Monday, August 21, 2006

16Mar1861, Stolid Country Poor

HAGLEY, Saturday, March 16th, 1861.
—At. C. came back from Bedworth at last looking blooming, and saying there is a slight improvement in work just now, but very little. Also bringing some presentation sausages from a poor man whom she has helped to start with that commodity. Tantalizes me with accounts of the quickness and earnestness of some of the people, which really leads to some good coming of working amongst them. One hardly ever sees any results in stolid country poor.

02Mar1861, Russian Serfs to be Free Men

HAGLEY, Saturday, March 2nd, 1861.
—Heavy stormy rain, thro' which At. Emy and I were pleased to walk parochially. Tommy Morris came to the Rectory and sang to us, that we might decide if his voice is good enough to compete for a choir place at Windsor ! Part of the Crystal Palace was blown down. To-morrow morning all the Russian serfs will be free men ! A grand thing.

24Feb1861, Tutor Seems Bitten with Horrible Essays

HAGLEY, 2nd Sunday in Lent, February 24th, 1861.
—Albert wrote to John, saying Edward's tutor Curgenven seems bitten with these horrible " Essays and Reviews," which some sound theologian ought to answer.

13Feb1861, Distress at Bedworth

HAGLEY, Ash Wednesday, February 13th, 1861.
—After what seemed a lull, the distress at Bedworth has broken out again awfully : one poor old woman tried to kill herself, from " clamming."

11Feb1861, Doncaster Church

ESCRICK, Monday, February 11th, 1861.
—Dr. Vaughan pioneered us [FN: In a visit to Doncaster Church, of which he was Vicar. He was afterwards Master of the Temple, where, in spite of his " curious silky " voice and manner, his sermons, which were not at all " silky," attracted great congregations] : I greatly dislike his curious, silky, feminine voice.

07Feb1861, Alfred Turns Four

ESCRICK, Thursday, February 7th, 1861.
—Our precious blossom, Alfred, struck four. Each year in his sunny little life marks more than anything the distance between the present and the cloudless Past. Four years ! He wd rejoice Mamma's heart, with his bright generous temper, his amazing winsomeness, his quickness and noble looks.

01Feb1861, Hard Work at Coventry

HAGLEY, Friday, February 1st, 1861.
—Aunt C. came back from her gallant hard work at Coventry none the worse, and having evidently been invaluable. They have hope of the trade looking up in a month ; meanwhile daily feeding and clothing amongst misery, cheating, and starvation goes on.

28Jan1861, Messrs. Claughton and Pepys

HAGLEY, Monday, January 28th, 1861.
—Messrs. Claughton and Pepys ; the former lectured on Poetry, reading extracts from Crabbe and Spenser quite beauti¬fully. But too little variety.

22Jan1861, Hungry Bedworth People

HAGLEY, Tuesday, January 22nd, 1861.
—At. C. writes of the hungry Bedworth people, kept alive by diligent care from day to day ; and, as far as one can see, nothing else before them.

19Jan1861, Dreadful Oxford Free-thinking

HAGLEY, Saturday, January 19th, 1861.
—Some talk about the dreadful Oxford Free-thinking.

18Jan1861, A Cry of Distress

HAGLEY, Friday, January 18th, 1861.
—There seems a cry of distress all over the country, London they say as bad as country ; everything at a standstill. £80,000 [FN: Or £30,000: the figure is not legible] nevertheless will first and last go to Coventry ! I shd think anything cd be done with that.

15Jan1861, Hard Times

HAGLEY, Tuesday, January 15th, 1861.
—Wild March wind, driving the snow in all directions : quite good-bye the thaw. The poor people at the club and everywhere speak of the hard times : borrowing money for actual food.

08Jan1861, Distress at Coventry

HAGLEY, Tuesday, January 8th, 1861.
—The distress at Coventry is quite appalling ; a once well-to-do tradesman stole meat from a butcher's, and was found with his family tearing it to pieces like wild beasts.

28Dec1860, Capital Sliding and Skating

HAWARDEN, Friday, December 28th, 1860.
—Same weather. Church at 11, after some effort, after ball hours. Capital sliding and skating, when everyone tumbled over except Ld. Jermyn, Willy, Mr. Ryan and me ; Ld. Clarence [FN: Lord Clarence Paget] fell on his head, Mr. Layton on his cheekbone, Agnes on all-fours, Atie. P. and Selina Lascelles on their knees, the children in all directions, and Ld. John Hervey promiscuous. The latter, whom I tried to cultivate, viewing Charles's friendship, is nice and engaging. I wrote to Papa and the Cab Office. Pleasant evening, ending with Lancers.

1860, Book V is Lost

Introduction to Book VI

THE fifth volume of the diary, which covered the rest of 1859 and nearly all 1860, was lost almost as soon as it was written. The first entry in Book VI refers to its loss, and the letter to the Cab Office mentioned in the first extract was an enquiry about it. It was never recovered. Its great event must have been the marriage of Meriel, Lucy's eldest and very intimate sister, the " old thing " of the diary, to John Gilbert Talbot, afterwards for many years Member for Oxford University.

Since this was in type, I [John Bailey, editor] have been lent a little volume written in 1862 in place of the lost fifth book of the Diary. Of course it only relates a few doings which stood out enough to be remembered after two years. There is a visit to Althorp, where she says of the new and beautiful Lady Spencer—" Spencer's Fairy Queen," as she used to be called—" I am falling head over ears in love with Charlotte. Mr. Leslie is painting her : but does he hope to do justice to her lovely expression, her dancing ingenuous eyes and indescribable winsomeness, etc ? Sanguine ! " She met Lord Derby, the Prime Minister, at Witley (Lord Dudley's) and describes him as " beyond anything agreeable " ; adding that he " flirts with me in a way that does me honour." At Witley, too, we hear that she walked ten miles to church and back " through mud, up hill, with an immensely heavy poplin gown to hold up." She finds Cliveden " full of dignified and courteous grandees " who fill her with " portentous shyness ": " the old Duke " (of Sutherland) " still very grand looking but as deaf as a post." And there is a Royal Ball at which she danced with Lord Cowper, who is described as " a grand partner."

But of course the chief event mentioned is her sister Meriel's engagement, which took place on an expedition to the Crystal Palace, on May 26th, 1860; and her marriage, which followed on July 19th at Westminster Abbey. There is nothing to quote in her account of it, unless it be this : " I don't think darling old Meriel and I slept very calmly on this our last night together, after all these happy years of sisterhood."

29Jul1859, Home at Hagley

HAGLEY, July 29th, 1859.
—Thank Heaven, we came safely home to the dear bright snug quietness of green summer Hagley. I think I never so much appreciated the sight of the six flourishing children who stood on the steps, or ever felt so thankful that darling Papa can look at our band unbroken, and not see the sad gaps among little faces that haunt one at poor Hawarden. [FN: Where one of her Glynne cousins had just died at the Rectory.] They are all blooming, except little Edward, who is puny as Albert was, tho' far less ill than he, and tanned, which makes his small phiz look healthier. As for that young plant Alfred, his size and height and figure are splendid ! such a neck, chest, and forehead, with all the good points of Charles, Nevy, and Arthur in his noble little head and face. Fluent though happily still broken conversation, and such fun, memory, and sharpness. 0 bless him, for a gladdening sunbeam ! Bobby enormous, and not very evidently more in¬tellectual. May, I think, a degree less ugly ! Win and Arthur very charming. Much talk with Miss Smith ; and I went in the twilight to see our own Church, and look at Mamma's beautiful E. window, shining thro' darkness, as the thought of her does, in all that happens.

11Jul1859, Big Ben

LONDON, July 11th, 1859.
—Big Ben began striking the hours in a deep melodious tone, with an endless echo.

09Jul1859, Dancing with the Comte de Paris

LONDON, July 9th, 1859.
—We went again to Lord's with Mrs. Talbot and sons : the play was a little improved, and there were some fine leg hits ; but oh ! Charles was out third ball, by a brilliant shooter, lightning swift, middle stump. We immediately drove off, in a raging state of disappointment. Home a little past two, luncheon, dressing, and then we went by the 4 o'clock train to Ly. Marion Alford's beautiful breakfast. [FN: At Ashridge. Lady Marian was the mother of the late Earl Brownlow.] The train was 20 min. late, and the journey horrid with the dust, which grievously dirtied my new gloves. At Tring, where carriages were to be provided by Ly. Marian, we had to wait an hour before they came, then such a scramble for them. We got off at last in a break with Ly. Clarendon and the Villiers, but didn't arrive till 7. Such a beautiful drive, and the place glorious : 800 people were there in the course of the day : heaps that we knew. We sat, walked, and talked, eat some cold dinner and listened to the splendid Grenadier band. At dusk, the band moved under the windows, and some dancing began. Ed. Neville turned up, and carried me off for a quadrille, a capital one, of 50 people, but plenty of room. Then we sat in the beautiful darkness on the terrace, looking at the pretty illuminations in the garden, and finally, who shd I shoot, but the Comte de Paris ! ! Atie. Pussy, flying into activity, plunged after him ; we watched him thro' a quadrille ; and after it, he saw us : profound was my curtsey. He engaged me for the next Lancers, which he'd no sooner done than I missed my pretty chrysoprase bracelet, which took away nearly all my pleasure. Well, I took off my bonnet, to look my best, but then, to my anguish, he passed me two or three times without recognizing me. Also the room emptied, and it looked as if there was to be no more dancing. All that, however, came right, he came up at last rather dubiously, and looking doubtfully at M. all the time, said the Lancers were beginning in another room, hooked me, and off we went ! —oh, bliss ! M. following with Ed. Neville. We got them for vis-à-vis, and were only late for one figure. He talked of the House of Commons, asked if I ever went there, said he often did. I told him how I heard Ld. Lyndhurst, and we danced the 2nd figure. In the third, he began the visiting, when it ought to be the curtsey one, and we'd hardly got that right, when there was a general rush to the window, to see a very flat little firework. So as I remarked to him, " La destinée ne veut pas " that we should ever dance a thing through. For it all broke up, and he hooked me again, and we marched, half over the house, looking in vain for Atie. Pussy, which gave occasion for another beautiful bit of French from me : " Mais, Monseigneur, je crains bien que je ne gene votre Altesse Royale." " Pas du tout " of course was the answer. Then I said, a propos of his asking me, " C'est pour moi un grand honneur," to which he answered something about " pour moi un grand plaisir." At last M. and Edward, who were following us, proposed that I should stay with them, for I was quite hot at keeping him ; " Mais je voudrais vous ramener Mme Gladstone." " Monseigneur, je crains de gener votre Altesse." " Pas du tout. Mais on resterez vous done 2 " " Ma soeur est ici, Monseigneur." " Ah ! c'est bien donc." A beautiful bow, a deep curtsey, and that most exciting and delightful trans¬action was well over. We stayed till about 10 1/2 looking into the beautiful solemn chapel, full of very old sober-coloured and stained glass, so profoundly quiet after the crowds outside, but almost too near the room where they were valsing, so that the music followed one to the threshold. We crammed 13 into a break, with Ly. Schomberg Kerr and Ly. Constance Grosvenor, the others invisible in the dark, and had great fun bumping down the long steep hill, feeling very near upsetting now and then. At the station, to my very great delight, my bracelet turned up again, found by a poor man, to whom I gave 6s. on the spot. We waited in the train an hour before it set off, with the nice Wilbrahams who were with us, then everyone went to sleep, except me, who only succeeded in getting muzzy and uncomfortable, and we arrived at home at 2 on Sunday morning, feeling wicked. Eat some cold mutton at that dead hour, and went to bed, everyone hideously tired except me. Wretched Willy, who was to have gone to Eton from Tring, missed the train and had to go early this morning.

08Jul1859, Have Enjoyed This Ball More Than Any Other

LONDON, July 8th, 1859.
—We went to Lord's to see the humiliating Harrow match : our 11 are at the lowest ebb of bad play, and they remarkably good. Unhappy Charles only got 9. . . .

A very delightful ball at Ly. Mary Wood's, of which the following were the great events. The Comte de Paris was there, and he engaged Susy Clinton for a quadrille, and set off to find a vis-à-vis. He returned saying " Ii n'y en a pas ! " whereupon Atie. P. grabbed Sir C. Wood, and sent him off to find one. In the interregnum, however, I (who wasn't dancing) flew at Willy, and dragged him up to act vis-à-vis ourselves, for which the Comte gave me two beautiful little bows of thanks. This was happiness enough ; but after the quadrille the Comte came up and thanked Atie. P. for getting him a vis-à-vis, thinking it was her doing, and she, with her wonted sagacity, told him what an honour I had felt it, and that I had a great enthusiasm for France. (Rather a lie that ; my enthusiasm is for the old Royalty, not for that fidgety country.) Well, he didn't speak for a moment, as if he was pleased, and then asked if she thought I wd do him the honour of dancing with him. I didn't hear all this transaction, being out on the balcony airing myself. The next thing I saw was the Comte making a gracious bow to M., and she with a most awestruck curtsey accepting him for the next quadrille. The fact was he had taken her for me ! So I was made to take her place, and waited in palpitating excitement. After the valse that was going on, it was the turn for a Lancers, but they had a quadrille instead. The Comte, however, being engaged for that dance, couldn't throw his partner over, tho' it wasn't Lancers, and couldn't have me of course. So after it was over, he came up to explain. I stood up in unutterable bathing feel, and he began in lovely French, and the extreme of grace in his manner, to say that he had expected the dance just over would have been Lancers, would it be too late for me to wait for the next quadrille ? was I sure it wouldn't be ? then " Mais, ne vous dérangez pas," so I sat down, thrilling ; and a good deal more talk about dancing, the quantity of valsing, which he didn't like, the pity they never danced polka mazurka, how nice balls in the country were, etc. Oh ! how delighted I was ! The Fates decreed however that my quadrille should never come off. The next was Lancers, and then the stupid cotillon, so up he had to come again : " Je suis désolé," and what not. I managed to say : " Monseigneur, vous m'avez fait trop d'honneur en me demandant," and then curtseys and bows, and we went away. I cannot describe the nobleness of his look and manner, and the beautiful old French courtesy. And there he is, the descendant of that ancient glorious race, tho' it is a younger branch, still the same blood ; banished from his country, and with that upstart Napoleon on the throne in his eye ! What with awe, respect, compassion, and gratitude, I was nearly out of my mind. Certainly I have enjoyed this ball more than any other.

07Jul1859, The King's Bottle-Holder

LONDON, July 7th, 1859.
—A breakfast, to which came the Comte of Paris ! And I thrilled at him thro' the door of the private, or, as it is called, jimmy staircase, as long as he was there. There also came Duke and Duchess of Argyle, Bp. of Oxford, Mrs. Norton, and the King's " bottle-holder." Meanwhile, while I think of it, Mr. Brewster has got a baby, and A Living ! !

06Jul1859, Wimbledon

LONDON, July 6th, 1859.
—We went to our last breakfast at Wimbledon, Papa coming to see the place where he lived so much in his childhood, before Granny's eldest brother sold it to get rid of the debts on the estate. There are two lots of old pencil measurements in the gallery, one of great-uncle George Spencer in 1804. Papa was so interested and pleased to see them there still. The Duc and Duchesse d'Aumale were there. We had Annie Gladstone with us. In the evening a brilliant party at Ld. Lansdowne's.

04Jul1859, Two Balls

LONDON, July 4th, 1859.
—We had a prim luncheon at Ly. Windsor's, where nice Victoria Clive sang all the tunes that all old cows have died of. For the first time, two balls ; duty first, and pleasure afterwards : Ly. Mary Hoare's, and Mrs. Washington Hibbert's. At the former there were not 5 people I knew ; nevertheless I danced once, with Mr. Dundas. Mrs. Hibbert's was the most lovely thing I have ever seen in its way : a tent in the open air for ante-room, from whence you descended by a flight of steps into the ball-room, at the top of which you could stand and see the dancing like a magic picture. A smother of flowers, and cool atmosphere. I danced with Mr. Turvil and Johnny, and was asked to valse ever so often. . . .

We shopped, and our great-uncle's sister-in-law, the first Ly. Spencer's sister, the second's stepmother, and the third's aunt, and Althorp's stepmother's stepmother, in virtue of her intricate relationship, [FN: This lady of remarkable relationships was, I think, Frances Isabella Dowager Lady Clinton. But the Lady Spencer whose sister she was, was wife of the 4th Earl, not of the 1st] gave us lovely muslin gowns.

(Frances Selina Isabella, née Poyntz, sister to the 4th Earl's first wife, Georgiana; step mother to the 4th Earl's second wife, Aunt Yaddy (second wife of Adelaide's father, Sir Horace Seymour); aunt to the Earl's daughter, Tallee, through her mother Georgiana)

03Jul1859, Slovenly Service

LONDON, July 3rd, 1859.
—Had luncheon at G. St. and aft. service at the Abbey, where everything was got through in the most disgraceful slovenly manner.