Tag Archives: Library

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

Old St. Paul’s

Cover ImageOld St. Paul’s, also titled Old Saint Paul’s: A Tale of the Plague and the Fire, is a novel by William Harrison Ainsworth serially published in The Sunday Times from 3 January 1841 to 26 December 1841.

The story of Old St. Paul’s is spread over six books which range between April 1665 and September 1666, culminating in the Great Fire of London.

Arthur Linfoot noted that he had ‘spent [the] afternoon on French and reading “Old St Paul’s”’ (presumably not all of it) in his diary entry of 20 November 1917 while stationed at Wallon Cappell.

18 November 1917; Sunday

Up about 8 o’clock. Kit inspection at 9 o’clock. Did French most of morning. Had short walk before dinner. Did some French in the afternoon. Had short walk before tea. Read some of Emerson’s essays1 at night. Had short walk after 6 o’clock.

Finished reading “Sinister Street”2 volume I.


  1. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote several books of essays, commonly associated with transcendentalism and romanticism. “Essays” most commonly refers to his first two series of essays and it is likely to have been one of these, or a combined edition, that ALL was reading. See also Emerson’s Essays and Arthur Linfoot’s library

  2. Sinister Street”: Compton Mackenzie’s novel, published in 2 volumes, 1913 – 14; there were several sequels, but he was already famous (aged 31/32 and living in Italy on the novel’s proceeds) when he enlisted early in the War, went as a junior intelligence officer to Gallipoli (“Gallipoli Memories”), and later became Army head of intelligence in the Aegean area. See also Sinister Street and Arthur Linfoot’s library

Emerson’s Essays

Cover ImageRalph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet.

He wrote two books of essays, a First Series, published in 1841, and a Second Series, published in 1844. A further book of essays, Representative Men, the printed form of a series of lectures given by Emerson, was published in 1850. Emerson’s essays have subsequently sometimes been published together in anthologies.

On 18 November 1917, while stationed at Wallon Cappell, Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had “read some of Emerson’s essays at night”. Clearly we cannot know which of Emerson’s essays Arthur Linfoot read on this day, or in what form.

Sinister Street

Cover ImageCompton Mackenzie (17 January 1883 – 30 November 1972) was an English born Scottish writer and lifelong Scottish nationalist. He was one of the co-founders in 1928 of the Scottish National Party but is possibly now more widely remembered as the author of his 1947 novel, Whisky Galore, which has been adapted as films twice, in 1949 and 2016.

Sinister Street is Compton Mackenzie’s novel published in  two volumes in 1913 and 1914. The work was published  in the UK as Sinister Street, volumes 1 and 2, and in the USA as two books, Youth’s Encounter and Sinister Street. It is a novel about growing up, and concerns two children, Michael Fane and his sister Stella, both born out of wedlock to rich parents. The book had several sequels, which continue until Michael Fane’s marriage.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had ‘finished reading “Sinister Street” volume I’ on 18 November 1917 while stationed at Wallon Cappell.

31 October 1917; Wednesday

Up about 7 o’clock. Breakfast and then paraded. Dismissed until about 1 o’clock. Wrote a letter home and one to Everyman1. Got on the boat shortly after 1 o’clock. Very good crossing and I enjoyed it. Big escort both in the air and sea. Marched up to Saint Martin’s camp2 in time for tea. Detailed off. Spent part of the night in the Y M and sent off a field card. Reveille at midnight.


  1. More on this letter to Everyman in a later entry. See also Everyman and Arthur Linfoot’s Library

  2. “Saint Martin’s camp”: one of several army camps in and around Boulogne. The map shows this part of ALL’s journey, from Folkestone (A) to Saint-Martin (B). 

23 August 1917; Thursday

Up about 7 o’clock. No parade in the morning on account of rain. Short route march in the afternoon and at the Follies at night. Did bit French and got some copies of Great Thoughts1 from the new chap and gave him Everyman2.


  1. “Great Thoughts”: Possibly a magazine or periodical, although we have been unable to locate a copy. 

  2. “Everyman”: Also a magazine or periodical. See Everyman, all posts tagged “Everyman” and Arthur Linfoot’s Library

21 August 1917; Tuesday

Up at 7.15. Most of the chaps intoxicated. I got a pair of new boots. Fine morning. No parade in the afternoon and I did a bit French. Had short walk at night with Harry Bascombe and Vic Barber. Read a bit from Everyman1 and read an account of an Italian and a French victory. Italians 7600 prisoners at *2. French 4000 prisoners.


  1. “Everyman”: See Everyman, all posts tagged “Everyman” and Arthur Linfoot’s Library

  2. Name (shorthand outline S-v-d- ?) not identified, but in the 6th Battle of the Isonzo (August 1917), the best episode of the War for Italy, Gen. Cadorna captured Gorizia on the 8th, made a bridgehead over the Isonzo (now Soča), and ended this offensive on 17th August. 

12 July 1917; Thursday

Up at 7 o’clock. The German big gun sent over some shells and killed 10 people and wounded a lot. Walked to Méteren at night with Driver. Went part of the way with Piggy Wood and Vic Draper†. Called at the old hospital and in the Y M. Bought a †Bob Nanning†1 and read good part of it. Lieutenant Jones went out.


  1. Probably a book of some kind although the transcription of the author’s name is uncertain. 

25 June 1917; Monday

Up at 7 o’clock. Rather late with our work first thing. Out in the afternoon. Lieutenant Gunning and Captain Russell went to C C S. Wrote letter to Ernie. Not much doing at night. Read little satire ‘Pig on Artemis.”1 Freddy Holmes drunk and Dai Davies drunk last thing.

[2 – 3 lines scarcely visible: “…. orderlies ….off a waggon ….. and we had him in …. time. He appeared a bit shaken.”]

German aeroplanes dropped 8 bombs near the aerodrome at about midnight and put the wind up us. The big gun also shelled the rail head.


  1. “Pig on Artemis” may have been an item in a magazine such as Everyman. See also Everyman and Arthur Linfoot’s Library