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The Refreshed Winston Churchill

Churchill found himself recovering quickly from his fatigue in Madeira, it offered him the stability and tranquility that he required to face the upcoming elections in 1951, and the memories and detachment needed for relection and perspection. His health and demeanour improved so much he would meander through the streets of Funchal inspecting and reminiscing the bucolic town that it was. He was well received by the local town folk and was esteemed for his courteousness and bonhomie-like character. Churchill often responded to salutations with his traditional V symbol. The symbol of victory and peace, which he popularised and conveyed to everyone during his leadership in and after the Second World War. Funchal was mesmerised by the cigar smoking man who jaunted about in such a carefree manner.

Winston Churchill managed to recover from extreme fatigue during his vacation on Madeira
Upon the reading of a letter to F. H Keenlyside, the Assistant Manager of a Steamship Company, written in 1950, immediately before his departure to Madeira, Churchill states that "It was fifty years, not fifteen, that I travelled this way before". He was correcting the assumption made by Mr. Keenlyside before that he had visited Madeira 15 years prior to 1950. Indeed it was 50 years before, in a time when the unbusy/unknown Winston Churchill found enough time to develop and write his very first short story: "Mr Keegan´┐Żs Elopement".

Reminiscences and the story he wrote of Madeira

Churchill rediscovered his memories in Madeira, and the steps back into the past helped rejuvenate his composure forward. The brittle green youth of his earlier stays in Madeira seemed to show in the less than experienced voice or persona of his short story "Mr Keegan´s Elopement". Nevertheless, the story he wrote in the early twentieth century persists as an evocatory gem of youthful enterprise in an old fashioned world. It is a narrative, a little rough on the edges, a bit crude in the telling, but an example of the student practising that which he will master the craft of in time.

The story, republished on this site, is a wonderful insight into the Madeira of the beginning twentieth century... In short, the story highlights the endeavours of the central character, Mr. Keegan, who undertakes to help one of his friends elope with an english girl resident on Madeira. In a somewhat typical manner or character, that is, typical to Winston Churchill, Mr Keegan's friend has a resounding success in shocking the English community of the day, and tieing the knot between the amorous couple. More important than the scandals in the story are the insights we acquire about the social life, the typology, the working life and customs in Madeira, albeit in a very indirect and off-sidish way.


Quotes and excerpts from Churchill:

Betsy Braddock :"Winston, you're drunk !"
Churchill: "Bassie, you're ugly ! But tommorrow I shall be sober."