Courtesy Reuters

IN THE autumn of 1948 William Lyon MacKenzie King completed his inch-by-inch retirement from public life as Prime Minister of Canada. He had finally served as head of state for a longer time than had any president, prime minister, consul or archon in the history of democracy, and on the way he had broken several longstanding records of other ministers of the British Crown.

These records apparently meant a lot to Mr. King. Each one that was broken was followed by rumors of his retirement, but the rumors were never specifically denied and Mr. King continued in office, his memory counting

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