perhaps, or Peace Day. j 

Then walked down Wlritehall to Westminster Bridge in 
time to see the 2 o'clock boat start upstream for Kew. 
I loitered by the old fellow with the telescope who keeps 
his pitch by Boadicea: I saw a piper of the Scots Guards 
standing near gazing across the river but at nothing in 
particular — just idling as I was. I saw another man sitting 
on the stone steps and reading a dirty fragment of news- 
paper. I saw the genial, red-faced sea-faring man in charge 
of the landing stage strolling up and down his small 
domain, — chatting, jesting, spitting, and making last a 
rope or so. Everything was alive to the finger tips, vividly 
shining, pulsating. 

Arrived at Queen's Hall in time for Pachmann's Recital 
at 3.15. ... As usual he kept us waiting for 10 minutes. 
Then a short, fat, middle-aged man strolled casually on to 
the platform and everyone clapped violently — so it was 
Pachmann: a dirty greasy looking fellow with long hair of 
dirty grey colour, reaching down to his shoulders and an 
ugly face. He beamed on us and then slirugged his 
shoulders and went on shrugging them until his eye caught 
the music stool, wliich seemed to fill iiim with amazement. 
He stalked it carefully, held out one hand to it caressingly, 
and finding all was well, went two steps backwards, clasping 
his hands before him and always gazing at the little stool 
in mute admiration, his eyes sparkling with pleasure, like 
Mr Pickwick's on the discovery of the archeo logical treasure. 
He approached once more, bent down and ever so gently 



i9i6, May] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 235 

moved it about |ths ol an inch nearer the piano. He then 
gave it a final pat with his right hand and sat down. 

He played Nocturne No. 2, Prelude No. 20, a Mazurka 
and two Etudes of Chopin and Schubert's Impromptu 
No. 4. 

At the close we all crowded around the platform and gave 
the queer, old-world gentleman an ovation, one man 
thrusting up his hand v/hich Paclimann generously shook 
as desired. 

As an encore he gave us a Valse — ' Valse, Valse,' he ex- 
claimed ecstatically, jumping up and down in his seat in 
time to the music. It was a truly remarkable sight: on 
liis right the clamorous crowd around the platform ; on his 
left the seat holders of the Orchestra Stalls, while at the 
piano bobbed this grubby little fat man playing divine 
Chopin divinely well, at the same time rising and falling 
in his seat, turning a beaming countenance first to the right 
and then to the left, and crying, ' Valse, Valse.' He is as 
entertaining as a tumbler at a variety hall. 

As soon as he had finished, we clapped and rattled for 
more, Pachmann meanwhile standing surrounded by his 
idolaters in affected despair at ever being able to satisfy 
us. Presently he walked off and a scuffle was half visible 
behind the scenes between him and his agent who sent him 
in once more. 

The applause was wonderful. As soon as he began 
again it ceased on the instant, and as soon as he left off it 
started again immediately — nothing boisterous or raptur- 
ous but a steady, determined thunder of applause that 
came regularly and evenly like the roar from some machine. 

May 20. 

Spent a quiet day. Sat at my escritoire in the Studio 
this morning writing an Essay, with a large 4-fold window 
on my left, looking on to woods and fields, with Linnets, 

Greenfinches, Cuckoos calling. This afternoon while E 

rested awhile I sat on the veranda in the sun and read 
Antony and Cleopatra . . . Yes, I'm in harbour at last. 
I'd be the last to denv it but I cannot believe it will last. 



236 THE JOURNAL OF [June, 1916 

It's too good to last and it's all too good to be even true. 

E is too good to be true, the home is too good to be 

true, and this quiet restful existence is too wonderful to 
last in the middle of a great war. It's just a little deceitful 
April sunsliine, that's all. . . .^ 

Had tea at the . A brilliant summer's evening. 

Afterwards, we wandered into the garden and shrubbery 
and sat about on the turf of the lawn, chatting and smoking. 
Mr — — played with a rogue of a white Tomcat called 

Chatham, and E talked about our neighbour, ' Shamble 

legs,' about garden topics, etc. Then I strolled into the 
drawing-room where Cyntliia was plajdng Ghopin on a 
grand piano. Is it not all perfectly lovely ? 

How delicious to be silent, lolling on the Chesterfield, 
gazing abstractedly thro' the lattice window and listening 
to the lulling charities of Nocturne No. 2, Op. 37 1 The 
melody in the latter part of this nocturne took me back 
at once to a cloudless day in an open boat in the Bay of 
Combemartin, with oars up and the water quietly and 
regularly lapping the gunwales as we rose and fell. A 
state of the most profound calm and happiness took 
possession of me. 

June 2. 

From the local paper: 

' A comrade in the Gloucesters writing to a friend at 

mentions that Pte. J has been fatally shot in 

action. J was well known here for years as an 

especially smart young newsvendor.' 

June 3. 

What a bitter disappointment it is to realise that people 
the most intimately in love with one another are really 
separated by such a distance. A woman is calmly knitting 
socks or playing Patience while her husband or sweetheart 
lies dead in Flanders. However strong the tic that binds 
them together yet they are insufficiently en rapport for 

1 So it proved. See September 26 et seq. 



I9I6, June] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 237 

her to sense even a catastrophe — and she must wait till 
the War Office forsooth sends her word. How humiliat- 
ing that the War Office must do what Love cannot. Human 
love seems then such a superficial thing. Every person is 
a distinct egocentric being. Each for liimself and the 
Devil take the liindmost. 'Ah! but she didn't know.' 
' Yes, but she ought to have known.' Mental telepathy 
and clairvoyance should be common at least to all lovers. 



This morning in bed I heard a man with a milkcart say 
in the road to a villager at about 6.30 a.m., ' . . . battle 
. . . and we lost six cruisers.' Tliis was the first I knew 
of the Battle of Jutland. At 8 a.m. I read in the Daily 
News that the British Navy had been defeated, and thought 
it was the end of all tilings. The news took away our 
appetites. At the railv/ay station, the Morning Post was 
more cheerful, even reassuring, and now at 6.30 p.m. the 
Battle has turned into a merely regrettable indecisive 
action. We breathe once more. 

June 4. 

It has now become a victory. 

Juns II. 

Old systems of Classification : Rafinesc's Theory of 
Fives, Swainson's Theory of Sevens, Edward Newman's 
book called Sphinx Vespiformis tracing fives throughout 
the animal world, Sir Thomas Browne's Quincunx, chasing 
fives tliroughout the whole of nature — in the words of 
Coleridge, ' quincunxes in Heaven above, quincunxes in 
the Earth below, quincunxes in the mind of man, in optic 
nerves, in roots of trees, in leaves, in everything !' 



Old false trails: 

The Pliilosopher's Stone (Balthazar Clses).^ 

t In ' La Recherche de TAbsolu ' (Balzac), 



238 THE JOURNAL OF [June. 1916 

A universal catholicon (Bishop Berkeley's tar- water). 
Mystical numbers (as per above). 



My father was Sir Thomas Browne and my mother 
Marie Bashkirtseff. See what a curious hybrid I am ! 



I toss these pages in the faces of timid, furtive, respect- 
able people and say: 'There! that's me! You may like 
it or lump it, but it's true. And I challenge you to follow 
suit, to flash the searchlight of your self-consciousness into 
every remotest corner of your life and invite everybody's 
inspection. Be candid, be honest, break down the parti- 
tions of your cubicle, come out of your burrow, little 
worm.' As we are all such worms we should at least be 
honest worms. 



My gratitude to E for plucking me out of the hideous 

miseries of my life in London is greater than I can express. 
If I were the cheap hero of a ladies' novel I should immo- 
late my journals as a token, and you would have a pretty 
picture of a pale young man watching his days go up in 
smoke by the draudng-room fire. But I have more con- 
fidence in her sterling good sense, and if I cannot be loved 
for what I am, I do not wish to be loved for what I am not. 



Since the fateful Nov. 27th, my life has become entirely 
posthumous. I live now in the grave and am busy fur- 
nishing it with posthumous joys. I accept my fate with 
great content, my one-time restless ambition lies asleep 
now, my one-time, furious self-assertiveness is anaesthe- 
tised by tliis great War; the War and the discovery about 
my health together have plucked out of me that canker of 
self-obsession. I sit at home here in this country cottage 
in perfect isolation — flattened out by a steam hammer 
(the' it took Armageddon to do it I), yet as cheerful and 



1916, July] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 239 

busy as a Dormouse lajdng up store for the winter. For I 
am almost resigned to the issue in tlie knowledge that some 
day, someone will know, perhaps somebody will under- 
stand and — ^immortal powers ! — even sympathise, ' the 
quick heart quickening from the heart that's still.' 



July 19. 

Omniscience 

An omniscient Caledonian asked me to-day: 

' Where are the Celebes ? Are they E. or N.E. of the 
Sand\dch Group ?' 

I marked him down at once as my legitimate prey. 
Sitting back in my chair, I replied slowly in my most 
offensive manner: 

'The Island of Celebes is of enormous size and curious 
shape situated in the Malay Arcliipclago.' 

The Caledonian made no sign. Instead of grinning at 
his error and confessing to a ' floater,' he endeavoured to 
carry on by remarking, ' That of course would be N. of 
Papua,' just for all the world as if his error was a minor 
one of latitude and longitude. 

Ignoring his comment, I continued: 

' From the Zoogeographical point of view, Celebes is 
unequalled in importance, having the strangest fauna 
almost of any island on the face of the globe. Then there's 
"Wallace's Line," ' I said, being purposely obscure. 

The Caledonian said nought but ' looked hurt.' It was 
so obvious that he didn't know, and it was so obvious that 
I knew that he didn't know, that after my farcical trucu- 
lence I expected the tension to dissolve in laughter. Yet 
it is hard for a Caledonian to say ' God be merciful to me, 
ignorant devil that I am.' So I pursued him with more 
information about ' Wallace's Line,' with an insouciant 
air, as much as to say, ' Wallace's Line of course you heard 
discussed before you were breached.' 

' Some do say, you know, that the Line is " all my eye 
^nd Betty Martin," e.g., R .' 

This gave Mm bis first opportunity of finding his feet in 



O THE JOURNAL OF [July, 1916 

this perilously deep water. So he said promptly, eager to 
seem knowledgeable with an intelligent rejoinder: 

' Ah ! yes, R is an authority on Fishes.' 

I assented. ' At the last meeting of the British Ass. he 
tore the idea to shreds.' 
The drowning Caledonian seized at any straw: 
' Fishes, however, are not of paramount importance in 
cases of geographical distribution, are they ?' 

I knew he was tliinking of marine fishes, but I did not 
illumine him, and merely said : 

' Oh ! yes, of very great importance,' at wliich he looked 
still more ' hurt,' decamped in silence and left me conqueror 
of the field but without the spoils of victory: it was im- 
possible to bring Mm to say ' I do not know '—four mono- 
syllables was all I wanted from the man who for months 
past has been lecturing me on all things from Music and 
the Drama to Philosophy, Painting and— Insects. 

July 20. 

The cradle came a few days ago but I had not seen it 
until this morning when I unlocked the cupboard door, 
looked in and shuddered. 

' That's the skeleton in our cupboard,' I said on coming 
down to breakfast. She laughed, but I really meant it. 

E keeps a blue bowl replenished with flaming 

Poppies in our room. The cottage is plagued with Ear- 
wigs which fly in at night and get among the clothes and 
bedlinen. This morning, dressing, she held up her chemise 
to the Hght saying : ' I always do this — you can see their 
Uttle heathen bodies then against the light. . . .' Isn't 
she charming ? 

July 30. 

The other day R and I were sitting on a stile on the 

uplands in perfect summer weather and talking of happy 
days before the War — he was in khaki and I was resting 
my ' gammy ' leg. ... As we talked, we let our eyes 
roam, resting luxuriously wherever we pleased and occa- 
sionally interrupting the conversation with ' Look at that 



I9I6, July] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 241 

cow scratching herself against the Oak,' or ' Do you see 
the oats waving ?' In the distance we saw a man and a 
boy walking up towards us along the path thro' the corn, 
but the eye having momentarily scrutinised them wandered 
away and the conversation never paused. When next 1 
looked, they were much nearer — crossing the furrows in 
the potato field in fact, and we both stopped talking to 
watch — idly. The boy seemed to be about 10 years old, 
and it amused us to see his great difficulty in stepping 
across the furrows. 

' Poor Httle chap,' R said, and we laughed. 

Then the boy stumbled badly and all at once the man 
lifted his walking-stick and beat him, saying ill-naturedly, 
' Step between the furrows,' and again, ' Step between the 
furrows.' Our enchanting little picture was transfigured 
in an instant. The ' charming little boy ' was a natural 
idiot — a gross, hefty creature perhaps 30 years of age, 
very short and very tliick, dressed in a little sailor suit. 

I said, ' Heavens,' and R looked positively scared. 

We stood aside for them to get over the stile, the ' boy ' 
still suffering from, liis over exertion, breathing stertorously 
like a horse pulhng uphill and still evidently fearful of the 
big stick beliind. He scrambled over the stile as best he 
could, rolling a wild eye at us as he did so — a large, bulgy 
eye with the lower lid swollen and sore, Hke the eye of a 
teirified ox on the way to the slaughter house. So much 
then for our httle picture of charming childhood ! The 
man followed close at his heels and looked at me with 
stern defiant eyes. ' Yes, that is my son,' his eyes de- 
claimed, ' and I'll thank you to avert your gaze or by the 
Lord I'll beat you too.' 

A Yellow Cat 

Last week, I saw a yellow cat perched up quite high 

on a window ledge at the S Underground Station in 

celestial detachment from the crowd of serious, black- 
coated gentlemen husthng along to and from the trains. 
He had his back turned to us, but as I swept past in the 

Q 



242 THE JOURNAL OF [July. 1916 

stream, I was forced to look back a moment, and caught 
the outhne of his whiskers — it made me smile intensely 
to myself and secretly I gave the palm to the cat for 
wisdom. 

July 31. 

Tliis War is so great and terrible that hyperbole is im- 
possible. And yet my gorge rises at those fatuous journa- 
lists continually prating about this ' Greatest War of all 
time,' tliis ' Great Drama/ tliis ' world catastrophe un- 
paralleled in human history,' because it is easy to see that 
they are really more tlirilled than shocked by the im- 
mensity of the War. They indulge in a vulgar Yankee 
admiration for the Big Thing. Why call tliis shameful 
Filth by high sounding phrases — as if it were a tragedy 
from Euripides ? We ought to hush it up, not brag about 
it, to mention it with a blush instead of spurting it out 
brazen-faced. 

Mr Garvin, for example, positively gloats over the War 
each week in the Observer: ' Last week was one of those 
pivotal occasions on which destiny seems to swing ' — and 
so on every week, you can hear him, historical glutton 
smacking his lips with an offensive relish. 

For my part, I never seem to be in the same mind about 
the War twice following. Sometimes I am wondeistruck 
and make out a list of all the amazing events I have lived 
to see since August 1914, and sometimes and more often 
I am svv'ollen with contempt for its colossal imbecilit5^ 
And sometimes I am swept away with admiration for all 
the heroism of the War, or by some particularly noble self- 
sacrifice, and think it is really all worth while. Then — and 
more frequently — I remember that this War has let loose 
on the world not only barbarities, butcheries and crimes, but 
lies, lies, lies — hypocrisies, deceits, ignoble desires for self- 
aggrandizement, self-preservation such as no one before 
ever dreamed existed in embryo in the heart of human 
beings. 

The War rings the changes on all the emotions, it 
twangs all my strings in turn and occasionally all at once. 



I9I6, Aug.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 243 

so that I scarcely know how to react or what to think. 
You see, here am I, a compulsory spectator, and all I can 
do is to reflect. A Zeppelin brought down in flames that 
lit up all London — now that makes me want to write like 
Mr Garvin. But a Foreign Correspondent's eager dis- 
cussion of ' Italy's aspirations in the Trentino,' how Russia 
insists on a large slice of Turkey, and so forth, makes me 
splutter. How insufferably childish to be sHcing up the 
earth's surface ! How immeasureably ' above the battle ' 
I am at times. What a prig you will say I am when I 
sneer at such contemptible little devilries as the Boches' 
trick of sending over a little note, ' Warsaw is fallen,' into 
our trenches, or as ours in reply: ' Gorizia !' 

' There is no difference in principle between the case 
of a man v/ho loses a limb in the service of his country and 
that of the man who loses his reason , both have an obvious 
claim to the grateful recognition of the State.' — A morning 
paper. 

A jejune comment like this makes me grin like a gar- 
goyle ! Hark to the fellow — ^this leader-writer over his 
cup of tea. But it is a lesson to show how easily and 
quickly we have all adapted ourselves to the War. The 
War is everything; it is noble, filthy, great, petty, degrad- 
ing, inspiring, ridiculous, glorious, mad, bad, hopeless yet 
full of hope. I don't know what to think about it. 



August 13. 

I hate elderly women who mention their legs. It makes 
me shudder. 



I had two amusing conversations this morning, one with 
a jealous old man of 70 summers who, in spite of his age, 
is jealous — 1 can find no other term — of me in spite of mine, 
and the other with a social climber. I always tell the first 
of any of my little successes and regularly hand liim all 
my memoirs as they appear, to which he as regularly pro- 
tests that he reads very little now. 



244 THE JOURNAL OF [Aug.. igit* 

' Oh ! never mind,' I always answer gaily, ' you take it 
and read it going down in the train — it will amuse you.' 
He submits but is always silent next time I see liim — a 
little, admonitory silence. Or, I mention I am giving an 

address at , and he says ' Oom,' and at once begins his 

reminiscences, wliich I have heard many times before, and 
am sometimes tempted to correct him when, his memory 
failing, he leaves out an essential portion of his story. 
Thus do crabbed age and boastful youth tantalise one 
another. 

To the social chmber I said slyly: i 

' You seem to move in a very distinguished entourage 
during your week ends.' 

He smiled a little self-consciously, hesitated a moment 
and then said: 

' Oh ! I have a few nice friends, you know.' 

Now I am sorry, but though I scrutinised this lick- 
spittle and arch belly-truck rider very closely, I am quite 
unable to say whether that smile and unwonted diffidence 
meant simple pleasure at the now certain knowledge that 
I was duly impressed, or whether it was genuine confusion 
at the thought that he had perhaps been overdoing it. 

Curiously enough, all bores of whatever kind make a 
dead set at me. I am always a ready listener and my 
thrusts are always gentle. Hence the pyramids ! I con- 
stantly act as phlebotomist to the vanity of the young 
and to the anecdotage of the senile and senescent. 



August 13. 

... I stood by his chair and looked down at him, and 
surveyed carefully the top of his head, neck, and collar, 
and with admirable restraint and calm, considered my 
most reasonable contempt of him. In perfect silence, we 
remained thus, while I looked down at a sore spot in the 
centre of his calvarium which he scratches occasionally, 
and toyed with the fine flower of my scorn. . . . But it 
is a dangerous license to take. One never knows. . . . 



i9i6, Sept.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 245 

Equilibrium Restored 

To clear away the cobwebs and to purge my soul of evil 
thoughts and bitter feelings, went for a walk tliis evening 
over the uplands. Among the stubble, I sat down for a 
while with my back against the corn pook and listened to 
the Partridges calling. Then wandered around the edge 
of this upland field with the wind in my face and a shower 
of delicious, fresh rain pattering down on the leaves and 
dry earth. Then into a wood among tall forest Beeches 
and a few giant Larches where I rested again and heard a 
Woodpecker tapping out its message aloft. 

This ramble in beautiful B shire country restored my 

mental and spiritual poise. I came hom^e serene and per- 
fectly balanced — my equilibrium was something like the 
just perceptible oscillation of tall Larch-tree tops on the 
heights of a cliff and the sea below vath a just perceptible 
swell on a calm and perfect June day. I felt exquisite 
— superb. I could have walked all the way home on a 
tight rope. 



September 2. 

Just recently, I have been going fairly strong. I get 
frequent colds and sometimes show unpleasant nerve 
symptoms, but I take a course of arsenic and strychnine 
every month or so in tabloid form, and this helps me over 
bad patches. 

Under the beatific influence of more comfortable health, 
the rare flower of my ambition has raised its head once 
more: my brain has bubbled with projects. To wit: 

(i) An investigation of the Balancers in Larval Urodeles. 

(2) The Present Parlous State of Systematic Zoology 
(for ' Science Progress '). 

(3) The Anatomy of the Psocidae. 
Etc. 

The strength of my ambition at any given moment is the 
measure of my state of health. It must really be an extra- 
ordinarily tenacious thing to have hung on thro' all my 



246 THE JOURNAL OF [Sept., 1916 

recent experiences. Considerately enough this great Crab 
lets go of my big toe when I am sunk low in health, yet 
pinches devilishly hard as now when I am well.^ 

A Bad Listener ^ 

When I begin to speak, T will sometimes interrupt 

with his loud, rasping voice. I usually submit to tliis from 
sheer lack of lung power or I may have a sore throat. But 
occasionally after the fifth or sixth interruption I lose my 
equanimity and refuse to give him ground. I keep straight 
on with what I intended to say, only in a louder voice; he 
assumes a voice louder still, but not to be denied, I pile 
Pehon on Ossa and finally overwhelm Mm in a thunder of 
sound. For example: 

' The other day '—I begin quietly collecting my thoughts 
to tell the story in detail, ' I went to the ' 

' Ah ! you must come and see my pictures ' he breaks 

in ; but I go on and he goes on and as I talk, I catch phrases : 
' St. Peters ' or ' Michael Angelo ' or ' Botticelli ' in won- 
drous antiphon with my own ' British Museum ' and ' I 
saw there,' ' two Syracusan,' ' tetradrachms,' until very 
likely I reach the end of my sentence before he does his, or 
perhaps his rasp drives my remarks out of my head. But 
that makes no difference, for rather than give in I go on 
improvising in a louder and louder voice when suddenly, 
at length made aware of the fact that I am talking too, 
he stops ! leaving me bellowing nonsense at the top of my 
voice, thus: ' and I much admired these Syracusan tetra- 
drachms, very charming indeed, I hke them, the Syracusan 
tetradrachms I mean you know, and it will be good to go 
again and see them (louder) if possible and the weather 
keeps dry (louder) and the moon and the stars keep in their 

courses, if the slugs on the thorn (loudest) ' he stops, 

hears the last few words of my remarks, pretends to be 
appreciative but wonders what in Heaven's name I can 
have been talking about. 

1 See September 3 (next entry), ' A Jolt,' and September 24 {infra). 



1916, Sept.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 247 

September 3. 

This is the sort of remark I like to make: Someone says 
to me: ' You are a pessimist.' 

' Ah well,' I say, looking infernally deep, ' pessimism 
is a good poHcy; it's like having your cake and eating it at 
the same time.' 

Chorus: 'Why?' 

' Because if the future turns out badly you can say, ' I 
told you so,' to your own satisfaction, and if all is well, 
why you share everyone else's satisfaction.' 

Or I sav: ' No I can't swim; and I don't want to !' 

Chorus: 'Why?' 

' Because it is so dangerous.' 

Chorus: 'Why?' 

The Infernally Wise Youth: ' For several reasons. If 
you are a s\vimmer you are likely to be oftener near water 
and oftener in danger than a non-swimmer. Further, as 
soon as you can swim even only a little, then as an honour- 
able man, it behoves you to plunge in at once to save a 
drowning person, whereas, if you couldn't swm it would 
be merely tempting Providence.' 

Isn't it sickening ? 

A Jolt 

Yesterday the wind was taken out of my sails. Racing 
along with spinnaker and jib, feeling pretty fit and quite 
excited over some interesting ectoparasites just collected 
on some Tinamous, I suddenly shot into a menacing 
dead calm: that stiflingly still atmosphere wliich precedes 
a Typhoon. That is to say, my eye caught the title of an 
enormous quarto memoir in the Trans. Roy. Soc, Edin- 
burgh: The Histology of . 

I was browsing in the hbrary at the time when this hit 
me like a carelessly handled gaff straight in the face. I 
almost ran away to my room. 



My Pink Form just received amazes me ! To be a 
soldier ? C'est incroyable, ma foi 1 The possibility even 



248 THE JOURNAL OF [Sept., 1916 

is distracting ! To send me a notice requesting me to 
prepare myself for killing men ! Why I should feel no 
more astonished to receive a War Office injunction under 
dire penalties to perform miracles, to move mountains, to 
raise from the dead: My reply would be: ' I cannot.' I 
should sit still and watch the whole universe pass to its 
destruction rather than raise a hand to knife a fellow. 
This may be poor, anaemic; but there it is, a positive fact. 



There are moments when I have awful misgivings: Is 
this blessed Journal worth while ? I really don't know, 
and that's the harassing fact of the matter. If only I 
were sure of myself, if oiily I were capable of an impartial 
view ! But I am too fond of myself to be able to see my- 
self obj ectively. I wish I jknew for certain what I am 
and how much I am worth. There are such possibilities 
about the situation : it may turn out tremendously, or else 
explode in a soap bubble. It is the torture of Tantalus to 
be so uncertain. I should be relieved to know even the 
worst. I would almost gladly burn my MSS. in the plea- 
sure of having my curiosity satisfied. I go from the nadir 
of disappointment to the zenith of hope and back several 
times a week, and all the time I am additionally harassed 
by the perfect consciousness that it is all petty and pusil- 
lanimous to desire to be known and appreciated, that my 
ambition is a morbid diathesis of the mind. I am not 
such a fool either as not to see that there is but little 
satisfaction in posthumous fame, and I am not such a fool 
as not to realise that all fame is fleeting, and that the whole 
world itself is passing away. 



I smile with sardonic amusement when I reflect how the 
War has changed my status. Before the War I was an 
interesting invahd. Now I am a lucky dog. Then, I was 
a star turn in tragedy; now I am drowned and ignored in 
an overcrowded chorus. No valetudinarian was ever 
more unpleasantly jostled out of his self -compassion. It 



I9i6, Sept.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 249 

is difficult to accustom myself to the new role all at once : 
I had begun to lose the faculty for sympathising in others' 
griefs. It is hard to have to realise that in all this slaughter, 
my own superfluous life has become negligible and scarcely 
anyone's concern but my own. In tliis colossal sauve-qui- 
peut which is developing, who can stay to consider a useless 
mouth ? Am I not a comfortable parasite ? And, God 
forgive me, an Egotist to boot ? 

The War is searching out everyone, concentrating a 
beam of inquisitive light upon everyone's mind and char- 
acter and pubhshing it for all the world to see. And the 
consequence to many honest folk has been a keen personal 
disappointment. We ignoble persons had thought we 
were better than we really are. We scarcely anticipated 
that the War was going to discover for us our emotions so 
despicably small by comparison, or our hearts so riddled 
with selfish motives. In the wild race for security during 
these dangerous times, men and women have all been 
sailing so closehauled to the wind that their eyes have been 
glued to their own forepeaks with never a thought for 
others: fathers have vied with one another in procuring 
safe jobs for their sons, Nvives have been bitter and re- 
criminating at the security of other wives' husbands. The 
men themselves plot constantly for staff appointments, 
and everyone is pulling strings who can. Bereavement 
has brought bitterness and immunity?' indifference. 

And how pathetically some of us cling still to fragments 
of the old regime that has already passed — ^like ship- wrecked 
mariners to floating \\Teckage, to the manner of the con- 
servatoire amid the thunder of all Europe being broken up; 
to our newspaper gossip and parish teas, to our cherished 
aims — wealth, fame, success — in spite of all, mat coelum ! 
Mr A. C. Benson and his trickhng, comfortable Essays, 
Mr Shaw and Ms Scintillations — they are all there as before, 
revolving like haggard wndmills in a devastated landscape ! 
A little while ago, I read in the local newspaper wliich I 
get up from the country two columns concerning the acci- 
dental death of an old woman, while two lines were used 
to record the death of a townsman at the front from an 



250 THE JOURNAL OF [Sept.. 1916 

aerial dart. Behold this poor rag ! staggering along under 
the burden of the War in a passionate endeavour to pre- 
serve the old-time interest in an old woman's decease. 
Yet more or less we are all in the same case : I still WTite my 
Journal and play Patience of an evening, and an old lady 
I know still reads as before the short items of gossip in the 
papers, neglecting articles and leaders. . . . We are like 
a nest of frightened ants when someone lifts the stone. 
That is the world just now. 

September 5. 

... I was so ashamed of having to fall back upon such 
ignominious publications for my literary efforts that on 
presenting him with two copies, I told the following lie to 
save my face : 

' They were two essays of mine left over at the beginning 
of the War, you know. My usual channel became blocked 
so I had to have recourse to these.' 

' Where do you publish as a rule ?' he innocently asked. 

' Oh ! several in the Manchester Guardian,' I told him out 
of vanity. ' But of course every respectable journal now 
has closed down to extra-war topics.' 

I lie out of vanity. And then I confess to lying — out of 
vanity too. So that one way or another I am determined 
to make kudos out of myself. Even this last reflection is 
written down with an excessive appreciation of its wit and 
the intention that it shall raise a smile. 

September 9. 

Still nothing to report. The anxiety is telling on us all. 
The nurse has another case on the 22nd. 



I looked at myself in the mirror this morning — nude, a 
most revolting picture. An emaciated human being is the 
most unlovely thing in creation. Some time ago a smart 
errand boy called out ' Bo\T:il ' after me in the sireet. 

On my way to the Station met two robust, brawny ciuratcs 
on the way to the daily weekday service — which is attended 



I9I6, Sept.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 251 

only by two decrepit old women in black, each \vith her 
prayer-book caught up to her breast as if she were afraid it 
might gallop off. That means a parson apiece — and in war 
time too. 



September 10. 

My sympathy \\ith myself is so unfailing that I don't 
deserve anybody else's. In many respects, however, this 
Journal I believe gives the impression that I behave my- 
self in the pubhc gaze much worse than I actually do. You 
must remember that herein I let myself go at a stretch 
gallop : in life I rein in, I am almost another person. Would 

you believe it, E says I am full of quick sympathy 

with others and extraordinarily cheerful, nay gay. Verily 
I lead a curious double existence: among most people, I 
pass for a complaisant, amiable, mealy-mouthed, furry if 
conceited creature. Here I stand revealed as a contemp- 
tuous, arrogant malcontent. My life has embittered me 
au fond, I have the crabbed temper of the disappointed 
man insufficiently developed yet to be very plainly visible 
beneath my innate affable, unassuming, humble, diffident, 
cheerful characteristics. With fools on every hand I 
am becoming insolent, aggressive, self-declamatory. Last 
evening came home and got down Robert Buchanan's 
sonnet, ' When He returns and finds the world so drear,' 

and felt constrained to read it out to E . I poured 

out its acid sentiment with the base revenge of a vitriol 
tlirower, and then became quiescent. 

It is a helpless feeling, sitting still and watching circum- 
stances pounding away at my malleable character and 
moulding it wrongly. 

September 14. 

An American Neighbour 

We have a dehghtful American neighbour here whose 
life revolves like the fly-wheel of an engine. Even when 
not in eruption his volcanic energy is always rumbling 
and can be heard. Seeing he is a globe trotter, I was sur- 



252 THE JOURNAL OF [Sept., 1916 

prised to observe his most elaborate precautions for catching 
the train and getting a scat when he takes liis wife and 
family to town. He first of all plants himself and all liis 
propert}^ down at a certain carefully selected point along 
the platform as if he were in the wild west lying in wait 
for a Buffalo. Then as the train comes in, his eye fixes on 
an empty compartment as it passes and he dashes off after 
it in furious pursuit up the platform, shouting to his family 
to follow him. Having lassooed the compartment, squaw 
and piccaninnies are hustled in as if there was not a moment 
to lose, what time the black-coated, suburban Englishmen 
look on in pain and silence, and then slowly with offensive 
deliberation enter their respective carriages. 

The Stockbroker 

Another neighbour who interests me is mainly notable 
for his extraordinary gait. He is a man with a large, 
round head, a large round, dissolute looking face and fairly 
broad shoulders, below which everything tapers away to a 
pair of tiny feet neatly booted. These two little feet are 
excessively sensitive to road surface — one would say he 
had special sense organs on his toes, to j udge by the manner 
in wliich he picks out his path along the country road in 
short, quick, fussy steps: liis feet seem to dissect out the 
road as if boning a herring. A big bunion is as good as a 
sense organ, but his feet are too small and elegant. 

September 24. 

The second nurse arrived to-day. Great air raid last 
night of which we heard notliing, thank God ! 

My nerves are giving way under the strain. . . . One 
leg (the left) drags abominably. . . . We shall want a 
bath-chair as well as a perambulator. 

Crawled up thro' the path-fields to the uplands and sat 
in a field in the sun with my back against a haystack. I 
was so immobile in my dejection that Flies and Grass- 
hoppers came and perched about me. This made me 
furious. ' I am not dead yet,' I said, ' get away,' and I 



i9i6, Sept.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 253 

would suddenly drive them off. ... In horrible dejec- 
tion. . . . 

Even my mental powers are disintegrating — that's the rub. 
Some quite recent incidents I cannot remember even when 
reminded of them: they seem to have passed clean out of 
my mind — a remarkable sensation this. 

My sensibility is dulled too. It chagrins me to find that 
my present plight by no means overwhelms me with 
anguish as it would have done once. It only worries me. 
I am just a worried ox. 

September 26. 

The numbness in my right hand is getting very trying. 
. . . The Baby puts the hd on it all. Can't you see the 
sordid picture ? I can, and it haunts me. To be para- 
lysed with a wife and child and no money — ugh ! 

Retribution proceeds with an almost mathematical 
accuracy of measure. It would necessitate a vernier rather 
than a chain. There is no mercy in Cause and Effect. It is 
inhuman clockwork. Every single act expended brings 
one its precise equivalent in return. ... 

September 28. 

Still nothing to report. 

I am astonished at the false impression these entries give 
of myself. The picture is incomplete anyhow. It repre- 
sents the cloud of forebodings over my inner self but does 
not show the outward front I present to others. This is 
one of almost constant gaiety — unforced and quite natural. 
Ask E , who said yesterday I was like a schoolboy. 

' Camerade, I give you my hand 1 
I give you my love more precious than money, 
I give you myself before preaching or law; 
Will you give me yourself ? Will you come, travel with me,? 
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live ?' 

She cut this out of her copy of Walt Whitman and gave 
it me soon after our engagement. It is very precious 
to me. 



254 THE JOURNAL OF [Oct.. 1916 

(On Sept. 29th, on the Doctor's advice I went away by 
the sea alone, my nerves being all unstrung. For an 
account of the miseries of tliis j ourney, see Dec. 12th infra.) 

October 3. 
A wire to say Susan arrived 2.15 p.m. All well. 



October 5. 

Home again with my darhng. She is the most wonderful 
darling woman. Our love is for always. The Baby is a 
monster. 

October 23. 

The fact that I can't write, finally bottles me up.* 
Damn ! Damn ! Damn ! If only I can get my Essay on 

Journal Writers done. E goes on well. I have a 

thousand things to say. 

October 27. 

Still awaiting a reprieve. I hate alarming the Doctor 
— he's such a cheerful man so I conceal my symptoms, 
quite a collection by now. 

The prospect of breaking the news to her makes me 
miserable. I liide away as much as possible lest she should 
see. I must speak when she is well again. 

October 28. 

Life has been very treacherous to me — tliis, the greatest 
treachery of all. But I don't care. I exult over it. Last 
night I lay awake and listened to the wind in the trees and 
was full of exultation. 

Now I can only talk, but nobody to talk to. Shall hire 
a row of broomsticks. More and more, the War appears 
to me a tragic hoax. 

1 The handwriting is painfully laboured, very large across a page 
and so crooked as to be almost undeciDherable in places. 



i9i6, Nov.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 255 

November i. 

E has had a set-back and is in bed again. However 

sclerotic my nerve tissue, I feel as flaccid as a jelly. 
My God ! how I loathe the prospect of death. 

November 3. 

I must have some music or I shall hear the paralysis 
creeping. That is why I lie in bed and whistle. 

' My dear Brown, what am I to do ?'^ (I like to drama- 
tise myself like that — it is an anodyne.) 

|I feel as if I were living alone on Ascension Island with 
the tide coming up continuously, up and up and up. 

November 6. 

She has known all from the beginning ! M warned 

her not to marry me. How brave and loyal of her ! What 
an ass I have been. I am overwhelmed with feelings of 
shame and self-contempt and sorrow for her. She is quite 
cheerful and an enormous help. 

November 12. 

What a wreck my existence has become and — dragging 
down others with me. 

If only I could rest assured that after I am dead these 
Journals will be tenderly cared for — as tenderly as this 
blessed infant ! It would be cruel if even after I have 
paid the last penalty, my efforts and sufferings should 
continue to remain unknown or disregarded. What I 
would give to know the effect I shall produce when pub- 
lished ! I am tortured by two doubts — whether these 
MSS. (the labour and hope of many years) will survive 
accidental loss and whether they really are of any value. 
I have no faith in either. 

November 14. 

In fits of panic, 1 keep saying to myself: 'My dear 
Brown, what am I to do ? ' But where is Brown ? Brown, 

you devil ! where are you ? 

1 This is from a letter written by the dying Keats in Naples to 
his friend Brown. 



256 THE JOURNAL OF LNov., 1916 

... To think how I have acted the Prince to her when 
really I am only a beggar ! 

November 16. 

A little better and more cheerful: altlio' my impregnable 
colon still holds out. 

It would be nice if a physician from London one of these 
days were to gallop up hotspur, tether Ms horse to the 
gate post and dash in waving a reprieve — the discovery of 
a cure ! 

... I was in an impish mood and said: ' Oh ! dear, I'm 
full of misery.' 

* Don't be silly,' she said, 'so am I.' 

November 17. 

E has been telling me some of her emotions during 

and after her fateful visit to my Doctor just before our 
marriage. He did not spare her and even estimated the 
length of my life after I had once taken to my bed — about 
12 months. I remember his consulting room so well—all 
its furniture and the photograph of Madam Blavatsky over 
the door, and I picture her to myself sitting opposite to him 
in a sullen silence listening to the whole lugubrious story. 
Then she said at last : ' All this won't make any difference 
to me.' She went home to her mother in a dream, along 
the streets I have followed so often. I can follow all her 
footsteps in imagination and keep on retracing them. 
It hurts, but I do so because it seems to make her some 
amends for my being childishly unconscious at the time. 
Poor darling woman — if only I had known ! My instinct 
was right — I felt in my bones it was wrong to marry, yet 

here was M urging me on. ' You marry,' her mother 

said to her, ' I'll stand by you,' wliich was right royal of 
her. There followed some trying months of married life 
with this white hot secret in her bosom as a barricade to 
perfect intimacy; me she saw always under tliis cloud of 
crude disgusting pathos making her say a hundred times 
to herself: ' He doesn't know;' then ZeppeHn raids and a 
few symptoms began to grow obvious, until what before she 



i9i6, Nov.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 257 

had to take on trust from the Doctor came diabohcally 
true before her eyes. Thank God that's all over at last. 
I know her now for all she is worth — her loyalty and de- 
votion, her courage and strength. If only I had some- 
thing to give her in return ! something more than the dregs 
of a life and a constitutional pessimism. I greatly desire 
to make some sacrifice, but I am so poor these days, so 
very much a pauper on her charity, there is no sacrifice I 
can m_ake. Even my life would scarcely be a sacrifice in 
the circumstances — it is hard not to be able to give when 
one wants to give. 



November 20. 

In the doldrums. Tired of this damnable far niente,—! 
am being gently smothered under a mountain of feathers. 
I should like to engage upon some cold, hard, glittering 
intellectualism. 

' I want to read Kant,' I said. The Baby slept, E— 

was sewing and N v^iting letters. I leaned back in 

my armchair beside the bookshelf and began to read out 
the titles of my books in a loud voice. 

' My dear !' E said. 

' I am caressing my past,' I answered. ' Wiedersheim's 
Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates, Smith Woodward's 
Vertebrate PalcBontology — why it's like visiting old prospects 
and seeing how the moss has grown over the stones.' 

I hummed a comic song and then said: ' As I can't burn 
the house down, I shall go to bed.' 

N : ' You can talk if you like, it won't interfere.' 

E : ' He's talking to his besoms.' 

' Certainly,' I said to N , absent-mindedly. 

E : ' You ought to have said " Thank 3''ou." ' 

I blew out my cheeks and E laughed. 

N : ' How do you spell " regimental " ?' 

I told her — v^nrongiy, and E said I was in a devilish 

mood. 

' If we say that we have no sin ' I chanted in reply, ' we 
deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.' I next gave 

R 



258 THE JOURNAL OF [Nov., 1016 

a bit out of a speech by Disraeli with exaggerated rhe- 
torical gestures. 

E (with pity) : ' Poor young man.' 

Presently she came over and in a tired way put her arms 
around my ncick so I immediately began to sing ' Rock of 
Ages, cleft for me,' in the bass, which immediately re- 
minded me of dear old Dad, whose favourite hymn it was. 
. . . Then I imitated the Baby. And then to bed fretful 
and very bitter. 

November 27. 

... I wish I could die of heart failure — and at once 1 
What a luxury that would be as compared with my present 
prospect ! 

A Tomtit on the fence this morning made me dissolve 
in tears: — self-pity I believe. I remember Tomtits in 

shire. Put on a gramophone record and — ugh ! but 

I'm too sick to write. 

November 28. 

The shock 1 gave my spinal column in 1915 up in the 
Lakes undoubtedly re-awakened activity among the 
bacteria. Luck for you ! I, of all persons to concuss my 
spine 1 1 

... 1 listen to the kettle singing, 1 look at the pictures 
in the fire, read a bit, ask what time it is, see the Baby 
' topped and tailed,' yawn, blow my nose, put on a gramo- 
phone record — I have the idea of passing on the midnight 
with no pain to the tune of some healing ragtime. 

November 29. 

The anniversary of our engagement day two years ago. 
How mad the idea of marriage seemed to me — and my 
instinct was right : if only I had known ! Yet she says 
she does not regret anything. 



Thie morning I turned to read with avidity accounts of 
the last hours of Keats, Gibbon, Oscar Wilde and Baude- 



I9I6, Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 259 

laire. I gained astonishing comfort out of this, especially 
in the last . . . who died of G.P.I, in a Brussels Hospital. 



is awfully courageous and, as usual ready to 



do everything in her power. How can I ever express 
sufficient gratitude to these two dear women (and my wife 
above all) for casting in their lot knowingly wth mine ? 

December i. 

1 beheve 1 am good for another 12 months without ab- 
normal worries. Just now, of course, the Slug ain't exactly 

on the thorn — on the cabbage in fact as E suggested. 

The Grasshopper is much of a burden and the voice of the 
Turtle has gone from my land (where did all these Bible 
phrases come from ?). The first bark of the Wolf (God save 
us, 'tis all the Animal Kingdom sliding down my penholder) 
was heard with the reduction in her work to-day, and I 
suspect the:e's worse to come with a sovereign already only 
worth I2S. 6d. 

December 4. 

The Baby touch is the most harrowing of all. If we 
were childless we should be merely unfortunate, but an 
infant . . . 

December 11. 

Am receiving ionisation treatment from an electrical 
therapeutist — a quack ! He is a sort of electrician — 

still, if he mends my bells 111 kiss his boots. As for , 

he is no better than a byreman, and I call him Hodge. 
This is not the first time I have felt driven to act behind 
the back of the Profession. In 1912, being desperate, and 

M worse than a headache, I gi-eedily and credulously 

sucked in the advice of my boarding-house proprietor and 
went to see a homoeopatliist in Finsbury Circus. He 
proved to be a charlatan at los. 6d a time, and tho' I 
realised it at once, I religiously travelled about for a month 
or more with tinctures and drop-bottle. 



26o THE JOURNAL OF [Dec, 1916 

I could write a book on the Doctors I have known and 
the blunders they have made about me. . . . The thera- 
peutist took me for 33. I feel 63. I am 27. What a 
wreck I am, and . . . 

December 12. 

It is so agreeable to be able to write again that I write 
now for the sheer physical pleasure of being able to use a 
pen and form letters. 



An Adventure in Search of Health 

About the end of September, I began to feel so ill that 

Nurse went for the Doctor who assured me that E 

was all right — I need not worry — ' You go away at once 
and get some fresh air,' and so forth. ' I feel quite ill,' I 
said, struggling to break the news. 

'Sort of nervous?' he enquired good-naturedly, 'run 
down ? I should get right away at once.' 

I began tentatively. ' Well, I have a rather long 
medical history and perhaps . . . you . . . might care 
to read the certificate of my London Doctor ?' 

I went to my escritoire and returned \\dth M 's letter 

addressed to ' The M.O. examining Mr B.' 

Hodge pulled out the missive, studied the brief note 
carefully and long, at the same time drawing in his breath 
deeply, and gnawing the back of his hand. 

' I know all about it,' I said to relieve him. 

' Is it quite certain? about tliis disease?' he said pre- 
sently. ' You are very young for it.' 

' I think there is no doubt,' and he began to put me 
thro' the usual tricks. 

' I should go right away at once,' he said, ' and go on 
with your arsenic. And whatever you do — don't worry 
— your wife is all right.' 

After beseeching him to keep silence about it as I thought 
she did not know, I shewed him out and locked up the 
certificate again. 

Next morning I felt thoroughly cornered: I was not 



I9I6. Dec] a disappointed MAN 261 

really fit enough to travel; my hand and leg were daily 

growing more and more paralysed and J wired to say 

she could not put me up as they were going '^away for the 
week end. So I wired back engaging rooms, as with the 

nurse in the house and E as she was, I simply could not 

stay at home. . . . 

On the way to the Station I was still in two minds 
whether or not to pull the taxi up at the Nursing Home 
and go inside, but harassing debate as it was, our rapidly 
diminishing bank balance finally drove me on. 

came up to London with me and sought out a 

comfortable corner seat, but by the time the train left, a 
mother and a crying child had got in and everywhere else 

was full. A girl opposite who saw hand me a brandy 

flask and knew I was ill, looked at me compassionately. 

At Reading, another woman with a baby got in and both 
babies cried in chorus, j angling my nerves to bits ! — until 
I got out into the corridor, by a miracle not falling down, 
with one leg very feeble and treacherous. All seats were 
taken, excepting a first-class compartment where I looked 
in enviously at a lucky youth stretched out asleep full 
length along the empty seat. 

All the people and the noise of the train began to make 
me fret, so I sought out the repose of a lavatory where I 
remained eating sand\\dches and an apple for the best 
part of an hour. It was good to be alone. 

Later on, I discovered an empty seat in a compartment 
occupied by persons whose questionable appearance my 
short sight entirely failed to make me aware of until I got 
inside with them. They were a family of Sheenies, father, 
mother and three children, whose joint emanations in a 
closed-up railway carriage made an effluvium like to kill 
a regiment of guards. They were E. end pawnbrokers or 
dealers in second-hand clothes. 

I was too nervous to appear rude by immediately with- 
drawing, so I said politely to the man clad in second-hand 
furs : ' Is that seat taken ? ' 

He affected to be almost asleep. So I repeated. He 
stared at me and then said: 



^62 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec, 1916 

' Oh ! yes . . . but you can have it for a bit if you 
like.' 

I sat down timorously on the extreme edge of the seat 
and stared at, but could not read, my newspaper out of 
sheer nervous apprehension. My sole idea was to get out 
as soon as I decorously could. Out of the corner of my 
eye, I observed the three children — two girls and a boy — 
all garbed in black clothes and wearing large clumsy boots 
wdth nails and scutes on the soles. The girls had large 
inflorescences of bushy hair wliich they swung about as 
they turned their heads and made me shudder. The 
mother's face was like a brown, shrivelled apple, topped 
with a black bonnet and festooned on each side with ring- 
lets of curly dark hair. Around her neck a fur tippet: as 
I live — second-hand clothes dealers from Whitechapel. 

The man I dare not look at : I sat beside him and merely 
imagined. 

At , I got a decent seat and arrived at T jaded, 

but still alive, \\dth no one to meet me. Decent rooms on 
the sea- front. 

Next morning J went away for the week end and I 

could not possibly explain how ill I was: she might have 
stayed at home. 

To preserve my sanity, Saturday afternoon, took a des- 
perate remedy by hiring a motor-car and travelling to 
Torquay and back via Babbacombe. . . . 

On the Sunday, feeling suddenly ill, 1 sent for the local 
medico ''whom I received in the drab little room by lamp- 
light after dinner. 'I've a tingling in my right hand,' I 
said, ' that drives me nearly silly.' 

' And on the soles of your feet ?' he asked at once. 

I assented, and he ran thro' at once all the symptoms 
in series. 

' I see you know what my trouble is,' I said shyly. And 
we chatted a little about the War, about disease, and I 
told liim of the recent memoir on the histologj' of the 

disease in the Trans. Roy. Soc, Edin. which interested 

him. Then he went away again — very amiable, very polite 
— an obvious non possumus. . . . 



I9I6. Dec] a disappointed MAN 263 

On Monday at 4 went up to to tea as previously 

arranged, but found the house shut up so returned to my 
rooms in a rage. 

After tea, having read the newspapers inside out, sat by 
the open window looking out on to the Marine Parade. It 
was dusk, a fine rain was falling, and the parade and sea- 
front were deserted save for an occasional figure hurraing 
past with mackintosh and umbrella. Suddenly as I sat 
looldng out on this doleful scene, a dirge from nowhore in 
particular sounded on my ears which 1 soon recognised 
as ' Robin Adair,' sung very lento and very maestoso by a 
woman, \vith a flute obligato played by some second person. 
The tide was right up, and the little waves murmured list- 
lessly at long intervals: never before I think have I been 
plunged into such an abyss of acute misery. 

Next day the wire came. But it was too late. The day 
after that, I was worse, a single ray of sunshine being the 
rediscovery of the second-hand-clothes family from White- 
chapel taking the air together on the front. This dreary 
party was traipsing along, the parents in their furs giving 
an occasional glance at the sea uncomfortably, as if they 
only noticed it was wet, and the children still in black and 
still wearing their scuted boots, obviously a little uncom- 
fortable in a place so clean and windswept. I think they 
all came to the seaside out of decorum and for the satisfac- 
tion of feeling that they could afford it like other folk, and 
that old-clothes was as profitable a business as another. 

On Thursday, returned home as I was afraid of being 
taken ill and having to go into the public hospital. Arrived 
home and went to bed and here we arc till Jan. ist on 
3 months' sick leave. However, the swingeing urtication 
in my hands and feet has now almost entirely abated and 

to-day I went out with E and the perambulator, 

which I pushed. 

December 13. 

A Baby-Girl 

Walked down the bottom of the road and hung over 
some wooden raihngs. A little village baby-girl aged not 



264 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec. 1916 

more than 3 was hovering about near me while 1 gazed 
abstractedly across the Park at the trees. Presently, she 
crawled through the railings into the field and picked up 
a few dead leaves — a baby picking up dead leaves ! Then 
she threw them down, and kicked them. Then moved on 
again — rustling about intermittently like a ^^inter Thrush 
in the shrubbery. At last, she had stumbled around to 
where I was leaning over the railings. She stood imme- 
diately in front of me and silently looked up ^\^th a steady 
reproachful gaze: 'Ain't you 'shamed, you lazy-bones ?' 
till I could bear her inquisitorial gaze no longer, and so 
went and hung over some more railings further on. 

Service 

He asked for a Tennyson. She immediately went up- 
stairs in the dark, lit a match and got it for him. 

He asked for a Shakespeare. And without a moment's 
hesitation, she went upstairs again, lit another match and 
got that for him. 

And I believe if he had said ' Rats,' she would have shot 
out silently into the dark and tried to catch one for him. 
Only a woman is capable of such service. 

Hardy's Poetry 

' You did not come, 
And marching time drew on and wore me numb — 
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there 
Than that I thus found lacking in your make 
That high compassion which can o . erbear 
Reluctance for pure loving-kindness' sake 
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum, 

You did not come.' 

I thoroughly enjoy Hardy's poetry for its masterfulness, 
for his sheer muscular compulsion over the words and 
sentences. In his rough-hewn lines he yokes the recalci- 
trant words together and drives them along mercilessly 
with something that looks like simple brute strength. 
Witness the triumphant last line in the above where the 
words are absolute bondslaves to his exact meaning, his 



1916, Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 265 

indomitable will. All this pleases me the more for I know 
to my cost what stubborn, sullen, hephaestian beasts 
words and clauses can sometimes be. It is nice to 
see them punished. Hardy's poetry is Michael Angelo 
rather than Greek, Browning not Tennyson. 

December 14. 

What a day ! After a night of fog signals, I awoke this 
morning to find it still foggy and the ground covered with a 
grey rime. All day the fog has remained: I look out now 
thro' the yellowish atmosphere across a field which is 
frosted over, the grass and brambles stiff and glassy. My 
back is aching and the cold is so intense that unless I crouch 
over the fire hands and feet become immediately stone-cold. 
All day I have crouched over the fire, reading newspapers, 
listening to fog signals and the screaming of the baby. 
... I have been in a torpor, like a Bat in a cavern — 
really dead yet automatically hanging on to life by my 
hind legs. 

December 15. 

' To stand upon one's guard against Death exasperates 
her malice and protracts our sufferings.' W. S. Landor. 

December 19. 

The Pcurson called, over the christening of the baby. 
I told him I was an agnostic. ' There are several interest- 
ing lines of thought down here,' he said wearily, passing 
his hand over his eyes. I know several men more enthu- 
siastic over Fleas and Worms than this phlegmatic priest, 
over Jesus Christ. 

December 20. 

The reason why I do not spend my days in despair and 
my nights in hopeless weeping simply is that I am in love 
with my own ruin. I therefore deserve no sympathy, and 
probably shan't get it: my own profound self-compassion 
is enough. I am so abominably self-conscious that no 
smallest detail in this tragedy eludes me. Day after day 



366 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec. ioi6 

I sit in the theatre of my own life and watch the drama of 
my own history proceeding to its close. Pray God the curtain 
falls at the right moment lest the play drag on into some 
long and tedious anticlimax. 

We all like to dramatise ourselves. Byron was drama- 
tising himself when, in a fit of rhetorical self-compassion, 
he wrote: 

' Oh ! could I feel as I have felt or be what I have been, 
Or weep as I could once have wept o'er many a vanished scene.' 

Sht;lley, too, being an artist could not stand insensible 
to his own tragedy and Francis Thompson suggests that 
he even anticipated his own end from a passage in Jtilian 
and Maddalo, ' ... if you can't swim, Beware of Provi- 
dence.' ' Did no earthly dixisti,' Thompson asks, ' sound 
in his ears as he wrote it ?' 

In any event, it was an admirable ending from the 
dramatic point of view ; Destiny is often a superb drama- 
tist. What more perfect than the death of Rupert Brooke 
at Scyros in the Mgea.n ?^ The lives of some men are 
works of art, perfect in form, in development and in climax. 
Yet how frequently a life eminently successful or even 
eminently ruinous is also an unlovely, sordid, ridiculous 
or vulgar affair ! Every one will concede that it must be 
a hard thing to be commonplace and vulgar even in 
misfortune, to discover that the tragedy of your own 
precious life has been dramatically bad, that your life even 
in its ruins is but a poor thing, and your own miseries 
pathetic from their very insignificance; that you are only 
Jones with chronic indigestion rather than Guy de Mau- 
passant mad, or Coleridge with a great intellect being 
slowly dismantled by opium. 

If only I could order my life by line and level, if I could 
control or create my own destiny and mould it into some 
marble perfection ! In short, if life were an art and not 
a lottery I In the lives of all of us, how many wasted efforts, 
how many wasted opportunities, false starts, blind grop- 

^ Contrast ^ with it Wordsworth rotting at Rydal Mount or 
Swinburne at Putney. 



i9i6, Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 267 

ings — how many lost days — and man's life is but a paltry 
three score years and ten: pitiful short commons indeed. 

Sometimes, as I lean over a five-barred gate or gaze 
stupidly into the fire, I garner a bitter-sweet contentment 
in making ideal reconstructions of my life, selecting my 
parents, the date and place of my birth, my gifts, my 
education, my mentors and what portions out of the in- 
finity of knowledge shall gain a place within my mind — 
that sacred glebe-land to be zealously preserved and 
enthusiastically cultivated. Whereas, my mind is now a 
wilderness in which all kinds of useless growths have 
found an ineradicable foothold. I am exasperated to find 
I have by heart the long addresses of a lot of dismal busi- 
ness correspondents and yet can't remember the last 
chapters of Ecclesiastes : what a waste of mind-stuff there ! 
It irks me to be acquainted even to nausea with the spot 
in which I live, I whose feet have never traversed even 
so much as this little island much less carried me in triumph 
to Timbuctoo, Honolulu, Rio, Rome. 

December 2x. 

This continuous preoccupation with self sickens me — as 
I look back over these entries. It is inconceivable that I 
should be here steadily writing up my ego day by day in 
the middle of this disastrous war. . . . Yesterday I had 
a move on. To-day life wearies me. I am sick of myself 
and life. This beastly world wdth its beastly war and hate 
makes me restless, dissatisfied, and full of a longing to be 
quit of it. I am as full of unrest as an autumn Swallow. 
' My soul,' I said to them at breakfast with a sardonic grin, 
' is like a greyhound in the slips. I shall have to wear 
heavy boots to prevent myself from soaring. I have such 
an uplift on me that I could carry a horse, a dog, a cat, if 
you tied them on to my homing spirit and so transformed 
my Ascension into an adventure out of Baron Munchausen.' 
With a gasconnade of contempt, I should like to turn on 
my heel and march straight out of this wretched world at 
once. 



268 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec, 1916 

December 22. 

Gibbon's A niobiography 

This book makes me of all people (and especially just 
now) groan inwardly. ' I am at a loss,' he says, referring 
to the Decline and Fall, ' how to describe the success of 
the work without betraying the vanity of the writer. . . . 
My book was on every table and almost on every toilette.' 
It makes me bite my lip. Rousseau and his criticism of 
' I sighed as a lover; I obeyed as a son,' and Gibbon on his 
dignity in reply make one of the most ludicrous incidents 
in literary history. ' . . . that extraordinary man whom 
I admire and pit}', should have been less precipitate in 
condemning the moral character and conduct of a stranger !' 
Oh my giddy Aunt ! Isn't this rich ? Still, I am glad 
you did not marry her : we could ill spare Madam de Stael, 
Madam Necker's daughter, that wonderful, vivacious and 
warmhearted woman. 

' After the morning has been occupied with the labours of 
the library, I wish to unbend rather than exercise my mind ; 
and in the interval between tea and supper, I am far from 
disdaining the innocent amusement of a game of cards.' 
How Jane Austen would have laughed at liim ! The 
passage reminds me of the Rev. Mr Collins saying: 

' Had I been able I should have been only too pleased to 
give you a song, for I regard music as a harmless diversion 
and perfectly compatible \vith the profession of a clergy- 
man.' 

' When I contemplate the common lot of mortality,* 
Gibbon writt>s, ' I must acknowledge I have drawn a high 
prize in the lottery of life,' and he goes on to count up all 
his blessings with the most offensive delight — his wealth, 
the good fortune of his birth, his ripe years, a cheerful 
temper, a moderate sensibility, health, sound and peaceful 
slumbers from infancy, his valuable friendship with Lord 
Sheffield, his rank, fame, etc., etc., ad nauseam. He rakes 
over his whole life for things to be grateful for. He in- 
tones his happiness in a long recitative of thanksgiving 
that his lot was not that of a savage, of a slave, or a peasant ; 



I9I6, Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 269 

he washes his hands with imaginary soap on reflecting on 
the bount}? of Nature which cast his birth in a free and 
civilised country, in an age of science and pliilosophy, in 
a family of honourable rank and decently endowed with the 
gifts of fortune — sleek, complacent, oleaginous and sala- 
cious old gentleman, how I would love to have bombed you 
out of your self-satisfaction ! 

Masefield's ' GallipoU ' 

It amused me to discover the evident relish with which 
the author of In the Daffodil Fields emphasises the blood 
and the flowers in the attack on Achi Baba. It's all blood 
and beautiful flowers mixed up together to Masefield's 
great excitement. 

'jA swear word in a city slum 
A simple swear word is to some — 
To Masefield something more.' 

Max Beerbohm. 

Still, to call Gallipoli ' bloody Hell ' is, after all, only a 
pedantically exact description. You understand, tho', a 
very rem^arkable book — a work of genius. 

December 23. 

To be cheerful this Xmas would require a coup de 
thedire — -some sort of psychological sleight of hand. 

I get downstairs at 10 and spend the day reading and 
writing, without a soul to converse with. Everything 
comes to me second-hand — thro' the newspapers, the 
world of life tliro' the halfpenny Daily News, and the 
world of books thro' the Times Literary Supplement. For 
the rest I listen to the kettle singing and make symphonies 
out of it, or I look into the fire to see the pictures 
there. . . , 

December 24. 

Everyone I suppose engaged in this irony of Xmas. 
What a solemn lunatic the world is. 

Walked awhile in a beautiful lane close by, washed hard 



270 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec. igi6 

and clean and deeply channelled by the recent rain. On 
the hill-top, I could look right across the valley to the up- 
lands, whore on the sky line a few Firs stood in stately 
sequestration from common English Oaks, like a group ot 
ambassadors in full dress. In the distance a hen clucked, 
I saw a few Peewits wheeling and watched the smoke 
rising from our cottage perpendicularly into the motionless 
air. There was a clement quiet and a clement warmth, 
and in my heart a burst of real happiness that made me 
rich even beside less unfortunate beings and beyond what I 
had ever expected to be again. 

December 26. 

' In thus describing and illustrating my intellectual 
torpor, I use terms that apply more or less to every part 
of the years during wliich I was under the Circean spells 
of opium. But for misery ' 

(Why do I waste my energy with this damned Journal ? 
I stop. I hate it. I am going out for a walk in the fog.) 

December 31. 

Reminiscences 

For the past few days I have been living in a quiet 
hermitage of retrospect. My memories have gone back 
to the times — remote, inaccessible, prehistoric — before 
» ever this Journal was begun, when I myself was but a 
.. jelly without form and void — that is, before I had developed 
any characteristic quahtics and above all the dominant 
one, a passion for Natural History. 

One day a school friend, being covetous of certain stamps 
in my collection, induced me to ' swop ' them for his collec- 
tion of birds' eggs which he showed me nestling in the bran 
at the bottom of a box. He was a cunning boy and thought 
he had the better of the bargain. He little realised — nor 
did I — the priceless gift he bestowed when his little fat 
dirty hands decorated, I remember, with innumerable 
warts, picked out the eggs and gave them to me. In fact, 
a smile momentarily crossed his face, he turned his head 
aside, he spat in happy contemplation of the deal. 



1916. Die] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 371 

I continued eagerly to add to the little collection of Birds' 
eggs, but for a long time it never occurred to me to go out 
into the country myself and collect them, — I just sivopped, 
until one day our errand boy, who stuttered, had bandy 
legs, and walked on the outside of liis feet with the gait of 
an Anthropoid, said to me, ' I will sh-show you how to 
find Birds' n-nests if you like to come out to the w- woods.' 
So one Saturday, when the backyard was cleaned down 
and the coal boxes filled, he and I started off together to 
a wood some way down the river bank, where he — my 
good and beneficent angel — presently showed me a Thrush's 
nest in the fork of a young Oak tree. Never-to-be-forgotten 
moment ! The sight of those blue speckled eggs lying so 
unexpectedly, as I climbed up the tree, on the other side 
of an untidy tangle of dried moss and grass, in a neat little 
earthenware cup, caused probably the first tremor of real 
emotion at a beautiful object. The emotion did not last 
long ! In a moment I had stolen the eggs and soon after 
smashed them — in tr5ring to blow them, schoolboy fashion. 

Then, I rapidly became an ardent field naturaHst. My 
delight in Birds and Birds' eggs spread in a benignant in- 
fection to every branch of Natural History. I collected 
Beetles, Butterflies, plants. Birds' wings. Birds' claws, etc. 
Dr Gordon Staples in the Boy's Own Paper, taught me 
how to make a skin, and I got hold of a Mole and then a 
Squirrel (the latter falUng to my prowess with a catapult), 
stuffed them and set them up in cases which I glazed my- 
self. I even painted in suitable backgrounds, in the one 
case a mole-hill, looking, I fear, more like a mountain, and 
in the other, a Fir tree standing at an impossible angle of 
45°. Then I read a book on trapping, and tried to catch 
Hares. Then I read Sir John Lubbock's Ants, Bees and 
Wasps, and constructed an observation Ants' nest (though 
the Ants escaped). 

In looking back to these days, I am chiefly struck 
by my extraordinary ignorance of the common objects 
of the countryside, for although we lived in the far 
west country, the house, without a garden, was in the 
middle of the town, and all my seniors were as ignorant 



272 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec. 1916 

as I. Nature Study in the schools did not then exist, I 
had no benevolent paterfamilias to take me by the hand 
and point out the common British Birds; for my father's 
only interest was in politics. I can remember coming home 
once all agog with a wonderful Bird I had seen — Hke a tiny 
Magpie, I said. No one could tell me that it was, of course, 
only a little Pied Wagtail. 

The absence of sympathy or of congenial companion- 
ship, however, had absolutely no effect in _ damping 
my ardour. As I grew older my egg-collecting com- 
panions fell away, some took up the law, or tailoring, 
or clerking, some entered the Church, while I became 
yearly more engrossed. In my childhood my enthu- 
siasm lay like a watch-spring, coiled up and hidden inside 
me, until that Thrush's nest and eggs seized hold of it by 
the end and pulled it out by degrees in a long silver ribbon. 
I kept Uve Bats in our upstairs little-used dra^^ing-room, 
and Newts and Frogs in pans in the backyard. My mother 
tolerated these things because I had sufficiently impressed 
her with the importance to science of the observations 
which I was making and about to pubhsh. Those on Bats 
indeed were thought fit to be included in a standard work 
— Barrett-Hamilton's Mammals of Great Britain and 
Ireland. The pubHshed articles served to bring me into 
correspondence with other naturaUsts, and I shall never 
forget my excitement on receiving for the first time a letter 
of appreciation. It was from the author of several natural 
histoiy books, to 

'W. N. P. Barbellion, Esq., 
Naturalist, 

Downstable,' 

and illustrated with a delightful sketch of Ring Plovers 
feeding on the saltings. This letter was carefully pasted 
into my diary, where it still remains. 

After all, it is perhaps unfair to say that I had no kin- 
dred spirit with me in my investigations. Martha, the 
servant girl who had been with us for 30 years, loved animals 



1916. Nov.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 257 

had to take on trust from the Doctor came diaboHcally 
true before her eyes. Thank God that's all over at last. 
I know her now for all she is worth — her loyalty and de- 
votion, her courage and strength. If only I had some- 
thing to give her in return ! something more than the dregs 
of a life and a constitutional pessimism. I greatly desire 
to make some sacrifice, but I am so poor these days, so 
very much a pauper on her charity, there is no sacrifice I 
can make. Even my life would scarcely be a sacrifice in 
the circumstances — it is hard not to be able to give when 
one wants to give. 



November 20. 

In the doldrums. Tired of this damnable far niente, — I 
am being gently smothered under a mountain of feathers. 
I should like to engage upon some cold, hard, glittering 
intellectualism. 

' I want to read Kant,' I said. The Baby slept, E 

was sewing and N- — writing letters. I leaned back in 
my armchair beside the bookshelf and began to read out 
the titles of my books in a loud voice. 

' My dear !' E said. 

' I am caressing my past,' I answered. ' Wiedersheim's 
Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates, Smith Woodward's 
Vertebrate PalcBontology — why it's like visiting old prospects 
and seeing how the moss has grown over the stones.' 

I hummed a comic song and then said: ' As I can't burn 
the house down, I shall go to bed.' 

N : ' You can talk if you like, it won't interfere.' 

E : ' He's talking to his besoms.' 

' Certainly,' I said to N , absent-mindedly. 

E : ' You ought to have said " Thank you." ' 

I blew out my cheeks and E laughed. 

N : ' How do you spell " regimental " ?' 

I told her — wrongly, and E said I was in a devilish 

mood. 

' If we say that we have no sin ' I chanted in reply, ' we 
deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.' I next gave 

R 



258 THE JOURNAL OF [Nov., 1916 

a bit out of a speech by Disraeli with exaggerated rhe- 
torical gestures. 

E (with pity) : ' Poor young man.' 

Presently she came over and in a tired way put her arms 
around my neck so I immediately began to sing ' Rock of 
Ages, cleft for me,' in the bass, which immediately re- 
minded me of dear old Dad, whose favourite hymn it was. 
. . . Then I imitated the Baby. And then to bed fretful 
and very bitter. 

November 27. 

... I wish I could die of heart failure — and at once 1 
What a luxury that would be as compared with my present 
prospect ! 

A Tomtit on the fence tliis morning made me dissolve 
in tears: — self-pity I believe. I remember Tomtits in 

shire. Put on a gramophone record and — ugh I but 

I'm too sick to write. 

November 28. 

The shock 1 gave my spinal column in 1915 up in the 
Lakes undoubtedly re-awakened activity among the 
bacteria. Luck for you ! I, of all persons to concuss my 
spine ! I 

... 1 listen to the kettle singing, 1 look at the pictures 
in the fire, read a bit, ask what time it is. see the Baby 
' topped and tailed,' yawn, blow my nose, put on a gramo- 
phone record — I have the idea of passing on the midnight 
with no pain to the tune of some healing ragtime. 

November 29. 

The anniversary of our engagement day two years ago. 
How mad the idea of marriage seemed to me — and my 
in?itinct was right : if only I had known I Yet she says 
she does not regret anything. 



This morning I turned to read with a^ddity accounts of 
^he last hours of Keats, Gibbon, Oscai' Wilde and Baude- 



I9I6, Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 259 

laire. I gained astonishing comfort out of this, especially 
in the last . . . who died of G.P.I, in a Brussels Hospital. 



is awfully courageous and, as usual ready to 



do everything in her power. How can I ever express 
sufficient gratitude to these two dear women (and my wife 
above all) for casting in their lot knowingly wth mine ? 

December i. 

I believe I am good for another 12 months without ab- 
normal worries. Just now, of course, the Slug ain't exactly 

on the thorn — on the cabbage in fact as E suggested. 

The Grasshopper is much of a burden and the voice of the 
Turtle has gone from my land (where did all these Bible 
phrases come from ?) . The first bark of the Wolf (God save 
us, 'tis all the Animal Kingdom sliding down m^' penholder) 
was heard with the reduction in her work to-day, and I 
suspect the: c's worse to come with a sovereign already only 
worth I2s. 6d. 

December 4. 

The Baby touch is the most harrowing of all. If we 
were childless we should be merely unfortunate, but an 
infant . . , 

December 11. 

Am recei\dng ionisation treatment from an electrical 
therapeutist — a quack ! He is a sort of electrician — 

still, if he mends my bells I'll kiss his boots. As for , 

he is no better than a byreman, and I call him Hodge. 
This is not the first time I have felt driven to act behind 
the back of the Profession. In 1912, being desperate, and 

M worse than a headache, I gieedily and credulously 

sucked in the advice of my boarding-house proprietor and 
went to see a homoeopathist in Finsbury Circus. He 
proved to be a charlatan at los. 6d a time, and tho' I 
realised it at once, I rehgiously travelled about for a month 
or more with tinctures and drop-bottle. 



26o THE JOURNAL OF [Dec, 1916 

I could write a book on the Doctors I have known and 
the blunders they have made about me. . . . The thera- 
peutist took me for 33. I feel 63. I am 27. What a 
wreck I am, and . . . 

December 12. 

It is so agreeable to be able to write again that I write 
now for the sheer physical pleasure of being able to use a 
pen and form letters. 

An Adventure in Search of Health 

About the end of September, I began to feel so ill that 

Nurse went for the Doctor who assured me that E 

was all right — I need not worry — ' You go away at once 
and get some fresh air/ and so forth. ' I feel quite ill/ I 
said, struggling to break the news. 

'Sort of nervous?' he enquired good-naturedly, 'run 
down ? I should get right away at once.' 

I began tentatively. ' Well, I have a rather long 
medical history and perhaps . . . you . . . might care 
to read the certificate of my London Doctor ?' 

I went to my escritoire and returned with M 's letter 

addressed to ' The M.O. examining Mr B.' 

Hodge pulled out the missive, studied the brief note 
carefully and long, at the same time drawing in his breath 
deeply, and gnawing the back of his hand. 

' I know all about it,' I said to relieve him. 

' Is it quite certain ? about this disease ?' he said pre- 
sently. ' You are very young for it.' 

' I think there is no doubt,' and he began to put me 
thro' the usual tricks. 

' I should go right away at once,' he said, ' and go on 
with your arsenic. And whatever you do — don't worry 
— your wife is all right.' 

After beseeching him to keep silence about it as I thought 
she did not know, I shewed him out and locked up the 
certificate again. 

Next morning I felt thoroughly cornered: I was not 



I9I6 Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 261 

really fit enough to travel; my hand and leg were daily 

growing more and more paralysed and J ^vired to say 

she could not put me up as they were going away for the 
week end. So I wired back engaging rooms, as with the 

nurse in the house and E as she was, I simply could not 

stay at home. . . . 

On the way to the Station I was still in two minds 
whether or not to pull the taxi up at the Nursing Home 
and go inside, but harassing debate as it was, our rapidly 
diminishing bank balance finally drove me on. 

came up to London with me and sought out a 

comfortable corner seat, but by the time the train left, a 
mother and a crying child had got in and everywhere else 

was full. A girl opposite who saw hand me a brandy 

flask and knew I was ill, looked at me compassionately. 

At Reading, another woman with a baby got in and both 
babies cried in chorus, jangling my nerves to bits ! — until 
I got out into the corridor, by a miracle not falUng down, 
with one leg very feeble and treacherous. All seats were 
taken, excepting a first-class compartment where I looked 
in enviously at a lucky youth stretched out asleep full 
length along the empty seat. 

All the people and the noise of the train began to make 
me fret, so I sought out the repose of a lavatory where I 
remained eating sandwiches and an apple for the best 
part of an hour. It was good to be alone. 

Later on, I discovered an empty seat in a compartment 
occupied by persons whose questionable appearance my 
short sight entirely failed to make me aware of until I got 
inside with them. They were a family of Sheenies, father, 
mother and three children, whose joint emanations in a 
closed-up railway carriage made an effluvium like to kill 
a regiment of guards. They were E. end pawnbrokers or 
dealers in second-hand clothes. 

I was too nervous to appear rude by immediately with- 
drawing, so I said politely to the man clad in second-hand 
furs: ' Is that seat taken ?' 

He affected to be almost asleep. So I repeated. He 
stared at me and then said: 



z(,2 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec, 1916 

' Oh ! yes . . . but you can have it for a bit if you 
Uke.' 

I sat down timorously on the extreme edge of the seat 
and stared at, but could not read, my newspaper out of 
sheer nervous apprehension. My sole idea was to get out 
as soon as I decorously could. Out of the corner of my 
eye, I observed the three children — two girls and a boy — 
all garbed in black clothes and wearing large clumsy boots 
with nails and scutes on the soles. The girls had large 
inflorescences of bushy hair which they swung about as 
they turned their heads and made me shudder. The 
mother's face was like a brown, shrivelled apple, topped 
with a black bonnet and festooned on each side with ring- 
lets of curly dark hair. Around her neck a fur tippet : as 
I live — second-hand clothes dealers from Whitechapel. 

The man I dare not look at : I sat beside him and merely 
imagined. 

At , I got a decent seat and arrived at T jaded, 

but still alive, with no one to meet me. Decent rooms on 
the sea-front. 

Next morning J went away for the week end and I 

could not possibly explain how ill I was: she might have 
stayed at home. 

To preserve my sanity, Saturday afternoon, took a des- 
perate remedy by hiring a motor-car and travelling to 
Torquay and back via Babbacombe. . . . 

On the Sunday, feeling suddenly ill, 1 sent for the local 
medico ^vhom I received in the drab little room by lamp- 
light after dinner. 'I've a tingling in my right hand,' I 
said, ' that drives me nearly silly.' 

' And on the soles of your feet ?' he asked at once. 

I assented, and he ran thro' at once all the symptoms 
in series. 

' I see you know what my trouble is,' I said shyly. And 
we chatted a little about the War, about disease, and I 
told him of the recent memoir on the histology of the 

disease in the Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. which interested 

him. Then he went away again — very amiable, very polite 
— an obvious non possumus. . . . 



I9I6, Dec] a disappointed MAN 263 

On Monday at 4 went up to to tea as previously 

arranged, but found the house shut up so returned to my 
rooms in a rage. 

After tea, having read the newspapers inside out, sat by 
the open window looking out on to the Marine Parade. It 
was dusk, a fine rain was falhng, and the parade and sea- 
front were deserted save for an occasional figure hurrying 
past v\ath mackintosh and umbrella. Suddenly as I sat 
looking out on this doleful scene, a dirge from nowhere in 
particular sounded on my ears which I soon recognised 
as ' Robin Adair,' sung very lento and very maestoso by a 
woman, with a flute obligato played by some second person. 
The tide was right up, and the little waves murmured list- 
lessly at long intervals: never before I tliink have I been 
plunged into such an abyss of acute misery. 

Next day the wire came. But it was too late. The day 
after that, I was worse, a single ray of sunsliine being the 
rediscovery of the second-hand-clothes family from White- 
chapel taking the air together on the front. This dreary 
party was traipsing along, the parents in their furs giving 
an occasional glance at the sea uncomfortably, as if they 
only noticed it was wet, and the children still in black and 
still wearing their scuted boots, obviously a little uncom- 
fortable in a place so clean and windswept. I think they 
all came to the seaside out of decorum and for the satisfac- 
tion of feeling that they could afford it like other folk, and 
that old-clothes was as profitable a business as another. 

On Thursday, returned home as I was afraid of being 
taken ill and having to go into the public hospital. Arrived 
home and went to bed and here we are till Jan. ist on 
3 months' sick leave. However, the swingeing urtication 
in my hands and feet has now almost entirely abated and 

to-day I went out with E and the perambulator, 

which I pushed. 

December 13. 

A Baby-Girl 

Walked down the bottom of the road and hung over 
some wooden railings. A little village baby-girl aged not 



264 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec, 1916 

more than 3 was hovering about near me while I gazed 
abstractedly across the Park at the trees. Presently, she 
crawled through the railings into the field and picked up 
a few dead leaves — a baby picking up dead leaves ! Then 
she threw them down, and kicked them. Then moved on 
again — rustling about intermittently like a winter Thrush 
in the shrubbery. At last, she had stumbled around to 
where I was leaning over the railings. She stood imme- 
diately in front of me and silently looked up with a steady 
reproachful gaze: 'Ain't you 'shamed, you lazy-bones ?' 
till I could bear her inquisitorial gaze no longer, and so 
went and hung over some more railings further on. 

Service 

He asked for a Tennyson. She immediately went up- 
stairs in the dark, lit a match and got it for him. 

He asked for a Shakespeare. And without a moment's 
hesitation, she went upstairs again, lit another match and 
got that for him. 

And I believe if he had said ' Rats,' she would have shot 
out silently into the dark and tried to catch one for him. 
Only a woman is capable of such service. 

Hardy's Poetry 

' You did not come, 
And marching time drew on and wore me numb — 
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there 
Than that I thus found lacking in your make 
That high compassion which can oierbear 
Reluctance for pure loving-kindness' sake 
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum, 

You did not come.' 

I thoroughly enjoy Hardy's poetry for its masterfulness, 
for his sheer muscular compulsion over the words and 
sentences. In his rough-hewn lines he yokes the recalci- 
trant words together and drives them along mercilessly 
with something that looks like simple brute strength. 
Witness the triumphant last line in the above where the 
words are absolute bondslaves to his exact meaning, his 



1916, Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 265 

indomitable will. All this pleases me the more for I know 
to my cost what stubborn, sullen, hepkestian beasts 
words and clauses can sometimes be. It is nice to 
see them punished. Hardy's poetry is Michael Angelo 
rather than Greek, Browning not Tennyson. 

December 14. 

What a day ! After a night of fog signals, I awoke this 
morning to find it still foggy and the ground covered with a 
grey rime. All day the fog has remained: I look out now 
thro' the yellowish atmosphere across a field which is 
frosted over, the grass and brambles stiff and glassy. My 
back is aching and the cold is so intense that unless I crouch 
over the fire hands and feet become immediately stone-cold. 
All day I have crouched over the fire, reading newspapers, 
listening to fog signals and the screaming of the baby. 
... I have been in a torpor, like a Bat in a cavern — 
really dead yet automatically hanging on to life by my 
hind legs. 

December 15. 

' To stand upon one's guard against Death exasperates 
her malice and protracts our sufferings.' W. S. Landor. 

December 19. 

The Parson called, over the christening of the baby. 
I told him I was an agnostic. ' There are several interest- 
ing lines of thought down here,' he said wearily, passing 
his hand over his eyes. I know several men more enthu- 
siastic over Fleas and Worms than this phlegmatic priest, 
over Jesus Christ. 

December 20. 

The reason why I do not spend my days in despair and 
my nights in hopeless weeping simply is that I am in love 
with my own ruin. I therefore deserve no sympathy, and 
probably shan't get it: my own profound self-compassion 
is enough. I am so abominably self-conscious that no 
smallest detail in this tragedy eludes me. Day after day 



266 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec, 1916 

I sit in the theatre of my own life and watch the drama of 
my own history proceeding to its close. Pray God the curtain 
falls at the right moment lest the play drag on into some 
long and tedious anticlimax. 

We all like to dramatise ourselves. Byron was drama- 
tising himself when, in a fit of rhetorical self-compassion, 
he wrote: 

• Oh ! could I feel as I have felt or be what I have been. 
Or weep as I could once have wept o'er many a vanished scene.' 

Shelley, too, being an artist could not stand insensible 
to his own tragedy and Francis Thompson suggests that 
he even anticipated his own end from a passage in Julian 
and Maddalo, ' ... if you can't swim, Beware of Provi- 
dence.' ' Did no earthly dixisti,' Thompson asks, 'sound 
in his ears as he wrote it ?' 

In any event, it was an admirable ending from the 
dramatic point of view ; Destiny is often a superb drama- 
tist. What more perfect than the death of Rupert Brooke 
at Scyros in the ^Egcan?^ The lives of some men are 
works of art, perfect in form, in development and in climax. 
Yet how frequently a life eminently successful or even 
eminently ruinous is also an unlovely, sordid, ridiculous 
or vulgar affair ! Every one will concede that it must be 
a hard thing to be commonplace and vulgar even in 
misfortune, to discover that the tragedy of your own 
precious life has been dramatically bad, that your life even 
in its ruins is but a poor thing, and your own miseries 
pathetic from their very insignificance; that you are only 
Jones with chronic indigestion rather than Guy de Mau- 
passant mad, or Coleridge with a great intellect being 
slowly dismantled by opium. 

If only I could order my life by line and level, if I could 
control or create my own destiny and mould it into some 
marble perfection ! In short, if life were an art and not 
a lottery ! In the lives of all of us, how many wasted efforts, 
how many wasted opportunities, false starts, blind grop- 

^ Contrast "with it Wordsworth rotting at Rydal Mount or 
Swinburne at Putney. 



I9I6. Dec] a disappointed MAN 267 

ings — how many lost days — and man's life is but a paltry 
three score years and ten: pitiful short commons indeed. 

Sometimes, as I lean over a five-barred gate or gaze 
stupidly into the fire, I garner a bitter-sweet contentment 
in making ideal reconstructions of my life, selecting my 
parents, the date and place of my birth, my gifts, my 
education, my mentors and what portions out of the in- 
finity of knowledge shall gain a place within my mind — 
that sacred glebe-land to be zealously preserved and 
enthusiastically cultivated. Whereas, my mind is now a 
wilderness in which all kinds of useless growths have 
found an ineradicable foothold. I am exasperated to find 
I have by heart the long addresses of a lot of dismal busi- 
ness correspondents and yet can't remember the last 
chapters of Ecclesiastes : what a waste of mind-stuff there ! 
It irks me to be acquainted even to nausea with the spot 
in which I live, I whose feet have never traversed even 
so much as this little island much less carried me in triumph 
to Timbuctoo, Honolulu, Rio, Rome. 

December 21. 

This continuous preoccupation with self sickens me — as 
I look back over these entries. It is inconceivable that I 
should be here steadily writing up my ego day by day in 
the middle of this disastrous war. . . . Yesterday 1 had 
a move on. To-day life wearies me. I am sick of myself 
and life. This beastly world with its beastly war and hate 
makes me restless, dissatisfied, and full of a longing to be 
quit of it. I am as full of unrest as an autumn Swallow. 
' My soul,' I said to them at breakfast with a sardonic grin, 
' is like a greyhound in the slips. I shall have to wear 
heavy boots to prevent myself from soaring. I have such 
an uplift on me that I could carry a horse, a dog, a cat, if 
you tied them on to my homing spirit and so transformed 
my Ascension into an adventure out of Baron Munchausen.* 
With a gasconnade of contempt, I should like to turn on 
my heel and march straight out of this wretched world at 
once. 



268 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec. 1916 

December 22. 

Gibbon's Autobiography 

This book makes me of all people (and especially just 
now) groan inwardly. ' I am at a loss/ he says, referring 
to the Decline and Fall, ' how to describe the success of 
the work without betraying the vanity of the writer. . . . 
My book was .on every table and almost on every toilette.' 
It makes me bite my lip. Rousseau and his criticism of 
' I sighed as a lover; I obeyed as a son/ and Gibbon on his 
dignity in reply make one of the most ludicrous incidents 
in literary history. ' . . . that extraordinary man whom 
I admire and pity, should have been less precipitate in 
condemning the moral character and conduct of a stranger 1' 
Oh my giddy Aunt ! Isn't this rich ? Still, I am glad 
you did not marry her : we could ill spare Madam de Stael, 
Madam Necker's daughter, that wonderful, vivacious and 
warmhearted woman. 

' After the morning has been occupied with the labours of 
the library, I wish to unbend rather than exercise my mind ; 
and in the interval between tea and supper, I am far from 
disdaining the innocent amusement of a game of cards.' 
How Jane Austen would have laughed at him ! The 
passage reminds me of the Rev. Mr Collins saying: 

' Had I been able I should have been only too pleased to 
give you a song, for I regard music as a harmless diversion 
and perfectly compatible with the profession of a clergy- 
man.' 

'When I contemplate the common lot of mortality/ 
Gibbon writes, ' I must acknowledge I have drawn a high 
prize in the lottery of life,' and he goes on to count up all 
his blessings with the most offensive dehght — his wealth, 
the good fortune of his birth, his ripe years, a cheerful 
temper, a moderate sensibility, health, sound and peaceful 
slumbers from infancy, his valuable friendship with Lord 
Sheffield, his rank, fame, etc., etc., ad nauseam. He rakes 
over his whole life for things to be grateful for. He in- 
tones his happiness in a long recitative of thanksgiving 
that his lot was not that of a savage, of a slave, or a peasant ; 



I9I6, Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 269 

he washes his hands with imaginary soap on reflecting on 
the bounty of Nature which cast his birth in a free and 
civihsed country, in an age of science and philosophy, in 
a family of honourable rank and decently endowed with the 
gifts of fortune — sleek, complacent, oleaginous and sala- 
cious old gentleman, how I would love to have bombed you 
out of your self-satisfaction ! 

Masefield's ' Gallipoli ' 

It amused me to discover the evident relish with which 
the author of In the Daffodil Fields emphasises the blood 
and the flowers in the attack on Achi Baba. It's all blood 
and beautiful flowers mixed up together to Masefield's 
great excitement. 

'jA swear word in a city slum 
A simple swear word is to some — 
To Masefield something more.' 

Max Beerbohm. 

Still, to call Gallipoli ' bloody Hell ' is, after all, only a 
pedantically exact description. You understand, tho', a 
very remarkable book — a work of genius. 

December 23. 

To be cheerful this Xmas would require a coup de 
ihedtre — some sort of psychological sleight of hand. 

I get downstairs at 10 and spend the day reading and 
writing, without a soul to converse with. Everything 
comes to me second-hand — thro' the newspapers, the 
world of life thro' the halfpenny Daily News, and the 
world of books thro' the Times Literary Supplement. For 
the rest I listen to the kettle singing and make symphonies 
out of it, or I look into the fire to see the pictures 
there. . . . 

December 24. 

Everyone I suppose engaged in this irony of Xmas. 
What a solemn lunatic the world is. 
Walked awhile in a beautiful lane close by, washed hard 



270 THE JOURNAL OF [Dec. 1916 

and clean and deeply channelled by the recent rain. On 
the hill-top, I could look right across the valley to the up- 
lands, where on the sky line a few Firs stood in stately 
sequestration from common EngHsh Oaks, like a group of 
ambassadors in full dress. In the distance a hen clucked, 
I saw a few Peewits wheeling and watched the smoke 
rising from our cottage perpendicularly into the motionless 
air. There was a clement quiet and a clement warmth, 
and in my heart a burst of real happiness that made me 
rich even beside less unfortunate beings and beyond what I 
had ever expected to be again. 

December 26. 

' In thus describing and illustrating my intellectual 
torpor, I use terms that apply more or less to every part 
of the years during which I was under the Circean spells 
of opium. But for misery ' 

(Why do I waste my energy with this damned Journal ? 
I stop. I hate it. I am going out for a walk in the fog.) 

December 31. 

Reminiscences 

For the past few days I have been living in a quiet 
hermitage of retrospect. My memories have gone back 
to the times — remote, inaccessible, prehistoric — before 
ever this Journal was begun, when I myself was but a 
jelly without form and void — that is, before I had developed 
any characteristic qualities and above all the dominant 
one, a passion for Natural History. 

One day a school friend, being covetous of certain stamps 
in my collection, induced me to ' swop ' them for his collec- 
tion of birds' eggs which he showed me nestling in the bran 
at the bottom of a box. He was a cunning boy and thought 
he had the better of the bargain. He little reahsed — nor 
did I — the priceless gift he bestowed when his little fat 
dirty hands decorated, I remember, with innumerable 
warts, picked out the eggs and gave them to me. In fact, 
a smile momentarily crossed liis face, he turned his head 
aside, he spat in happy contemplation of the deal. 



igifi. Dec] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 271 

I continued eagerly to add to the little collection of Birds' 
eggs, but for a long time it never occurred to me to go out 
into the country myself and collect them, — I just swopped, 
until one day our errand boy, who stuttered, had bandy 
legs, and walked on the outside of his feet with the gait of 
an Anthropoid, said to me, ' I will sh-show you how to 
find Birds' n-nests if you like to come out to the w-woods.' 
So one Saturday, when the backyard was cleaned down 
and the coal boxes filled, he and I started off together to 
a wood some way down the river bank, where he — my 
good and beneficent angel — presently showed me a Thrush's 
nest in the fork of a young Oak tree. Never-to-be-forgotten 
moment ! The sight of those blue speckled eggs lying so 
unexpectedly, as I climbed up the tree, on the other side 
of an untidy tangle of dried moss and grass, in a neat little 
earthenware cup, caused probably the first tremor of real 
emotion at a beautiful object. The emotion did not last 
long ! In a moment I had stolen the eggs and soon after 
smashed them — in trying to blow them, schoolboy fashion. 

Then, I rapidly became an ardent field naturalist. My 
delight in Birds and Birds' eggs spread in a benignant in- 
fection to every branch of Natural History. I collected 
Beetles, Butterflies, plants, Birds' wings. Birds' claws, etc. 
Dr Gordon Staples in the Boy's Own Paper, taught me 
how to make a skin, and I got hold of a Mole and then a 
Squirrel (the latter falling to my prowess with a catapult), 
stuffed them and set them up in cases which I glazed my- 
self. I even painted in suitable backgrounds, in the one 
case a mole-hill, looking, I fear, m.ore like a mountain, and 
in the other, a Fir tree standing at an impossible angle of 
45°. Then I read a book on trapping, and tried to catch 
Hares. Then I read Sir John Lubbock's Ants, Bees and 
Wasps, and constructed an observation Ants' nest (though 
the Ants escaped). 

In looking back to these days, I am chiefly struck 
by my extraordinary ignorance of the common objects 
of the countryside, for although we lived in the far 
west country, the house, without a garden, was in the 
middle of the town, and all my seniors were as ignorant 



272 THE JOURNAL OF [Dbc, 1916 

as I. Nature Study in the schools did not then exist, I 
had no benevolent paterfamilias to take me by the hand 
and point out the common British Birds; for my father's 
only interest was in politics. I can remember coming home 
once all agog with a wonderful Bird I had seen — hke a tiny 
Magpie, I said. No one could tell me that it was, of course, 
only a little Pied Wagtail. 

The absence of sympathy or of congenial companion- 
ship, however, had absolutely no effect in damping 
my ardour. As I grew older my egg-collecting com- 
panions fell away, some took up the law, or tailoring, 
or clerking, some entered the Church, while I became 
yearly more engrossed. In my childhood my enthu- 
siasm lay like a watch-spring, coiled up and hidden inside 
me, until that Thrush's nest and eggs seized hold of it by 
the end and pulled it out by degrees in a long silver ribbon. 
I kept live Bats in our upstairs little-used drawing-room, 
and Newts and Frogs in pans in the backyard. My mother 
tolerated these things because I had sufficiently impressed 
her with the importance to science of the observations 
which I was making and about to pubhsh. Those on Bats 
indeed were thought fit to be included in a standard work 
— Barrett-Hamilton's Mammals of Great Britain and 
Ireland. The published articles served to bring me into 
correspondence with other naturalists, and I shall never 
forget my excitement on receiving for the first time a letter 
of appreciation. It was from the author of several natural 
history books, to 

'W. N. P. Barbellion. Esq., 

Naturalist, 

Downstable,' 

and illustrated with a delightful sketch of Ring Plovers 
feeding on the saltings. Tliis letter was carefully pasted 
into my diary, where it still remains. 

After all, it is perhaps unfair to say that I had no kin- 
dred spirit with me in my investigations. Martha, the 
servant girl who had been with us for 30 years, loved animals 



Dec, 1916] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 273 

of all sorts and — what was strange in a country girl — she 
had no fear of handling even such things as Newts and 
Frogs. My Batrachia often used to escape from their pans 
in the yard into Martha's kitchen, and, not a bit scandalised, 
she would sometimes catch one marching across the rug 
or squeezing underneath a cupboard. ' Lor' !' would be 
her comment as she picked the vagrant up and took it 
back to its aquarium, 'can't 'em travel?' Martha had an 
eye for character in animals. In the long dynasty of cats 
we possessed one at length who by association of opposite 
ideas we called Marmaduke because he ought to have been 
called Jan Stewer. 'A chuff old feller, 'idden 'ee ?' 
Martha used to ask me with pride and love in her eyes. 
' He purrs in broad Devon,' I used to answer. Marma- 
duke need only wave the tip of his tail to indicate to her 
his imperative desire to promenade. Martha knew if no 
one else did that every spring 'Pore 'Duke,' underneath 
his fur, used to come out in spots. ' 'Tiz jus' like a cheel 
— 'e gets a bit spotty as the warm weather cums along.' 
Starlings on the washhouse roof, regularly fed with scraps, 
were ever her wonder and dehght. ' Don' 'em let it down, 
I zay?' In later years, when I was occupied in the top 
attic, making dissections of various animals that I col- 
lected, she would sometimes leave her scrubbing and clean- 
ing in the room below to thi'ust her head up the attic stairs 
and enquire, ' 'Ow be 'ee gettin' on then ?' Her unfeigned 
interest in my anatomical researches gave me real pleasure, 
and I took delight in arousing her wonder by pointing 
out and explaining the brain of a Pigeon or the nervous 
system of a Dog-fish, or a Frog's heart taken out and still 
beating in the dissecting dish. She, in reply, would add 
reflections upon her own experiences in preparing meat for 
dinner — anecdotes about the ' maw ' of an old Fowl, or the 
great ' pipe ' of a Goose. Then, suddenly scurrying down- 
stairs, she would say, ' I must be off or I shall be all be'ind 
like the cow's tail.' Now the dignified interest of the 
average educated man would have chilled me. 

By the way, years later, when he was a miner in S- 
Wales, that historic errand-boy displayed his consciousnes 

s 



274 THE JOURNAL OF [Jan., 1917 

of the important role he once played by sending me on a 
postcard congratulations on my success in the B. M. appoint- 
ment. It touched mc to think he had not forgotten after 
years of separation. 



1917 
January i. 

The New Year came in like a thief in the night — noise- 
lessly; no bells, no syrens, no songs by order of the Govern- 
ment. Notliing could have been more appropriate than 
a burglarious entry like this — seeing what the year has 
come to filch from us all in the next 12 months. 

January 20. 

I am over 6 feet high and as thin as a skeleton; every 
bone in my body, even the neck vertebrae, creak at odd 
intervals when I move. So that I am not only a skeleton 
but a badly articulated one to boot. If to this is coupled 
the fact of the creeping paralysis, you have the complete 
horror. Even as I sit and write, millions of bacteria are 
gnawing away my precious spinal cord, and if you put 
your ear to my back the sound of the gnawing I dare say 
could be heard. The other day a man came and set up a 
post in the garden for the clothes' line. As soon as I saw 
the post I said ' gibbet ' — it looks exactly like one, and I, 

for sure, must be the malefactor. Last night while E 

was nursing the baby I most delightfully remarked: ' What 
a little parasite — why you are Cleopatra affixing the aspic 
— " Tarry good lady, the bright day is done, and we are 
for the dark." ' 

The fact that such images arise spontaneously in my 
mind, show how rotten to the core I am. 

. . . The advent of the Baby was my coup de grdce. 
The little creature seems to focus under one head all my 
personal disasters and more than once a senseless rage has 
clutched me at the thought of a baby in exchange for my 
ambition, a nursery for the study. Yet, on the whole, I 
djid it a goo(i an4 satisfying thipg to §ee her, healthy, new, 



1917. Jan.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 275 

intact on the tlireshold : I grow tired of my own dismal life 
just as one does of a suit of dirty clothes. My life and 
person are patched and greasy; hers is new and without 
a single blemish or misfortune. . . . Moreover, she makes 
her mother happy and consoles her grandmother too. 

January 21. 

Death 

What a dehghtful thing the state of Death would be if 
the dead passed their time haunting the places they loved 
in life and living over again the dear delightful past — if 
death were one long indulgence in the pleasures of memory ! 
if the disembodied spirit forgot all the pains of its 
previous existence and remembered only the happiness! 
Think of me flitting about the orchards and farm- 
yards in birdsnesting, walking along the coast 

among the seabirds, climbing Exmoor, batliing in streams 
and in the sea, haunting all my old loves and passions, 
cutting open with devouring curiosity Rabbits, Pigeons, 
Frogs, Dogfish, Amphioxus; think of me, too, at length 
unwillingly deflected from these cherished pursuits in the 
raptures of first love, cutting her initials on trees and 
fences instead of watching birds, day-dreaming over 
Parker and Haswell and then bitterly reproaching myself 
later for much loss of precious time. How happy I shall 
be if Death is like this: to be living over again and again 
all my ecstasies, over first times — the first time I found a 
Bottle Tit's nest, the first time I succeeded in penetrating 
into the fastnesses of my El Dorado — Exmoor, the first 
time I gazed upon the internal anatomy of a Snail, the 
first time I read Berkeley's Principles of Human Under- 
standing (what a soul-shaking epoch that was !), and 
the first time I kissed her ! My hope is that I may haunt 
these times again, that I may haunt the places, the books, 
the bathes, the walks, the desires, the hopes, the first (and 
last) loves of my life all transfigured and beatified by 
sovereign Memory, 



276 THE JOURNAL OF [Jan.. 1917 

January 26. 

Out of doors to-day it's like the roaring forties ! Every 
tree I passed in the lane was a great wind instrument, 
bellowing out a passionate song, and the sky was torn to 
ribbons. It is cold enough to freeze the nose off a brass 
Monkey, but very exhilarating. I stood on the hill and 
squared my fists to the wind and bade everything come on. 
I sit writing this by the fire and am thoroughly scourged 
and purified by this great castigating wind. ... I think 
I will stick it out — I will sit quite still in my chair and 
defy this sculking footpad — let the paralysis creep into 
every bone, I will hang on to the last and watch it skulking 
with my most hideous grimace. 

January 27. 

Still freezing and blowing. Coming back from the 
village, tho' I was tired and hobbling badly, decided to 
walk up the lane even if it meant crawling home on hands 
and knees. 

The sky was a quick-change artist to-day. Every time 
you looked you saw a different picture. From the bottom 
of the hill I looked up and saw above me — it seemed at an 
immense and windy height — a piece of blue, framed in an 
irregular edge of white woolly cloud seen thro' the crooked 
branches of an Oak. It was a narrow crooked lane, sunk 
deep in the soil with large smooth surfaces of stone like 
skulls bulging up in places where the rain had washed away 
the soil. 

Further on, the sun was lying low almost in the centre of a 
semi-circular bend in the near horizon. It frosted the 
wool of a few sheep seen in silhouette, and then slowly 
disappeared in mist. On the right-hand side was a cottage 
with the smoke being wrenched away from the chimney 
top, and on the left a group of stately Firs, chanting a 
requiem like a cathedral choir. 

January 28. 

Still blowing and bitterly cold. Along the path fields 
ip the Park I stopped to look at a thick clump of Firs 



1 91 7. Jan.] a disappointed MAN 277 

standing aloof on some high ground and guarded by an 
outside ring of honest EnghshOaks, Ashes and Elms. They 
were a sombre mysterious little crowd intent, I fancied, on 
some secret ritual of the trees. The high ground on which 
they stood looked higher and more inaccessible than it 
really was, the clump was dark green, almost black, and 
in between their trunks where all was obscurity, some 
hardy adventurer might well have discovered a Grand 
Lama sitting within his Penetralia. But I had no taste 
for any such profanity, and even as I looked the sun came 
out from behind a cloud very slowly, bringing the picture 
into clearer focus, chasing away shadows and bringing 
out all the colours. The landscape resumed its homely 
aspect: an EngHsh park with Firs in it. 

January 29. 

Last night, I pulled aside the window curtain of our 
front door and peeped out. Just below the densely black 
projecting gable of the house I saw the crescent moon 
lymg on her back in a bed of purple sky, and I saw our 
little white frosted garden path curving up towards the 
garden gate. It was a dehcious coup d'ceil, and I shewed 
it to E . 

January 31. 

Showers of snow at intervals, the little flakes rocking 
about lazily or spiralling down, wliile the few that even- 
tually reached the ground would in a moment or so be 
caught up in a sudden furious puff of wind, and sent driving 
along the road with the dust. 

My usual little jaunt up the lane past the mossy farm- 
house. Home to toasted tea-cakes and a pinewood fire, 
with my wife chattering prettily to the baby. After tea, 
enchanted by the reading of a new book — Le Journal de 
Maurice de Guerin — or rather the introduction to it by 
Sainte-Beuve. I devoured it ! I have spent a devouring 
day; under a calm exterior I have burnt up the hours; 
all of me has been athrob ; every little cell in my brain has 
danced to its own little tune. For to-day, Death has been 



278 THE JOURNAL OF [Feb.. 1917 

an impossibility. I have felt that anyhow to-day I could 
not die — I have laughed at the mere thought of it. If only 
this mood would last ! If I could feel thus always, then 
I could fend off Death for an immortality of life. 

But suddenly, as now, the real horror of my life and 
future comes on me in a flash. For a second I am terri- 
fied by the menance of the future, but fortunately only 
for a second. For I've learnt a trick which I fear to 
reveal ; it is so valuable and necessary to me that if I talked 
of it or vulgarised it my secret might be stolen away 
Not a word then ! 

Later. I have just heard on the gramophone, some 
Grieg, and it has charged my happiness with dis- 
rupting voltage of desire. Oh ! if only I had health, I 
could make the welkin ring ! I shall leave so little behind 
me, such a few paltry pages beside what I have it in me 
to do. It shatters me. 

February i. 

Looking back, I must say I like the splendid gusto with 
which I lived thro' yesterday: that mettlesome fashion in 
which I took the lane, and at the top, how I swung around 
to sweep my gaze across to the uplands opposite with 
snow falling all the time. Then in the evening, the almost 
complete absorption in the new book when I forgot every- 
thing pro tern. It was quite like the old days. 

February 2. 

Crowd Fever 

After four months' sick leave, returned to work and 
London. 

An illness like mine rejuvenates one — for the time being ! 
A pony and jingle from the old ' Fox and Hounds Inn ' 
took me to the Station, and I enjoyed the feel of the wheels 
rolling beneath me over the hard road. In the train, I 
looked out of the window as interested as any schoolboy. 
On the Underground I was dehghted wdth the smooth, 
quiet way with which the 'Metro ' trains ghde into the 



I9I7. Feb.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 279 

Station. I had quite forgotten this. Then, when my hand 
began to get better, I rediscovered the pleasures of pen- 
manship and kept on \vriting, with my tongue out. And I 
re-enjoyed the child's satisfaction in coaxing a button to 
slip into its hole : all grown-up people have forgotten how 
difficult and complex such operations are. 

This morning how desirable everything seemed to me ! 
The world intoxicated me. Moving again among so many 
human beings gave me the crowd-fever, and started again 
all the pangs of the old familiar hunger for a fuller life, 
that centrifugal elan in which I feared for the disruption 
and scattering of my parts in all directions. Temporarily 
I lost the hegemony of my own soul. Every man and 
woman I met was my enemy, threatening mf^ with the 
secession of some inward part. I was alarmed to discover 
how many women I could passionately love and udth how 
many men I could form a lasting friendship. Within, all 
was anarchy and commotion, a cold fright seized me lest 
some extraordinary event was about to happen: some 
general histolysis of my body, some sudden disintegration 
of my personality, some madness, some strange death. 
... I wanted to crush out the life of all these men and 
women in a great Bear's hug, my God ! this sea of human 
faces whom I can never recognise, all of us alive together 
beneath this yellow catafalque of fog on the morning of 
the announcement of world famine and world war ! . . . 



To-night, I have lost this paroxysm. For I am home 
again by the fireside. All the multitude have disappeared 
from my view. I have lost them, every one. I have lost 
another day of my life and so have they, and we have lost 
each other. Meanwhile the great world spins on un- 
relentingly, frittering away lightly my precious hours 
(surely a small stock now ?) while I sit discomfited by the 
evening fire and nurse my scraped hands that tingle be- 
cause the spinning world has wrenched itself out of my 
feeble grasp. 



28o THE JOURNAL OF [Feb., 191^ 

February 3. 

This morning on arriving at S. Kensington, went straight 
to a Chemist's shop, but finding someone inside, I drew 
back, and went on to another. 

' Have you any morphia tabloids ?' I asked a curly-haired, 
nice-looking, smiling youth, who leaned with both hands 
on the counter and looked at me knowingly, as if he bad 
had unlimited experience of would-be morphi nomaniacs. 

' Yes, plenty of them,' he said, fencing. And then waited. 

' Can you supply me ?' I asked, feeling very conscious of 
myself. 

He smiled once more, shook his head and said it was 
contrary to the Defence of the Realm Act. 

1 made a sorry effort to appear ingenuous, and he said : 

' Of course, it is only a palliative.' 

With a solemn countenance intended to indicate pain I 
answered : 

' Yes, but palliatives are very necessary sometimes,' and 
I walked out of the hateful shop discomfited. 

February 6. 

Am busy re-writing,^ editing and bowdlerising my journals 
for publication against the time when I shall have gone the 
way of all flesh. No one else would prepare it for publica- 
tion if I don't. Reading it tlirough again, I see what a 
remarkable book I have written. If only they will publish 
it! 

February 7. 

Chinese Lanterns 

The other morning as I dressed, I could see the sun like 
a large yellow moon rising on a world, stiff, stark, its 
contours merely indicated beneath a wnding-sheet of 
snow. Further around the horizon was another moon — 
the full moon itself — yellow likewise, but setting. It was 

1 John Wesley rewrote his journals from entries in rough 
draft. 



1917. Feb.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 281 

the strangest picture I ever saw. I might well have been 
upon another planet; I could not have been more surprised 
even at a whole ring of yellow satellites arranged at regular 
intervals all around the horizon. 

In the evening of the same day, I drove home from the 
Station in a little governess-cart, over a snow-clogged road. 
The cautious little pony picked out her way so carefully in 
little strides — pat-pat-pat — wherever it was shppery, and 
the Landlord of the Inn sat opposite me extolling all the 
clever little creature's merits. It was dusk, and for some 
reason of the atmosphere the scraps of cloud appeared as 
blue sky and the blue sky as cloud, beneath which the full 
moon like a great Chinese lantern hung suspended so low 
down it seemed to touch the trees and hills. How have 
folk been able to ' carry on ' in a world so utterly strange 
as this one during the past few days ! I marvel that 
beneath such moons and suns, the peoples of the world 
have not ceased for a wiiile from the petty business of 
war during at least a few of our dancing revolutions around 
this furnace of a star. One of these days I should nat be 
surprised if this fascinated earth did not fall into it like 
a moth into a candle. And where would our Great War 
be then ? 

February 28, 

The Strangeness of my Life 

Consider the War: and the current adventures of millions 
of men on land, sea and air; and the incessant labours of 
millions of men in factory and workshop and in the field; 
think of the hospitals and all they hold, of everyone hoping, 
fearing, suffering, waiting — of the concentration of all 
humanity on the one subject — the War. And then think 
of me, poor httle me, deserted and forgotten, a tiny frag- 
ment sunk so deep and helplessly between the sheer 
granite walls of my environment that scarce an echo 
reaches me of the thunder among the mountains above. I 
read about the War in a ha'penny paper, and see it in the 
pictures of the Daily Mirror. For the rest, I live by 



282 THE JOURNAL OF [Feb., 191 7 

counting the joints on insects' legs and even that much 
effort is almost beyond my strength. 

That is strange enough. But my hfe is stranger still 
by comparison. And tliis is the marvel: that every day I 
spend by the waters of Babylon, weeping and neglected 
among enthusiasts, enthusiastically counting joints, while 
every evening I return to Zion to my books, to Hardy's 
poems, to Maurice de Gu^rin's Journals, to my own 
memoirs. Mine is a life of consummate isolation, and I 
frequently marvel at it. 

The men I meet accept me as an entomologist and ipso 
facto, an enthusiast in the science. That is all they know 
of me, and all they want to know of me, or of any man. 
Surely no man's existence was ever quite such a duphcity 
as mine. I smile bitterly to myself ten times a day, as I 
engage in all the dreary technical jargon of professional 
talk with them. How they would gossip over the facts 
of my life if they knew ! How scandalised they would be 
ever my inner life's activities, how resentful of enthusiasm 
other than entomological ! 

I find it very irksome to keep up this farce of conceal- 
ment. I would love to declare myself. I loathe, hate 
and detest the secrecy of my real self: the continuous 
restraint enforced on me ulcerates my heart and makes 
harmonious social existence impossible with those who do 
not know me thoroughly. ' On dit qu'au jugement der- 
nier le secret des consciences sera revele a tout I'univers; 
je voudrais qu'il en itX ainsi de moi des aujourd'hui et que 
la vue de mon ame fut ouvert a tous venants.' Maurice 
de Guerin. 

March 1. 

It is curious for me to look at my tubes and microscope 
and realise that I shall never require them again for serious 
use. Life is a dreadful burden to me at the Museum. I 
am too ill for any scientific work so I write labels and put 
things away. I am simply marking time on the edge of 
a precipice awaiting the order, ' Forward.' 

It is excoriating to be thus wasting the last few precious 



I9I7, March] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 283 

days of mj^ life in such mummery merely to get bread to 
eat. They might at least let me die in peace, and with 
fitting decorum. It is so ignoble to be tinkering about 
in a Museum among Scarabees and insects when I ought 
to be reflecting on life and death. 

I ask myself what ought to be my most appropriate 
reaction in such circumstances as the present ? Why, of 
course, to carry on as if all were normal, and the future 
unknown: why, so I do, to outward view, for the sake of 
the others. Yet that is no reason why in my own inward 
parts I should not at times indulge in a little relaxation. 
It is a relief to put off the mailed coat, to sit awhile by the 
green-room fire and have life as it really is, all to myself. 
But the necessity of living will not let me alone. I must 
be always mumming. 

My life has been all isolation and restriction. And it 
now appears even my death is to be hedged around with 
prohibitions. Drugs for example — how beneficent a little 
laudanum at times in a case like mine ! and how happy I 
could be if I knew that in my waistcoat pocket I carried a 
kindly, easy means of shuffling off this coil when the time 
comes as come it must. It horrifies me to consider how 

I might break the life of E clean in two, and sap her 

courage by a lingering, dawdling dying. But there is the 
Defence of the Realm Act. It is a case of a Scorpion in a 
ring of fire but without any sting in its tail. 

March 2. 

I ask myself : what are my views on death, the next world, 
God ? I look into my mind and discover I am too much of 
a mannikin to have any. As for death, I am a little bit of 
trembling jelly of anticipation. I am prepared for any- 
thing, but I am the complete agnostic; I simply don't 
know. To have views, faith, beliefs, one needs a backbone. 
This great bully of a universe overwhelms me. The stars 
make me cower. I am intimidated by the immensity 
surrounding my own littleness. It is futile and pre- 
sumptuous for me to opine anything about the next world. 
But I hoi)e for something much freer and more satisfying 



284 THE JOURNAL OF [Makch, 1917 

after death, for emancipation of the spirit and above all 
for the obliteration of this puny' self, this little, skulking, 
sharp-witted ferret. 

A Potted Novel 

(I) 

He was an imaginative youth, and she a tragedy queen. 
So he fell in love with her because she was melancholy and 
her past tragic. ' She is capable of tragedy, too,' he said, 
which was a high encomium. 

But he was also an ambitious youth and all for dalliance 
in love. ' Marriage,' said he sententiously, ' is an eco- 
nomic trap.' And then, a little wistfully: ' If she were a 
bit more melancholy and a bit more beautiful she would 
be quite irresistible.' 

(2) 

But he was a miserable youth, too, and in the anguish 
of loneliness and lovelessness a home tempted him sorely. 
Still, he dallied. She waited. Ill-health after all made 
marriage impossible. 

(3) 

Yet love and misery drove him towards it. So one day 
he closed his eyes and offered himself up with sacrificial 
hands. ... ' Too late,' she said. ' Once perhaps . . . 
but now. . . .' His eyes opened again, and in a second Love 
entered his Temple once more and finally ejected the money 
changers. 

(4) 

So they married after all, and he was under the impres- 
sion she had made a good match. He had ill-health perhaps, 
yet who could doubt his ultimate fame ? 

Then the War came, and he had the hardihood to open a 
sealed letter from his Doctor to the M.O. examining recruits. 
. . . Stars and staggers ! ! So it was she who was the 
victim in marriage ! That harassing question : Did she 
know ? What an ass he had been all through, what 
superlative egoism and superlative conceit ! 



1917. xMarch] a disappointed man 285 

(5) 

Then a baby came. He broke under the strain and 
daily the symptoms grew more obvious. Did she know ? 
. . . The question dazed him. 

Well, she did know, and had married him for love, 
nevert"heless, against every friendly counsel, the Doctor's 
included. 

(6) 

And now the invalid's gratitude is almost cringeing, his 
admiration boundless and his love for always. It is the 
perfect rapprochement between two souls, one that was 
honeycombed with self-love and lost in the labyrinthine 
ways of his own motives and the other straight, direct, 
almost imperious in love and altogether adorable. 

Finis 

March 5. 

At home ill again. Yesterday was a day of utter dreari- 
ness. All my nerves were frozen, my heart congealed. 
I had no love for anyone ... no emotion of any sort. It 
was a catalepsy of the spirit harder to bear than fever or 
pain. . . . To-day, life is once more stirring in me, I 
am slowly awaking to the consciousness of acute but almost 
welcome misery. 

March 6. 

An affectionate letter from H that warmed the 

cockles of my heart — poor frozen molluscs. A has 

written only once since August. 

March 7. 

I am, I suppose, a whey-faced, lily-livered creature . . . 
yet even an infantry subaltern has a chance. . . . 

My dear friend has died and a Memoria 

Exhibition of his pictures is being held at the Goupil 
Gallery. The most fascinating man I ever met. I was 
attracted by him alniost as one is attracted by a charming 



286 THE JOURNAL OF [March, 1917 

woman: by little ways, by laughing eyes, by the manner 
of speech. And now he is dead, of a lingering and painful 
disease. 



March 8. 

Death 

Have been reading Sir Oliver Lodge's Raymond. I do 
not deny that I am curious about the next world, or about 
the condition of death. I am and always have been. In my 
early youth, I reflected continually on death and hated it 
bitterly. But now that my end is near and certain, I 
consider it less and am content to wait and see. As, for 
all practical purposes, I have done with life, and my own 
existence is often a burden to me and is like to become a 
burden also to others, I wish I possessed the wherewithal 
to end it at my will. With two or three tabloids in my 
waistcoat pocket, and my secret locked in my heart, how 
serenely I would move about among my friends and fellows, 
conscious that at some specially selected moment — at mid- 
night or high noon — just when the spirit moved me, I 
could quietly slip out to sea on this Great Adventure. It 
would be well to be able to control this: the time, 
the place, and the manner of one's exit. For what 
disturbs me in particular is how I shall conduct mj^sclf; 
I am afraid lest I become afraid, it is a fear of fear. By 
means of my tabloids, I could arrange my death in an 
artistic setting, say underneath a big tree on a summer's 
day, with an open Homer in my hand, or more appro- 
priately, a magnifying glass and Miall and Denny's Cock- 
roach. It would be stage-managing my own demise 
and surely the last thing in self-conscious elegance ! 

I think it was De Quincey who said Death to him seemed 
most awful in the summer. On the contrary the earth is 
warm then, and would welcome my old bones. It is on a 
cold night by the winter fire that the churchyard seems to 
me the least inviting: especially horrible it is the first 
evening after the funeral, 



1917, March] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 2^.7 

March 10. 

Have had a relapse. My hand I fear is going. Food 
prices are leaping up. Woe to the unfit and the old and 
the poor in these coming days ! We shall soon have 
nothing left in our pantries, and a piece of Wrigley's chew- 
ing gum will be our only comfort. 

9 9 • i • ■ • 

When I come to quit this world I scarcely know which 
will be the greater regret: the people I have never met, 
or the places I have never seen. In the world of books, I 
rest fairly content : I have read my fair share. 

To-day I read down the column of to-morrow's preachers 
with the most ludicrous avidity, ticking off the Churches I 
have visited: St. Paul's and the Abbey, the Ethical Church 
in Bayswater and Westminster Cathedral. But the Uni- 
tarians, the Christadelphians, the Theosophists, the Church 
of Christ Scientist, the Buddhist Society, the Brompton 
Oratory, the Church of Humanity, the New Life Centre; 
all these adventures I intended one day to make. ... It 
is not much fun ticking off things you have done from a 
list if you have done very little. I get more satisfaction 
out of a list of books. But lona and the Hebrides, Edin- 
burgh, Brussels, Buenos Ayres, Spitzbcrgen (when the 
flowers are out), the Niagara Falls (by moonlight), the 
Grindelwald, Cairo — these names make me growl and 
occasionally yelp like a hurt puppy, although to outward 
view I am sitting in an armchair blowing smoke-rings. 

March 11. 

The Graph of Temperament 

In this Journal, my pen is a delicate needle point, tracing 
out a graph of temperament so as to show its daily fluctua- 
tions: grave and gay, up and down, lamentation and revelry, 
self-love and self-disgust. You get here all my thoughts 
and opinions, always irresponsible and often contradictory 
or mutually exclusive, all my moods and vapours, all the 
varying reactions to environment of this jelly which is |. 



^68 THE JOURNAL OF [March, 1917 

I snap at any idea that comes floating down, particularly 
if it is gaudy or quixotic, no matter if it is wholly incom- 
patible \\dth what I said the day before. People un- 
pleasantly refer me back, and to escape I have to invent 
some sophistry. I unconsciously imitate the manner- 
isms of folk I am particularly taken with. Other people 
never fail to tell me of my simulations. If I read a book 
and like it very much, by a process of peaceful penetration, 
the author takes possession of my whole personality just 
as if I were a medium giving a sitting, and for some time 
subsequently his ideas come spurting up like a fountain 
making a pretty display which I take to be my own. Other 
people say of me, ' Oh ! I expect he read it in a book.' 

I am something between a Monkey, a Chameleon, and 
a Jellyfish. To any bully with an intellect like a blunder- 
buss, I have always timidly held up my hands and after- 
wards gnashed my teeth for my cowardice. In conversa- 
tion with men of alien sentiment I am self-effacing to my 
intense chagrin, often from mere shyness. I say, ' Yes 
. . . yes . . . yes,' to nausea, when it ought to be ' No 
... no ... no.' I become my own renegade, an ami- 
able dissembler, an ass in short. It is a torture to have a 
sprightly mind blanketed by personal timidity and a feeble 
presence. The humiliating thing is that almost any strong 
character hypnotises me into complacency, especially if 
he is a stranger; I find myself for the time being in really 
sincere agreement with him, and only later, discover to 
myself his abominable doctrines. Then I lie in bed and 
have imaginary conversations in which I get my own back. 

But, by Jove, I wreak vengeance on my familiars, and 
on those brethren even weaker than myself. They get my 
concentrated gall, my sulphurous fulminations, and would 
wonder to read this confession. 

Cynicism 

For an unusually long time after I grew up, I main- 
tained a beautiful confidence in the goodness of mankind. 
Rumours did reach me, but I brushed them aside as 



1917, March] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 289 

slanders. I was an ing^nu, unsuspecting, credulous. I 
thoroughly believed that men and women and I were much 
better than we actually are. I have not come to the end 
of my disillusions even now. I still rub my eyes on occa- 
sion. I simply can't believe that we are such humbugs, 
hypocrites, self-deceivers. And strange to say it is the 
' good ' people above all who most bitterly disappoint me. 
Give me a healthy liar, or a thief, or a vagabond, and he 
arouses no expectations, and so I get no heart-burning. 
It is the good, the honest, the true, who cheat me of my 
boyhood's beliefs. ... I am a cynic then, but not a 
reckless cynic — a careworn unhappy cynic without the 
cynic's pride. ' It is easy to be cynical,' someone ad- 
monished me. ' Unfortunately it is,' I said. 

We are so cold, so aloof, so self-centred even the warmest 
friends. Men of piety love God, but their love for each 
other is so commonly but a poor thing. My own affections 
are always frosted over mth the Englishman's reserve. 
I hesitate as if I were not sure of them. I am afraid of 
self-deception, I hate to find out either myself or others. 
And yet I am always doing so. Mine is a restlessly ana- 
lytical brain. I dissect everyone, even those I love, and 
my discoveries frequently sting me to the quick. ' To the 
pure all things are pure,' whence I should conclude I 
suppose that it is the beam in my own eye. But 1 would 
not tolerate being deceived concerning either my own 
beam or other people's motes. 

March 12. 

ArchcBopteryx and Mudflats 

Yesterday I collected two distinct and several twinges 
and hereby save them up. They were more than that — 
they were pangs, and pangs that twanged. 

(Why do I make fun of my suffering ?) 

One was when I saw the well known figure of the ArchcBO- 
pteryx remains in the slab of Lithographic sandstone of 
Bavaria : a reproduction in an illustrated encyclopaedia, 
the other was when someone mentioned mud, and I thought 

T 



290 THE JOURNAL OF [March, 1917 

of the wide estuary of the T , its stretches of mudflats 

and its wild-fowl. We were turning over some pages and 
she said: 

' What's that ?' 

' ArchcBopteryx,' said I. 

' Whatever is Archceopteryx ?' 

' An extinct bird,' 1 answered mournfully. 

Like an old amour, my love of palaeontology and anatomy, 
and all the high hopes 1 entertained of them, came smarting 
to life again, so 1 turned over the page quickly. 

But why need I explain to you, O my Journal ? To 
others, I could not explain. I was tongue-tied. 

' I used to get very muddy,' I remarked lamentably, 
' in the old days when stalking birds on the mudflats.' 

And they rather jeered at such an occupation in such a 
place, just as those beautiful sights and sounds of zostera- 
covered mud-banks, twinkling runnels, swiftly running 
thin-legged waders, their wliistles and cries began to steal 
over my memory like a delicate pain. 

To my infinite regret. I have no description, no photo- 
graph or sketch, no token of any sort to remember them 
by. And their doom is certain. Heavens ! how I wasted 
my impressions and experiences then ! Swinburne has 
some lines about saltings which console me a little, but I 
know of no other descriptions by either pen or brush. 

March 15. 

How revolting it is to see some barren old woman love- 
sick over a baby, bestowing voluptuous kisses on its nose, 
eyes, hands, feet, utterly intoxicated and chattering in- 
cessantly in the 'little language,' and hopping about like 
an infatuated cock grouse. 

May 5. 

The nurse has been here now for over five weeks. One 
day has been pretty much the same as another. I get 
out of bed usually about tea-time and sit by the window 
and churn over past, present, and future. However, the 
Swallows have arrived at last, though they were very late. 



1 917. May] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 291 

and there are also Cuckoos, GreenWood-peckers, Moor hens, 
calling from across the park. At night, when the moon is 
up, I get a great deal of fun out of an extremely self- 
inflated Brown Owl, who hoots up through the breadth and 
length of the valley, and then I am sure, listens with satis- 
faction to his echo. Still, I have much sympathy with 
that Brown Owl and his hooting. 

What I do {goodness knows what E does), is to 

drug my mind with print. I am just a rag-bag of Smollett, 
H. G. Wells, Samuel Butler, the Daily News, the Bible, 
the Labour Leader, Joseph Vance, etc., etc. Except for 
an occasional geyser of malediction when some particularly 
acrid memory comes uppermost in my mind, I find myself 
submitting with a surprising calm and even cheerfulness. 
That agony of frustration which gnawed my vitals so much 
in 1913 has disappeared, and I, who expected to go down 
in the smoke and sulphur of my ownfulminations, am quite 
as likely to fpld my hands across my chest with a truly 
Christian resignation. Joubert said, ' Patience and mis- 
fortune, courage and death, resignation and the inevitable, 
generally come together. Indifference to life generally 
arises with the impossibility of preserving it * — how 
cynical that sounds ! 

May 8. 

This and another volume of my Journal are temporarily 
lodged in a drawer in my bedroom. It appears to me that 
as I become more static and moribund, they become more 
active and aggressive. All day they make a perfect up- 
roar in their solitary confinement — although no one hears 
it. And at night they become phosphorescent, though 
nobody sees it. One of these days, with continued neglect 
they will blow up from spontaneous combustion like 
diseased gunpowder, the dismembered diarist being thus 
hoist upon his own petard. 

June I. 

We discuss post mortem affairs quite genially and without 
restraint. It is the contempt bred of familiarity, I suppose. 



292 THE JOURNAL OF [July. 1917 



E says widows' weeds have been so vulgarised by the 

war widows that she won't go into deep mourning. ' But 
you'll wear just one weed or two for me ?' I plead, and 
then we laugh. She has promised me that should a suit- 
able chance arise, she will marry again. Personally, I 
wish I could place my hand on the young fellow at once, 
so as to put him thro' liis paces — shew him where the 
water main runs and where the gas meter is, and so on. 

You will observe what a relish I have for my own 
macabre, and how keenly I appreciate the present situation. 
Nobody can say I am not making the best of it. One 
might call it pulling the hangman's beard. Yet I ought, 
I fancy, to be bewailing my poor wife and fatherless child. 

June 15. 

I sit all day in my chair, moving 8 feet to my bed at 
night, and 8 feet from it to my chair in the morning- — and 
wait. The assignation is certain. ' Life is a coquetry 
with Death that wearies me. Too sure of the amour.' 

July 5. 

It is odd that at this time of the breaking of nations. 
Destiny, with her hands so full, should spare the time to 
pursue a non-combatant atom like me down such a laby- 
rinthine side-track. It is odd to find her determined to 
destroy me with, such tremendous thoroughness — one 
would have thought it sufficient merely to brush the dust 
off my wings. Why this deliberate, slow-moving mahg- 
nity ? Perhaps it is a punisliment for the impudence of 
my desires. I wanted everything so I get nothing. I gave 
nothing so I receive nothing. I am not offering up my life 
willingly — it is being taken from me piece by piece, while I 
watch the pilfering with lamentable eyes. 

I have tendered my resignation and retire on a small 
gratuity. 

July 7. 

My hand gets a little better. But it's a cat and mouse 
game, and so humiliating to be the mouse. 



1917, July] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 293 

. . . Parental affection comes to me only in spasms, and 
if they hurt, they do not last long. Curiously enough, as 
in the case of very old people, my consciousness reverts 
more easily to conditions long past. I seem unable to 
apprehend all the significance of having a nine-rnonths old 
daughter, but some Bullfinches or Swallows seen thro' 
the window rouse me more. No one can deny I have 
loved Birds to intoxication. In my youth, birds' eggs, 
and little nestlings and chicken sent me into such raptures 
I could never tell it to you adequately. ... I am too 
tired to write more. 

Jiily 23. 

Reading Pascal again. If Shelley was 'gold dusty 
from tumbling among the stars,' Pascal was bruised and 
shaken. The one was delighted, and the other frightened. 
I like Pascal's prostration before the infinities of Time, 
Space and the Unknown. Somehow, he conveys this more 
vividly than the uplift afforded him by religion. 

July 25. 

I don't believe in the twin-soul theory of marriage 
There are plenty of men any one of whom she might have 
married and lived with happily, and simpler men than I am. 
Methinks there are large tracts could be sliced off my 
character and she v/ould scarcely feel the want of them. 
To think that she of all women, with a past such as hers, 
should be swept into my vicious orbit ! Yet she seems 
to bear Destiny no resentment, so I bear it for her 
and enough for two. At our engagement I gave her my 
own ring to wear as a pledge — we thought it nicer than 
buying a nev/ one. It was a signet ring with a dark 
smooth stone. Strange to say it never once occurred to me 
till now that it was a mourning ring in memory of a great- 
uncle of mine, actually with an inscription on the inside. 

July 26. 

As long as I can hold a pen, I shall, I suppose, go on 
trickling ink into this diary ! 



294 THE JOURNAL OF [Aug., 191 7 

I am amusing myself by reading the Harmsworfh Encyclo- 
pcedia in 15 volumes, i.e., I turn over the pages and read 
everything of interest that catches my eye. 

I get out of bed about ten, wash and sit by the window 
in my blue striped pyjama suit. It is so hot I need no 

additional clothing. E comes in, brushes my hair, 

sprinkles me with lavender water, lights my cigarette, and 
gives me my book-rest and books. She forgets nothing. 

From my window I look out on a field with Beech hedge 
down one side and beyond, tall trees — one showing in out- 
line exactly like the profile of a Beefeater's head, more 
especially at sunset each evening when the tree next beliind 
is in shadow. The field is full of blue Scabious plants. Wild 
Parsley and tall grass — getting brown now in the sun. 
Great numbers of White Butterflies are continually rocking 
themselves across — they go over in coveys of four or five 
at a time — I counted 50 in five minutes, which bodes ill 
for the cabbages. Not even the heaviest thunder showers 
seem to debilitate their kinetic ardour. They rock on like 
white aeroplanes in a hail of machine-gun bullets. 

Then there are the Swallows and Martins cutting such 
beautiful figures thro' the air that one wishes they carried 
a pencil in their bills as they fly and traced the lines of 
flight on a Bristol board. How I hanker after the Swallows ! 
so free and gay and vigorous. This autumn, as they pre- 
pare to start, I shall hang on every twitter they make, and 
on every wing-beat ; and when they have gone, begin sadly 
to set my house in order, as when some much loved visitors 
have taken their departure. I am appreciating things a 
little more the last few days. 

August I. 

A Jeremiad 

When I resigned my appointment last month, no one 
knows what I had to give up. But I know. Tho' if I 
say what I know no one is compelled to believe me except- 
ing out of charity. It will never be discovered whether 
what I am going to state is not simply despairing bombast. 
My few intimate friends and relatives are entirely inno- 



I9I7. Aug.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 295 

cent of science, not to say zoology, and all they realise is 
the significant fact that I am prone to go extravagant 
lengths in conversation. But you may take it or leave it: 
I was the ablest junior on the staff and one of the ablest 
zoologists in the place — but my ability was always muffled 
by the inferior work they gave me to do. My last memoir 
published last December was the best of its kind in treat- 
ment, method and technique that ever issued from the 
institution — I do not say the most important. It was 
trivial — my work alvv^ays was trivial because they put me 
in a mouldy department where all the work was trivial 
and the methods used as primitive, slipshod and easy as 
those of Fabricius, the idea being that as I had enjoyed no 
academic career I was unsuited to fill other posts then 
vacant — one, work on the Coelenterates and another on 
Vermes, both rarely favoured by amateurs and requiring 
laboratory training. Later, I had the mortification of 
seeing these posts filled by men whose powers I by no means 
felt inclined to estimate as greater than my own. Mean- 
while, I who had been dissecting for dear life up and down 
the whole Animal Kingdom in a poorly equipped attic 
laboratory at home, with no adequate instruments, was 
bitterly disappointed to find still less provision made even 
in a so-called Scientific Institution so grandly styled the 
British Museum (N.H.). On my first arrival I was pre- 
sented with a pen, ink, paper, ruler, and an enormous in- 
strument of steel which on enquiry 1 'found to be a paper 
cutter. I asked for my microscope and microtome. I 
ought to have asked what Form I was in. 

So I had to continue my struggle against odds, and only 
within the last year or so began to squeeze the authorities 
with any success. In time I should have revolutionised 
the study of Systematic Zoology, and the anonymous paper 

I wrote in conjunction with R in the American 

Naturalist was a rare jeii d' esprit, and my most important 
scientific work. 

• • • , ff M • 

In the literary world I have fared no better. My first 
published article appeared at the age of 15 over my father's 



296 THE JOURNAL OF [Aug.. 191 7 

name, my motive being not so much modesty as cunning 
— if the literary world (!) ragged it unmercifully, there was 
still a chance left for me to make good. 

My next achievement of any magnitude was the un- 
expected printing of a story in the Academy after I had 
unsuccessfully badgered almost every other newspaper. 
This was when I was 19. No proof had been sent me and 
no intimation of its acceptance. Moreover, there were two 
ugly printer's errors. I at once wrote off to correct them 
in the next issue. My letter was neither published nor 
acknowledged. I submitted, but presently wrote again, 
politely hinting that my cheque was overdue. But — 
screams of silence, and I thought it wise not to complain 
in view of future printing favours. I soon discovered that 
the journal had changed hands and was probably on its 
last legs at the time of my success. As soon as it grew 
financially sound again no more of my stories were accepted. 

A more recent affair I had with the American Forum, 

which delighted me by pubHshing my article, but did not 

pay — tho' the Editor went out of his way to write that 

'payment was on publication.' I did not venture to 

remonstrate as I had another article on the stocks which 

they also printed without paj^nng me. In spite of uniform 

failure, my literary ambition has never flagged.^ I have 

for years past received my rejected MSS. back from every 

conceivable kind of periodical, from Punch to the Hibbert 

Joti,rnal. At one time I used to file their rejection forms 

and meditated writing a facetious essay on them. But I 

decided they were too monotonously similar. My custom 

was when the ordinary avenues to literary fame had failed 

me — the half-crown Reviews and the sixpenny Weeklies — 

to seek out at a library some obscure publication — a Parish 

Magazine or the local paper — anything was grabbed as a 

last chance. On one of these occasions I discovered the 

Westminster Review and immediately plied them with a 

manuscript and the usual polite note. After six weeks, 

1 1 once received from an editor a very encouraging letter which 
gave me a great deal of pleasure and made me hope he was going 
to open the pages of his magazine to me. But three weeks after 
he committed suicide by jumping out of his bedroom window. 



1917. Aug.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 297 

having no reply, I wrote again and waited for another six 
weeks. My second remonstrance met with a similar fate, 
so I went into the City to interview the publishers, and to 
demand my manuscript back. The manager was out, and 
I was asked to call again. After waiting about for some 
time, I left my card, took my departure and decided I 
would write. The same evening I told the publishers that 
the anonymous editor would neither print my article nor 
return it. Would they kindly give me his name and 
address so that I could write personally. After some delay 
they replied that although it was not the custom to dis- 
close the editor's name, the following address would find 
her. She was a lady living in Riclimond Row, Shepherd's 
Bush. I wrote to her at once and received no answer. 
Meanwhile, I had observed that no further issues of the 
review had appeared on the bookstalls, and the book- 
sellers were unable to give me any information. I wrote 
again to the address — this time a playful and facetious 
letter in which I said I did not propose to take the matter 
into court, but if it would save her any trouble I would call 
for the MS. as I lived only a few minutes' walk distant. 
I received no answer. I was busy at the time and kept 
putting off executing my firm purpose of visiting the good 
lady until one evening as I was casually reading the Star 
coming home in the 'bus, I read an account of how some 
charitably disposed woman had recently visited the 
Hammersmith Workhouse and removed to her own home 
a poor soul who was once the friend of George Eliot, George 
Henry Lewes, and other well-known literary persons of the 
sixties and had, until it ceased publication a few months 
before, edited the once notable Westminstey Review. 

Recently, hov/ever, there has been evidence of a more 
benevolent attitude towards me on the part of London 
editors. A certain magnificent quarterly has published 
one or two of my essays, and one of these called forth two 
pages of quotation and flattering comment in Public 
Opinion, which thrill me to the marrow. I fear, however, 
the flood- tide has come too late. 



298 THE JOURNAL OF [Aug.. 1917 

If this achievement impressed me it did not seem to 

impress anyone else. A regarded it as a joke and 

laughed incredulously when someone told him of ' P.O.'s ' 
eulogy. You see I am still his fooHsh little brother. 1 

am secretly very nettled too because E treated the 

whole matter very indifferently. She did not even take 
the trouble to read the paper's critique, and tho' she volun- 
teered to buy several copies to send to friends, she never 
remembered to do so, and the whole affair has passed out 
of her mind. 

Now a pleasant paragraph that appeared in the press 
noticing some drawings of a friend of her friend, she read 
twice and marched off to Francesca with it in great glee. 
Another successful young person got his photo into the 
picture papers — a man we know only by hearsay, and yet 
it impressed her until I recalled, what strange to say she 
had quite forgotten, how the photographers wished to 
publish her own photograph in the picture papers at the 
time of our marriage. But she scornfully refused. (And 
so did I.) 

But what a queer woman t • • • [And I, too, a queer 
man, drunken with wormwood and gall.] 

A ngusi 6. 

E and I were very modern in our courtship. Our 

candour was mutual and complete — parents and relatives 
would be shocked and staggered if they knew. . . . You 
see I am a biologist and we are both freethinkers. 
Voild! ... I hate all reticence and concealment. . . . 
There is a good deal of that ass, Gregers Werle, in my 
nature. 

August 7. 

My Gastrocnemius 

I become dreadfully emaciated. This morning, before 
getting off the bed I lifted my leg and gazed wistfully along 
all its length. My flabby gastrocnemius swung suspended 
from the tibia like a gondola from a Zeppelin. I touched 
it gently with the tip of my index finger and it oscillated. 



I9I7. Aug.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 299 

August 17. 

My beloved wife comes home this evening after a short, 
much needed hohday. 

August 27. 

My gratuity has turned out to be unexpectedly small. 
I hoped at least for one year's salary. And the horrible 
thing is I might live for several years longer ! No one was 
ever more enthusiastic for death than I am at this moment. 
I hate this world with its war, and I bitterly regret I never 

managed to buy laudanum in time. There are only E 

and dear R and one or two others — the rest of the 

people I know I hate en bloc. If only I could get at them. 
I hate to have to leave them to themselves without getting 
my own back. 

August 31. 

My darling sweetheart, you ask me why I love you. I 
do not know. All I know is that I do love you, and beyond 
measure. Why do jyoM love me ? — surely a more inscrutable 
problem. You do not know. No one ever knows. ' The 
heart has its reasons which the reason knows not of.' We 
love in obedience to a powerful gravitation of our beings, 
and then try to explain it by recapitulating one another's 
characters just as a man forms his opinions first and then 
thinks out reasons in support. 

What delights me is to recall that our love has evolved. 
It did not suddenly spring into existence like some beau- 
tiful sprite. It developed slowly to perfection — it was 
forged in the white heat of our experiences. That is why 
it will always remain. 

September i. 

Your love, darling, impregnates my heart, touches it 
into calm, strongly beating life so that when I am with you, 
I forget I am a dying man. It is too difficult to believe 
that when we die true love like ours disappears with our 
bodies. My own experience makes me feel that human 



300 THE JOURNAL OF [Sept., 1917 

love is the earnest after death of a great reunion of souls 
in God who is love. When as a boy I was bending the knee 
to Haeckel, the saying ' God is Love ' scarcely interested 
me. I am wiser now. You must not think I am still any- 
thing but an infidel (as the Churchmen say), — I should hate 
not to be taken for an infidel — and you must not be sur- 
prised that an embittered, angry, hateful person like 
myself should believe in a Gospel of Love. I am embittered 
because an intense desire to love has in manv instances^ 
been baulked by my own idealising yet also analytical 
mind. I have wanted to love men blindly, yet I am always 
finding them out, and the disappointment chills the heart. 
Hence my malice and venom : which, dear, do not miscon- 
strue. I am as greedy as an Octopus, ready out of love 
to take the whole world into my inside- — that seat of the 
affections ! — but I am also as sensitive as an Octopus, and 
quickly retract my arms into the rocky, impregnable recess 
where I live. 

September 2. 

But am I dying ? I have no presentiments — no con- 
viction — like the people you read of in books. Am I, after 
all, in love ? ' I dote yet doubt; suspect yet strongly love.' 
It is all a matter of degree. Beside Abelard and Heloise, 
our love may be just glassy affection. It is a great and 

difficult question to decide. I love no one else but E , 

that, at least, is a certainty, and I have never loved anyone 
more. 

September 3. 

My bedroom is on the ground floor as I cannot mount 
the stairs. But the other day when they were all out, I 
determined to clamber upstairs if possible, and search in 

the bedrooms for a half-bottle of laudanum, which Mrs 

told me she found the other day in a box — a relic of the 
time when had to take it to relieve pain. 

I got off the bed on to the floor and crawled around on 

1 The Egoist explains himself again. 



I9I7. Sept.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 301 

hands and knees to the door, where I knelt up straight, 
reached the handle and turned it. Then I crawled across 
the hall to the foot of the stairs, where I sat down on the 
bottom step and rested. It is a short flight of only 12 
steps and I soon reached the top by sitting down on each 
and raising myself up to the next one with my hands. 

Arrived at the top, I quickly decided on the most likely 
room to search first, and painfully crawled along the pas- 
sage and thro' the batliroom by the easiest route to the 
small door — there are two. The handles of all the doors 
in the house are fixed some way up above the middle, so 
that only by kneeling with a straight back could I reach 
them from the floor. This door in addition was at the 
top of a high but narrow step, and I had to climb on to 
tills, balance myself carefully, and then carefully pull 
myself up towards the handle by means of a towel hung on 
the handle. After three attempts I reached the handle 
and found the door locked on the inside. 

I collapsed on the floor and could have cried. I lay on 
the floor of the bathroom resting with head on my arm, 
then set my teeth and crawled around the passage along 
two sides of a square, up three more steps to the other 
door which I opened and then entered. I had only ex- 
amined two drawers containing only clothes, when a key 
turned in the front door lock and E — — • entered with 
■ and gave her usual whistle. 

I closed the drawers and crawled out of the room in 

time to hear E say in a startled voice to her mother: 

'Who's that upstairs?' I whistled, and said that being 
bored I had come up to see the cot : which passed at that 
time all right. 

Next morning my darling asked me why I went upstairs. 
I did not answer, and I think she knows. 

September 4. 

I am getting ill again, and can scarcely hold the pen. 
So good-bye Journal — only for a time perhaps. 



302 THE JOURNAL OF [Sept.. 1917 

Have read this blessed old Journal out to E . It 

required some courage, and I boggled at one or two bits 
and left them out. 



Sepfemher 5. 

Leap-frog 

Some girls up the road spent a very wet Sunday morning 
playing leap-frog in their pyjamas around the tennis lawn. 
It makes me envious. To think I never thought of doing 
that ! and now it is too late. They wore purple pyjamas 
too. I once hugged myself with pride for undressing in a 
cave by the sea and bathing in the pouring rain, but that 
seems tame in comparison. 



Liebesiod 

A perfect autumn morning — cool, fine and still. What 
sweet music a horse and cart make trundling slowly along 
a country road on a quiet morning ! I listened to it in a 
happy mood of abstraction as it rolled on further and 
further away. I put my head out of the window so as to 
hear it up to the very last, until a Robin's notes relieved 
the nervous tension and helped me to resign myself to m}' 
loss. The incident reminded me of the Liebestod in 
' Tristan,' with the Robin taking the part of the harp. 

For days past my emotions have been undergoing 
kaleidoscopic changes, not only from day to day but from 
hour to hour. For ten minutes at a time I am happy or 
miserable, or revengeful, venomous, loving, generous, noble, 
angry, or murderous — you could measure them with a 
stop-watch. Hell's phantoms course across my chest. 
If I could lie on this bed as quiet and stony as an effigy 
on a tomb ! But a moment ago I had a sharp spasm at 
the sudden thought that never, never, never again should 
I walk thro' the path-fields to the uplands. 



I9I7, Sept.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 303 

September 7. 

My 28th birthday. 

Dear old R (the man I love above all others) has 

been in a military hospital for months. It is a great hard- 
ship to have our intercourse almost completely cut off. 

Dear old Journal, I love you ! Good-bye. 

September 29. 

I could never have believed so great miseiy compatible 
with sanity. Yet I am quite sane. How long I or any 
man can remain sane in this condition God knows. . . . 
It is a consummate vengeance this inability to write, ^ I 
cannot help but smile grimly at the astuteness of the 
thrust. To be sure, how cunning to deprive me of my one 
secret consolation ! How amusing that in this agony of 
isolation such an aggressive egotist as I should have his 
last means of self-expression cut off. I am being slowly 
stifled. 

Later. {In E.'s handwriting.) 

Yesterday we shifted into a tiny cottage at half the 
rental of the other one, and situated about two miles further 
out from the village. ... A wholly ideal and beautiful 
little cottage you may say. But a ' camouflaged ' cottage. 
For in spite of the happiness of its exterior it contains just 
now two of the most dejected mortals even in this present 
sorrow-laden world. 

September 30, 

Last night, E sitting on the bed by me, burst into 

tears. It was my fault. ' I can stand a good deal but 
there must come a breaking point.' Poor, poor girl, my 
heart aches for you. 

I wept too, and it relieved us to cry. We blew our noses. 
' People who cry in novels/ E observed with detach- 
ment, ' never blow their noses. They just weep.' . . . 
But the thunder clouds soon come up again. 

1 Writing difl&cult to decipher. 



304 THE JOURNAL OF LOct.. 1917 

October 1. 
The immediate future horrifies me. 

October 2. 

Pouslikiu (as we have named the cat) is coiled up on my 
bed, purring and quite happy. It does me good to see him. 

But consider: A paralytic, a screaming infant, two 
women, a cat and a canary, shut up in a tiny cottage with 
no money, the war still on, and food always scarcer day 
by day. ' Give us this day our daily bread.' 

I want to be loved — above all, I want to love. My 
great danger is lest I grow maudlin and say petulantly, 
' Nobody loves me, nobody cares.' I must have more 
courage and more confidence in other people's good-nature. 
Then I can love more freely. 

October 3 

I am grateful to-day for some happy hours plucked 
triumphantly from under the very nose of Fate, and spent 
in the warm sun in the garden. They carried me out at 
12, and I stayed till after tea-time. A Lark sang, but the 

Swallows — dear things — have gone. E picked two 

Primroses. I sat by some Michaelmas Daisies and watched 
the Bees, Flies, and Butterflies. 

October 6. 

In fits of maudlin self-compassion I try to visualise Bel- 
gium, Armenia, Serbia, etc., and usually cure myself 
thereby. 

October 12. 

It is winter — no autumn this year. Of an evening we 
sit by the fire and enjoy the beautiful sweet-smelling 
wood-smoke, and the open hearth with its big iron bar 

carrying pot-hook and hanger. E knits warm garments 

for the Baby, and I play Chopin, Cesar -Franck hymns. 
Three Blind Mice (with variations) on a mouth-organ called 
'The Angels' Choir,' and made in Germany. . . . You 
would pity me, would you ? I am lonely, penniless, para- 



191 7. Oct.] A DISAPPOINTED MAN 305 

lysed, and just turned twenty-eight. But I snap my 
lingers in your face and with equal arrogance I pity you. 
I pity you your smooth-running good luck and the stag- 
nant serenity of your mind. I prefer my own torment. 
{ am dying, but you are already a corpse. You have 
never really lived. Your body has never been flayed into 
tingling life by hopeless desire to love, to know, to act, 
to achieve. I do not envy you your absorption in the 
petty cares of a commonplace existence. 

Do you think I would exchange the communion with 
my own heart for the toy balloons of your silly conversa- 
tion ? Or my curiosity for your flickering interests? Or 
my despair for your comfortable Hope ? Or my present 
tawdry life for yours as polished and neat as a new three- 
penny bit ? I would not. I gather my mantle around me 
and I solemnly thank God that I am not as some other 
men are. 

I am only twenty-eight, but I have telescoped into those 
few yea.rs a tolerably long life: I have loved and married, 
and have a family; I have wept and enjoyed, struggled and 
overcome, and when the hour comes I shall be content to 
die. 

October 14/0 20. 
Miserable. 

October 21. 
Self-disgust. 

FINIS. 



[Barbellion died on December 31.] 



SYNOPSIS 

Part I : At Home 

Rambles and bathes, 2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 20, 37, 45, 46, 48, 49 

Natural History and Zoology, 9, 12, 13, 20, 29 

Leaves school, 10 

Newspaper reporting, 17, 19 

Ambilion, 8, 10, 13, 26, 29 

Calf-love, 8, 12, 23, 28 

The Wesleyan Minister Microscopist, 18 

Conversation with Prof. Herdman, 46 

Ill-health, 10, 24, 25, 35, 42, 48 (Jul. 31) 

Heart attacks, 33, 36 

On Death, 33, 38, 43, 44 

Sits for British Museum exam., 29 

Failure, 30, 31, 32 

Appointment to Laboratory at Plymouth, 32 

Everything " ghostly, unreal- enigmatic," 29, 33 

Self-consciousness, 27, 40 

The Poppy, 43 

Appointment resigned and his father's illness, 34 

His father's death, 50, 51 

Success and appointment to B. M., 55 

A youthful Passion, 56, 57 

Part II : In London 

Disillusionment, 59, 61, 93, 94, 132, 178, 185 
Life in a boarding-house, 63, 78, 79, 94, 99, 107 
Ambition, 71, 73, 109 
An affair in a taxicab, 75 
Self-disgust, 77 
In love, 78, 96, 107 

Conversations: (a) with E., 65, 69, 70, 75, 76, 79, 95, 96, 99, 
104, 151, 152 

{b) with H., 82, 83 

(c) with R., 131, 140, 141, 142, 154, 155. 165 
306 



SYNOPSIS 307 

Part II : In London — Continued 

Ill-health, 59, 62, 69, 72, 74, 100, 107. no. 114, 134-5, 153, 156 

On Death, 62, 63, 84, 88 

Heart attacks, 71, 72, 120, 122 

Nervous breakdown, 80, 81, 82 

Meets an old love, 86, 87 

Holidays : (a) at C , by the sea in North , 65, 66, 67 

(b) at home, 82 

(c) in Brittany and on Dartmoor {riding a pony), 97 
Life in rooms, 102, 107, 108, 114, 138, 148, 149, 153 

His brother, 121, 206 

Discussions on marriage, 123, 124 

In his sitting-room, 162 

The fascination of London, 74, 142-145 

(a) Petticoat Lane, 163 

(6) Rotten Row, 176 
Goes to concerts, 127, 161, 172 
A lovers' quarrel, 126 
He struggles with himself, 135, 137, 138 
Engaged, 150, 158 
Fears his inconstancy, 159, 185 
Self-analysis, 167 et seq., 182, 183 
Day-dreams: Life a dream, 178, 179, 188 
The War, 182 
Holidaj's: (a) on a Buckinghamshire farm, 191-205 

[b] at the Lakes, 215-217 
Should a husband keep a private journal ? 210 
Marriage, 205, 209, 215 

Part III: Marriage 

Zeppelin raid and influenza, 222 

Living in the country, 223, 227, 228 

Reads his doctor's certificate after visit to recruiting-office, 

225. 238 
Self-disgust, 223, 224, 225, 247, 250 {nude), 267 
Mental agony, 226, 227 
Conversations: with R., 229 

,, with Scarabees, 230, 239, 243 

Halcyon days, 233, 235, 238 
A natural idiot cUmbs a stile on uplands, 240 
Tension, 250, 252 

The War, 237 {Jutland), 242, 247, 248, 249 
Another nervous breakdown. 253 



3g8 synopsis 

Part III : Marriage — Continued 

How E. knew all the time, 255, 256 

Self-compassion, 251, 304 

Home ill, 257 (" in the doldrums "), 259, 265 

Returns to work, 278 

111 again, 285 

From an invalid's view-point, 292, 293 {by his bedroom window) 

Post-mortem affairs, 291 

Resigns appointment, 294, 299 

Self-consciousness and self-dramatization, 255, 265, 267 

A badly articulated skeleton, 274 

Cold weather in January, 276, 277, 278 

On Death, 275, 283, 2S6, 291 

His phosphorescent Journals, 291 

Morphia and laudanum, 280, 300 

Great misery, 303, 305 



INDEX OF NAMES 



A , 21, 51, 82, 97, 98, 121, 

158, 206, 285, 298 

' Academy,' The, 23, 24, 106, 296 
Adventure in Search of Health, 

An, 260 
A Kempis, Thomas, 28 
Albert Hall Hag, The, 147 
Ambition, 29 

'American Naturalist,' 295 
American Neighbour, An, 251 
Apologia pro mea vtia, 145 
ArchcBopteryx and Mudflats, 289 
Aristotle's Lantern, 19 
At a Public Dinner, i-j^ 
At C , a liny little village by 

the Sea in N , 65 

At Home, 82 
At the Albert Hall, 127 
Austen, Jane, 268 
Average Day, An, 172 



B- 



-, 102, 107, 114, 118, 119 
Baby-Girl, A, 263 
Bad Listener, A, 246 
Baring, Maurice, 188 
Bathing, 60 
Budelaire, 60, 62, 173, 183, igy. 

198, 2.58 
Beerbohm, Max, 269 
Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, 161, 

186 
Benson, A. C, 249 
Bergson, 47, 55, 78, 183, 198 
Berkeley, 275 
Blind Matbiide, 139 
Boeltzig, R., 103 
Bradford, Sir John Rose, 54 
Brieux, 162 
' Brilliant Career,' A, 162 



Bridsh Museum, 26, 29, 49, 57 , 

59, 61, 79. 94. 1:32, 174. 17^. 

225, 274, 282, 283, 295 
British Museum Reading Room, 

The, 100 
Brooke, Rupert, 266 
Browne, Sir Thomas, 146, 183, 

238 
Buchanan, Robert, 251 
Bunyan, 166 
Burke, 2 

Burhngton House, 29 
Burton, 125 
Butler, Samuel, 143, 171, 185, 

291 
Buxom Rogue in Earthenware, 

A, 216 
By the Sea, 61 
Byron, 266 

Camping out at S Sands, 91 

Carlyle, 120, 171 

Cassell's Natural History, 13 

Chalcidoidea, The, 221 

Character, A, 39 

Chinese Lanterns, 280 

Chippies, 220 

Chopin, 157 

Clever Young Man. The, 207 

Coleridge, 266 

Confession, A, 74 

Conrad, 50, 223 

Crowd Fever, 278 

Cynicism, 288 



D- 



69, 180 



Darwin, 6, 55 

Day in Autumn, A, 51 

Death. 33, 84, 275, 286 



309 



310 



INDEX OF NAMES 



Debussy, i6i, 162, 167 

De Goncourt, 227, 228 

De Gu6rin, 200, 277, 282 

De Maupassant, Guy, 63, 266 

Depression, 89 

De Quincey, 10, 42, 126, 187, 

196. 286 
Devonshire Club, 32 
Dinosaurs, 129 
Disraeli, 25S 
Dr. Spurgcon, 90 
Dostoiefisky, 132, 163, 167, 187 
Duke, Mr., K.C., 17 



E , 68, 78, 79, 107, 171, 

191, 192, 193, 194, 201, 209, 
220, 223, 226, 228, 233, 235, 
236, 238, 240, 251, 253, 254, 
255. 256, 257, 259, 260, 261, 
263, 274, 277, 283, 291, 292, 
294, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 
303. 304 
Early Boughies, 66 
Empress of Ireland, 127 
English Review, loi, 105, 142 
Equilibrium Restored, 245 
Entomological Society, The, 1 10 

Father, 34, 50, 51, 137 
Finis, 225, 285 
Fire Bogey, The, 170 
Foolish Bird, ^4, 118 
'Fortnightly,' 61 
' Forum,' 296 
Foster, Sir Michael, 209 
From one Maiden Lady to 
another (authentic), 27 



-. 78, 197. 215 



Gardening, 83 

Gaskell, 23, 55 

Gibbon, 129, 258 

Gibbon's Autobiography, 268 

Gissing, George, 32 

Goethe, 146 

Graph of Temperament, The, 287 



H , 7. 8. 13, 38, 51, 60. 75, 

76.77.78.79.80,82,83.89,92, 
94, 114, 180, 196, 206, 218, 285 

Haeckcl, 23, 300 



Harmsworth Encyclopadia, 294 

Harmsworth Self- Educator, 10 

Hardy, 24, 282 

Hardy's Poetry, 264 

Hearing Beethoven, 172 

Hegel, 146 

Henley, 208, 209 

Herdman, Prof., 46 

Hervey, 170 

Horton, Max Kennedy, 141 

Housefly Problem, The — 19 16, 

231 
Humble Confession, A, i\^ 
Huxley, 2,7, 163 

' Illustrated London News,' 53 

In a Crowd, 184 

In London, 59 

In London again, 93, 99 

-, 78, 263 



James, 163, 166 

Jefferies, Richard, 44, 233 

Jeremiad, A, 294 

Johnson, 2, 10, 180, 181, 196, 

230 
Johnson v. Yves Delage, i8i 
Jolt. A, 247 
Jonson, Ben, 171 
Joubert, 291 
Justifiable Mendacity, 52 

K , 80, 99, 138, 225 

Kant, 257 

Keats, 10, 145, 146, 258 

L , I, 3. 4. 43. 98 

LacepMe, 146 

Lamb, Charles, 13, 120, 227, 

230 
Landor, W. S., 265 
La Rochefoucauld, 31 
Leap-frog, 302 
Lodge, Sir Oliver, 286 
Liebestod, 302 

Lice or 'Creeping Ferlies,' 213 
Looking for Lice at the Zoo, ij-j 
Lubbock, 7 
Ludo, 104 
Lupus, 125 
Luxury of Lunacy, Ths, 195 



INDEX OF NAMES 



311 



M- 



-, 12, 20, 62, 69, 70, 80, 81, 1 R- 



g6, 105, 106, 134, 140, 156, 
222, 225, 226, 255, 256, 259, 
260 

Macaulay, 30 

Maeterlinck, 42 

Malpighi, 171 

Marie Bashkirlseff, 139, 163, 175, 

238 
Mary, 8, 23, 28 
Masefield's ' Gallipoli,' 269 
Measuring Lice, 125 
Mofiat, 161 
Moore, Tom, 173 
More Irony, 105 
Mosenthal, 13 
Mother. 34, 50, 51, 59, 93, 95. 

97. "^2,7 
Mozart, 161 
My Gastrocnemius, 298 
My Nightmare, 105 
My Sense of Touch, 91 



N- 



•, 29, 78, 121, 122, 257, 
261 
Naming Cockroaches, 184 
Natural History Mnseiim, 6, 54 
New Pile in the Pier, A, 88 
Newton, 171 
Nietzsche, 137, 156 

Old Diaries, 44 

Omniscience, 239 

On Lighting Chloe's Cigarette, 119 

On Lundy Island, 21 

On the N . Downs, 68 

Our Simian Ancestry, 27 

P , 76, 78, 79, 80 

Pachmann, 234 

Pascal, 293 

Petticoat Lane, 163 

Piers Plowman, 221 

Plymouth Marine Laboratory, 

29, 32. 47. 79 
Pool: a Retrospect, The, 189 
Potted Novel, ^,284 
Prawning, 17 

Preparing a Snake's Skull, 50 
' Punch,' 296 
Punch and Judy Show, The, 

180 



, 81, 99, loi, 104, 107, 

115, 119, 120, 122, 123, 124, 
127, 128, 130, 131, 132, 133, 

134. ^35' 13^. 140. 141- 148. 
151, 154, 166, 167, 169, 172, 
173. 174- 175. 182, 197. 205, 
207, 208, 209, 215, 216, 217, 
227, 228, 229, 230, 239, 240, 
241, 295, 299, 303 

Raeiiiakeys, 186 

Railway Travel, 41 

Ralegh, Sir Walter, 129, 196 

Reading Nietzsche, 156 

Reminiscences, 270 

Renunciation, 85 

Resignation, 141 

Restlessness of the Sea, The, 90 

Richepin, 57 

Richlieu, Cardinal, 155 

Rigor Bordis, 148 

Rodin, 103, 157, 160 

Romney, 169 

Rousseau, 63, 181, 268 

Ruskin, 30, 190, 208, 216 

S ,1.3 

Saintsbury, Prof. Geo., 126 

Sainte-Beuve, 200, 277 

Schafer, no 

Schopenhauer, 34 

Schubert 173, 174 

Scots Fir, ^,111 

Scott, 75, 1.53 

Service. 264 

Shakespeare, 264 

Shaw, Bernard, 59, 150, 166, 249 

Shelley, 196, 266, 293 

Sir Henry Wood conducting, 159 

Sleep, 206 

Small Red Viper, A, 16 

Smiles, Samuel, 14 

Smollett, 291 

Sollas's ' Ancient Hunters,' 72 

Sou they, 16 

Spallanzani, 47, 71, 112 

Spinoza, 16 

Spring m the Woods, 15 

Staying by the Sea, 43 

Stagnancy. 84 

Stagnant Day, A. in 

Stevenson, ,63, 106, 161, 208, 209 

Stockbroker, The, 252 



\ 



312 



INDEX OF NAMES 



Strangeness of my Life, Tke, 

281 
Strindberg, 139 
Susan, 254 
Sunset in Kensington Gardens, 

130 
Swift, 230 
Swinburne, 61, 290 



T , 14, 171, 246 

' T.P.'s Weekly,' 41 

Tennyson, 154, 264 

Test for True Love, The, 157 

Test cf Happiness, A. 185 

Thompson, Francis, 266 

Thoreau, iSi 

Too Late, 144 

Tschaikovsky, 161, 162 

Turner, J. M. W., 154, 167 

Two Adventures, 212 

Two Months' Sick Leave, 80 

Two People I hate in particular, 

186 
Two Young Men Talking, 60 

Une Caractire, 53 



Verlainc, 60 

Villon, Francois, 173 

Voltaire, 63, 163 

Wagner, 166 
Wallace, 23. ^y 
Walton, Isaac, 8 
Wasmann, Father, 47 
Waterton, 159 
Wells, H. G., 291 
Whistler, 222 
White, Gilbert, 159 
Whitman, Walt, 189, 253 
Wilde, Oscar, '^6, 143, 152, i 

258 
Windy Ash, 35 
Wiedersheim, 106, 145, i 

2.57 
Woman and a Child, A, 146 
Wood, Sir Henry, 157, 159, i 

201 
Woodward, Dr. Smith, 145 

Yellow Cat, A, 241 

Zola, 17 



75. 
59, 
72 



BILLING AND SONS LTD., PRINTERS, GUILDFORD, ENGLAND 



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