Holy Dread: Diaries 1982-1984 James Lees-Milne
In the ninth volume of James Lees-Milne's diaries, the ardour towards their eventual editor M, has cooled to a more durable tenderness. There is no change however, in the sharpness of his observation.;While his bride's finger waits outstretched Kenneth Clark discusses appreciatively with the priest the Coptic wedding ring he has chosen. An old and demanding Hillaire Belloc sets himself alight and has to be rolled on the bathroom floor. Diana Mosley tells how the Kaiser, visiting Eton, asked to have a boy swished for his entertainment. Zita Jungman, a former Bright Young Thing of the 20s, is so far behind with her newspaper reading that she learns months later that she has become a widow.;As always, death is a major character. Master, the Lees-Milnes' ducal landlord, is dug up by hunt protesters following his burial. After walking across fields in driving rain to the funeral of John Betjeman - the best man who ever lived and the most lovable - Lees-Milne sits in the almost pitch dark church, just able to read the prayers by the light of a single window. He himself hopes to die to the music of Orfeo.