#2 - Ludwig turns up at the wrong door
In October 1911, Ludwig Wittgenstein turned up unannounced and out of the blue at Bertrand Russell’s door in Cambridge. But what happened five minutes earlier? Let’s find out.
John: Hello. Can I help you?
Ludwig: Are you Bertrand Russell, the greatest thinker of the age?
John: No indeed! And what a preposterous proposition!
Ludwig: Like you’re clever enough to be the judge of that.
John: Another absurd suggestion! Make one more, young man, and I may have to have you arrested for spreading fake news.
Ludwig: What’s fake news?
John: I’m pleased you asked. Fake news is a term from the future. According to my rigorous calculations, the expression will enter the English language in 105 years – give or take a year or two.
Ludwig: Surely it’s you that’s now being absurd.
John: We’ll see. Anyway, I can’t quite place your accent. German, is it?
Ludwig: Austrian, but I’ve been studying in Berlin.
John: Studying what?
Ludwig: Mechanical engineering mainly, but recently I’ve been getting heavily into mathematics.
John: Which must be why you want to meet old Bertie.
Ludwig: Exactly. Principia Mathematica is the greatest work of the age.
John: You do like your superlatives, young man!
Ludwig: Do you know where I can find him?
John: You can usually find ‘the greatest thinker of the age’ in The Stumble Inn having tea and crumpets at this time of day.
Ludwig: Thank you. Although it sounded like you put some of those words in quotation marks.
John: Well spotted, young man. It seems you have a better ear for sarcasm than I would have expected, given your German background.
Ludwig: Austrian, you mean.
Ludwig: So where can I find that place you mentioned?
John: Go out of the front doors of the college over there and turn left. The Stumble Inn – you can’t miss it.
Ludwig: Thank you. Should I tip you?
John: Now you’re really starting to annoy me. Who did you think I was?
Ludwig: I don’t know. The college porter?
John: The porter? How dare you! I am John Maynard Keynes. John Maynard Keynes – the actual, real-life greatest thinker of the age! Without quotation marks! So why does everyone around here always think I’m the porter?
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