Friday, March 13, 2009

The Churchill Series - Mar. 12, 2009

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

On October 12, 1941, Elizabeth Layton, one of Churchill's secretaries, wrote her parents. Excerpts from her letter:

Presently, after having dictated something he found I'd put "Somehow I think it right (which was what I thought he'd said). So, fairly patient, he said "no, no, I said now the time is right" (with accents like that).

So I did it again. Gave it back. There was a roar of rage. "God's teeth, girl, can’t you even do it right the second time. I said
ripe, ripe, ripe - P P P."

I should, perhaps, have realized, but he hadn't mentioned that "right" was wrong. However, he forgave me and was very amiable for the rest of the day.
Churchill biographer Martin Gilbert says:
All those who worked for Churchill at closest quarters saw his sternest moods, born of fearsome problems. They also saw the character that lay beneath those moods. "I can't help feeling rather fond of him," Elizabeth Layton wrote, "he is a loveable person, in spite of his impatience."
Martin Gilbert,
Finest Hour: 1939 - 1941. (pgs. 1214-1215)