The immediate answer is "Oh, I need something that occupies the non visual part of my brain..." and in the way of what the japanese call aizuchi it seems to work a treat. The actual answer is that R.S.Smythe was me. The other me, the 19th century me, the pre-Allister (my actual name) me. Smythe is my previous incarnation and my full investigation of his life is simply a part of my self education. His life is in no way an attempt to find my past glory days in the microfilms that I have rolled through, nor to function as an engine of vainglory by proxy. My sub-strata IS Smythe (and his/our previous lives) and the distance of an intravital period (between births) and my experiences to this date have made me a different person so that Smythe is my was-ness, but is not my is-ness (Pooh would understand that) although I do have his debts, I should say our debts, as well as rewards. Purists can be comforted though, for my book, when it arrives, shall not be a wispy and gossamer anfract of a 'past-life' tale but a real biography of a man and his time that I will not pollute with 'recollections' unless they can suffer the probity I impose. And Lordy, there will be footnotes, enough for a dinner party but not enough for a country fair I am afraid. Footnotes are like alleyways, a few are sufficient for further exploration and add charm to a street, but too many are instruments of intellectual perdition and lead to muggings of the brain.