We know of Pitt the Elder and Pitt the Younger, but what of Pitt the Middling? History has neglected him, presumably because he did not exist. But what if he had? What then?
We might write a thumping fat biography of the middling Pitt, middling in stature, middling in importance, fair to middling in his accomplishments. This biography we could make up from whole cloth or, if we preferred, we could cobble it together from snatches from the true biographies of the other Pitts, the Elder and the Younger, and, casting further afield, from the biographies of any number of not-Pitts, contemporaries, coevals, and peers. Judiciously constructed, such a book might tell us more, much more, about the world and the age of the Pitts than any existing biography of either one of them or of any of the many not-Pitts whose lives we would gut to tell of the Middling Pitt.
Our Pitt would be a sort of invisible man, one whose presence, however vivid, is nowhere attested in the available historical record. An invisible man and also a Frankenstein’s monster, into whom we breathe the spark of life. Vampire too, for never having really lived, he can never really die. He stalks the earth then, still, Pitt the Middling. If you glimpse his shadow, prancing down the street, tip your hat to him, toss him a coin. He deserves that much.