0Monday. 27th [March 1911]—Ca’ Capello, Venice
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27 March 1911 — Ca’ Capello, Venice
Monday. 27th [March 1911]. Today is the great Italian fête day to celebrate the Jubilee of the founding of the United Kingdom. There were processions of patriots, salutes fired & the shops shut for a general holiday. Mr Biddulph & his boy Roundell left us today for Milan to our regret. He Mr B. is such a courteous gentleman & has been such a pleasant companion when we met him in Egypt this winter– The boy is delicate & altho 14 very backward & highly nervous—& his father brought him abroad this winter in the hope of strengthening him morally & physically. Having lately lost the mother af a long & painful illness, he centers all his affection in the boy & it is very pathetic to see his devotion & patience with the little fellow. Hon. Algernon Bourke lunched with us. He has become a dealer in antiquities & had offered to take Lord K. round in search of stonework—but Lord K. did not care to go with him having already arranged with Moisé Dalla Torre for a stone way for his house Broome. Before we had finished our lunch Lord K. went off in gondola to the station to meet his ADC Capt. Fitzgerald who has been shooting with him in Uganda & who had remained en route at Rome. This is a reinforcement to our diminished house party. Lord K., Eda & I had received an invitation to a tea party on board the “Hohenzollern” for the afternoon at 5 printed on a huge card decorated with the Imperial arms. So at ¼ to 5 we set off in gondola to go on board– There was a large party of officers, several ladies of Venetian society—such as the ladies of both the Italian Queens & the celebrated Countess Morosini. The Duke of the Abruzzi was also there. The weather was unfortunately dull & damp tho’ it did not actually rain. We had a kind reception & after a little talk with their Majesties I made the acquaintance of their daughter Princess Victoria Louisa a nice bright girl—not pretty but with pleasant manners. Very soon the Empress led the way into a deck saloon where there were several tables laid for tea. At the middle table the Empress sat surrounded by the Ladies of the Queens. The Princess presided at another & I was bidden to sit by her & had just established myself when I was called away to sit at the table presided at by the Kaiser & I sat on his right. The D. of Udine sat at his left. The wife of the German Consul was next to me & next her Countess Morosini—there were 3 other ladies whom I did not know. The Kaiser was very chatty & in high spirits & talked English to me nearly the whole time. He said he had enjoyed his talk yesterday with Lord Kitchener & was glad to find they had agreed so well together on many subjects! I told H.M. I had enjoyed hearing them talk altho’ I was very ignorant on military matters. The Kaiser said he had been this morning to see the Restaurations of the Interior of the Church of San Stefano which he greatly admired. Countess Morosini asked if he had ever seen the Pal. of Stra’ near Padua—& hearing that he had not seen it she said it was well worth a visit. I told him of the wonderful ceiling painted with an allegorical subject. The Pisani of the time wanted his portrait introduced so the painter had placed him in the centre in the costume of the time, big wig & sword & Venus sitting on his lap. The Kaiser went into fits over this & said that now he knew how to have his palace fittingly decorated at Berlin. Lord Kitchener had taken my place beside the Princess at her table. Eda had been at another table with Css Morosini’s daughter. Tea, chocolate, champagne, ices, cakes &c were served in profusion. After tea we returned to the deck & the Empress said “come along with me, people won’t move if one does not make a dash. She said she was so glad to see me & regretted that she had never had that pleasure till the last time she was here 2 years ago– She did not know how it was, she thought I had generally been away from Venice when she came here– She knew I had been such a friend of the Empress Frederick & she went on praising her talent & energy & said the only one of her family who had inherited it was the Kaiser. She said her sufferings during the last year of her life had been dreadful—& that she had studied the dreadful illness so that she knew far too much all the horrors she must go thro’. The Empress’ own mother had died of the same illness but had only been ill 6 months & had never been told what it was. I asked H.M. after Pss Charlotte’s health—she gave but a bad account of her but said she had never taken care of herself when young & had ridden too hard &c. I told H.M. that I was sorry to hear she was not well—as I was attached to her & she always stayed with me when she came to Venice. I was determined to say this as I knew there was not the best of feeling between her & the Kaiser. The Empress left me on the deck & went into the saloon to talk to the other ladies who were afraid of the cold. I had on my sable cape & the Kaiser said I did well to keep it on as the weather was so cold– I had asked Lord Kitchener to invite the Duke of the Abuzzi to come to dine tomorrow—which he accepted & he came to me & said “I have been told by Lord K. that you are kind eno’ to wish me to dine with you—is this so?” I confirmed the invitation & he settled to come tomorrow at 8. I have always felt I ought to entertain the Duke & never saw how to set about it—having Lord K. to help me I seized the opportunity. At sunset the royal salute was fired from the Hohenzollern & all the national airs played. It made a great noise & bustle– I grudge the Germans our tune of “God save”—& always wish they would have left it entirely to us. When the saluting was over all the guests took their departure– The Kaiser was in the companion ladder bidding the ladies goodbye & helping to call their gondolas. When I took leave he said “I know your gondolier’s name is “Ricardo”—a very fine name– He kissed my hand as I left & shook hands with Lord K. & E. & we went home & dined early as some of my party wanted to go out to the Piazza to see the illuminations for the Italian Jubilee. They returned early saying it was not worth having gone for– The German ships were lighted up with electric lights & looked well—but the candles in the windows of the R. Palace looking into the Piazza were not even lighted. Lord K. made great fun of it saying it was a poor show.

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