Winston continued his improvement in the Misses Thomson’s school in Brighton. His report indicated that “if he continues to improve in steadiness and application, as during this term, he will do very well indeed.” He was first in his class in classics and in the top half in all subjects except drawing. But in conduct, he was still last out of 30 students. He became an accomplished rider and, as the weather improved, developed an active interest in cricket. His letters show a maturing writing style and a growing interest in world affairs. He asked his mother to send The Times‘ account of the funeral of Victor Hugo.
For part of the summer holidays, he was sent to Chesterfield Lodge in Cromer. The weather was agreeable but he missed the family and found the governess “very unkind, so strict and stiff.”
Lord Randolph, thinking he was on the way to being “king” himself, played the role of king-maker within the Tory Party and led the Fourth Party assault on Gladstone. He dominated the House of Commons and became the best-known and most popular politician in the country. His power was such that when the Liberal Government was defeated in the House and the Tories reluctantly assumed power prior to the anticipated general election, Lord Randolph informed Lord Salisbury that he would not join the Government if Sir Stafford Northcote remained as Commons leader. Acknowledging Churchill’s demagogic influence with the two million newly-enfranchised voters, Salisbury and the Queen relented, and a stunned Northcote went to the Lords as the Earl of Iddesleigh. Lord Randolph then joined the First Salisbury Cabinet as Secretary of State for India.