The journal of Amélina Petit de Billier

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1821 Fox Talbot turns Twenty-One

Sunday 11. Today we went to Holland House, one or two miles from London, in Kensington to visit the Honourable Mary Fox, the daughter of Lord Holland, Baron, peer, one of the leaders of the opposition and the nephew of the celebrated Minister Sir Charles James Fox. This young lady whom I met at Bowood is charming, she is 14 or 15 years old and her mother leaves her in the country although [?] she is always here, it is said because of the good air, but everybody thinks, rightly, that that is not the real reason. Lady Holland is one of the most beautiful women in England, although she is 54 years old. We found Mary Fox very sad and silent, she was with her brother Henry. We walked in the park: it was very cold. She showed me under an arch of foliage a column which carries an enormous bust of Napoleon beneath which is a Greek description taken from the Iliad of Homer. During the winter they cover it because of the smoke and fog. Holland House is built in a very strange gothic style, but so close to London: this must be a pleasant house in the summer. On the way back we went to Hyde Park, there was a crowd of people on foot, on horseback and in carriages. We met many people we knew, among others Mr Feilding, Mr Henry Talbot, Mr William Hore [?] etc. etc. We went to ask for news of the Duchess de Cazes, at Portland Place; this young woman who is scarcely 18 years old, is dying of chest disease. Mme de St Aulaire arrived from France today to take charge herself of the treatment of her daughter. They told us that she was quite ill. I found M. de Cazes very badly housed: what a difference from the Quai Malaquai! [...]
We visited Lady Ilchester who has arrived from Abbotsbury. This lady is very kind and very unaffected: she has came to London for a short time to accompany her son who is leaving for Turkey in the spring. Today Mr Henry Talbot is 21 years old, majority, and he is in possession of a fine fortune. This does not seem to move him greatly!

Monday 12. We went out shopping today - I say "we" and I am wrong; for I was hardly tempted to buy anything, where everything is double the price elsewhere. In Piccadilly we met a procession of the guild of bakers of London who were going to present an address to the Queen in the Brandenburgh House. There were a great many of them, two constables were at the head of it on horseback, there were women, men, very well turned out and decorated with a quantity of white satin ribbons and knots, they carried banners on which one could see "Constitution" on another "Wood and independence" on another: "Caroline queen for ever in spite of them". They marched with fervour and seemed full of joy and confidence. Many carriages followed after them. All this procession passed in front of Carlton House, what a pleasant sight for the King. Certainly the love which the people have for the queen is quite disinterested, for this kind of presentation of addresses causes them great expense, Mr Brougham bore witness in Parliament that the guild of workers in bronze alone had spent 7000 guineas, 175,000 francs, because all the banners and trophies were in bronze. These presentations take place almost every day; indeed, said the same speaker [illegible] to make a similar expenditure for the king, especially without hope of repayment. The arguments in the chamber are lively on the question of restoring the name of the Queen in the Liturgy, there are peers for and against. It ended that on [illegible] to pray for her.