Arthur Quiller-Couch: A Biographical Study of Q

Arthur Quiller-Couch: A Biographical Study of Q

Arthur Quiller-Couch: A Biographical Study of Q

Arthur Quiller-Couch: A Biographical Study of Q

Excerpt

Q often asserted that he would never write his autobiography but was persuaded to change his mind and so began his Memories and Opinions. He died, however, when he had covered only the first twenty-four years of his life--that is to say, the period from 1863 to 1887.

In order to make my narrative complete, it was necessary for me to begin at the beginning. I have, however, been brief up to the year 1887, though I have filled some gaps that Q left, mostly through modesty. I have gone into greater detail from the year 1887 onwards.

I have tried to write as objectively as possible, even though I knew Q intimately. My rooms at Jesus College were on the floor above his, and my feelings towards him were such that I spent as much time in his company as I could.

I hope I have made it clear that certain persistent legends that are told about Q are without foundation. To leave no room for doubt, I state here that he was not in T. E. Brown's house at Clifton, never met R. L. Stevenson, was never a candidate for Parliament, was not the first King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge and did not make the remarks ending with 'There's no hurry: the ship doesn't sail till next week' (or words to that effect). These remarks have been ascribed to many lecturers in many universities. It is uncertain how old they are. What is certain is that Q did not make them and could not have made them.

I wish to thank, all those who helped me by lending letters or in other ways. My thanks are due especially to Lady Quiller-Couch, Miss Quiller-Couch, Mrs Symondson, Dr H. F. Stewart, Miss Eleanor Reid, Miss Dorothy Hem, Mr S. C. Roberts, Sir Sydney Cockerell, Mr Vincent Robinson, the Hon. Gilbert Coleridge . . .

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