April 24, 2007

What it's full of

    For all the high military and diplomatic dramas described by the Tombses, the one I would have most enjoyed witnessing occurred during an official visit to Britain by General de Gaulle. The regular assassination attempts on the French President meant that he always traveled with a bag of his own blood, in case a sudden transfusion was required. When he arrived at Harold Macmillan's house in Sussex, his entourage handed the blood to Macmillan's cook, and instructed her to put it in her fridge. She declined, with the enduringly English explanation: "It's full of haddock."
Julian Barnes, reviewing The Sweet Enemy: The French and the British from the Sun King to the Present, by Robert and Isabelle Tombs, in the New York Review of Books, March 29 2007.

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