1866  - 1934


1912 -    Dec 31. Gorse Cottage, Camber.

A year ago- it seems like yesterday. I was sitting in my room at Pont Aven, looking forward and wondering how things would have turned out for me when I had reached tonight.  I was in front of the grey painted recessed fireplace with the row of books on the mantelpiece,  the two Filiger pictures on the whitewashed wall above it, the Filiger head to the left. F…’s …. Pinned on to the R … on either side, the paint of the mantelpiece scraped off where I had put my feet, sitting in the armchair and dictating to Tyley at the table behind me. I had done an immense amount of work, all of which I hoped would bring in money, and some of it fame.  ‘Upsidonia’ was to have been published by this time and was to have made my name. It was only begun then but was going well.  I am going to write many books or stories this year and should be out of debt and earning a handsome income.

Now at 11 o’clock I am in my bedroom at Gorse Cottage, Camber where I have my own writing table and wicker chair on which I am writing this on my Cambridge desk. Nothing has gone right.  Out of the books I wrote during the 4 months at Pont Aven, the ‘Belhair Case’ only has brought me any money, and that only as a serial.  ‘Big Peter’ has not seen the light, and ‘Upsidonia’ has been refused everywhere. So far from being out of debt and making a good income, I have lost all I possessed, including my house, and I am preparing for some years of my straitened means in order to get clear. Yet once more I look forward to the next writing of these New Year’s Eve notes full of hope.  As far as I can see they will be written in Switzerland we shall all be there happy and contented, with much good work done, and a good deal of money earned, and I in a far more established position than I am now.  ‘The House of the Clintons’ of which I have written nearly half is a better book = except ‘Upsidonia’ – than I have written so far and I think it to have a better chance of setting the way.  I do not expect it to boom, but to consolidate my demand both in England and America.  I hope also to have finished another novel on something of the same lines, but on a wider canvas, which may put me on top. I hope that ‘Upsidonia’ will have been published, anonymously: that ‘Big Peter’ will have brought in some cash, by favour of John Shute; that I shall have written a few good short stories; that I shall have made at least £800 and have a fair chance in 1914 of making £2,000.

The wind is blowing against the windows.  Tomorrow I go on with the Clinton book and hope to get it done by the end of the month.  Worries are nearly over, and I may have to keep strictly to the available income to give me a chance such as I have never yet had.  My powers are developing.  What shall I have done with them, and what mistakes shall I have made by this time next year.