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Tuesday, 5 March 2013

A tall tale.

Thursday, March 5th., London.

Orage, editor and proprietor New Age, came on Monday night, and I sold him "How to Live on 24 Hours a Day" for his new series, and promised to give him an article on Wells, or an interview if Wells would agree.

Alfred Richard Orage (1873 – 1934) was a British intellectual, now best known for editing the magazine The New Age. While working as a schoolteacher in Leeds, he pursued various interests, including Plato, the Independent Labour Party, and theosophy. In 1900 Orage met Holbrook Jackson and three years later they co-founded the Leeds Arts Club, which became a centre of modernist culture in pre-World War I Britain. In 1905, Orage resigned his teaching position and moved to London. There, in 1907, he bought and edited the English weekly The New Age, at first with Holbrook Jackson, and became an influential figure in socialist politics and modernist culture, especially at the height of the magazine's fame before the First World War.
See also "Layers" - January 24th.

Went down to Wells on Tuesday, dine and sleep. He wouldn't agree. Said interviews must 'occur', with which I concur. Found him harder - yet politer and more reasonable in argument and posture than ever before. Seemed discontented about money, while admitting that he was making £3000 out of "War in the Air", which he wrote easily in 4 months.

The War in the Air, a novel by H. G. Wells written in four months in 1907 and serialized and published in 1908 in The Pall Mall Magazine, is like many of Wells’s works notable for its prophetic ideas, images, and concepts—in this case, the use of the aircraft for the purpose of warfare and the coming of World War I. The novel's hero is Bert Smallways, a forward-thinking young man, a "kind of bicycle engineer of the let's-'ave-a-look-at-it and enamel-chipping variety.

We had not enough time really to come to grips about things. He was extremely witty and fine about the attitude of Keir Hardie and so on (but not sufficiently sympathetic). he told a really astounding tale of a dinner given by Cust to about 20 men, including Balfour and himself, when the house got on fire over their heads. Talk so interesting that dinner went on, though Cust was obliged to absent himself once for a few minutes. Perfection of menservants who offerd bath towels with the port to protect from firemen's water coming through the ceiling. Talk to accompaniment of engine throbs, swishing, tramping etc. Guests obliged to move table further up room out of puddles. Dinner laste till midnight in Dining Room, when they went to Drawing Room to view the place gutted. One of the finest social recitals I have ever heard.

Henry John "Harry" Cockayne-Cust (1861 – 1917) was an English politician and editor who served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Unionist Party. In 1892, Cust met with William Waldorf Astor, who invited him to edit the Pall Mall Gazette. Despite lacking any background in journalism, Cust accepted immediately. He soon transformed the newspaper into the best evening journal of the period, thanks in part to contributors such as Rudyard Kipling and H.G. Wells. After leaving the Pall Mall Gazette, Cust continued his career as an author. He wrote several poems, most notably "Non nobis domine". During World War I Cust was active in propaganda on behalf of the British Government. In August 1914, he founded the Central Committee for National Patriotic Organizations. He died in 1917 of a heart attack at his home in Hyde Park Gate, London. Considered a brilliant conversationalist by his contemporaries, he had a reputation as a womaniser and was the father of socialite and philanthropist Lady Diana Cooper, by the Duchess of Rutland, though this was not acknowledged until much later. Cust was also rumoured to be the natural father of Beatrice Stephenson Roberts, the mother of British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and though there was no solid proof of this connection, Lady Diana Cooper often jokingly referred to Mrs. Thatcher as her niece.

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