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I found the two volume diary in a used bookstore for $3, probably near the University of Minnesota campus sometime in the late 1970’s. It has so much detail about so many areas of life back then that I’ve been an Anglophile and a student of that era ever since.

After a while personal computers were invented and people started blogging. The next time I went through the diary I thought it would be great to share it with The World. Maybe there were details in Lady Lucy’s daily reports that were not known to “real” scholars of the era. And she has such an interesting and amusing way of wording things that, aside from learning history, the diary itself was often very enjoyable to just read for fun.

So the project began. In late 2005 I bought an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) program (OmniPage 15) and a scanner/printer (HP 950) and started scanning each page into text files. After some quick quality control, I turned each Book of the diary into a Word doc. Eventually I put all the Books into one document of 296 pages, which does not include the Appendices.

For the first three years I just blogged each entry. However, when I wanted to go back to an interesting entry I had a hard time finding anything specific using the Blogspot. I had to open up the archive dates on the left hand bar of the page and read through the post titles.

I realized that an Index was needed so in April 2009 I got a domain for that effort. A co-worker, Lance, happens to be a web guru and is hosting the site and got it all set up using WordPress. I spent the next several months catching up on indexing what had been blogged so far.

Once the Index was caught up with the Blog I started doing them in tandem. This was my process:
– Found the last post and moved to the next one.
– Cleaned up the text to remove extra spaces around the punctuation and the soft hyphens that had turned into hard hyphens. I’m sure I missed several of these and didn’t even try to clean these up for the Editor’s Intros.
– Opened Blogger to a New Post, pasted in the entry and put <.i. tags around all the italics passages because they got lost. – Read through the post again and looked for names that could use a hyperlink. I started saving these in a document so eventually I could just copy and paste many of them, but I’m now very good at typing < .a. h.r.e.f.=.” then Ctrl-C to paste in the link. I generally relied on Wikipedia (I know, I know, not everyone’s favorite source of Truth) and thepeerage.com. Over the next two years I varied a lot on what I decided to make a link for. Sometimes one entry would take an entire afternoon because I kept learning new stuff and trying to make sure this “Lord” or that “Lady” was using that particular title at that time period. It was a real challenge sometimes and an interesting treasure hunt, although I’m sure I made several mistakes throughout. My only creative contribution to the whole thing was deciding on the title of the blog postings, and I copied a phrase from the entry whenever possible. – Once the blog entry was posted I made the index entries for it using the CoffeeCup HTML editor. First I made the Index by Date entry by copying in the URL and the title, then selecting the text that best represented that entry. At first I kept it very short like a “real” index, then I started pasting in however much text I thought was enough to make the point. – After Index-by-Date I read the blog entry over again starting at the top to find all the Index-by-Topic items. At first I think I indexed just about everything that was named, but later I became more focused. If several people were listed for one event I often put them under Grouped Names at the top of the Index A-K page. I made a <.d.t. tag for each person/topic and a <.d.d. tag for each of their entries. After pasting in the original Date entry I replaced that text with the part of the Blog entry that was appropriate for the Index entry for the person or topic. – At the end of the day I would go to WordPress and replace the text of the index pages with the html I had been working on. Personally, I just like reading the index. It’s interesting to find one person and go through all the events they shared with Lady Lucy. I also like the non-people entries such as Clothes, Games, Servants, Charity/Labourers and “Love Denied, Love Fulfilled”. Some of my favorite entries include: – When Lou is engaged to Navy-man Frank, Lady Lucy teases saying “This naval person has brought rain and clouds in his train “, “I could fancy the statues looking out of spirits at the sight of this horrible interloper!” and “The Royal Navy went away, Lou driving him to the station; a very improper proceeding.” Then when Lou got married all her brothers were crying including eldest brother Cavendish, “his voice trembling, and his face quite white ” and “The Duke could not trust himself to go” to say good-bye at the train station. (26Sep1865) – This remarkable scene relating to the Princess of Wales during a visit to Chatsworth: “Our Queen of Hearts was a sight never to be forgotten for grace and liveliness and fun as she whisked round the billiard-table like any dragon-fly, playing at “pockets”; punishing the table when she missed, and finally breaking her mace across Ly. Cowper’s back with a sudden little whack. Likewise at bed-time, high jinks with all the ladies in the corridors; and yet through all one has a sense of perfect womanly dignity, and a certainty that no one cd ever go an inch too far with her.” – The meeting of Speaker Denison with the Lyttleton family “after the long estrangement” caused by refusing his nephew permission to marry May and the subsequent death of the nephew: “He met Mrs. Talbot later in the day and asked to speak to May ; to whom he just said, “I wished to shake your hand.” It deeply touched and pleased the poor child. By the strangest coincidence it is the very day year of her engagement —when she and E. Denison had that one short sight of each other as betrothed lovers ; then came the hurried meeting in the afternoon when dear Granny was with them—and then the happy sunshine was all eclipsed, and they never saw each other again. The poor Speaker ! one can never feel anything but grief and pity for him now.” – Anything involving Lady Ailesbury (Brudenell-Bruce, Maria) “who stalked into the room in a suit composed chiefly of a large chess-board check, black and grey, the garment going in a straight skimp line from her nape to her heels, the whole surmounted by the usual fuzz-ball of yellow curls, and a youthful hat. Fritz demanded privately after he had been introduced to this: “When is That Woman going away?” She also ” dropped her parasol all the way from the imposing eminence of the Peeresses’ Gallery”. – The excitement of the elections and the many roles played by members of her family including Lord Frederick, his brother Lord Hartington (Cavendish) and Wm. Gladstone. And the secrets she could only tell her diary about behind-the-scenes activities: “Throw-off drum at Downing Street; such a jabber as never was. Everybody very anxious about everybody’s health, on the threshold of such a campaign H.M. took a sudden (not a new) quirk against the promise to give up Candahar in the Royal Speech, and kept the unhappy Ministers hours at Osborne, bringing her round — Uncle W. having to telegraph argumentative messages in cipher! All this is a dead secret, but everyone knew the delayed departure of the Ministers who turned up late for Downing St. dinner. “. There are so many favorites that they’re hard to narrow down. I’ll try to add more specifics later. I hope this blog and index are interesting and helpful for researchers and history fans. Denise H.