In the late Montague Rhodes James‘ memoir of his time at school and university, Eton and King’s (1926), James remembers in particular Mrs. Ann Smith, an elderly college servant at King’s College, who tidied up college rooms and made the students’ beds for them.
James describes her as “tall and austere in aspect,” but with a gift for “noteworthy speech” and prone to apply the mot juste. Mrs. Smith was also evidently capable of penetrating political acumen.
“Politics, I don’t think she studied much, but after a General Election she has said to me, ‘Well Sir, simple as I am, I’ve always heard there was never better times than when the Conservatives was in power.'”
M.R. James, in later years