Posts tagged Diana Mosley
Posts tagged Diana Mosley
Diana Mitford Mosley (17 June, 1910 - 11 August, 2003)
the mitford sisters → childhood
Swinbrook’s narrow lanes, leading to the tiny village green, are still bordered with willows, beeches and silver birch, and in the spring its verges are full of primroses and blue cranesbill, and the rolling hills are dotted with sheep. Swinbrook village and its inhabitants seemed eternal. The village shop/post office sold four kinds of sweets – toffee, acid drops, Edinburgh rock and butterscotch. Winnie Crook, “whose initials gave us children such pleasure,” served tuppence-worth of acid drops in a twist of paper, weighed on the same brass scales as the letters. Hanging in the back of the shop were bright framed prints of “contrasting Victorian beauties, one of a golden-haired, delicate young lady with luminous blue eyes, her soft white shoulders draped in a Pre-Raphaelite something, the other a roguishly pretty gipsy maiden whose incredibly thick black hair falls in great round curls.” As a child, Jessica always thought them amazingly like Nancy and Diana.
On the rare shopping trips to Oxford, the sisters stopped for tea at the Cadena Café or, if they were feeling rich, at Fuller’s which meant walnut cake with a perfect icing, “the acme of a good tea.” They loved the scrumptious teas of brandy snaps, shop-butter, biscuits and marmalade; other delights were Fry’s peppermint cream, which broke off into conveniently sized bits, and “good old Cadbury’s tuppenny bars.”
The children adored the vicar’s wife and long after they had left Asthall, Pam and Debo used to ride over and trot briskly up the drive, shouting for ginger biscuits. At church, the girls regularly signed the visitors’ book ‘Greta Garbo’ and ‘Maurice Chevalier,’ while Diana played the organ, putting into practice her theory that ‘Tea for Two’, if played slowly enough, did very well as a voluntary. Quoth Debo: “We must have been an almighty nuisance to those in charge.”
In London, the Rutland Gate house was often let during the Season, and the family would retreat to the Mews. Coming home from parties, “we would have to pick our way in long evening dresses between the cars and pools of oil to reach the narrow stairs.” Housekeeping chores and accounts were handled by Sydney, who “sat bolt upright at her secrétaire à abattant. She was very fond of chocolate and in one of the drawers there were always boxes of Terry’s langues de chat and chocolate pastilles in their round boxes.” Adhering to Sydney’s wishes, the parlourmaids wore uniforms of blue-and-white toile de Jouy in a traditional bird pattern, “smart and clean-looking,” with a white linen apron and white organdie cap threaded with black velvet ribbon.
The Hons’ meeting place was the linen cupboard, private and warm. We spent hours sitting on the slatted shelves writing our rules, enlarging Honnish vocabulary and eating Cadbury’s cooking chocolate from its blue wrapper.
Years later, Sydney took comfort in the golden idyll of the girls’ childhood after politics and resentment had ripped the family apart. “Isn’t it odd how, when one looks back at that time, it seems to have been all summers?”
On the top picture; Unity, Diana, and Jessica Mitford. J.K. Rowling has said that the writer Jessica Mitford is her biggest heroine, and the Black sisters are to an extent based on Jessica and her famous wealthy British aristocrat sisters, Unity (a fanatical Nazi supporter said to be in love with Hitler) and Diana (the famously beautiful wife of a top Hitler supporter). Jessica herself was disowned when she eloped with a socialist activist named Esmond at the age of 19. She also named her daughter after her (Jessica).
oh my god
That’s Nancy Mitford on the right, not Decca! (Confession: I like her even more.)
Tom and Diana Mitford
Diana Mitford circa 1930’s
Diana Mitford with her baby sister Debo, 1922
Diana Mitford Mosley, ‘Muv’, and Max Mosley at Inch Kenneth circa late 1940’s.