All in One Basket

Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

In her beguiling memoir, Wait for Me!, Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire (and the youngest of the famously witty brood of writers, agitators, and icons), recounted her eventful life with wit and grace. All in One Basket collects the Duchess of Devonshire’s breezy, occasional writings and provides a disarming look at a life lived with great zest and originality.

All in One Basket
combines two earlier collections, Counting My Chickens and Home to Roost, its sequel, which was never published in the United States. In these pages, we hear anecdotes about famous friends from Evelyn Waugh to John F. Kennedy; tales of struggle and success at Chatsworth, England's greatest stately home; and of course the tales of her beloved chickens, which the Duchess began raising as a child for pocket money. In All in One Basket, glamorous recollections happily coexist with practical insights into country life, and the result is a revelatory, intimate portrait of a woman described by The New York Times as a “national treasure.”


Read an Excerpt


The first sentence of a diary given to a nine-year-old child at Christmas, written on New Year’s Day and kept faithfully till at least 10 January, was ‘got up, dressed, had breakfast’. The first sentence of a book is a different matter and very difficult indeed. I have been pondering over this for some time. I asked my sister Jessica what to do. She tells me that in America, if you pay some money, you can get advice as to how to begin and then go on to be a famous author. They say put down ‘the’ on a bit of paper, add some words, keep



Praise for All in One Basket

"There is and can be no sentence in this book which sums its author up, but two of those which stay in my mind are: ‘I buy most of my clothes at agricultural shows,’ and (on receiving a moss tree as a present) ‘I pulled it to bits to see how it was made.’ So, now you think you’ve got her? Far from it. She’s also mad about Elvis Presley."---Tom Stoppard, from the introduction of Counting My Chickens

"At the heart of this collection are three pieces of a different order and all remarkable: diaries of the inauguration of President Kennedy in 1961, of his funeral two years later and an account of the ‘Treasure Houses of Britain’ exhibition in Washington in 1985….Her account of Kennedy’s funeral…is so heartfelt it is difficult to read."---Alan Bennett, from the introduction of Home to Roost

"Mitford says she writes ‘solely in an effort to amuse,’ and amuse she does….Mitford writes about what she knows or remembers: country life, chickens, stately homes, gardening, and famous friends. Open Mitford’s book to peep into a vanishing world; keep turning the pages to laugh and learn a thing or two about birds, trees, and tiaras."---The Charleston Post and Courier

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire

  • Deborah Vivien Freeman-Mitford Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, was brought up in Oxfordshire, England. In 1950 her husband, Andrew, the 11th Duke of Devonshire, inherited extensive estates in Yorkshire and Ireland as well as Chatsworth, the family seat in Derbyshire, and Deborah became chatelaine of one of England’s great houses. She is the author of Wait for Me!, Counting My Chickens and Home to Roost, among other books, and her letters have been collected in The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters and In Tearing Haste: The Correspondence of the Duchess of Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor. Following her husband’s death in 2004, she moved to a village on the Chatsworth estate.
  • Duchess of Devonshire Deborah Mitford ©Bridget Flemming


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All in One Basket

Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire