Sunday, November 8th 1903 – Today I spent such a day as ought to satisfy a man of letters. Having done my correspondence, I went out at 10.15 for a walk and to consider the plot of my story. I strolled about the Quartier de l’Europe till 11.30, and then lunched at my usual restaurant, where I am expected, and where my maternal waitress advised me in the selection of my lunch. I read Le Journal. I came home, finished Le Journal, read Don Quixote, and fell asleep. Then at 1.30 I amused myself at the piano. At 2 began to ponder further on my story, and the plot seemed to be coming, At 3,30 made my afternoon tea, and then read more Don Quixote, and fell asleep for about a minute. The plot was now coming faster and faster, and at 5 I decided that I would, at any rate, begin to sketch the story At 6.45 I had done a complete rough draft of the whole story.
Then I dressed and went to dine at my other restaurant in the Place Blanche, where the food and wine are good, and the waiters perfect models, and the chasseur charming, where men bring their mistresses and where occasionally a ‘mistress’ dines alone, and where the atmosphere is a curious mixture of discretion and sans gene (the whole place seems to say, ‘You should see what fun we have here between midnight and 3 a.m. with our Hungarian music and our improvised dancing, and so on and so on.’) I dined slowly and well, while reading Le Temps and The Pilot, and also while watching the human life of the place. Then I took coffee and a cigar. I returned home at 8.30, and played the piano. The idea of writing my chronique for T.P.’s Weekly a day earlier than usual came knot my head, the scheme of the article presented itself, and at 9.30 I suddenly began to write it, finishing it at 11.35. I then went to bed and read Don Quixote till 12.15.
Tuesday, November 10th – Of course I did not have a very good night.
from the Journals of Arbold Bennett