12 March 2010

Who is that frightful woman?

From a discussion of the famously ugly British Prime Minister, Lord North, who also had a rather less than beautiful family:

There is an anecdote of a man turning to Lord North at No. 10 [Downing Street] and asking, "Who is that frightful woman?", only for the prime minister to reply, "That, sir, is my wife". In an attempt to dig himself out of a hole, the man rejoined, "No, I didn't mean *her*, I meant the monster next to her". "Oh, *that* monster, Sir", replied the prime minister, "*that* monster is my daughter".

Frederick Robinson, prime minister from 1847-53, used to enjoy telling this story over dinner at No. 10, until Lady Charlotte Lindsay, a guest, leaned over to him and said, "I know. I am Lord North's daughter"

- Quoted in Ian Kelly, Beau Brummell - The Ultimate Dandy, London, 2005

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