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“Well, I find that a change of nuisances is as good as a vacation.”

Attributed to David Lloyd George (1863 – 1945), this quote is widely reproduced on the web, but I’m unable to find its source.

It appears in The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, edited by Clifton Fadiman (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1985), which in turn cites Liberté, Égalité, Hilarité, by Mina and Andre Guillois (Paris: Fayard, 1972). However, the latter book, irritatingly, contains no source citations whatsoever.

This French book is the oldest source I’ve been able to find. One French version of the quotation is “Changer de souci fait autant de bien que prendre des vacances.” One could surmise that something like this might be the original quotation (or at least that the original wasn’t in English) because one finds variants of the English version, such as “With me a change of trouble is as good as a vacation.”

The hunt continues…

A chronology of continued square roots

“The theory of continued radicals is far from new, and M[onsieur] A. Bouché is not the first to have studied it.”

This is a rough translation of a statement made by M[onsieur] S. Realis in “SUR QUELQUES QUESTIONS PROPOSÉES DANS LA NOUVELLE CORRESPONDANCE, Question 142,” in Nouvelle Correspondance Mathématique, Vol. 3, 1877, Brussels, p. 193. The negative image at the top of the web page was extracted and modified from this journal page.

Realis’s dismissive comment concerns a work by Bouché from 1862.

Bend with the evening north

“While poems may very well occur, they had very much better be caused.”

From a letter to Ronald Laine Latimer, Jan. 8, 1935. In Letters of Wallace Stevens, selected and edited by Holly Stevens with a foreword by Richard Howard, University of California Press, 1996, p. 274.