The former editor of the Times Literary Supplement Alan Pryce-Jones (1908–2000) makes several fleeting appearances in Anthony Powell’s journals from the mid-1980s – zestful, wordly and apparently modelling himself on Dorian Gray. Meeting him in June 1982, Powell thought the sprightly pensioner ‘at most perhaps in his late fifties, hair slightly grey, immensely spruce, full of social activities’. As late as 1985, coming across him in the Travellers Club, Powell reckoned his old friend was ‘not quite so young as once’, but ‘all the same pretty good for seventy-six or seven, which he must have reached now’.
If the elderly Pryce-Jones seemed to possess the secret of eternal youth, then, on the evidence of this selection from his interwar-era diaries, his younger self sometimes gave the impression of being prematurely aged. ‘Endless balls and parties wear me out,’ runs a plaintive entry from May 1932 recording trips