Saturday, December 26, 2009

19May1868, An Afternoon With the Prince

TEMPLENEWSAM, May 19th, 1868.
—We all went in state to Leeds about 11.30 amid great cheers and thousands of people all along the road and swarming in the town. The Prince, tho' with a bad cold, looked well, and did everything capitally with great grace, ease, and dignity ; his voice in reading answers to addresses as good and clear as the Queen's. He was endless audience to the pictures (in what is to be the infirmary), and what with them, the heat, the ceremony, and a most elaborate luncheon, how tired we all were! Some of us got off before him, and had an hour or so of rest ; then another gigantic dinner, and we bowled back to Leeds, and danced in the great Town Hall : very pretty and successful. The Prince danced with me, and I liked him much. He chaffed me about F.'s Radicalism, said he wouldn't dare to be a Radical if he were an eldest son, and appealed to Lord Fitzwilliam, but was rather in the wrong box there, as poor little Lord Milton pins on a little to F. ! Also he expressed himself as much disgusted with Mr. Ch. Buxton for pushing the prosecution of unlucky ex-Governor Eyre : "Why can't they let the poor fellow alone?" Beauty was contributed from Templenewsam in the shape of Duchess Sibyl of S. Albans, Constance [FN: No doubt Lady Grosvenor, afterwards Duchess of Westminster : first cousin of Lord Frederick.], the Fitzwilliam girls, and one of the Lumleys (Ly. Ida [FN: Now Dowager Countess of Bradford]). Ly. Scarborough looks like a girl herself. Also Ly. Dudley and Ly. Milton looked lovely. The Prince made Constance, Lord Downe (a pleasant, handsome youth), and I drive home with him : "You won't mind our smoking?" "Oh no, sir, certainly not!" Poor me my heart sank within me as I told this terrible fib. Luckily when he got beyond the cigarette stage into the most insufferable cigars, we had the carriage opened, and so drove home at 4 o'clock in the dawn ; sleepy policemen struck at the sight of Constance and me in diamonds. The Prince very well pleased with his evening, and too good-natured to allow us to quiz the Mayoress, wonderful sight though she was, or the Mayor either. I tried to coax Lord Dudley round about Charles ; but he is in a frantic "Protestant" state of mind.

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