John Bull and John Profumo
WITH Mr. Macmillan still in office and the case of Dr. Ward still sub judice, the Profumo crisis has yet to run its course. But whatever the eventual outcome, one thing at least is already certain: the affair has made a notable contribution to the Public Happiness. A grizzled old Fleet Street veteran, notorious for his taedium vitae, was overheard boasting that he felt twenty years younger; the wife of a Cambridge don assured me, on the Sunday just after the bomb went off, that she had spent the happiest week-end of her life. These were perhaps extreme reactions, but everywhere one has noticed a new alertness, a new zest, a new sparkle. Normally sluggish dinner parties glow with animation; everyone is suddenly full of jokes and gossip and keyhole revelations. As yet the swirl of rumor (and slander) shows no signs of dying down, and there is still widespread speculation, as the papers say, about a longish roll call of famous names.
About the Author
John Gross is the editor most recently of The New Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes. His “Mr. Virginia Woolf” appeared in the December 2006 COMMENTARY.