A debutante’s diary: Alice goes to a ball


While Augustus and I were painting today in came Sir Samuel Hayes with an invitation for me for his grandmother’s ball tonight. The way he stood and stared at my hair was something fine to see. He was so struck dumb that he could not even bring out a compliment.

An occasional ‘Oh my God’ was the only vent it found in words. I enjoyed myself very much at this ball, where I made my entrée into London Society. Augustus introduced me to every man worth knowing, and I was agreeably surprised at finding myself as admired as I had been in Paris, which I had never ventured to expect.

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Before introducing anyone Augustus gave me a rapidly whispered enumeration of their possessions and social standing: for instance-‘Beauty Campbell, Captain, Guards, splendid place in the North, £20,000 a year.-Captain Campbell-Miss Miles’. Beauty Campbell, so called from being one of the best-looking men in the service, was a splendid specimen: his six-foot-three, open face and violet eyes were perfectly refreshing after puny, dark-browed Frenchmen.

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Sir Samuel tried to inveigle me into a flirtation, but as he has only £4,000 a year which he has abandoned to the education of his 11 brothers and sisters, there would be no interested side in any such proceedings.

Every Girl’s Duty’, edited by Maggy Parsons and published by Andre Deutsch

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