He combined two qualities: generous loyalty to those he loved, and an acid tongue and pen for those he didn’t. Most of the latter, I tend to think, richly deserved what they got. Randolph Churchill’s public persona was based on the latter quality. In the mid-1950s, surgery revealed that a tumor on his lung was benign. His friend Evelyn Waugh burst into the bar at White’s Club: “They’ve cut out the only part of Randolph that isn’t malignant!”
Churchill’s capacious memory was well stocked with phrases he first heard from Bourke Cockran. “The earth is a generous mother” was the best known, but Churchill also recited his most basic beliefs in Cockran’s words.