The sixth Duke of Portland was a Subaltern aged 22 in the Goldstream Guards when he woke up one day to find that he had inherited the titles and the vast estates of his highly eccentric kinsman the fifth Duke; there is an account by his sister, who later was famous as Lady Ottoline Morrell, of the arrival of these two young people at that famous palace of Welbeck inhabited seemingly only by the hundreds of workmen engaged in carrying out the great subterranean excavations and con? structions on which the fifth Duke had laid such immense store. Lady Ottoline's account is included in an anodyne book of reminiscences by her brother1 but this book does not include a particularly revealing anecdote on which Mr. Robert Blake in his distinguished and authorita? tive study of Disraeli2 has conferred the acco? lade of historic recognition. The story is one of which Mr. Harold Macmillan used to be par? ticularly fond and from whose mouth I and many others must first have heard it.
DINING AT HUGHENDEN
Not long after his arrival at Welbeck the young Duke received a letter from Disraeli's secretary, Monty Corry, inviting him to dinner with the Prime Minister at Hughenden. It was in the closing months of Disraeli's last ad? ministration and it must have been a major ordeal for any young man to find himself in? vited to a tete-?-tete dinner by the greatest man in England, a man who had never been considered as approachable and who now on top of everything else was known to be in failing health. The Duke described how they sat down in the dining-room at Hughenden, the Prime
1 Lady Ottoline Morrell's contribution is included in Memoirs of Racing and Hunting, by 6th Duke of Portland (Faber, 1935). 2
2 Disraeli, by Robert Blake (Eyre and Spottis woode, 1966).
Minister wearing his Garter ribbon, crumbling a biscuit, and saying nothing while he and Gorry got through their meal. Finally he rose to his feet and addressed his guest in these terms: 'My Lord Duke', he said ceremoniously, 'it is indeed an honour and a special pleasure for me to welcome your Grace to this house of mine, which the kindness of your Grace's kins? men3 enabled me to purchase many years ago. I come, my Lord, of an ancient race, we do not forgive an injury but we never forget our friends. Such success as I have achieved in my life I owe mainly to two people; one is my dear wife, who lies buried so near us, the other is your Grace's famous kinsman, Lord George Bentinck. And so it is a special delight for me to tell your Lordship that I have it on Her Majesty's express command that in future your Lordship's stepmother, Mrs. Cavendish Ben? tinck, shall be designated as Baroness Bolsover in her own right and that an announcement to this effect will appear in the next edition of the London Gazette.' 4
So yet another title was added to