A debutante’s diary: Alice under scrutiny

WEEK 6: Tuesday 7th July, 1868

That darling Augustus brought us the invitations to Mr Holford’s ball, we went at about 12, and I never saw anything so gorgeous as the room, the marble staircase, and the whole effect of the tout ensemble.

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I am sorry to say the Prince of Wales was not there, but HRH was really the only thing wanting. The company was most select: I saw heaps more of the beautiful men, but as for the women, I must plead guilty to not perceiving anyone at all to be compared to Mother and myself, and I am happy to say the public (at any rate the male portion of it) was quite of the same opinion: the way we were run after, and admired and complimented, was something perfectly delightful, while the women were nearly expiring of envy, hatred, malice and all uncharitableness at being thus cut out, at the very end of the season. Why, because people happen to be good-looking, they should have their names hacked about in this manner, is more than I can understand, and too provoking.

We stayed till the last, indeed I made Mr Holford tell the musicians to play just one more valse at the end of the ball.

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