Friday, 17 February 1865

Rain all night ― irregular sleep. Very dark morning. Rose by 7 ― & tried to work before 8, but could not. Later ― letter from C. Lane ― & the missing paper of χθὲς.

The afternoon cleared & even fine.

Sudden ― X.


Yet worked ― & got thro’ 3rd process of 5 drawings before 5. P.M.

Went out at 5 ― hoping for some quiet, but met lots of people on the disgusting promenade ― & wished Nice & myself anywhere. ―

Called at Mrs. Beaumonts ― she is still unwell. Returned at 6. & dined at 6.30[.]

G. in one of his unaccountable savage fits. Is he going out of his mind? I spoke to him in the kindest way ― but with no effect. ―

At 9 ― he did not come with the lamp ― tho’ I thought I heard him set it down outside. At 9.30 ― looked out, but all was dark ― & his room open ― & he nowhere. So I thought him out till it struck me I would look in his room, & there he was asleep in his hat cloak & boots on the bed, & the light burning below the curtain.

Aroused, he was abashed ―. But this will not do. ― So I again think ― let G. go out of my service with 3 months or 4 months pay ― in April ―


Bed, disgusted, at 10.30.

[1] Unhappiness

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Image.]



Filed under 1865, Diary Entry

2 responses to “Friday, 17 February 1865

  1. Peter Byrne

    We all know, and Lear knows, that George is hitting the bottle. But it’s striking how the diarist pussyfoots around the subject. It’s as if alcohol is a dirty word for the writer who is of course a hearty drinker himself. Which brings up an important question. Whom is he writing for? If it’s only for himself, why the discretion? If it’s for an eventual general public, it’s understandable he doesn’t want to hurt George’s reputation. Not doing so also safeguards his own as an understanding employer. But Lear apparently never contemplated publishing his diaries. They were meant to reinforce his memory or to provide raw material that he would work over in view of publishing in a different–self-censored–and polished form. One can only conclude that in his scrupulous entries, he’s putting forth a kind of better self, the person he would like to be. His voice is that of the ‘good’ Lear, a character he is creating. Not that he or centuries of other diary keepers are concerned about all this. They simply have an instinctual itch to set down their view of what’s happening. It makes life more real for them.

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