Days Like These

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The Independent Culture
3 November 1903

RAYMOND ASQUITH,

son of Liberal politician

H H Asquith, writes from his father's house:

"I was up till 4 this morning watching [the Bishop of] Stepney and [the Archbishop of Canterbury] - both drunk trying to cheat one another at poker; it was a very even match; for tho' Stepney was far more cunning, Cantuar was far less drunk. Such is All Souls Day."

5 November 1944

NORMAN LEWIS,

(pictured) an Intelligence

officer in Naples, writes

in his diary:

"In 1835 Alexander Dumas, who spent some weeks in Naples, wrote of its upper classes that only four families enjoyed great fortunes, that 20 were comfortably off, and the rest had to struggle to make ends meet. What mattered was to have a well-upholstered carriage harnessed up to a couple of old horses and a private box at the San Carlo theatre. This is roughly the situation a century later. They talked of the golden days of their families under Imperial Rome, but they had not enough to eat. The Neapolitan upper-crust of those times consumed only one meal every 24 hours; at two in the afternoon in winter; and at midnight in summer. Their food was almost as poor in quality and as monotonous as that served to prisoners in gaol; invariably a few pence' worth of macaroni flavoured with a little fish. By way of an occasional extravagance one of these pauper-noblemen might force himself to go without bread or macaroni for a day, and spend what he had saved on an ice-cream to be eaten splendidly in public, at the fashionable Cafe Donzelli."

5 November 1977

KEITH VAUGHAN,

artist, makes a final entry

in his journal

"The capsules have been taken with some whisky. What is striking is the unreality of the situation. I feel no different. ... But suddenly the decision came that it must be done. I cannot drag on another few years in this state. It's a bright sunny morning. Full of life. Such a morning as many people have died on. I am ready for death though I fear it. Of course the whole thing may not work and I shall wake up. I don't really mind either way. ... I cannot believe I have committed suicide since nothing has happened. No big bang or cut wrists. 65 was long enough for me. It wasn't a complete failure. I did some [At this point the words lapse into illegibility and then stop.]

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