Saturday, February 11, 2006
—Then, in the evening of this too delightful day, we all went to Stourbridge to hear Papa's lecture on Shakespeare. There were Papa, of course, Mamma, Uncle Billy, Aunt Emmy, Charles, Albert, Nevy, Meriel, Johnny Talbot, Mr. and Mrs. Oxley, Mademoiselle, Mr. Johnstone, and me. Oh, it was so beautiful, and such quotations, and he read them so grandly too. I think I liked Constance's agony about her " pretty Arthur " best, and then parts of " King Lear " and Desdemona and Othello when he is going to kill her, and numbers more, oh, Catherine of Aragon's speech before Henry the VIII.
—I have read some of Bowdler's Shakespeare ; like very much " Henry VIII," " Romeo and Juliet," and " Hamlet," but don't care for " All's Well that Ends Well," and " Midsummer-Night's Dream," particularly not the former ; uninteresting plot, rather coarse, no poetry, half prose. " King Lear " is beautiful, " As you Like It," great fun. I have begun " Love's Labour's Lost."
—Our lessons are now the very essence of regularity, but nevertheless the squabble, the chatter, the clatter, the laughing, the scolding, the crossness, the " Do this, Don't do that, Go there, Come here " that goes on all the time is quite bewildering.
—In the evening about 8 1/4 came the new French woman, more hugely fat than imagination can picture, or tongue describe. No, I cannot express it in drawing, but she looked just as if an immense pillow had been laid across her chest. Below was fragment ; no legs, no arms, and about Nanny's height. Mamma looked a poplar beside her. She was merry as a grig, and chattered away about the Queen, the French Emperor, William IV, George IV, Bonaparte, Lord Palmerston, Uncle William, and what not, all while she was still further enlarging herself with some mutton and tea. We then showed her up to her room, and left the little fat tumbler to her reflections.
—Thank God, oh ! thank God ! to-day at 4 p.m. came into the world No. 11, a seventh son [FN: Edward, afterwards Head Master of Eton]. He came a fortnight or so before he was expected, and is little and thin but prosperous, as is his Mamma, thank God ! We are sorry he is not a little girl, but after all, it doesn't very much matter, and the blessing of his happy birth is too great to let one feel really disappointed.
LONDON, July 22nd, 1855.
—The 22nd was my own, own, precious Mamma's birthday, and on that day moreover was Meriel confirmed by Forbes, Bishop of Brechin, being of the age of fifteen, a month and five days. She went to Falconhurst, Mrs. Talbot's place, on Friday, which day also Mamma went up to London for her eleventh confinement. God bring her safe through it !
—I, only think what a privilege ! went with Aunt Wenlock to see the medals given to the Crimean heroes by the Queen, bless her ! It was in the open part of the Mall, just before the Horse Guards. We went into a gallery placed here where several were erected, one above the other. We arrived before Her Majesty came, so saw the troops arriving, manoeuvring, passaging, and all the rest. Then, punctually at 11 a.m. through the Horse Guards swept a whole troop of Life Guards, who wheeling to the left joined another body, of Blues and Cuirassiers, stationed nearly just under our gallery. Then up came the Royal carriage, drew up at a sort of low platform placed here,(Illustration in original) with two gilt chairs and a flagstaff ; out stepped the little Queen, while loudly echoed the reports of cannon, and the National Anthem crashed from cymbal and drum. Everyone stood up, and inexpressibly grand it seemed to me. Then it began. The long file of wounded passed before the Queen, and as each received the medal from her own gracious hands, he passed on, and joined the other soldiers. Thus.(Illustration in original.) There were the noble grenadiers who fought at Inkermann, and the glorious few remaining from the Balaclava Light Cavalry charge. There were three wounded officers drawn in Bath chairs and seven on crutches, both men and officers. There were several hundreds, and the giving away lasted two hours. There were present Lord Cardigan and the Duke of Cambridge, both of whom received medals. The Duke of C. has large white whiskers, and Lord Cardigan large yellow ones. [FN: The Duke was only thirty-six at this time ; so his white whiskers are even more inexplicable than Lord Cardigan's yellow ones.] All the while the bands played different tunes, Scotch ones when the Highlanders passed, " Rule Britannia," " Hearts of Oak," etc., when the sailors came, and " The Grenadiers," etc., when the Bearskins and others passed. When all was over, the Grenadiers defiled before the Queen, to the tune of " The British Grenadier." There was but little cheering, people felt it in a different manner to what would be expressed by that. The Royal carriage came up and Her beloved Majesty drove away to the same crash as before, guns firing, bands playing " God save the Queen."
—A memorable day indeed ! My head was washed by Strathearne, a hairdresser, and he says it ought to be a " very good 'ed of 'air." He did Agnes'(Agnes Gladstone) and my hair in the evening, at about 7. At 8 1/2 we were to be at the Palace for the Queen's ball. We were rigged, figged, and launched into two carriages in tolerable time, and our dresses were something magnificent. A beautiful muslin frock trimmed with ruches and daisies. White silk stockings, white satin shoes with white bows, white kid gloves trimmed with white daisies and a wreath of two rows of daisies on polls, was the dress of Agnes and me. On the way a bathingfeel for nearly the first time assailed me. We went under the arch, and into Buckingham Palace Hall, from whence we proceeded to a grand room where we took off our wraps. We then went up the grand staircase into a beautiful gallery. Presently the glorious National Anthem struck up ; the numerous company divided on this side and that and a crowd of grandees appeared at the further end of the Gallery. Presently Prince Albert came forward alone, holding by the hand the loveliest little being I ever saw. It was Prince Arthur, in honour of whose birthday the ball took place. His Highness is four years old, and the smallest child of his age I should ever think was born. In a Highland dress, with a dear little curly head, large blue eyes, little chiselled nose, fair complexion, and oval face, he looked like a blessing sent to be beloved of everyone ; bless him !
Well, the Queen came up soon, everybody curtseying as Her Majesty passed, and soon she came up to where we were. Oh, ecstasy, she shook hands with me ! imagine my feelings and my curtsey ; I kept hold of her dear hand as long as I dared. With the Queen were the Prince of Wales, Prince Alfred, the Princess Royal, Princess Alice, Princess Helena, and Princess Louise, the two latter pretty and one of their Royal Highnesses very like the Queen. Besides these there were the Duchess of Kent, and a number more of fat duchesses. One of them shook hands with me : everybody curtseyed to them, and when they had all passed, we moved after them. Presently we arrived at the Throne Room, where the ball was to be. The Queen and the Royalties went to a sort of low platform at one end ; and a fat duchess stood on each side of the Queen and Prince. Then the dance began, the Royalties dancing with the rest. But the whole was a sort of romp, the little ones not knowing exactly what to do, and an unfortunate dancing master in vain endeavouring to establish order. There were valses, quadrilles, galops, and two reels, the last of which we did not witness, being having some refreshments. But the first we saw, and very pretty it was. The Prince of Wales asked me if I could dance it, but alas ! I couldn't. His Highness danced with Agnes, and so did Prince Alfred : happy girl ! in a quadrille and galop, I think. Little Prince Arthur danced a little after a fashion. I danced mostly with Willy, galops, and every time we went close up to the Queen and Prince ; so near that I verily believe Willy would twice have " punched " Prince Albert, if I hadn't drawn his arm back. There was one quadrille in which the Queen and grandees danced, but as the children were romping through another, we didn't see much of it. After a time Her Majesty descended from the platform, and led the way to the supper-room. Such a magnificent one ! with a table this shape. (Drawings frequently adorn the original. ) Nobody eat much, though, I think ; everybody stood. Then back we went, and I had my most delicious of all galops with a little page, and Willy. Prince Arthur, precious little darling, went to bed after supper. Then the ball broke up, and passing through a door, we had another beautiful view of Her Majesty and the Prince, while the National Anthem crashed from the band. Oh-h, didn't it thrill one ! We then went thrilling home, which we reached at about 1 o'clock. So ended that memorable 1st of May.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
-When we arrived, the little boys had come, so jolly for their holidays, talking of carn't, harf, and clarss like anything. (The older pronunciation, at any rate in those parts, was " can't," not " carn't," etc., and Lady Frederick used it, more or less, all her life.)
.... The heavy cavalry was hereupon ordered to charge a much superior force of Russians, which it did grandly, and entirely broke and dispersed them. All would have been well, and unmixedly satisfactory, if nothing further had been done. But through some mistake of orders, partly from Lord Lucan's, more from an officer of the name of Nolan's, fault, a light cavalry brigade, (The famous charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War) consisting of 609 men was soon charging the Russian army, entirely unsupported, and crossing a plain of half a mile for the purpose of re-taking the guns. The slaughter was prodigious. The number of men who returned was 200 and something. The glorious fellows ! On they rushed to certain, or almost certain, death, and flinched no more than if they were exercising in Hyde Park ! They never paused in that fearful charge, that sent so many into Eternity. " God forgive me," said one of the Scots Greys afterwards, " but I felt like a devil during that charge."
—On the 12, Uncle Billy and Aunt Emmie went home after their honeymoon at Althorp, and met with a grand reception, that oh, I could scratch out my eyes for not having witnessed. I know the details, however, by heart. The schoolchildren with banners, the members of the Working Men's Club ditto, and the spectators in processional order, marched down a little way past the Nabbian gate, where they formed on either side of the road. In a few minutes up drove Uncle Billy and Aunt Emmie, who hadn't expected anything. The postboy was much astonished at having his horses taken out of the carriage, which was done by the members of the Working Men's Club, who then placed themselves in their place and drew them through two triumphal arches, to the door of the Rectory, where, standing on the steps with his bride, Uncle Billy heard an address read to him by Mr. Marsh, and answered it. The procession then marched off, and stopped before the house, gave three cheers for Papa and Mamma, one for the family, and the band played " The Good Old English Gentleman." They then went away ; it being a lovely day the children had tea out of doors, games, etc., and there was also a feast at the Arms. Everything was most satisfactory.
—We are leading a quiet life here, but have great breaks in the way of rides. Meriel has taken wonderfully to that mode of exercise ; indeed who wouldn't enjoy long rides over a country new to us, with Agnes, and sometimes Uncle William! ! ! or Henry, the former being able to answer any question you may ask him ? and then tolerably pretty scenery, and beautiful cantering ground, 'twouldn't be human nature to dislike such.
—Mr. Pipps as usual came to Church. He has chosen for his pew the foot of
Thomas Lyttelton Bart.
where he sat most of the service. Uncle B. preached again in the afternoon.
Pippy's kennel was brought home on Saturday : it is very pretty, painted and varnished to look like oak, with " Mr. Pipps " in black letters over the entrance.
—Had the most delightful ride of 9 or 10 miles with Papa ! and Charles ; round Clent Hill, up Walton, and Calton, by Fairleigh Coppice, through lanes, on heaths, by farmhouses, cornfields and grass-fields ; through villages, amongst donkies, cows, sheep, and horses, and—home. Raced with Charles. Most delightful. I learnt to-day that the reason of the holes in the barns is to let in air, that their contents may not catch fire.
—The cholera is fearful in London ; more than 1,000-200 fatal cases. Four children in one family. A poor clergyman caught the typhus fever from one of his sons, and his wife was confined with an eighth baby while he was so ill. She recovered to find herself a widow with eight children, and not a farthing to support herself or them ; his living having been given away, and so no money from thence, he hadn't insured his life, and had no fortune besides. They are collecting money. I gave a little, and Albert. They have already collected a great deal, and have taken three children off her hands.
—When we were on our way to Mrs. Billin, we sat there some little time, Aunt Coque spouting poetry, and we witnessed a curious fight between two wasps on the ground. The victor cut off his enemy's head and tail and we left him with the body in his arms.
By the bye, Granny reads the " Rivals " to us after dinner ; it is capital.
—The school feast came off. Dove's leg better. The prizes were given between 1 and 2 : both the little Daphnes, 3 Wyatts and 3 Tandys got prizes. They dined very soon after, at the S.E. side of the house ; and eat no less than six rice, and six plum puddings, two legs of mutton, besides lots of beef, bread, and beer.
—Lovely. We played cricket with the boys in the morning, read on the lawn, and walked with Aunt Coque in the afternoon. The little pigs grow and prosper. Uncle B. came home : they had the moneyums and the deadums all the evening. Poor old Sultana is shot, and buried near the iron gate leading to Ashmore's.
Between twelve and one o'clock, we were doing some French with Dove ; and heard Mamma talking to Uncle Billy in the lobby. I offered to call Mamma, for Dove wished to speak to her, but she stopped me. " She's busy," quoth she. Presently they both went into Papa's room, from whence in a minute or two proceeded a roar of laughter and exclamations. Somewhat curious I remarked : " Oh, what's the joke ? " Meriel looked odd, Dove said, " Don't go in," and went on with the French. We had hardly done another sentence, when Mamma appeared at the door of Papa's room, beckoning to us. Up we jumped and went in. There was Papa, Mamma, Uncle Billy, Granny, and Aunt Coque. " Go and stand together," said Mamma. (I can't think why. Probably to see our different ways of taking it.) " What do you think's happened ? " roared Papa. " Guess. Eh, dears ? " quoth Mamma. Meriel guessed, she suspected before. I was entirely puzzled, hadn't the least idea what was what. " You've got another aunt ! " exclaimed Aunt Coque. " Uncle Billy is going to be married ! ! ! ! " says Mamma. " Oh," simply said I. And sat flat down on the floor. Indeed, who can wonder ? Mortal man was never so thunderstruck since the year 1, as I was at that moment. What is what ? What is one to do, laugh or cry, or both to¬gether ? Uncle Billy of all people in the known world ! By the bye, she is Miss Pepys, daughter of the Bishop of Worcester. A very worthy person I believe, charit¬able, young (21), amiable, humble, good-looking, not a " nice young lady," and above all, beloved by Uncle Billy. One's first feeling is bewildered amazement ; one's next, that it's somewhat of a blow ; one's third, great hope that it will be very good for Uncle Billy, and turn out well for everybody. At first I felt choking weight, and egg in my throat ; then after wandering about the room, talking to Dove, etc., I rushed up¬stairs, gave a hurried announcement to the nursery, and then to my own room, where I prayed for both of them. Then I felt a little less odd.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
The extracts here printed are about one-fifth of the whole book. They and its other four-fifths exhibit the picture of a very good, very intelligent, and very affectionate child and a very happy home. There is more about sins and prayers and sermons than is thought quite healthy by a later generation, even by that part of it which has no sympathy with the modern fashion of dismissing sin as a mere theological bogy. This gravity sometimes takes amusing forms. One admires the decision with which this youthful critic pronounces the sermons at St. Leonard's " good on the whole " ; and entirely sympathises with her when she finds a book on " The Influence of the Clergy of the First Centuries " " much dryer " than Macaulay. That was Macaulay's Essays : with Lucy Lyttelton, as with so many of us, in spite of youthful Royalist feelings " desperately exasperated " by Macaulay's Whiggery, the first or almost the first " grown-up " book to be appreciated. Among other books which the Lyttelton children are recorded as reading are, of course, Shakes¬peare (though Bowdier's), " Half-hours with the Best Authors," Scott's novels, Hume's History, and even something unspecified of Burke. Evidently it was not for nothing that they were the sons and daughters of a very fine scholar and the nephews and nieces of Gladstone. Even in these early years Lucy was beginning her life-long enthusiasm for her famous uncle. During a visit to Hawarden she records the delight of " long rides over a country new to us, with Agnes, and some¬times Uncles William or Henry, the former being able to answer any question you may ask him." Already too she shows more interest than most children in public affairs outside her own family and circle. Not only does she frequently allude to the cholera, then actually a scourge and terror to England, but she devotes many pages to the Crimean War, and even records the resignations of Ministers. The young politician, brought up in a political atmosphere, is also seen in a long declamation about the War and the Peace. I have spared the reader its semi-parliamentary rhetoric with a long series of passages each opening with " Look back, look back to the nobly fought and nobly sustained battles, look back to the long long siege," etc., etc. But perhaps the peroration may be quoted here : " Shall we talk of having got no good by the war ? Was it undertaken for ourselves ? Let it be enough that we took up arms in defence of the just rights of a nation, that we accomplished our end and humbled the pride of the oppressor ; and then let us thankfully receive the honourable Peace and strive to make much of it : for is it not the greatest of blessings ? I say, Amen, and thank God."
There is no mention of the reading of newspapers in this volume of the Diary ; but one wonders whether if the Crimean debates were searched one would find some speech of Gladstone or another, of which this long outburst by his youthful niece is an echo. If she had been a boy, or if she had been born fifty years later, she would certainly have been either a preacher or a politician. She came very young into the possession of the mental and physical energy, the moral enthusiasm, and the command of language, the combination of which naturally leads to one or other of those careers.
But these high matters are, of course, only occasional visitors in the diary of a girl of fourteen. We hear more of family births, marriages, illnesses and deaths, which, filling her heart, naturally filled her pages ; and of the lessons and amusements, the walks and rides, which occupied her girlish days. There was boating (as well as scarlet fever) at St. Leonard's, and dancing in London ; there were evenings of cards (commerce and beggar-my-neighbour seem to have been the games), and occasionally of acting ; now and then, too, the children were taken to the real theatre or to hear Fanny Kemble read " Lear " or " Othello." Serious as the home was, it is evident that there was no Puritanical or Evangelical ban on innocent amuse¬ments. And of course when they were in London there were such glimpses as children can have of the great world. The extracts which follow describe several Royal functions at which the diarist was present, including two Court balls for children. She records that in preparation for one of them her younger sister " Win," afterwards Mrs. Edward Talbot, had " her hair curl-papered every night " for a week " to make it look a little less Irish and wild." In fact the Diary is like life, full of a lot of very little things, with a few greater ones thrown in from time to time.
And now it is more than time that the Diary should begin to speak for itself.
And now having spoken about Grandmamma, I must describe Granny,(Her father's mother, Sarah, Lady Lyttelton.) for so we always called her as a distinction, and the fond familiar name best suits her. My first recollections of her are as making us charming presents ; frocks, sashes, and so on ; and later, little "tips" of money, so that her arrival was always a great event. I suppose she cannot be called a pretty old lady, as she has lost the sight of one eye from brow ague ; but in spite of this defect, to me, and to most I believe, she has always had a charm about her better than beauty. Tall, with great dignity and grace of manner, a sweet smile, a low melodious voice, and a power of winning and attracting everyone who knows her ; this is the best superficial idea I can give of her. But I can't do justice on paper to all that is admirable in her mind and character. Clever and brilliant in conversation, with a somewhat satirical turn, and a great gift of humour, the best letter writer I ever knew —which may partly be accounted for by her complete disbelief of the fact, and consequent ease and simplicity ; she is full of information, a first-rate teller of stories, or reader . . . [Here the account breaks off.]
Packing-day ! Sweet packing-day !
The subject of my lay.
Come, come ! Thy pleasures bring,
Thou sweet dear darling thing.
Packing is my delight.
I'll pack from morn till night ;
Next day is journey-day !
Hurrah ! Hurrah ! Hurrah !
Even when nothing was going on the dear home-life was as happy as anything in its way ; the schoolroom, where day after day we went through the well-known routine, the time there enlivened by Papa's visits to Mamma and hers to him ; our room being the passage between them. We were never interrupted by this, for one got so thoroughly accustomed to it, and it was seldom that either took any notice of us, beyond a smile from Mamma and " You little pigs," or " Absurd monkies," from Papa. But it always gave me a happy feeling when I heard Mamma's little cough outside the door, or saw her tall and graceful figure passing through the room, and it was nice to feel that they were so close to us. The glorious summers ! After lessons there was the walking out into the beautiful country ; the hills, park with its stately trees, the bright village and green lanes ; or a ride, or a drive with Mamma in the pony-carriage ; both great delights ; sitting under the trees with the song of birds and hum of bees all round one, or on the lawn, mossy and velvety with age, from whence we looked over the grassy hills rising gently one over the other, crowned with the beautiful trees, and where we loved to bring our reading or have tea on summer holidays. Then in the evenings, coming to dessert in the high cool dining-room, and sitting on the perron out of doors till the first stars came out, while everything slept in still beauty, and Malvern and Aberleigh rose deeply blue against the sky.
The winters, when the house felt so snug with its wide grates and roaring fires, and snow and frost were the greatest pleasures of life ; when we slid with the boys, enjoying it full as much as they, or played at " Earth, Air, Fire, and Water," round the fire in the library. And as I grew older and understood more and more what our happiness was, thought of our unclouded home, of the exceeding blessing to us of such parents as ours, of all the dear brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, of the little pleasures with which God filled our cup, and the many deep and lasting joys with which He crowned our life—I trust I grew year by year more grateful, while at times there would mingle with the happiness, a feeling ever increasing that it could not last for ever, and how should we prize it and turn it to good account ! So might God grant that those bright years should lead us to him from Whom all good things do come. . . .
Altogether this time at Hawarden has left a grim' impression on my mind. I was working a stool for Miss Pearson very lazily indeed, so much so that she at last declared she would not accept it ! Great was my anguish ; I began to slave at it so hard that she was mollified at last, and it now stands in her drawing-room at Clent. Moreover I was not well for some time ; but for one circumstance that happened at this time I shall be earnestly thankful to the end of my life—perhaps for all eternity.
I have said that I had always been thoughtful about sacred things ; very far back I remember doing right from a sort of principle, not merely to save punishment, and this made me wretched over my perpetual falls. I used to pray for help with much faith, and make many resolutions ; but hitherto I had done so almost mechanically, following what I had been taught from babyhood, with no strong personal realisation of what was meant by God, Heaven, Death, Eternity. I had not brought these things before me as realities so vivid that they may almost be called tangible. I was indeed but a child. But in church one Sunday at Hawarden, whether some words suggested it to me, whether the distress of mind I had been going through had made me peculiarly susceptible of strong impression, or whether an angel spoke to me suddenly, I cannot tell ; but there flashed upon me, like blinding light, a great thought of Eternity as bearing upon myself—as an unchangeable certainty—as something that was irresistibly advancing—in short, in some awful and present manner, to such an extent that I was aghast and overwhelmed with the tremendousness of my thought. For a moment I thought I should have fainted. I was a young and foolish child ; a very small thing among God's Infinite Mysteries ; can I wonder that —awaking to the realisation of things into which the Angels cannot look—my immortal soul struggled in a sort of agony within its narrow prison ?
I shall never now lose that impression, and for this I thank God.
If we had not had Mamma, perhaps Miss Pearson's management would not have answered as it did ; but there was no fear of our getting cowed and spirit-broken while we had that gentle and loving care always over us, though she interfered little directly between us and our governess. It was not long before Miss Pearson clung to Mamma with the whole affection of her earnest mind, and there is no one who so appreciates the exceeding beauty and perfection of Mamma's character as she does. Thus we were indeed blest, and gradually we learnt to aim at a higher standard, and to strive more earnestly against our faults. As I grew older, I trust I overcame the habit of untruthful¬ness, which, in fact, never came natural to me.
As to lessons, we did them in a peculiar way. Miss Pearson had wretched health and was often laid up ; moreover she was no advocate for great regularity, so we became very independent ; often heard each other our lessons, and wrote exercises and worked sums a good deal alone, and pretty much when we liked. But there was no more " shirking " now. Holidays were very rare, and it was seldom we were let off a lesson. I have often worked till bedtime, and always after tea, finishing what had been left undone. We learnt a good deal, for all we did was useful. I have mentioned my love of poetry ; it was very great. When I was quite little Mamma taught me several of the Hymns for little Children, and it used to be a great delight to me. The last of all, " So be it, Lord ; the prayers are prayed," I used to think nothing could come up to ; and to this day the beautiful little hymn has a particular charm to me. With Miss Pearson I learnt a good deal of poetry ; the " Christian Year," bits of Shakespeare and Milton, and long things out of a book of collections. . . .
We got daily fonder of Miss Pearson, and I believe improved in all essentials under her sway. We were both inclined to argue and answer again, but she squashed us at once, and it was gradually left off. At twelve years old I was a heedless tomboy of a child, the worry of the servants, and the ruthless destroyer of frocks. Nevertheless I had a curious mixture of religious feeling and poetical fancies. I wrote verses, and was fond of quotations in my letters, had plenty of warm-heartedness, and was quickly roused or touched. I'm afraid I was a sad handful to Miss Pearson, what with my carelessness and forgetfulness, and the underhand ways that cost me many tears, and her so many headaches, but which at length were, I trust, quite got rid of.
Miss Nicholson was succeeded by a pretty, gentle, little lady with the unfortunate name of Miss Crump, who came to Hagley in October 1848. By that time there were six of us, Georgie being the youngest. I well remember her arrival. We were sitting on our high chairs sewing, and in an agony of shyness, when she walked into the room, with a pleasant smile. I remember how very short I thought her arm was at tea, after tall Miss Nicholson's, which could reach everything on the table.
Palmy days now dawned upon me in the way of in¬dulgence at lessons, etc. The next morning Miss Crump completely won my heart by her leniency over the first lesson I repeated to her. But Miss N.'s rod of iron was better than Miss Crump's broken reed of government. We had quite our own way with her, for she soon grew passionately fond of us and let us get the upper hand. The only punishment she ever dreamt of inflicting was setting us lines of poetry to learn by heart, and these we never thought of doing unless she kept us up to it, really never thinking of the deceit of such conduct. We " shirked " duties, and became untruthful, disobedient, and self-conceited. Nevertheless we were very fond of her, and I believe sinned more from thoughtlessness than from deliberate intention, for I know I was by no means devoid of serious thoughts of religion and being very good, and I find in an old letter of Meriel's that we had talks with Miss Crump about our faults. But we were not much the better practically for all that, and I must say, as I think of my conduct then, I feel inclined to hate myself. For many things there was no excuse, for Mamma had taught us our Bible when we were very little, and Papa as we grew older ; and we had them always to help us by their example as well as training. I remember complacently setting myself down as unselfish because I let Mamma take some little trifle of mine to give as a present, without being cross, and I was certainly happy in the conviction. I did not think of my greediness and deceit, my nasty temper with the others, and all the other faults which spring from selfishness.
I had a severe conscience prick once, however, in spite of my general self-satisfaction. For a long time I had been in the habit of going from my lessons on some pretext, for the mere purpose of dawdling about on the stairs. This I one day confessed with deep repentance, and I rather think I became more scrupulous. . . .
I have not the dimmest recollection of learning to read, which I was hopelessly stupid over, but I do remember my contempt of it before I began it, and one single lesson out of " Rosamond," when I read the unfortunate chapter over and over during I believe the whole morning, because of a mistake I either could not or would not avoid. At last I did it right without knowing it. It began with the words, " Are you busy, Mamma ? " I was always doing things like this. I was not happy in Miss Nicholson's time. I was horribly naughty ; sly, obstinate, passionate, and very stupid. Then she managed me ill ; over-severe and apt to whip me for obstinacy when I was only dense, letting me see her partiality for the other two, and punishing too often. So I was always labouring under a sense of injustice, and felt myself injured innocence instead of trying properly to get the better of my faults.
A very naughty little French girl called Leonie, of ten years old, came at this time to teach us French, which she did very satisfactorily, but it was certainly the only good thing she did teach us. She was im¬pudent, dreadfully false, nasty in her ways and tricks, without the faintest idea of principle or religion. I perfectly remember her arrival ; the quick little shuffling French steps on the stairs, our shyness, and how when she came in Charles would only say a gruff " How d'ye do ? " instead of the " Bon jour " that had been instilled into him. He and I took refuge in the window, while Leonie, without a scrap of shyness in her, rattled out some long unintelligible story to Meriel.
She would steal Newmany's pomatum and smear it over her head, then cut up her ribbons and dizen herself out with them. The first English she learnt was " Cross Nurse " ; she made me teach it her, and went and said it repeatedly to Newmany. She used to stick her multiplication table on her nose, make me laugh, and when I was scolded and said that it was her fault, would put on a shocked look and exclaim innocently, " Lucie ! Comment pouvez-vous dire un tel mensonge ? " Then I was put between the doors. However, at length her naughtiness caused her to be put always to learn her lessons with her back to us all ; but this was certainly not favourable to her studies, for she gazed out of window the whole time. It was impossible to get anything serious into her head, though she had daily lessons from the Bible with Papa. Her levity and giddiness were dreadful. She was once sent to bed in the daytime for some misdeed, and went with the greatest effrontery to wish Mamma good night : " Bon soir, Madame ; je vais me coucher." She could learn fast enough when she chose, but choosing was a rare thing. After everything possible had been done to reform her she was sent away in despair, but Granny still looked after her, got her into a nice school, and gave her every advantage ; but no good was ever effected, and she had at last to return to her father. We have now lost sight of her.
I was born in London on the 5th Sept. 1841, being the second child of my parents ; my sister was fourteen months older than myself. I was baptized at a month old by the name of Lucy Caroline : the first name after a family ancestress of great goodness ; the second after my godmothers, both of whom had the same name. I believe I was a pretty baby, but must have given more trouble than I was worth by convulsions, etc., which gave some anxiety and left me a very whining, fretful child, even when I was put into short frocks and able to toddle. I had hardly reached this stage of exist¬ence when my eldest brother was born in October 1842, and we were three babies together in the dear dear big nursery on the third floor of the house. This room faced the S. and W. It may have been different quite at first to what it is now, but my earliest remembrances of it show it to me almost exactly as I see it at present. Two windows ; the work-table, much battered, dirty red, with a curious round hole in it that I was always poking my finger through, standing in one ; a high white cupboard where the toys were kept, in the other, with flower-pots standing on the top. A massive, towering, white wardrobe, with deep drawer forming its lower part, stood in one corner, filled with frocks, linen, etc. ; and where the ornamental pin-cushion little basket, Xning cap, powder-box, etc., were always kept before an expected Baby required them. A dark wood cupboard, also of great height and based by drawers, [stood] against one wall, wherein the break¬fast, dinner, and tea things were kept, with cold plum-pudding wont to be preserved from the servants' supper. The fireplace on your left as you go in, with a heavy carved old-fashioned mantel-shelf ; half-way up the wall two large rows of bookshelves hung up, whereon grotesque china ornaments, superior toys only played with on grand occasions, and a very few books stood, the latter consisted of a portentous family medicine-book and suchlike drab-coloured volumes. A large map, always my great delight, representing all the birds, beasts, and fish imaginable, and many old prints of foreign men and women, the principal picture being one of the Queen and Duchess of Kent, standing as if they were about to set off on a polka, completed the decorations of the walls. In early times a swing hung from the ceiling ; the hooks used for that purpose remain there now. By the fireplace stood the little low rocking-chair wherein I fancy we have all been sent to sleep. The middle table was round, the carpet and paper bright.
That is the dear old nursery. I have spoken of it in the past tense because I am writing of byegone times, but it is essentially the same now.
Some people are dull on paper and dull in conversation. Others, while witty or brilliant on paper, never say anything worth hearing. Others again are delight¬ful to listen to and dull to read. Lady Frederick, with¬out any claim to be a wit, was almost as quick with her pen as she was, all her life, with her tongue. But the humorous topsy-turvydoms and incongruities which flowed so freely, even in her later years, from her tongue, and would send a roomful of intimates into a burst of laughter, were not the sort of thing that anybody writes down. And, as everybody knows, such things, when coldly recorded on paper and read apart from the occasion out of which they grew, are as unlike the original and genuine article as strawberries out of a bottle are to strawberries fresh from the bed. If I did not think her diary often amusing as well as interesting, I doubt if I should have tried to put such a book as this together. But most people, from Pepys down¬wards, no doubt, are graver in the solitude of their diaries than they are in the society of their friends. And Lady Frederick, especially in her earlier years, put more gravity into her records than I have cared to take out of them. That note is at once struck in this curious account of her childhood. Its very first words show how serious her character was, almost from her nursery days ; as later pages show with what force, ease, and abundance she could write before she was out of the schoolroom. I quote the greater part of it. Its very first pages show where she got her seriousness. Her account is one more proof of the unhealthily " sinful " atmosphere which Victorian parents, even very kind and affectionate parents like Lord and Lady Lyttelton, allowed to grow up in their nurseries.
LIST OF THE NICKNAMES, ABBREVIATED NAMES, AND INITIALS, OF PERSONS, PLACES, ETC., MOST OFTEN OCCURRING IN THE DIARY
ADÈLE.—Mademoiselle d'Henin, a family friend of the Cavendishes; daughter of an émigré.
AGGY.—Agnes Gladstone, daughter of Mr. Gladstone ; married the Rev. Edward Wickham, Headmaster of Wellington, and subsequently Dean of Lincoln.
ALGYS, THE.—The Hon. Algernon Egerton, son of 1st Lord Ellesmere, and his wife Alice, daughter, of Lord George Cavendish, uncle of Lord Frederick.
AUNT CAROLINE.—Lady Caroline Lascelles, daughter of the 6th Earl of Carlisle, and sister of Lord Frederick Cavendish's mother. She married the Hon. W. Lascelles, and her daughter Emma married Lord Edward Cavendish.
AUNT COQUE AND AUNT C.—The Hon. Caroline Lavinia Lyttelton, Lady Frederick's aunt.
AUNT EMMIE OR EMY.—Aunt E., Wife of the Hon. and Rev. William Lyttelton, Rector of Hagley.
AUNT FANNY.—Aunt Fanny, Sister of the 7th Duke of Devonshire ; married Frederick John Howard, grandson of the 5th Earl of Carlisle.
AUNT HENRIETTA.— Aunt Henrietta, Wife. of Lady Frederick's uncle, the Hon. Spencer Lyttelton.
AUNT K. on KITTY.—Not really an aunt, but a cousin. She was Catharine Pole-Carew, daughter of the Hon. Caroline Lyttelton, who married the Rt. Hon. Reginald Pole-Carew, of Antony, Cornwall.
AUNT LAVINIA.—The Hon. Lavinia Lyttelton, daughter of the 3rd Lord Lyttelton ; married the Rev. Henry Glynne, Rector of Hawarden, and brother of Mrs. Gladstone (Aunt Pussy).
AUNT LIZZY.—Lady Elizabeth Grey. She was a daughter of the 6th Earl of Carlisle, wife of the Hon. and Rev. Francis Grey, and sister of Lady Burlington, Lord Frederick's mother.
AUNT MARY.—Lady Taunton, sister of Lord Frederick's mother, Lady Burlington.
AUNT WENLOCK.—Caroline Neville, Daughter of 2nd Lord Braybrooke and wife of 1st Lord Wenlock ; great aunt of Lady Frederick.
AUNT YADDY.—Adelaide Seymour, second wife of the 4th Earl Spencer and mother of the 6th (and whose great-great-great-grandson just married Ms. Catherine Middleton) .
AUNTIE PUSSY, OR A.P.—Mrs. Gladstone, sister of Lady Frederick's mother.
B.—Beatrice, daughter of Lady Caroline Lascelles (" Aunt Caroline ") ; afterwards wife of Archbishop Temple.
BOB, BOBBY, ETC.—Generally her brother, the Hon. Robert Lyttelton, who begins as " Bobby," but becomes " Bob " ; but Bobby, later on, usually means her cousin, the Hon. Robert Spencer, who became 6th Earl Spencer in 1910.
BOBSEY MEADE.—The Hon. Robert Meade, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, son of the 3rd Earl of Clanwilliam ; married, first, Lady Mary Elizabeth Lascelles, and, secondly, Caroline Georgina Grenfell, whose mother was a first cousin of Lord Frederick, and sister of Lady Edward Cavendish.
CHARLES.—Her eldest brother, afterwards 8th Viscount Cobham.
CHARLOTTE.— Charlotte, Daughter of Frederick Seymour, wife of the 5th Earl Spencer, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.
CONSTANCE.—Lord Frederick's cousin, Lady Constance Leveson-Gower, afterwards 1st Duchess of Westminster.
COQUITTY, OR AUNT COQUITTY.—Her "Aunt Coque" and her cousin Miss Kitty Pole-Carew, who lived together after Sarah Lady Lyttelton's death.
COUSIN BICK, OR BINGY.—Beilby Lawley, 3rd Lord Wenlock.
COUSIN EBBET OR C. EBBET.—Lady Wenlock ; wife of 2nd Baron. She was Lady Elizabeth Grosvenor, daughter of the 2nd Marquis of Westminster.
COUSIN JANE.—Jane Lawley, See Cousin Jem.
COUSIN JEM.—Right Hon. James Stuart-Wortley, who married Lady Frederick's cousin Jane, daughter of 1st Lord Wenlock. His sister was Mrs. Talbot, mother of John and Edward Talbot, who married Lady Frederick's sisters (Meriel and Lavinia).
DI.—Diana Ellis, wife of Edward Coke, daughter of Lady Dover, Lord Frederick's aunt.
DISMAL JEMMY AND D.J.—Sir William Des Voeux, afterwards Governor of Hongkong.
EDDY.—Her brother-in-law Lord Edward Cavendish.
EDWARD.—Either her brother, afterwards Headmaster of Eton, or her brother-in-law, Edward Talbot, afterwards Bishop of Winchester.
EMMA.—Her sister-in-law Lady Edward Cavendish.
FRANK.—Admiral the Hon. Francis Egerton, husband of Lady Louisa Cavendish, Lord Frederick's sister.
FREDDIE HOWARD.—Freddie Howard, Son of Frederick Howard and Lady Fanny ("Aunt Fanny").
G. STREET.-10 Great George Street, Westminster, the London house of the Talbots.
GERTRUDE OR G.G.—Her first cousin, daughter of the Rev. Henry Glynne by his wife Lavinia, daughter of the 3rd Lord Lyttelton. She married the 2nd Lord Penrhyn.
GRANDE DAME.—Mrs. Gladstone ; so called, I suppose, as a sort of feminine to Great Man.
GRANNY.—Lady Lyttelton, born Lady Sarah Spencer ; Lady Frederick's grandmother. (Letters)
GRAUNTCOQUE.—Her grandmother Lady Sarah Lyttleton, and her aunt the Hon. Caroline Lyttelton ("Aunt Coque").
GRAUNTCOQUITTY.—"Granny," and "Aunt Coque," and "Aunt Kitty" : the Dowager Lady Lyttelton, the Hon. Caroline Lyttelton, and Miss Pole-Carew.
JOHN, JOHNNY, ETC.—Her brother-in-law John Talbot, husband of her eldest sister Meriel ; afterwards M.P. and a Privy Councillor.
KATIE.—Katharine, daughter of the 2nd Lord Chesham ; 2nd wife of the 1st Duke of Westminster.
LADY A.—Maria, Marchioness of Ailesbury.
LENA (1).—Helen, youngest daughter of Mr. Gladstone.
LENA (2).—Caroline Georgina Grenfell, wife of the Hon. Robert Meade. Her mother was a daughter of Lady Caroline Lascelles, Lord Frederick's aunt.
LOU.—Her sister-in-law Lady Louisa Cavendish, who married Admiral the Hon. Francis Egerton, son of the 1st Earl of Ellesmere.
LOUEY.—Louisa Blanche Howard, daughter of "Aunt Fanny" ; married Cecil Savile Foljambe, afterwards created Earl of Liverpool.
M.—Her sister Meriel, wife of the Rt. Hon. J. G. Talbot.
MARGARET.—Margaret Howard, daughter of Frederick John Howard by his wife Lady Fanny, sister of the 7th Duke of Devonshire. She married the Hon. Frederick Ponsonby, son of the 2nd Lord de Mauley.
MARY (1) OR MAZY.--Mary, daughter of Mr. Gladstone ; afterwards Mrs. Drew.
MARY (2) OR "LITTLE MARY."—Mary, Daughter of the 2nd Lord Chesham ; married the 8th Viscount Cobham, Lady Frederick's eldest brother.
MAY (1).—Her sister Mary.
MAY (2).—The Hon. Mary Lascelles, a Maid of Honour, daughter of Lady Caroline Lascelles, Lord Frederick's aunt.
NETTY.—Henrietta, daughter of the Rt. Hon. W. S. Lascelles and his wife "Aunt Caroline" ; she married the 2nd Lord Chesham, and some of her children (including Mary, afterwards Viscountess Cobham, and Lady Frederick's sister-in-law) were born at Burlington House, Piccadilly, then the property of Lord Chesham.
NEVY.—Her brother Neville ; now General the Hon. Sir Neville Lyttelton, G.C.B.
NEWMANY.—Nurse at Hagley.
P.D.S.—Public Day Schools for Girls.
P.M.W.—Parochial Mission Women.
RECTORS.—Her uncle the Rector of Hagley and his wife.
SAL OR SALKINS.—Her half-sister Sarah Kathleen, now the Hon. Mrs. John Bailey.
SISSY ASHLEY.—Sybella Charlotte, wife of the Hon. Evelyn Ashley, afterwards a well-known politician and writer, and father of Colonel Wilfrid Ashley, the present Minister of Transport. She was a daughter of Sir Walter Farquhar, Bt.
STEPHY.—Stephen Gladstone, Mr. Gladstone's second son.
TALLEE.—Lady Sarah Spencer, daughter of the 4th Earl Spencer, and first cousin of Lord Lyttelton, Lady Frederick's father.
UNCLE BILLY.—The Hon. and Rev. William Lyttelton, Lady Frederick's uncle.
UNCLE DICK.—Lord Richard Cavendish, uncle of Lord Frederick.
UNCLE FRITZ.—Frederick, 4th Earl Spencer, Lady Frederick's great-uncle.
UNCLE HENRY.—The Rev. Henry Glynne, Rector of Hawarden, brother of Lady Lyttelton and Mrs. Gladstone ; married the Hon. Lavinia Lyttelton, Lady Frederick's aunt.
UNCLE RICHARD.—Lord Richard Cavendish, uncle of Lord Frederick.
UNCLE SPENCER.—The Hon. Spencer Lyttelton, brother of Lord Lyttelton.
UNCLE STEPHEN.--Sir Stephen Glynne, Bt., brother of Lady Lyttelton and Mrs. Gladstone.
UNCLE WILLIAM.—Mr. Gladstone.
VA OR VAY.—Lady Frederick's cousin, Lady Victoria Spencer, afterwards Viscountess Sandhurst.
VICTOR.—Victor, The present Duke of Devonshire.
WILLIAM.—William, Elder son of Lady Louisa Egerton.
WILLY.—W. H. Gladstone, Mr. Gladstone's eldest son.
WINor WINNY.—Lady Frederick's sister Lavinia, afterwards wife of Edward Talbot, afterwards Bishop of Winchester.
THE Diary frequently makes use of expressions not to be found in any orthodox English dictionary or phrase-book. They are derived from a family language called "Glynnese," talked by the Lytteltons and Gladstones, children of two Glynne mothers. The scholarly Lord Lyttelton, who, like Mr. Gladstone, seldom or never spoke it himself, compiled a gravely humorous Glossary of its chief expressions, from which, generally in his words, without change though often with omissions, I take the following explanations.
A WAS AN ADMIRAL,
B WAS A BOATSWAIN, ETC.
These expressions, which might be continued through the twenty-four letters, are taken from the infantile book called "The Child's Alphabet," in which it will be remembered that, for the assistance of the imperfect memory of childhood, each letter is illustrated by an original design of an individual of a class or profession of which the first letter is the same as the letter in question; and inasmuch as the said individuals are represented in the full appropriate costume of such their class or profession, and inasmuch as, from the homeliness of the execution, their countenances and appearance are invariably of an inexpressive and indistinctive kind, these phrases are used to describe real people who, in the view of the speaker, are mere generic specimens of the class to which they belong: bare types in which the individual and original has been repressed and rubbed out by the conventional and professional .
EXAMPLE. — Mr. Gladstone to Lady Lyttelton: "What sort of person is ________?"
Lady L.: "Oh, C was a Clergyman."
The form in which this is used is always that of a given person being audience, often with an epithet, as "being immense audience." It has no particular reference to the sense of hearing. It seems to be a patient, sympathising, adulating, condescending, and probably half-sincere admiration of something in praise of which the owner rather prosily holds forth. Again, it is to be observed that the person is audience, not to the other person who speaks but to the thing admired. So the author heard Lady Lyttelton say," I went to see and was audience to his pony," not at all meaning that the pony made any noises whatever, but that she blandly listened to commendation of him on the part of his reverend owner.
A significant description of the state of mind previous to some rather formidable undertaking, resembling that of a child about to fall into the arms of the bathing-woman. Mr. Gladstone, so long ago as 1841, had so far advanced in the language that, on being asked how he felt on becoming Vice-President of the Board of Trade, he was able to reply, "Bathing feel."
THE USE OF THE VERB "TO BE"
This is a peculiar and very emphatic ellipse. EXAMPLE.—On entering into a room at Hagley or at Hawarden during one of those great confluences of families which occur among the Glynnese, and finding seventeen children there under the age of twelve, and consequently all inkstands, books, furniture, and ornaments in intimate intermixture, and in every form of fracture and confusion, the experienced "Mother of Millions" (Lady Lyttelton) will find relief in the aphorism, "Well, children are!" . . . This is always uttered as if it was a singularly full and perfect statement to which nothing could possibly be added.
This term ... is a form of ellipse ... of "belief," "description," or some such word. Mrs. Gladstone might say, "Really, teaching Stephy is beyond"; and if the Author is not mistaken, he has heard such an astonishing combination as this: " Went to . . . dinner: beyond stupidissimus."
"Blowing" means some action which, if not overbold, at least requires considerable assurance and self-possession in the person who does it. It always means something done in public. The only possible etymology which the present commentator can venture to conjecture is that it is drawn from the walk of a lady in a high wind with all the inconvenient results of that atmospheric fact. To walk up a long room lined with company is decidedly "blowing"; and the Rev. Henry Glynne, who has a marked aversion to any performance of this kind, would whisper with a wink to his sister that he would avoid having to return thanks for the Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese as "much too blowing."
The etymology of this elegant term is sufficiently clear. It indicates any event or circumstance that breaks, or tends to break, the monotony of existence. Its proper and most frequent use is of something of this sort which is agreeable and rousing: yet is this not invariably so. . . . Miss Lyttelton would call the appearance of a new baby, born to one of her numerous friends, "an immense break."
The termination in "ums." A rude and inartificial idiom, for which the authority is the Dean of Windsor. (Hon. George Neville, brother of Lady Glynne, the mother of Lady Lyttelton and Mrs. Gladstone.) The affix ums is tagged on to some substantive or adjective, and the ugly compound is then dragged into some sort of meaning by the aid of the auxiliary verb to have and the definite article the. Thus to have the churchums (a phrase signally and almost exclusively applicable to Sir S. Glynne) means to be much occupied in, and specially to devote much of one's conversation to, the subject of churches. . . . It is perhaps an attempted analogy from some illnesses, or bodily afflictions, as "to have the measles."
These murderous metaphors are indicative of a very harmless meaning. They simply denote amusement. It is not denied that the original derivation of them is from the common English expression "dying of laughter," but in the Glynnese use it would be wholly alien from idiomatic propriety that any expression referring to actual laughter should be joined with these phrases: nor indeed do they necessarily imply laughter.
Examples from Mrs. Gladstone's letters to Lady Lyttelton:" So George (Lord Lyttelton, who was not exactly a smart man.)) was quite a dandy at your great dinner: killing."
"William this morning sang a tipsy song to amuse little Mary: I died."
The boldness of assertion in this last phrase, when used by a person in her usual health, has a curious effect.
This is a precise rendering of the Latin umbra in the sense of an uninvited, or self-invited, guest at a dinner. It is frequent with the Rev. Henry Glynne, who would say, "I went and dined at Hugh Cholmondeley's as a face."
A curious expression used with extreme brevity by the Glynnese. In its special sense it means not merely, as in English, something unfinished, but something unintelligible and of which no account can be given. . . . When a certain Bishop was expected from abroad, and his arrival was long delayed, no one knowing anything about him, Lady Lyttelton said, "So the Bishop is a fragment," which the Author leaves to explain itself.
[Not in the Glossary; but its meaning may be gathered from what Lord Lyttelton says of "no heart" and "bad heart."]
In these expressions the heart is regarded only as the seat of courage or spirit, never as that of the softer feelings. "Such a bad heart" in English means a want of kindness or natural affection; in Glynnese always a want of enterprise or confidence.
Appears to mean rubbish: what is worthless and may be used for very vile purposes.
A very vulgar metaphor for which we appear to be indebted to the Dean of Windsor. The Slang-Dictionary and Epsom-Downs meaning of this word is food, luncheon carried in a basket; from which service that dignitary has attempted to elevate it to mean food for the mind, information, etc., but it has not reached a higher level than to mean "gossip," "news." So, if one of his nieces had been on an amusing visit, he might beseech her to come and sit close to him on the sofa, and say, "Now, my dear, grub, grub."
A term perhaps derived from its own sound or aspect when written. It appears properly to mean dingy, dirt-coloured, mud-and-water-like. But custom seems mainly to confine its use to these appearances when produced by temporary indisposition.
A pleasant colloquialism answering nearly to the English phrase "in full fling," or the like. It is used of any pursuit in which the individual referred to is earnestly and hopefully engaged. It is placed in close juxtaposition with the word denoting the pursuit, and the two together are used in the most violently abridged and anti-grammatical manner.
EXAMPLE.—Mrs. Gladstone to her sister: "I went to the Palace to see Lady Lyttelton. Found her high-gee accounts."
A word of similar meaning to "groutle," except that while "groutle" means necessarily rubbish, "hydra" means what is in disorder but deserves to be kept... The ground of the expression is, of course, that papers, etc., require constant sorting and arranging to prevent their daily increase.
This is a satirical expression indicating a derisive criticism of communications or remarks as limited too exclusively to subjects of narrow and paltry interest connected solely with the place where they may have occurred. The single word is deemed equivalent to a complete sentence, and in fact to imply all the answer which the communication deserved.
EXAMPLE.—Fragment of a dialogue between Lord and Lady Lyttelton on the pier at Brighton.
Lord L.: "I dreamt last night that ________ was to marry ______ and that ______ had got twins."
Lady L.: "Local ! "
The use of the single Latin comparative "Major" as "break major" means merely a great or notable break. It seems to be remotely derived from the designations of boys in an Eton school list, or possibly from the name of the constellation Ursa Major.
This means behaviour, as in English, but with a difference. In English it is used generally as "the manners of the upper classes." In Glynnese it always means the habits of particular people in particular circumstances. So on arriving on a visit anywhere, a Glynnese would enquire, "What are your manners before luncheon here? Do you go out, or what? "
The word maukin, which is in English an abbreviation of the word mannikin, and is often to be met with in familiar compositions like letters, meaning a small figure or effigy, such as Guy Fawkes on the 5th of November, means in Glynnese always a living person, and signifies an unknown individual, one discovered somewhere where his business is questionable, an unexpected apparition: and so is sometimes applied even to known persons in similar situations. . . . A sick person much exposed to the unexpected visits of friends and of strangers was pitied as being liable to a "succession of maukins" coming into his room.
An old woman; almost always an old lady; such an one, when short, faded, somewhat dowdily dressed, and in sad-coloured garments, fragile-looking, of inexpressive countenance, dim-eyed, serious.
An elegant classical similitude with the obvious meaning of a person dissolved in tears. The boldness, however, and originality of the language is vindicated in that this word is not used in the way of resemblance but of actual personification: "I was niobe." It is further to be remarked that, by the best authorities, as Mrs. Gladstone, this word is always written with a small n.
PHANTOD, AND P.H.
Apparently a corruption of the English word phantom. The sense, however, is essentially different. It signifies generally "an imbecile person," "one incapable of serious and rational procedure." It is perhaps most frequently used of one who has become so by the lapse of time or by an unforeseen calamity. But it must be observed that this complete form is not much in use. The authorities generally substitute for it the expressive initial abbreviation "ph"; not, however, pronounced as one letter, as "f," but in two: "p," "h."
This word is applied to children and means a child brought up too delicately; and so one not ready enough for hard games or the like. It is perhaps confined to little girls. Its etymology is still disputed among the learned. We do not see how any light is thrown upon it either by a reference to the Italian pinto or to any such idea as that the child so described can have pins instead of toes.
This mysterious word, pronounced "pawmpy," is meant to be the French participle pompé, which signifies pumped or pumped out; and so in Glynnese is figuratively applied to mean "jaded " or "exhausted."
POWDER OF POST
The Author believes that this designation means some twaddling little compound, of domestic use, known to ladies, housekeepers and the like, but beneath his knowledge as a votary of philological science. It is applied among the Glynnese to an inadequate medical prescription or more often to letters. A "powder-of-post letter" means a letter full of words but with small sense, and especially one which is so written intentionally.
EXAMPLE.—Mrs. Gladstone: "I sat down and wrote a powder-of-post letter to a tiresome woman who wanted to know all about William's vote on Maynooth."
The metaphor in this word is taken from the game of fives or the like. It always signifies an impression or opinion about A, which may be either person or thing, communicated by B to C. Further, it always means a pleasant impression or favourable opinion; and, moreover, such as B imparts to C without any intention that it should be repeated to A or the owner of A.
SAG AND TRAPES
These uncouth and barbarous monosyllables . . . describe forms of locomotion. Sag, which is both a verb and a substantive, is said of quadruped, trapes, which is a verb only, of biped, motion.... They both mean somewhat painful and toilsome, and mostly compulsory and unsatisfactory, locomotion. A sag means especially going uphill in a carriage. Every expedition with any of the ancient, skinny, legless, and windless horses which have for many years abounded in the Glynne, Gladstone, and Lyttelton families is a sure and grievous sag. On the other hand, Mrs. Gladstone will inform her sister, as an action of some merit, "I have been trapesing through the mud to my court."
This is, of course, a sporting or a military metaphor. . . . It means rapidly and suddenly to discover or hit upon, especially perhaps something at a little distance; from which definition a remote clue to its derivation may no doubt be gathered by the perspicacious reader. . . . The Dean, as an agreeable piece of intelligence, wrote in a letter: "Last night I shot the Bishop of London in a corner at the Queen's party."
TO SHOW ONE'S RING
The ground idea of this is of a rather vulgar and silly bride (compare Mrs. Major Waddell in "The Inheritance") who, to show her promotion to the order of married ladies, loses no opportunity of obtruding her wedding-ring. Hence with admirable audacity it is applied to any act of vanity on the part of anyone of any age or sex.
EXAMPLE.—Lady Lyttelton, with great complacency to her husband, "Who shows his ring about his eldest son's Latin?"
SITTING TIGHT, AND SITTING CROSS-LEGGED
These phrases mean nearly, yet not quite, the same. Both mean sitting in expectation of some probable event. To sit tight is, however, to be in eager expectation of an event which is imminent but may fail. To sit cross-legged is to be in patient expectation of one pretty sure to happen, but may be delayed. Etymological considerations justify this view. To sit tight suggests the idea of a person who feels that any movement on his part might hinder the desired event; to sit cross-legged is the posture of composed or resigned expectation, especially of something unpleasant. A lady will sit tight when looking for an advantageous proposal for her daughter; she will sit cross-legged when awaiting a summons to the dentist.
THE USE OF THE LATIN SUPERLATIVE
Among the forms of this language is the adoption of the Latin adjective superlative, in which it follows the rules of Latin in the single respect that it indicates excess. In all other points it sets rules at defiance with characteristic audacity, treating the adjective as indeclinable, knowing only one gender, and deriving an adjective superlative not only from English adjectives but from substantives or any other part of speech. Mrs. Gladstone, always preeminent in the boldest inroads on the established rules of language, once said, "I was niobissimus major"; perhaps an instance that in so short a space cannot be surpassed of the violation of grammatical laws. (Lady Frederick in her Diary once speaks of a view as "beyond lovelyissimus major.")
An anomalous transformation of a verb into a noun. "My take" signifies "my particular way," "the course that I consider best."
Perhaps the strongest instance of ellipsis to be found in this highly elliptical language. Its use is confined to Lady Lyttelton, and is by her meant to indicate an extreme opinion of some sort or other about something she has just mentioned; but all the particulars of that opinion are left to conjecture, together with the grammatical complement of the phrase. As thus: "I have been half an hour teaching Albert to write : than which." . . . It is said in a tone of despairing good-humour, and with a sort of combined smile, sigh, and resigned shake of the head.
This word appears to be limited in its usage to young children. It signifies "querulous," "peevish," "disposed to cry."
For this termination see under "Dayums."
WHO'S WHO AND WHAT'S WHAT
A curious idiom, the use of which is confined to those versed in the higher forms of the language and chiefly to Mrs. Gladstone. On a quondam lover talking to her when surrounded by his children and in a scene of former ineffectual declarations to herself, she would say, "I thought who's who and what's what." . . . The difficulty of tracing the etymology of this expression will have been perceived. But it may proceed from such a strong sense of the change that has occurred in the person in question as causes a general bewilderment of faculties and universal suspicion of the identity of men and things.
Means half-dressed, en dishabille, and is used in an adjective manner. It is never "I was like a witch," but "I was a witch." So Mrs. Gladstone, in a letter from Naples, "Seymour Neville came up and found me a witch."