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Friday, January 5, 2018

The White House - 'very nice'

   Arrival at fine station at Washington.
   Apparently a long drive to Shoreham Hotel, across avenue after avenue. Still, all the air of a provincial town. Had to get out of bed to extinguish final light, otherwise good hotel.
   Congress chamber. Old Congress Chamber is a sort of rule-chamber. Its astounding collection of ugly statues. Whispering point, where Adams fell. I was exhausted after this. Declined to visit Library of Congress. Saw Washington monument. Phallic, Appalling. A national catastrophe – only equalled by Albert Memorial.         
   Sub-guide said, pointing to a portrait in oils: ‘Henry Cay – quite a good statesman,’ in a bland, unconsciously patronizing way. Guide also said of picture, ‘Although painted I  1865, notice the flesh tints are quite fresh.’
   General effect of Washington. A plantation of public edifices amid a rather unkempt undergrowth of streets. Pennsylvania Avenue the great street. Cheapness of its buildings (old private houses tuned into business) as the thoroughfare approaches the Capitol.
   The White House very nice architecture. Rather small. Distinguished.
   Overflow of Capitol into huge buildings at either side rather to front of Capitol. Dome too big for sub-structure. The wings rather fine.

   Badness of saddle of mutton at breakfast. Finger bowls after every damn snack.
\                                                                           Arnold Bennett Journals, Tuesday, October 17, 1911

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