Back Next

These tales involve the famous Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), who was twice Prime Minister of Great Britain, and his great political rival, William Gladstone (1809-1898), who served as Liberal Prime Minister four times.

Once during debate Disraeli meticulously corrected himself by withdrawing the expression "calamity," which he had just used, and substituting "misfortune."

He was questioned afterward as to his reasons therefore and was asked if there were indeed so tremendous a difference between the two words.

"Definitely," said he, "and I shall explain by example. If my honorable friend Gladstone were accidentally to fall into the Thames River, that would be a misfortune; but if anyone were then to pull him out again, that would be a calamity."