Sunday, September 12

The French Lieutenant's Diary

We got to like him, too, once we had adjusted to his neuroses. He has to drink a lot, but is funny once he is relaxed; beautifully phrased anecdotes, rehearsed and timed, I suspect, but none the worse for that. Tom and I went into the backlands with him and Antonia. She fell asleep at the table afterwards, apparently a common habit, and Harold told us of their first night of love, when the decision to start the celebrated affair was taken. He decided to do it in style, and that there could be no better way to express the depth of his feeling than by reading her some of his poems. Antonia arrives, sits in an armchair, Harold reads his carefully selected poems with the most painstaking attention to tone and phrasing and effect. After a few minutes he looks up. Antonia is fast asleep.

-- John Fowles (on Harold Pinter) Journal 22 October 1980 from Granta