Saturday, April 17, 2010

18Dec1872, Dinner in the Sculpture Gallery

CHATSWORTH, Wednesday, December 18th, 1872.
—The miserable dank fog goes on. The P. and Pss. breakfast tete-a-tete in the Red Velvet room ; and did not appear till 12 or so. I took her driving in the little carriage at 1, Ly. Cowper and Ly. A. following in t'other one, up to luncheon with the shooters in the Russian cottage. Here was sumptuous fare, but hitches occurred, viz., all the drinks were forgotten and had to be fetched, and we were presented with sugar instead of salt for our pie. Ly. A. and Ly. C. afterwds went a drive, but the Prss. and I, with Mr. Cockerell (a delightful wag is he) in the dickey, followed the shooters through New Pine Wood. Bewitching and unaffected and good-natured is the Princess. In the evening came off the rather ponderous and oppressive big County ball ; a great success for all the company, who were over the moon, but trying to the family and scrowgy for the Royal pair. Moreover, the room was hot and dusty. All went smooth, however, at and after supper, which was a lovely and peculiar sight in the Sculpture Gallery, carpeted with red cloth and adorned with great bananas, ferns, palms, etc. The great granite basin filled with green, a slender palm in the middle, and stiff white hyacinths blooming round the palm, reminded me somehow of the ancient pictures of the Virgin's tomb filled with flowers. The orangery lit with coloured lamps very pretty ; and the vista from that to the Hebe in the big drawing-room was! Before the ball illuminations of the fountains and cascade came off, but the fog quenched them fatally. Owing to Lou's mourning for Mr. H. Greville (whose death has carried Frank away, alack !) the Prince opened the ball with me ; Princess with Cavendish.

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