May I add an anecdote which highlights J. M. Roberts's kindness and consideration as well as the bulldog qualities mentioned by Professor Robert Gildea [obituary, 3 June]? writes John Hardman.
Roberts was the sole not the joint editor of the volume of French Revolution Documents which was published in 1966. Richard Cobb was contracted to edit the second volume, but persuaded me to do the job instead, with the promise that he had assembled a large selection of material - all that was needed was a "scissors-and-paste job". Unfortunately this large cache proved as elusive as Iraq's WMD.
After my puny efforts to track it down had failed, John Roberts mounted an invasion. I still have the postcard in which he announced that, "by dint of physically entering Richard's London flat and refusing to leave without the material", he had managed to retrieve not indeed the large cache promised, but enough to spare the embarrassment and difficulties of a young postgraduate student.
I duly signed the contract for the book and, with John's steady encouragement, it appeared in 1973.
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