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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Wednesday, January 30th., London.

Tonight sheets of rain, strong wind. I put on overshoes and mackintosh to go to the corner of the street to the post. Several times lately, about 10 p.m., I have noticed a couple that stand under the big tree at the corner next to the pillar box, shielded by the tree-trunk from the lamplight. They stand motionless, with hands nearly meeting around each other's backs, tightly clasped. They were there tonight. The man was holding an umbrella over them. Can't see what sort of people they are. In the first place I don't like to intrude and in the second place the shade is so dark. One day I will include this scene in a novel.

Me by David Low, National Portrait Gallery

Like most professional humourists, I rarely laugh, even at what I think is funny. There are two sorts of humour, the sort that makes you laugh audibly, and the sort that makes you laugh subterraneanly and noiselessly somewhere down in your solar plexus. Some people hold that the second is better than the first. I am not of this opinion. I would give the two sorts equal marks. And the first or loud sort holds a clear advantage over the second in that it has a positive ameliorating influence on the bodily health. I can testify to this from my dyspeptic days when a supreme raconteur (Frederick Norton) had me laughing out loud all through a supper of lobster, steak and kidney pudding and beer. No ill effects the next day. So, I maintain that a man who can by speech or writing make you laugh in this fashion is a doctor in addition to being a humourist. he is a benefactor of mankind.

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