Ever since I slipped on a polished floor several months ago and broke an ankle I’ve been fretting that I’m not recovering as fast as I’d expected. But reading an article last week, I found that it was exactly one hundred years ago that Winston Churchill’s mother, the former Jennie Jerome of New York, whose smoldering beauty had captivated all of London (and all of Lord Randolph Churchill) had also broken her ankle when at 67 she slipped on a staircase while wearing new high-heel shoes. The injury became gangrenous and her leg was amputated. A few weeks after the fall she died of a hemorrhage.

I’m very sorry you had to suffer a sordid end to such a glittering life, Lady Randolph. I’ll try not to complain again.