Sunday, May 24, 2009

21Jul1866, Reading "Sir Charles Gradison"

THE COPPICE, July 21st, 1866.
—Sir R. [FN: Sir Robert Phillimore, whose house The Coppice was.], to please me, spouted after dinner the beginning of "Sir Charles Gradison" ; I was amused with it beyond measure. Unless the book is the grossest exaggeration, what a state of society it was 100 years ago ! On the one hand, to be sure, there was dignity, stately courtesy, manners finished to a point that must have made them a study in themselves ; but oh dear ! on the other hand, what uselessness and wordy frivolity and unconscious coarseness in the women, and what tinsel and sham and depth of vice in the gold-laced men !

20Jul1866, Lou is Perching !

LONDON, July 20th, 1866.
—We dined at D. House, and went thence with Lou (who is perching !), Emma ! (very spirited of her), and Cavendish (F. and Eddy hansoming) in barouche to Chiswick ; where was a swell but rather dull function, in the garden, with Royalties. Home at 1.

17Jul1866, The Annual Bore

LONDON, July 17th, 1866.
—To the House, where the annual bore about Ballot was up, followed by Mill standing up for women-suffrage.

16Jul1866, A Regular At Home Going On

LONDON, July 16th, 1866.
F. having his Cornmitteeums, I went to luncheon at the Houghtons, and to my horror found a regular At Home going on, and had to plunge into French to make myself agreeable to a Portuguese Comte and Comtesse and Prince Borghese. Manning was there, and I am rather proud of having "had speech" of him ; though it was strictly confined to the weather. He has a fine, intellectual, bald head, and a handsome, ascetic, mournful countenance.

15Jul1866, Meriel Talbot, A Stalwart Child

LONDON, July 15th, 1866.
—We went to Christ Church in our smart clothes (F. in his wedding frock-coat !) for the christening of darling "Meriel Lucy Talbot," [FN: Now Dame Meriel Talbot.] who behaved and looked like an angel : F. godfather, to my great delight ; only my longings for a baby of our own were a little intensified by the proceedings. I took up little Meriel to her godfather for a kiss, which he administered with much precaution near the eyebrow. He gave her a fine Bible and Prayer Book in one, which, if she is a stalwart child, she may be able to lift in 10 years' time. After tea we walked to D. House and refreshed ourselves with nectarines.