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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Monday, 23 June 2014

One who 'counts'

Tuesday, June 23rd., Victoria Grove, Chelsea.

At John Lane's I met John Buchan, just now principal 'reader' to the Bodley Head. A very young, fair man; charmingly shy; 'varsity' in every tone and gesture. He talks quietly in a feminine, exiguous voice, with the accent of Kensington tempered perhaps by a shadow of a shade of Scotch (or was that my imagination?). Already - he cannot be more than 23 - he is a favourite of publishers, who actually seek after him, and has published one book. He told me that his second novel, a long Scotch romance, was just finished, and that he had practically sold the serial rights ...  A most modest, retiring man, yet obviously sane and shrewd. Well-disposed too, and anxious to be just; a man to compel respect; one who 'counts'.

John Buchan (1875 – 1940) was a Scottish novelist, historian and Unionist politician who served as Governor General of Canada, the 15th since Canadian Confederation. After a brief legal career Buchan simultaneously began both his writing career and his political and diplomatic career, serving as a private secretary to the colonial administrator of various colonies in Southern Africa. He eventually wrote propaganda for the British war effort in the First World War. Once he was back in civilian life Buchan was elected Member of Parliament for theCombined Scottish Universities, but he spent most of his time on his writing career, notably writing The Thirty-Nine Steps and other adventure fiction. In 1935 he was appointed Governor General of Canada by King George V, on the recommendation of Prime Minister of Canada Richard Bennett, to replace the Earl of Bessborough. He occupied the post until his death in 1940. Buchan proved to be enthusiastic about literacy, as well as the evolution of Canadian culture, and he received a state funeral in Canada before his ashes were returned to the United Kingdom.

For more on Buchan see 'First novel'

Additionally for June 23rd., see 'Finishing Clayhanger'

I have just (3 p.m.) finished "Clayhanger" one week in advance of time. 160,800 words. For the last few days it has monopolised me. But quite contrary to my general practice towards the end of a novel I have kept in magnificent health.

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