Sunday, February 27, 2011

15Dec1880, At Windsor With the Queen

WINDSOR CASTLE, December 15th, 1880.
—We had the excitement of going to Windsor to dine and sleep, also the Gladstones. Great was my romance at revisiting those dear maid-of-honour glimpses of the moon — for the 1st time with F.: I did go in '69 alone. Sweet peace in snug little rooms with tea and books till dinner-time. The Queen very kind; talked a good while to me after dinner (standing about in the corridor, according to present uncomfortable fashion), and took very gracious notice of F., asking him about his "hard work," telling me he wasn't like Cavendish, but was like his mother. Edwarden [FN: Edward Talbot, Warden of Keble, afterwards Bishop of Winchester.] preacht before H.M. last Sunday; she said, "He is not handsome — not like his father" — didn't mention his sermon to me but said something civil about it to Auntie P., only "it was rather long," (N.B. 20 mins.).

The grey hair is really almost the only change in the dear Queen's looks since my day; she was grave for the most part, and no wonder. Ireland is a great distress to her. She had a long talk with Uncle W. before dinner. Ly. Ely told Auntie P. that H.M. thought Uncle W. "very kind" to her, and was struck by his serious view of the state of things and by his great loyalty to all his colleagues. Princess Beatrice a nice creature, pretty from her gentle brightness of expression, and bloom: talked a good deal to me. Gave rather a dismal account of poor Princess Louise who has never recovered from her ghastly sleigh-accident in Canada. Ly. Waterpark was Ly.-in-waiting; Ly. Ely here too, so altered I did not know her. Ld. Thurlow and another kissed hands on being made Lords-in-Waiting, and I sat by Lord T., who was on his best behaviour dining for the first time, and looked upon me as an old hand. After H.M. had done with us, we joined the Household, sitting round the round table just as of old: venerable Caroline Cavendish, Miss Phipps, Sir H. Ponsonby, to whom I puffed Constance Neville, who is going to marry his sub-secretary Col. Bigge [FN: Now Lord Stamfordham, Private Secretary to the King.] — a great favourite of the Queen's. Thursday morning the Queen sent me 3 prints of herself, Princess B., and Princess Alice, and so away from the stately towers.

W. E. G.'s dined with us. He is very well, but certainly rather older and more tireable. How will he ever got thro' the horrible impending Session? The Queen was full of interest and affectionate sympathy about Constance Westminster, [FN: Daughter of the 2nd Duke of Sutherland and 1st wife of the 1st Duke of Westminster. She was a first cousin of Lord Frederick Cavendish. She died a few days later.] who is dying. Sent down to Ly. Waterpark Thursday morning a very hopeless account from Sibell Grosvenor.

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