Saturday, November 25, 2006
— A delightful and memorable day ! I went out hunting ! ! Ld. Denbigh and his sons and 2 daughters went and when they offered to mount me, and supply me with habit, etc., and old M. encouraged me, could anyone refuse ? No ! so off I went on a glorious old hunter of 21, called Marmion, his action free and beautiful, and his gallop like the South Wind, so easy, yet so rapid and strong. I saw the fox break away, I heard the music of the hounds, and horns and halloos, I careered along to the sound of the scampering hoofs with the delicious soft air blowing in my face. I flew over 2 or 3 fences, too enchanted to have a moment's fright ; in short, I galloped for 1/2 an hour in all the glory of a capital run. 0 dear ! if I don't take care I shall pine for it every time Papa goes out, and that won't do ! However, I had my sense enough about me to keep with Lady Ida (losing sight of the others, and no wonder, in a field of about 150), and when her saddle turned, her hat blew off, and she spoke of going home, I nobly went with her, tho' I cd have gone on for ever. But really I think it was the most glorious exciting enjoyment I have ever had ; and that says a good deal.
Some theatricals in the evening, which wd have been deplorably bad, but for Col. (William) Feilding's wonderfully good acting of an old Frenchman. I had a long sit with nice little Ly. Katharine, who spoke of their great grief, the conversion of Ld. Feilding, who is an enthusiastic Romanist ; 0 how awful a trial it must be !
— Same weather : aftn. pour. We had a paper hunt ; Col. (William) Feilding and I being hares. I never went such a dance : over two miles across country, of which a mile was mostly running ; and though I shirked many fences, there was plenty of moderate scrambling. We baffled the hounds (most of the remaining guests, etc.) ; and after the first loss of breath I got on very well. Learnt for the 1st time what getting one's 2nd wind was. Lovely singing in the aftn. Mem. : " The Reaper and the Flowers," sung by Ladies Mary, Ida, and Adelaide Feilding, and Capt. Palisser ; and " Sing me to Rest," Ly. Mary. Charming dancing in the evening : Lancers with 10 people, and Sir Roger de Coverley to end with : immense fun. There were here, Lady and Misses Mordaunt, Admiral Erskine, a brother of Ld. Denbigh's, Lord Welscourt, Sir Theophilus Biddulph, host and four daughters and two sons, of whom the hare is particularly pleasant. The rest I shall remember to-morrow, I hope.
Letter : from Nevy ; to Papa.
—And so, off I set, at 10 1/4, chaperoned for the 1st time by old Meriel ! with her and John, to this place, stopping on the way and mightily enjoying ourselves at Coventry, having luncheon there, and seeing the glorious churches and a bit of the town. Working men standing about idle, and empty factory windows, speaking silently of the still bitter distress. Arrived at this stately mansion abt 4, find swarms of people, all of whose names I shall perhaps pick up by the time we go. Lively ball, M. dancing again, but looking amazingly matronly ! I danced with Ld. Feilding, his brother Percy, Messrs. Sykes, Cameron, etc., etc. : maukins.
—In the paper a letter from the Queen to Shields about the poor colliers, most touching and beautiful in its tone of real sympathy, coming from a heart so broken, but yet so loving and thoughtful for others' grief.
—The 200 Hartley colliers who have been buried in the pit 7 days have been found all dead. The Queen had sent a telegram, which said " her heart bled for them, " to ask abt them. Atie. Pussy managed to get Papa's beautiful thing in the Parish Magazine shown to the Queen who liked it.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
—At length the precious Yankees give up the Commissioners and it is Peace. But they have given themselves a name for ever, I shd think, for insolence, bragging, and absurdity. For the bluster ending in backing out is just contemptible, tho' certainly better than fighting.
—Little Arthur struck 10 ; he is in a very satisfactory phase this holy-days, frank, sweet-tempered, full of fun and intelligence, particularly nice to read with, from his quickness and interest, easy and pleasant to manage : gets on better with the big boys who have left off quizzing him unmercifully, and much run after by Bobby. Rather a bore from incessant chatterbox and perhaps a touch of affectation ; but a very nice bright little fellow. Keeps his good looks tho' short, only 4 ft. 7 ; but his open forehead and intelligent expression make up.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
—And now this troubled and saddened year is past ! Never in my recollection, and I should fancy hardly ever in any recollection, can there have been a year so full of awful events. It opened with the Coventry famine. Then the death of the Duchess of Kent, the great fire, the deaths of Lord Herbert, Sir J. Graham, Cavour ; the Indian famine ; the death of Lady Canning, and finally of the Prince—all these have darkened this year, besides the American war, and the almost certain prospect of ourselves being dragged into it. The sun may well go down in total eclipse to-night, as it does, tho' unseen by us ! The Future is most dark, great troubles seem coming, and much of the wisdom and strength that would have faced and overcome it is lost to the country for ever. And the overwhelming thought of our Queen now setting out on the untried sea of loneliness and affliction—this is the greatest grief of all.
Thank God, when all is sad and clouded, we can lay hold the more steadfastly of the Hand that can lead us safe through storms and danger ; and the darker the way before us, the more serenely shines the Love of God to be our beacon. To that Love we may leave our widowed Queen, our sorrowing country, in sure and certain hope ; and He will not leave us nor forsake us.
HAGLEY, Friday, December 27th, 1861.
—Ly. C. Barrington wrote from Osborne with good accounts of the Queen. I had pleasant sensible talk with old Nevy, who I fancy is rather softer than usual : much more civil they all are. Walked parochially and pleasantly with Win and May visiting Mrs. Ince and her new-born baby girl.
HAGLEY, Thursday, December 26th, 1861.
—Troops have embarked for Canada, amongst others, Edwd. Neville. There is scarcely a doubt that there will be war ; altogether this year goes down in gloom. Willy Gladstone has heard from the Prince of Wales, who says " the Queen is sadly shattered." But her patience and calmness seem not to desert her.
>—Granny heard from Atie. P. ; she quoted from the Dean of Windsor (who was present) the most interesting and pathetic account there has yet been. He says he cannot speak of the last scene without tears. " The Queen threw herself on the Prince with one fervent kiss, and then let herself be led quietly away, with such a look of despair on her face ! She then went to the younger children, who were in bed, and kissed them, and took little Princess Beatrice to her own room." Those were (nearly) his words. The simplicity of this makes it more touching, and brings her deep, gently-borne sorrow most piteously before one.