Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Churchill Series - Apr. 23, 2009

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

In the early summer of 1906, Lady Wemyss hosted a small dinner London party. The guests included a bright, charming nineteen year old, Violet Asquith, daughter of Herbert Asquith, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, and soon to be Prime Minister.

Violet was seated next to a thirty-two year old Member of Parliament, Winston Churchill, the son of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Randolph Churchill. She tells us about the evening:

I found myself sitting next to this young man who seemed to me quite different from any other young man I had ever met. For a long time he remained sunk in abstraction.

Then he appeared to become suddenly aware of my existence. He turned on me a lowering gaze and asked me abruptly how old I was. I replied that I was nineteen.

“And I,” he said almost despairingly, “am thirty-two already. Younger than anyone else who counts, though, “he added, as if to comfort himself.

Then savagely: “Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is the allotted span for all we must cram into it.” And he burst forth into an eloquent diatribe on the shortness of human life , the immensity of possible human accomplishment – a theme so well exploited by the of all ages that it might seem difficult to invest it with a new and startling significance .

Yet for me he did so, in a torrent of magnificent language which appeared to be both effortless and inexhaustible and ended up with the words I shall always remember: “we are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glowworm.”

By this time I was convinced of it – and my conviction remained unshaken throughout the years that followed.
The young Violet Asquith, and Winston Churchill began a remarkable friendship that night that lasted until Churchill died on January 24, 1965.

Bonham Carter paid a last visit to the Churchill shortly before he died. She must surely thought of that summer evening in 1906 when a young man told her he was "a glowworm," something she never doubted and saw History confirm.
Violet Bonham Carter, Winston Churchill: An intimate Portrait. (p. 3)


Jim in San Diego said...


Just to let you know there are interested readers who carefully follow your Churchill series.

It is uplifting to be reminded of what is possible for one person to accomplish.

Jim Peterson

JWM said...

Dear Jim,

Thank you for your comment.

Looking back, I had no trouble understanding some folks with a keen interest in the DL case were put off by my posts concerning then Sen. Obama and the Dems, and therefore moved on.

I've been glad to see you're visiting and commenting here again.

You've added to this blog - - eg. helping take on Prof. Starn who fabricated a quote he attributed to Coach K and then used to attribute racial insensitivity to Coach K.

Also, you were one of the first to note among the possible major beneficiaries of the suits, should they succeed, will be poor and minority citizens who are disproportionally victimized by police and prosecutorial incompetence and deliberate malfeasance.

Thanks again for your comment.