One of the things I dislike most about the world is people who are boastful or prideful and this goes doubly for those who do so for very little reason whatsoever.
I always find if anyone has to boast about anything then they aren’t really anything special at all. The very best people have no need to boast about anything or even mention any talent whatsoever.
This also applies in areas like wealth where you can have someone as staggeringly rich as Prince Charles going around in clothes that are so old they have been stitched back together compared to someone moderately well-off, who feels the need to tell the world about their diamonds or fancy cars.
As someone with nothing to boast about whatsoever, it is easy for me to side with the unassuming people, but even I and most definitely Prince Charles who is famous for being hard-work behind the scenes, would have to take a bow to Prime Minister Lord North.
If you haven’t heard of Lord North then that might be because he is often seen as the black sheep of the Prime Miniseterial world who will forever have to bear the shame as being the Prime Minister in charge when the American colonies went their own way.
He might well, as Sir Winston Churchill said of someone else entirely, be a modest man with a lot to be modest about but Lord North for all his power and indeed failings was also both unassumingly modest and possessing a razor sharp wit.
It is recorded that one night at a operatic concert in Covent Garden he was asked by an acquaintance to identify a plain-looking lady in the box opposite him. The Prime Minister cheerfully replied that this rather dowdy lady was actually his wife.
Somewhat taken aback, the mortified questioner attempted to get out of the hole he was digging by then continuing to say: “No, no, I meant the dreadful monster sitting next to her”. North’s reply was: “That, sir, is my daughter… we are considered to be three of the ugliest people in London”.
If only todays leaders could have half the wit and modesty of this man who was mostly likely the better of them all. It is true that Lord North was perhaps not the most handsome man ever and it is perhaps fair if a little rude to label his wife as being somewhat lacklustre in appearance.
The account of this hilarious event at the opera instantly was the talk of polite society in London and perhaps even more embarrassingly, Viscount Goderich who was also one of the lesser known Prime Ministers once related the story at a dinner party to the lady sat beside him. After the punchline the lady replied “I know that story, I am Lord North’s wife”.
I bet that was an awkward moment!
I did try to find a painting of his ravishing daughter but alas I couldn’t find any but surely she couldn’t quite be descibed as a monster.