Friday, July 03, 2009

04Jun1867, Reynolds and Gainsboroughs

LONDON, June 4th, 1867.
M., Granny, and I went in M.'s open carriage to the Exhibition ; we did little but the Sir Joshua Reynolds and Gainsboroughs, but spent a good while there, Granny as fresh and pleased over it as possible, and recognising many rolling-collared, swathed-necked, tight-coated, knee-breeched people from her own recollection of them. She knew Gibbon at once, tho' I fancy she was only a tiny child when he taught her English dates at Althorp, not long before his death.

29May1867, Three Great Orators

LONDON, May 29th, 1867.
—Small tea-party at Auntie P.'s. Dinner there, meeting the Bp. of Oxford, Dean Stanley and Ly. Augusta, the Spencers, Mrs. Norton, Mr. Glyn, Ld. Cowper and — Bright ! ! ! Notable to have the 3 greatest English orators present [FN: This is a curious remark. Most people would have placed the Duke of Argyll, and many Disraeli, above Bishop Wilberforce.]. They all talked of speechifying : Bright said he well remembered learning a speech by heart, and being in such an agony of nervousness that he vowed he would never learn a speech again ; and never did. He spoke of the Government Bill as being extremely democratic, and said it would plunge us into the Ballot. "I hope not," said Mr. Gladstone. " You'll think differently," said B., "when you have studied it as much as you have studied Homer !"

28May1867, Very Mad Did I Feel

LONDON, May 28th, 1867.
Emma and I went together alone to Lady Vane's ball ; and very mad did I feel when I found myself dancing, vis-à-vis to Emma, with young Mr. Cecil Parker. I was to have taken poor pussy-cat [FN: Her sister Lavinia who was ill.]; but we must give up all thoughts of her coming out this year. She isn't allowed to get up at all yet.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

27May1867, Royal Babies

LONDON, May 27th, 1867.
—A little Teck princess, and a Dudley son-and-heir are just born ; the latter a good deal the biggest event of the two [FN: So perhaps it seemed at the time. But the "little Teck princess" is now Queen of England.]. I believe I have never mentioned Princess Helena's son, who is just christened Christian Victor : it sounds like "Pilgrim's Progress" ! The little Wales Princess is Louise . They were in great alarm for her eyesight at first : something wrong from her mother's fever ; but it is said to be all right now. Certain Fenian ringleaders have been tried and condemned for high treason, with the old hurdle and quartering sentence : there is much feeling in the country that they should be let off with penal servitude for life, and the Queen is against hanging them. But this precious Government first sat upon the Queen to carry out the sentence, she, of course, yielding, as is her constitutional duty ; and now, after giving out authoritatively that the man was to be hung, they have chopped round on the strength of a large deputation.

17May1867, Out Visiting and a Ball

LONDON, May l7th, 1867.
—Drove down to Clapton and Snaresbrook in Mrs. Loyd Lindsay's carriage. First to the cholera orphanage at Clapton. We went upstairs, and a door being opened, out tumbled a swarm of tiny 5 and 3 and 2 year-old boys, as fresh and clean as pinks, all with outstretched arms to be taken up and hugged ; climbing on one's back, clinging round one's neck, and chattering all at once. It was too pretty ! The Convalescent Home very flourishing, with 10 charming recovering men in it ; and oh, such tea and bread and butter ! We dined at Mr. Leveson's, meeting Henry Scotts [FN: Lord Henry Scott, afterwards 1st Lord Montagu.], quaint Mary Boyle [FN: I suppose the Mary Boyle of Tennyson's well-known poem.], Cawdor, etc. I went for a last bulletin to Stratton St., thence, alone and forlorn without my pussy [FN: Her sister Lavinia who was ill.], to Duchess of Cleveland's ball, where I sat with the wallflowers and felt a little dismal.

10May1867, Mr. Fawcett's Little Bride

LONDON, May 10th, 1867.
—Visited Mr. Fawcett's little bride [FN: Dame Millicent Fawcett.], her pretty fresh face rather a waste for a blind man!

04May1867, Paxton's Chatsworth

LONDON, May 4th, 1867.
Emma came in the morning, with lovely Chatsworth flowers, and went to the workhouse with me. She saw an old man who had been a smart gardener, and knew all the flowers' Latin names, and said "Oh, Paxton's [FN: Sir Joseph Paxton, who designed the Crystal Palace, had been superintendent of the gardens at Chatsworth.] place !" when she mentioned Chatsworth.

29Apr1867, Cavendish Donates

LONDON, April 29th, 1867.
—I had the intense break of an answer from Cavendish to a begging letter of mine, sending me a cheque for £100 ; £50 donation to the C. H., £25 annual to P.M.W. [FN: I.e. Parochial Mission Women.], £25 for me to dispose of. Wrote him an intoxicated thank you.

20Apr1867, Easter at Hagley

HAGLEY, April 20th, 1867, Easter Eve.
—This peaceful day is always a little spoilt here by the necessity of working pretty hard at decorations. I should like to spend it almost alone, in some deep country stillness, and make myself feel as if cares and pleasures alike were suspended, and the "Land very, far off" were close at hand. Oh, if one could make these thoughts of Christ become real communion with Him !

13Apr1867, The Last of the Whigs

LONDON, April 13th, 1867.
—We went to No. 11. She told us she had never seen him so knocked down : that he could hardly speak when he got home. The so-called Liberals whose desertion was the cause of the defeat are 43 ; but only 2 or 3 are good, thorough Liberals. The others are Whigs and Adullamites, and people with all sorts of mean alarms about their constituents. It is the last of the Whigs as a party, and I am inclined to be glad of that. I am not such a blue political woman as might seem to be the case ! but it is proper to put down what one can of a time like this. Most willingly do I fly into dear old Hagley's loving arms.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

12Apr1867, Breakup of the Liberal Party

LONDON, April 12th, 1867.
—The downfall and breakup of the Liberal party is the miserable event of to-day. The debate [FN: On Mr. Gladstone's Amendment to Disraeli's Reform Bill.] lasted till 2. It was unsatisfactory and lukewarm throughout. The speeches on both sides were most of them disappointing. Bright, even, was rather laboured and constrained till the end of his speech when he made a fine appeal to the honest feeling of the House. Unhappily there is no such thing, except in a small minority. Dizzy I thought most inconclusive, though cunning enough. Mr. Hardy spoke vigorously and appeared in earnest, but it is in a sense entirely new to him. Mr. Forster was striking, downright and manly, which did one good. When Uncle William got up, he knew the game was up ; but I am not sure that his speech was not all the grander. He began (in answer to a wretched taunt of Dizzy's that he (Uncle W.) was to be taken as distinct from his party) by claiming to be their chosen spokesman and refusing to be dissociated from them ; so making a tacit appeal to the traitors in the camp. He was very striking throughout his speech, and contrasted more forcibly than I can say, in his strong, earnest conviction, with the wiles of his foe whom he followed. We had all been deceived, and had no notion that defeat was probable, dreading only a small majority ; but as the members were pouring out of the House and back again, something made our hearts fail. Poor Auntie Pussy turned white to her very lips as the tellers came in, or even a little before. Then we saw a horrid quiver of delight run through the Government side, and heard a subdued clapping, as 2 or 3 members rushed up to look at the numbers. We gave it up then ; and it was only a finishing stroke when the words came "The Ayes to the right, 289 ; the Noes to the left, 310." But it is a heart-break. We came home hardly knowing what we were about. When I saw Freddy I had a regular cry ; and he was even more cut-up than I was, knowing more fully the rotten state of things it reveals, and the greatness of the defeat.

10Apr1867, Countess Carlisle's Children

LONDON, April 10th, 1867.
—Went to see Rosalind, who is still very weak ; her little Mary [FN: Now Lady Mary Murray, wife of Professor Gilbert Murray.] the prettiest darling ; the baby an ugly fellow, but very thriving.

06Apr1867, A Fine Dinner

LONDON, April 6th, 1867.
—We dined at the Cardwells', meeting Ly. Waterford, no longer young, whose looks grievously disappointed me, till she rose up and walked across the room—a very Queen !—Argylls, Mr. Milner Gibson, Dean Stanleys, and the Gladstones; he took me down and was delightful, and in great force. We amused him largely with what I heard the other day ; that he and Dean Stanley, who were at a private school together, were reported to their respective fathers as dolts in the matter of arithmetic ! ! I believe it is still true of the Dean ; Uncle W. said himself he never took to it till he had worked hard at mathematics, to which also he had a dislike at first, but which his father urged him into.

05Apr1867, Uncle Wm. on Suffrage

LONDON, April 5th, 1867.
Uncle W. . . . will unmake and remake the Bill, . . . letting the Conservatives get the credit of it ! It is refreshing to hear that the good country Tories are enraged with Dizzy, and don't take kindly to their new war-cry of Household Suffrage. "The Liberals have a deal of hypocrisy, ultra-Toryism, and self-seeking among them," said Uncle W., "or they wouldn't be such faint friends to their cause, such cowards upon the question, and so taken up with little personal alarms and affronts."

04Apr1867, The Duke Home from Ireland

LONDON, April 4th, 1867.
—The Duke dined with us ; he got home to-day from Ireland, where he has received a very hearty and loyal deputation of tenantry. Fenianism is in the neighbourhood, however. Two soldiers were said to have been fighting each other viciously, about which should have somebody else's land ! ! The Duke underwent the convent as usual, and sat 1/2 an hour with 12 nuns all of a row giggling in front of him, which appears to have somewhat tried him.