(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)
In historian John Keegan’s biography, Winston Churchill, Keegan quotes a passage from Churchill’s autobiography of his first 27 years, My Early Life.
Churchill tells us what happened when he got to the Latin portion of the Harrow entrance exam :
I wrote my name at the top of the page. I wrote down the number of the question, “1.” After much reflection I put a bracket around it, thus, “(1).”Churchill never learned much Latin at Harrow, to which he was admitted most likely because he was Lord Randolph Churchill’s son.
But thereafter I could not think of anything connected with it that was either relevant or true.
Incidentally there arrived from nowhere in particular a blot and several smudges. I gazed for two whole hours at this sad spectacle; and then merciful ushers collected up my piece of foolscap and carried it up to the Headmaster’s table. (pgs. 25-26 in Keegan)
But he said long afterwards that he did learn there the structure and uses of the English sentence “which is a good thing indeed.” And as later used by Churchill, it became a powerful weapon in the cause of freedom.