Some years back, I briefly reviewed Volume II of William Manchesters astonishing The Last Lion trilogy. This is biography at its very best. The life of Winston Churchill has been covered perhaps hundreds of times. Manchester brings him alive as no one else has ever done. Of course, Churchills personality and foibles were unique. Here are a tiny sample of his quick wit in action.
Isadora Duncan the famous dancer was seated next to Churchill at a dinner party
Duncan - "Just think Winston if George Bernard Shaw and I had a child. With my talent and beauty and his brains....."Churchill -" but what if it was the other way around?"
Lady Astor was the first woman elected to the Parliament replacing her husband upon his ascension to the House of Lords. . She was known as a fierce debater. There is a famous exchange between Winston Churchill and Lady Astor when they were both staying at Blenheim Castle. The two politicians had been at each other's throat all weekend when Lady Astor said, "Winston, if I were your wife I'd put poison in your coffee." Whereupon Winston said, "Nancy, if I were your husband I'd drink it."
Churchill was a guest at the White House in 1942 planning war strategy with Roosevelt. His bedroom was in the upper family quarters where, believe it or not, there were shared baths. Never known for his modesty, political or personal, he was late to bed and late to rise. At home, he often dictated to his secretaries while immersed in a bubble bath. Returning to his room, nude from a bath, he met Roosevelt in his wheelchair coming down the hallway. The president, embarrassed for Churchill, tried to apologize. Churchill, always quick on the uptake, replied "as you can see, the Prime Minister has nothing to hide from the President."
The scene is the mens bathroom outside the chamber of the House of Commons. Churchill enters the empty facility but is followed shortly thereafter by Mr. Atlee. Upon seeing Atlee, Churchill moves to the far end of the bank of urinals.Atlee: "Feeling rather standoffish today are we Winston?" he asks amiably.
Churchill: "Well, considering you socialists want to nationalize it, every time you see something big" was the reply.
Unfortunately, they don’t make Conservatives like that man any more.....:)