In the soup

From: Rosebery – Statesman in Turmoil (2005), by Leo McKinstry:

“Rosebery’s own staff at the Foreign Office had been won over by his brilliance and humour. The diplomat Rennell Rodd later recalled ‘the perfectly charming attitude Rosebery adopted at the Foreign Office towards his younger officers – unlike some others who had little personal contact with them. Surrounded by these devotees Rosebery often gave full rein to his wit and gift for mimicry, as Cecil Spring-Rice, one of his Foreign Office clerks, recorded in June 1886:

‘Rosebery was on the best form at The Durdans, especially with Lady Dalhousie, whom he chaffed in his most amusing way…He also made a most beautiful sketch he would have delivered on the occasion of the Queen’s Jubilee – how she was born in happy innocence, etc. etc., and wooed and wed the husband of her choice. We all screamed with laughter, especially Sanderson (Sir Thomas Sanderson, Permanent Head of the Foreign Office; created Lord Sanderson in 1905.), whose spectacles came off in his soup.’

Spring-Rice also felt the force of Rosebery’s sarcasm. Turning up a day late for work, after a weekend spent sailing, he found a notice left on his desk by Rosebery: ‘Situation of précis-writer vacant: No yachtsman need apply.’ “.

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