Back to posting semi-random paragraphs from stuff I’m reading:
“Bob Trevelyan was, I think, the most bookish person that I have ever known. What is in books appeared to him interesting, whereas what is only real life was negligible. Like all the family, he had a minute knowledge of the strategy and tactics concerned in all the great battles of the world, so far as these appear in reputable books of history. But I was staying with him during the crisis of the battle of the Marne, and as it was Sunday we could only get a newspaper by walking two miles. He did not think the battle sufficiently interesting to be worth it,because battles in mere newspapers are vulgar. I once devised test question which I put to many people to discover whether they were pessimists. The question was: “If you had the power to destroy the world, would you do so?” I put the question to him in the presence of his wife and child, and he replied: “What? Destroy my library? Never!” He was always discovering new poets and reading their poems out aloud, but he always began deprecatingly: “This is not one of his best poems.” Once when he mentioned a new poet to me, and said he would like to read me some of his things, I said: “Yes, but don’t read me a poem which is not one of his best.” This stumped him completely, and he put the volume away.” — The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell 1872-1914.