Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Harold's Progress

I continue schlepping through the 1930s.

Harold spends much of '34 and '35 writing a biography of the recently deceased US diplomat Dwight Morrow. He's not that fond of Dwight and he upsets Dwight's former colleagues at J.P. Morgan for being insufficiently reverential about their institution, but the upside is that he gets to visit Mexico- which he thinks the most beautiful country on earth- and to know Dwight's daughter and son-in-law, a likeable young couple called Lindbergh.

At the end of '35 he gets himself elected to parliament, after which the fug of politics closes in around him. The abdication crisis looms, Spain burns and it's clear that some sort of reckoning with Hitler's Germany is going to be unavoidable.

The pen portraits remain as sharp as ever. Here's the British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin addressing the House of Commons in December '35...

"At first sight he is a solid English gentleman, but then one notices odd nervous tricks. He has an extraordinarily unpleasant habit of smelling at his notes and licking the edges as if they were the flap of an envelope. He scratches himself continuously. There are russet patches across his head and face. And a strange movement of the head, with half-closed eyes, like some tortoise half-awake smelling the air- blinking, snuffy, neurotic..."

I'm part way through Vol 1. Two more await- and they'll take us right through to 1964. Did Harold get to meet the Beatles? I wouldn't put it past him. He met everybody else.

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