Lord Randolph rented a summer place near Newmarket and the family enjoyed the success of the filly L’Abbesse de Jouarre. Family members gathered together but according to Shane Leslie, Winston’s cousin, “Winston had few admirers among adults except for his aunt Leonie, and his beloved old nurse Mrs. Everest. ” He simply refused to follow the usual rules of politeness to his elders.
But the children liked and followed him. The cousins spent their time digging out a fort in the garden called “The Den,” which was intended to protect them from the “enemies of their country.” Winston dominated the group and strictly enforcw two rules – he was always general and there were no promotions.
On returning to Harrow he received an admonition from his mother about his smoking and a promise that he would receive a gun and a pony if he ceased the habit. He did for a short time. He began work on his preliminary examinations for Sandhurst with the following “support” from his father: “I do hope you will work hard for yr ‘preliminary.’ It will be quite a disgrace to yourself and to Harrow if you were to fail.”