13 November 2013

Building houses with a pack of cards

In about 1785, a hilarious instance is related concerning one of Lord Mulgrave’s evening visits to Downing Street. Pitt, then in his first few years in office, was passing his time with Lord Mahon (later Earl Stanhope), building houses with a pack of cards in one of Downing Street’s antechambers.
"Lord Mulgrave seemed to be much surprised, and said ironically, "I hope I don’t disturb the game." Mr. Pitt, with much composure, replied, "Not at all: you see great men, as well as others, have their whims in the hours of relaxation, and I am not the first…and you may tell the world you found the chancellor of the exchequer, and a noble lord (his relation) building houses with a pack of cards."

Source:

Huish, R. (1821) The public and private life of His late Excellent and Most Gracious Majesty, George the Third. London: Thomas Kelly, p. 458.

Because, you know, that’s the usual thing a leading member of the British government does in his spare time…Am I right?

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