Comment: Days Like These

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The Independent Culture
5 November 1878

CHARLES DARWIN,

naturalist (pictured),

writes in a letter:

"If it were universally known that the birth of children could be prevented, and this were not thought immoral by married persons, would there not be great danger of extreme profligacy amongst unmarried women, and might we not become like the arreoi societies in the Pacific? In the course of the century France will tell us the result in many ways, and we can already see that the French nation does not spread or increase much."

6 November 1918

CHIPS CHANNON,

a soldier in Paris, records

in his diary a dinner

with Marcel Proust and Jean Cocteau:

"Their manners, usually so bad, were excellent tonight, and they seemed to compete as to which could be the more engaging. I felt stupid between the two wittiest men in Europe, drenched in a Niagara of epigrams. Jean is a stylist and his conversation is full of fire... Proust is quieter, longer-winded and more meticulous. His blood-shot eyes shine feverishly, as he pours out ceaseless spite and venom about the great. His foibles are Ruskin, genealogy and heraldry. He knows the arms and quarterings of every duke in Europe."

19 November 1932

ERIC BLAIR

writes to his agent:

"Many thanks for your letter. I sent off the proof [Down and Out in Paris and London ] with the printer's queries on it yesterday. As a pseudonym, a name I use when tramping is P S Burton, but if you don't think this sounds a probable kind of name what about: Kenneth Miles. George Orwell. H Lewis Allways. I rather favour George Orwell"

19 November 1899

RAYMOND ASQUITH

writes to his father from

Balliol College, Oxford:

"On Wednesday our rugby team played King's, Cambridge; after which they had a big dinner at 5pm and both teams were desperately drunk by half past 6: they made hay of the quad, which irritated our dons, brawled in the streets, which drew down the Proctors on them, and are also being prosecuted by the South Western Railway for wrecking a train and assaulting porters at the station: three men have been sent down and the rest gated."

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