W H Auden

Unfortunately Hugh didn’t finish the sentence about Auden but, knowing his love of books that took him to faraway places, he could have been thinking of the 1939 Journey to a War, jointly written with Isherwood. The two spent time in pre-war Berlin which was then a draw for artists of all kinds.

King Edward VII by E F Benson

E F Benson was one of six children of Edward White Benson who became Archbishop of Canterbury from 1883 to 1896. The Archbishop is chiefly remembered for devising the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. At the time, he was Bishop of Truro where the first such service was held on Christmas Eve, 1880. Another of his sons, Arthur Christopher, wrote the words to Land of Hope and Glory.

Edward Frederic was most famous for the Mapp and Lucia novels. If Hugh thought Barrie quaint and interesting, he would certainly have enjoyed Dodo. This was the first of a trilogy about wealthy families whose demise was brought about by war.

Benson subtitled his biography of Edward VII An Appreciation and tries hard to present the King in a positive light. Despite being educated alone until he went up to Oxford, Prince Edward developed the ability to socialise well. This often led him to meet the displeasure of his mother, Queen Victoria. She put off introducing him to the affairs of state and the duties of a monarch until four years before she died. However, through contact with his relatives around Europe, he managed to stave off any serious conflict with other countries. He died in 1910 leaving his heir to endure the Great War.