Tag Archives: Library

Diary entries which mention books and other publications read by Arthur Linfoot. See also Arthur Linfoot’s Library.

9 August 1918; Friday

Up all night and rather tired. Heavy shelling round about but none too near. Relieved about 9. Read some of The History of Mr Polly1. Up with diarrhoea a few times during the day.

Heard that the British have advanced to Ruyaulcourt2 and taken 17 thousand prisoners and 250 guns.

New number of the magazine out.

Turned in to sleep from 3 am to 6.


  1. The History of Mr. Polly: 1910 comic novel by H. G. Wells. See also The History of Mr. Polly and Arthur Linfoot’s Library

  2. Ruyaulcourt (if this is correct): 12km E. of Bapaume, in the old Somme battlefield, retaken by the Germans in their March offensive; Michelin square K7. 

The History of Mr Polly

cover imageThe History of Mr Polly is a comic novel by H. G. Wells, first published in 1910.

The History of Mr. Polly has three parts. The first part (chapters 1–6) tells of his life up to age 20, when he marries his cousin and sets up a shop. The second part (chapters 7–8) tells of his  suicide attempt, after which he abandons his shop and his wife. The third part (chapters 9–10) and an epilogue sees him becoming a happy and settled assistant innkeeper.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had read some of The History of Mr Polly on 9 August 1918, while stationed at Choques, midway between Lillers and Béthune in Northern France.

5 July 1918; Friday

Up at about 6.30. On parade. Spent morning at squad drill and a short march. Paraded at 8 o’clock. Went for bath in the stream in the afternoon. Did a little French. Read 3 essays by William James1 on releasing the energies of men2 and habit† 3 and found them exceptionally good. Wrote letter to Joe, called in to see Sergeant Powell and went for short walk. Changed billet.


  1. William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher and psychologist, and the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States. 

  2. The Energies of Men is an essay by William James, published c. 1907. The full text is available here

  3. Habit, if correct, may refer to William James’ book, Habit, apparently published c. 1887. 

27 June 1918; Thursday

Up shortly after 7 o’clock. On duty about 8 o’clock. Practically nothing to do all morning. The news in the papers more reasonable. The speech of Kühlmann causing a lot of contention†1. Worked until nearly 7 o’clock. Did a bit French and then had a walk last thing with Harvey. Read through Bennett’s “The Author’s Craft”2 and talked it over a bit with Harvey.


  1. Kühlmann speech: See footnote yesterday

  2. Arnold Bennett’s “The Author’s Craft”: non fiction work of 1914. See also The Author’s Craft and Arthur Linfoot’s Library

The Author’s Craft

cover imageThe Author’s Craft is a short book written in 1914 by Enoch Arnold Bennett, author of another book previously mentioned by Arthur Linfoot, Anna of the Five Towns.

It is a short exposition on writing but doesn’t explore technique in the same depth as some modern writers’ guides do, rather concentrating on emotional aspects and the need for an author to express passion and beauty.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had “read through” this book and discussed it with a comrade, Harvey, while posted at Pleurs, south of Épernay on 27 June 1918.

16 June 1918; Sunday

Up about 7 o’clock. Paraded at 9. Not much to do. Read a good lot of Wells’ “Passionate Friends”1 and wrote home and to Charlie. Received letter from home. Not much in the news. Our Divisional band played in the village in the afternoon and in the evening an Italian band played splendidly. Had walk with Holman at night. Quite a †new life† with this place. Saw the girl I spoke to a few days ago2. Some bonny kiddies in the town. The troops of four armies in the crowd. Heard that Austrians had attacked on the Italian front.


  1. “[The] Passionate Friends”: 1913 novel by H G Wells. ALL had started to read this book a few days earlier, on 10 June. See also The Passionate Friends and Arthur Linfoot’s Library

  2. ALL did not record his earlier meeting with this girl in his diary. 

The Passionate Friends

Cover Image

The Passionate Friends is a 1913 novel by H. G. Wells.

It takes the form of a letter to the his son by Stephen Stratton in which he sets out the story of his relationship with Lady Mary Christian, later Lady Mary Justin, with whom he had had a lifelong, on-again, off-again affair, although they had never married.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had ‘Commenced to read “The Passionate Friends”’ on 10 June 1918, shortly after arriving at Pierry, just south of Epernay.

26 May 1918; Sunday

Up about 7 o’clock. Not much to do all day. Stayed in until last thing but when I had a short walk with Willie Truman. Fine day. Wrote letter to Mr Inwood and one to Charlie and did a little French, besides reading through a book by Foottit† entitled “The Guard”1.


  1. Foottit’s “The Guard”: Author and book not yet identified. Other books are listed in Arthur Linfoot’s Library