Monday, March 30, 2009

22Jun1865, Alice Arbuthnot Killed by Lightening

LONDON, June 22nd, 1865.
—We went to one of Uncle William's man breakfasts, where we met the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, the Duke of Brabant, Mr. Goschen (a young M.P. whose abilities are much thought of), M. Van de Weyer, etc., and were reminded of certain last-year breakfasts of the sort, when somehow we did not sit at different tables, as to-day. It was sad and shocking to contrast with our bright associations the terrible news which came before we left the house. Lord Granville, who had been expected, wrote to say that he had that moment heard of the death of his niece Alice Arbuthnotkilled by lightning ; at Interlachen, as they were coming home from their wedding tour. They were devotedly attached, and had been married barely 2 months. I did not know her, but remember her beautiful, gentle face. She was only 23. It is one of those things which make all earthly joys tremble under one ; and when I think of our precious year of happiness I can hardly dare to look into the future, for how little do I deserve the sunshine which in the case of so many is eclipsed at its height. It is overwhelming to think of poor Lord and Lady Rivers, who have already had such sorrow in the death of their 3 sons. The Howards, and Kitty Feilding with her sister Lady Adelaide Murray came to luncheon with us. Lady Ade. was engaged to be married the same day as the Arbuthnots. I went with M. and Mrs. Talbot and Edward to Chiswick, which the Duchess of Sutherland had lent for a P.M.W. fete. I went on the strength of being Supplemental Lady to Limehouse, and saw its 2 mission women, Mrs. Bush and Sarah Darrington : also Miss Lilley the Superintendent ; and heard a good account of the mission. The poor bodies had a beautiful tea, with fruit and flowers ; and were immensely pleased. M. and I went early on her baby's account ; but we heard that they ended by singing, and made Mrs. Talbot thank the Duchess for them. One woman said it was like Paradise. The Duchess gave each a rose to take away. I had a little walk by myself to see certain dear spots in the garden, where we spent "golden hours," also went into the house ; into the drawing-room where we sat together on the sofa in the deep summer stillness that June evening ; and all was dreamlike to me, and fairyland. But to those who knew and loved Alice Arbuthnot the place must be for ever saddened, for the Rivers's used to live there.

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