Selection of Letters to and from Winston S Churchill 4LD
April 1894 - March 1899

Reference: `Winston S Churchill: Youth 1874-1900' by Randolph S Churchill, 1966




Winston Spencer Churchill to Lord Randolph
30 April [1894]
Sandhurst
My dear Papa,
I got the watch on Saturday morning - for which many thanks. I do hope you are not angry with me anymore about it. On Sunday I stayed with Col. Brabazon at Aldershot. He very kindly asked me down and I enjoyed myself very much indeed.
We are going through a course of Musketry which is very interesting and which we all like as it does not begin until half past seven and so we get a little longer in bed. The riding is going on very well and so is work etc.
This morning I had a letter from a man offering to lend me money on note of hand - I took it to Major Ball and he has forwarded it to the Governor - but I am afraid there is no chance of bringing the man to book.
I will write to you again very soon - but for the present have nothing more to say.
Hoping that you will not think any more of the watch and with best love
I remain, ever your loving son
Winston S Churchill

Long serving cavalry officer Colonel John Palmer Brabazon was a friend of Winston's parents and had recently taken command of the 4th Hussars. Winston's father Lord Randolph was pushing for Winston to join his old regiment, the 60th Rifles, not the cavalry, which Winston favoured.

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
11 January [1894]
Hindlip Hall, near Worcester
My dearest Mamma,
I have written to Colonel Brabazon and have stated my various arguments in favour of cavalry regiment. I have asked him to say whether or no they are correct - when he writes to you - but in case he should not state this clearly I will put them down for you.
1. Promotions much quicker in Cavalry than in Infantry (60th Rifles slowest regiment in the army).
2. Obtain your commission (3 or 4 months) in Cav. much sooner than in Infantry.
3. 4th Hussars are going to India shortly. If I join before `Augmentation' I should have 6 or 7 subalterns below me in a very short time.
4. Cavalry regiments are always given good stations in India and generally taken great care of by the Government - while Infantry have to take what they can get.
5. If you want to keep a horse you can do it much cheaper in the cavalry than in infantry - government will provide stabling - forage - and labour.
6. Sentimental advantages grouped under heading of
a. uniform
b. increased interest of a `life among horses' etc
c. advantages of riding over walk
d. advantages of knowing a regiment some of whose officers you know, i.e. 4th Hussars
The first 5 of these reasons I wrote to Col. Brabazon the last I write to you.
There you are - now don't ever say I did not give you any reasons -
There are 5 good solid arguments.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
1 May [1894]
Sandhurst
My dearest Mamma,
I have just got your letter. I should not think that Papa would object to my having stayed with Col. Brab. at Aldershot. He distinctly wrote to me that he did not want me to come up to London much. I wrote yesterday to him and told him all about it...
I had great fun at Aldershot - the regiment is awfully smart. - I think they did not always have a good name - but Col. Brab. did not take long in knocking them into shape. I met Capt. Bobby White who asked to be remembered to you.
How I wish I were going into the 4th instead of those old Rifles. It would not cost a penny more & the regiment goes to India in 3 years which is just right for me. I hate the Infantry - in which physical weaknesses will render me nearly useless on service & the only thing I am showing an aptitude for athletically - riding - will be no good for me. Furthermore of all regiments in the Army the Rifles is slowest for promotion. However it is not much good writing down these cogent arguments - but if I pass high at the end of the term I will tackle Papa on the subject...

On the 24th of January 1895 Lord Randolph Churchill died, and Winston acted quickly to secure a place in the 4ths, a decision his father had ultimately become resigned to prior to his death.

Colonel J.P. Brabazon to Lady Randolph
Extract
Saturday [? 2 February 1895]
9 West Halkin Street S.W.
...You can say there is now a vacancy in the 4th Hussars, that you are very anxious he should not be idling about London & that I personally knew the boy, liked him & was very anxious to have him. I should add - which is the case - that Winston passed very much higher than any of the candidates for Cavalry & hope that the Duke will allow him to be appointed to the 4th Hussars, & thus fulfil one of Randolph's last wishes...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
19 February [1895]
IV Hussars
Aldershot
My dear Mamma,
This must necessarily be a short letter as I have but little to say and not much time to say it in. Colonel Brabazon did not come down after all - but I managed all right, though it was rather awkward introducing oneself. As my own room is not yet ready, Captain de Moleyns [the Adjutant] has lent me his - also his servant - an excellent man. He does not return until Saturday - before which time I shall have got settled in my own `quarters.'
Everybody is very civil and amiable and I have no doubt I shall get on all right with them all. My sedentary life of the last three months has caused me to be dreadfully stiff after two hours riding school, but that will wear off soon.
My room will have to be furnished - but I have made arrangements with a local contractor, who for a small charge will furnish it palatially on the hire system. There appears to be a very large Harrow element in the regiment - all of whom are very agreeable and nice. The work, though hard and severe is not at present uninteresting, and I trust that the novelty & the many compensating attractions of a military existence - will prevent it from becoming so - at any rate for the next four or five years.
With best love, Your ever loving son,
Winston S.C.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Jack [his brother]
Extract
21 February [1895]
Aldershot
7.30 Called
7.45 Breakfast in bed.
Papers, Letters, etc
8.45 Riding School - 2 hours
10.45 Hot bath and massage
11.30 Carbine exercises - privately with a Sergeant to catch up a higher class.
12 Noon `Stables.' Lasts 1 hour. I have charge of 1 squadron, 30 men and have to see the horses groomed - watered - fed & the men's rooms clean etc.
1 Lunch is ready. It does not matter being late.
2.15 Drill. 1½ hours nominally - but as I can't walk I get off at present after a half an hour - which is mostly spent in drilling the men myself. After which for the present - hot baths - medical rubber - Elliman's and doctor - until Mess at 8 - Bezique - 3d points. Bed.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
15 March [1895]
...I think - if you will let me say - that you take rather an extreme view of steeplechasing - when you call it at once `idiotic' and `fatal.' Everybody here rides one or other of their chargers in the different military Races which are constantly held. Of couse for this year I cannot ride, but I hope to do so next year.
In fact I rather think you are expected to do something that way - ride in the Regimental races at least. However I shall see you long before I can ride and you can discuss it with me.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
3 July [1895]
Aldershot
My dearest Mamma,
I have just got back from London as I telegraphed to you - poor old Everest died early morning from peritonitis. They only wired to me on Monday evening - to say her condition was critical. That was the first intimation I had of her illness. I started off and got Keith - who was too kind. He thought then that she might pull through - but it was problematic. Instead of rallying however, she only sank into a stupor which gave place to death at 2.15 this morning.
Everything that could be done - was done. I engaged a nurse, but she only arrived for the end. It was very sad & her death was shocking to see - but I do not think she suffered much pain.
She was delighted to see me on Monday and I think my coming made her die happy. Her last words were of Jack. I shall never know such a friend again. I went down to Harrow to tell Jack - early this morning - as I did not want to telegraph the news. He was awfully shocked but tried not to show it.
I made the necessary arrangements for the funeral which takes place on Friday. I ordered a wreath for you from Mackay & I thought you would like to send one. Please send a wire to Welldon to ask him to let Jack come up for the funeral - as he is very anxious to do so.
Well my dearest Mummy I am very tired as I have been knocking about for two nights & have done all my duty here at the same time. I feel very low - and find that I never realised how much poor old Woom was to me. I don't now what I should do without you.
With best love Ever your loving son
Winston S Churchill.

Mrs Elizabeth Everest was a long time retainer of the Churchill family. She was employed as nurse to Winston and his brother Jack. In his early years she was a close confident of the young Winston.

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
6 July 1895
Aldershot
My dear Mamma,
I went yesterday to poor Everest's funeral & Welldon let Jack come up too. All her relations were there - a good many of whom had travelled from Ventnor overnight - and I was quite surprised to find how many friends she had made in her quiet and simple life. The coffin was covered with wreaths & everything was as it should be. I felt very despondent and sad - the third funeral I have been to within five months! It is indeed another link with the past gone - & I look back with regret to the old days at Connaught Place when fortune still smiled.
My darling Mamma - I am longing for the day when you will be able to have a little house of your own and when I can really feel that there is such a place as home. At present I regard the regiment entirely as my head-quarters - and if I go up to London for a couple of days - I always look forward to coming back to my friends and ponies here. I am getting on extraordinarily well and when I see how short a time those who don't get on, stay, I feel that it is very fortunate that I do...

The other two funerals Winston had attended were Lord Randolph, his father, and Mrs Jerome, his maternal grandmother. Winston paid for her headstone, in the City of London Cemetery, Manor Park:
`Erected in Memory of Elizabeth Anne Everest who died 3rd July 1895 aged 62
by Winston Spencer Churchill, Jack Spencer Churchill.'


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
16 August 1895
...I don't care to dwell on the past, but I could not help thinking as I read it that Papa would have liked to see that he inherited at least some of the family talents and was trying quietly and tactfully to use them.
I wonder now whether he will have the self-control to relapse - for a little longer - into silence.
At any rate - four years of healthy and pleasant existence, combined with both responsibility & discipline can do no harm to me - but rather good. The more I see of soldiering the more I like it, but the more I feel convinced that it is not my métier. Well, we shall see - my dearest Mamma...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
24 August 1895
Aldershot
...We have just reached the Saturday of a very hard week - on no day of which have I been in the saddle less than 8 to 9 hours and on no day of which have I omitted to play polo. Next week will be the same only more so - so my time is well employed...
I find I am getting into a state of mental stagnation - when even letter writing becomes an effort & when any reading but that of monthly magazines is impossible. This is of course quite in accordance with the spirit of the army. It is indeed the result of mental forces called into being by discipline and routine. It is a state of mind into which all or nearly all who soldier - fall.
From this `slough of Despond' I try to raise myself by reading & re-reading Papa's speeches - many of which I almost know by heart - but I really cannot find the energy to read any other serious work.
I think really that when I am quartered in London I shall go and study one or two hours a week with one of James's men - a most capable fellow - either Economics or Modern History. If you know what I mean, I need some one to point out some specific subject to stimulate & to direct my reading in that subject. The desultory reading I have so far indulged in has only resulted in a jumble of disconnected & ill assorted facts...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
31 August 1895
Aldershot
My dearest Mamma,
I write this in answer to your long letter of two days ago. I have considered the subject you suggest `Supply of Army horses'. I think it is a subject which has much to commend it to the attention of a cavalry officer; but I am bound to say it is not one which would interest me. It is too technical. It is a narrow question leading to a limited result. A subject more calculated to narrow and groove one's mind than to expand it.
Besides if one hears `horse' talked all day long - in his every form & use - it would seem a surfeit to study his supply as one of the `beaux-arts'. No - my dearest Mamma - I think something more literary and less material would be the sort of mental medicine I need. And there are so many works - which without making me a specialist on the subject with which they deal - leave much valuable information - and many pleasing thoughts - as a result of reading them. You see - all my life - I have had a purely technical education. Harrow, Sandhurst, James's - were all devoted to studies of which the highest aim was to pass some approaching Examinations. As a result my mind has never received that polish which for instance Oxford or Cambridge gives. At these places one studies questions and sciences with a rather higher object than mere practical utility. One receives in fact a liberal education.
Don't please misunderstand me. I don't mean to imply any sneer at utilitarian studies. Only I say that my daily life is so eminently matter of fact that the kind of reading I require is not the kind which the sunject you suggested to me would afford. I have now got a capital book - causing much thought - and of great interest. It is a work on political economy by Fawcett. When I have read it - and it is very long, I shall perhaps feel inclined to go still farther afield in an absorbing subject. But this is a book essentially devoted to `first principles' - and one which would leave at least a clear knowledge of the framework of the subject behind - and would be of use even if the subject were not persevered in.
Then I am going to read Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Lecky's [History of] European morals. These will be tasks more agreeable than the mere pililng up of statistics. Well - this far and no farther - my dearest Mamma - will I investigate a question which I am sure will bore you in its discussion...

In the Summer of 1895 the 4th Hussars were moved from Aldershot to Hounslow in preparation for their departure in 1896 for a nine year tour of India. As at that time there was little going on that required their attention, officers were permitted 5 months leave. Many officers went fox hunting but Winston sought something cheaper and more adventurous.

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
4 October [1895]
Hounslow
My dearest Mamma,
I daresay you will find the content of this letter somewhat startling. The fact is that I have decided to go with a great friend of mine, one of the subalterns in the regiment, to America and the W. Indies. I propose to start from here between Oct. 28 & November 2 - according as the boats fit. We shall go to New York & after a stay there move in a steamer to the W. Indies - to Havana where all the Government troops are collecting to go up country and suppress the revolt that is still simmering on; after that back by Jamaica and Hayti to New York & so home. The cost of the Ticket is £37 a head return - which would be less than a couple of months [huntijng] at Leighton Buzzard by a long way. I do not think the whole thing should cost £90 - which would be within by a good margin what I can afford to spend in 2 months. A voyage to those delightful islands at the season of the year when their climate is at its best will be very pleasant to me - who has never been on sea more than a few hours at a time. And how much more safe than a cruise among the fences of the Vale of Aylesbury.
I come home the 24th and hope to see you for a couple of days before we sail.
Now I hope you won't mind my going my dear Mamma - as it will do me good to travel a bit and with a delightful compnaion who is one of the senior subalterns and acting adjutant of the regiment & very steady.
Please send me a line.
Your ever loving son,
Winston


Lady Randolph to Winston Spencer Churchill
Friday [11 October 1895]
Guisachan
My dearest Winston
You know I am always delighted if you can do anything which interests & amuses you - even if it be a sacrifice to me. I was rather looking forward to our being together & seeing something of you. Remember I only have you & Jack to love me. You certainly have not the art of writing & putting things in their best lights but I understand all right - & of course darling it is natural that you shd. want to travel & I won't throw cold water on yr. little plans - but I'm very much afraid it will cost you a good deal more than you think. N.Y. [New York] is fearfully expensive & you will be bored to death there - all men are. I must know more about yr. friend. What is his name? Not that I don't believe you are a good judge but still I shd. like to be sure of him. Considering that I provide the funds I think instead of saying `I have decided to go' it may have been nicer & perhaps wiser - to have begun by consulting me. But I suppose experience of life will in time teach you that tact is a very essential ingredient in all things.
I leave here tomorrow & go to `Minto House Hawick N.B.' [North Britain, i.e. Scotland]. Write to me there & tell me more - you have ignored my long letter over yr. future career. I shall be in London the end of next week - possibly before if so I will let you know. Have you been to Deepdene. Goodbye God bless you dear -
Yr. loving Mother,
JRC
P.S. I have had a talk with the Tweedmouths over yr. plans & they can help you very much in the way of letters to the Gov. of Jamaica & in suggesting a tour. They went to the W.I. [West Indies] & to Mexico - & know it all well. Once one makes a good `Itineraire de Voyage' one can find out the cost. Would you like me as a birthday pres. to pay yr. ticket??

Reginald Barnes and Winston Churchill left for the United States from Liverpool on the Cunard Royal Mail Steamship Etruria and arrived in New York on 9th November 1895. They spent a week in New York then travelled by train to Key West, Florida, where they embarked on the Steamer Olivette for Havana, arriving on 20th November.
At the time there was a Cuban insurrection against Spain, and Winston wrote press reports on the campaign during his travels. He had his 21st birthday during the trip.

Lord Lansdowne, Secretary of State for War to Lady Randolph
Extract
...May I, as a friend, add this? I am not quite sure that in view of the enquiry which has been promised into the charges made recently against some of the officers of the 4th Hussars, it would be wise on Winston's part to leave England at this moment. There are plenty of ill natured people about, and it is just conceivable that an attempt might be made to misrepresent his action.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
4 August 1896
Hounslow
...I daresay you have read in the papers that the 9th Lancers are to go to Durban on the 25th inst. If they are to be sent straight to Rhodesia they will have to take two or three extra subaltern officers - who will be attached from cavalry regiments. I have applied to their colonel to take me should such a contingency arise - and Bill Beresford has wired to him on my behalf. Consequently it is within the bounds of possibility that I may get out after all - and in the best way too - with an English cavalry regt. This we will talk over on Friday - but my dear Mamma you cannot think how I would like to sail in a few days to scenes of adventure and excitement - to places where I could gain experience and derive advantage - rather than to the tedious land of India - where I shall be equally out of the pleasures of peace and the chances of war.
The future is to me utterly unattractive. I look upon going to India with this unfortunate regiment - [which I now feel so attached to that I cannot leave it for another] - as useless and unprofitable exile.
When I speculate upon what might be and consider that I am letting the golden opportunity go by I feel that I am guilty of an indolent folly that I shall regret all my life. A few months in South Africa would earn me the S.A. medal and in all probability the company's Star. Thence hot foot to Egypt - to return with two more decorations in a year or two - and beat my sword into an iron despatch box. Both are within the bounds of possibility and yet here I am out of both. I cannot believe that with all the influential friends you possess and all those who would do something for me for my father's sake - that I could not be allowed to go - were those influences properly exerted.
It is useless to preach the gospel of patience to me. Others as young are making the running now and what chance have I of ever catching up. I put it down here - definitely on paper - that you really ought to leave no stone unturned to help me at such a period. Years may pass before such chances occur again. It is a little thing for you to ask and a smaller thing for those in authority to grant - but it means so much to me.
Three months leace is what I want & you could get it for me. If I can't get this - perhaps I may be able to go with the 9th [Lancers] - but that might only end in police duty in Natal.
You can't realise how furiously intolerable this life is to me when so much is going on a month away from here...

Winston Churchill sailed from Southampton for India in the S.S. Britannia, a hired transport, with the 4th Hussars on 11 September 1896.

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
18 September 1896
SS. Britannia [between Malta and Alexandria]
My dearest Mamma,
I write this letter to you to-day - though we do not reach Port Said till Sept. 20 & it cannot be posted till then. I daresay that when we arrive at Port Said I shall be busily engaged in stretching my legs after nine days of sea - and shall have little time for writing - but I will add a postscript to answer your expected letter or wire. This voyage is a very different experience to crossing the Atlantic in a Cunarder last winter. Then the alternative was between being cold and miserable on deck or seasick and miserable below - but now in the blue Mediterranean things are much more pleasant. The ship is comfortable - the food good & the weather delicious. A cool breeze created by the motion of the ship keeps the air under the awning perpetually moving & Punkahs at all meals prevent one ever feeling hot. We had only one rough day in the Bay of Biscay - and as I did not succumb I rather appreciated than otherwise the misery of less fortunate people. Since then the ship has been absolutely motionless and I have been able to thoroughly enjoy the voyage. Instead of the days of barren sea of the Atlantic passage - the monotony of the voyage and of the view is relieved by frequent glimpses of land - at one time off Cape Finisterre - Cape St Vincent or the lights of Lisbon - at another of Malta or the African coastline. We pass many ships & my telescope is in great demand and constant use. It is a very powerful glass and will be very valuable in India.
I play Picquet with Hugo Baring & chess with Kincaid & in the afternoons and evenings our string band plays - adding to the agreeableness of the voyage. Everyone here pretends the weather is very hot - sleeps on deck etc. But I remain comfortably in the deserted cabin which as I have it to myself at nights is perfectly cool. We make a very cheery party outselves - and as there are nearly a hundred officers on board there is no lack of company.
I am looking forward very much to arriving at Port Said and getting your telegram or letter. I hope if you get a chance to talk to some influential W.O. personage you will say that the arrangements for moving troops by sea - whether for the comfort of the officers or the health of the men - are perfect. In strong contrast to these excellent arrangements I must describe to you my first experience of the pitiful parsimony of the Indian Government. We have been presented with long lists of articles to declare and on which duty must be paid. Would you believe it? Even my regimental saddle is liable to this excise. It seems to me a disgraceful thing to tax public servants going to India by the order of the Government in this extraordinary manner and I cannot see that the Indian Government can be constitutionally right in imposing taxes on Europeans who do not have a vote in such taxes. It is contrary to the fundamental principle of government - "No taxation without Representation". But to impose such a tax on a saddle used only in military employment is so monstrous an act of injustice that you will find it hard to credit it. I expect I shall find many more instances of this same detestable fruit of bureaucracy. I must go to luncheon now - (or is it "tiffin") so curb my indignation and this letter with best and fondest love to you and Jack from -
Your ever loving son,
Winston S. Churchill

September 20
Tomorrow we arrive at Port Said. The weather is beginning to get hot and the troop decks are awful. They say we shall experience great heat in the Red Sea, I feel sure I shall stand it well - being very fat with lots to come off. Will you send me 1 dozen packs of Rubicon bezique white (Turf Club) cards? We have none but horrid green ones - very stiff. I have written to Welldon & also to Bill Beresford. From India I will write to the old Duchess - and thank her for her kind wire. I do hope to morrow I may hear that the `spec' has come off.
Best love my dearest Mamma - expect a P.S. tomorrow
Winston


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
21 September [1896]
Port Said
My dearest Mamma,
Your wire received. Letters not yet. I will arrange to have them forwarded on to me in India... I enclose a few Egyptian stamps which Jack may find useful at Harrow. I have sent you 800 cigarettes which I think are good - they are very cheap. Port Said is a dirty, squalid and uninteresting place and I do not regret that we steam at noon today. Please arrange to have the weekly edition of The Times forwarded to me in India. Best love from your loving son,
Winston
Best of love to Jack
W.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
30 September 1896
SS Britannia In the Indian Ocean
My dearest Mamma,
The voyage is drawing to a close & I for one shall be glad to get on dry land again. For though they have been as pleasant and prosperous as was possible - twenty days at sea become rather monotonous towards the end. After leaving Port Said we went through the canal by moonlight and searchlight and I had every opportunity of observing and admiring that great engineering work. It was very hot in the Red Sea - 110 in the shade and 140 in the sun - but I did not find the heat anything like what I had imagined from the accounts of others. We passed Aden after three days of the Red Sea & the Gulf of Suez and since then the weather has been cool and pleasant - though as we approach Bombay I am told it will again get hot. We signalled at Aden - so I suppose you have seen in The Times of our safe passage thither. The day after tomorrow - Friday - we are [going to] reach out port after a voyage of 6,000 odd miles. The time has passed pleasantly and rapidly. I have played a great deal of picquet with Hugo Baring - and read a little in the intervals but my chief occupation has been chess which is cheaper and more amusing than cards - and which Kincaid Smith and I have played almost unceasingly for 8 days. We got up a tournament on board and I find myself today in the semi-final. I have improved greatly since the voyage began and I think I shall try and get really good while I am in India...
...I am looking forward to your telegram and perhaps a letter at Bombay. We then march and train by easy stages up country to Bangalore - stopping 4 days at a camp at Poona. I will add more to this letter tomorrow and let you know any fresh news I may have to tell.

October 1 (Nearing Bombay)
We land tomorrow at 5 o'clock and as I shall be very busy with the business of disembarkation I will leave nothing but a PS to be added to my letter to you. The weather though still pleasant - but becoming rapidly hotter and I have no doubt we shall be very uncomfortable tomorrow. I look forward immensely to dry land again.
Ever your loving son
Winston

On arrival at Bombay, whilst pulling himself out of the boat onto the landing, Winston wrenched his shoulder. The injury turned out to be a dislocation which caused him ongoing trouble throughout his life.

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
4 October [1896]
Poona Rest Camp
My dear Mamma,
I have been so hard worked these last two or three days that I had to send my last letter off - without adding the post script as I had intended. The disembarkation was a tremendous business and as nearly 500 tons of luggage had to be moved we were busy from 4 in the morning till late at night. I found an hour however to run ashore and look at Bombay - but did not feel equal to giving your photography to Mrs. Sasson. I will however send it to her.
By train from Bombay we reached this place early yesterday. We are installed in tents - which are as you may imagine very hot under the midday sun - but there is a comfortable mess with a verandah, ice and punkahs. The heat is very great - quite abnormal so say the residents - for the time of year. It does not however seem to affect me much. I feel very well and quite lively. One of our captains on the other hand is unable to support it and will I think return home shortly. He will not be missed. I have engaged a capital Indian servant who is indefatigable in looking after me and who has a very good character for honesty. Reggie Hoare's brother who met us at Bombay - recommended him to me...
...Yesterday was a point to point - which Kincaid and I watched with interest. No fences but the roughest of country - rock - holes - boulders - bushes etc. Over this they went full speed and had a tremendous finish on ground you would not care to walk over in England.
I saw a lot of horrid Anglo Indian women at these races. Nasty - vulgar creatures all looking as if they thought themselves great beauties. I fear me they are a sorry lot. This morning I tried a lot of polo ponies - but I shall not buy any at present. Tomorrow I go with half the regiment to Wadi - a place, I believe - the most detestable in S. India. Nothing but a few tents in the middle of a great plain. No ice or anything. We are however taking measures in this direction and have ordered a "maund" (80 lbs) [An Indian weight.]
Thence the day after to Gundekal [Guntakal] - (another rest camp equally undesirable) - reaching Bangalore about the 9th. What a strange thing it is - that one so easily adapts oneself to change of scene and custom. Here I am the third day in India - looking at natives as if I had seen them all my life and not a bit impressed with a sense of novelty. I have just been to luncheon at the Western India Club - a fine large building - where every convenience can be obtained. Every one is very civil to us out here and all are eager to sell us anything we want. I am afraid we are indifferent customers.
The 21st Hussars have just arrived on their way home via Egypt - and as there are many other regiments in garrison there is lots of company. But when we leave here we shall find ourselves on much more stony ground...
...Now goodbye my dearest Mamma. Best of love and many kisses to you and Jack. Expect another letter shortly. While material is plentiful you may be sure I will write often.
Ever your loving son
Winston

Reginald Hoare [1865-1947], at this time a Captain. Later commanded 4th Hussars; retired as Brigadier-General; DSO, CMG

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
14 October [1896]
Bangalore
My dearest Mamma,
The mail has just come in - bringing with it your long and welcome letter of 23rd Sept. I am very glad indeed to hear that there is still some chance of your getting your money back over the `spec.'...
...As to the racing pony `Lily'. I have so far heard nothing of it - nor do I know by what steamer or in what condition it will arrive - but at the same time I expect it will be here within a fortnight. I do not at all want to sell it - and I cannot see that it is unwise of me to keep it. Bill Beresford would not be likely to have given it to me if it was certain to involve the unpleasant consequences you anticipate. Everyone out here possesses an animal of one sort or another which they race in the numerous local meetings. Kincaid-Smith among others in the regiment has just bought a pony and Hoare & two other majors have one each already. Now I cannot believe that all who race - on this small scale - must necessaily soil their hands. To condemn a whole enormous class of good fellows - and to judge all by the few exceptions is just the sort of thing Col. Brabazon would do. He always loves `glittering generalities' and it is so easy to say, `They are all cheats in India'. Such a statement is of course nonsense and I am sure you will not believe it. Still less do I imagine that you will be ready to think that I could not run this mare in a fair and square manner - and must inevitably resort to malpractices or become connected with those who do.
Of course I shall do what you wish in the matter and if you insist upon my getting rid of my pony I will sell her - but I think you will not mind my pointing out how things really stand. In the first place it would be a very great disappointment to me and rob my life out here of one strong interest. In the second - these sort of valuable ponies are not sold every day for £300 when they are untried and unknown and even if I could find a purchaser it would probably mean a big loss - which I cannot afford. Besides this certain loss, there is an end to any chance of winning any of the big stakes which would pay my expenses and help me so out here. And thirdly - this pony was given to me by Bill Beresford, not in order that I might convert it into pounds and shillings, but to keep and use. He would be very disappointed as he has taken so much trouble about writing and sending it out etc, and would probably think very little of me for having screwed £125 out of the Duchess on such terms.
Considering all things my dearest Mamma, you must see how difficult my position is. If racing in India was confined - as Col. Brab would have you believe - to a few black legs and other disreputable persons - of course I would not hesitate - but when I see all those with whom I have to live and many whom I respect owning ponies, I must confess I do not see why you should expect me to deprive myself of a pleasure which they honourably and legitimately enjoy - or why you should distrust my ability to resist the temptation to resort to malpractice.
In your next letter in answer to this write to me on all these points - and let me beg you, my dear Mamma, to bear in mind that it is one thing for you to say `sell' and quite another for me to find any one to buy - except at a ridiculous price. Also do remember that there is no reason why I should not join in the sports of my equals and contemporaries - except on the ground of expense. If you still wish me to get rid of the pony - after you have considered what I have written here - I will do so, but even then I should have to wait my opportunity. I beg you not to ask me to. So much for the subject in this letter.
I wrote you my last letter from Poona - which we left on the 6th for this place - via Wadi and Guntakal. I dined while at Poona with Lord Sandhurst - who asked a great deal after you and was very anxious to know if you were coming out. He gave Hugo and I a standing invitation to propose ourselves - whenever we wanted to go to Government house and was very amiable. The journey from Poona was very hot and the rest camps detestable. Imagine how hot a tent must get - under a sun 110 in the shade! However after four days of hard work and continual travel we arrived here on Thursday last.
The climate is very good. The sun even at midday is temperate and the mornings and evenings are fresh and cool. Hugo, Barnes and I are safely installed in a magnificent pink and white stucco palace in the middle of a large and beautiful garden. I will send you a photograph of the bungalow as soon as we are thoroughly settled. For servants we each have a `Butler' whose duties are to wait at table - to manage the household and to supervise the stables: A First Dressing Boy or valet who is assisted by a second D.B.: and a sais [syce] to every horse or pony. Besides this we share the services of 2 gardeners - 3 Bhistis or water carriers - 4 Dhobies or washermen & 1 watchman. Such is a menage.
I think I shall like this place and shall enjoy the time I spend here. I do wish my dear Mamma you could come out. At the same time this is not a good year. The Bubonic Plague which devastated Hong Kong two years ago is steadily gaining on the doctors of Bombay and a rigorous quarantine will probably be enforced. The rains this year have been inadequate and untimely and the autumn crop has in consequence failed. What is wanted now is a little more rain to enable the winter crop to be sown. If none comes - and none seems coming at present - Famine is inevitable - with its accompanying riots and discontent. Last year was a good year - a `bumper' year so they called it. This year is the reverse.
I have myself here three very comfortable rooms and have made them pretty and convenient. My writing table at which I now am - is covered with photographs and memories of those in England. The house is full of you - in every conceivable costume and style. My cigarette box that you brought me from Japan - my books - and the other Lares and Penates lie around and I quite feel at home - though 6,000 miles away.

Will you send me any of the following things you conveniently can.
Any sporting pictures or Vanity Fair cartoons
1 Card Table for picquet
Any books (very welcome)
1 dozen shirts and any that may have been left behind
My bicycle
Any cumberbunds that may have been left.

Also the following articles for which I enclose a cheque for a fiver
1 small collecting box
2 large collecting boxes
5 Setting boards assorted
1 net
1 box pins
1 Killing tin

Had better be consigned - per King & King, Bombay

The reason for this list is - that so many beautiful and rare butterflies abound in my garden that I could in a few weeks make a most beautiful case without any trouble or labour and derive much amusement as well.
Don't pay Hamburger and Rogers' outfit Bill till I have seen it. He had done all my things so disgracefully that I have written to tell him I shall return them. I do wish our Pinlet was here. All the other dogs did so well on the voyage and are running around here in the best of spirits. I play Polo three times a week and find the game out here is very easy. As to indulgencies - I am teetotaller and practically non-smoker till Sundown - drinking lemon squash - or occasionally - beer - which after all is but a temperance prescription. I am very well indeed and see no reason why I should not continue so.
I am going to write to Jack - to answer his letter by this mail - but I will also send him my love by this. Goodbye my dearest Mamma -
With every wish for love and lots of kisses
Ever your loving son
Winston


Winston Spencer Churchill to Jack Churchill
Extract
15 October 1896
Bangalore
My dearest Jack,
I was very glad to get your letter of, I think, 15th September, and to hear you were happy and contented at Harrow. I wrote a long letter to Welldon - which I hope he duly received. We have at last arrived at our destination and Hugo, Barnes and I are occupying a fine bungalow together. The journey here was not entirely devoid of discomfort and of course there was a great deal to do...
I think a visit here would amuse and interest you very much. This country is in every respect the exact contrast of America. The obsequious native servants replace the uncivil `freeborn citizens.' Labour here is cheap and plentiful - existence costs but little and luxury can be easily obtained. The climate is generous and temperate. The sun - even in the middle of the day - is not unbearable and if you wear a `Solar topee' or a cork hat - you can walk out at any time.
I have not heard anything of the pony Lily. I wish Uncle Bill would send it out as it should get into training as quickly as possible. Will you have the Strand Magazine sent out to me - and also the Pall Mall Magazine which contains my article! I enclose you a couple of photographs of the Suez Canal - which I bought at Port Said and which would not be uninteresting if framed. You cannot fail to be struck by the magnitude of the work.
I have asked Mamma to get me a few butterfly things - as my garden is full of purple Emperors - White Admirals & Swallow tails and many other beautiful and rare insects. I shall be able to make a fine collection - with very little trouble - and much amusement.
The polo here is very bad - and I expect our subaltern's team will easily beat the whole Bangalore garrison. I have only played three times but have made many goals. Hugo has gone out buck shooting to-day - with Baillie - I shall go myself next week...

The December issue of the Pall Mall Magazine contained Winston's article on Sandhurst.
Major Frederick David Baillie, born 1860, 4LD

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
21 October 1896
Bangalore
My dearest Mamma,
Your letter of the 2nd Oct has just arrived...
As I wrote to you at such length last week on the subject of the racing pony I will not revert to it in this letter except to say that you should tell His Royal Highness - if he says anything further about racing in India - that I intend to be just as much an example to the Indian turf as he is to the English - as far as fair play goes. I am anxiously expecting your answer to my letter of last week...
The weather continues mild and temperate and my health is very good indeed. Without waiting for you to send me the butterfly implements from England, I have procured some makeshifts out here and have already caught many beautiful and rare insects. One day succeeds another rapidly - and I have always the weekly mail to look forward to.
I get up here at 5 o'clock every morning and having eaten Chota Hasri or petit dejeauner ride off to parade at 6. At 8 o'clock breakfast and bath and such papers as there are: 9.45 to 10.45 Stables: and no other engagement till Polo at 4.15. This interval I fill - by sleeping - writing - reading or pursuing butterflies - according to inclination. Mess at 8.15 and bed immediately after brings the days to a close.
Tomorrow I am going with Hugo to shoot black buck at a place some thirty miles from here. This is the first time I have been out shooting in this country and I hope the sport will be good. Do write and tell me lots of news my dearest Mamma - there is none out here. I will write again next week - but to-day I cannot think of anything more to say. Best love to Jack.
Ever your affectionate and loving son,
Winston S Churchill


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
26 October [1896]
Bangalore
My dearest Mamma,
The mail arrived unexpectedly this morning - four days before its time - and consequently brought me your letter of Oct 8...
I have been very busy catching butterflies and playing polo. I am amassing quite a fine collection and Hugo & Barnes complain that the bungalow is degenerating into a taxidermist's shop. My shooting expedition last Thursday was very interesting - though as we did not bring back a buck - it lacked climax. We had several very exciting stalks after herds and finally wounded one severely - but alas we had no dogs and so could not follow and he got away. The buck out here are very small and wild - but they abound. Tomorrow I go again with Barnes & hope for better results...
...On Friday - the polo team - in which I am - go to Hyderabad for the tournament. 24 hours in the train is nothing out here and no one hesitates about making such a journey - even for a couple of days. The railway carriages in India - I consider most comforable and well adapted...
...Our bungalow is admitted to be the most comfortable and convenient in the regiment. All the Photographs are displayed on the tables and the pictures cover the walls. A tenner invested in rugs - curtains & carpets completed the furnishing. Tables and chairs we hired...
...The regiment is completely isolated. I find no one worth speaking to or looking at - in the social circles of Bangalore. Miss Plowden was here last week - but alas - I never met her in England so forbore to call.
Well my dearest Mamma - I have reached the end of this letter & till next week's mail I will write no more. Best of love and many kisses.
From your ever loving son,
Winston

In November 1896 there was a by-election at East Bradford, which was subsequently won by a Conservative, and a former officer of the Life Guards. `I see a soldier got in.'

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
4 November [1896]
Trimulgherry, Deccan
My dearest Mamma,
I write this letter to you from Secunderabad - where I, and the rest of the polo team are staying - as guests of the 19th Hussars. This place is nearly 700 miles distant from Bangalore and it takes 24 hours continuous travelling to get here. Ten miles away is the independent city of Hyderabad containing 300,000 inhabitants and all the scoundrels of Asia. Almost alone among Indian princes the Nizam has preserved, by his loyalty in the days of Clive and in the mutiny, his independence. British officers are not allowed in the city - without permission and escort - and native customs everywhere prevail. All natives walk about armed - and by their arrogance proclaim their appreciation of liberty. To counterbalance this gerat population of turbulent spirits - a formidable garrison of British and native troops is gathered together at the great camp at Secunderabad. (One Regiment of British cavalry, two of B. Infantry, 4 Batteries of guns, 4 Regt. Native cav, 10 or 12 Battalions of Native Infantry - in all some 12 or 14 thousand men.)
We are to play in the polo tournament for the first time this afternoon and I have some hopes of winning - though the team opposed to us consists entirely of native officers who are renowned for their skill...
...I was introduced yesterday to Miss Pamela Plowden - who lives here. I must say that she is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen - "Bar none " as the Duchess Lily says. We are going to try and do the City of Hyderabad together - on an elephant. You dare not walk or the natives spit at Europeans - which provokes retaliation leading to riots...
...Had I been in England I might have contested it and should have won - almost to a certainty. Instead of being an insignificant subaltern I should have had opportunities of learning those things which will be of value to me in the future...
...Perhaps it is just as well - that I am condemned to wait - though I will not disguise from you that life out here is stupid dull & uninteresting. That, as a soldier & a young soldier - no one cares to give you information & you meet very few who could even if they would. [Unless] I know more of the influential people who rule the country and unless I get good letters of introduction to the very best (not socially best) people out here my stay is likely to be utterly valueless. In Cuba I had peculiar facilities of acquiring knowledge. Everyone, no matter of what party of station, was anxous to make me first the recipient & then the exponent of their views. Here no one cares a row of buttons. Probably if I had come out here as a vy. young member - for three months - I should know more than as a soldier in five years. I shall not stay out here long my dearest Mamma. It is a poor life to lead and even its best pleasures are far below those obtainable in England. I meet none but soldiers and other people equally ignorant of the country and hear nothing talked but `shop' and racing... ...There is another matter. I have a chestnut horse: - he is not worth much more than £15 - and I lent him to a fellow called North - who is a subaltern in the Infantry at Hounslow - to sell for me. I think it would be better if Watson my late groom - went down to Hounslow - (or failing Watson - Walden) and took the horse up to London - where he can be sold at Tattersalls. He should ask for Lt. North - 7th and 57th Depot Hounslow; & he should take my card. I will write North myself by this mail. With best love and many kisses,
Ever your loving son
Winston S. Churchill


Winston Spencer Churchill to Bourke Cockran
Extract
5 November [1896]
Trimulgherry Deccan
My dear Bourke,
...My Indian experiences have now lasted for over a month. Our voyage out was pleasant and prosperous - though of course in the Red Sea the heat was excessive. Bangalore - which is my permanent address while in this country - possesses a beautiful climate and is for many other reasons an agreeable place to live in.
This country would fascinate you. Indeed I imagine no more interesting experience than for an American to visit India. A more amazing contrast than that between the United States and this country - passes the wit of man to devise. I give you an invitation to come. My house is large and there is ample room for visitors. I need not say how delighted Barnes and I would be if you could. The expense of the trip & the time consumed would be well repaid by the value of the experience. You can't think how interesting this country is. I am staying here for a polo tournament which we now stand a good chance of winning. Ten miles away is the independent city of Hyderabad containing nearly 300,000 inhabitants and all the scoundrels in Asia. Alone among Indian Princes the Nizam has preserved by his loyalty in former days his internal independence and the consequence is that the natives assume a truculent air and all carry arms. Hence the presence of the 19th Hussars - whose guest I am - and who with nearly 14,000 European and native soldiers are assembled here in the great camp of Secunderabad to overcome the turbulent city. The spectacle is at least instructive. You must come out here - if only for a flying visit.
Yours very sincerely
Winston S Churchill...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
12 November [1896]
Bangalore
I received your letter of 22nd Oct - just as I was leaving Secunderabad - after a pleasant and successful week. We won the polo Tournament after three hard matches - thus securing a magnificent silver cup worth Rs 1000. [about £60] This performance is a record: - no English Regiment ever having won a first class tournament within a month of their arrival in India. The Indian papers express surprise and admiration. I will send you by the next mail some interesting instantaneous photographs of the match - in which you will remark me - fiercely struggling with turbaned warriors.
Polo in this country attracts the interest and attention of the whole community. The telegrams as to result of a polo match figure as prominently in the newspapers as the European situation. The entire population turns out to watch & betting runs not infrequently into thousands of rupees. Our final match against the Native contingent was witnessed by eight or nine thousand natives who wildly cheered every goal or stroke made by their country men - and were terribly disappointed in the issue.
After a prosperous journey we returned here and I find myself again in my bungalow writing to you from my own table...
...Mr Labouchere's last article in Truth is really too hot for words. I fail to see any other course than a legal action. He distinctly says that five of us - mentioning my name - were implicated in a `coup' to obtain money by malpractice on the Turf. You must not allow this to go unchallenged as it would be fatal to any future in public life for me. Indeed I daresay I should be exposed to attacks even on the grounds of having helped to turn out Bruce. This racing matter is however more serious. You know the facts - so does Colonel Brabazon. The N.H. [National Hunt] Commitee furnished the W.O. [War Office] with a letter expressly vindicated us from any charge of dishonesty or of dishonourable behaviour. A copy of this can be seen at Messrs Weatherby's. Consult a good lawyer - not Lewis - he is Labby's lawyer. Let his see the article in Truth: furnish him with the actual facts and follow his advice. Personally I think the letter alluded to above should be published in The Times. You might get Lumley to do this. It clears my character from any suggestions of malpractice. I feel very strongly about this my dear Mamma. Until something is done to contradict what appeared in Truth Oct 22 I appear in a very unpleasant light.
Of course what you do must be done from my point of view alone and not with reference to the regiment - who have no ideas beyond soldiering and care nothing for the opinion of those who are not their friends. I leave the matter in your hands - but in my absence my dearest Mamma - you must be the guardian of my young reputation... ...I dined with the Plowdens at Hyderabad and enjoyed myself very much. A civilised dinner with ladies present is delightful in this country after nearly 3 months of messes and barbarism...
I also went through the city of Hyderabad on an elephant with Miss Pamela Plowden - who sent many messages to you and who is very beautiful and clever. Nice people in India are few and far between. They are like oases in the desert. This is an abominable country to live long in. Comfort you get - company you miss. I meet few people worth talking to and there is every tendence to relapse into a purely animal state of existence...
With best love - I remain Your ever loving son
Winston

In early 1896 allegations had been made by an old friend of Lord Randolph Churchill, Henry Labouchere, who was the Radical MP for Northampton. He was also the editor and owner of the weekly paper Truth. The allegations involved the bullying of two junior officers, George C Hodge and Allan George Cameron Bruce; and of conspiring to fix races. Labouchere summed up the case following a War Office enquiry:

`The subalterns whose horses ran on this occasion were Messrs Barnes, Savory, Francis, Spencer Churchill, and Walker. Of these Messrs Barnes and Savory assisted just previously in the dragging of Mr. Hodge through the horse trough. The whole five of them took part in organizing the dinner at the Nimrod Club a few weeks later, when Mr. Bruce was invited to hear that he was not wanted in their distinguished regiment. Barnes seems to have been prevented from actually attending the dinner, but the invitation was sent to Mr. Bruce in his name. Perhaps the finest stroke of irony in the whole business is that these choice spirits actually took upon themselves - apparently on the strength of some schoolboy tittle-tattle retailed by one of their number - to decide that Mr. Bruce, whom the majority of them had never seem, was not a gentleman qualified to grace so select an assemblage as the Officers' Mess of the 4th Hussars. At the very time when this precious gang met to inform Mr. Bruce the 4th Hussars really could not have him, five of them (including the ringleader) were fresh from the coup which resulted in the defeat of a hot favourite by the last outsider in the betting, and two others had just been treated to what the Commander-in-Chief facetiously calls `drastic' punishment for that extremely gentlemanly and honourable exploit, the horse-troughing of Mr. Hodge. And to crown the whole thing, the War Office, in its final pronouncement on the Bruce case, solemnly takes its cue from these accomplished judges of all the proprieties, and pleads on their behalf that in vetoing Mr. Bruce's appointment they were acting upon `reports' which had reached the regiment concerning that gentleman. Fancy the heroes of the Hodge outrage and the Surefoot coup shuddering over these `reports', and deciding that they really could not do violence to their feelings by associating with such an ineligible comrade! When Lord Wolseley was casting about for pretexts for washing his hands of the 4th Hussars scandals, I really wonder it did not occur to him to suggest that, in intimating to Mr. Bruce that he was not quite up to 4th Hussars form, they were really paying him about as pretty a compliment as he need have desired. That, now, would have been something like an unanswerable argument.'

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
18 November [1896]
Bangalore
My dearest Mamma,
...Yesterday we had a little rain - for almost the first time for several months. It laid the dust so that everything is green and pleasant today. The climate here is delicious now. Like a cool day in June - with a nice fresh breeze blowing - and the sun never hot enough to inconvenience. It seems impossible to realise the fogs and frosts of an English November - in this land of perpetual sunshine...
...I suppose you have noticed how de Moleyns has got on in S. Africa. The Distinguished Service Order and the command of the New Matabeleland Police have been his reward for a few months of enjoyable & active life. Compare that with the reward of those who conscientiously perform the routine duties you are always advocating as the road to success.
I hope you will take steps about the racing article in Truth. I trust you my dear Mamma to resent any particularly offensive insinuations he may make - in my absence. He is a scoundrel and one of these days I will make him smart for his impudence. His attacks on us do harm. When he turns his attention to Lord Wolseley and Sir Redvers Buller he is impotent. They can afford to ignore his abuse which falls as far short of its mark - as the mud which a street boy might throw at Nelson's Statue in Trafalgar Square. With us it is different. We are but ground game and within easy range of his invectives. Therefore do muzzle him if you can.
I shall not learn Hindustani. It is quite unnecessary. All natives here speak English perfectly and I cannot see any good in wasting my time acquiring a dialect which I shall never use...
...Existence is peaceful if uneventful - comfortable if dull. If I can only get hold of the right people my stay here might be of value. Had I come to India as an MP - however young and foolish, I could have had access to all who know and can convey. As a soldier - my intelligent interests are supposed to stop short at Polo, racing and Orderly Officer. I vegetate - even reading is an effort & I am still in Gibbon.
The newspapers when they arrive are out of date and one gobbles up a week's Times in a single morning. The Indian Press is despicable - being chiefly advertisements and hardly a telegram. The articles are written in Pideon English, by Eurasians or natives - the paper is bad & the the printing slovenly...
Ever your own
Winston S.C.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Jack Churchill
Extract
24 November [1896]
Bangalore
My dearest Jack
...We have a pony race meeting this week here and I have entered some of my numerous polo ponies in every race - so hope to have some fun. Chocolate - pink sleeves and cap [Lord Randolph's racing colours] will appear for the first time on Indian soil.
Baillie, who has just been made a major is here - very fit and most enthusiastic about life. I gave your message and he was delighted... I must stop now - though I reproach myself - for the trumpet has already sounded and I have to dress for mess - wh has already begun...
Yours always and ever
Winston


Winston Spencer Churchill to Jack Churchill
Extract
2 December 1896
[Bangalore]
...My butterfly collection, which included upwards of 65 different sorts, has been destroyed by the malevolence of a rat who crawled into the cabinet and devoured all the specimens. I have however, caught the brute and had him killed by `Winston' the terrior, and have begun again perseveringly.
There has been a good deal of polo here during the week and today we play a match against the whole of the rest of the garrison - whose heads I have no doubt we shall humble without difficulty. All the polo papers here go on writing about our great victory at Hyderabad - and evidently think it a `record' performance for a regiment just out from home. So it is...
...Our pony race meeting last Saturday was spoiled by rain and choc pink cap & sleeves - secured more mud than glory. I rode in every race but only got (3rds) three times - which was not very brilliant. Lily has now arrived in India and is satisfactorily measured 13.2 [hands]. She is very well and is now resting after the fatigues of the voyage comfortable in my stable or walking peacefully about the "compound" or garden.
After a spell of rain the weather has again become delicious. The garden is beautiful - but nothing to what it will be in about three months. I have had all sorts of plants put down and a lot of bamboos will be growing next year in the bare places. Barnes and Hugo are very well and both send their love to you. Hugo has been for a long time - nearly three weeks will at Secunderabad or Hyderabad (or some place) with fever - but is now much better. Baillie is rather ill and has retired to bed - I am afraid his intemperate habits have sapped his strength. Several of the others are also ailing - but nothing serious. We have buried two or three soldiers since our arrival here. They take no care of themselves & drink bad water & catch chills etc. A year ago today I was under fire in Cuba. Goodbye old boy - take care of yourself do work hard - and occasionally find a moment to write a line to your loving brother.
Winston S Churchill


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
8 December [1896]
Bangalore
My dearest Mamma,
You will be sorry to hear that I am at present laid up with a rather bad knee - the result of a stupid practical joke. After a somewhat rowdy dinner the other night some one had secretly fastened the reins to the horse's collar - instead of his bit. The result was that off he galloped and spilled Hugo and I and two others at the first corner. Luckily no one was hurt seriously - but I pitched on my knee and cut and bruised it so badly that I shall not be able to play polo for at least a week and possibly a fortnight. Such a nuisance! I write this letter recumbent in a long chair - on my verandah...
...My application for employment in Egypt - has been duly forwarded to the Adjutant General - Simla - together with the necessary certificats statements of service etc etc. But I am still quite in the dark as to what will be the capacity - in which I should go to Egypt - if it is sanctioned.
Meanwhile the papers here discuss with interest the great Tournament to be held in March at Meerut. Although we have been so short a time in the country - we are already placed among the four favourites. It has - up to the present time - been an unheard of thing for a regiment to enter for the Tournament its first year in India - `let alone' to be considered to have a chance of winning.
Claverhouse - the horse to which you allude - belongs entirely to me: The arrangement I had with Bill Beresford being a most one sided affair. When the horse broke down I wrote and asked him if he would find a home for it during the summer. He said very kindly that he would and as he thought the horse was good enough to win a steeplechase he offered to atke it from me on `racing terms' viz: He was to pay all expenses and take half the profits...
...With best love and many thanks for your noble and generous present.
Ever your loving son
Winston S Churchill


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
16 December 1896
Bangalore
My dearest Mamma,
I have received your letter of 27 Nov - about the Egyptian business. As it seems certain a further advance is intended - please do your best. I have applied - (now three weeks ago) - to the Adjutant-General, Simla - to be noted for `Special Service' in Egypt. I am also forwarding an application - which I believe - goes direct to Egypt - to be appointed to the Egyptian army. I shall regret leaving India - but I should never forgive myself if an expedition started next year and I felt that it was my own fault I was not there.
I am still laid up with the results of my accident. My knee is getting slowly better - but the surface of the cut is large and in this climate the process of healing is gradual. I start however on Thursday night for Madras whence I go by boat - (P&O) to Calcutta - arriving in time for the races which begin on Christmas day. Hugo Baring is coming too and we have engaged our berths. It is a long journey to make for so short a time - as far in point of time as America is from England. We stay there 5 days only and return here by the third or fourth of January. One thinks nothing of distances here. Indeed if you wish to move about in India you must altogether banish the idea - that four days in the train is a long time. Calcutta is either a week by train or 5½ days by boat from here - but it is a great festival of the Europeans in India. The polo Tournament in March & the Calcutta races in December are the two great reunions of the year. Sir Bindon Blood is going & shall meet many peple who will be amiable and perhaps some who may be useful...
Ever your loving son
Winston


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
23 December 1896
Continental Hotel, Calcutta
My dearest Mamma,
After a prosperous voyage we are arrived here - and Hugo & I have tolerably comfortable rooms in this pretentious hotel. A Mr. Hewett of the Bengal Civil Service - who I met at Deepdene has amiably had us made honorary members of the Club - a very good one - and generally looks after us. My knee is still so bad as to make me as lame as a cat and indeed I fear that it will take at least a fortnight for the wound to heal completely. Calcutta is very full of supremely uninteresting people endeavouring to assume an air of `heartiness' suitable to the season. There was a ball last night at the Viceregal - to which we were asked - but, as you know, I do not shine on the parquet and I therefore availed myself of the good excuse my leg afforded.
The races begin tomorrow and on Friday (Christmas day) there is a horseshow. Saturday is however the big day - when the Viceroy's Cup - the great race of the Indian turf - is run. So you see we are indeed in the vortex of gaiety. It is strange however that the moment I get into an Indian Club or into any situation where I am confronted with [the] spectacle of the Anglo-Indian at home - I immediately desire to fly the country. It is only in my comfortable bungalow - among my roses - polo ponies - & butterflies - that I feel that philosophical composure - which can alone make residence in India endurable...
It is bitterly cold here after dark, and in consequence of the change from the temperate climate of Bangalore I am stricken with a chill: Follows ammoniated Quinine in large doses - resulting in headache & stupid letter...
This is a very great city and at night with a grey fog and wind it almost allows one to imagine that it is London. I shall always [be] glad to have seen it - for the same reason Papa gave me for being glad to have seen Lisbon - "that it will be unnecessary ever to see it again."
...I revolve Egypt continuously in my mind. There are many pros and cons but I feel bound to take it if I can get it. To-day with cold and quinine I feel that England would be the happiest solution of the question - as to where I should soldier. However I daresay dinner will have an elevating effect and induce me to take more rosy views. Two years in Egypt my dearest Mamma - with a campaign thrown in - would I think qualify me to be allowed to beat my sword into a paper cutter and my sabetache into an election address. Such a stupid letter - but how can I help it! Ammoniated quinine!
Ever your loving son
Winston


Winston Spencer Churchill to Jack Churchill
Extract
24 December 1896
Bengal Club, Calcutta
My dear Jack,
We arrived here - (Hugo & I) - after a prosperous voyage & have indifferent rooms at one of the hotels. My leg is a little better and I can hobble about freely. The races begin this afternoon and go on for four days - after which a journey of five days in the train takes us back to Bangalore.
It is bitterly cold here and we wear greatcoats after sundown. I put Lily into training before I left and have hopes of running her in February at the Bombay races. Lord Sandhurst the governor of Bombay amicably invited Hugo and I to stay at Government house and I am anxious to have a pony running...
Your loving brother
Winston


Sir Herbert Kitchener to Lady Randolph
30 December [1896]
Head Quarters, Frontier Force Dongola
My dear Lady Randolph,
I will note your son's name for special service and if he wishes to serve in the Egyptian Army he should send in his application through his Colonel to the A.G. [Adjutant General] Egyptian Army Cairo. I have however at present no vacancies in the cavalry but I will have his name put down on the list.
Yours sincerely
Herbert Kitchener


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
1 January 1897
Sioni, in the train
My dearest Mamma,
I hope you will excuse a letter in pencil. This train jolts so terribly that ink results only in bad language and illegibility. Hugo and I are on our way back from Calcutta Races - 4½ days ceaseless rattle & bang in the train. We had a very pleasant week...
...Will you be able to read this my dearest Mamma? I must write now - as we leave the mail at Manmad and if my letter is not ready you will miss a weekly communication. Do try and make this out - I fear it will puzzle you rather...
I hope Egypt will come off. I tried on Fincastle's fez: - I look splendid! I am looking forward to getting back to my ponies and roses at Bangalore. Well goodbye my dearest Mamma,
Ever your loving son,
Winston S Churchill


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
7 January 1897
Bangalore
My dearest Mamma,
Your letter of the 17th Dec has just come. I have missed the one before it as it was forwarded to Calcutta and we left before it arrived. However I shall get it in the middle of this week. We safely ended our long though not unpleasant journey int he train arriving here early Sinady morning. I find the garden increased greatly in size and beauty. We have now over 50 different kinds of roses:- La France, Gloire de Dijon, Marechal Niel and the rest of them - and all the rest we planted on arrival have come up into bright coloured flowers. I take the greatest interest in their growth. In a year or so it will indeed be beautiful...
...On the 15th the regiment goes to a camp exercise which will be interesting and novel though we shall have a great deal to do. I do not know where we shall be as we move all over the country - but your letters, directed here, will be forwarded. As to money for Egypt, if it comes off, which I pray it may, I do not anticipate any expense, except my passage as my Indian uniform will do with a few minor alterations. In any case I can always cash a cheque on Cox immeditately and if you pay the money in as soon as you hear from me by letter, you [they] will meet it.
I don't think however I shall want anything except my pasasge money, which would not amount to more than £20. (Of course should anything unforeseen crop up I will give you at least a month's notice.) Hugo is quite recovered from his fever and was delighted with your messages. Barnes has had a bad fall at Polo and was very lucky not to break his arm. He is getting better and will be well in a fortnight. My knee is nearly well and, as only a small wound yet remains, I play lots of polo. I am going to play in a match at Madras next Monday, but return here the same night. It is only 300 miles journey - which is nothing out here.
I must fly my dear Mamma as I have just been let in to pay the Squadron,
Your ever loving son
Winston S.C.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
14 January 1897
Bangalore
My dearest Mamma,
...I returned yesterday from Madras, where I stayed for two days to play polo with the garrison. Sir Arthur Havelock who is governor of the Presidency - civilly asked me and Kincaid-Smith to stay at Government House - so we were very comfortable. He is a nice old fellow - who has worked his way up from the lowest grades of the colonial service - to the fine position he now holds. His wife is a terror. As to the polo we easily beat Madras although I was the only member of the regimental first team who played on our side. The next day were races which bored me very much; after which I came back by the night train here.
Tomorrow we start on manoeuvres and shall probably be very uncomfortable for a fortnight. We march out fifteen miles from here to some arid spot and live there in tents - under a sun which is getting hotter every day. As soon as I come back - v.i.z. about the thirth or fourth of February - I am going up to Meerut for the polo Tournament - which begins March 1. After that I have no plans - but am entitled to 2½ months leave. If Egypt does not come off I shall perhaps consider the possibility of coming home for a month or five weeks - to give you a kiss and generally restore communications. I have to thank you for 12 volumes of Macaulay which I shall shortly begin to read...
...Well my dearest Mamma. Good bye. With best love, Ever your loving son
Winston S.C.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
21 January 1897
Rajankunte Camp, Madras
My dearest Mamma,
Only a very short letter this. Here I am in camp at this arid place - bare as a plate & hot as an oven. All the skin is burnt off my face and my complexion has assumed a deep mulberry hue. Barnes is left at Bangalore to go through a course, and I am acting as adjutant. As you may imagine there is a great deal to do. We frequently change camp and all the baggage etc has to be arranged for, as well as all the other business of the Regiment. The Colonel commands the opposite side & Kincaid has the regiment, so in spite of discomfort we get along very well.
The adj. of the Infantry Regiment here went off to Egypt last night - being appointed to a commission in that service. He had no influence - but of course his age and service stood him in good stead. The general told K. Smith that he had heard I was to go too - but I have so far received no official communication. I want to go to Meerut for the Polo first - but after that - the Pyramids would be a better game...
...We march tomorrow early and where I shall sleep is at present a mystery. I do not mind the life. My tent is a very comfortable pattern - far bigger than the English variety & the native servants are excellent at this nomadic sort of existence. But for the sun I think I should enjoy myself - though every one out of the regiment is making a great fuss. We have had a cloudy day today - a blessing which I hope you will never appreciate. We drill every day through hottest hours & though the hot weather has not begun yet - there are a few who are unaffected by five or six hours of pitiless sunshine...
Ever your loving son
Winston S Churchill


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
28 January [1897]
Kundana Camp, Madras
My dearest Mamma,
I am afraid I must write you another short letter, this week. We are still under canvas and there is so much to do that when it is all done, but little time and energy remains for letter writing. We have had a week of battles. The camp moves nearly every day and one hot desert is exchanged for a still hotter one. At last the end has been reached. I cannot say I am sorry as the discomforts all the time have been great and the days very long. On the other hand there are contrasting reflections. I have had for the first time in my military experience responsibility & have discharged it, not altogether without success. The regiment has had to adapt itself to the new conditions of a strange country, has had to find out many things which it would have been easy for others to explain; has been exposed to the carping criticism of those Anglo-Indian soldiers who look upon soldiering in England as farcical and in spite of all these difficulties its reputation for smartness has been unimpaired. Tomorrow we begin our march back to Bangalore - which we shall reach the day after. Thence, next week, I will write you a longer letter from my own room - in peace and comfort. The heat in this tent is well over 90° - and I have been out for six sunny hours this morning - chasing or being chased by the native cavalry. So my dear Mamma, I know you won't mind my leaving off now.
With best love, Your loving son
Winston


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
4 February 1897
Bangalore
My dearest Mamma,
The difficulty of finding energy, time and material for my weekly letters increases as the months progress. There are no longer new impressions to be recorded & the everyday life of a subaltern in India is not marked by many incidents of interest. I have had a very busy week, as I am still doing duty as Adjutant and have written so many memos etc that to touch a pen is an effort...
...I go to Meerut for the polo Tournament on the 22nd and do not return to Bangalore until the 10th of March. I hope we shall do well & perhaps beat the now famous Durham Light Infantry (who won last year and were the first foot regiment that ever won the Cavalry Cup). Barnes is still however crippled from the effects of his fall & though he can play polo - his shoulder muscles appear to have sustained some injury which prevents his hitting the fine backhanded strokes which made him such a valuable ally.
After Meerut with its hopes & fears, I shall try for 3 months leave & if I get it & if the quarantine is not so long to stop me on the way - I think I shall try a little visit to England. There are many arguments for it. The sickly season for which Bangalore is justly notorious is now beginning and there is not much object in staying here if elsewhere is possible. Also Egypt seems to me to have slipped off the line somehow & I daresay I shall stimulate you to fresh assaults - better in person than on paper. Finally I feel a great desire to get out of my peaceful groove before it becomes too deep - & before in philosophical contentment I cease to sigh for "England home and Beauty."..
Goodbye my darling Mamma,
Every good wish & lots of kisses from, Your loving son
Winston


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
12 February [1897]
Bangalore, in camp
My dearest Mamma,
I was glad to get the Sirdar's answer. If anything happens in Egypt there will be vacancies & I shall get one. If not - I shall be well out of it. I forwarded my application to the A.G. Cairo. The colonel of his own accord added a most gushing recommendation saying I was a good rider, "a very smart cavalry officer" and knew my work in the field thoroughly. This ought to have a good effect. In any case however I hope to come home for a few weeks before going and if I can get leave I hope to be back about the twentieth of May. This plague quarantine may however spoil all. I trust by going from Colombo, Ceylon - to avoid it, and indeed were I able to get away now all would be easy - but the plague is now at Poona and we have had one or two isolated cases at Bangalore and it is possible that we may be declared infected before my time for migrating arrives. However I can but hope for the best.
I do not myself anticipate a further spread of the pestilence as the hot weather which is supposed to check it is now beginning to arrive and in another month will be upon us. In any case few, if any, Europeans have had attacks so please don't worry.
We are again in camp doing a `long Reconnaissance' 5 days of discomfort. My face is blistered by the sun so badly that I have had to see a doctor. The inflammation caused by the burns on my chin has inflamed all the glands of my throat & the blister is a horrible sight. I however keep dressings continually on and so manage to go about my business - though in bandaged condition.
I am consoled by the fact that I am doing `Brigade Major' a most important duty and one which in England could never have been obtained under 14 or 15 years service. I am still doing adjutant so that soldiering prospects are very prosperous.
I am becoming my dear Mamma a very `correct' soldier. Full of zeal etc. Even in homoeopathic doses - Responsibility is an exhilarating drink. I am too tired to write more having been out all the morning.
With best love, Your own
Winston

Winston filled in as Adjutant until April, while his friend Reginald [Reggie] Barnes was on leave

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
18 February 1897
Bangalore
My dearest Mamma,
I have had an awful disappointment. Sir Mansfield Clarke who commands the Madras Presidency has refused to allow the necessary leave for the Polo team to go to Meerut for the Great Tournament. All our labours, practices, & expenditures are thrown away. I think this is most unjust and unfair as there is no precedent for refusing leave for this one Tournament which is looked upon by all out here as the great event of the year. Captain Hoare has travelled down to Madras to try the event of a personal interview, but I fear the result is a foregone conclusion. You know how much I had looked forward to playing & what hopes we had had of being successful and will sympathise with me and with all of us.
The Lieutenant General imagines that in taking this course, he is vindicating his firmness. The great desire of obstinate people is to be considered firm. He is really only making himself very unpopular by depriving a hard working regiment of one of the few pleasures and of one of the most commendable pleasures which the Englishman in India can enjoy. However he is supreme and against his decision there is no appeal.
I should be much more disappointed than I am were it not for the fact that I am still doing duty as Adjutant & shall continue to do so for nearly two months more when Barnes will come back. The work is very interesting. It involved a good deal of responsibility. It requires a good deal of tact. I would never have believed that so much office work was necessary to the maintenance of a regiment and in truth I am disposed to doubt the fact even now. Five clerks are writing away from morning to night on reports and returns & memoranda of one kind or another. There is of course a great deal to do but this kind of work has its compensations. There are many things to be decided. People older than myself appeal to me about every sort of subject connected with the regiment. The colonel consults me on nearly all points. Though all is of course on a small scale, I cannot disguise from myself that it is an excellent training.
Speaking generally - my soldiering prospects are at present very good. I complete today two years service and am now considered eligible to sit on courts martial. By an extraordinary run of promotion I have eleven subalterns below me and should I continue to serve I might easily become a Captain in 3½ more years. I have also given satisfaction to my superior officers and polo & other things quite apart I have every reason to believe that I shall be reported on in the Annual Confidential Report as one of the two most efficient officers in my rank.
Under all these circumstances - you will see that if I go to Egypt & if things there turn out well, it might be almost worth my while to stick to soldiering. At any rate I am certain of this that unless a good opportunity presents itself of my obtaining a seat in the House of Commons, I should continue in the army for two years more. Those two years could not be better spent than on active service. The question is "where"? Egypt seems the only hope & therefore I beg you to leave no stone unturned in your endeavour to obtain a vacancy for me...
...The garden is getting on well, though water is badly needed. I have 250 Rose trees and 70 different sorts so that every morning I can cut about 3 great basins full of the most beautiful flowers which nature produces... I am hoping to obtain some orchids from Barnes & if it would not worry you I would like you very much to send a few English seeds - Wallflowers, Stocks, Tulips etc. They are unknown here - but I cannot doubt that in this climate all vegetation must flourish...
...Best love my dearest Mamma, I am Your ever loving son
Winston


Next to do

Lady Randolph to Winston Spencer Churchill
Extract
26 February 1897
35A Gt Cumberland Place
Dearest Winston,
It is with very unusual feelings that I sit down to write to you my weekly letter. Generally it is a pleasure - but this time is quite the reverse. The enclosed letter will explain why. I went to Cox's this morning & find out that not only you have anticipated the whole of yr. quarter's allowance due this month but £45 besides - & now this cheque for £50 - & that you knew you had nothing at the bank. The manager told me they had warned you that they would not let you overdraw & the next mail brought this cheque. I must say I think it is too bad of you - indeed it is hardly honourable knowing as you do that you are dependent on me & that I give you the biggest allowance I possibly can, more than I can afford. I am very hard up & this has come at a very inopportune moment & puts me to much inconvenience. I found a £100 for you when you started for India in order that you shld. not lose by the speculation we went into & I sent you £50 for yr. birthday - all of which I cld. ill afford. I understand that you wld. get into trouble with yr. regiment if this £50 which you got from the banker King (& have probably spent) is not met, therefore I have paid it. But I have told them at Cox's not to apply to me in future as you must manage yr. own affairs. I am not responsible. If you cannot live on yr. allowance from me & yr. pay you will have to leave the 4th Hussars. I cannot increase yr. allowance...
...It is absolutely out of the question, not only an account of money, but for the sake of yr. reputation. They will say & with some reason that you can't stick to anything. You have only been out 6 months & it is on the cards that you may be called to Egypt. There is plenty for you to do in India. I confess I am quite disheartened about you. You seem to have no real purpose in life & won't realize at the age of 22 that for a man life means work, & hard work if you mean to succeed. Many men at yr. age have to work for a living & support their mother. It is useless my saying more - we have been over this ground before - it is not a pleasant one...
... I will only repeat that I cannot help you any more & if you have any grit in you & are worth yr. salt you will try & live within yr. income & cut down yr. expenses in order to do it. You cannot but feel ashamed of yrself. under the present circumstances - I haven't the heart to write more.
Yr. mother
JRC

Cox's were military agents, charged with undertaking tasks on behalf of officers during their postings abroad.

Lady Randolph to Winston Spencer Churchill
Extract
5 March [1897]
35A Gt Cumberland Place
Dearest Winston,
I was glad to get yr. nice letter telling me of yr. work as Brigade Major. What an extraordinary boy you are as regards yr. business affairs. You never say a word about them, & then spring things upon one. If you only told me when you were hard up - & why - perhaps I shld. not be so angry. But I don't believe you ever know how you stand with yr. account at the Bank. I marvel at their allowing you to overdraw as you do. Neither the Westminster or the National Bank will let me overdraw £5 without telling me at once. Dearest this is the only subject on which we ever fall out. I do wish you wld. try & reform - if you only realised how little I have, & how impossible it is for me to get any more. I have raised all I can, & I assure you unless something extraordinary turns up I see ruin staring me in the face.
Out of £2,700 a year £800 of it goes to you 2 boys, £410 for house rent and stables, which leaves me £1,500 for everything - taxes, servants, stables, food, dress, travelling & now I have to pay interest on money borrowed. I really fear for the future. I am telling you all this darling in order that you may see how i mpossible it is for me to help you - & how you must in future depend on yrself. I make out that you get about £200 pay, which makes yr. income for the present £700 a year. Of course it is not much & I can quite understand that you will have to deny yrself. many things if you mean to try and live within it. But the fact is, you have got to do more than try. Now when you receive this write me a sensible letter & tell me that I shall be able to count on you.
With best love, Yr. Loving Mother
JRC
Let me know exactly how you stand.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
17 March 1897
Bangalore
My dearest Mamma,
I have had to postpone coming home until May 1. We have so many officers sick that we were already short handed when Baring had the offer of a temporary appointment as ADC to the Viceroy. He could not have accepted unless I had volunteered to stay & as May suits me equally well I of course did so. In May then I shall sail - if the fates are kind. I shall first go to Egypt & there shall visit Sir H. Kitchener. I am procuring letters to Rundell [Major-General Henry Macleod Leslie Rundle, Adjutant General of the Egyptian Army] - adjutant General - and other influential people & I do not look upon it as absolutely impossible that I shall not reach London at all but remain in Egypt. In the ordinary course of events however I anticipate coming to London via Constantinople, Vienna & Paris & arriving about the end of May. I shall get both Ascot & Epsom and shall be able to do several things about which I am anxious.
I set great store on giong to Egypt if they go on this year. I long for excitement of some sort and the prospect of joining an English expedition attracts me immensely. I do hope you will not relax your efforts. Any letters you can obtain that would be useful to me in Egypt or Constantinople please send here by return post. After 12th of April you should write "Continental Hotel, Cairo." which will be my address. If the Sirdar is not in Cairo I may possibly seek him up country.
From what I gather from Jack's letter you are opposed to my coming home. But what is there to do? Here is this place - very hot - very dusty - all the grass burnt up on the polo ground - all the garden parched and withering - lots of fever and sickness: in fact a most unattractive spot. But I own my chief erason for desiring to move came from within. I am very restless. The time comes when books & roses prove insufficient interest. I shall not expect you to kill the fatted calf on my return. Indeed if the Sirdar will employ me I will remain in Egypt, - though of course the perfect programme is Ascot first Dongola afterwards.
I was disappointed at not hearing from you this mail. I am sorry that stupid Cox refused my cheque. I was only £45 overdrawn. It was very kind of you to pay it. I enclose a cheque for £30 which is the best I can do towards payment at present. I must beg you to forgive the rest till `my ship comes home'. I shall have to go into the question of finance when I come home myself. There are several bills in London unpaid that really will have to be paid soon. I shall have to borrow a certain sum on my life or effect a loan in some way or other. Of course it means so much less per annum. But the other thing - ie not paying - means so much more worry.
I have completed Macaulay's History and very nearly finished his Essays. Many thanks for the books I received by this mail. The Annual Registers are just what I want. My darling Mamma do forgive the plain impatience with which this letter is written. This weather makes my temper so short I cannot control myself to form ny letters.
I am very well and so far as I know in favour with God and man - But there are days when I feel I cannot sit still. My pony runs again next week but is not yet fit to do anything reallu good.
Your ever loving son,
Winston S. Churchill
P.S. Do stir up Bimbash Stewart and others to write to Kitchener and get me some good letters for use in Cairo and Constantinople. Sir Edgar Vincent [Governor of Imperial Ottoman Bank 1889-1897] ought to be able to help me at the latter place. You had better answer this to Cairo unless I wire to the contrary. WSC


Lady Randolph to Winston Spencer Churchill
Extract
18 March [1897]
Brooksby, Leicester
...I seem only to write disagreeable things, but will you attend to the enclosed & explain it to me. I am sending the man the £11 he asks, but about yr. dishonoured cheque I know nothing. My darling boy, you can't think how all this worries me. I have so many money troubles of my own I feel I cannot take on any others. You know how dearly I wld. love to help you if I could - & also how much I wld. like to have you come home - but quite apart [from] the advisability of such a step for such a short time, think of the expense. Every creditor you possess in England will be down upon you, & as far as I can make out you won't have a penny until May & I daresay that is forestalled - of course I can't coerce you & if you have made up yr. mind to come, you must, but remember the consequences. I am sure that yr. brother officers won't encourage you to come. Yr. friend Major Kincaid-Smith wrote me a very kind letter about you - but he deprecated yr. coming home.
I really think there is a good chance of yr. getting to Egypt & in any case you are gaining much military experience in India & showing that you can work & do something. Darling I lay awake last night thinking about you & how much I wanted to help you - if only I had some money I wld. do so. I am so proud of you & of all yr. great & endearing qualities. I feel sure that if you live you will make a name for yrself. but I know to do it you have to be made of stern stuff - & not mind sacrifice & self denial. I feel I am reading you a lecture & you will vote a bore - but you know that I do not mean it in that way...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
6 April [1897]
Bangalore
My dearest Mamma,
We live in a world of strange experiences. In Cuba it was my fortune to be under fire, without being woundd. At Bangalore I have been wounded without being under fire. Four days ago I was in charge of the markers in the rifle butts and was sitting on the seat provided, thinking myself perfectly safe - when a bullet struck the iron edge of the Target - flew into speeches & rebounded all over me. One entered my left hand near the thumb and penetrated an inch and a half. Several others struck in my khaki coat and many whistled all around. It is to the mercy of God - as some would say - or to the workings of chance or the doctrine of averages - as others prefer, that I was not hit in the eye; - in this case I should have been blinded infallibly. Followed an abominable twenty minutes - probing etc - before the splinter was extracted & since then I have had a bad time every morning when the wound has to be syringed. Knowing, as you do, my keen aversion to physical pain or even discomfort I am sure you will sympathise with me.
I am now indeed a cripple. My left hand is closely bound up and useless. My right arm so stiff I cannot brush my hair & only with difficulty my teeth. However I am healing beautifully and yesterday I managed to play polo with the reins fastened on to my wrist, so that you can see that I am not really very bad. Enough of my ailments, which indeed are insignificant compared with those of some of the others. This climate has not been without its effect on the regiment. We have already invalided two officers & two more - Captain Lafone & one of the younger ones are very dangerously ill - the former with malaria the latter with enteric. While there are only three in the whole regiment who have not been laid up for something since we landed...
...I am indeed sorry that my cheque was dishonoured. When I left England as I could not pay this man, I gave him a post dated cheque. As the time approached when this cheque should have been presented, being still overdrawn - I wrote and suggested his waiting a little longer. This he does not appear to have done. I wrote also to Cox's telling them to induce the presenter of the cheque to withhold it for a further period. I understand this has been done - though of couse White & Co are somewhat annoyed.
All this worries me awfully. Indeed I don't know what will happen in the near future. I must raise a certain sum of money on a Life insurance or some other security & pay off these pressing liabilities lest I obtain a most unenviable reputation. This country is no economy. British cavalry have to pay nearly double for servants, food, forage etc. Of course spending your capital means loss of income - already alas so small, but not to do it is to be almost dishonest in my case...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
14 April [1897]
Bangalore
...The 8 months I have been in this country have as regards Indian information and knowledge been utterly barren. I have met no one who cared to tell me anything about the problems of the hour & if I stay here twenty years as a soldier I see no prospect of my acquiring any knowledge worth knowing of Indian affairs.
Poked away in a garrison town which resembles a 3rd rate watering place, out of season & without the sea, with lots of routine work and a hot and trying sun - without society or good sport - half my friends on leave and the other half ill - my life here would be intolerable were it not for the consolations of literature. The only valuable knowledge I take away from India (soldiering apart) could have been gathered equally well in Cumberland Place. Notwithstanding all this I have not been unhappy, though occasionally very bored, and I contemplate without repugnance returning to my books, my butterflies & my roses. But I must have some holidays & you will be harsher than the Carthaginians if you refuse me them.
I am alone now in the Bungalow Barnes having gone to Ootacamund a hill station for his leave & Hugo [Baring] to Simla to take his appointment on the Viceroy's staff - so that things are very dull. Only Kincaid and I really are left with a few subalterns who have joined since we came to India & who are for conversational purposes - useless - and a rather nice fellow (Agnew) gazetted to us as Major from the 7th Hussars, whose experiences in Matabeleland are entertaining. Indeed my chief amusement is to stimulate a discussion between Kincaid-Smith who is a wild filibuster & worships the Raiders & Agnew who has all the Imperial soldier's prejudices against colonials and looks on Jameson, Sir John [Willoughby] the whites etc as scoundrels of the deepest dye. It will be terrible when this topic is worn threadbare. With care and judicious treatment it may however be made to last until the 8th of May.
I have lived the life of a recluse out here. The vulgar Anglo-Indians have commented on my not `calling' as is the absurd custom of the country. Outside the regiment I know perhaps three people who are agreeable and I have no ambitions to extend my acquaintance. The consequence is that at such a time as this - when 2/3rds of the regt. are on leave or ill, I am somewhat thrown on my own resources. Fortunately these are not slender. But I must take a holiday...

Churchill had befriended General Sir Bindon Blood in England, and Blood had pledged to allow Winston to accompany him should he ever command another expedition to the Indian frontier.

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
17 August 1897
Bangalore
...I have heard nothing more from Sir Bindon Blood. I cannot think he would willingly disappoint me and can only conclude that someone at Headquarters has put a spoke in my wheel. I have still some hopes - but each day they grow less. It is an object lesson of how much my chances of success in the army are worth. I had the most complete assent of my colonel as well as his official recommendation forwarded six months ago. However as all this must be relegated to the past soon - I will not dilate on my disgust.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
August 1897 [a week later]
Bangalore
...I am still disgusted at my not being taken. Sir Bindon Blood has never replied to any of my wires since Brindisi or indeed before. I cannot help thinking that they may have been stopped at the beginning of the Field Telegraph & that he will get them too late. However there is still a chance. The regiment is the next for mobilisation and should an Afghan war break out we may go. The latest reports are alarmist...


General Sir Bindon Blood to Winston Spencer Churchill
22 August 1897
Camp Mingaora, Upper Swat
My dear Churchill,
I had to fill up my personal staff when I started, and I have not been able to manage a billet for you as yet. I should advise your coming to me as press correspondent, and when you are here I shall put you on the strength on the 1st opportunity. Fincastle was arranged for in this way, and is now attached to the Guides vice an officer killed in action.
Army Head Qrs. make all appointments except personal staff and are very jealous of their patronage. I have hardly managed to get any of my pals on my staff - though I have asked for several. However if you were here I think I could, and certainly would if I could, do a little jobbery on your account.
Yours in haste
B Blood.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Jack Churchill
31 August 1897
In the train near Umballa, N.W. Provinces
My dearest Jack,
Perhaps Mamma will have informed you - (she learnt by my telegram of Saturday) - of the eason of my journey North. Briefly it is this: I am going as a War Correspondent - to what paper I do not yet know - to join the Malakand field force - wh. Sir Bindon Blood is commanding. My hope is based on his promise to place me on the strength of the expedition at the first opportunity. It is a chance - perhaps a good chance of seeing active service and securing a medal. But the future is somewhat vague and uncertain. I have only a month's leave and if I cannot get regularly attached to the troops before its expiration - I shall have to come down again. However I have good hopes.
Here I am in the development of my scheme at Umballa - a place in the N.W. of India. Nothing can impress one with the size of this country so much as to take a journey - as I have done - almost from North to South. When I went to get my ticket - I asked how far Nowshera - my destination - was. Two thousand and twenty seven miles. Nearly as far that is as across the Atlantic. It is a proud reflection that all this vast expanse of fertile, populous country is ruled and administered by Englishmen. It is all the prouder when we reflect how complete and minute is the ruling - and how few are the rulers.
The frontier is a scene of great trouble and excitement. Practically all the fierce wild warlike tribes of the Afghan stock - the remains [of] the ancient Mohammedan conquest - are in revolt. Some have streamed across the frontier and have been rolled back with terrible losses. Meanwhile the Government has been collecting troops. From every part of India a swift and orderly mobilisation had drawn more than 40,000 additional men to the great military camps of Quetta - Rawal Pindi - Peshawar & Kohat. The time of offensive measures is now at hand. It is impossible for the British Government to be content with repelling an injury - it must be avenged. So we in our turn are to invade Afridis & Orakzaiz and others who have dared violate the Pax Britannica.
Of this invading force - it is my hope to be an insignificant unit - and if what I wish comes to pass I will write you at as great length as I can of the events I see. Jack dear - I cannot write much more now - as the train is going to move off and if I leave this letter much longer, it will not get to Bombay - wh. I am leaving further behind each moment - in time to catch the steamer. Good bye old boy - best love - write to me often and at length and remember you have no better friend than -
Your loving brother
Winston S.C.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
5 September [1897]
Malakand Camp
...By the time this reaches you everything will be over so that I do not mind writing about it. I have faith in my star - that is that I am intended to do something in the world. If I am mistaken - what does it matter? My life has been a pleasant one and though I should regret to leave it - it would be a regret that perhaps I should never know. At any rate you will understand that I am bound for many reasons to risk something. Lord Fincastle here will get a Victoria Cross for his courage in a recent action - and though of course I do not aspire to that I am inclined to think that my chance of getting attached would be improved by my behaviour. In any case - I mean to play this game out and if I lose it is obvious that I never could have won any other. The unpleasant contingency is of course a wound which would leave permanent effects and would while leaving me life deprive me of all that make life worth living. But all games have forfeits. Fortunately the odds are good...

Churchill had managed to acquire accreditation to an Allahabad paper, the Pioneer, in order to stay at the Frontier with Blood. The Daily Telegraph also duly published letters from Churchill under the description `Indian Frontier - by a young officer.'
On 16 September 1897 Churchill took part for the first time in combat during an expedition in the Mamund Valley. Later Churchill drew all his writings from this campaign together in a book entitled `The Story of the Malakand Field Force.'

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract [in pencil]
19 September [1897]
Camp Inayat Kila
Dearest Mamma,
The enclosed 3 letters to the Daily Telegraph will tell you a good deal of what happened here. Please do whatever you think fit with them. I am tired of writing as these long letters take several hours. But I must give you some account of my personal experiences on the 16th. I started with the Cavalry and saw the first shot fired. After half an hour's skirmishing I rode forward with the 35th Sikhs until firing got so hot that my grey pony was unsafe. I proceeded on foot. When the retirement began I remained till the last and here I was perhaps very near my end. If you read between the lines of my letter you will see that this retirement was an awful rout in which the wounded were left to be cut up horribly by these wild beasts. I was close to both officers when they were hit almost simultaneously and fired my revolver at the man at 30 yards who tried to cut up poor Hughes' body. He dropped but came on again. A subaltern - Bethune by name - and I carried a wounded Sepoy for some distance and might perhaps, had there been any gallery, have received some notice. My pants are still stained with the man's blood. We also remained till the enemy came to within 40 yards firing our revolvers. They actually threw stones at us. It was a horrible business. For there was no help for the man that went down. I felt no excitement and very little fear. All the excitement went out when things became really deadly. Later on I used a rifle which a wounded man had dropped and fired 40 rounds with some effect at close quarters. I cannot be certain but I think I hit 4 men. At any rate they fell. The regiment was fairly on the run and only stopped at the bottom by want of breath. Then I went about with a friend of mine, a subaltern in the Buffs. But, after this first thing, all else was tame. The skirmishing did not even excite me, though the young officers of this regiment were highly delighted at a few bullets that whistled about or kicked up the dust close by and considered each a tremendous escape. It was a very nice regiment and works well but they have not yet seen what it means to be well punished.
Altogether I was shot at from 7.30 [a.m.] till 8 [p.m.] on this day and now begin to consider myself a veteran. Sir Bindon has made me his orderly officer, so that I shall get a medal and perhaps a couple of clasps.
We fought again yesterday. But this time things were well managed and loss was only 7. [September] 16th was biggest thing in India since Afghan war. There will be more tomorrow, but I think the worst is over. When I think what the Empire might have lost I am relieved.
I hope you can make out this scrawl dearest Mamma - tell Jack details. In my novel I develop the idea that a `politician' very often possesses mere physical courage. Military opinion is of course contrary. But at any rate whatever I do afterwards, no one can say anything against me on this score. I rode on my grey pony all along the skirmish line where everyone else was lying down in cover. Foolish perhaps, but I play for high stakes and given an audience there is no act too daring or too noble. Without the gallery things are different.
I will write again soon if all goes well, if not you know my life has been a pleasant one, quality not quantity is after all what we should strive for. Still I should like to come back and wear my medals at some big dinner or some other function.
The novel takes a great deal of shape in my brain. It will I hope be a really good thing. It is certainly original. I am a little lonely here at times as I have never a friend to talk to as when with Sir Bindon or the Regiment. And I do not look ahead more than a day - or further than the hills that surround the valley. I suppose other things have happened in the last week - but I did not realise it. Europe is infinitely remote. - England infinitely small - Bangalore a speck on the map of India - but here everything is life size and flesh colour.
Your ever loving son
Winston


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract [in pencil]
2 October [1897]
Camp Inayat Kila
Dear Mamma,
Since I last wrote to you - we have had another severe action. Agrah - 30th September - I was under fire for five hours - but did not get into the hottest corners. Our loss was 60 killed and wounded - out of the poor 1200 we can muster. Compare these figures with actions like Firket in Egypt - wh. are cracked up as great battles and wh. are commemorated by clasps & medals etc etc. Here out of one brigade we have lost in a fortnight 245 killed and wounded and nearly 25 officers. I hope you will talk about this to the Prince and others - as if any fuss is made, they may give a special clasp for Mamund Valley. This has been the hardest fighting on the frontier for forty years. I have been attached as a matter of extreme urgency - to 31st Punjaub Infantry. A change from British cavalry to Native Infantry! Still it means the medal and also that next time I go into action I shall command a hundred men - and possibly I may bring off some `coup'. Besides I shall have some other motive for taking chances than merely love of adventure.
Today and yesterday I have fever. 103° and an awful head - but I hope to be alright tomorrow. We expect another action on the 5th - Sir Bindon Blood is coming up himself and bringing two more batteries and two fresh Battalions. The danger & difficulty of attacking these active - fierce hill men is extreme. They can get up the hills twice as fast as we can - and shoot wonderfully well with Martini Henry Rifles. It is a war without quarter. They kill and mutilate everyone they catch and we do not hesitate to finish their wounded off. I have seen several things wh. have not been pretty since I have been up here - but as you will believe I have not soiled my hands with any dirty work - though I recognise the necessity of some things. All this however you need not publish. If I get through alright - and I have faith in my luck - I shall try and come home next year for a couple of months. Meanwhile the game amuses me - dangerous though it is - and I shall stay as long as I can. It is a strange life. Here I am lying in a hole - dug two feet deep in the ground - to protect me against the night firing - on a mackintosh with an awful headache - and the tent & my temperature getting hotter every moment as the sun climbs higher and higher. But after all, food and a philosophic temperament are man's only necessities...


General Sir Bindon Blood to Colonal J.P. Brabazon
Extract
4 October [1897]
Camp Inayat Kili, Bajaur
My dear Brabazon,
Young Winston Churchill will have told you that I have been looking after him and putting him in the way of seeing some real tough fighting. He is now pro tem an officer of native Infantry - of the 31st P.I. [Punjab Infantry] I have put him in as he was the only spare officer within reach, and he is working away equal to two ordinary subalterns. He has been mentioned in despatches already, and if he gets a chance will have the VC or a DSO - and here such chances have sometimes gone begging...

By the 10th of November Winston was back in Bangalore, busily working on his account of the Malakand Field Force which was published early in 1898.

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
2 December [1897]
Hyderabad
... I cannot tell you with what feelings of hope and satisfaction I receive your information that I have been mentioned in despatches by Sir Bindon Blood. If that is the case - and I daresay it may be - I shall feel compensated for any thing. I am more ambitious for a reputation for personal courage than [for] anything else in the world. A young man should worship a young man's ideals. The despatches should be published soon and I shall know for certain. Meanwhile I live in hope. As to deserving such an honour - I feel that I took every chance and displayed myself with ostentation wherever there was danger - but I had no military command and could not expect to receive credit for what should after all be merely the behaviour of a philosopher - who is also a gentleman...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
19 January 1898
Raichur
My dearest Mamma,
I am on my way home from Calcutta where I have had a pleasant & I hope, a useful visit. The trains do not connect well and I have to wait here six hours, which may be conveniently employed in writing my mail letters. At Calcutta I stayed at Government House with the Elgins. Hugo Baring who was stopping there mentioned my name and they civilly invited me. From one cause and another I found myself hospitably entertained by everyone - in contrast to last year when I knew nobody. My stay there was very short - but I met a lot of useful people, particularly military people. I dined one night with the C-in-C and generally discoursed with generals.
All were unanimous in advising me to employ every effort to get to Egypt. My friend Col. Ian Hamilton who is the next officer to get a Brigade & will command the force sent to Egypt, should one go from India - has promised to try and take me on his staff. But up to date it does not seem that they will use Indian troops. A great mistake as troops from this country understand warfare in tropical countries and take the field with so much ease and rapidity.
I think I could have obtained a vacancy in the Gwalior Transport Train now serving with the Tirah Expeditionary force - on duty in the Khyber pass - but in the hopes of Egypt I did not press the matter. Indeed there appears to be no prospect of further operations on a big scale...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
2 February 1898
[Bangalore]
... As to Egypt: I beg you to continue to try from every side. My plans have crystallized since I knew the advance was not till the autumn. I shall take my 3 months leave June 15 to Sept 15 - and go to Egypt - as a Correspondent if they will allow - failing all other capacities - but I hope yuo will be able to get me attached - at any rate temporarily. I shall go if I am alive - and I think I shall prevail ultimately...

Coincidentally, unbeknownst to Winston, Lady Randolph had plans to winter in Egypt that year...

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
16 February 1898
[Bangalore]
... Your telegram reached me on Saturday - and I can assure you I feel vy grateful to you for going to Egypt. It is an action which - if ever I have a biographer - will certainly be admired by others. I hope you may be successful. I feel almost certain you will. Your wit & tact & beauty should overcome all obstacles...

At the end of February 1898 Churchill went with his regimental polo team to a tournament at Meerut, where he stayed with Sir Bindon Blood. He decided to take a trip to Peshawar, the railhead for the Tirah force. From Meerut to Peshawar was a distance of 600 miles, and he only had three days of leave remaining in which to make the trip. He was hoping to obtain an assignment with the expeditionary force in Peshawar.

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
25 February [1898]
c/o Sir B. Blood KCB, Meerut
...I have had a long and vy. interesting letter from General Hamilton - who has just assumed the command of the 3rd Brigade Tirah Expdy. Force and who is a great friend of mine. He describes at length several vy. neat & clever operations he has recently conducted which have ended by placing his Brigade nearest to the enemy. As the Gordon Highlanders form part of it - they will acquit themselves well - if hostilities are resumed.
If he can find a higher post for his present orderly officer - (a major & too senior for such employ) he will wire for me. Indeed I have considerable hopes of getting in the field again - and in that expectation have brought with me tents, saddlery, uniform, etc ...
...Meanwhile I hope you are making all things smooth in Egypt. As I have been attached to a Field Force I am entitled to three months leave on full pay and shall proceed to Egypt - subject to the approval of Providence - the last week in June. You should make certain of my being employed then. This will be an easier matter than an official attachment to the Egyptian army and it is more likely to be allowed as it involved the Egyptian Govt in no extra expense. Sir Evelyn Wood has promised Lady Jeune that he will in that contingency assist me as much as lies in his power. But you probably know that it all rests with the Sirdar who can do as he likes. You must leave directions for any letters which I address Poste Restante, Cairo, - to be forwarded without delay - should they arrive after you have left for England.
I hope you will enjoy Cairo - I believe at this season it is for climate and company delightful...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
7 March [1898]
Camp Ali Musjid, Khyber Pass
My dearest Mamma,
But for my telegram the address might astonish you. I came on to Peshawar after the Polo Tournament as I told you I proposed to do. I went to see Sir WM. Lockhart in the hopes of being allowed to go and see General Hamilton - but without any expectation of employment. To my astonishment - I have been taken on his (Sir Wm's) staff as Orderly Officer. The appointment has not yet been sanctioned from Army Head Quarters - but I should think it extremely unlikely, in view of Sir William's approaching command [as Commander-in-Chief, India], that any obstacle will be raised. If it should be sanctioned I shall wire to you.
The success which has attended my coup is in some measure I feel, deserved. But I have received a rmost remarkable assistance from Captain Haldane - the general's ADC. I have never met this man before and I am at a loss to know why he should have espoused my cause - with so strange an ernestness. Of this I shall learn more later. But in the meantime I am greatly interested. He is a very clever, daring, conscientious & ambitious fellow - his influence over the general is extraordinary. Indeed I think he has pulled the wires all through this war and is in great measure responsible for its success or failure. He is extremely unpopular and takes no pains to cultivate friends in the force. My idea is that my reputation - for whatever it may be worth - has interested him. Of course you will destroy this letter and show it to no one. For though I am under a considerable obligation to this officer I cannot say that I approve of a system which places the reins of power in the hands of so young and unknown a man. I fear this is the explanation of much. However, destroy this and repeat to none - or I may be found a fool as well as an ingrate.
Sir Wm. is himself a charming man - vy. amiable and intelligent. But the situation is full of interest. Now for Heaven's sake say nothing about this.
As to the future - the outlook is I fear pacific. The Tribes will probably summit and if so the General is off home on the 26th inst. Still they will probably find something for me & so I may be up here for some months - until Egypt in fact - on which point concentrate your efforts.
If the tribes don't submit - we resume operations Friday week and shall enter the Bara and Bazar valleys. This will of course mean some fighting. The odds are about 3-1 for peace. Of these matters the papers will inform you. Meanwhile - I will write you some interesting letters.
We move on to Landi Kotal tomorrow - and I shall then havee seen the whole of the Khyber pass - a most interesting trip. Then we return to Peshawar - pending developments. Weather vy. cold in tents & raining.


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
18 March [1898]
Camp Peshawar
... Both sides are sick of it... Though I now fear fighting is all over - [this] cannot be a bad business. I shall possibly get an extra clasp on my medal. It counts in my record of service and as an extra campaign. But the chief value lies elsewhere. I now know all the generals who are likely to have commands in the next few years. Sir William Lockhart will always give me an appointment with any Field Force and I have now a great many friends in high places - as far as soldiering is concerned. I have also now seen nearly the whole frontier, indeed with the exceptions of the Samana & the Kurram I have been all over it. This under peculiarly interesting circumstances is not without value.
My vanity is also gratified in many small ways. But of these it is unnecessary to write. I am entitled to 3 months leave on full pay in consequence of having been attached to the Field Force - so that you see, as I have already written - that there is only one black cloud on the skyline...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
22 March [1898]
Peshawar
My dear Mamma,
I add this letter to tell you that the `revised proofs' reached me yesterday and that I spent a very miserable afternoon in reading the gross & fearful blunders which I suppose have got into the finished copies. In the hope of stopping publication I have wired to Longmans, but I fear I am already too late. Still I may catch the Indian edition, in which the absurdities would be most laughed at.
I blame no one - but myself. I might have known that no one could or would take the pains that an author would bestow. The result, however, destroys all the pleasures I had hoped to get from the book, and leaves only shame that such an impertinence should be presented to the public - a type of the careless slapdash spirit of the age and an example of what my father would have called my slovenly shiftless habits...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
25 April 1898
Bangalore
... This literary sphere of action may enable me to in a few years to largely supplement my income. Indeed I look forward to becoming sooner or later independent. We shall see. I have in my eye a long series of volumes which I am convinced I can write well.
1. A life of Garibaldi.
2. A short and dramatic History of the American Civil War.
3. A volume of short stories called `The Correspondent of the New York Examiner.
(The one I sent you last mail would be included - of the others there are about five, blocked roughly).
I hope, if I live, to produce something that may remain, and if on looking into Garibaldi - of whose wonderful career no good account exists - I find that the materials are congenial - I may perhaps make a classic. The Story of the M.F.F. [Malakand Field Force] took but 5 weeks to write. But I will take 3 years over the others...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
22 May 1898
[Bangalore]
... Egypt. Please redouble your efforts in this direction. My plans for the future will be much influenced by this. I am determined to go to Egypt and if I cannot get employment or at least sufficient leave, I will not remain in the army. There are other and better things ahead. But the additional campaign will be valuable as an educational experience - agreeable from the point of view of an adventure - and profitable as far as finance goes as I shall write a book about it - easily and without the blunders with disfigure my first attempt. This of course if all goes well. Don't fail to wire me any news of an advance...

On commencement of his leave Winston duly sailed from Bombay on 18 June 1898 and arrived in London in early July. Amid the machinations set in motion by his mother and friends to arrange a post for him in Egypt came an invitation from then Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, Lord Salisbury, fresh from reading The Story of the Malakand Field Force. After a half hour meeting, discussing the fighting on the Indian frontier, and memories of Winston's father, Salisbury farewelled him with the offer, `If there is anything at any time that I can do which would be of assistance to you, pray do not fail to let me know...'

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lord Salisbury
18 July [1898]
35A Great Cumberland Place
Dear Lord Salisbury,
I am vy anxious to go to Egypt and to proceed to Khartoum with the Expedition. It is not my intention, under any circumstances to stay in the army long. I want to go, first, because the recapture of Khartoum will be a historic event: second, because I can, I anticipate, write a book about it which from a monetary, as well as from other points of view, will be useful to me.
I was assured five months ago, on the authority of the Adjutant General, that I might count on being employed; and hence I have postponed offering myself to a newspaper as correspondent until all the principal ones have already correspondents and there is no vacancy.
From a military point of view there can be no objection to me. I enclose a letter from Sir Evelyn Wood, which will show you that he has tried to do his best on my behalf. From the journalistic point of view:- either Sir William Lockhart or Sir Bindon Blood will testify that what I have hitherto written has been entirely agreeable to the military authorities and for the public advantage. There is no reason why I should not be employed as a soldier, except that there are others with greater claims remaining unemployed. That is undoubted. But there are others, I venture to think, with less claims who are employed.
Sir Evelyn Wood has tried his best - so he assures me - on my behalf. My mother has exerted what influence she can for two years. Even HRH has allowed his name to be used as a recommendation. All have failed.
I therefore venture to ask you to help me in the matter. I am convinced that if you will write a letter to Lord Cromer and say that on personal grounds you wish me to go - the affair will be immediately arranged. Either I should be attached to the Expeditionary Force direct, or allowed to proceed to the front as correspondent of some, perhaps insignificant, paper and after a few casualties be appointed to fill a vacancy - as I was on the N.W. Frontier.
I am loth to afflict you with this matter. Yet the choice lies between doing so, and abandoning a project which I have set my heart on for a long time. I feel that you will not be unwilling to help me, if that can be done without hurt to the public service and I venture to think that no hurt will result, but rather benefit. The affair is after all of extreme insignificance to any but me.
I beg you will believe me, Yours very sincerely,
Winston S Churchill

The death of an officer in the 21st Lancers, Lieutenant P Chapman, provided Churchill with the vacancy he was seeking.
The 21st Lancers were serving as part of the Expeditionary Force. The War Office informed Churchill that,
`You have been attached as a supernumerary Lieutenant to the 21st Lancers for the Soudan Campaign. You are to report at once at the Abbasiya Barracks, Cairo, to the Regimental Headquarters. It is understood that you will proceed at your own expense and that in the event of your being killed or wounded in the impending operations, or for any other reason, no charge of any kind will fall on British Army Funds.'
Before leaving he found the time to give a public speech at Bradford. He then travelled to Marseilles, and on to Egypt by the Messageries Maritimes Paquebot Sindh. He arrived at Luxor on the 5th of August.

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
5 August 1898
Luxor
... It is a very strange transformation scene that the last 8 days have worked. When I think of the London streets - dinners, balls etc and then look at the Khaki soldiers - the great lumbering barges full of horses - the muddy river and behind and beyond the palm trees and the sails of the Dahabiahs. And the change in my own mind is even more complete. The ideals & speculations of politics are gone. I no longer contemplate harangues. The anticipation fo Parliament - of speeches - of political life generally have faded before more vivid possibilities and prospects and my thoughts are more concerned with swords - lances - pistols & soft-nosed bullets - than with Bills - Acts & bye elections...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
24 August 1898
Wad Hebeshi before Shabluka
...Within the next ten days there will be a general action - perhaps a vy severe one. I may be killed. I do not think so. But if I am you must avail yourself of the consolations of philosophy and reflect on the utter insignificance of all human beings. I want to come back and shall hope all will be well. But I can assure you I do not flinch - though I do not accept the Christian or any other form of religious belief. We shall see what will happen; and in that spirit I would leave the subject. Nothing - not even the certain knowledge of approaching destruction would make me turn back now - even if I could with honour.
But I shall come back afterwards the wiser and stronger for my gamble. And then we will think of other and wider spheres of action. I have plenty of faith - in what I do not know - that I shall not be hurt. After all there will be nothing hotter than the 16th Sept of last year...


Winston Spencer Churchill to Sir H. Kitchener
Sept 2 1898
No. 1
From - Lieut. Churchill
Place - Left Advd Patrol 21st L.
To - Sirdar
Place - near Omdurman
Duplicate to O.C. 21st Lancers
Dervish army, strength unchanged, occupies last nights position with their left well extended. Their patrols have reported the advance and loud cheering is going on. There is no zeriba.
Nothing hostile is between a line drawn from Heliograph Hill to Mahdi's tomb, and river. Nothing is within three miles from the camp.
Signature - Winston S Churchill
Lieut. 4th Hussars attd 21st Lancers


Winston Spencer Churchill to Sir H. Kitchener
Sept 2 1898
From - Lieut. Churchill
To - Sirdar
Desp 6h. 20m.
About ¼ Dervish army is on their right which they have refused at present. Should this force continue to advance it would come the South side of Heliograph hill. Most of the Cavalry are with this force.
Duplicate to Col. Martin
Signature - Winston S Churchill
Lieut. 4th Hussars attd 21st Lancers


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
4 September 1898
Khartoum
and be damned to it
My dearest Mamma,
I hope that this letter will not long precede me - certainly not more than a fortnight. You will have been relieved by my telegram which I sent off at once. I was under fire all day and rode through the charge. You know my luck in these things. I was about the only officer whose clothes, saddlery, or horse were uninjured. I fired 10 shots with my pistol - all necessary - and just got to the end of it as we cleared the crush. I never felt the slightest nervousness and felt as cool as I do now. I pulled up and reloaded within 30 yards of their mass and then trotted after my troop who were then about 100 yards away. I am sorry to say I shot 5 men for certain and two doubtful. The pistol was the best thing in the world. The charge was nothing like as alarming as the retirement on the 16th of Sept last year. It passed like a dream and some part I cannot quite recall. The Dervishes showed no fear of cavalry and would not move unless you knocked them over with the horse. They tried to hamstring the horses, to cut the bridles - reins - slashed and stabbed in all direcions and fired rifles at a few feet range. Nothing touched me. I destroyed those who molested me and so passed out without any disturbance of body or mind.
Poor Grenfell - with whom I made great friends and with whom and Molyneux I always lived and eat - was killed and this took the pleasure and exultation out of the whole affair, as far as I was concerned. Dick Molyneux too had a bad sword cut and a wonderful escape. Jack Brinton a slash across his shoulder. I heard at midday of Colonel Rhodes being wounded and at night of poor Hubert Howard being killed. He had ridden out our charge unhurt and it was indeed the irony of fate to kill him with a friendly shell. These things - and at the time they were reported as worse - made me anxious and worried during the night and I speculated on the shoddiness of war. You cannot gild it. The raw comes through. The metaphors are mixed but expressive.
I am just off with Lord Tullibardine to ride over the field. It will smell I expect as there are 7,000 bodies lying there. I hope to get some spears etc. I shall write a history of this war. Colonel F.R. is going to edit it and will give me all his photos. He is a brave gallant man. Nothing depresses him. Oh, there is such a lot to tell that it is useless my trying to write it now that the post if going off.
I will send 3 M.P. [Morning Post] letters during the next 3 days. And now I shall get back alive in all human probability and will tell you all about it myself. I have told Molyneux to come & see you. We made great friends. He is a brave and cheery friend. Our losses are worth thinking of. Out of 20 officers and 280 men and horses we lost 5 officers, 70 men and 135 horses killed and wounded in 120 seconds. Pursuit another seven. Meanwhile, arrange me some good meetings in October, Bradford and Birmingham. Sunny will help.
Your loving son
Winston

Winston then returned to England, arriving in early October. He made three political speeches and then left for India again in December where he was keen to take part in the Inter-Regimental Polo Tournament.

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
11 December [1898]
S.S. Shannon off Aden
My dearest Mamma.
I daresay you will expect a letter - though in truth there is nothing to tell. We have had a vy rough pasage down the Red Sea - of all places - and I have not enjoyed myself excessively. I have however made good progress with the book. Three vy long chapters are now almost entirely completed. The chapter describing the fall of Khartoum Gordon's death etc is I think quite the most lofty passage I have ever written. The only thing which has pleased me apart from the pleasure of writing is that there are two copies of The Malakand Field Force on board which are very regularly read.
Please send without delay the Annual Registers of 1884, 1885 & 1886. I want them.
Ever your loving son,
Winston


Winston Spencer Churchill to Captain Aylmer Haldane
Extract
18 December [1898]
in the train near Wadi
My dear Haldane,
...I am leaving the army in April. I have come back merely for the Polo Tournament. I naturally want to wear my medals while I have a uniform to wear them on. They have already sent me the Egyptian one. I cannot think why the Frontier one has not arrived...
I have had a beastly passage out: vy rough and only one nice person on board. However I am glad to get back to my regiment. The book is about 1/3 finished and I hope to have it completed by April 1 - an auspicious date...
Yours very sincerely
Winston S Churchill


Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
11 January 1899
Bangalore
... I am going next week to Madras to play polo and shall stay at Government House. The week after that Jodhpore where we all stay practising for the Tournament with Sir Pertab Singh. Then Meerut for the Inter-Regimental Tournament, where I stay with Sir B.B. & after that Umballa for the Championship - a very pleasant six weeks. Then home and the more serious pleasures of life...
... I am playing polo quite well now. Never again shall I be able to do so. Everything will have to go to the war chest...

On the 8th of February Winston, staying with Sir Pertab Singh at Jodhpore, fell down stairs and sprained both ankles, and dislocated his right shoulder, which made him very low. Churchill urged the 4th Hussars to play their reserve, or 5th man, but in the end he took to the field, with his right upper arm strapped to his side, restricting his movement seriously.

Winston Spencer Churchill to Lady Randolph
Extract
23 February 1899
Meerut
... The Polo Tournament is going on vy. well. We beat the 5th Dragoon Guards in the first round by 16 goals to 2 - and amazing score. Yesterday we beat the 9th Lancers by 2 goals to 1 after a vy exciting match. You will perhaps remember their beating us at Hurlingham in 1896. I then bet them £100 to 90 that we could beat them before I left the regiment. It is satisfactory to have achieved this small object. Tomorrow we play in the Final match with the 4th Dragoon Guards. I do not expect to win. Still it is a vy open game. My shoulder and arms are still vy weak and I have to play all tied up which weakens us a good deal...

Ultimately the 4th Hussars won the Inter-Regimental Tournament of 1899. Churchill claimed to have scored three of the four goals.

Winston Spencer Churchill to Frances, Duchess of Marlborough
Extract
26 March [1899]
Suez
...My reason in writing now that I shall so soon be home and after waiting so long is to tell you - what you may have guessed from the address of this letter - that I am about the leave the army, and have already forwarded my papers to the Horse Guards. I fear that you will not commend my decision, but I have thought a great deal about it and although it is possible I may live to regret it, I don't think I shall ever regard it as unreasonable. On one point I am clear - the time had come when it was necessary to choose definitely. Had the army been a source of income to me instead of a channel of expenditure - I might have felt compelled to stick to it. But I can live cheaper and earn more as a writer, special correspondent or journalist: and this work is moreover more congenial and more likey to assist me in pursuing the larger ends of life. It has nevertheless been a great wrench and I was vy. sorry to leave all my friends & put on my uniform & medals for the last time...




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