Monday, December 15, 2008

The Churchill Series - Dec. 15, 2008

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

Let's start with an amusing exchange I'll bet you know.

George Bernard Shaw telegrams Churchill just before the opening of his latest play: "Have reserved two tickets for first night. Come and bring a friend if you have one."

Churchill wires back: "Impossible to come to first night. Will come to second night, if you have one."
Amusing, yes, but I'm not sure it ever really happened.

A number of reliable sources don't mention it, while most unreliable sources do.

But I've confidence in what follows.

The cartoonist David Low once observered:
"Churchill is one of the few men I have met who... give me the impression of genius. Shaw is another. It is amusing to know that each thinks the other is much overrated!"
By October, 1950 Shaw and Churchill would no doubt have agreed that the public was low rating them both. Shaw was then often ridiculed by critics while Churchill was seeking to regain enough public confidence to assure him a return to the Prime Minister's office.

In those circumstances, Churchill learned that Shaw'd been hospitalized. He sent him flowers and a warm note.

Shaw sent back a copy of his newest book,
Sixteen Half Sketches, along with his own note:
"You need only read (a bit of it) as you and I are officially classed as ignoramuses."
For the Low quote see The Churchill Centre,
Contemporaries. (Here and scroll down)

For the exchange of notes ending with "ignoramuses" see Randolph S. Churchill,
Winston S. Churhcill: Young Stateman. (p. 1)