Despite the defection of Arthur Balfour, the Fourth Party continued to be a significant influence in British politics. Lord Randolph Churchill was viewed as one of the few parliamentary equals of Gladstone. Indeed, he was warned that his attacks might kill the Prime Minister. “Oh no!” he replied. “He will long survive me. I often tell my wife what a beautiful letter he will write to her, proposing my burial in Westminster Abbey.”
In early July, the Duke of Marlborough died and his shaken son Randolph returned to Blenheim to grieve, canceling all public appearances and refusing to attend Parliament for the remainder of the year. He then took his wife and son for a short holiday to Germany, where they observed Bismarck on his walks and dined with the Kaiser. “We talked banalities,” RSC wrote … “I have reason to believe that the fame of the Fourth Party has not yet reached the ears of this despot.”
Winston was still unhappily attending St. George’s School in Ascot. In one month he was late 19 times. His general conduct was improving but his teachers reported that he did not know the meaning of hard work and he still ranked last in his class. His composition was “very feeble”; his grammar was “improving”; his writing was “good but so terribly slow”; his spelling was “about as bad it well can be.” Not surprisingly, his best subject was history.