The other book is the Northamptonshire Record Society's edition of the later diaries of Lady Knightley of Fawsley. Lady Knightley was a remarkable woman and a separate posting about her when TH has finished reading her diaries will follow. She was married to Sir Rainald Knightley, later Lord Knightley of Fawley, a Tory MP of outstandingly old-fashioned views on politics and Parliament.
She, therefore, spent much time in political social circles and recorded her impressions of the people she met and of the various events as they unfolded. She campaigned for her husband, which he was rather uneasy about as he did not think that women should speak in public but, apparently, accepted. She was one of the earliest Dames of the Primrose League about which she wrote with characteristic vigour and humour on May 12, 1885:
This morning I spent on a Girls' Friendly Society Committee [one of many organizations Lady Knightley was active in]; then came back here to receive a visit from Lady Wimborne [sister of Lord Randolph Churchill] and be enrolled as a 'dame' in the Primrose League... It sounds all rubbish but the objects, 'the maintenance of Religion, of he Estates of the Realm and of the ascendancy of the British Empire', are excellent and I can quite believe that the paraphernalia helps to keep the Conservatives together; means, in short and army of unpaid canvassers.
The rest of the day's entry presents a picture of a day that is exhausting to read about, never mind experience.
Despite all the activity, she found time to keep a diary throughout most of her life. The early parts of the journal were edited by Julia Cartwright, later Mrs Ady and published in 1915 and are now available on line. The journals of the years 1885 to 1913 (when she died) were edited and exhaustively annotated by Peter Gordon and published 1999. These are the ones TH has been reading. They are not for the faint-hearted but are, nevertheless engrossing. In both these attributes Politics and Society: The Journals of Lady Knightley of Fawsley 1885 to 1913 resemble A Ride to Khiva.