On the return of the Unionists to power in 1895 he resumed the leadership of the House, but not at first with the success expected of him, his management of the abortive education proposals of '96 being thought, even by his own supporters, to show a disinclination for the continuous drudgery of parliamentary management under modern conditions.
During the seven years which he passed in the drudgery of penning definitions and marking quotations for transcription, he sought for relaxation in literary labour of a more agreeable kind.
Many people had been surprised to see a man of his genius and learning stooping to every drudgery, and denying himself almost every comfort, for the purpose of supplying a silly, affected old woman with superfluities, which she accepted with but little gratitude.
He was at liberty, after thirty years of anxiety and drudgery, to indulge his constitutional indolence, to lie in bed till two in the afternoon, and to sit up talking till four in the morning, without fearing either the printer's devil or the sheriff's officer.
No man was less fitted by temperament for the necessary drudgery and worry.