Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Churchill Series - Oct. 23, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Readers Note: This post was first published in Jan. 2006.


I want to share an anecdote that reflects Churchill's care for the precise use of language, even under the most trying circumstances. I can't cite a source for it but I recall reading it in a reliable one; and I don't doubt that on the important points the anecdote is true.

So with the usual caution about memory, here's the anecdote:

Churchill was in his last years and visiting with friends in the South of France. After dinner, they went outside and sat quite awhile talking.

Darkness fell and a wind came up. Churchill's physician, Lord Charles Moran, urged Churchill to go inside but he wanted to stay outside and did.

Churchill awoke the next morning with fever, chills and severe bronchial congestion. Lord Moran feared he had pneumonia but told Churchill he thought it was a cold.

Moran added, "I fear you caught it sitting out so late on the porch."

Churchill, struggled to say something in response but Moran didn't catch it. So he bent closer to him and asked what he'd said.

"It's a portico, Charles, a portico."