0Friday. 6th [January 1911]—Rome
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6 January 1911 — Rome
Friday. 6th [January 1911]. Rested & unpacked. At 12 went to luncheon wh was served in the library on the same floor as I lived on. The Queen is building a new dining room on 1st floor & as it is not yet completed she comes up to meals on the 2nd floor. The house hold assembles in a small room leading out of the library. I found that besides Mara di Villamarina & her daughter Mimi there were Principessa di S. Elia, neé Menatree. Count Oldofredi & Count Guiccioli who is permanent with the Villamarinas. The Queen came up in the lift. She greeted me most affectionately & cordially & took my arm to proceed to lunch. I sat on her right. She again took my arm after lunch & we walked thus along the long corridor to the lift & together went down in it to the 1st floor & to the fine long drawing room where H.M. sits at the end, we all forming a little circle round her chair, working & chatting. Mimi & the 2 gentlemen sat at a small table close by working at putting together “puzzles” which here as well as in England & America is the mania of the day. At 2.30 the Queen rose, kissed us & retired to her own rooms & we were free for the afternoon. I was offered a motor to take me any where I wished & I accepted it & went to Palazzo Gaetani to see the Duchess Ada Sermoneta– I found her on a chaise longue with her hands swathed & an English nurse in attendance. She had just recovered from a severe rheumatic attack & only just convalescent. I sat with her a bit & she gave me a cup of tea & then I left her & went round the corner Piazza Paganica to see Donna Laura Minghetti who is not very well just now. She was sitting alone & not doing any thing waiting for callers—this being her hour (5.30). She received me very warmly & was as dear as ever—but she looked white & aged—after staying sometime with her I went back in the royal motor to the Palace. The dinner hour is 8.30. At least we assembled for it at that hour. The Queen with the Marchesa appeared about ¼ hour after. She shook hands with us all round & then took my arm & led me to the table where I took my place at her right. She is looking well, tho’ rather pale probably from the shut-up life she leads as she gives audiences every day from 2.30 to 5 & rarely has time to go out. She still turns her head with difficulty the result of the illness she had 2 years ago—neuralgia at the back of the head & neck. She is growing a little stout & round shouldered & her hair (wh is abundant) is getting white, but her face is pretty, she has a lovely smile & pretty manner—du charme—as the French say. She likes to speak English with me—but French & Italian generally the languages used here. After dinner we went to the lift together & sat talking still abt 10 when the Q. rose & led the way to the large white drawing room & held a small reception mostly of ladies of the 2 Queen’s courts—with their husbands. The Queen declares that the single men prefer to come when there are no ladies so that she may have more time to talk to them—so they come on other evenings. The Queen sat in her large arm chair with the ladies all in a circle now & then exchanging places so as to get nearer to her. The unmarried girls congregated round Mimi & her puzzle table & chattered together. There was old Css Gianotti, (American) very old & shakey with her daughter. Nice, handsome Dss Grazioli Lante—Marchese del Grillo & his wife, Pss. Campo reale (American) very got up & stiff & artificial & a few more. Fat old Senatore Blaserna seemed pitch forked amongst the ladies & to be bored & uncomfortable. The Queen got up at 11 o’clock & led the way into the new dining room which is finished internally, lighted with 4 huge chandeliers for electric light & carpetted but not yet thoroughly warmed—there was a table with ices, orange cup, bonbons &c which were served to the company while the Q. went round speaking to one or another of them & then she kissed the ladies on the cheek & they kissed her hand & the men did the same & she retired to her own room—as she got to the door she turned to made a sweeping curtsey to the assembly & swept out. Ever since I saw her first do this curtsey I have admired the graceful way of it– I never saw any one do it so well. The ladies remained a few minutes chatting & then all went off home. The Q. waited in her own salon to bid me & the household goodnight & kissed me on both cheeks saying at the same time how happy she was to have me with her again.

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