Thursday, January 15, 2009

20May1864, I Did District for the Last Time

HAGLEY, Friday, May 20th, 1864.
—Fine and a little cooled by the storm. I began the day before prayers with letters : went with Fred at 10 to see old Mary Page, Charlotte Rogers, and Mrs. Reid (only taking him in to see old Mary). Mrs. Reid said she "wished she cd flog the mon off !" Then church ; then we had a delightful last ride by Clent to Fairleigh Coppice and home round Clent Hill and thro' the middle of the park. Daphne gave me a riding-whip. I did district for the last time, driving there with At. E. and the little boys. Evening service, and sermon by Uncle Billy for Ember evn. 0 when shall I be in my dear, dear little church again ! Elly called me to her room afterwards to give me a Bible and Prayer Book in one from all the under servants. This quite finished me. But I can't write about this last day at home. The last time I shall sleep in this little room ! God's love and blessing rest upon all, and follow me. I thank Him for all my happy years. My heart is full.

18May1864, His Funny Inability

HAGLEY, Wednesday, May 18th, 1864.
—Very sultry : no view. After church I went (upon Charger) with F. to see old Mrs. Billingham ; thence thro' Wychbury wood, all blue with hyacinths, down into the Stourbridge road by Sparry's hill. I went to see poor, poor Sophy Price, and was shockd and upset at the change in her, and her terrible sufferings. Repeated to her the words, "Come unto Me," etc., and cheered her a little ; but felt deeply how little able I shd be to bear such a cross, and how I am walking in sunshine amid so much sorrow and darkness. We sat on the lawn afterwards, and in the afternoon on the grass in Whistlewail ; and "sweet converse" lightened my heart again : but it is right it shd now and then be overshadowed. Fred read aloud to me, with fervour and feeling enough to counteract the slight disadvantage of his funny inability to pronounce either "r" or "th," Uncle Wm.'s startling speech in favour of extended suffrage ; also his (F.'s) own speech at Leeds last year, which delighted me more by its cleverness and eloquence than it scandalized me by its radicalism ! Some time after dinner with our heads out of window ; then whist. At. C. came. At an American anti-slavery bit in his speech, he trembled with excitement.

16May1864, Ride to Kinver Edge

HAGLEY, Whit Monday, May 16th, 1864.
—At ¼5, F. and I went a glorious ride on to Kinver Edge (v. p. 196 (from Lady Lucy) [FN: See the entry for April 4th.] (from the editor) : I little thought then of who shd ride with me there to-day !) We came to the hurdle whereat I tumbled off, and F. wouldn't let me try again, which indeed I rather "funked." The view from the top was more lovely than I have ever seen it : we stopped a good while looking at it, F. so much pleased ! Were not home till 7½ : luckily dinner was at 8. We sat together very happily afterwards.

15May1864, Peace and Brightness

HAGLEY, Whitsunday, May 15th, 1864.
—A day of great peace and brightness. Oh, such a lovely, radiant morning ! a thing in itself to return thanks for, so much it added of happiness. We received the Holy Communion together in my own dear church. Afterwards sat on octagon bench ; quite silent, but how happy ! Then came the Rectors to see him ; and after luncheon we sat with her on the lawn. I had my class in the morning : 0 dear ! had to tell them it was the last time ; but I made short work of it, for fear of crying.

14May1864, Back Home at Hagley

HAGLEY, Saturday, May 14th, 1864.
—We had high tea at ¼5, F. coming ; and soon after 6, he and I, Atie. P. and Papa left London, and now I am writing in my own dear little room at home. Elly, Newmany, and Shirtliffe greeted us ; and I have been to see my little boys in bed. I can't write much to-night : all feels strange and altered to me, and my heart is rather heavy. F. and I stood at the dear library window, looking out into the soft dewy night, sweet with chestnut blossom ; and it did me good to stand there with him, saying next to nothing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

13May1864, Good-byes are Sad Matters

WINDSOR, Friday, May 13th, 1864.
—Very fine and warm. My old boys Spencer and Arthur [FN: Then at Eton.] came to see me ; Nevy, not being well, could not, alas ! I had only a little time with them, but it was very nice. I went to St. George's : wonder whether or when I shall go to church there again. Saw Mrs. Wellesley afterwards for a minute. Wrote, wrote, wrote. My Fred sent me a dear little scratch, though we only parted yesterday at 4¼. And he has got one from me. I don't know when we shall next write to each other. The Prss. of Wales came at 1½ and we received her at the door. After luncheon the Queen sent for me to say good-bye, and I hope I shall never forget what passed. She came towards me with a beautiful Indian shawl and a jewel-case in her hands : kissed me, and gave them to me with many kind words about her regret that I was going, and her good wishes for me. She kissed me again and again, saying she thought and felt the more for me because I had no mother. The ornament she gave me was a beautiful amethyst locket bordered with pearls ; on it a little diamond cross. [FN: Alas ! stolen many years after (Note in original).] Speaking of the cross, she said, "It is an emblem of what I have to bear day after day," and added something which I cannot bear to put down here in words, but which sunk deep into my heart. I thanked her as well as I was able ; kissed her dear hand many times, and began to cry ! how could one help it ? I didn't wish to help it ; but went up to my room, and had it out. Then came good-byes to the Princesses, with whom was the Prss. of Wales playing a duet with Prss. Helena. All spoke kindly and said good-bye ; and 0 dear ! good-byes are sad matters.
. . . Now I have come home from a great family dinner and party at Devonshire House, to which I went with Papa : Gladstones and Talbots, and Grauntecoque [FN: I.e. "Granny" and "Aunt Coque," who lived together.] also coming. (N.B.—I must mention somewhere that Uncle W. has kicked up a gt dust by declaring in the House in favour of universal suffrage ! ! ! out-Brighting Bright. F., I grieve to say, is delighted.) This sounds very formidable ; but, except a few qualms, I didn't find it so. Everybody was very kind ; and perhaps I don't mind anything when Fred is with me.

12May1864, My Last Regal Journey

WINDSOR, Thursday, May 12th, 1864.
—Very fine and warm. I am glad to have slept here [FN: I.e. Buckingham Palace.] once. Have managed a good deal of Court experience since my apptmt. Breakfasted with Prss. Helena and Co. and then got leave to go to Carlton Terrace. F. came as before ! A little tiresome trying on ; and Ld. Geo. Quin came his own self with a pretty little clock for me under his arm. After luncheon, F. and I went (with Atie. P.. and Ly. Louisa) to be photographed together by Mr. Window. I fear we shall look like fools. Then back to C.H.T. [FN: Carlton House Terrace, the Gladstones' house.]; then I plunged into a Royal carriage, joined Prss. and Co. at Paddington, and had my last regal journey. Am tired ! but very happy.

11May1864, The Queen's Second Court

LONDON, Wednesday, May 11th, 1864.
—We all came up to London for the Queen's 2nd Court : a very small one, but very striking and imposing. It was held at Buckingham Palace. People may carp and sneer at the poor Queen for keeping on her mourning, but everyone must have thought her dress to-day most suitable and becoming. The gown was trimmed deeply on the skirt with crape, but was cut square, with white up to the throat ; long hanging sleeves. Her cap was Marie Stuart, showing her hair turned back, and with a row of pearls round the border ; broad white lappets reaching to the feet ; and she wore the Garter ribbon with a diamond brooch on the shoulder, a star, and a great pearl necklace in many rows. Altogether she looked just as a widowed Queen holding a State ceremonial ought to look. And it was beautiful to see her manner and her dear smile. The Princess of Wales looked terribly thin and pale, in deep black ; must be wretched at the reverses of the Danes, who have just lost Duppel. I had the honour of seeing the tiny Prince, [FN: Prince Albert Victor, afterwards Duke of Clarence.] the Queen sending for us to her room, where he was visiting her. A nice thriving-looking plump baby, with bright blue eyes, delicate features and pointed chin ; a nose that will be aquiline, I shd think, and a likeness to both parents. A very intelligent way of looking at one. He cried a good deal, poor fellow, being sleepy. At the reception, the D. of Argyll came and shook hands with me, saying very kindly, "I am so glad to have you for a cousin." After it, I had a snug visit in my room at B. Palace from At. C. and the girls. At. C. brought me a lovely little ring with a pearl cross. Then to Carlton Terrace, where I found Fred ; then pleasant talk with him ; a visit from C. Ebbett ; back to B. Palace for dinner with Prss. Helena, Ly. Carolina, and Emily. Then a grand concert, held by the Prince and Prss. of Wales. This was a dream of delight, though the music wasn't all good ! I sat with Papa for the 1st part, shooting F. before very long coming into the room, looking very nice in uniform, and peering about for me in vain for a long time. But at last I caught his eye ; and it was so very pleasant to see his dear face light up when that happened ! He got up to me after the 1st part. We ran through a tremendous tilt of congratulations. Saw At. Y. Was very, very happy. Slept at Buckingham Palace, attending on Princess Helena.

10May1864, Shoppums Finds Lockets for the Bridesmaids

WINDSOR, Tuesday, May 10th, 1864.
—I went off to London by the 9.10 train ; got Miss Sewell's "Preparation for the Holy Communion" for Princess Helena on my way to Carlton Terrace, and got there about 10½. Talked trousseau-ums and saw my wedding presents (wonderful sound !). I must make a list of them elsewhere, they will take up too much room in my journal. But I will mention the prettiest, completest little writing-table in the world from my old Maid, and a pretty inkstand (quite his own choice) from Nevy. These will come very near my heart. My Fred turned up before long and we had "sweet converse." Also multifarious shoppums : I chose an onyx signet-ring for him, to come on Saty ; and gave him to-day a crystal locket with a scratchy bit of my hair in it, with which he was certainly pleased. Ly. Louisa came after luncheon, and took us both in the carriage to Mimpriss's, where, after gt cogitation, we chose lockets for the bridesmaids, six with small pearl crosses, six with small turquoise ditto. I paid Granny a little visit ; then to M. (he also coming there), and came back here for dinner.

09May1864, I Like Royal Travelling Excedingly!

WINDSOR, Monday, May 9th, 1864.
—Heavy rain in the morning : no sun all day. I left Osborne with all the "serrement de Coeur" that such a good-bye to a place full of associations can give. I daresay I shall never see it again. And I have had peaceful days here, amid the greenness and sunshine, and singing of birds : "golden hours," too, those two days that he was with me, and his dear letters to be treasured all my life. I like Royal travelling excedingly ! The crossing was pleasant though rather cold. Most of the time I spent capping verses with the Princesses and poor little Prince Leopold, who made great play with "To be or not to be." How the arrival at Windsor did bring to my mind my days of—doing what he asked me at Stafford House to do ! I was greeted by such a dear letter ; also a very charming one from old Nevy. The sight of Miss Cathcart ! who's who and what's what ! She had to rig me out for the evening, one of my boxes hanging fire. Ly. Biddulph dined, and chaffed me very unmercifully, but I didn't mind one bit. Dear Ly. Caroline congratulated me.

08May1864, No Chaperon, Heathenish

OSBORNE, Sunday after Ascension, May 8th, 1864.
—We had matins in the Council-room, an interval, and then Mrs. Bruce and I went to church for the Litany and sermon. We were late, and missed the chief part of the Litany ; and this was all my church-going, for there was no getting a chaperon in the aftn rain. Prss. Helena sent for me to play battledore and shuttlecock and we walked abt the house together. I read Trench on the Parables, but feel rather heathenish. We dined with the Queen. F. wrote a dear letter.

07May1864, Poor Princess Helena

OSBORNE, Saturday, May 7th, 1864.
—Lovely spring weather. I have remembered that this is the 1st time for years that I have watched spring blossoming into summer, having always been in London. It is very nice that this wonderful year will have all this bright beauty connected with it. My letter came all right, enclosing certain verses that he repeated to me the other day : sad ones, but full of beautiful thought. They bring his voice to my ears. I sat out of doors part of the time with Prss. Helena, part of the time reading " Dynevor Terrace." Mrs. Bruce and I went to the Queen in the evening. I am much distressed about poor Prss. Helena who is cruelly overworked, the Queen having no notion how her mind and body are strained, and indeed having no one to take her place.

Monday, January 12, 2009

05May1864, Sweet Converse

OSBORNE, Ascension Day, May 5th, 1864.
—Heavy soft showers. F. came to breakfast ; then we had another little talk ; then he came to church with Mrs. Bruce and me : then again we had "sweet converse" till he had to go off with the messenger at 1½. Oh, ardent, overflowing lovingkindness is round us ! giving us these two days' happiness over and above, when already we were so very happy ! Life felt a little flat after he had vanished.

04May1864, A Golden Day

Wednesday, May 4th, 1864.
—Grey and raining out of doors ; but what a "golden day" ! The Queen being so kind as to hold a Privy Council to-day, Ld. Granville brought Fred (who is his private secretary : have I ever said so ?) with him. And we had all the afternoon to ourselves, in the ugly little ladies' room, which will never look ugly to me again.

0 precious hours ! 0 golden prime !

The Queen and Princess Helena both saw him. I was let off a Royal walk and drive. He came to the Household dinner, after which Mrs. Bruce, Ld. Granville, a German maukin, and I were marched off to the Queen's drawing-room. But we got back in time to say good-night : he sleeps at Cowes, and comes here to breakfast. He brought me loads of kind letters to Papa, from dear Hagley neighbours, etc. Likewise a diamond betrothal ring.

03May1864, A Model Love Letter

OSBORNE, Tuesday, May 3rd, 1864.
—Among my congratulations this morning came, to my great astonishment, a love-lorn farewell in verse from a poor little man called P., who I had no notion cared about me ! I laughed till I nearly cried over it, and couldn't resist sending it to Fred, as a model for his further letters.

02May1864, Springtide in My Heart

OSBORNE, Monday, May 2nd, 1864.
—The first day of really soft, balmy wind. A day with a great hole in it, for there came no letter from F., owing no doubt to the tiresome Sunday post. Mrs. Bruce, Gen. Grey, and I had a delightful drive to Carisbrooke Castle amid bright early verdure and blossoming fruit trees. Spring was never so much to me as it is now, when there is such an answering springtide in my heart.

29Apr1864, Fourth Waiting Continues

OSBORNE, Friday, April 29th, 1864.
—Drove with the Queen, Prss. Helena, and Pr. Leopold to Ryde : 4 horses, equerry, 2 out-riders, and all very imposing ; but my Court bathing-feel has left me for good and all ! Poor little Prince Leopold was full of talk and cheerfulness, but his small thin face grew pinched with cold ; and I wished I cd take him into my arms and cover him warmly up. The Queen asked if F. wd come and see me at Windsor : I had no notion it wd be allowed : O how nice it wd be ! We played demure whist in the evening ; and I made 1 hideous blunder.

26Apr1864, First Letter From Him

OSBORNE, Tuesday, April 26th, 1864.
—Same brightness, but E. wind. I wrote 8 answers to congratulations ; all "thank you" in different forms. And I received my first letter from him : such a dear one ! grave and simple, like himself. It makes it all very real to me. What paper is it written upon but a Privy Council Office sheet, reminding me of the Garibaldi entry day ?

25Apr1864, First Letter to Fred

OSBORNE, Monday, April 25th, 1864. S. Mark.
—He came to breakfast, and we had a nice talk before he saw me off. It was horrid going away ; but as I came into the lovely blossoming country, full of spring greenness and the singing of birds, the sunshine around seemed to answer to the sunshine in my own heart ; and I think the fortnight here will have a brightness of its own. I just saw Ly. Jocelyn and Emily Cathcart on the landing-place. Mrs. Bruce met me very kindly on arriving. I wrote my first letter to Fred : 0 how strange that looks ! He won't expect it ; for I told him he shd write first ; but I thought he wd be feeling rather grim to-morrow. Mrs. Bruce and I dined with the Queen, the Princesses, and Prince Alfred ; Prince Leopold and Prss. Beatrice appearing in honour of Prss. Alice's birthday. The Queen was as kind as possible to me : saying as she kissed me, "I must congratulate you, but I must scold you a little too !" She shot my locket ! Asked who he was like, and talked some time to me after dinner.

24Apr1864, Visiting the Duke

LONDON, 4th Sunday in Easter, April 24th, 1864.
—Papa and he came after breakfast, and I went with them to Tennyson's Chapel, [FN: Was this at Archbishop Tenison's School in Leicester Square ?] where we received the Holy Communion together. May God's blessing of peace then granted us abide with us evermore ! It was so wonderfully happy praying for him then, and feeling he was praying for me. If only our whole lives may be so sanctified ! After the service we went to Devonshire House, where even the being taken to the Duke's study didn't much frighten me ! He kissed me very kindly. I also saw Ly. Fanny and Margaret Howard, Ld. Hartington, Ld. Edward ; and Ly. Louisa gave me a photogr. of the Duke, and one of Lady Burlington, [FN: Mother of Lord Frederick. She died before her husband succeeded to the Dukedom.] who must have had a look of Mamma. At 4½ I went with him and Ly. Louisa to Ly. Caroline Lascelles's, where I saw her daughter May, Lord and Ly. Chesham, and Ly. George Cavendish, who were all most kind.

23Apr1864, Deepest Feeling of Happiness

LONDON, Saturday, April 23rd, 1864.
—He came to breakfast with Ly. Louisa ; after which he stayed with me till nearly one, again talking on serious subjects. He gave me the deepest feeling of happiness I have yet felt, in saying he should like to go with Papa and me to the Holy Communion to-morrow.

22Apr1864, Telling Mamma About It

LONDON, Friday, April 22nd, 1864.
—I had a long talk, a Sunday one, with him ; and he told me all his opinions that he thought I shd not agree with him about. I don't—but he has built his house on the Rock ; and I can't but trust him ! He dined with us, and we went to see "Henry IV" at Drury Lane, which was very delightful. The Dss. of Argyll came this morning ; and I believe now everybody knows it. Ly. Chesham sent me a beautiful ring. He brought me the locket with his hair in it, and I wore it to-night, hanging it to darling Mamma's little pearl chain. It felt to me as if I was telling her about it.

21Apr1864, We Are Engaged

LONDON, Thursday, April 21st, 1864.
—A bright, serene day of inward and outward sunshine. We are engaged, and my doubts and fears have been all absorbed in the wonderful happiness and peace. "Full measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, doth He give into my bosom." I have got my 1st present : he brought it me this afternoon : a locket with diamonds and pearls, to have his hair in it. He dined here : as did my old Meriel. . . . I wrote to all my darling boys : even to my little fellows at Hagley.

20Apr1864, Third Waiting Ends

LONDON, Wednesday, April 20th, 1864.
—Same glorious weather. I carry away with me from Windsor such a vision of stately, smiling towers basking in pure sunshine, and nature blossoming and budding all round. And there is just such a springtide beginning in my heart. The Queen went to Osborne abt 4: Ly. Caroline, Ly. Augusta and I, off duty, came to London. I dined with old Meriel, 0 so snugly ; and had the nicest of talks with her, and with Mrs. Talbot. Garibaldi dinner and party here. The Duke of Devonshire, Ly. Louisa, Lord Frederic, and Ld. Edward were here. Such a happy evening.

18Apr1864, Luxuries of Royal Travelling

WINDSOR, Monday, April 18th, 1864.
—Soon after 4, we went to London with the Princesses (Ly. Caroline, Ld. Caithness, and Mr. West also in attendance) to a Philharmonic concert at Hanover Square : music out of Shakespeare principally, and partly in honour of his tercentenary. It was very good and delightful ; and I confess I enjoyed considerably the luxuries of Royal travelling and Royal places at the concert.

17Apr1864, Fears Melt Away

WINDSOR, 3rd Sunday in Easter, April 17th, 1864.
—To-day my doubts and fears (which have been many) began to melt away.

16Apr1864, My Brothers Visit Windsor

WINDSOR, Saturday, April 16th, 1864.
—My darling old boys came to tea in my room ; I having begged of Sir Thomas Biddulph unlimited eggs, etc., for them. Old Spencer was at S. George's. The little bit of home talk was very snug and refreshing, in spite of the serrement-de-coeur it gave me. I longed to tell them something of my wonderful secret ; but I could only hug them very much. I took them for a peep at the corridor ; they were in mortal dread of being caught by "Her Sacred Majesty" ; but no such thing happened.