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Thursday, 16 May 2013

A "Judas" sort of day

Friday, May 16th., Cadogan Square, London.

I was in the park yesterday thinking about a short story, and saw a woman on horseback with an old man who had a striking resemblance to Cunningham Graham. The woman stopped her horse and spoke to me. She said I shouldn't remember her name and I didn't. She then introduced me to Cunningham Graham. C.G. didn't hear. "Who are you?" he asked. "Ah, " he said, "I didn't recognise Mr. B. in a hat. The photos of him - " I took off my hat and showed my hair, and said: "Is it true to the photos?" I complimented him and asked how he was. He said, "As well as possible under the reign of MacChadband." Prejudice against Labour showed itself instantly, and you could see that the Labour regime was very much on his mind, since it leaped out at the first opportunity. I stuck up for Ramsay MacDonald. He said that the Clydesiders, and especially Kirkwood, always called him MacChadband (because he preached so much). I said he was a very decent fellow. "So was Judas - a very decent fellow!" said C.G. and went on a bit about Judas, larkishly. "Who told you that, C.G., about Judas?" I asked. He hesitated and said, "I - I got it out of the Talmud." I said, "I see, I withdraw. You have the better of me." He stretched out his hand to say goodbye. A sporting sort of cuss.

Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham ( 1852-1936) - known as the Gaucho Laird and nicknamed Don Roberto - was a Scottish politician, writer, journalist and businessman. Although born in London e was raised in Renfewshire and Dunbartonshire, and later studied in Brussels before moving to Argentina to make his fortune in cattle ranching. This was not entirely a success, and he was even kidnapped by rebels. After some time in Mexico and Texas, he returned to Scotland in 1883 following the death of his father, became interested in politics and was the first Socialist Member of Parliament, although he was elected as a Liberal Party candidate. He was also the first MP to be suspended from the House of Commons for swearing, using the word damn on an attack on the House of Lords in 1887. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries he wrote a number of books, from short stories, biographies, history and travel books, particularly on South American subjects. Graham also wrote on a number of political subjects, increasingly radical and liberal, and co-founded the Scottish Labour Party with Keir Hardie. In 1892 he stood in the general election as a Labour candidate, but was defeated. A strong supporter of Scottish independence, and helped establish the Scottish Home Rule Association. In 1934, two years before his death, he was the first president of the Scottish National Party. Robert Cunningham Graham died in 1936 in Buenos Airies, Argentina, while visiting friends. 

Last evening Max Beaverbrook was telling us a story which he had bought from a divorce detective for £50 but dare not use. It was all to do with a woman who engaged the services of a private detective, ostensibly because of apparent infidelity by her husband. In the end it turned out that the husband was a murderer, and was given-away to the police by the detective. Another sort of "Judas"!

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