Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
Anecdotes About Authors In The 20th Century

I THINK it was during that second season I spent in London while living in Munich that I met Lady Randolph Churchill... The first time I lunched at her house she was standing near the head of the stairs when I arrived, with a rather short round-faced good-looking youth—as I assumed him to be—beside her. `My son,' she said. `Which one?' I asked. `Why! Winston—of course!' He was a Member of Parliament and the most discussed young man in England, but he did not look a day over twenty.

I sat beside him at table, and found conversation with him increasingly difficult. He seemed to me to grow sulkier and sulkier. . . . When we went up to the drawing-room young Churchill was obliged to leave at once for the House. `Good-bye,' he said to me sulkily. Then, as he was making his exit, he turned and scowled. `I've read your books and admired them, but that is more than you can say of mine.' And he went out and slammed the door behind him.

So that was it!

I went from Mrs. West's to the house of Mrs. John Hall. . . . I told her of my rencontre with young Winston. `I had no idea he had written anything,' I said. `Of course he was put out because I didn't mention his books. Authors!'

`Oh, but you should read them,' she exclaimed, `The River War, London to Ladysmith, Ian Hamilton's March. They are really distinguished works.'

And so they were, as I soon found to my enjoyment.

From Gertrude Atherton, Adventures of a Novelist (1932), pp. 381-382.

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