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Thursday, 14 March 2013

Minor distractions of the people

Friday, March 14th., Cadogan Square, London.

Yesterday, Reform lunch. Talking about gambling. It was defended by James Currie and even by Lord Buckmaster (see 'False Alarms', Feb. 27th.). Stated to be the one distraction of the people. There is, however, fornication. Apropos of all this, when I was coming home from Hammersmith in the Tube yesterday evening, two workmen got in, one about 35 and the other 18 or 20.

Hammersmith Broadway, 1910 - Tube Station on the right
They carried paint pots and 'turps' pots wrapped in paper and covered at top (paint pots, i.e.) with paper with a hole for brush handle to poke through. Dirty. Shabby. Dirty hands. Dirty caps with big peaks. The young one wore black leggings. They pushed the cans as far as possible under seats. The young man was smoking a cigarette. As soon as they sat down each of them pulled a new packet of chewing-gum from his pocket, stripped off the paper, broke the packet in half and put one half into his mouth. I didn't notice any actual jaw motion of chewing. The young man kept on smoking. The chewing-gum business was obviously a regular thing, and much looked forward to. Obvious satisfaction on their faces as they opened the packets. After a few minutes the young man pulled a novelette from his pocket and went on reading it. (The elder had nothing to read) Minor distractions of the people: cigarettes, chewing-gum, novelettes. I forgot to mention that the young man carried a coil of rope within his buttoned jacket. It stuck up towards his neck

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