Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bunga bunga certainly sounds like a nonsense word

In a world of bunga-bunga parties with minors and Prime Ministers as the main guests, the Amateur Historian finds it something of a relief to turn from Berlusconi's antics to William Pitt the Younger's.

Pit the Younger was notoriously uninterested in women, his one "fling" with Eleanor Eden ending with an oft-examined letter explaining to her father, Lord Auckland, why they couldn't be married. Though that is the subject of another post (the Amateur Historian is sure her Gentle Readers will be thrilled with a quasi-scholarly examination of Pitt the Younger's sexuality or lack thereof), Pitt's own parties were, to be quite honest, not very good. Pitt's idea of a wild evening was to drink three bottles of port with Dundas, Wilberforce or any of his other ministers in attendance, and then to rehearse Parliamentary debates. Slow down, wild man!

Part of this has to do with the early death of his beloved sister, Harriot, in 1785. Her role as his political hostess forced him out of his customary reserve and extreme shyness and, at her death, Pitt was left to the mercies of the Duchess of Gordon. To say that Pitt very soon disliked the Duchess of Gordon, who called him "pet" and tried to set him up with her daughter Charlotte, may be summed up in the following exchange:

Duchess of Gordon: Well, Mr. Pitt, do you talk as much nonsense now as you used to when you lived with me?

Pitt the Younger: I do not know, madam, whether I talk so much nonsense, I certainly do not hear so much."

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