27 NOVEMBER 1926, Page 31

THE DIARIES OF A DUCHESS. By James Greig. (Hodder and

Stoughton. 18s.)—In detail the Diary of the first Duchess of Northumberland is full of entertainment and charm. As a whole it forms a very striking picture of con- trasting ways of life in Euiope of the eighteenth century. As a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Charlotte, and as a visitor to Versailles in the years preceding the Revolution, she has much to tell of immense social interest The gaiety of the, populace in the streets of Paris pleases her everyone seems to be at play. " I observed one essential difference," she writes, " between this and English crowds, viz., I did not hear a single oath swore, nor were there near so many women as men, nor one sucking child in which also it differed from England." There is something curiously modern about her writing. ,-,We can almost imagine.that we are reading of, a great lady moving about among the worser rich of to-day, enjoying to the full the glitter and luxury of her surroundings, but never losing the sense that she belongs elsewhere. We see the gleaming dreisei of the French ladieti:Alti.43iiiirty, with her light blue eyes, " the most wanton that I ever saw," and her four lady's math attending to her resplendent toilet, two on their "feet and two on theif 'knees: Then we see the sober English Court, the King " waked by his larum " early in the morning rising to light his own fire, getting back to bed "till it is a little burnt up, &c., and the Queen making her own tea after dinner and handing it 4-6 her ladies. ' °nee more the scene changes. We are at a South German Coilit among a company looking btit little like people of fashicin." There is not a dull page in the whole book, but for the masculine reader a-little too much space ls devoted to finery::