Saturday, May 16, 2009

12May1866, Lou Lives on the Victory

H.M.S. VICTORY, May 12th, 1866.
—We had the fun of coming with the D. to see Lou and Frank on board their harbour ship—the old original Victory, with the brass plate marking where Nelson fell ; but not much of the actual old ship left. She has never made a voyage since Trafalgar. Lou has made her fine big cabin look charming with wedding presents and Hatchford flowers ; and we are delightfully lodged in a ridiculous little corner where F. marches about ducking like a goose under a barn door. Certain naval and marine persons dined. There is a mysterious little urn on the dining-room chimney piece, which I suggest contains Nelson's ashes.

End of Volume I.

28Apr1866, Speeches on the Reform Bill

LONDON, April 28th, 1866.
Fred came to bed at ¼ to 5 in the morning, announcing a majority of 5 for the 2nd reading. One didn't expect more. It is impossible, I suppose, for the poor Bill to survive Committee and pass the Lords. Dizzy spoke for near 3 hours, and was dull, they say, wishing to exhaust the House ! as he well might, the atmosphere being frightful in the heat of the weather. Uncle W. got up at one, and spoke for 2 hours, magnificently, so as to poke up great enthusiasm even at that time of night, and after the endless debates. He was dead tired all day. F. had tea at No. 11, and said he seemed strung up and excited, and indignant with Dizzy, who had sent Uncle W. word he meant to speak 1 hour and then spoke 3. Uncle W. said (N.B. not in the House !) that Dizzy had generosity and temper, but was hopelessly false.

19Apr1866, The Longleys at Lambeth

LONDON, April 19th, 1866.
—I drove with old M. to Campden Hill, and to call on the Longleys [FN: The Archbishop of Canterbury was then Archbishop Longley (1862-8).] at glorious old Lambeth which I never saw before. It seemed to take one "above the smoke and stir of this dim spot," which indeed is in a stir just now.

18Apr1866, Whigs and Tories Inter-marry?

LONDON, April 18th, 1866.
—We had luncheon at Devinshire House where Ld. Richard had turned up. Who should come to luncheon but Ld. Grosvenor [FN: Afterwards the 1st Duke of Westminster. He was active at this time among the Whigs who were opposing the Government Reform Bill.] ? He told us his boy Belgrave [?] (14 or 15 years old) asked him, "Do Whigs and Tories ever inter-marry?"

17Apr1866, Charles a Horrid Old Tory Still

LONDON, April 17th, 1866.
Charles dined with us ; he is immensely interested in the political crisis, and seems to weigh all sides ; but I fear he is a horrid old Tory still : he don't commit himself much.

16Apr1866, Terrified Toryism

LONDON, April 16th, 1866.
—Having been poked up by a sneering article in the Spectator upon the "Xtian Year," I wrote a little rejoinder ; but F. and the Mesds. Talbot, tho' they think it rather good, think I had better not send it ! Drove with the ladies shopping. The Government prospects are very doubtful, owing to deserters among the slow-coach Whigs, against whom my Fred indulges in violent language. I went in lonely dignity to Ly. Taunton's ball ; Sir Walter Farquhar poured terrified Toryism into my ear.

14Apr1866, To the Crystal Palace with Meriel

LONDON, April 14th, 1866.
—I drove with the John Talbots to the Crystal Palace ; that is, alone with M. there, and with all coming home. It was very nice. We squabbled over politics a little.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

13Apr1866, J.S. Mill and the Claims of the People

LONDON, April 13th, 1866.
—This is my never-to-be-forgotten day. Auntie P. and I did St. G. in the E., taking flowers there. I read to a roomful of oakum-picking women. We went to the House afterwards, quite on the chance ; and had the immense luck of hearing the famous Mr. J. S. Mill make a most perfect speech in favour of the Franchise Bill. In spite of the cry-down humour the Tories are in, it was striking to have this small-voiced philosopher listened to with the greatest possible attention and respect ; and indeed the speech was irresistibly fair, profound, and trenchant. Three or 4 times he made a dead pause of more than a minute, but only to produce some new, cogent argument armed at all points and perfectly expressed ; though he was keenly satirical once or twice, the whole tone of his speech was gentle and temperate to a degree. The Opposition held their tongues as if bewitched ! He followed Sir Bulwer Lytton, who made a slashing, clever speech. I found myself a good deal struck and moved, coming straight out of one of the depths of misery and pauperism, to hear the claims of the people so grandly brought forward : those "dumb" thousands, as Bright called them, among whom there must be so many feeling, as none of us can feel, for all this degradation ; and voiceless in the nation whom they might help to rouse to the most noble of battles.

12Apr1866, Speeches at the House

LONDON, April 12th, 1866.
—I spent a good deal of time at the House, where Uncle W. moved the 2nd reading of the Bill, in a spirited, eloquent speech. Lord Grosvenor moved his amendment (that the Bill was incomplete without redistribution being considered at the same time), and was seconded by Lord Stanley. I could hear little of either as Ld. G.'s voice is weak and low, and Lord S. tumbles over his tongue in an odd way ; but I believe Lord S.'s speech was very effective. Cavendish spoke after dinner : his 1st speech not upon Armyums : he hesitated a good deal, and seemed nervous : no wonder, for the Opposition chose to hoot and howl and roar with laughter in a way rather peculiar to after-dinner occasions and thoroughly disgraceful. There was stuff in his speech.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

09Apr1866, Left Dear Holker

LONDON, April 9th, 1866.
—Lovely radiant morning the hills all sorts of violet shades. After packing, letters, etc., I went out at 12, picked daisies in the garden, and a lot more primroses in Watham : Fred rode on the sands, where he said it was beautiful. Left dear Holker, which made me sad at heart, at 2. Got home about 10½.

06Apr1866, Best Novel: "Sylvia's Lovers"

HOLKER, April 6th, 1866.
—Finished "Sylvia's Lovers" in floods of tears ! and think it one of the best novels I ever read ; but a cruel one ; a thing it is really bad for one to have a heartache over.

02Apr1866, Dreading the Duke

HOLKER, April 2nd, 1866.
—My Fred away all day, doing a monster Reform Meeting at Leeds, where he moved the 1st resolution in a 25-minutes speech. I should like to have heard him ! Got very successfully through my tête-à-tête meals with my Papa-in-law, which I dreaded considerably.

27Mar1866, Making Rounds at Holker

HOLKER, March 27th, 1866.
—Went to see Mrs. Pollard, also Mrs. Mackreth the woodman's wife, and Mrs. Telfer the huntsman's ; Aggy Hastings, Hannah Hewitson, John Brookes, and Mrs. Wilson in the cottages near Mr. Drewry's ; and Jenny Wilman at the lodge. All very cordial and nice to me.

26Mar1866, A Lonely Day

HOLKER, March 26th, 1866.
—I have not spent such a lonely day for a long while. F. went off at 8¼ to Leeds, high gee a meeting precursory of a big Reform meeting, and was only back for 8½ dinner. I went through breakfast and luncheon tête-à-tête with my Papa-in-law in a state of great trepidation ; and feel sure he wished me at the bottom of the Baltic.

Lady Day, 1866, Warmer Out Than In

HOLKER, Lady Day and Palm Sunday, 1866.
—A heavenly early-spring day : much warmer out than in. The very walk to the poor little hideous chapel along the muddy road was pleasant ! How much more Middle Bigland Scarr, Hobarrow and Ellerside. To Morgan, began the dear old "Warnings of the Holy Week."

20Mar1866, Distributed Peppermints

LONDON, March 20th, 1866.
—I did St. Martin's workhouse in the morning, S. George's with Mrs. Spiers in the afternoon. Read 2 P.M. [FN: I.e. Parochial Mission.] stories to some women at work with great success. Distributed peppermints.

19Mar1866, Fast-day for Cattle Plague

LONDON, March 19th, 1866.
Auntie P. popped in before dinner, with the news that the House had actually divided upon Uncle Wm.'s motion that the committee and petition business should be put off till 2 to-morrow, viewing it is the fast-day for the cattle-plague in this diocese. So it is to be ; but it was rather disgraceful that it was not an unanimous opinion.

15Mar1866, Ly. Augusta and Dean Stanley

LONDON, March 15th, 1866.
—Had luncheon with M. at Ly. Augusta Stanley's. I should think no couple in the world were so unlike as Dean Stanley and his wife. She, big, vigorous-looking, very dark and ugly and coarse-featured (but with a nice good face all the same) ; he, wonderfully shrunk, small and squinny, with little sharply-cut features and light complexion. They are devoted to each other. We had luncheon in the very room where I sat waiting in my veil on my marriage-day, with my Fred beside me, and everybody else looking like a dream.

13Mar1866, To Marlborough House

LONDON, March 13th, 1866.
F. shirked Marlborough House ball in the coolest way, not to miss the debate ; but I went, and curtseyed to the Princess of Wales and Princess Helena : the latter looks as happy as a queen.