It quickly becomes tiresome for the reader to be presented continually with the statement that ‘of all leaders of the Conservative Party, Box-Bender was the most surprising’; one might almost come to the conclusion that all leaders of the Conservative Party are surprising — which is certainly not the case. Bonar Law possessed many qualities, but an ability to surprise was hardly one of them. Still, a greater contrast to Balfour could not have been found. If Balfour almost fitted the description of the heir in Kipling’s The ‘Mary Gloster’, whose rooms at Cambridge were ‘beastly — more like whore’s than a man’s’, then Andrew Bonar Law, who was a friend of the poet’s, nearly matched that of Sir Antony Gloster himself: ‘I didn’t begin with askings. I took my job and I stuck: I took the chances they wouldn’t, an’ now they’re calling it luck.’ There was certainly a large element of that in Law’s rise to the leadership.
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