On Monday evening, Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague was expected in Washington to speak to alumni of British universities at the British Embassy. But the revelations about NSA surveillance kept him in London to address Parliament instead.

(Courtesy of the British Embassy)
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (Carrie Dorean for the British Embassy)

Was there disappointment among the 150 or so guests–including Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Gates Cambridge and Thouron Scholars–who showed up at the residence?

Some, of course. Until Ambassador Peter Westmacott introduced another speaker with a gift for the gab: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who studied at Oxford as a Marshall Scholar.

“Educational exchange is one of the cornerstones of our special relationship,” Westmacott said in his introduction. After which Breyer entertained the crowd with examples of the benefits of educational exchange (his British wife is surely evidence of some sort of special relationship), as well as stories about those days of youthful insouciance, including one anecdote about his former SCOTUS colleague David Souter sitting astride the roof of an Oxford college late one night when he was a Rhodes Scholar shouting “Tally ho, the fox. Tally ho…”