Autumn 1891 (Age 17)

In early October Lady Randolph wrote to her husband that she had been to Harrow to see Winston and Mr. Weildon: “I am delighted to be able to give you a very good account of Winston … he has worked very hard and he thinks he is certain to pass in June.” Later in the month Lady Randolph apologized to Winston for being remiss in not writing: “. . . but dear child your letters always have the same refrain ‘please send me money’. You do get through it in the most rapid manner.” Mrs. Everest had been sending him money but even she was now required to refuse: “I cannot oblige you this time. It is utterly impossible unless you wish me to starve. I got into disgrace last time for doing it.”

Parental suspicions existed in other matters. Lady Randolph wrote to Lord Randolph: “Winston is going in for his Confirmation. Perhaps it will steady him —Weildon wrote that Winston wished to become a candidate — I am afraid only because it will get him off other work.”

“I beg and Pray that you will not send me to a vile, nasty, fusty, beastly French family.”

Dr. Welidon thought the boy would benefit from study in France during the Christmas vacation, but Winston was less than pleased by these plans and pleaded not to go. He wrote his mother: “I beg and Pray that you will not send me to a vile, nasty, fusty, beastly French family.” He asked to be allowed to spend Chrismas with his father, after which he would willingly go to France.

Lady Randolph objected to her son’s letters: “…the tone of your letter is not calculated to make one over lenient. When one wants something in this world, it is not by delivering ultimatums that one is likely to get it. You are old enough not to play the fool…”

Not easily trumped, Winston replied: “I should like to know if Papa was asked to give up his holidays when he was at Eton.” Lady Randolph told her husband of the dispute: “I can’t tell you what trouble I have had with Winston this last fortnight; he has bombarded me with letters, cursing his fate and everyone.”

In the end, Winston went quietly to Versailles. While there, his greatest displeasure was that his mother did not keep her promise to write frequently: “it seems to me that with you [it is] ‘out of sight and out of mind’ indeed. Not a line from anybody.” Lady Randolph did not receive her son’s letters because she was away preparing a party for the Prince of Wales.

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