Yesterday afternoon, a sandwich man in Coventry Street, stooping with difficulty owing to his encumbrances, picked up a cigarette out of the gutter.
"My first of the day," he exclaimed to his mate who was in front of him.
I have been told by my mother that when I was young I used to be taken out for walks by my Uncle Len, by the canal or to Bradwell Woods near Tunstall; apparently I got into the habit of picking up cigarette ends for him to 'recycle' later! I saw nothing unusual in this behaviour at the time.
In either 1893 or 1894 I heard a Wagner opera for the fist time with understanding. It was at Drury Lane and we sat in the balcony. There was no crush on entering, not more than a dozen people had collected when the doors opened. At most 40 people occupied the balcony, and the other parts of the immense building were similarly forlorn. Nevertheless it was an excellent performance with Alvarez and (I think) Klapsky as chief stars.
Contrast: Tonight with Frank I went to a Wagner orchestral concert (promenade) at Queen's Hall, under Henry J. Wood. We got there a quarter of an hour before the commencement and already the entrance hall was packed with an eager tumultuous mass (excited by expectation) struggling to get at the ticket offices. At eight o'clock the vast floor (promenade) and the upper circle were crowded in every part, and in the balcony only a few reserved seats were left, which in turn were taken before the second piece on the programme had been played. The audience was enthusiastic, keenly anticipatory; and the orchestra under the magnetic influence of the occasion played in a fashion which steadily increased the exquisite nervous tension of its hearers. At the opening bars of "The Flying Dutchman" overture I felt those strange tickling sensations in the back which are the physical signs of aesthetic emotion. The mysterious effects of orchestral colour contrast dazed and dazzled Frank's willing ears till he existed simply as a "receiver" - receiver of a microphone or other phonetic instrument ...
The waves of sound swallowed him up, and at the end he emerged, like a courageous child from the surf of a summer sea, dripping wet, breathless, and enraptured.