Sir Hubert and Venice

The Victorians were great diarists as well as travellers, and the life of the English ‘colony’ in Venice has been well documented. Around 1900 Sir Hubert Miller spent six months of the year in a ‘villa’ in Venice and, until recently, we have been unable to find out any more. At the time (2009) we did, however, come across the “Gertrude Bell Diaries” on the internet and they record a little of what life was like at that time. At the same time, Lady Layard, another member of the English ‘colony’ wrote a journal that finished up as 8,000 pages long, and, in it, there are several mentions of Sir Hubert, including where he lived in Venice (follow More at the bottom of the page). However, despite much research, we never could find the location of the Pal(azzo) Printi that she mentioned.

In April 2012 we were contacted by the daughter of Sir Hubert’s great niece and, following a visit with her mother, we discovered the true address of his residence in Venice – Lady Layard (see below) had got the name wrong! The actual name was Palazzo Priuli, which is now a busy hotel in the centre of Venice.

Gertrude Bell was a counsellor to kings and prime ministers; a colleague of Winston Churchill and Lloyd George; a crony of T.E. Lawrence and St. John Philby, and an intimate of Arab sheiks.

She was also a fearless traveller; in Switzerland she climbed unexplored icy peaks, in Turkey she visited remote ruins, in Mesopotamia she studied Arabic and rode sidesaddle across the Arabian Desert, venturing where few Westerners had dared go. The Arabs pronounced her a “daughter of the desert”.

Our interest stems from the fact that references to Sir Hubert appear on several pages, and we quote from them below (we have highlighted Sir Hubert’s name in red):-

Friday 3rd April 1896
Better. Went to Torcello by steamer. Low tide, we steamed past Murano and through a narrow channel between grey and brown fields of mud; drew near Burano with its crooked tower, passed the tower of Mazzorbo and stopped by another tower. Then on to Torcello where we were landed in a field. The islands a mass of pink and white fruit blossom above the grey sea wrack. A wind over all the rushes. Walked through fields full of starch hyacinths to the grass grown square of Torcello where we photographed a little girl in Attila’s chair. Into the church of beautiful capitals. In the Apse above the Bishop’s throne the great solemn Madonna with the child in her arms, weeping. Exquisite peacock and lion panels on the choir screen. On the pulpit, carved slabs cut into anyhow. The great campanile behind looking out over waste and sea. In the square the round, arched front of Santa Fosca and the absurd little Palazzo Pubblico with painted windows. Nothing else but a few tumble down houses and begging children. Back to Burano where we walked about the squalid streets with canals for roads and a view of Venice [Venezia] at the end of each. The fisher people look dreadfully thin and ragged, the women handsome but lined and worn; the children in rags, begging. The tide was full as we returned and we steamed through a great lake with the low shore on one side and the low Lido on the other. An island planted with cypresses makes a dark point in all grays [sic] and browns. Lunch. My lesson and out to tea with the Bensons – he showed us his pictures and we behaved in an examplary manner. In came Sir Hubert Miller who is furnishing Mr Williamson’s house for us – a poseur but amusing. He walked home with us. At 7.30 to the service in St Mark’s where we saw the lights put out one by one before the Miseria
Sat. 4th April 1896
Out early, to St Mark’s. The blessing of the fire was just over. Followed the procession into the church. They carried a 3 branch candlestick of which one candle was lighted. The other 2 they lighted one under each lamp. Went into the choir where we sat just behind Sir Hubert Miller who gave us his book. Endless chanting prayers by a priest in gold and embroidered garments. He stuck five pods of incense into a big candle, in the shape of a cross. All the candles and lamps were lit except the 4 on the altar. Then away to St Zaccaria where we saw the ceremony of blessing the brazier and lighting the candle and throwing the incense into the holy fire. On to San Giorgio dei Schiavone where we looked at the Carpaccios again. Back to St Mark’s where we arrived just in time to see the blessing of the font. Followed the procession up to the choir and stood outside during an endless litany. Then the candles on the altar were lighted, the organ pealed out, the voices rose in the Gloria, a bell rang and suddenly the curtain behind the altar fell open and the Pala d’oro shone out. A very splendid moment. Went down onto the Piazza and took a gondola (Vittorio 42) he greeted us joyfully ““Christ is risen” he said “and you are the first people to come in my gondola. It is very lucky.” Went to San Giovanni e Paolo where we saw a charming Cima? (or Carpaccio?) a Virgin with saints – the gloria had just been begun as we entered and all the veils had fallen. The Tintorettos are no longer here. San Grisostomo we couldn’t get into; on to San Giovanni Elemosinario where we saw a Titian picture of the Saint, very gracious, and a S. del Piombo said to be fine but hung in too bad a light. Then to San Cassano where over the altar a Resurrection mostly hidden by an edifice over the altar, a most curious and noble Crucifixion with the crosses to one side and the horizon very low down, a Descent into Hell, black and quasi invisible, all Tintoret. Also a fine Palma Vecchio. Then to Santa Maria dell Orto, through a charming quarter and past Tintoret’s house; by the altar a magnificent Last Judgement, full of figures, and a Golden Calf, difficult to see; in a side chapel, miracle of St Agnes, looked fine, bad light; in another Presentation in the Temple – exquisite Titian’s clearly taken from it – all Tintoret. R. of the door an exquisite Cima Virgin enthroned with a canopy of architecture and boughs, a lovely landscape, and wild strawberries beneath the feet of the saints. Lunch. Lesson. Out at 4 and after a little shopping to Dr Van Sommeren’s where we had a most pleasant tea – he was ill poor dear. Presently in came Madame Wiel and Mr Montalba – the latter walked away with us to the end of the Piazza and back. Took Vittorio and went across to the Giudecca to Miss Macy’s. Clear and wonderful. Dear little woman with a delightful long attic looking out to Venice [Venezia] on one side and the Lido on the other. Wonderful view, the Lagoon quite still and all reflections looking as if they were solid. Streaked with red and grey from the sunset. Had tea and she showed us her modellings and gave me a column of the Duke’s Palace. Tea before the open wood fire. In came Miss Atkinson, Miss Fletcher’s friend, and a Miss Mackenzie. As we rowed away the Salute stood out dark against the sky where light lingered, looking flat not solid and San Giorgio divine catching the faint light. All the Piazza lights reflected in the water. Dinner late.

In a similar vein is Lady Layard’s Journal. She was the third daughter and eighth child, of ten, born to the industrialist Sir Josiah John Guest (1785-1852), owner of the Dowlais Ironworks, and his wife Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Bertie (1814-95), only daughter of Albemarle, 9th Earl of Lindsey.

Enid (she was christened Mary Enid Evelyn Guest) was born in circumstances which allowed her to meet many leading figures of her day. Her marriage to a well-known and popular public figure extended these opportunities and may have sparked a determination to make daily journal entries, unlike the occasional entries of earlier years, and chronicle the events of her life and the people she met. Except for periods of personal illness and tragedy Enid wrote regularly in her journal up to a few days before her death on 1st November 1912, in her Venetian palazzo, Ca’Capello.

Lady Layard’s journal covers 51 years, is in excess of 8,000 pages, and consists of over 15,000 entries. And, she mentions Sir Hubert in several entries. To find out more about here follow the link at the bottom of the page which will open the most fascinating website of the Armstrong Browning Library at Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

November 1900 – Ca’Capello, Venice

Friday. 2nd November 1900
Mr & Mrs Curtis, the 2 Misses Monk & Sir Hubert Miller came to luncheon. Mr Christie, Lady Dounshire & Miss Balfour came afterwards to make acquaintance with the former – Mr Brown came to see me, quite altered in manner & quite as of old. Evidently Mrs Curtis has talked to him. I had said I wished for no explanation but if he came to call I should understand that the cloud was cleared. It is a comfort.
Thursday. 8th November 1900
Mr Christie came in the morning to talk over Sailor’s Institute affairs. Told me also that Sir Hubert Miller has presented to our church some nice old inlaid wooden altar rails – I took Aline to the station directly after lunch & saw her off by the 2 train with her cousins Lady Dounshire & Miss Balfour to Milan. I went thence to Mrs Curtis – had a talk with her about Fanny Browning who seems not to be going to get a separation from her husband against all her friends advice. Took Mrs Curtis out in gondola for a while & after dropping her fetched Mrs Fildes & took her to the jeweller in the Piazza to conclude the bargain for her pearl necklace. It was 6 oclock before I got home & at the door I met the Misses Monk who came to say they were starting home tonight having had a telegram to say their only brother is ill – They did not stay long & when they were gone & the door shut I went up to my room & really felt that I am alone again – a relief for I have been living at high pressure & am very tired much as I liked having my friends – I dined at 7.30 & went to bed at 10 – to have a long rest……………………
Friday. 23rd November 1900
This morning’s post brought me a bad account of Maria. It is evident she is daily getting worse. Barbara went out this morning with Iduna Belmondo. Gertie did not appear till 11. I modelled. Had a visit from Don Antonio the priest at Vescovana – he burst into a sob on seeing me – & set me crying – & it was some time before either of us could speak – He told me how our dear Countess Pisani had died of a cholic which lasted hardly 26 hours & ended in paralysis of the heart & her death was sudden & unexpected as the Dr had not been in apprehension – He said tho’ the Bentivoglios were good & kind people it was hard for him to bear the change – their ways & ideas were so different in every way to the Countess. I said he & I are her only true mourners. I asked him to burn any of my letters she might have kept which he promised to do. He says he has sacks full of letters to look thro’ & burn. He told me that Dr Alexander van Millingen had been to Vescovana & asked for & received many of the Countess own family things & at last wrote so often for more that he had had to put a stop to it. How indelicate are people on these occasions! After lunch I took Gertie Seymer & Barbara Layard out in gondola to the Piazza & for a row & we came back soon after 4. Sir Hubert Miller & Iduna came to tea. Had amusing talk with the former – who said that for some time on first acquaintance with me he was very frightened of me – So many people have said the same that I asked him to explain what there was about me & after some difficulty he said that my manner was so proud. How little one knows oneself! I never felt proud – only often shy & stupid. I must try & watch myself. I know I have not been attractive to Barbara Layard who is very uncongenial to me but I have tried hard to be nice to her as in duty bound to a guest – tho’ I did not want her to come & she asked me to have her – & I did not expect her to have stayed so long. I hope however she has enjoyed herself & has not found me out. Mr & Mrs Curtis & Mr Horatio Brown dined with me. Just before dinner I got a telegram from the Du Canes saying & evidently poor Maria is going to die after all – It is very very sad.
Wednesday. 12th December 1900
Modelled in morning. Sir Hubert Miller & Fannie Browning came to lunch. Sir H. expounded his advice on the altar cloths &c of our church here in which he takes much interest. Gertie developped a bad cold in her head & I persuaded her to go to bed which she did when I went out at 3. I went to the Piazza to buy beads for her for necklaces she is stringing & then returned home. Iduna Bel. & Mlle Aspasie Kwekwitsch came to tea. I dined alone at 7 & then went to the Sailor’’s Institute where there was the usual men’s concert. Mr Langford a young Englishman sang. He has a good baritone voice & is studying for the stage. Being abt 29 he has lately married a woman of over 50 & is her 3rd husband. Mrs Hulton also sang & I – Prof. Trombini who was there kindly accompanied us. M. Revel & his family came there & Fanny Browning with some American friends. An English Captain made a speech at the end voted thanks & the sailors gave us all hearty English cheers – three times three – We sang God save the Queen & went home – by 11 oclock. I had a talk with a very respectable Engineer who said the Institute was a great pleasure & comfort to him & all & they all liked the present missioner & family Mr & Mrs Newman – & resented the attacks of the Hansens on them – Hansen dismissed from our Institute having set up an opposition in the place.
Monday. 25th March 1901
Went out after lunch with the Oranmores to Moses Della Torres’ antiquity shop to help them to choose furniture. Countess Canevaro came to tea at 5 & brought with her a Countess Pegnole the wife of a naval officer to introduce to me. Later came Maria Cozzi, Countess Brandolin & her boy Carlino, Mme Rubini & her girl, Sir Hubert Miller & Mr Montalba. Onie sang as did also Ersilia Canevaro.

August 1901 – Shrubbery House, Froyle, Hampshire

Saturday. 3rd August 1901
Breakfasted in our own rooms & met downstairs about 11 – Sir Hubert Miller (my hostess’ landlord) arrived to stay. I took a walk with him & he showed me some cottages he was enlarging & improving. He is very fond of his place & deeply regrets not being rich eno’ to live at the big House Froyle which he has let to a Col. Wyndham & Mr Murray.

April 1902 – Ca’Capello, Venice

Saturday. 26th April 1902
I walked out with Elaine before lunch & went to call on Bss Reinelt whom I found laid up with the gout but very wroth at having Sr Rombo come to sit with her – as he had done yesterday morning. He is Ct Morosini’’s father & between them they are trying to hold her tight in their clutches on account of her millions & she tells me she is sure Rombo comes as a spy. She is the more put out that there has been a report put about that she is going to marry him & she wound up by saying “Je voudrais jeter ce monsieur là pas la fenêtre!” All this she whispered to me as she limped with me to the door of the anteroom. I promised to return to see her tomorrow morning & joined Elaine again & went home to lunch. After lunch I had a solemn visit from Mr Castellani (manager of the V. & Murano Co) & his wife. He is an old man almost in his dotage – & I always have mistrusted his honesty. As soon as they left Ct Seckendorff & I went off in gondola to fetch Mme Kwekwitsch & she took us to the palace of the Centanini to see some blue faience vases they want to sell – who they believe to be worth 40000 lire & who I believe not to be worth 2000 – They are blue & white & dated 1769. The daughter Mme Notabartolo received us & showed their vases to us & then gave us coffee on a charming terrace wh leads out of the middle of the house. I took occasion to ask why her mother had not given over to the police the gondolier who had stolen the leather wh had been sold to me – She said her [mother] had not done so in order not to ruin the gondolier! I said I had informed the police as soon as I knew it & she said she personally was glad I had done so. I went to call at the Prefettura & saw Elsie Cassis & begged her to tell the Prefect how badly the patients at the Italian hospital were being treated & how we were removing the poor burnt English sailor who was miserable there as he had never once been washed in the 3 weeks he has been in hospital – & that his mate died of erysipelas from the bad nursing. I called also on Lady Radnor & found her at home & spoke to her about the painting of our church windows which she seemed ready to undertake to paint herself. The weather became threatening & a storm of rain & wind arose which I fear will bring wet & cold after the delightful warm weather we have been having. The Villiers dined out with Sir Hubert Miller. Iduna Belmondo came to dine with Ct Seckendorff & Pss Taxis & me & in the evening several friends dropped in to bid me goodbye before my departure for London.
Monday. 28th April 1902
Ernest came up to the studio & spent the morning trying his hand at modelling. Count Seckendorff & Princesses Melanie Thurn and Taxis left me by 2 o’cl train for Trent having, they said enjoyed their visit to me. The weather is changing & it rained a great deal. I went to call on Mme Wiel but she was too ill to see me – I saw her sister Mrs Molyneux & she told me she hopes soon to carry off Mme Wiel to England. Took out Elaine to tea at Sir Hubert Miller’s at the Fonda. Lady Blanche Lindsay was there. I paid Bss Reinelt & the Edens a farewell visit & then home. A good many people came to bid me goodbye amongst them the Prefect & his wife.
Tuesday. 29th April 1902
Blanche Lady Lindsay came to lunch with me & Sir Hubert Miller & I took them out directly after to see the Sailor’s Institute. Directly after breakfast we had a Committee meeting of the S. Institute at which Carry Eden, the Consul, Mr Montalba & Mr Hulton were present. I made a proposal that an International Hospital should be started so that we no longer need to send our sick sailors to the general Italian hospital. The members of the Com. all looked down shook their heads in disapproval as I read out my proposal – but as soon as I added that I was ready to offer £100 & Lady Lindsay had offered £25 their expressions changed – & they cheerfully looked up saying the scheme was a good one & it was a thing greatly needed. The Consul too who had raised endless objections began to see the possibilities. I therefore continued my proposal by saying I thought that the hospital should be a thing entirely apart from the Institute & that I proposed a Committee consisting of the Chaplain Mr Brown & Dr Van Someren should be named wh was unanimously agreed to. Later in the day Mr Brown came to see me pleased with the scheme & ready to accept – & late in the eveng Dr van Someren came also & delivered into my hands a letter from the new Committee begging me to give my name as Patroness – I have also undertaken to collect funds when in England. The Villiers left me by 11.50 train via Bâle for Paris where we are to meet on Thursday & after they had left I was able to do some of my packing before I went to sleep.
Sunday. 3rd April 1904
Easter Sunday we all went to church which was crowded at both services. Eda went also to the 8 o’clock service & said that it was also very full. Sir Hubert Miller had hung a good deal of black cloth over things which is his high church notion on Good Friday – but today he had covered everything with flowers daffodils &c. After the service Mrs Burdon Muller and I walked home. In the afternoon we went to the Eden’s garden for a short time & then by 5 were back in Venice to go to Countess Brandolin to hear a M. du Bled give a lecture on the Ladies in France of the XVIIIth century. We arrived just in time & found the sala full of Italian ladies all seated & M. du Bled began a rather rigmaroly dissertation over the theme which lasted about an hour – After it was over we partook of tea & refreshments & I exchanged greetings with many Italian ladies – all the Venetian society being still here. At 7 I went off with Baker to the Sailor’s Institute to the evening service and walked back with Mr Harston who was very anxious about his boy who has fever. I found Eda Alderson & Mrs B. Muller still at dinner when I got back & joined them.
Monday. 11th April 1904
I went out in the morning with Princess Charlotte & Herr Roeder to the Piazza &c – & then returned home alone to lunch & the Prince & Princess went to luncheon at the Hotel Britannia where Herr Roeder & the lady in waiting are staying – They returned at tea time & Lady Radnor then came to be introduced. Mrs Burdon Muller & Eda Alderson went off to Sir Hubert Miller’s to tea. Count & Css Belmondo dined with us – being very friendly with Pss Charlotte.

April 1904 – Bologna

Sunday. 17th April 1904
Packed early & breakfasted at 9 & then sauntered out with Mrs B. Muller & Pss Charlotte to some of the small antiquity shops but found nothing, except a small old Venetian hand lantern which I got for 5 lire. We lunched all together the P. & Pss, the 3 Malagolas & Mrs B. Muller & I & then went to the station to leave for Venice by the 1.50 train. We left the Prince & Prof: Malagola at Bologna to see more churches & to follow us to Venice by a later train & they did not get there before 11 P.M. On the journey Mme Malagola was feeling very ill & Princess Charlotte prescribed a regime for her beginning in the early morning with a glass of hot water containing a pinch of salt & some nourishment every 2 hours. She promised to try it. In the evening we went out in 2 boats to hear a serenade which Mrs Prinsep had arranged in aid of the Cosmopolitan Hospital. She played finely on the piano & Signor Rava on the violin. He is a young Jew with a decided talent for music. Sir Hubert Miller & Thoby Prinsep sang a duet. They collected about 8 lire. It was quite a success. All the serenaders came in to tea with us afterwards.

April 1904 – Ca’Capello, Venice

Thursday. 28th April 1904
I was in bed all day till 5 suffering with headache from fatigue but I got up to receive Css Canevaro who brought a pretty little Css Pellegrini to introduce to me. In the evening feeling better I plucked up & Eda & I went to an evening party at Sir Hubert Millers in Pal. Printi near the Greek Church. There were many Italians there. Sir Hubert has some pretty things but what shocks the Italians is having in his living rooms reliquaries, wooden angels &c. Today I got a telegram from Marchesa Villamarina to say that Queen Margherita invites me to pay her a visit at Rome on Saty. I had intended going to Rome to Hotel Beausite. I wrote to ask the Marchesa if H.M. wd then see me & this is the kind answer.
Monday. 23rd May 1904
I went out with Mrs Silver in the morning walking to help her to shop. It was a hot day & heavy scirocco – Mrs Silver & Mrs Poynter went to tea with Sir Hubert Miller & I took Sir Edward & Mr Poynter for a walk but we had to shorten our expedition as a tremendous thunderstorm threatened & came on later but was not as violent as we expected from the blackness of the sky
Sunday. 29th May 1904
We went to 10.30 service. Sir Hubert Miller at the organ. After lunch Mr Barber called. He is a friend of Mrs Poynter – a middle aged man & very spick & span – He lives in a villa at Florence at Careggi & Mrs Poynter is going to stay with him & his wife tomorrow & he will take Mrs Poynter with him. She & I went to tea at the Prefettura & there met the Canevaros, Ersilia & her sister. Ersilia told the Prefect privately that Css Brandolin is frantic with him for not having prevented the socialists publishing insults of her. In fact Ersilia tried to stir up strife. In vain I tried to undo her work. The Prefect is really not in fault. He said to me “it was the business of the Procuratore del Rè & how can I go & give orders to one who is my equal” – In the evening Mrs Poynter & I went to Countess Marcello’s reception. As there was a ball going on in town there were very few people there. They all sat round in a circle and it was very solemn. Bss Reinelt had begged me to go there as she said they were hurt because I never went to the house. I said I had an objection to go to evening parties on Sundays as it is against our Protestant habits but for once I wd go to show my goodwill. So I put off going to the service at the Sailor’s Institute & we went to the Marcellos. I had once been a great friend of the Count’s mother & knew the rooms well. There was an old gentleman named Casati there who effects being a Frenchman. He is a savant on Etruscan remains. He wears a glossy black wig & has the Legion d’honneur in his buttonhole. He said he had known Henry in former days. The conversation dragged along & the Count spoke of the Campanile of S. Marks – He asked me if I had a bit of the wood of the old tower. On my saying I had, he left me & offered his arm to Mrs Poynter & led her into another room. She afterwards told me that he said he was going to give her a present & proceeded to present to her a small piece of blackened wood abt 3 inches long wh he said came from the piles of the foundation of the tower. He then came to me & offering me his arm led me into the same room where he showed me a beautiful old illuminated missal wh had belonged to Blanche de Navarre. It then being abt 11 I said we must leave as Mrs Poynter had still to pack. We went back into the sala to take leave of our hostess & everyone rose as we left exchanging bows. At the doorway I turned & seeing the company still standing gave a final bow such as I had seen Queen Margherita do to us – & then retired in confusion. The Count armed me down to the gondola – & we went home – laughing at our solemn experience. I felt like a counterfeit queen & Mrs Poynter like a lady in waiting. We did not mean to laugh at our host & hostess – but it was an old world ceremonious visit to wh we are not now used.
Saturday. 21st April 1906
We were at 9 o’cl breakfast the Bishop, Mrs Collins & I went. Dr van Someren telephoned he wished to see me so I answered I was ready to see him at once & he came. He wanted to talk about his religious attitude towards the patients he wants to bring to our hospital in case he closes his own nursing home. He has now a religious mania & thinks he should try & convert people here to his view of Christianity. I told him that we must come to an understanding on the subject as I had given a promise to people here that no one’’s religion would be tampered with in our hospital & therefore if he thought right to do so with his patients I could not admit them. I pointed out to him that more was to be done by example & influence of one’’s life than any amount of distributing tracts &c. When he began to argue with me as to “works” & “faith” I told him I was not competent to go into that – that I had given my word & could not go back on it. He was quite pleasant & said he would consider the matter & give me a final answer later on – in the meanwhile he undertook to do nothing in the way of conversion as regards those he now has in our hospital – & he left. At 11 I took Mrs Collins out in gondola. We went to our church to see the window I have just had put up in memory of Henry. We both liked it – as also the one to Wotton. The church was being cleaned & prepared for tomorrow’s services. The Bishop joined us there also Canon & Mrs Ragg & Sir Hubert Miller who was making up a throne for the Bishop – Messrs S. & H. Arbib also came in to see & admire. From there Mrs Collins & I went to the Piazza to shop & then home – The Bishop joined us at 1 o’’cl lunch – & I went to the Sailor’s Institute with the Bishop before 3 for a Gibraltar Mission meeting – to which unfortunately only 2 people came so it could not come off. I dont think any one had realized that the Bishop had been going to make a speech on the G.M. So we returned home & I sent him & his wife out for a quiet row for rest & quiet. At 4.30 Angela Reinelt called for me & took me to the party at Marchese Sacripante’s whose daughter is engaged to Count Lovatelli & the reception was in their honor. All Venice was there & it was very hot & tiring – so that we did not stay long. I accompanied Angela back to her hotel & sat a little while with her. She likes me to talk to her about the differences of our two religions R. Catholic & Protestant – & is impressed with some of the things I tell her – not that I think of doing so with an idea of bringing her over. She is a good R.C. but is a clever woman & likes to understand about things that do not interest other women here. I came home at 6 & rested till 7 when I dressed for dinner to wh Canon & Mrs Ragg came. After dinner there was a goodly gathering of English & Protestants whom I had invited “To meet the Bishop” – & there were also a few passing travellers – about 100 people in all – quite a lively affair.
Tuesday. 15th May 1906
Princess Taxis having expressed a wish to know Pss Borghese née Apponyi, we went out first to call on Iduna Belmondo in her charming new apartment & then on to Princess Borghese who lives not far off. She received us with her usual kind manner & looked quite young again with her pretty fair hair. Trouble has aged her before her time for she is 6 years younger than I am. I told her that I remember seeing her when she was a girl before she came out when the Austrian Embassy was in Chandos House at the back of Langham House where my mother lived. I used to see Mme Apponyi playing croquet in the garden wh ran parallel with our house. She made a brilliant marriage but Prince Borghese took to speculating & had to leave Rome & they came to live at Venice to save money. The Prince is never visible & is I believe getting blind. His wife hardly ever leaves him & tho’ so poor she cannot afford to keep a gondola is always cheerful and contented with her lot. Sir Arthur Fanshawe, Countess Amelie Wallis Mocenigo & Sir Hubert Miller dined with me. I was not very pleased at having the latter as he had forced himself upon me – On Sunday coming out of church he rushed up to me & said “Do you want to make me very happy – if so will you let me dine with you on Tuesday?” I was so taken aback that I said coldly “Oh yes” – & so left it not having even the courage to put him off afterwards. This is the second time he has forced himself upon me to dinner! What a snob!
Saturday. 19th November 1910
I went out in the morng at 10 in gondola with Lord K. to the Academy to show him round the pictures. He does not understand much about it & did not linger long. We walked from there along the Zattere to the Frari & went into the Church – & then to the Ch. of S. Tomà where the Frari Bellini & other pictures are kept while the repairs of the Frari are going on & we got home just at lunch time, I rather tired. It was a lovely day & Lord K., Eda & Nela were glad to go out in H. Whitaker’s motor boat. I joined the party about 4 in the Piazza & thence took Lord K. to the Edens where we had tea. They were very pleased to make his acquaintance & Lord K. like dear old Mr Eden & made himself very to him. Mme Wiel & Sir Hubert Miller came in also & H. Whitaker & Nela Du Cane. Lady Radnor, the Prefect (Count Nasalli Rocca), Mrs Curtis & Mr Latimer (her nephew), Hugh Whitaker dined with us.

Source: Lady Layard’s Journal