MY [Guy Boas] father lived till the age of ninety-five and was still working. He looked so old when I was young, and so young when I was old that he never seemed to change.... In 1896, the year I was born, he published Shakespeare and his Predecessors — 'Such a good book,' said an old lady, 'it saves reading Shakespeare.' So unworldly was my father that he thought that £40 which he received on publication was all he would get. He was amazed when royalties in due course followed which brought him a pleasant annual sum for over fifty years. In 1952, when he was over ninety, he signed an agreement to write a book on Sir Philip Sidney, which appeared when he was ninety-three, and he contributed his last review to the Times Literary Supplement within a fortnight of his death. When the Supplement celebrated its half-century with a sherry party the editor introduced my father to a startled American as 'Dr. Boas, our oldest contributor. He is an Elizabethan.'
'It's not quite as bad as that.' I explained, for the American seemed looking for the doublet and hose.
My father was a man of great dignity, wisdom, charm, and friendliness. His literary industry was prodigious, yet he wore his scholarship lightly. . . .
'I never knew such a reader,' said my mother. 'When the conductor gives him his ticket in the train, he turns it over and reads the back.'
From Guy Boas, A Teacher's Story (1963), pp. 3-4.
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