9 January 2014

'I do not see the hair!'

In looking over John Cam Hobhouse’s (1786-1869)Recollections of a Long Life (Vol 3) for references to William Pitt, I came across several amusing little anecdotes. In early May 1824, Hobhouse dined at Holland House, and as usual, hung on every word Lord Holland had to say. Whilst discussing the recent duel between Cornet Battier and Charles William, 3rd Marquis of Londonderry (Colonel of the 10th Hussars), it brought forth Lord Holland’s recollection of Pitt and Tierney’s duel in May 1798. “Lord Holland said that when Pitt fought Tierney, Lord Harrowby said,”Pitt, take care of your pistol. It is a hair-trigger.” Pitt held it up, and said “I do not see the hair!” Such was his learning as to small arms” (pp. 31-2).

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