'Oh, how I love you! How I love you!'
SOON AFTER the 'gratifying day' of his installation as Chancellor at Oxford, the Duke was staying at Hatfield House when, on 2 August 1834, he received a letter which so distressed him that he crumpled it up and dropped it on the floor, then threw himself down 'in the greatest agitation' upon a sofa from which he rose to pace about the room 'almost sobbing'. 1 Harriet Arbuthnot had died of cholera. He had lost not only a woman of whom he was deeply fond but a home where he felt more completely at ease than he did in any other.
'It is a dreadful loss to him,' Lady Salisbury commented; 'for whether there is any foundation or not in the stories usually believed about the early part of their liaison she was certainly now become to him no more than a tried and valued friend to whom he was sincerely attached. Her house was his home; and with all his glory and greatness, he never had a home! His nature is domestic and as he advances in years some female society and some fireside to which he can always resort become necessary to him. 2
At Woodford Lodge in Northamptonshire and at the Arbuthnots' London house in Carlton Gardens he had always been, and known himself to be, a welcome guest. He could talk freely there to a responsive and understanding listener and draw comfort in the affection of a woman of the kind of managing temperament he liked, his 'Tyranna' to whom it pleased them both to imagine he was in thrall.
As soon as he had recovered his composure he went to see the desolate widower to share his grief with him and to do what he could to comfort him. The next day Arbuthnot wrote to thank him for coming: 'I am very glad you came to me instead of writing to propose it; for had you, I must have said no. There was no one I so much dreaded seeing for the first time -- She had no friend to whom she was so much attached as She was to you . . . I believe I may say that you never had such a friend before & you will never have such a one again. As for