I have written as I rode

Adam Smyth

  • ‘Brief Lives’ with ‘An Apparatus for the Lives of Our English Mathematical Writers’ by John Aubrey, edited by Kate Bennett
    Oxford, 1968 pp, £250.00, March 2015, ISBN 978 0 19 968953 8
  • John Aubrey: My Own Life by Ruth Scurr
    Chatto, 518 pp, £25.00, March 2015, ISBN 978 0 7011 7907 6

A friend who teaches in New York told me that the historian Peter Lake told him that J.G.A. Pocock told him that Conrad Russell told him that Bertrand Russell told him that Lord John Russell told him that his father the sixth Duke of Bedford told him that he had heard William Pitt the Younger speak in Parliament during the Napoleonic Wars, and that Pitt had this curious way of talking, a particular mannerism that the sixth Duke of Bedford had imitated to Lord John Russell who imitated it to Bertrand Russell who imitated it to Conrad Russell who imitated it to J.G.A. Pocock, who could not imitate it to Peter Lake and so my friend never heard it. But all the way down to Pocock was a chain of people who in some sense had actually heard William Pitt the Younger’s voice.

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