0Tuesday. 28th [March 1911]—Ca’ Capello, Venice
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28 March 1911 — Ca’ Capello, Venice
Tuesday. 28th [March 1911]. Lord Kitchener went off by 8 a.m. train with Cav. S. Arbib to Padua in search of antiquities. They returned at 11.30 not having found anything he cared to buy. After lunch I went with Lord K. & Mr Arbuthnot to some more antiquity shops—& then I left them & went to pay a visit to Angela Reinelt. The Duke of the Abruzzi & his ADC Count Durazzo & Mrs Whitaker came to dine. The Duke sat on my right & Lord K. on my left. They talked across me a good deal about Kashmir & the Duke’s climb up the Himalayas– After dinner we did English fashion—the gentlemen remaining in the dining room to make & have coffee while we ladies went to the drawing room. We had only been 8 at dinner, the Duke, his ADC, Lord Kitchener, Mr Arbuthnot, Capt. Fitzgerald, Mrs Whitaker, Eda & I. I have only an Italian woman cook pro tem, but Mrs Curtis kindly sent her excellent man cook to help. Sir Hubert & Lady & Miss Medlycott were the 1st people to arrive in the evening & the Duke politely asked to be presented to them. The girl who was quite young & raw did not understand what to do & sat stiffly on her chair while H.R.H. shook hands with her. Other people came later, amongst them the Prefect with his bride. He has during my absence in Egypt married a Mlle Fontaine a German whose mother is said to be the daughter of a Cardinal. She is very old & the Prefettessa is not very young but has a comfortable fortune. The husband Count Nasalli Rocca was a widower—& has also lost sons & grandchildren & had many misfortunes—one is glad he should have some joys in the end. He has always been very kind to me since he is Prefect here. About 35 people came in the course of the evening. Shortly before 11 Lord K. & I went to see if the tea was ready & as soon as the door was open I went & invited the Duke to partake of refreshments. He at once gave me his arm & led me into the dining room & while standing he talked about the pleasure I had given him in asking him to meet Lord Kitchener. That he had an imposing look—& like many great men such as Napoleon one could see at first sight that he was some one– There was one thing that he could not understand about him, why was he still unmarried. That was a question no one but a lady could ask him. I said I knew nothing about it & did not intimate that I would do so. Afterwards we spoke of his Aunt Queen Margherita. I told him what an admiration I had for her & how kind she always is to me. He said she was a sociable person. Q. Elena was charming but she had not the same interest in society or know so many people. He asked me whether I knew the celebrated biscuits made at Turin called “grissini.” I said I remembered that when his father was K. of Spain he used to have these biscuits sent to him by the R. messenger from Turin. The D. said next time he went to Turin he would bring me some grissini himself. As soon as the Duke left the rest of my guests began to do– I detained some for an extra chat & it was rather amusing to see Lord Kitchener’s impatience to get them gone. At last he carried off Eda & they put out the lights in the further drawing rooms– When they were all gone he was delighted with himself & ordered us all off at once– We went protesting that he was a tyrant—whom we could not resist. It was great fun & he was more like a boy than a Field Marshal.

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