Dowager Duchess of Devonshire

The last of six Mitford sisters died recently. She was Deborah, sister to Rebecca the Communist and Unity the Fascist, and three more eccentric and achieving females. The Duchess remained sane, rural, and focused on earning money to pay for the upkeep of Chatsworth, the home of the Dukes of Devonshire. She raised hens, wrote intelligent letters and books, and left her part of the world in better shape than when she found it.

Do yourself a favour and read her obituary in the Telegraph.

I quote this from the Daily Mail’s obituary:

On December mornings, with the sun coming up over the frosted Cotswolds and the breath of the bloodhounds rising as steam, Lord Redesdale would mount his horse and, hounds barking, hunt his children across the fields.

Starting soon after breakfast, the girls would be given a head start before the horn sounded and the dogs and hunter gave chase. When the hounds caught up, rather than sinking their teeth into the children as they had been trained to do with the local hares, they covered the girls with slobbering kisses.

It was a great regret of the youngest, Deborah, that she was always considered too little to be hunted. By the time she was old enough, the bloodhounds had gone and her father had lost his appetite for the sport.

Maybe being chased by hounds being whipped on by one’s father on horseback across the countryside is a good beginning to an education in politics, after all. You decide either to run with the hares (Jessica the Communist) or with the hounds ( Unity and Diana, the Fascists). Or you just love dogs and nature (Deborah and Pamela).


Duchess of Devonshire