Friday, March 04, 2011

18Apr1882, Safe Back from Dublin

LONDON, Tuesday, April 18th, 1882.
—Stayed till Tuesday and found my Fred at home, safe back from Dublin and horribly discreet as to state of things in Ireland. I don't know what o'clock I should have seen him but for a lucky count-out which brought him home to dinner. (N.B. The Tuesday counts-out are getting a bad scandal.)

Wednesday, 19th.—Tory papers started the affected notion of Tories wearing primroses in his honour, announcing it his "favourite flower." Remarkably inappropriate.

[Written some time after her husband's death.]
I must try and put down what I can of the end of my blessed 18 years' happiness—the end of all the bright hopes for the future, and the deep interest and anxiety of the present. All over now, and "my heart within me is desolate."

(The remainder of the published diary does not work in weblog format and is continued in narrative form at the Index to the Lady Lucy Cavendish Diary webpage.)

13Apr1882, Visiting Exeter

EXETER, Thursday, April 13th, 1882.
—My Fred had to go off to Dublin. We set off together at 7.40, and I came to Exeter,[FN: I.e. the Bishop's Palace.] getting here in time to sit down to dinner before 8. Little Frederic Temple, a fine bouncing fair rosy fellow, with round blue eyes: the baby [FN: Now the Rt. Rev. William Temple, Bishop of Manchester.] a very pretty dot with the gentlest expression. A great contrast to either Holker or London life.

03Apr1882, Preparing a Peggy for Confirmation

LONDON, April 3rd-9th, 1882.
—Did not get away till Wednesday; so had the immense treat of S. Matthew's Passion-music in S. Paul's Cathedral on Tues. Every corner of the Church, galleries and all, filled with the throngs of people — their behaviour devout and most attentive. The music far greater than the S. John, tho' the S. John has special beauty of its own. Mazy , Nevy, and Arthur came with me, A. and Kath. being up for a bit.

— Wednesday, April 5th. Nevy and I to St. Paul's again, for Mattins at 10. Came home afterwards for a final lesson with my peggy [FN: I.e maid-servant] whom I am preparing for Confirmation. We got to Holker at 9. Found the Duke alone, but Eddy's and boys come Thursday. Services very well attended both at Cartmel and Flookburgh.

—Good Friday. F. and I went to Flookb.—they sang "The Story of the Cross" beautifully. Lovely day as usual; and so was Easter Day.

01Apr1882, Helped Towards Prettiness

LONDON, April 1st, 1882.
—Saturday to Holmbury, meeting Lord Granvilles with their nice little 15-year-old girl Vita [FN: Now Lady Victoria Russell. She married Harold, eldest son of Lord Arthur Russell.] who will be much helped towards prettiness by lovely figure and hair. Fanny Leeds and her pleasing eldest son [FN: The present Duke of Leeds.] of 19: too like a very lanky pair of scissors, but nice-looking.

19Mar1882, A Darby and Joan Afternoon

LATIMER, March 19th, 1882.
—To Latimer, finding Duke of Westminster, May Lascelles, and the family; including Will, grown into such a fine tall fellow. Poor Ld. Chesham in very precarious health, but pretty well and very cheerful. Sunday lovely and mild as usual: F. and I had a Darby and Joan afternoon walk and pickt primroses and white violets; wild strawberry blossom and daffodils are out. We suspected nothing (who would have thought such a thing likely!), but heard afterwards that the Duke and Katie Cavendish settled after morning Church to marry each other. 32 years between them!... But he is so delightful, that I don't wonder at Katie. I set my cap at him myself and altogether showed marked want of tact.

15Mar1882, Defending Gladstone

LONDON, March 15th, 1882.
—We dined with Ly. Ashburton. I sat by Mr. Froude, and tho' I can't bear him (his writing proving to me that he doesn't know right from wrong), I expected to find him agreeable. But we unluckily got upon Uncle W., and speaking of his oratory, he praised it, qua oratory alone; saying, "I never read anything of his that was not essentially ordinary! "Well," I said, "Mr. F., I should think you were unique in that opinion among friends and foes," and I asked if he really thought this country could be governed for so many years, off and on, by nothing but the music of eloquence — especially in the line of Budgets. He stuck to his assertion that there was nothing else about him which was not commonplace; and I was that disgusted, that I took refuge with my other neighbour, Lord Something, tho' a sad goose I found him.

06Mar1882, Discussing Lord F.

LONDON, March 6th-12th, 1882.
—The most enchanting mild spring: everything a month beforehand. F. had to go off Saturday for 3 nights to Holker; Barrowums. I dined en garcon at the Goschens', and sat by Lady Enfield who was mighty civil and said many interesting things about F.—how some bitter anti-Forster man said all would have been well in Ireland if F. had been Chief Sec.! I said, "Heaven forbid!" but Lord Enfield agreed with the man. Bet me 2s. 6d., which I took, that F. would be Chancellor of the Exchequer the end of this session.

23Feb1882, A Marred Portrait of Gladstone

LONDON, February 23rd, 1882.
—Went with Mazy to young Richmond's and saw his wonderful new picture of Uncle W. It has a sort of "Vision of Ezekiel" look about it; he is in a red robe (splendidly managed) and looks over one's head right out to a distant horizon with a wild, inspired expression; the eyes are miracles of painting, and indeed so is all the face, and it is a most powerful likeness. (An engraving from it was much finer than the painting, '87.) But he has cruelly marred the effect by a perverse rendering of the skin, making it coarse and weatherbeaten to the greatest degree, as if he had been a Scotch shepherd; the hand too is a ploughman's. This is unaccountable, for, tho' Uncle W. has a very sallow and deeply-lined complexion, the texture of his skin is particularly fine. The picture makes him 10 years older than he is. Also the forehead is too high it is broad, not high. Dined with Justice Brett [FN: Afterwards Lord Esher.] and sat by Ld. Derby who made himself mighty agreeable.

21Feb1882, Bradlaugh's Oath Sprung

LONDON, February 21st, 1882.
—Wretched Bradlaugh "sprung" his "oath" on the House, producing a Testament out of his pocket and going thro' the form before anyone knew what to be at. I hoped this wd give a good handle to Uncle W. to take the initiative agst the man, but he wouldn't, sticking to his original view that the House had exceeded its legal powers in preventing his taking the oath in due course; and therefore not choosing to take the responsibility of censuring him for taking the oath irregularly. I dare-say this is right and consistent from his point of view; but I can't hold with it! He did speak strongly agst this horrid move of Bradlaugh's. The upshot was that Sir Stafford,[FN: I.e., of course, Sir Stafford Northcote, leader of the Conservatives.] after 1st making a mild motion of keeping the man "outside the precincts," was sat upon by Woodcock (Randolph [FN: Lord Randolph Churchill; he was M.P. for Woodstock.]) and, seizing the opportunity of Bradlaugh's stalking in and taking his seat, moved his expulsion, which was forthwith carried out, without his even being allowed to speak in his defence. The division was very odd: Uncle W. and some other Ministers not voting at all; Cavendish voting with Sir Staffd., and the Liberals generally dividing their favours; it was a big majority. Things had come to such a pass that every course had something objectionable in it. There is no end of irrelevant talking on both sides. I see no sense in the line of the Pall Mall and Spectator, etc., which go off anti-tests, religious liberty, and so forth. The Parliamentary oath, tho' I daresay never so intended, is a test against atheists. If one hates tests, the only proper course is to make the oath optional or abolish it altogether. As long as it stands, it surely is proper to insist on its being respected. I never heard before of its being the correct line for friends of "religious liberty" to sanction the profanation of tests. Hitherto persons suffering under disabilities have waited for and agitated for the removal of tests, and Liberals have worked for that. Nobody but Bradlaugh has ever before dreamt of claiming the privilege of taking an oath after elaborately asserting that its sacred part is meaningless to him. I went in the evening with Susan Oldfield to a tea-party at dear old Limehouse, instead of Ishbel Aberdeen, who is a beloved "Lady Supplemental," but expecting a No. 3 baby and unable to come. We were hugely welcomed.

—Ash Wednesday, 22nd. S. Martin's, and St. Margaret's. Revd. Fox, the extreme Low Church incumbent of Christ Church, Broadway, preacht beautifully. By the bye, the Bradlaugh business was to-day: a fit Ash Wedy. penance for England generally.

19Dec1881, All the Schoolboys at Home

CHATSWORTH, December 19th, 1881.
—All the schoolboys at home: Wm. frightfully big, with the dawn of a moustache and a gruff voice!! Fritz, tho' quite a little boy still, has launched in life, passing 9th out of 82 who went in for the Britannia entrance exam, and that without any special cramming or coaching. From quite a dot he was always a steady worker, with a great notion of doing what was to be done. Victor, poor dear, a very strong development of the family "mouton qui rêve" countenance; but he may be a comely man yet, as he will be tall and long-legged, if he acquires a good big beard. Dick laid up with a feverish cold: he is rather a pretty fellow and very taking.

06Nov1881, The Comfort of his Life

HAWARDEN, November 6th, 1881.
—Eaton [FN: The new house of the Duke of Westminster, a few miles from Hawarden.] meanwhile beautiful but bewildering; no end of rich and good detail; and the little semi-detached "living-house" very snug. But it's too great a conglomeration. Sibell Grosvenor and Bibi Cavendish did the honours; the Duke we only saw for a minute. Sibell a most engaging creature, and the comfort of his life: her poor husband gets worse rather than better. She has 2 blooming pretty little girls; but the poor tiny boy [FN: The present Duke of Westminster.] is a sad sight; so inanimate and waxen, tho' nothing ostensibly wrong.

04Nov1881, Gladstone's Thoughts on Resignation

HAWARDEN, November 4th, 1881.
F. had talks with Uncle W. about his resignation, which he is very seriously contemplating about Easter, on the strength of having carried out all the great foreign matters of policy that he took office to do. The conversation as I have it from F. was pretty much as follows. Uncle W. began by saying that resigning the Chancellorship of the Exchequer would have the great drawback of in a manner binding him to remain on as P.M. for an indefinite time. His reasons for wishing to give it up altogether he then went into.

(I ought to have put in, after his words about the Exchequer, what he then proceeded to say as to his having been called to office. All the special reasons which justified his taking office were at an end or nearly so: the Berlin treaty carried out, Afghanistan evacuated, Transvaal settled, finance put on a satisfactory footing. Two matters that had since arisen no doubt still required his care—the state of Ireland, and Parliamentary Obstruction; but these were, he trusted, in a hopeful way of being settled.)

Never liked the tone even of Sir Robert Peel, when he used to complain of the severity of public service; which, in his (Uncle W.'s) opinion, was fairly requited and not heavier than duty called for. At the same time, he considered that after 50 years of public service it was not well to be obliged to work with the intensity which office now entailed, nor was it desirable to look forward to end one's days in the contentions necessarily entailed by the office of P.M. In the next place, his position towards the Queen was intolerable to one who throughout life had reverenced her as a constitutional sovereign, inasmuch as he now had to strive daily with her on the side of liberty as opposed to jingoism. In the 3rd place he said it was only fair to Lord Granville and Hartn., who had led the party thro' difficult and disagreeable times. F. acknowledged the force of all this, but represented the practical impossibility. While he retained his full powers, the country would not let him resign and nobody else could lead. Uncle W. then suggested temporary abstention on his part as meeting these difficulties; though he acknowledged that a retired Minister was inevitably the centre which attracted all discontent.

Subsequently, he mentioned the House of Lords, but said he thought of that with great reluctance. F. replied that to take a peerage was his only possible course if he was bent on retiring; that the country would otherwise always be turning to him and clamouring for him; that in the H. of Commons he could never occupy a 2nd place. Uncle W. laughed and said, "You have indeed put a serious bar in the way of my retiring." When he spoke of Ld. Granville, F. said he had heard on good authority (which he did not quote—it was a letter from Lord Acton to Mazy) that Ld. G. meant to retire whenever Uncle W. did. At this he was greatly surprised; but said he did fear Ld. G.'s life was not a good one. He spoke of the effects of old age: said he was constantly reminded of Cobden's remark about Ld. Palmerston — that with age authority was apt to increase as powers of judgment decreased; and quoted the D. of Wellington as another instance of harm done by old men. Nevertheless he was obliged to confess that he had stood the hard work of the last session without harm, and was in perfect force, and better than he had been. Spoke of a former time when he could not sleep on one side without disquiet and bad dreams—was now quite free from that. He tried to make out that Ireland might be quiet and the regulation of the House all settled by Easter. F. thinks there is hardly any chance of this. Within this very week he has given F. to read an able and exhaustive paper (such as might furnish matter for a 3 hours' speech) on Local Government for the guidance of Mr. Dodson. How could this be launched and then left to others? (F., however, has learnt since that it is to be laid before a special Committee on which Uncle W. will not sit.) The talk ended by his saying he would consult Lord Granville.

The impression F. gathered from the whole conversation was that the thought of retirement was not so much prompted by the personal longing for it (tho' without doubt it is a vision which refreshes and cheers him to turn to) as by conscientious scruples with regard to Ld. G. and Hartn., and as to his own conviction against old men going on at politics till they drop. He hates making himself the exception. (But N.B. what an exception he is, as a matter of fact!)

The upshot seems to me that he will find it impossible to retire before there is some indication of serious overstrain in him, either mental or bodily. That otherwise, however he might seclude himself he would remain a great power in the country, such as would necessarily hamper his successors. That the only feasible way, supposing his powers anything like what they are at present, would be by taking a peerage. That, unless he should be in real danger of breaking down, it could not be right for him to leave the helm in the present state of politics; nor can the moment be foreseen when it would be right. I think the hope of being able to retire soon will continue to please him; but that he will find it impossible at any given moment except under the above-mentioned conditions. Taking a peerage and continuing to be P.M. might do ; but it could hardly be bearable for him to be P.M. with no power over the H. of C. and in a minority in the H. of Lords.

03Oct1881, New Marvel: A Telephone

HAWARDEN, October 31st—November 6th, 1881.
—That enchanting new marvel, a telephone, has been put up, whereby Castle and Rectory converse ad libitum. Uncle W., who is in some respects the greatest Tory out, will have nothing to say to it. Sir John Lubbock came and 2 pleasant daughters, one a handsome Mrs. Mulholland and quite young, whose husband died some years ago on their honeymoon, 3 weeks after marriage: the other cock-eyed but agreeable and clever. Also came Mr. Goldwin Smith, and later in the week, Sir Bow-wow Harcourt (fresh from good big bow-wow speeches at Carlisle), wife and son; and Sir Ralph Lingen, whom F. brought with him from Ireland, whither he flew on Wednesday for 2 nights. This company, with the addition of the frog Mr. MacColl and great Bp. Lightfoot (who is the image of a toad), made it a notable week, full of interest.

24Oct1881, Charles Has a Son

HOLKER, October 24th, 1881.
Dear old big brother wrote me word of a son-and-heir [FN: The present Viscount Cobham.] with a hooked nose being born on Sunday the 23rd. A great event to us ! The little fellow is born with that most blessed of heritages—the good and noble examples of three generations of his name.

08Oct1881, Leeds: They Roared Like Many Waters

MARTON HALL, October 8th, 1881.
—Leeds eclipsed all this [FN: I.e. the Middlesbrough festivities.] pretty completely ! and indeed the mighty enthusiasm there outstrips anything we saw or heard of last year at the general election. Unluckily dear old Sir Edward Baines could not receive us as he had intended, owing to his wife's illness, tho' she was getting better (she died shortly after), and his brother, who lives a long way out of the town, was a timid old boy who took pains to keep us out of the thick of events, much to my disgust. We left Middlesbrough early on Friday, hoping to come in for most of the 1st meeting; but were driven off remorselessly to the Baines's retreat and had to lunch there. Pleasant daughters and a benign old wife. The evening banquet made up for much: it was most beautifully done with white and red hangings, and lit up resplendently with the wonderful new electric lights, mixed with gas. The speech we missed in the morning was a first-rate demolition of the new craze called "Fair Trade," which Uncle W. summarised very pat by saying it was an improvement on the old precept, inasmuch as it would make it read "If thine enemy smite thee on the one cheek, thou shalt smite thyself on the other." In the evening he spoke on Ireland, and never did he speak with more weight and power. I could see, sitting near him, how deeply he felt the awful responsibility of the moment; for what he had to do was to warn Parnell and Co., that the "long patience" of the Government had all but reached its term. He had to say that now the Land Act was law it was to have fair play. Parnell has been inciting the people to take no advantage of it until he is pleased to give them leave. He is now explicitly warned that if he persists in this line, he will be stopped. Uncle W. also dwelt with overwhelming force on all the incitements to lawlessness and violence in Parnell's speeches. It was as clear as possible that a new line was to be taken by Government. The applause was immense. After dinner he was escorted home by a procession of torch-bearers (again we were safely convoyed home, out of all the fun ! by poor old Frederick Baines).

Other functions followed on Saturday, but the thing was the monster mass meeting of about 25,000 people. I was frightened to death for the 1st hour. The atmosphere was horrible; and the people, tired of waiting, would not listen to anyone except Uncle W. and Herbert, and took to that dreadful swaying which is the most awful thing to see in a great crowd. Air, however, was let in and all went well when once Uncle W. got up. The 25,000 cheers that uprose were something never-to-be-forgotten ! followed by "Kentish fire" and then by roars of "He's a jolly good fellow." At last came silence, and he began "Mr. Chairman." Hearing his clear voice throughout the hall started them afresh ! and they roared like many waters for several more seconds. The speech went into points of Foreign Policy chiefly, and, as always, I was struck with the keenness and quickness with which each point was taken. I never was more struck by his glorious gift of raising every subject on to a high moral platform with a power of conviction that carries these great multitudes up with him like one man. He was rather hoarse all along, but his voice rather improved as he went on.... Nice to see the intense affection for "Herbert," as everyone calls him ("'towd mon and Herbert"). He made an excellent, perfectly-expressed little speech; his voice a beautiful flexible tenor, almost equal to his father's, tho' very different. After this back to Holker.

05Oct1881, Middlesbrough Jubilee

MARTON HALL,[FN: Mr. Bolckow's house] October 5th, 1881.
—Wednesday, F. and I went off on notable jaunt. First for 2 nights to Middlesbrough, to celebrate its jubilee and the inauguration of a statue to the late Bolckow; then to Leeds, where Uncle W. had a magnificent reception. He has been due there ever since the election, to thank them, first for his own return (which they engaged to bring about before there was any idea of how the tide would turn), next for Herbert's.

26Sep1881, Crape on Their Whips

HOLKER, September 26th—October 2nd, 1881.
—The feeling throughout England for Garfield very strong; Monday was his funeral, and in London the Exchange and many shops were closed, and all the 'bus men had crape on their whips.

19Sep1881, President Garfield Dies

HOLKER, September 19th, 1881.
—On the 19th President Garfield died, after a marvellous struggle for life of — weeks. A few days ago he was moved from Washington to fresher and purer air, the great heat having tried him; and he did not seem the worse for the journey which was managed with immense care and tenderness. The post-mortem reveals that there was no chance of his recovery from the first; the bullet was in quite a different place from what the doctors thought, and there were frightful signs of blood-poisoning. He must have lived on by dint of sheer vitality, and of calmness and courage; also his poor wife's devotion and sanguineness seem to have kept him alive. The Queen has telegraphed her sympathy and inquiries constantly, to the intense gratification of the Americans, and has now sent a very touching message to Mrs. Garfield.

05Sep1881, A Yankee Miss Who Knew F.

BOLTON ABBEY, September 5th-10th, 1881.
—One day F. and I went to Keighley for a Church stone-laying he had to do for Mr. Longsdon, the Vicar: we had a sumptuous tea afterwards in a gorgeous Louix XV palace, outrageously inappropriate to its surroundings, entertained by Mr. ____, the owner, who, being a Yorkshire manufacturer, gets himself up as a French buck. Wonderfully he aired his villa at Nice and his "little coterie" of Comtesses and Duchesses there. The event of the day, however, was the meeting between F. and a certain Yankee Miss _____, a showy old-young lady much painted, who turned out to be no other than "Philadelphia," so called because he never could remember her name, but about whom I used to chaff him. They were acquainted when he was in America with Evelyn Ashley and Dick Grosvenor, 22 years ago; the fair creature tried to make out that it was 20 years ago and that she was then only 14; but no: she has probably nearly reached my mature age. We were introduced to her aged Mamma in a flaxen wig, rather like Mrs. Skewton. What they are doing at Mr. _____'s I can't quite make out, but I suppose Miss will end by accepting his heart and hand and the villa at Nice and the "little coterie" and all.

14Aug1881, Suspense About Westminster

THE COPPICE, August 14th, 1881.
—Great suspense about the Deanery of Westminster. I believe it is hanging between Edwin Palmer, Dr. Bradley, Dr. Hornby, and Dr. Barry. The 1st would be excellent, tho' he is so little known.

08Aug1881, Bradlaugh's Oath

LONDON, August 8th-14th, 1881.
—I think it was last week that Bradlaugh made a horrid scene at the House. His line is to insist on trying to take his seat by force; so he had to be stopped in the lobby and hustled downstairs by main force, fighting hard. The plea put forward by himself and all his backers irritates me to death: to listen to them, one would suppose he was the victim of intolerance and religious tests. Whereas the one and only point in question is whether an oath, taken by a man who has explicitly, in black and white, declared, a propos of the very oath in question, that its solemn words have no meaning for him, is a valid oath at all.

03Aug1881, A Concert For Me

LONDON, August 3rd, 1881.
—The remarkable day of my first (and last) concert: got up for me by Mazy [FN: I.e. Mary Gladstone.] and Spencer. Free Forester quartetts and quintettes (Spencer, Edward, Messrs. Ratliff, Bray, and Muir Mackenzie), a little violin and p.f. pair of Polish sisters called Bulewski, an American Miss Bube: brothers also each sang a solo and Mazy played. Company rather dowdy, but delighted.

30Jul1881, The Spanish Prince Imperial

RICKMANSWORTH, July 30th, 1881.—We came to Rickmansworth Park, the Birch's. Met the Spanish Ambassador, and certain Palmers; she in a nursing Sister's dress. It seems she is the head of the new Cancer Hospital, where a peculiar non-cutting system is adopted. How this goes with married life I know not ! but they seem very comfortable together. Mr. Birch the funniest specimen of all-round and unmitigated self-complacency I ever came across: impossible not to chaff him wickedly. Most hospitable.

—Sunday, July 3st. Poured hard all the morning, but to my delight a little bus and one took us to a nice church at Chorley Wood, where an old Cornish curate preacht excellently. Pottered endlessly most of the afternoon, being audience to the Birch grounds, Birch trees, Birch cows, Birch dog, Birch glories of all sorts. The trees are magnificent. The Spanish Ambassador (who gave occasion for a little airing of Birch Spanish) a quaint person, amusing from his vehement gesticulation of hands, arms, shoulders, and above all eyes. He talked interestingly of the poor Prince Imperial: I felt more sympathetic over his longing to fight under the English flag than I ever did before: the Ambassador said he was a very high-minded and noble fellow, terribly hampered by his foolish mother's attempts to keep him a baby, and wishing for something more manly than being petted thro' a London season. Of course there was also the desire to distinguish himself before the world. The Empress seems to tread hard on Bonapartist toes by constant slaps at parvenus and showing her ring about ancient blood, to which the Ambassador says he was always inclined to retort, "It was, however, a parvenu that made you an Empress!"

26Jul1881, I Can't Bear Lecky!

LONDON, July 26th, 1881.
—We dined with the Roundells ; met Goldwin Smiths and Leckys. (I can't bear Lecky ! with his innocent long face, looking as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.)

18Jul1881, Death of Dean Stanley

LONDON, July 18th, 1881.
—On Monday, just after midnight, died Dean Stanley, after about a fortnight's illness, ending with erysipelas in the head and lungs. I saw him last at his "Window-gardening show" in the grounds of the Abbey, when he is supposed to have caught a fatal chill. The following Saturday he preached (as he had been doing for some weeks) at Evensong on one of the Beatitudes, although ill and sick; and, feeling rather better last week, wrote part of a sermon on Ld. Hatherley which he was to have delivered yesterday. I tried to speak to him at the flower-show, but he was bustling about so actively among the people, that I could not catch him; and gave it up, little thinking!... He makes a great blank, and nobody can ever entirely replace him as to loving-hearted, universal kindness, genial courtesy, picturesque eloquence, and beautiful purity and tenderness of spirit. A true and deep love of God and man he most surely had; and I for one have had a strong feeling for him ever since hearing him preach long ago in S. James's, Piccadilly, on the "Eloi, Eloi" text. More than was his wont he gave in that sermon a glimpse into his own inner self; and spoke, so as to move one to tears, of the soul clinging to God in the midst of darkness and difficulty. I believe his strange negation of all dogmatic faith was from intellectual causes, while his love of God was of the heart.

10Jul1881, 50,000 Volunteers

SUNNINGHILL, July 10th, 1881.
—There came off a grand review of volunteers in Windsor Park, over 50,000. No end of croakings heralded it, for up to last Wednesday the weather has been tremendously hot for 10 days or more. Tuesday night, however, brought a prolonged thunderstorm, and Saturday was a perfect day of bright sunshine and fresh breeze, with clouds and a little showering in the afternoon. All went off without a hitch: railway arrangements faultless, military ones ditto. Only 130 or thereabouts had to go to the ambulance at all, and only 1 man has been ill enough (from sunstroke) to be sent into hospital. The Queen immensely delighted, and the Crown Prince of Germany, and other foreigners who were present, struck all of a heap. So many men have never been reviewed in England before. I now gnash my teeth at our never having thought of going to see it, but the authorities did nothing but discourage people. To make it more provoking, we were in the close neighbourhood, having accepted an invitation to "Peck" Hamilton's, close to Sunninghill. F., of course, ran the one train so fine that we missed it, and had to go by one of the innumerable specials to Staines. There we found we were 9 miles from Sunninghill, and not a fly to be had. Left servants and luggage to twirl their thumbs till 8 p.m. and set out walking. Luckily a charming shady road and cool evening. Asked in vain for a trap at many a public, but after walking about 2 1/2 miles, found a crampy little dog-cart beyond Egham, and got to "Peck's" triumphantly about 7.50. Enchanting, delicious place, and most heavenly weather.

26Jun1881, A Favoured and Petted Prince

WELLINGTON COLLEGE, June 26th, 1881.
—Heard about Prince Chrstian's eldest boy, who is here; seems a nice, well-disposed, lively fellow, but having been favoured and petted at his 1st school is terribly ill-grounded and inattentive. He is on just the same footing as the others, except that he must not be flogged and this greatly bothers his tutor.

18Jun1881, Dear Little Ethel Fane

BROCKET, June 18th, 1881.
—To Brocket. Sunday 19th. Lovely day in this delicious umbrageous place. Made great acquaintance with the dear little body Ethel Fane,[FN: Now Lady Desborough] aged 14, Henry Cowper's orphan niece. She has her mother's pretty dark eyes. We had no end of topics in common, being equal lovers of Miss Yonge, and I did enjoy the little body's intense enthusiasm and great discernment, coupled with very pretty modesty. She is a loving little Churchwoman, and I trust may influence her uncle (who adores her) as she grows older. The odd couple, Auberon Herbert and his wife, are here, with 3 very taking children and a baby. Auberon less of a bore than as I remember him 100 years ago buttonholing Uncle W. at Hawarden: Lady Florence very nice. Ly. Lymington, Ch. Clifford, and the Giotto Trevelyans [FN: A name she gives to Sir George Otto and Lady Trevelyan.] also here.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

13Jun1881, Comments on the Revised Version

LONDON, June 13th-19th, 1881.
—One of these days Uncle W. dined with us: we kept off politics and went high-gee into the Revised Version. When he was last ill from overwork and worry a little while ago, he went at it as he lay in bed. He doesn't like it—objects to the pedantry of abjuring all synonyms and quasi-synonyms (as "pity" and "compassion": "immediately" "forthwith" and "straightway") and sticking to one word; of forcing the poor English verbs out of their own manners and customs to fit them into the literal Greek (thus the auxiliary is constantly dropped, to the damage of the sense, i.e., "I glorified Thee on the earth: I finished the work..."). He said translation ought to have an element of instinct in it, which he thought lacking.

04Jun1881, Deliciously Together

BONN, June 4th, 1881.
—Having squeezed in nineteen baths [FN: Lady Frederick had been taking baths at Kreuznach.] I felt I might go off and meet F. at Bonn on Saturday; he has only four nights to spare, poor wretch, as evil fate has put Supply down first thing on Thursday.... Then came the joyful moment of meeting my Fred at the station about 3. Drove off deliciously together after he had had some supper, to Godesberg: it's rather a cockney drive, but he loved the sweet air. . . . He has brought out with him, to my delight, the new Revised Version of the N.T. It has been all but 11 years in hand, and ought to have had on the fly-leaf, "Revised 1870 to 1881," instead of the latter date alone. The Bp. of Gloucester, in introducing it to Convocation, gave an interesting account of the immense elaboration and minute pains bestowed on it. I should think it had been overdone, and that translation, like original work, ought to have some instinctiveness about it.

02May1881, Gladstone Eulogizes Disraeli

LONDON, May 2nd, 1881.
Uncle W. made a most faultless speech, moving for a monument to Dizzy in Westminster Abbey—generous, appreciative, unreserved, and yet scrupulously true and with no blinking of their long antagonism. He ended with a hearty declaration that he never saw in Lord B.'s attitude towards himself any personal antipathy (and indeed, tho' in one who hates what he thinks evil "right sore," as Uncle W. does, there almost must be hot personal feeling, yet I am certain, with him also, the hatred was of Dizzy's political principles, not of himself). I heard afterwards that many Conservatives were moved to tears, and Sir Stafford followed in an excellent speech in which he said Mr. G.'s words had already supplied Ld. B. with a noble monument. Certain Radicals who had intended to oppose refrained from voting, and some votes were given in support which would have gone the other way but for the speech. One of these converts was Herbert Gladstone!...

A bill for rendering the Parliamentary oath permissive has been proposed by Government. There is no other way of getting rid of the wretched Bradlaugh mess. Uncle W. sticks to it, and I believe he is quite right, that the H. of Commons has no legal power to prevent any duly-elected member taking the oath. The law won't let him affirm: while the Conservatives (and I do feel with them) won't allow him to break the 3rd Commandment in the face of heaven and earth by publicly taking to witness God whom he has explicitly denied the existence of. Nothing is left but legislation, and so the Tories have said; but they can't resist making party capital out of the whole confession, and are now obstructing the bringing in of the Bill. The peculiarly odious worry of this, and also the great effort of preparing the Beaconsfield speech, lately made Uncle W. ill. It is sadly clear that he cannot stand wear and tear as he used. Bradlaugh has begun a course of presenting himself at the bar to swear, and getting handed out.

30Apr1881, Comparing Gladstone and Disraeli

HOLMBURY, April 30th, 1881.—Came just in time for dinner to Holmbury, with Mr. Cowper; find Mr. Leveson and George, and Mr. Welby.

—May Day. 2nd Sunday after Easter. Lovely flying lights and shades. Only one church, alas !—it is a lovely church. Beautiful walks and a nice day altogether, with much lively talk. Mr. Cowper and I drove up from the station together yesterday and tried to analyse Uncle W. and Dizzy. He has always been rather fond of Dizzy; said he was more affectionate and made and kept more friends than Uncle W., and that he could be very charming in private life when not upon politics but talking books, etc. We rather differed about Uncle W. and his warmth of feeling; Mr. Cowper (while immensely admiring him) said he thought he had some of the "egoism of genius"—i.e., that a great cause would so absorb him as to make him view his friends and colleagues almost exclusively in the lights of instruments for the attainment of the end he had at heart. He thought Uncle W. had few devoted friends out of the circle of his belongings; but I think he has quite as many as Dizzy had: his past and present secretaries, Freddy, Algy West, Eddy Hamilton, Lord Wolverton, and (I think) Ld. Acton and Ld. Rosebery, all love him. It is quite true that grief does not remain long with him; but I don't think this is from want of true acute feeling when friends die, but partly from his curious inability to dwell upon anything when he has something else he must work at, and mainly from the extraordinarily perfect health of his whole self—mind and soul and body—which gives him wonderful spring and elasticity. It is strange in a man whose one mental deficiency is a certain want of sense of proportion that this grand well-ordered balance of all his powers should exist to such a degree.

03Apr1881, Gladstone Hard at Work

LONDON, Sunday, April 3rd, 1881.
—Saty. 2nd. F. with such a cold on his chest that we gave up Wellington College.—Sunday. Kept him in bed all the morning, and at home all day. Algy West came to tea high-gee Budget details; had seen Uncle W. hard at work with Mr. Welby in the middle of the day, and poked fun about his Sabbath keeping. But I said I would answer for his having been to church, and sure enough I ascertained afterwards that he had been to the full service at Chapel Royal and again in the afternoon, and had only worked 2 1/2 hrs. between whiles!—topping up with reading a sermon.

30Mar1881, Another Adventure With Horses

LONDON, March 30th, 1881.
—Miss Lilley came to see me, and we went together to Lady Jane Lindsay's, and trolled over a proposed Scarlet Fever Convalescent Home with a nice wilder-woman, Mrs. Clifton. Before this I had an event au beau milieu of St. James' St., the horse falling down, getting up again in a panic, and kicking and plunging till it looked like complete smash of either himself, brougham, or sundry human beings. Nothing worse happened than shivered shafts, thank God. It is my 4th adventure with horses in London: my come-down in Rotten Row, my knock-over ditto, and the kicking of Meriel's horses on the famous occasion when Sir Robt. Peel and Lord Huntly flew to the rescue.

-31st. Poor old Dizzy is very ill with gouty bronchial asthma.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

28Mar1881, The Russian Tragedy

LONDON, March 28th, 1881.
—Drawing Room distressing from the age and wizziness or blowsiness of my friends! Ly. Clifden, with her fairly nice-looking daughter to present, has grown huge and almost ugly. Saw my old flames, once so lovely, Ly. Feversham and Nelly Baring (each with daughters), sadly worsified both. The Royalties looked sadly grim, in blackest black; how ghastly it must be to be undergoing a Court mummery with their poor hearts all full of the Russian tragedy! The D. and Dss. of Edinburgh went off to S. Petersb. the very day of the murder,[FN: The assassination of the Emperor Alexander II.] and the P. and Prss. of Wales have gone to the Funeral. Most plucky, when there can be no sort of security against their being blown up all together. After the drawing-room I drove to Clapham and gave away prizes to the "Middle School" there.

15Mar1881, Peace Without Victory

LONDON, March 15th, 1881.
—Negotiations are going on with the Boers. It does not need to be a jingo to feel the humiliation of making peace without a victory after 3 defeats. But (owing I fear to our dear Sir Owen Lanyon) we have brought the situation a good deal on ourselves, from not setting negotiations on foot the minute we came into power, and so getting out of the mess the late Government had got us into. Lanyon was strangely blind, believing all along (as his letters to me show) that the whole disturbance was nothing but the whipping-up of a few self-seeking agitators, working upon a silly ignorant people. As to humiliation, nothing could be worse than shedding blood in order to do what we know to be wrong; moreover, there has been no knuckling down since Majuba Hill, inasmuch as negotiations were on foot before.

27Feb1881, Burdett-Coutts Marries Younger Man

LONDON, February 27th, 1881.
Gertrude Pennant has a fine little daughter, born on the 24th, the hapless George Pennant's 8th dau. and 11th child! Called on Adéle. She was very full of the disgusting Burdett-Coutts marriage, which has actually come off, dreadful to say. The breakfast was next door but one to Adèle's, at Ly. B. Coutts' aged sister's (Mrs. Trevanion, who, being over 80, looks upon the Baroness as a young thing). The bride wore orange-flowers and cream-coloured satin and had her veil off her poor old face ! and a huge bouquet.

24Feb1881, Gladstone Hits His Head

LONDON, February 24th, 1881.
—Consternation of F. and me at breakfast, getting an official notice of Uncle W. having slipped in the half-melted snow at the garden-door coming home from Marlboro' House last night, and cut the back of his head open on the edge of the doorstep. It sounded too horrid, but on arriving there we found the state of things wonderfully comfortable: he was not stunned even for a moment, and Sir James Paget and Clark were quite easy about him. It was the hard bone of the crown which bore the brunt; I believe if it had been an inch or two lower down he might have been killed. I asked Paget if the loss of blood was not serious at his age, but he laughed and said I would not think so if I knew how many "broken heads" he had bled till they fainted when he was a student! It was the thing to do then, and he never knew any harm come of it. However, Uncle W. is to be kept quiet in bed for some days, and will enjoy himself thoroughly.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

23Feb1881, Courage to Tackle the Queen

LONDON, February 23rd, 1881.
—Escorted Princess Louise over the Kensington High School, where Medge is a pupil; great excitement of all concerned. She did it very kindly and thoroughly, a la Royale. In the afternoon she was to have had tea in Downing St., but didn't. A very pleasant little party there enjoyed themselves nevertheless: Ly. Bath, Freddy Leveson, Mr. Lowell the American Minister, Charlotte Spencer. Uncle W. high-gee having gone at the Queen about Ash Wednesday. H.M. had fixed a Council at Windsor for that day at a church-going hour, and neither Althorp [FN: I.e. Lord Spencer] nor Ld. Granville had the courage to tackle her! Uncle W. did, however, with perfect success; H.M. thanking him politely and fixing the hour much later.

20Feb1881, Lord Derby Very Agreeable

BATTLE, February 20th, 1881.
—Pleasant grey day. Nice services in fine Perpendicular church. Good walk; Lord Derby very agreeable and full of humour; I never took him in that light before; but 10 to 1, if one met him a week hence, he would not know one from Adam. He even joined the Dss.'s youthful sports and did Irish brogue, etc., very well. Not a word of politics did he speak. I like the dignified kind old Duke of Cleveland, with his clever, ancient reminiscences.

19Feb1881, Borrowing a Gown

BATTLE, February 19th, 1881.
—To Battle, meeting Henry Cowper, F. Leveson and son, the Derbys, and Morleys. Duchess [FN: Of Cleveland, mother of Lord Rosebery.] as youthful and sportive as ever; my box was shot out at the wrong station, and I had to don a smart tea-gown of hers, which did famously, tho' it wouldn't meet in front!

16Feb1881, Still Dislikes Matthew Arnold

LONDON, February 16th, 1881.
—Dined with the Trevelyans, met Matt. Arnolds (oh ! still I feel of him as I did 25 years ago—" I do not like you, Dr. Fell "). He was agreeable enough and there was good literary talk about Carlyle and George Eliot; but his chin was always in the air. Drum at Ly. Harcourt's.

—Thurs., 17th. P.M.W. at Ly. Geo. Hamilton's. Drum in Gt. Geo. St. Drum at Ly. Reay's, where I saw Alfred who said such a warm, loving word of thanks for my letter.

15Feb1881, Training Boys to Honour Women

LONDON, February 15th, 1881.
Auntie P. and I went to hear that wonderful woman, Miss Ellice Hopkins, speak on how to save little girls from the horrors they are exposed to, and generally on the spirit with which all should be inspired to fight against the terrible "social evil." [FN: I have seen a beautiful letter which Lady Frederick wrote to one of her godsons, a young naval officer, on this subject, calling upon him never to believe that a pure life is impossible and to remember it is only by a better example among officers that a higher tone can be brought about among the men of either the Navy or the Army.] Much was of course unutterably painful and shocking, but her own Christlike spirit of pure love of souls was more striking than I can say and she held me spellbound. The main principle (never to be forgotten) that she urged, was the training boys from their very childhood to honour all women and, as they grow up, to loathe any thought of bringing any woman to shame, or helping to keep her there. And she spoke strong' words — not one bit too strong — against the devilish opinion of the lost and miserable class of women being a "necessity." A strong impulse came over me to write to darling Alfred, now he is in the thick of London life, both social and professional, to beg him to use that sunny influence of his for good in these directions.

14Feb1881, The Prophet of Chelsea Has Died

LONDON, February 14th, 1881.
Old Carlyle, "the prophet of Chelsea," died a little while ago, of mere old age. I am glad I was once introduced to him, and can remember his shock head and outpour of broad Scotch. We read the "French Revolution" when we 1st married, and I own I had had quite enough of it before I had done, but yet there are plenty of noble and eloquent and humorous passages. He wd have been buried in Westr. Abbey but for his own wish to be taken to Scotland.

07Feb1811, Ugly, Undeniably

LONDON, February 7th, 1881.
—I ought to have mentioned a smart little drum at Downing St. last Wednesday when we met the D. and Duchess of Edinburgh. Mazy said Uncle W. had been delighted with the Duchess all thro' dinner, she was so lively and intelligent. Ugly, undeniably ! but it's no wonder our long-nosed Princes should look out for pug-nosed wives.

Monday, February 28, 2011

31Jan1881, Parliament and the Irish

LONDON, January 31st—February 6th, 1881.
—A very notable week of Parliamentary events. The "debate" on leave to bring in the Coercion Bill began afresh on Monday, and the House sat for 41 1/2 hours. The Speaker and Dep. Speaker (Dr. Playfair) relieved each other, and the House divided itself as before into relays. On Tues. night F. was to sit up, and to go to bed at 8 on Wednesday morning the 2nd Feb. Instead of which, when he turned up at that hour, he announced that after some breakfast and a tub he was to go back again, as a coup d'état was decided on. The Speaker had gone on patiently calling the wretches to order over and over again, and about midnight the Tories made a dead set at Dr. Playfair, who had taken the Chair, to "name" one of the lot. He wouldn't do what the Speaker had declined to do, and a bear-garden ensued. The Front Opposition bench all stalked out of the House, and rest took to shouting. Only poor Mr. Childers was on the Government bench at the time; but after a bit Bright came in and made a good speech which quieted them. Meanwhile F. went off in a cab to Devonshire House and pulled unlucky Hartn. out of bed at 1 when he had just got there and was sound asleep. The rest of the night passed peacefully. Very few even of the Government knew what was planned between the Speaker, Uncle W., and Sir Stafford; but some notion of a decisive step impending must have prevailed, for at 9 a.m. the House was pretty full. I hurried matters at home, but couldn't omit Prayers for any coup d'état! so that I was just in time at 9.30 to be too late. The Speaker took Playfair's place at 9, and without sitting down made a stately little speech as to the obstructed condition of things, and proceeded to say that under the exceptional circumstances he should call on no member to speak, but should at once call for the division. Biggar, one of the most offensive of the Irish, like a hunched-back toad to look at, who was comfortably expecting to resume his speech (interrupted by Playfair's leaving the Chair), was thus left high and dry ! and, before any of them could say Jack Robinson, the division was taken and leave given to bring in the Coercion Bill, which was immediately read a 1st time. When I got there, a bit of the business was being got thro' and then came the announcement that the House do adjourn (for only 2 1/2 hours ! ), received by a worn-out cassé cheer of joy as the hapless M.P.s rushed out of the House and home to bed. We came across Sir Bow-wow Harcourt and Cavendish by Westminster Hall in high feather, Sir Bow-wow saying that it was the 1st time in history that Cavendish had been known to be in bed at 1, and then he was pulled out of it! F. went to bed, but had to be back by 12. Motions for adjournment went on just as if nothing had happened, and so came 6 with no progress made. Uncle W. then gave notice of Anti-Obstruction Resolutions.

—Thurs., Feb. 3rd. The Irish evidently meant to play the game of interrupting Uncle W. on some pretext or another whenever he tried to introduce his Resolutions. Perhaps they might have contrived to do this with temper and success, but an announcement made at the outset of the sitting utterly overthrew their composure, and they were delivered into the hands of the House. The most mischievous agitator who has been stumping Ireland is one Mich. Davitt, a ticket-of-leave man. His last speech was so outrageous, that he has now been arrested, as forfeiting his ticket-of-leave. One of the Irishmen asked Sir Bow-wow if this was true, and they were all rendered frantic by his short answer, "Yes, sir," and by the rather bad taste of cheering which followed. On Mr. Dillon rising when Uncle W. was on his legs, and before he had finished one sentence so that there could be no pretext of a "point of order" —the Speaker called him to order—he defied the Chair, was "named" and immediately whipt out of the House by the Sergeant-at-Arms, backed by 5 messengers, on a motion of Uncle W.'s followed by a division. This performance had to be repeated 4 times, Paddy after Paddy interrupting Uncle W. When Parnell (their leader) was thus marched off, all the Home Rulers rose en masse and shouted "Privilege! Privilege!" waving arms and hats. As unhappy Uncle W. had each time to begin his speech, each time to be interrupted, the Speaker then to do the "naming," Uncle W. then to move the member's expulsion, a division to be taken, the M.P. to refuse to go, the Sergeant-at-Arms to be called in, with or without others to back him, and the rebellious M.P. finally to be marched off, we should have probably spent the next fortnight at the job of getting rid of the whole brigade. But luckily, after the 4th performance, the whole lot were demented enough to refuse to leave the House en masse for the division, upon which Dick Grosvenor solemnly reported to the Speaker that he was unable to clear the House. The 1st time this defiance was overlooked, but the 2nd time the whole number (29) were "named together," and after a last division, marched out, one after another, the necessary application of "force" varying from the old Sergeant-at-Arms single-handed, to 3 or 4 of his myrmidons besides.

Before the whole batch, singly and collectively, had been disposed of, poor Uncle W. had had to make 6 abortive starts on his speech, and had had too, after each "naming," to act as executioner. Punch said he had to be up and down between his seat and the table like a hen on a hot gridiron. Who but he, after such a couple of hours, at 1/4 to 9, without his dinner, could have finished up with a noble, energetic, and perfectly-expressed speech, of which F. told me that he could not have improved it in any degree, either by omission, addition, or alteration, or in the delivery, if he had had a fortnight to prepare it in, and his own moment to deliver it.

I was comforted for my absence by the delight of getting F. home to dinner (at 10!) in one of his rare bouts of intense love and enthusiasm bursting forth. The effect on the House seems to have been beyond, old Tories cheering themselves purple, and Sir J. Hogg (a bitter Conservative of the Pennant type) coming up to F. and saying, "Gladstone has met us most fairly, and we will do our best to meet him." In the speech there was no tinge of temper or vindictiveness; it was a strong, tense show-up of the hopeless nature of the obstruction, and a grand appeal to the House for its own sake ("I speak now, not of myself—my lease is nearly run out") so to act now as to cease to be the laughingstock of the world.

17Jan1881, London in Snow

LONDON, January 17th, 1881.
—Towards evening the wind got up, and blew all night and all Tuesday with a big snowfall. The drifts were no joke, and by Wednesday we found out that there is a kind of universal block and stoppage of traffic, more or less, all over the British Isles and the Continent into the bargain. No post from the country whatever on Wednesday. I walked up to Bulstrode Street on Tuesday at 6 and had no real difficulty in fighting my way, but there was hardly a vehicle to be seen. It snowed most of Wednesday into the bargain. Uncle W. reappeared in the House on Monday and made a thundering fine energetic speech against a monstrous Irish amendment to the Address. The wretched carriage had to drag F. to dine at the Speaker's, so it took me over to the Granvilles', where I found I was in for a fearful diplomatic dinner and any amount of French. Sat by the Greek Ambassador and avoided politics!

—Thurs. 20th. The snow and wind are over, but the streets don't improve much. The snow is in huge heaps on either side, and pathways cut out in the drifts across squares, etc.; cabs mostly with 2 horses, hansoms tandem. The silence is quite beautiful.

09Jan1881, Bulwer-Lytton Defends Afghanistan Policy

LONDON, January 9th, 1881.
—I went to the H. of Lords, where Ld. Lytton was ill-advised enough to attempt a defence of the Afghanistan policy. His speech was fluent and clever, but he had not a leg to stand on, and oddly enough did not defend himself, as his notice prepared us for; but went on the old dead anti-Russian ground. He was followed by the D. of Argyll, who, with perhaps unnecessary fire, demolished and scattered him to the winds in a most brilliant, condensed, and perfect little speech of only of an hour. (This was the last time I saw Dizzy.) The House much interested and edified, I believe, but as usual quite incapable of showing its feelings at all; it must be like speaking to people "hard of hearing" and asleep.

08Jan1881, New Actor Edwin Booth

LONDON, January 8th, 1881.
—To the "Fool's Revenge," with the good new actor Edwin Booth. Very good, and I wept sore!

05Jan1881, All This a Dead Secret

LONDON, January 5th, 1881.
—Throw-off drum at Downing Street; such a jabber as never was. Everybody very anxious about everybody's health, on the threshold of such a campaign H.M. took a sudden (not a new) quirk against the promise to give up Candahar in the Royal Speech, and kept the unhappy Ministers hours at Osborne, bringing her round — Uncle W. having to telegraph argumentative messages in cipher! All this is a dead secret, but everyone knew the delayed departure of the Ministers who turned up late for Downing St. dinner.

31Dec1880, A Year of Many Clouds

LONDON, December 3st, 1880.
—Went to Downing Street after dinner on Thursday and dined there Friday. Poor Uncle W. looked ill and harassed and dead tired on Thursday and had a touch of lumbago. Fri. he was much brighter and quite well! Having the Cabinet off his mind was a great thing. Marvellous to say, the principle of the Land Bill was agreed to, tho' Uncle W. (little as it is suspected) more Conservative than most upon the question. Habeas Corpus is to be suspended; alas for the need! So ends a year of many clouds—over both public and private horizons. God be with us all.

17Dec1880, Tenants Refuse Pay Rent

LONDON, December 17th, 1880.
—I went to see Lord George Quin (88) and Ly. Newburgh. Lord George said his Irish tenants had one and all refused to pay rent, against the grain however. He has just cut a tooth ! ! and given up spectacles.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

15Dec1880, At Windsor With the Queen

WINDSOR CASTLE, December 15th, 1880.
—We had the excitement of going to Windsor to dine and sleep, also the Gladstones. Great was my romance at revisiting those dear maid-of-honour glimpses of the moon — for the 1st time with F.: I did go in '69 alone. Sweet peace in snug little rooms with tea and books till dinner-time. The Queen very kind; talked a good while to me after dinner (standing about in the corridor, according to present uncomfortable fashion), and took very gracious notice of F., asking him about his "hard work," telling me he wasn't like Cavendish, but was like his mother. Edwarden [FN: Edward Talbot, Warden of Keble, afterwards Bishop of Winchester.] preacht before H.M. last Sunday; she said, "He is not handsome — not like his father" — didn't mention his sermon to me but said something civil about it to Auntie P., only "it was rather long," (N.B. 20 mins.).

The grey hair is really almost the only change in the dear Queen's looks since my day; she was grave for the most part, and no wonder. Ireland is a great distress to her. She had a long talk with Uncle W. before dinner. Ly. Ely told Auntie P. that H.M. thought Uncle W. "very kind" to her, and was struck by his serious view of the state of things and by his great loyalty to all his colleagues. Princess Beatrice a nice creature, pretty from her gentle brightness of expression, and bloom: talked a good deal to me. Gave rather a dismal account of poor Princess Louise who has never recovered from her ghastly sleigh-accident in Canada. Ly. Waterpark was Ly.-in-waiting; Ly. Ely here too, so altered I did not know her. Ld. Thurlow and another kissed hands on being made Lords-in-Waiting, and I sat by Lord T., who was on his best behaviour dining for the first time, and looked upon me as an old hand. After H.M. had done with us, we joined the Household, sitting round the round table just as of old: venerable Caroline Cavendish, Miss Phipps, Sir H. Ponsonby, to whom I puffed Constance Neville, who is going to marry his sub-secretary Col. Bigge [FN: Now Lord Stamfordham, Private Secretary to the King.] — a great favourite of the Queen's. Thursday morning the Queen sent me 3 prints of herself, Princess B., and Princess Alice, and so away from the stately towers.

W. E. G.'s dined with us. He is very well, but certainly rather older and more tireable. How will he ever got thro' the horrible impending Session? The Queen was full of interest and affectionate sympathy about Constance Westminster, [FN: Daughter of the 2nd Duke of Sutherland and 1st wife of the 1st Duke of Westminster. She was a first cousin of Lord Frederick Cavendish. She died a few days later.] who is dying. Sent down to Ly. Waterpark Thursday morning a very hopeless account from Sibell Grosvenor.

12Dec1880, The First Boycott

LONDON, December 12th, 1880.
—The Irish matters are going from bad to worse. A certain agent named Boycott having affronted the "Land League," no one would work for him or cut his crops (this was some time ago). Troops had to be ordered to protect some labourers from the N. who housed the crops, and unhappy Boycott has had to flee the country. The plan is now getting very popular, and in other cases agents or landlords are thus sent to Coventry, tradesmen forbidden to deal with them and servants and labourers to serve them, under peril of life or limb: it's called "Boycotting."

12Dec1880, Aunt Looty

KEBLE COLLEGE, December 12th, 1880.
—Little May [FN: May Talbot: now wife of Very Rev. Lionel Ford, Dean of York.] is as quaint as ever, but more gentle and feminine, with a pathetic little voice, no end of fun, and very affectionate. The following scene took place as I was reading by the fire and she came up to me. May: "Aunt Looty got crinkles on oo forehead!" Aunt Looty: "Yes, and I'm afraid they won't rub out." May: "What, not with wingy-wubber?" and she fetched a bit and tried very hard; but, alas, it was a case of the leopard and his spots. The boys are big bouncers: Edward exactly like Bob, with Warden's little blue eyes ! no beauty certainly, except lovely reddish hair; Neville a handsome, dark-eyed fellow, rather like Gertrude's little Charlie.

27Nov1880, Gentle, Humble, and Considerate

LATIMER, November 27th, 1880.
—To Latimer, where I had the joy of finding Charles and Mary, [FN: Her eldest brother and his wife. Latimer was her father Lord Chesham's house.] and that nice young person Maud. [FN: Now the Hon. Mrs. Hugh Wyndham.] She has a darling face with fine dark blue eyes. . . .

The descriptions of Rosalind's [FN: Wife of the 9th Earl of Carlisle.] manners and customs at Castle Howard make one despair of her ever knowing how to be gentle, humble, or considerate; and yet she is kind and affectionate.

26Nov1880, Bright Talks Froudism

LONDON, November 26th, 1880.
—We dined at Spencer House. I sat by Mr. Bright, who was very pleasant. To my surprise he talked Froudism — i.e., how nations that could not win independence were better under somebody's thumb. I don't suppose he had the Balkan nationalities in his eye ! they have not yet had time to prove their capabilities.

24Nov1880, The Fine March from Candahar

LONDON, November 24th, 1880.
—Hugh Smiths, Mr. Birch, Governor of the Bank, and wife (he the vainest man I ever met), Sir John Ros, [FN: ? Ross] Johnny and Childers dined. On Wed., by the bye, we dined at the Admiralty, and went on to a party at the Childers', where I had the pride of talking to Sir Frederick Roberts,[FN Afterwards Earl Roberts.] the hero of the fine march from Candahar and the victory just afterwards. He is an ugly little man, with pleasant, unaffected manner; his face burnt red and without an oz. of flesh.

22Nov1880, Sent Off a Letter

LONDON, November 22nd, 1880.
—Went to the Mon. Pop with Spencer and Alfred; alack ! it was rather beyond me. Sent off a letter which is to appear in the M. Packet, in answer to an unprovoked attack on High Day Schools by Miss Sewell.

28Oct1880, Suspension of Habeas Corpus

HAWARDEN, October 28th, 1880.
Sir Th. [FN: Mr. Gladstone's eldest brother, who was a strong Conservative.] and Ly. Gladstone and their Mary are here—so kind, and nice and pleasant, in spite of politics, which are of course rather avoided. Mary still so handsome it's wonderful she is an old maid. The two brothers are pleasant and funny to see together; so extremely alike outside and entirely unlike inside ! they talk no end over old recollections, and Sir T. is also great audience to the trees and walks, which Uncle W. is particularly high gee over just now, having delightful new walks, laid out by Willy in the park, and Boobery wood to show off.

F. got home Saturday morning; and after breakfast talked over Irish matters with Uncle W.: grubous major. He says the panic is very great, and all the people he spoke to unanimous as to the suspension of the Habeas Corpus, on the ground that it has never been known to fail in putting down sedition. Certain landlords are said to be in danger because they are good ones; Parnell and Co. considering they stand in the way of their revolutionary schemes. Mr. Forster very patient and stout-hearted in his trying isolation. No one but Government supporting him or agreeing with him as to non-coercion for the present, while the Land Leaguers are equally down upon him. Parnell has nicknamed him "Buckshot Forster," with the base intention of gibbeting him as cruel, when he must know that it was to prevent the ghastly danger of bullets that he suggested buckshot for the use of the constabulary. F. put the black view strongly before Uncle W. that he might know the worst; but F. is as strong as Uncle W. against extra-legal measures being resorted to except as a last resource. "What?" he said, "are we to lock up 500 people in gaol?" Baths, Mr. MacColl, Mr. Leveson , and George [FN: . Gladstone's private secretray, now Sir George Granville Leveson-Gower, K.B.E. His father, always spoken of in the Diary as "Mr. Leveson," was Lord Granville's brother.] came. Lord Bath went off upon Ld. Salisbury's crookedness with the same zeal and fervour as at Longleat and Highclere.

18Oct1880, Beginning the Final Book

OCTOBER 1880 – MAY 1882

HAWARDEN, October 18th, 1880.
—There is something awful in closing my last book, which lasted six years, and contained the most terrible experience of my life, and opening this new one with the trembling thought of "what may and must be coming." 0 Lord, Thou knowest.

Monday we came to Hawarden. Find Great People very prosperous. Uncle W. at his very best, and in buoyant spirits. Heard from Auntie P. and Mazy much that was most interesting about the late Dulcigno business. Uncle W. was in London straining every nerve to keep all the Powers up to the scratch. The Sultan appears to have reckoned on their splitting, and thus risked his intensely impudent refusal and defiance some little time ago. This performance only did good, and drew the Powers nearer together, as all were insulted. The Sultan, however, continued to snap his fingers at the Naval Demonstration; but an effective screw was found in Uncle W.'s plan of seizing upon the Custom-house of Smyrna and stopping all its trade. (I believe this was Uncle W.'s own notion, but Mr. Childers seems to have hit upon it too, with collusion!) There remained a mighty difficulty in getting all the Powers to join in this step; but, by God's good providence, the Sultan no sooner was informed of the threat, than he at once "caved in"! — little guessing that on the same day France, Germany, and Austria had all declined to take part in the seizure. (It is, however, very likely that the step would have been taken by England and the others, as "mandatories" of the will of Europe.) Uncle W. wrote to Auntie P. in great joy and thankfulness, saying the question had begun by being a small one but had grown large: "It is the working of the European Concert for purposes of justice, peace, and liberty, with efficiency and success, which is the great matter at issue. That has always been the ideal of my life in Foreign Policy; and if this goes forward rightly to the end it will be the most conspicuous instance yet recorded, the best case of success achieved." The letter begins: "A large sheet for a good day, and good news.... It is that the Sultan, learning yesterday fr Paris that we had proposed to the Powers to seize upon Smyrna, determined to give in!

"Praise to the Highest* in the height,
And in the depth be praise ;
In all His works most wonderful,
Most sure in all His ways."
[*FN: . It ought to be Holiest. (Lady Frederick's note.)]

He got back to Hawarden next day (October 11th), and when they all joyfully welcomed him, he was quite niobe.

20Sep1880, Passion Play at Oberammergau

MUNICH, September 20th-26th, 1880.
—Slept at Munich (good hotel des 4 Saisons), went by train to Murman, and posted thence by Kohlgrub to Oberammergau, which we reached just before dusk. The village stands in rather a wide marshy valley, with fine mountains; but there is nothing specially beautiful.

Sunday, Sept. 26th, was the day. I got up early and went to Mass in the church at 6, joining as far as I was able and saying my own prayers. The church crowded, and many communicants. The village full of people, many swarming in from the neighbourhood. The play began at 8. We were very well placed, under cover, in the "Loge" with backs to our seats. I grieve to have to confess that I was disappointed; but I do believe chiefly because of the impossible ideal created by the extraordinary raptures I have heard and read from all quarters. I had not been prepared, for instance, for the allowance one ought of course to make for the whole thing being done by the peasants of the village. It was no wonder that the music was very feeble, few good voices, and it went occasionally out of tune. Then the stage is inevitably exceedingly inadequate to the great scenes of the Judgment Hall, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Mount of Olives. In a few respects, too, one saw the pity of the poor people having formed their ideas upon common rural notions of art; too much spotty brilliancy of colour, etc.; and then, in the Crucifixion, there was too much likeness to the usual great crucifixes by road-sides. But my principal criticism was the really unavoidable one that it was all hopelessly inadequate: the subject too tremendous for human power adequately to present; and this it was which made me feel that one could hardly get a glimpse beyond the mere outside of the great subject. So I realized rather painfully how possible it must have been during the actual Holy Days to see nothing Divine: for the words to be true, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" This, however, is the whole scope of my disappointment. The intense devotion, "recueillement," and reverence of everyone concerned, down to the tiny children in the tableaux, cannot be exaggerated; all thro' one felt one was assisting at a religious act: the acting was without exception dignified, unaffected, and in some cases (especially the Judas) of true dramatic power. Joseph Maier (the Christus) has a very noble appearance and manner, but his face is not of the traditional type. Our ignorance of German was a grievous drawback, for there was much more speaking than I expected; but it had one good result—of making the Bible words, when they occurred and one could catch them, shine out like diamonds.

16Aug1880, An Utterly Shocking Engagement

LONDON, August 16th-22nd, 1880.
—London very full this last week or so of the utterly disgusting fact, which I have only just been driven to believe, of old Lady Burdett Coutts's (66 or so) intended marriage with a young Mr. Ashmead Bartlett.

02Aug1880, Gladstone Convalescent

LONDON, August 2nd-8th, 1880.
—A notable week; dear Uncle W.'s fever ran on, down in the morning, up in the evening, till Wednesday; nothing bad developed itself, however, tho' Clark on Tuesday was in constant dread of typhoid. Temp. only once for a short time higher than 103. We came up in much suspense, getting grubous papers at Hazlemere, and I underwent a dreadful qualm at the sight of a policeman stopping carriages at the entrance to Downing Street.

—Tues. Arthur and Kathleen's [FN: brother Arthur married Kathleen Clive, younger sister of his father's second wife.] wedding—to think of my having to squeeze it in!! On Wednesday temp. fell to 99, and since then he has mended steadily; quite free of fever and congestion Thursday. Wednesday morning he insisted on seeing A. Godley and dictating a letter to Ld. Granville on the Irish Disturbance Bill (which was thrown out by the Lords on Tues. by an unheard-of majority, including 60 Liberals ! 51 was the minority). Instead of being worse, he went to sleep afterwards and began improving from that moment. F. saw him Fri. and didn't think he looked amiss; they had to talk Savings-banks Bill, and Uncle W. did a small but difficult little calculation off-hand. His head has been perfectly clear all thro'. The streams of inquiries, cards, and letters have been marvellous, Queen, Lords and Commons, Opposition and Government, friends and foes, high and low, men, women, and children, Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. He dressed and came down Saturday—convalescent. Thank God.

26Jul1880, Gladstone falls ill

LONDON, July 26th–August st, 1880.
—Last of a series of little Tuesday drums in Downing St. Uncle W. kicked at the notion of having regular Parliamentary squashes, and these have been far pleasanter, but I should fear many folks have had their feelings lacerated.

—July 30th. Rode with F. at 7.15. While waiting for him near the Downing St. garden door, saw Uncle W. talking to Althorp, looking perhaps a little tired (yesterday heard he was very). He walked over to dine with us (not dressed). The evening was chilly, and he seems to have been struck with a chill on his way. The J. G. T.'s, Nevy, Arthur, Edward, and Alfred dined with us, and M. told me his hand was clammy cold. He took me down to dinner, however, and said a cheery word or two, but he had no appetite; ate a little soup, and drank a glass of port; leant back in his chair with his eyes shut and looked horribly ill. By and bye he said, "Don't mind me, but I think I had better go upstairs and lie down." Somehow we were not frightened; I only thought he was dead-beat, knowing how he always takes notice of any ailment. Mazy was upstairs, and tucked him up warm on the sofa; he felt sick and wretched, but by and bye fell asleep, and woke up in an hour or so quite warm and revived. Meanwhile came the blessed news of the House being counted out. If it had not been, he meant certainly to go down, and I believe it would have killed him. As it was, he got quite into spirits, tho' keeping still on the sofa and speaking low: Auntie P., who came about 9 from a prize-giving, ordered the carriage round in an hour, he enjoyed some tea and toast, had another nap, and went home.

—Saturday, 31st. Arthur Godley saw him and he said, "0, I am quite right again — I have slept 10 hrs." But about noon shivering fits seized him while Ld. Rd. Grosvenor was with him. As soon as Auntie P. heard of this, she went off and brought back Dr. Clark, who came just in time to prevent him attending a Cabinet and put him to bed. His temp. was then 103. Up to then, he had fully meant to drive down with her to Littleburys, after the Cabinet. This was the beginning of a serious attack of fever, with slight congestion of one lung. I only heard of the bad turn just as we were going off for Sunday to Mr. Roundell's place in Sussex, Osborne. Very charming country: he took us a good walk thro' lovely woods. Primitive little church at Fernhurst. Jolly little boy of 4, Christopher, who thinks of nothing but machines.

19Jul1880, Bare Shoulders and Short Sleeves

LONDON, July 19th-25th, 1880.
—Dinner again in Downing Street meeting Maria Marchss., [FN: I,e, Maria Marchioness of Ailesbury.] who is a real miracle in being still able to carry on her evening gown with bare shoulders and short sleeves a la jeune fille, and the crop of canary-hued curls. A rather ghastly and bony sight, but still it passes muster. Also met Ly. Ossington, old gossip Hayward, the Dean of Westminster, Ld. Enfield.

12Jul1880, An Ugly Waggish Mug

LONDON, July 12th-18th, 1880.
Ly. Granville's 2nd son born prosperously on Sun. the 11th, a great blessing, the last poor little thing having died with water on the brain.

—Tuesday. Garden party at Marlborough House; the Queen there, looking her very best, walking round and very gracious. Still with perfectly perfect Royal dignity and grace, the more wonderful in a stout little great-grandmother drest in rather dowdy black.

Prince Edward of Wales very fair, noble-looking and handsome, and of tolerable height, but he doesn't look as well in a regular grown-up get-up, and has rather a weak face. Prince George a little fellow, with an ugly waggish mug. I believe he is a good deal the sharpest. The little Princesses are less scraggy than last year and are pretty chicks. Three good-looking Teck boys, the youngest a very jolly dark fellow: the only Royal creature not fair and blue-eyed. The Queen sent for Lucia Bagot and talked some time to her with a very sad, kind face about poor Constance Westminster, who is in terribly precarious health with heart attacks....

Pleasant afternoon (after a tremendous thunderstorm) at Wimbledon, taking Edith; Ly. Stanhope entertaining. Introduced to Mr. Lewis Morris, author of "The Epic of Hades"; not like a poet to look at or talk to. Dined in Great George St., meeting Farrars and Davidsons [FN: The present Archbishop of Canterbury and Mrs. Davidson.] (she one of the Archbishop of Canterbury's daughters). He told me the Sun. Sch. Centenary splash at Lambeth was splendidly managed, and would have been a mighty success but for an hour's downpour, which drove 1,500 children home, and prevented the poor little creatures from sitting down. Also about 1,000 missed seeing the Royalties, who would not stay it out. But not a single accident or misadventure in getting the 20,000 children in and out of the gardens and home has been reported.

The unlucky Irish Bill staggering thro' the Committee; to-day's incident was that villain Eddy, not content with not voting at the outset, spoke in favour of dropping it ! Et tu, Brute !

28Jun1880, Gladstone Rests at a Villa

LONDON, June 28th–July 4th, 1880.
—Poor Government labouring hard thro' obstruction English and Irish, and bespattered with death's-head-and-bloody-bones accusations; House sitting till 2, 3, and 4 and making no progress. The incoherent Irish as often as not obstruct their own measures, and fortunately quarrel among themselves. Saturday the 3rd the House sat till Sunday morning, but Uncle W. got off in the evening, and drove down with Auntie P. to a villa Ld. Aberdeen has taken for the summer — Littleburys, Mill Hill, beyond Barnet. F. and I joined them there, driving down deliciously to church on Sunday morning; and found Uncle W. casting care to the wind in the excitement of finding it was a villa built by Charles II for Nell Gwynne! A most elegant little white-and-gold drawing-room has Charles and Nell's medallions in plaster-work set round the cornice; and there is a quaint little succession of grassy terraces, one below the other, ending in a gazebo summer-house, also most prettily decorated with medallions, 2 different ladies occurring here! In the drawing-room a portrait of the contemporary Duke of Richmond as a child (odd taste, as I don't think he was Nell Gwynne's son); and an inaccurate copy of our dear old Neptune and Cybele by Rubens at Hagley, which Papa sold for £500, to my grief. Nep. and Cyb. were rather horrid, but Cupids playing on the beach, among shells at the bottom, and a sea-god trumpeting through a conch-shell, were delightful. Church twice, with Uncle W.; Auntie P. and F. "drew the line"; but Uncle W. was as fresh as paint, picked strawberries, went a good quick walk with us to a Roman college, and enjoyed himself hugely.

03May1880, Gladstone's Austria Attack

LONDON, May 3rd-9th, 1880.
Sir W. Harcourt (Home Secretary) defeated at Oxford on his taking office! It looks bad, but is, I believe, purely a personal matter; his overbearing ways are not popular there, the Church party owe him a well-deserved grudge for his doings anent the effete "Public Worship Bill" when he came the glorious Protestant over everybody.

The new Government has certainly had an awkward throw-off. There has been a general kick-up over a letter Uncle W. has just published to Count Karolyi, the Austrian Ambassador. In one of his Midlothian speeches he attacked Austria for having never done any good in the world, and for intriguing after part of the Christian provinces in the Balkan peninsula. At the time I thought, "Why this onslaught on a country we are at peace with?" and it was made capital of by the Tories. Perhaps he had better not have thus gone out of his way. But he had strong authority for his belief about Austria's hankering after the country down towards Salonica; and as his strongest conviction on the E.Q. is that the Provinces should be independent, and no Anti-Porte steps taken by any power except in concert with the rest of Europe, he perhaps "did well to be angry." Also he took occasion afterwards to say that, if proof could be afforded him that no such intrigue was afoot, he would withdraw his words. Since taking office, Count Karolyi has satisfied him that Austria won't make the snatch in question; and he has accordingly lost no time in publicly accepting the disavowal and withdrawing his previous imputations. The world swears this is an abject apology, whereas it is really an acceptance of Austria's explanation, due from one gentleman to another; and Uncle W. doesn't trouble his head much about John Bull's offended pride, inasmuch as he knows well enough (behind the scenes) that what he has said has led to Austria's abandoning the ambitious designs, which were really entertained; and which Ld. Salisbury implied were to be expected.