Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Churchill Series - Feb. 5, 2009

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

Two Churchill vignettes today, both from William Manchester's biography,

At the time of Neville Chamberlain's death Churchill paid him very generous and eloquent tribute to in the House of Commons; and he treats Chamberlain generously in his WWII memoirs.

But at other times he wasn't so generous when assessing the former Lord Mayor of Birmingham, such as the time he said: "Chamberlain looks at life through the wrong end of a municipal drainpipe."

Late one evening Churchill was working in the library at Chartwell. A young scholar and a stenographer/typist who had just joined his employ were with him. The scholar had prepared a research paper which Churchill was to use as background for his
Marlborough biography.

Churchill scanned the paper. He was very dissatisfied with it, and made that clear to the young scholar.

At a pause point, the stenographer/typist sought to break the tension with: "Oh, look outside. It's so dark."

Churchill looked at her for a moment, then said, "It generally is at night."