In the ninth volume of James Lees-Milne's diaries, the ardour towards their eventual editor "M", has cooled to a more durable tenderness. There is no change however, in the sharpness of his observation. While his bride's finger waits outstretched Kenneth Clark discusses appreciatively with the priest the Coptic wedding ring he has chosen. An old and demanding Hillaire Belloc sets himself alight and has to be rolled on the bathroom floor. Diana Mosley tells how the Kaiser, visiting Eton, asked to have a boy "swished" for his entertainment. Zita Jungman, a former "Bright Young Thing" of the 20s, is so far behind with her newspaper reading that she learns months later that she has become a widow. As always, death is a major character. "Master", the Lees-Milnes' ducal landlord, is dug up by hunt protesters following his burial. After walking across fields in driving rain to the funeral of John Betjeman - "the best man who ever lived and the most lovable" - Lees-Milne sits in the almost pitch dark church, just able to read the prayers by the light of a single window. He himself hopes to die to the music of "Orfeo".
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"A rueful, funny and affecting account of the ecstasies and absurdities of late-flowering love." -- Peter Parker, TLS "Raw Emotions, fearlessly expressed, spice every page." -- Duff Hart-Davis, Independent "Unquestionably one of the greatest English diarists, a rival of Peyps" -- David Watkin
About James Lees-Milne
James Lees-Milne died in 1997. Once Country Houses Secretary of the National Trust, he is now best known for his memoirs and diaries, described by Jeremy Lewis as second to none in their comicality, rueful self-knowledge and feline observations. Michael Bloch, his friend and literary executor, is now writing his life.
Table of Contents
Holy Dread by James Lees-Milne
Used - Very Good
John Murray Press
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