Days Like These

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The Independent Culture
26 December 1932


novelist (pictured), writes

in his diary:

"My wounded knee obliges me to lie on the drawing-room sofa most of the day. I read Sense and Sensibility before a big log fire. Delightful day! A feeling of deep security, very near to that peace that passes all understanding mentioned in the Bible. I put down my book, from time to time to watch the flames and smell the odour of the burning wood. Jane Austen's method consists in contrasting one moral quality with another - which quality she strives to personify - and although I find the method a trifle mechanical, I surrender to the charm of a writer whose smile is never a grimace and from whom emotion never draws a scream, for well- bred people don't scream. Jane Austen always remains a little within the bounds of what she wants to say, with the exquisite reserve that she alone possesses, but none the less her delineation is admirably clear. Compared with her, Charlotte Bronte seems wildly dishevelled."

26 December 1918


diplomat, records in his diary:

"St Stephen's Day 1918 will long be remembered as one of the landmarks in the history of the English-speaking world. It was an historic moment when President Wilson, the successor of George Washington, stepped on to the platform of Charing Cross railway station to be greeted by His Majesty King George V, the lineal descendant of George III. As I watched the two men shake hands and noted the warmth with which they greeted each other, I felt that history was being made before my eyes. Two minutes later the King introduced Mr Lloyd George to the President, and all eyes were focussed on the two leaders of the English-speaking Democracies... All shades of political opinion on this side of the Atlantic were determined that the official head of the American Republic should receive such a welcome as was never before extended to any visitor to these shores. The cordiality and warmth of London's welcome to Mr Wilson will long be remembered by those who saw it. But the outstanding impression in my mind is the picture of that tall, smiling man talking animatedly to the little Welshman on the railway platform. These two men are between them very largely moulding the destinies of mankind at the Peace Conference. It is gratifying to know from their lips how identical are the aims of our two peoples and how close is the spirit of co-operation which exists between us. How fervently can we all re-echo the prayer of the King in his speech of welcome that the same brotherly spirit which has animated Great Britain and America in the war may inspire and guide their united efforts to secure for the world `an ordered freedom and an enduring peace'."