Dalrymple’s February contribution to New English Review is a reflection on bores:
It is because I am aware of the agonies of being a bore that my emotions are so engaged by the memory of my wife’s uncle, a man whom I never met. He was, apparently, extremely boring, in the way that I fear that I am often boring….Alas, he was the kind of person, by no means infrequently encountered, whose first reaction to Versailles was to wonder how it was swept; Mozart made no impression on him at the Paris opera, but the problem of cleaning the central chandelier did. Unfortunately, he was unable, or had not enough insight, to keep his banal thoughts to himself. It was so bad that, at home, his wife turned the volume of the radio up to drown out what he was saying, though apparently he never noticed.My wife’s sympathies were with her poor aunt, but mine were with her uncle. (I suppose, in reality, the two of them were to be pitied, but it is very difficult to be equally sympathetic to both parties of an unhappy couple). I am seized by a heartfelt sorrow at the thought of the good and kind man whose departure from the world meant only that his widow could at last turn off the radio.