Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Three excerpts from Paul Johnson's forthcoming book Brief Lives. The first includes this anecdote about meeting Churchill (I'm restraining myself from fixing the typos):
he came out of the lift with his post-breakfast cigar in his mouth and got out his box of outsize matches - they were a quarterinch thick and three inches long.

Noticing me, he gave me one: 'here, boy, keep this in memory of me,' which I did. Thus emboldened, I said: 'Mr Winston Churchill, sir, to what do you attribute your success in life?'

Without an instant's hesitation, he replied: 'Conservation of effort. Never stand up when you can sit down. And never sit down when you can lie down.'