Title: "The Diary of a Young Lady of Fashion, 1764-5"
Author: Cleone Knox
Source: Downtown Books, Milwaukee
A charming, funny, and interesting diary, Ms. Knox is a Mid-18th Century Bridget Jones.
Born on May 12th, 1744 at Castle Kearney, County Down, Ireland, Cleone was an heiress, and a probably typical member of her society. This journal covers her early twenties while she is at a crucial point in her love affair with a Mr. Ancaster. To distract her from this gentleman, her father takes her and her brother, Ned, on the Grand Tour, and along the way she meets the King and Queen of England, King and Queen of France, and Voltaire, along with lots of various and sundry characters.
With entries like "July 15th. To church. A sermon so lengthy that I near died. Dozed behind my fan.", and "May 19th. Lord be praised! in a few moments our Coach will have conveyed us away from this monstrously dull place. Mr. and Mrs. Talbot, to whom brother Tom gave us letters of recommendation, are as excellent a couple as one could hope to see but hardly enlivening as Host and Hostess, while as for their mansion house with its Greek porticos and its monstrously cold rooms, 'tis more fit to be a Sepulchre than a human habitation.", it makes me chuckle quite a lot.
Only edited to correct spelling and to remove "a good many entries that are of no general interest, mostly referring to purchases and personal expenditure" by her ancestor, Alexander Black Kerr, in the 1920's, this is a wonderful window into society life. If you are lucky enough to find a copy, pick it up and treat yourself to a fantastically entertaining read. 4.5 stars