All the Way

All the Way

All the Way

All the Way

Excerpt

I was born on September 14th, 1864. At that time my father the second son of a peer, was dependent for his living mainly on an allowance from his father, assisted to some extent by journalism and with no certainty of inheriting wealth. His style of living was, I suppose, that of a minor country gentleman. The town house was at No. 1 Mansfield Street--now pulled down--and there was a smallish country house on the borders of Surrey and Hampshire--the kind of English heath country which I have always loved and to which I returned when I had a house of my own.

That was the position when I was born. But it had completely changed a year later. In 1865 my father's eldest brother died without issue and he became Lord Cranborne, heir to the Marquisate of Salisbury and the estates which went with it. Then in 1866 he became a Cabinet Minister (Secretary of State for India). He had been in Parliament since 1859, where he had acquired a considerable reputation, but, since he was in Opposition, no money. That was all changed by his brother's death and his acceptance of office. He was thenceforward a rich man, and in 1868, when I was four years old, he succeeded to the peerage.

Meanwhile three more children were born to him--a girl who died in infancy and two boys. I do not, of course, remember this little sister, though her death, which was a great grief to my mother, was of some indirect importance to me. We were, on the whole, a very united family. There were no serious or lasting quarrels between any of the seven surviving children. But, in early years particularly, they fell into three groups. The four older ones made two pairs of special intimacy, and the two younger ones also went about together a good deal. I was not in any way isolated, but I had no special confidant, and that perhaps increased my natural aggressiveness. My mother used to chaff me about my having always two grievances and a right!

We were, as I have said, a united family, thinking alike on questions of religion and politics. Above all, our parents were in a position of unquestioned affection and authority. We were never punished in the ordinary sense of the word. In my early years anything like direct disobedience was unthinkable, and I believe that was equally true of my brothers and sisters. If any restraint was required, a glance from my mother was enough to put an end to any bad behaviour. On the other hand, there were . . .

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