Edward Pearce

  • A Sparrow’s Flight: Memoirs by Lord Hailsham
    Collins, 463 pp, £17.50, July 1990, ISBN 0 00 215545 1

Two images of Quintin Hogg suggest themselves. Perched upon the horsehair seat known as the Woolsack is the Lord Chancellor, hands clasped at the top of his walking-stick, tricorn hat sitting on his full-bottomed wig. On such a formal occasion he looked totally a man of the 18th century, so much did the face and manner fit the rigout. Most modern men in fancy dress look distressingly like modern men in fancy dress – witness Archbishop Runcie. Hailsham could have been a difficult colleague of Walpole. The other, less flattering image comes from the gathering in the Queen’s Gallery to hear Richard von Weisaecker make an address. The President of West Germany, speaking a crystalline, virtually unaccented English, spoke for about half an hour with restraint, wisdom and the quiet earnest of a man gravely engaged upon serious things. He had been welcomed by Lord Chancellor Hailsham cavorting, playing to the gallery, quoting Latin tags and unwisely launching into German culture to compliment and patronise his guest. We should not forget ‘the contributions made to European civilisation by Can’t and Mendelzone’.

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