Getting H. G. Wells right – part 2

I explained the origins of the blog name in the post “H.G. Wells was right”.

However needless to say I have hit the sort of conundrum that throws a novice blogger off course. The quote “When I see an adult on a bicycle I do not despair for the future of the human race” is the phrase I have always seen attributed to Wells.

However when reading more about the man I came across this version “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle I no longer despair for the future of the human race”

Two thoughts emerge.

Firstly – does this feel more like Wells – is this the correct quote and should I be renaming the blog? Cycling isn’t short of the kind of people who believe in accuracy and it will certainly be pointed out. Perhaps he said both, it’s not exactly unusual for a public figure to have a stock phrase or two that gets recycled, I’m certainly guilty of that when I am speaking and writing about cycling.

Secondly – does it matter? Actually there is a subtle difference in feel between the two quotes which causes me to wonder about Wells state of mind when he made the statement. “I no longer despair” suggests that Wells was in a state of despond about our future but the bicycle uplifted him. “I do not despair” doesn’t start from quite that same point of negativity. I like the latter, this is supposed to be fun after all.

More research needed I think, but acknowledging the possible need for correction is a start.