(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)
It’s brief today - just an amusing anecdote I found in a page note in Martin Gilbert’s Winston S. Churchill: Never Despair, 1945-1965. (p. 846, n. 3)
For the story to work, you need to remember three things: Churchill's Chartwell home is located in the village of Westerham; an autotrip from Central London where our story “unfolds” to Westerham was about a 90 minute drive in the pre-WWII years; and, finally, something we all know: Churchill loved poking gentle fun at himself and those with him.
Now our story.
In 1938 Churchill attended a London dinner party hosted by the art historian, Kenneth Clark, and his wife, Jane. As Clark later told it:
At about 1:30 a.m. Mr. Churchill rose to leave us. He went out into a deserted Portland Place, the pavement glistening with heavy rain, so that it looked like a canal. Mr Churchill’s car was waiting, and he told the chauffeur to take him to Westerham.
“Good heavens,” said Jane, “you’re not going all that way.”
“Yes, my dear, I only come to London to sock the Government or to dine with you.”