Tag: Elizabeth Layton Nel

Origins: “I’ll kiss him on all four cheeks”

Origins: “I’ll kiss him on all four cheeks”

Q: Churchill’s Kiss: A Cheeky Affair

I found myself using an alleged Churchill wit­ti­cism I have long known, but could not find in your book, Churchill’s Wit: The Defin­i­tive Col­lec­tion (2009). As I have it, Churchill was prepar­ing to meet Mar­shal Stal­in, and a diplo­mat­ic advi­sor said, “He will prob­a­bly expect to kiss you on both cheeks.” “Oh, that’s all right,” said Churchill, “as long as he doesn’t want to be kissed on all four.” Can you ver­i­fy this one?

My own main area of schol­ar­ly research is Samuel John­son, anoth­er sub­ject often mis­at­trib­uted.…

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Churchill’s Common Touch (3)

Churchill’s Common Touch (3)

con­tin­ued from part 2…

Part 3: Ser­vants and Staff

Win­ston Churchill was a Vic­to­ri­an, with most of the atti­tudes of his class and time toward the com­mon folk. “Ser­vants exist to save one trou­ble,” he told his wife in 1928, “and sh[oul]d nev­er be allowed to dis­turb one’s inner peace.”

Once before World War II he arrived in a vio­lent rain­storm at his friend Max­ine Elliott’s Chateau d’Horizon in the South of France. “My dear Max­ine,” he said as she ush­ered him in, “do you realise I have come all the way from Lon­don with­out my man?” Nev­er lost for words, Elliott replied: “Win­ston, how ter­ri­bly brave of you.” (Quo­ta­tions from Churchill by Him­self.)

“When any­one came to his staff,” his his 1946-47 Scot­land Yard body­guard Ronald Gold­ing told me,

Churchill treat­ed them much as one of the fam­i­ly.…

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