Days Like These

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The Independent Culture
21 July 1941


observes at dinner:

"Italy is the country where intelligence created the notion of the State. The Roman Empire is a great political creation, the greatest of all. The Italian people's musical sense, its liking for harmonious proportions, the beauty of its race! The Renaissance was the dawn of a new era, in which the Aryan man found himself anew. There's also our own past on Italian soil. A man who is indifferent to history is a man without hearing, without sight. Such a man can live, of course - but what a life!

"The magic of Florence and Rome, of Ravenna, Siena, Perugia! Tuscany and Umbria, how lovely they are! The smallest palazzo in Florence or Rome is worth more than all of Windsor Castle. If the English destroy anything in Florence or Rome, it will be a crime. In Moscow, it wouldn't do any great harm; nor in Berlin, unfortunately.

"I've seen Rome and Paris, and I must say that Paris, with the exception of the Arc de Triomphe, has nothing on the scale of the Coliseum, or the Castello Sant'Angelo, or St Peter's. These monuments, which are the product of a collective effort, have ceased to be on the scale of the individual. There's something queer about the Paris buildings, whether it's those bull's-eye windows, so badly proportioned, or those gables which obliterate whole facades. What I saw in Paris disappeared from my memory: Rome really seized hold of me. My dearest wish would be to be able to wander about in Italy as an unknown painter."

23 July 1875


records an evening with

Thomas Carlyle:

"I have more than once heard Carlyle talk about Tennyson's smoking, and also T of Carlyle's. Each thought the other smoked too much - or at all events too strong tobacco. T carefully dries his, which, he says, lessens the strength, while C asserts that this process makes it stronger."