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Autumn 1883 (Age 9)

Following the death of his father, Lord Randolph toured Europe with Jennie. On their return he was reluctant to reenter political life and his brother, the new Duke, persuaded him to activate the Harriers. For weeks he spent hours at the kennels and also became interested in the proposed Oxford-Woodstock railway. Many wondered whether his loss of interest in politics was permanent but because he was easily the most popular Tory speaker, he received numerous invitations to speak. He finally consented to deliver three speeches in Edinburgh in December.

He had not been neglecting the Tory Democratic movement nor the party machine. While at Blenheim he made plans to obtain control of the National Union of Conservative Associations from the influential Conservative MPs and the Cariton Club. At the Conservative Conference at Birmingham, he declared war on the Central Committee of the party because it was not responsible to the general body. He said he hoped “before long to see Tory working men in Parliament,” and that the Conservatives would never gain power until they “gained the confidence of the working classes.”

Winston, meanwhile, said the master at St. George’s, “began well but latterly has been very naughty! On the whole he has made progress . . . though at times he is still troublesome.” His composition was “very variable” and once again, history was his best subject. He wrote his mother of a school excursion to “hampton cort palace” and began to show an early awareness of his father’s profession with a reference to Charles Bradlaugh, a radical MP.

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