'His Highness the Dictator is concentrating in himself all the power of the State.'
IN THE YEAR of Harriet Arbuthnot's death, the Duke had celebrated his sixty-fifth birthday. His hair was quite white now, his face lined, his body thin; but his eyes had lost little of their bright sparkle. He kept himself as busy as ever with his public duties, attending the House of Lords within three days of Mrs Arbuthnot's death, having what Charles Greville called 'the good taste and sense' to appear there with a 'chearful aspect', though he was looking 'very ill'. He also kept himself as busy as ever with his interminable correspondence which was more voluminous than ever now since his increasing deafness was making human intercourse a strain. Often he heard little of what was said to him in crowded rooms and replied to what he did hear in an alarmingly loud voice. He heard scarcely a word of sermons in church, so, although he had always thought it a gentleman's duty to go to church and was a regular subscriber to the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, he gave up attending services in London -- apart from occasional visits to the Chapel Royal, St James's -- advancing as an additional excuse the coldness of London churches where he was obliged to remove his hat, particularly the chilliness of St James's, Piccadilly, the Wren church where he had once attended early service regularly. He did, however, always occupy his pew on Sundays when he was staying at Stratfield Saye or Walmer Castle, since he felt the sight of his presence there would 'operate as an example'.* He also____________________