[A.N. Wilson, in his biography of Belloc, states that he heard the following story from several sources but has never been able to substantiate it. It illustrates, however, the strain under which Belloc often worked, turning out book after book, not always up to his highest standard, merely in order to make a difficult livelihood.]
During the 1930s in a railway carriage Belloc noticed a man in front of him reading a volume of his History of England. He leaned forward, asked him how much he had paid for it, was informed of the price, took a corresponding sum out of his pocket, gave it to the man, snatched the book from his hand, and tossed it out the window.
Joseph Hilaire Pierre Belloc was an English writer of French and British descent. His numerous works include novels, biographies, travelogues, books of light verse, and literary criticism. Twentieth Century Authors has dubbed Hilaire Belloc one of “the most versatile and certainly one of the most prolific of modern English writers.”
Hilaire Belloc portrait by Emil Otto Hoppé, vintage bromide print, 1915