Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Lady Lucy Cavendish


A preface, commonly the first word of a book to be read, is as a rule, and indeed should be, the last to be written. I have already, in the Introduction which follows, explained the circumstances inwhich the Diary of Lady Frederick Cavendish came into my possession, and the reasons which induced me to offer some extracts from it to the public. I need therefore add very little here. Those who read what I have printed of it will, I think, see that Lady Frederick was a woman of very rare beauty of character as well as of unusual energy and activity of mind. Whether in the great world or outside it, among the rich or among the poor, in her private affections or in her public activities, she lived to the full every hour of her life. She will never be forgotten by those who knew her; and most of them will, I think, agree with me in wishing that others should be given such opportunity as her Diary can afford of sharing their knowledge.

But if this had been all, if the interest of the Diary had seemed to me to be confined to the merely personal and biographical, I am not sure that I should have had the courage to print anything from it. Anyone, however, who reads beyond the first few years will see that the Diarist herself is very far from occupying the whole of its picture. She gives us not only herself, but also her world; and her world includes a good deal of what was most prominent in English live during the twenty-eight years covered by the Diary, which end in 1882 with the murder of her husband. The niece of Mr. Gladstone was born into the world of high politics, and the wife, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, and cousin of prominent statesmen remained in it, almost necessarily, all her life and especially during the lifetime of her husband. The Diary is a picture of the political world, seen from behind the Whig and Liberal curtains, between 1865 and 1882. So, again, the daughter of Lord Lyttelton, the niece of Gladstone, the sister and sister-in-law of Bishops, the ardent Churchwoman, inevitably gives the life of the Church a large place in her Diary. Both the political and the ecclesiastical world of those days seem in some respects curiously far off now. They begin to take their place in the history of the past. Still more is that true of the social world of that generation, and of the big political parties, or "drums," which were then such a feature of the London season. The Diary furnishes one more picture of life as it was then lived amont the great Whig families in their last phase, when they were reluctantly submitting to the dangerous and ultimately destructive leadership of Gladstone.

In all these ways I hope the Diary may offer itself as one of those minor and modest contributions to history to which the historian does not always disdain to give a passing glance.

Nothing remains for me to add except thanks. And my first thanks must be given to Lady Stephenson for help of many kinds, but expecially for allowing me to persuade her to write the vivid and interesting account of her aunt which concludes the Introduction. I have also to thank the Hon. Mrs. Edward Talbot, now the conly survivor of the four daughters of Lord Lyttelton's first marriage, for her kindness in sending me a note on her early memories of Lady Frederick, which reached me too late to appear in the earlier part of the book, and is printed as an Appendix. I am very grateful to Miss Egerton, who has allowed me to see and use the letters of Lady Frederick to her mother, Lady Louisa Egerton, and has generously given me much help in preparing notes and identifying persons mentioned in the Diary; to the Hon. Mr. Justice Talbot for allowing me to reproduce the portrait in his possession of his mother, Mrs. Talbot, and for placing at my disposition both the letters she received from Lady Frederick and her account of what took place on the night of May 6th , 1882; to the Hon. Mrs. Hugh Wyndham for permission to use a fragentary early Diary of Lady Frederick's and for other help; to Lord Richard Cavendish for allowing me to reproduce the portraits of Lord and Lady Frederick Cavendish in his possession at Holker; to Mr. Charles Aitken, Director of the National Gallery, Millbank, for his kindness in showing me the sketches of Bolton by Turner in the collection under his charge and for getting one of them reproduced for me; to Mr. C. T. Hagberg Wright, Secretary and Librarian of the London Library, for allowing a photograph to be taken from the engraved portrait of Lord Lyttelton which hangs in the entrance-hall of the Library; to my publisher, Sir John Murry, K.C.V.O., and Colonel John Murray, D.S.O., for many useful suggestions; to my niece, Miss Elizabeth Alington, who kindly typed a large part of the Diary for me: and to my daughter Jane, who compiled for me the four genealogical tables which will be found in an appendix and without whose accurate help in reading the proofs the book would have ben disfigured by many misprings which had escaped my notice.

John Bailey
April 9, 1927


The Diary of Lady Frederick Cavendish
Edited by John Bailey
with illustrations
Vol. I and II
New York
Frederick A. Stokes Company
First Edition 1927

Printed in Great Britain by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld. London and Aylesbury.