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Monday, December 11, 2017

Woman's Plavce is in the Home

The Anglo-Indian is a major in the army. I only learned this tonight. It probably accounts for his excellent stupidity, which inspires respect. His wife, at first very rébarbative, grows more likable every day. Some of them  began talking about suffragettes last night, and I had said to the major, seeing him reading The Times, ‘So Christabel [Pankhurst] is out, it seems.’ A Yorkshire young woman asked Mrs Major if she was a sympathizer. ‘On the contrary’, said Mrs Major, ‘I am very much ashamed of them.’ The usual rot was talked. However, Mrs Major said she thought women ought to be on certain committees. The young Yorkshire lass said she thought the woman’s place was in the home. (It is incredible how people still talk.) I then burst out, impatiently, ‘Yes, and what about the millions of them that have to leave home every day to earn a living? What about the mill girls, and the typists?’ This quite unsettled them. They then agreed that unmarried women ought to have the vote. But their whole talk and all the phrases they used were too marvelously stupid.
                                                                       Journals of Arnold Bennett - Christmas Eve, 19098

Monday, December 4, 2017

Books, bicycles and ants

At last I have begun to receive catalogues from second-hand book-sellers in Paris. I ordered 3 cheap books this afternoon, to make a commencement. This afternoon M., Emily and I went for a walk in the forest. Many people. A too sophisticated air. At the Caverne Augas a man with candles, on the make. Beautiful paths and glimpses and set panoramas, but unpleasing because part of a set show. Then sudden arrival on the Route Nationale 5 bis. Autos struggling up it, noisily, all the time, in a faint cloud of dust. Bicyclists, chiefly walking. General Sundayish. Something that rouses always the exclusive , aristocrat in one. M. getting tired, and more tired, and assuring herself by questions that I am taking the nearest way home. Then the arrival, amidst forced cheerfulness, and the realization that one’s feet ache. I ran upstairs to read catalogues. The first languors of summer sunsets. House overrun with ants. New  carpets arrived this morning, re-arousing pride in our toy house. I forewent my afternoon sleep in order finally to arrange the second spare bedroom.
                                                                                Journals of Arnold Bennett, Sunday, May 17t 1908.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Deer hunting

Curious affair in the village yesterday. Owners of land bordering the forest have the right to catch such deer as they find on their land. Now is the season when deer stray, in search of young shoot. They stray about dawn. Villagers organise a sort of surprise for the deer. They arise before dawn and lie in wait. Yesterday morning 60 people caught 6 deer. The deer were killed in an open yard close to this house, and blood ran in gallons into and down the road. The 60 people drew lots for the best cuts, and one hears the monotonous calling of the numbers. One-tenth of a deer for each person. This morning I saw 4 biches and 3 cerfs slowly cross the road in the forest, about 100 yards behind me.
                                                                    Journs of Arnold Bennett, Monday, March 30th 1908

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The sexy Highlanders

   Curious example tonight of unconscious and honest sexuality by a decent woman. A Scotchwoman (age about 45) sitting by the fire in the lounge describing to another woman her sensations on seeing a regiment of Highlanders (with music) pass along Princes Street, Edinburgh. ‘I couldn’t bear to look at them – made me cry – my heart was so full. Nothing moves me so much as a regiment of Highlanders. Their costume . . . and so tall . . . such fine men . . . such white skins . . . But I shouldn’t like to be in the same room with them. I shouldn’t like to know them.’  She was quite unaware that phrase after phrase which she used was an expression of sexual feeling.
Journal of Arnold Bennett, January 4th 1904

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The cocotte with a dog

We bicycled yesterday through Montigny, Grez, Villliers-sous-Grez, Larchant and Nemours. And I exhausted myself in pushing Marguerite about 10 mies altogether against a head wind. We had tea at Villiers, just a straggling village without any attraction except that of its own life. During our tea the drone of a steam-thresher was heard rising and falling continually.

   Tea in the street; they brought out and pitched for us a table, also vast thick basins, which we got changed for small coffee-cups. But we could not prevent the fat neat clean landlady from serving the milk in a 2-quart jug which would have filled about a million coffee-cups. We sat in the wind on yellow iron chairs, and we had bread and perhaps a pound of butter, and a plate of sweet biscuits which drew scores of flies. Over the houses we could just see the very high weather-cock of the church. Everything was beaten by wind and sunshine. From the inside of the little inn came hoarse argumentative voices. Curious to see in this extremely unsophisticated village a Parisian cocotte of the lower ranks, She was apparently staying at the inn. With her dog, and her dyed hair (too well arranged), and her short skirt, and her matinée (at 4.30 p.m.), and her hard eyes, she could not keep from exhibiting herself in the road. The instinct of ‘exposition’ was too strong in her to be resisted. She found fifty excuses          for popping into the house and out again.
                                                                                   Journals of Arnold Bnnett - August 26th 1907.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A cure for indigestion

Talking about eating, Mme Bergeret said that in the Midi (neighbourhood of Toulouse specially) there used to be men who prided themselves on enormous powers of eating. They did not usually eat a great deal, but on occasions, when put to it, they would perform terrible feats such as consuming a whole turkey. The result sometimes was that they were very ill. The method of curing them was to dig a hole in the muck-heap, strip the sufferer naked, put him in the hole, and pack him tightly with manure up to the neck. The people who did this did it with gusto, telling the sufferer what an odious glutton he was. The heat generated promoted digestion in a manner almost miraculous, an next day the sufferer was perfectly restored.
                                                                                        Arnold Bennett Journals - July 29th 1907

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Rodin's erotic sculpture

At the Cornilliers’ today some talk of Rodin. Henri Havet stated defiantly that he was going mad, was in fact mad. Of erotomania. He said also that he did pieces of sculpture and then deliberately broke them.
   Some one remarked that an artist had the right after all to break up a piece that did not please him.
   ‘Yes,’ Havet explained, ‘but not to send it broken to an exhibition, in imitation of the Venus de Milo etc.’ A Mme Neck (?), a very pretty woman, who knew Rodin personally, gave a curious experience of his peculiarities. He is in the habit of showing little erotic pieces to lady visitors. He took her to one such, a woman seated or bending down in the middle of a plate. ‘Le sujet était assez clair,’ she indicated.
   He asked her what she would call that. By way of a title for it. She said politely, ‘La source de volupté.’ ‘Splendid!’ said Rodin, and scratched the title on the plate. The very next day her sister was at the studio, and was shown the same piece. ‘What would you call that?’ Rodin asked her. ‘The water fairy’, suggested the sister. ‘Splendid!’ said Rodin, and wrote the title on the other side of the plate. Some one said that he got his titles like that, by asking every one and then choosing the best.
   Cornillier said he one sat next to Rodin at lunch, and happened to say that a certain woman was not pretty. ‘What!’ cried Rodin solemnly, ‘It has happened to you sometimes to meet a woman who was not beautiful? I have never met a woman who was not beautiful.’

   I remembered, then, Rodin’s dictum, printed somewhere, that every thing on earth is beautiful. With this, in a way, I agree.’
                                                                              Journals of Arnold Bennett, Sunday, May 6th 1906