Autobiography of an Economist by Lord Robbins

By Lord Robbins

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I was always thinking of the war and the fact that I was not in it. More and more I plagued my poor parents to do something to get me into the Army without my having to tell a definite lie about my age; and eventually my father capitulated. Shortly after Christmas 1915, with the aid of some War Office friend of our family solicitor, I was admitted as a cadet at the Royal Artillery Barracks at StJohn's Wood, and almost immediately posted to a training centre at Topsham, just outside Exeter. So ended my first experience as a university student.

K. Clifford, Grote, Houseman, Jevons, de Morgan, Karl Pearson, Ramsay, to name only a few - what college other than Trinity can match these for distinction? Never do I pass the agreeable portico in Gower Street but I feel a sense of admiration and gratitude to the institution where I first heard the great scholars of those days discoursing 37 on the problems of history and literature at a grown up level. But my stay there was not to be long. If my father thought that putting me at University College would keep me remote from the war until I reached military age, he was grievously mistaken.

Whatever the general intentions of the playwright and the pleasure one might get from a work in which good triumphed over evil, one had no right to benefit by her degradation; and, speaking more generally, what he heard of the life of the stage only strengthened him in this belie£ Hence, although I read copiously all the drama I could get hold of, all the time I was at home I never saw a play. But now I was my own master; and although the London stage during the First World War was somewhat devoid of anything particularly worth while, I took full advantage of my freedom.

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