Friday, December 19, 2008

19Jun1863, A Maid-of-Honour !!!!!!!

LONDON, Friday, June 19th, 1863.
—I went to luncheon in St. St., and there was told a wonderful bit of news. Ly. Augusta Bruce has written to Granny to ask whether, on a vacancy occurring, and the Queen being graciously pleased to offer it, there wd be any objection to my accepting the post of Maid-of-Honour ! ! ! ! ! ! ! And after some consultation, an answer was sent, signifying my grateful willingness. The very anticipation is so overpowering that I have had a headache all the aftn and I certainly dread the prospect, viewing my perpetual blunders, and the probable cuts into Hagley holidays and Papa. But ! £400 a year ! I shall be more than off his hands, and there is much that " I look the look over " (a case of dropping asleep ! "look forward to" I meant).

18Jun1863, Shaking Hands with the Princess

LONDON, Thursday, June 18th, 1863.
—Lovely hot day. The Prince and Princess came to Dr. Stanley's garden, to see the tent which the latter slept in in the East, and we, the select few on the lawn, of course looked at both to our heart's content. And Atie. P. had the presence of mind to present me to the Princess ! who shook hands with me. My curtseys were beautiful, but 0 dear ! I couldn't make out what she said to me, with her low peculiar utterance and foreign accent. Luckily Agnes interpreted for me. Afterwards we went to see Magdalen, etc., and then saw T.R.H.'s go away, and the town, as one may say, visibly collapse after all the excitement.

17Jun1863, Sleeping on the Floor

OXFORD, Wednesday, June 17th, 1863.—
Very lovely and hot. Darling old Meriel is 23 to-day. Agnes and I spent a most notably sleepless and unquiet night ; the garret where we were put being rather close, the bed bumpy, hard, and too small, and Agnes, as a rule, unable to sleep well with a bedfellow. So we got alternately on to the floor full length, tucked up in a chair, listened to the innumerable clocks, and went into a succession of giggles, which helped us through many a weary hour. Finding the floor made me ache all over, and the chair was little better, I managed about 4 o'clock to lie down across the foot of the bed, and the contrast was so delicious, that an hour of comparative comfort and some sleep followed. And the night ended at last leaving us in an exhausted and stiffened state. We breakfasted very jovially with Stephy, meeting Johnny and Edward. Got prosperously into the theatre, where the reception of their R.H.'s was as uproarious and enthusiastic as yesterday. I didn't stay out the prize recitations, but got escorted home by John. Then came a State banquet at All Souls', to which it was a great honour to be asked, and afterwards we went to the Deanery garden, where the Prince came, and played with immense zest, boyishness, good nature, and some skill, at ball with his equerries and friends, using a croquet ball, and getting his fingers battered many a time, and once his nose ! A select circle of tufts were there Lords Newry, Parker [FN: Space left for other names not filled in.] ; also Ld. Albert Leveson-Gower. Thence we stumped off on foot to see the boat procession, which was a great success, in the lovely weather. High tea, and the Christ Ch. ball. We feasted our eyes on the Princess.
I was asked to dance by Lords Hamilton and Adair, Messrs. Parker, Warren, Wood, innom°. [FN: I.e. innominato, somebody whose name she did not know.] Ag. danced with the Prince.

16Jun1863, Cheers for the Prince

OXFORD, Tuesday, June 16th, 1863.
—An almost unbroken soak of small, soft, penetrating rain, cruelly taking from one's enjoyment, and 0 how one hates one's unavoidable smartness in weather when a short print petticoat and waterproof cloak and hood wd be the only comfortable garments ! Nevertheless great have been to-day's enjoyments. We went 1st to the Deanery to see the lovely rooms prepared for T.R.H.'s, and soon after saw them arrive in Tom Quad. I saw them quite beautifully walk up to the Deanery, and for the 1st time realized the loveliness of the Princess, her noble, innocent, and peculiarly dignified expression, her winning grace, and her most beautiful smile. She gave away the prizes standing at the top of one of the flights of steps, under an awning. At about ¼ to 3, Agnes and I found ourselves wedged into a corner of the Ladies' Gallery in the theatre, close to one of the rostrums, and albeit we had nothing particular to sit on, and but little to stand on, we saw and heard famously. And never shall I forget the astounding cheers when the great doors were opened, and our Princess walked up ! As the Prince appeared immediately after her train, the cheers ceased only for the whole mass of voices to join in " God save the Queen " with a mighty shout ; and this was the sublimest thing, in its intense effect upon one, that I have ever heard. Afterwards the tremendous cheers began again and again ; till the theatre and everyone in it was ready to burst ; of course there was plenty of noise besides, and more, and more unruly, than at Cambridge, but this is all I care to remember.

15Jun1863, Meeting Howard and Jowett

OXFORD, Monday, June 15th, 1863.
—We came away last of all, and arrived here (at Dr. Stanley's) about 5, on a notable visit, viz. to celebrate Commemoration and the Prince and Princess of Wales' coming—he to receive a D.C.L. degree. These kind people have packed unheard-of numbers into their ingenious little house : the Stanleys of Alderley (minus parents), the Dufferins, and others besides are here. Ly. Dufferin has a gentle, winning countenance and manner, but is not pretty. A large dinner-party, cleverly divided between hall and dining-room. I sat between Ld. Dufferin, who was extremely agreeable, and Mr. Howard, [FN: No doubt George Howard, afterwards 9th Ear of Carlisle, a great lover of art.] who can talk to any degree about drawing ! In the evening amongst others came the too-famous Mr. Jowett, whose mild intellectual face wd not lead one to suspect him to be one of the tamperers with the Faith, as, however, he must be called.

14Jun1863, Paradise and Heaven

CLIVEDEN, 2nd Sunday after Trinity, June 14th, 1863.
—Hot with soft rain ; lovely afternoon, but felt thundery. My experience hitherto of peculiarly grand country places (and this is grand, though not large) certainly gives me no favourable impression of their churchums. Some of the party went to Cookham, and most to S. George's, Windsor, in the aftn ; but Agnes and I were doomed twice to a dreary bare room where service goes on pending the restoration of Hedzor Church : no chanting, a barrel-organ, laborious, longwinded, and truly dreadful hymn-singing, and in the morning no sermon owing to the poor clergyman's being ill. The aftn sermon, however, was good, on Watching and Praying. A. and I walked down to the river afterwards, views peaceful and lovely. Also we capped Sunday verses, and read aloud a good sermon of Jebb's. The Duchess of Argyll's wonderful cleverness is delightful to listen to ; and most gracefully it sits upon her, as she looks up with her shining eyes, and in that low gentle voice comes out with such knowledge of books, events, and politics. Meanwhile the perfect taste, refinement, and luxury of the place almost oppresses me. When one lives in Paradise, how hard it must be to ascend in heart and mind to Heaven !

13Jun1863, America: North vs South

CLIVEDEN, Saturday, June 13th, 1863.
—Set off (beyond blowing) to Cliveden—connected in my mind, for ever I shd think, with old M.'s engagement, and our very shy and very lovely visit here just aftr. There are here the Argylls, Ld. Richard Cavendish, the Wm. Cowpers, Ly. C. Grosvenor, and poor Mr. William Harcourt,[FN: Afterwards Sir William, the statesman.] who 4 months ago lost his young wife in her 2nd confinement, their first beautiful baby having died the year before. It does make one's heart ache to think of such grief ; and his whole look and manner touch one extremely, the more because he joins in conversation, and puts on no affectations of sorrow ; but his face tells it all. The little baby lives. During dinner America was the topic : the Duke and Duchess are Northern ! in their sympathies : as there was no zealous Southerner to give battle, I did not come in for a regular elaborate argument about it, which I long to hear, that I may make some head and tail of the subject. Mr. Harcourt said slavery was the cause of the rupture, but abolition was not the object of it.

11Jun1863, Only Two Dances

LONDON, Thursday, June 11th, 1863. S. Barnabas.
— An amusing ball, unlike the general run, at Miss Coutts's ; there was at first not a partner to be seen ! and when a few did turn up, they wouldn't dance with me. Consequently my two dances were with an innominato and Ld. Feilding.

08Jun1863, A Page-of-Honour

LONDON, Monday, June 8th, 1863.
—. . . Then with Papa to St. St., to see Arthur [FN: He was a Page-of-Honour.] in his Court costume for the levee. (Query, is he to hold up the Prince's coat-tails?) I must say he looked bewitching, in his red George II coat faced with gold, his white silk tights and stockings, his red-heeled, buckled shoes, his cocked hat, shoulder-knot of satin ribbon, lace ruffles, and rapier ! He stepped into the pompous Royal coach which came for him with amazing dignity.

02Jun1863, America and Heaven

LONDON, Tuesday, June 2nd, 1863.
—I sat next an exceedingly agreeable Mr. Bourke, who has seen a good deal of America. He said the people were quite as hateful as books describe them. And he told me of one horrible thing : they dare to push their democracy into their very ideas of Heaven ; i.e. they will never give to the Almighty the title of "King of Kings," or any other which implies sovereign authority, as being contrary to their notions of universal equality ! !

26May1863, Smiling Loveliness

HAGLEY, Tuesday, May 26th, 1863.
—Sarina [FN: Sarina James, daughter of 1st Lord Northbourne : afterwards wife of Sir Arthur Godley, created Lord Kilbracken in 1909.] and I with the little boys had a charming walk thro' Wickberry wood and over the obelisk hill : 0 dear, dear ! the soft smiling loveliness of everything ! and the springtide of the trees, grass and garden gives a positive exhilaration to one's feelings. This summer, I think, will seem a double one to me.

17May1863, Dirty Gloves

LONDON, Sunday after Ascension, May 17th, 1863.
—Thence to Chapel Royal ; I grieve to say that I cannot so abstract myself as to feel like a Christian in church, when I form part of that select circle of the nobility who sit in the Peeresses' boudoir ; and I was nearly as painfully conscious of a pair of dirty gloves as if I had been at a concert. Oh dear ! there are things allowed by our Church which one wd be ashamed of a dissenter or Romanist knowing !
We went thence to St. St. for the evening, and now Papa has walked me home. Not having been once on wheels, I must have walked about 7 miles.

16May1863, The Drawing Room

LONDON, Saturday, May 16th, 1863.
— Some rain : soft and pleasant. I breakfasted in G. St., and saw old M. set off for the drawing-room, looking her very best, in blue and silver. She was tired to death, having to spend six hours in the performance ; which we happy entrée people [FN: The Gladstones, of course, had the entrée.] achieved in little more than an hour. It bewilders me to think that, at the last drawing-room I was at, the Queen stood there ; the unexampled sunshine of her life yet uneclipsed, and her husband beside her. This one was held by the Princess of Wales, who looked pale and not so lovely as she is generally thought ; but very sweet and winning. Prss. Alice shook hands with me. There were 5 curtseys to be made, as, besides those, there were there Pr. of Wales, and the Cambridges.

13May1863, Alone in a Cab

LONDON, Wednesday, May 13th, 1863.
—Bkfast in G. St., whence I went alone in a cab, with nothing but a footman, to Shoolbred's again, for the N. room carpet, which I forgot like an idiot yesterday. Willy was presented in his brand new Deputy Lieutenant's uniform. He, his parents and Agnes, had the honour of going to a wonderfully select ball at Pam's, to meet the Prince and Princess.

10May1863, Four Sermons

LONDON, 5th Sunday after Easter, May 10th, 1863.
—Same weather ; finer than yesterday. Whereas in London I generally hear but one sermon in church, to-day I have heard three. Papa came as usual, and we all went to Whitehall, where Canon Stanley preached beautifully on the Triumphs of Death. S. James in the aft : the Bishop of London preached on the use of the historic books of the Bible. Thence I went to St. St., where Mrs. Talbot called to see me, and I went at 7 with her and Ldy Wharncliffe and daughter (the latter really recovered) to a delightful, hearty, congregational Service at S. Peter's, Windmill St., where they have just set up a new organ. Good sermon by Mr. Kempe on Church music. Papa dropped me at home, and so it fell out that I came in for prayers here, and a fourth sermon, a short striking one, Uncle W.'s own, on the Ascension.

09May1863, Dining at the Gladstones

LONDON, Saturday, May 9th, 1863.
—Agnes and I dined with the P. Gladstones en famille ; while uncle and aunt dined at Marlborough House, and came away raving of the Princess of course !

04May1863, A Speech by Uncle William

LONDON, Monday, May 4th, 1863.
—We drove a little, and then ! went to the House of Commons and heard Uncle William's splendid speech in defence of his extraordinary proposal of income-taxing charities. He bore down all before him while he spoke ; defending himself, as none but he can do, by dint of his marvellous eloquence and ingenuity, and by the evident strength and depth of his own convictions, which gave tenfold power to all he said. But I can well believe the opposition, when it calls the scheme "monstrous." The cry against it is tremendous : an enormous deputation waited upon him this afternoon, headed by the D. of Cambridge and the 2 Archbishops, the House was nearly to a man against him, and so (though his speech converted some), he withdrew the motion.
We went, somewhat exhausted in mind and body, to Ly. H. Vane's ball after this. I danced with Messrs. Lascelles and Wortley, Lord Cowper, and was engaged to Lord Lennox, when we had to go. But there ! I haven't mentioned that the Princess of Wales came quite incog. with 2 ladies, to hear the debate ! and had to go before the speech. We saw her lovely, fair, gracious profile very well.

02May1863, The Prince of Wales Bows

LONDON, Saturday, May 2nd, 1863.
—Rode with Agnes. As we cantered up Constitution Hill, we saw a young man riding in front of us, who proved to be the Prince of Wales ; only one gentleman with him, and a groom. And near the Marble Arch, a little phaeton with pair of ponies driven by a very pretty young lady, passed us : somebody in deep mourning was with her. The carriage looked like a Royal one ; and we have nearly made up our minds that the young lady was the Princess ; the only objection being that she was not very like her ! Coming back, the Prince of Wales passed us, and made us a beautiful bow. We saw him within the gates of Marlborough House, where they are just established.
Ly. Pam's [FN: Lady Palmerston.] party very full : I saw Lord Robt. Cecil,[FN: Afterwards Lord Salisbury, the Prime Minister.] who is supposed to have written a keen, clever, and cutting article abt this governt. in the Quarterly some time ago ; "Four Years of a Reforming Administration."

01May1863, May Day and King Lear

LONDON, Friday, May Day, 1863. SS. Philip and James.
—I had the immense treat of going with Mrs. Watson and Miss Boyle to hear F. Kemble read "King Lear," as I did once before, in '56, I think. I cried horribly.

27Apr1863, Princess's wedding gifts

LONDON, Monday, April 27th, 1863.
—Still warmer. The lilacs are all out. We went to the Kensington Museum to see the Princess's wedding gifts, which were hardly worth the exertion. Most of the jewels have been taken away, and many things were in very bad taste. Afterwards we went to breakfast at Ld. Grosvenor's : such luxurious splendour their house is full of ; it looked like fairy-land. Saw their eldest children, Lord Belgrave, a fine fellow of ten, very tall, and a little like Cousin Ebbett ! and Lady Elizabeth, a most lovely angel-faced little thing of six, like the Duchess of Argyll. She came softly in in her tiny riding-habit.

24Apr1863, New Hats

LONDON, Friday, April 24th, 1863.
—At. C. picked me up, and we went to S. James at 11, after which we went with the girls and shopped with extraordinary vigour and success : got them and myself hats of the high-crowned fashion, which in its extreme (but ours are moderate) is suggestive of something between a bandit and a Tyrolese.

11Apr1863, The Valse

HAGLEY, Saturday, April 11th, 1863.
—I have mastered the Scotch reel, and Charles has fairly learnt to valse.