Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ruining William F. Buckley's clutch

"Call Me Bill." National Review has an engaging piece by James Panero recalling his time working as William F. Buckley's writing assistant in Switzerland. Excerpt:
So in Gstaad, while everyone else went on holiday, we made a novel. Bill woke up at 4:30 every morning. I drove up to the chalet, overlooking the mountain face of the Videmanette, at 7:30. Bill always lent his four-wheel-drive Peugeot to his young assistants. He handed me the keys our first day at the top of the hill and gave me a quiz about the route to get his morning newspaper. I didn’t want to admit I couldn’t drive stick. So I learned on the road from my hotel to the chalet, and promptly burned out the clutch.
Me: I could easily imagine not wanting to tell Buckley that you can't drive stick. On the other hand, honesty has a lot to be said for it. I'm reminded of an anecdote from Richard Brookhiser's memoir Right Time, Right Place: Coming of Age with William F. Buckley Jr. and the Conservative Movement in which Buckley asked an aristocratic but impoverished friend why he'd come by train second class, and the answer was "Because there is no third class."

Related posts: me on stick shift and Buckley.

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