Friday, March 06, 2009

The Churchill Series - Mar. 6, 2009

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

Today we learn then twenty-two year old Lieutenant Churchill jumped at the chance to take leave from his regiment in India and return to London for “the season.” He visits Italy on the trip home.

From Churchill’s
My Early Life:

With the approach of the hot weather season of 1897 it became known that a proportion of officers might have what was called “three months’ accumulated privilege” leave to England. Having so newly arrived hardly anybody wanted to go. I thought it was a pity that such good things should go a–begging, and I therefore volunteered to fill the gap.

I sailed from Bombay towards the end of May in sweltering heat, rough weather and fearful sea-sickness. […]

I spent a fortnight in Italy, climbing Vesuvius, “doing” Pompeii and, above all, seeing Rome. I read again the sentences in which Gibbon has described the emotions with which in his later years for the first time he approached the Eternal City, and thought I had none of his credentials of learning it was not without reverence that I followed in his footsteps.

They formed a well-conceived prelude to the gaieties of the London season.
Churchill’s brother officers no doubt passed on the opportunity for home leave for two reasons. For most of them the expenses of the journey would've been a strain. And they were anxious to get on with their duties in their first overseas assignment, which they knew if they did well would help to advance their Army careers.

Expanse was not a concern for Churchill, and while he served bravely and with skill, the Army for him was always a means to an ends located in London in the Commons and at 10 Downing Street.

Spring has come to central North Carolina with the daffodils in full flower.

I hope things are nice where you are.

Have a good weekend.