0Sunday. 17th [October 1897]—Ca’ Capello, Venice
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17 October 1897 — Ca’ Capello, Venice
Sunday. 17th [October 1897]. Today not being very well I sat at home in the morning & read while the others went to church & directly after lunch Mrs Eden appeared with Mme Duse. I saw at once that she is a woman I should like. Rather short with black hair & eyes, rather olive complexion & the type of the Italian peasant—but with the expression of a clever & intelligent woman who has a heart. She began at once to talk to me as though we were sure of each other. She said how sad this world was, how hard a struggle was life & how little one could do to help each other—& when I answered that every human being could help the other with sympathy encouragement & example she seemed to revive & to become more cheerful. I showed her some of the pictures & she looked at some of the pretty things I have in the rooms & said she could hardly take it all in at once. She particularly admired the Madonna & Child of Giov Bellini & said where was all the goodness & purity & repose of that time gone to—& that only feverish unrest & wickedness & the ugly seemed to be left? She then told me that she had a great wish to resuscitate the Theatre & to purify it & she had hopes that d’Annunzio who was a powerful writer who had led a life hitherto that was anything but good, was about to turn over a new leaf & would write pieces that she would act & which would counteract the bad tendencies of the Theatre of today. She spoke of her unhappy & compared such a sad life with the happy one which I was now feeling the loss of & tho’ I could not help shedding tears I felt half ashamed of my ingratitude to the Almighty for repining at all– We spoke much also of the Responsibility of one’s every word & action on those around one– When she left I felt we had understood each other thoroughly & that it was a gain to me to have known her. She told me of an American lady a Miss Macy now living at Venice who is struggling to do good & has not money to carry out her plans—but is brave & good tho’ rather impractical. At 4 we all 4 here (2 Thesigers & Nela & I) went to tea at the Montalbas. Mrs M. & Clara received us—& the 2 other sisters came in later from the Modern Picture Exhn at the public gardens. Clara talked in a very interesting way abt art & the merit of pictures. She said she was easily pleased with pictures when one could detect in them real artistic feeling & an attempt to interpret the thing & not a servile copy– A photograph will make a literal copy better than an artist who ought to practise what he sees in such a manner as to set everyone who sees his picture thinking. Nela & I went straight home from the Montalbas & the former went to bed having a headache. The Thesigers went for a row in sandolo.

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