On Friday night, our last night in London, we went to the Tivoli. There were no seats except in the pit, so we went in the pit. Little Tich was very good, and George Formby, the Lancashire comedian, was perhaps even better.
Gus Ellen I did not care for. And I couldn't see the legendary cleverness of the vulgarity of Marie Lloyd. She was very young and spry for a grandmother. All her songs were variations on the theme of sexual naughtiness. No censor would ever pass them, and especially he wouldn't pass her winks and her silences.
Going home, stopped by procession of full carriages entering the Savoy and empty carriages coming out of it.
We came down to Brighton by the 1.55 on Saturday, to the Royal York. In the afternoon I called at the Exeter to learn the terms there, as Farrar had recommended it. When I gave the landlord my card, he started back, let his hands fall, and said "My God! Is it you?" This was the first landlord of my acquaintance who had ever read anything, much less a book of mine. He seemed to know me pretty thoroughly. I gave him my card at the end of the interview, and then the interview had to begin all over again.
However, we didn't go to the Exeter, as when it came to the point the celebrated Harry Preston of this celebrated hotel would not let me go. He agreed to my terms.
Our first stroll along the front impressed me very favourable, yesterday afternoon. But I am obsesssed by the thought that all this comfort, luxury, ostentation and correctness, is founded on a vast injustice to the artisan-class. I can never get away from this. The furs, autos, fine food, attendance, and diamond rings of this hotel only impress it on me even more.
This morning I worked genuinely for an hour on the construction of the first part of my novel.
Last night I was reading aloud from "The Old Wives Tale", my first re-reading for some years. The introductory section setting the Square within the district, the district within the county, and the county within the country is really very well done. Also the two girls (Constance and Sophia) are quickly and successfully established as believable characters. My experience at Woman has been invaluable in the matter of feminine taste and fashion I find! I find reading aloud difficult, but enjoyable and hope to improve with practice. I am reading from the manuscript facsimile which adds a little to the difficulty (the occasional word is hard to make out) but enhances the experience. Some pleasing alliterative phrases.
In today's Evening Standard article I wrote that I have reconciled myself to the fact that I cannot read everything, or ten percent of everything. I never begin a book unless I think it will interest me, and I never finish a book unless it actually does interest me. Such is my literary rule of life, and there is no exception to it unless I think that a book has been so much over-valued, or will so acutely exasperate me, that I am likely to be moved to invective and violent dispraise. This does not happen often. In fact many people say that frequently I am too kindly towards books. I do not agree, addicted though I certainly am to what Swinburne called "the noble pleasure of praising".