Monday, April 17, 2006

The Churchill Series - Apr 17, 2006

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

Two short items, both from William Manchester's biography Alone.

At the time of Neville Chamberlain's death Churchill paid very generous tribute to him in the House of Commons. And I think he treats Chamberlain generously in his WWII history.

Other times he wasn't so generous when assessing Chamberlain, a former mayor of Birmingham. He once 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 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 stared at her for a moment, then said, "It generally is at night."

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