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The Queen's First Visit To Scotland

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The Queen's First Visit To Scotland








The Queen had never been abroad. It was still well-nigh an
unconstitutional step for a sovereign of England to claim the privilege,
enjoyed by so many English subjects, of a foreign tour, let it be ever so
short. However, this year the proposal of a visit to her uncle King
Leopold at Brussels, where several members of Louis Philippe's family were
to have met her, was made. But the lamentable death of the Duc d'Orleans
put an end for the present to the project. Neither were affairs at home in
so flourishing a condition as to encourage any great departure from
ordinary rule and precedent. The manufacturing districts were in a most
unsettled state. The perpetually recurring riots--so long as the corn laws
stood in the way of a sure and abundant supply of grain, which meant cheap
bread, and as the people believed prosperous trade--had broken out afresh
in Lancashire, Yorkshire, and the Midland counties. The aspect of
Manchester alone became so threatening, that all the soldiers who could be
spared from London, including a regiment of the Guards, were dispatched to
the North of England. Happily, the disturbances were quelled, though not
without bloodshed; and it was resolved, notwithstanding the fact that
similar rioting had taken place in Lanarkshire, the Queen and the Prince
should pay their first visit to Scotland, a country within her dominions,
but different in physical features and history from the land in which she
had been born and bred. How much the royal visitors were gratified, has
been amply shown; but to realise what the Queen's visit was to the Scotch
people, it is necessary to go back to the nation's loyalty and to the
circumstance that since the exile of the Stewarts, nay, since the days
when James VI. left his ancient capital to assume the crown of England,
the monarchs had shown their faces rarely in the north; while in the cases
of Charles I. and Charles II. there had been so much of self-interest and
compulsion in their presence as to rob it of its grace. George IV. had
come and gone certainly, but though he was duly welcomed, it was difficult
even for his most zealous supporters to be enthusiastic about him. At the
proposed arrival of the young Queen, who was well worthy of the most
ardent devotion, the "leal" heart of Scotland swelled with glad
anticipation. The country had its troubles like the rest of the world. In
addition to vexed questions between perplexed mill-masters, shipbuilders,
and mine-owners on the one side, and on the other, penniless mechanics and
pitmen, the crisis which more than all others rent the Covenanting church,
so dear to the descendants of the old Whigs, was close at hand. All was
forgotten for the hour in the strange resemblance which exists between one
strain of the character of the staid Scotch, and a vein in the nature of
the impulsive French, two nations that used to be trusty allies. There is,
indeed, a bond to unite "Caledonia stern and wild" and "the sunny land of
France;" a weft of passionate poetry crosses alike the woof of the simple
cunning of the Highlander and the slow canniness of the Lowlander.
Scotland as well as France has been

The chosen home of chivalry, the garden of romance.

The news that the Queen and the Prince were coming, travelled with the
rapidity of the ancient clansmen's fiery cross from the wan waters of the
south to the stormy friths of the north, and kindled into a blaze the
latent fire in every soul. The fields, the pastures, the quarries, the
shootings, were all very well, and the Kirk was still better; but the
Queen was at the door--the Queen who represented alike Queen Mary, King
Jamie--all the King Jamies,--King William, the good friend of religious
liberty, and of "Cardinal Carstairs," "Bonnie Prince Charlie," at once
pitied and condemned, and King George, "honest man!" not unfair or
unmerciful, whatever his minister Walpole might advise. The Queen was,
above all, herself the flower of her race. Who would not hurry to meet and
greet her, to give her the warmest reception?

All the traditions, all the instincts of the people thrilled and impelled
them. Multitudes formed of broadly and picturesquely contrasting elements
flocked to Edinburgh to hail her Majesty's landing. Manifold preparations
were made for her entrance into the capital, the one regret being that she
was not to dwell in her own beautiful palace of Holyrood--unoccupied by
royal tenants since the last French exiles, Charles X., the Dauphin and
the Dauphiness (the Daughter of the Temple), and the Duchesse de Berri,
with her two children, the young Duc de Bourdeaux and his sister, found a
brief refuge within its walls. The Queen, like her uncle George IV., was
to be in the first place the guest of the Duke of Buccleugh at Dalkeith
Palace.

Her Majesty and the Prince left Windsor at five o'clock on the morning of
the 29th August, 1842, and after journeying to London and Woolwich,
embarked on board the Royal George yacht under a heavy shower of
rain. The yacht was attended by a squadron of nine vessels, the Trinity
House steamer, and a packet, besides being followed for some distance, in
spite of the unpropitious weather, by innumerable little pleasure-boats.
The squadron was both for safety and convenience; certain vessels conveyed
the ladies and gentlemen of the suite, and one took the two dogs, the
chosen companions of their master and mistress, "Eos," and another
four-footed favourite, "Cairnach." [Footnote: Sir Edwin Landseer painted
these two dogs for the Queen, "Eos" with the Princess Royal in 1841, "Eos"
alone, a sketch for a large picture in 1842, "Cairnach" in 1841. In 1838,
the great animal painter had painted for her Majesty "little Dash" along
with two other dogs, and "Lorey," a pet parrot belonging to the Duchess of
Kent.]

The voyage was both tedious and trying, the sea was rough, and the royal
voyagers were ill. On the morning of the 31st they were only coasting
Northumberland, when the Queen saw the Fern Islands, where Grace Darling's
lighthouse and her heroic story were still things of yesterday. Before her
Majesty's return to England, she heard what she had not known at the time,
that the brave girl had died within twenty-four hours of the royal yacht's
passing the lighthouse station.

The Queens first remark on the Scotch coast, though it happened to be the
comparatively tame east coast, was "very beautiful--so dark, rocky, bold,
and wild--totally unlike our coast." All her observations had the naive
freshness and sympathetic willingness to be pleased, of an unexhausted,
unvitiated mind. She noticed everything, and was gratified by details
which would have signified nothing to a sated, jaded nature, or, if they
had made an impression, would only have called forth more weariness,
varied by contemptuous criticism. The longer light in the north, that dear
summer gloaming which is neither night nor day, but borrows something from
both--from the silence and solemn mystery of the latter, and from the
clear serenity of the former--a leisure time which is associated from
youth to age with a host of happy, tender associations; the pipes playing
in one of the fishing-boats; the reel danced on board an attendant
steamer; the bonfires on the coast--nothing was too trivial to escape the
interested watcher, or was lost upon her, Queen though she was.

The anchor of the royal yacht was let down in Leith Roads at midnight. At
seven o'clock on the morning of the 1st of September the Queen saw before
her the good town of Leith, where Queen Mary had landed from France; and
in the background, Edinburgh half veiled in an autumn fog, lying at the
foot of its semicircle of hills--the grim couchant lion of Arthur's seat;
Salisbury Crags, grey and beetling; the heatherly slopes of the Pentlands
in the distance. A little after eight her Majesty landed at Granton Pier,
amidst the cheers of her Scotch subjects. The Duke of Buccleugh, whose
public-spirited work the pier was, stood there to receive his sovereign,
when she put her foot on shore, as he had already been on board the yacht
to greet her arrival in what was once called Scotland Water.

When Queen Mary landed at Leith, it took her more than one day, if we
remember rightly, to make a slow progress to her capital. Things are done
faster in the nineteenth century; a few minutes by railway now separate
Granton from Edinburgh. But the Edinburgh and Granton railway did not
exist in 1842. Her Majesty and the Prince drove in a barouche, followed by
the ladies and gentlemen of her suite in other carriages, and escorted by
the Duke of Buccleugh and several gentlemen on horseback, to the ancient
city of her Stewart ancestry. An unfortunate misconception robbed the
occasion of the dignified ceremony and the exhibition of fervent personal
attachment which had awaited it. All the previous day the authorities and
the crowd had been on the look-out for the great event, and in the delay
had passed the time quite happily in watching the preparations, and the
decorations and devices for the coming illumination. The Lord Provost, Sir
James Forrest, had taken the precaution to send a carriageful of bailies
over night, or by dawn of day, to catch the first sign of the Queen's
landing, and drive with it, post-haste, to the chief magistrate, who with
his fellows was to be stationed at the barrier erected in the High Street,
to present the keys of the city to the sovereign claiming admittance. But
whether the bailies blundered over their instructions or slept at their
post, or lost their way, no warning of the Queen's approach reached the
Provost and his satellites in time. They were calm in the confident
persuasion that the Queen would not arrive till noon--at the soonest--a
persuasion which was based on the conviction that the event was too great
to be hurried over, and which left out of sight the consideration of the
disagreeable sea-voyage, and the natural desire to be on solid ground, and
at rest, on the part of the travel-tossed voyagers. "We both felt
dreadfully tired and giddy," her Majesty wrote of herself and the Prince
when they reached Dalkeith.

The result was that these gentlemen in office were seated at breakfast as
usual, or were engaged in getting rid betimes of some of the numerous
engagements which beset busy men on a busy day, when the cry arose that
the Queen was there, in the midst of them, with nobody to meet her, no
silver keys on a velvet cushion to be respectfully offered and graciously
returned. The ancient institution of the Royal Archer Guard, one of the
chief glories of the situation, was only straggling by twos and threes to
its muster-ground. The Celtic Society was in a similar plight, headed in
default of the Duke of Argyle by the Marquis of Lorn, a golden-haired
stripling in a satin kilt of the Campbell set, who looked all the slighter
and more youthful, with more dainty calves in his silken hose, because of
the big burly chieftains--Islay conspicuous among them--whom he led. The
stands, the windows, the very grand old streets were half empty as yet, in
the raw September morning. No King or Queen had visited Edinburgh for a
score of years, and when at last the Queen of Hearts did come, the
citizens were found napping--a sore mortification with which her Majesty
deals very gently in her Journal, scarcely alluding to the inopportune
accident. In truth only a moiety of early risers--those mostly country
folks who had trooped into the town--restless youthful spirits, ardent
holiday-makers, who could not find any holiday too long--or gallant
devoted innocent Queen-worshippers, sleepless with the thought that the
Queen was so near and might already be stirring--were abroad and intent
on what was passing, looking at the vacant places, speculating on how they
would be choke full in a couple of hours, amusing themselves easily with
the idlest trifles, by way of whetting the appetite for the great sight,
which they were to remember all their lives. These spectators were
startled by seeing a gentleman, said afterwards to have been Lord John
Scott, the popular but somewhat madcap brother of the Duke of. Buccleugh,
gallop up the street bareheaded, waving his hat above his head and
shouting "The Queen, the Queen!" The listeners looked at each other and
laughed. How well the hoax was gone about; but who would presume to play
such a trick, it was too much even from Lord John--did not somebody say it
was Lord John? On the line of route too! What were the police thinking of?

Then swift corroboration followed, in the train of carriages rolling up,
the first attended by a few of the Royal Archers, in their picturesque
costumes of green and gold, each with his bow in one hand and his arrows
in his belt. But the calmest had his equanimity disturbed by the
consciousness that the main body of his comrades, all noblemen and
gentlemen of Scotland, were running pell-mell behind, in a desperate
effort to form into rank and march in due order. One eager confused
glance, one long-drawn breath, one vehement heart-throb for her who was
the centre of all, and the disordered pageant had swept past.

The Queen wrote in her Journal that the Duke of Roxburgh and Lord Elcho
were the members of the Body Guard on her side of the carriage, and that
Lord Elcho, whom she did not know at the time, pointed out the various
monuments and places of interest.

Both the Queen and Prince Albert were much struck by the beautiful town,
the massive stone houses, the steep High Street, the tall buildings, "and
the Castle on the grand rock in the middle of the town, and Arthur's Seat
in the background, a splendid spectacle."

On the country road to Dalkeith, the cottages built of stone, the walls
("dry stane dykes") instead of fences, the old women in their close caps
("sou-backed mutches"), the girls and children of the working classes,
with flowing hair, often red, and bare feet, all the little individual
traits, which impress us on our first visit to a foreign country, were
carefully noted down. The Duke and Duchess of Buccleugh proved a noble
host and hostess, but they could provide no such cicerone for the Queen as
was furnished for George IV., when Sir Walter Scott showed him Edinburgh,
and for the Governor of the Netherlands, when Rubens introduced him to
Antwerp. Neither did any peer or chief appear on the occasion of the
Queen's visit, with such a telling accompaniment as that ruinous "tail" of
wild Highlanders, attached to Glengarry, when he waited on the King.

On the "rest day," which succeeded that of her Majesty's arrival at
Dalkeith, she had three fresh experiences, chronicled in her Journal. She
tasted oatmeal porridge, which she thought "very good," and "Finnan
haddies," of which she gave no opinion, and she was stopped and turned
back in her drive by "a Scotch mist." Indeed, not all the Queen's
proverbial good luck in the matter could now or at any future time greatly
modify the bane of open-air enjoyment amidst the beautiful scenery of
Scotland--the exceedingly variable, even inclement, weather which may be
met with at all seasons.

Saturday, the 3rd of September, afforded abundant compensation for all
that had been missed on the Queen's entrance into Edinburgh. She paid an
announced and formal visit from Dalkeith Palace to the town, in order to
accomplish the balked ceremony of the presentation of the keys and to see
the Castle on its historic rock. By Holyrood Chapel and Holyrood Palace,
which the Queen called "a royal-looking old place," but where she did not
tarry now, because there was fever in the neighbourhood; up the old world
Cannon-gate, and the High Street, where the Setouns and the Leslies had
their brawl, and the Jacobites went with white cockades in their cocked
hats and white roses at their breasts, braving the fire of the Castle, to
pay homage to Prince Charlie; on to the barrier. Edinburgh was wide awake
this time. The streets were densely crowded, every window, high and low,
in the tall grey houses framed a galaxy of faces, stands had been erected,
and platforms thrown out wherever stand and platform could find space. The
very "leads" of the public buildings bore their burden of sightseers. The
Lord Provost and his bailies stood ready, and the Queen came wearing the
royal Stewart tartan, "A' fine colours but nane o' them blue," to show
that she was akin to the surroundings. She heard and replied to the speech
made to her by the representative of the old burghers, and gave him back
the token of his rule. She reached the Castle, after having passed the
houses of Knox and the Earl of Moray. She saw the Scotch regalia, and
heard anew how it had once been saved by a minister's brave wife, who
carried it hidden in a bundle of yarn in her lap, out of the northern
castle, which was in the hands of the enemy; and how it had been concealed
again--only too well, forgotten in the course of a generation or two, and
actually lost sight of for a hundred years. She entered the room, "such a
very, very small room," she wrote, in her wonder at the rude and scanty
accommodation of those days, in which James VI. was born. No doubt "Mons
Meg," the old Flemish cannon and grim darling of the fortress, was
presented to her. But what seems to have moved her most was the
magnificent view, which included the rich Lothians and the silver shield
of the Frith, and stretched, but only, when the weather was fine enough,
in the direction of Stirlingshire, to the round-backed Ochils and the blue
giants, the Grampians, while at her feet lay the green gardens of Princes
Street and the handsome street itself--once the Nor' Loch and the Burgh
Muir--Allan Ramsay's house and Heriot's Hospital, or "Wark," the princely
gift of the worthy jeweller to his native town.

A little incident, the motive of which was unknown to her Majesty,
occurred on her drive back to Dalkeith. An enthusiastic active young
fellow, who had seen the presentation of the keys, hurried out the length
of a mile on the country road to Dalkeith, and choosing a solitary point,
stationed himself on the summit of a wall, where he was the only watcher,
and awaited the return of the carriages. The special phaeton drove up with
the young couple, talking and laughing together in the freedom of their
privacy. The single spectator took off his hat at the risk of losing his
precarious footing, and in respectful silence, bowed, or "louted
low"--another difficult proceeding under the circumstances. Prince
Albert, who was sitting with his arms crossed on his breast, treated the
demonstration as not meant for him. The smiling Queen inclined her head,
and the eager lad had what he sought, a mark of her recognition given to
him alone. To the day of his death no more loyal heart beat for his Queen
throughout her wide dominions.

The Queen drove to Leith on another day, and she and the Prince were still
more charmed with the view, which he called "fairylike." After the fashion
of most strangers, the travellers had their attention attracted by the
Newhaven fish-wives, who offered a curious contrast to the rest of the
population. Their Flemish origin announced itself, for her Majesty
pronounced them "very clean and very Dutch-looking with their white
caps and bright-coloured petticoats." It was about this time that a great
author made them all his own, by "choosing a fit representative for his
heroine, and describing a fisherman's marriage on the island of Inchcolm.

On Sunday, Dean Kamsay, whose memory is so linked with Scotch stories,
read prayers.

On Monday, the Queen held a Drawing-room at Dalkeith Palace. It was an
antiquarian question whether there had been another Drawing-room since the
Union. Well might the stay-at-home ladies of Scotland plume themselves.
Afterwards, her Majesty received addresses from the Magistrates of
Edinburgh, the Scotch Church, and Universities.

The Queen's stay at Dalkeith was varied by drives about the beautiful
grounds on the two Esks, and short visits to neighbouring country seats,
characteristic and interesting, Dalmeny, Dalhousie, &c. &c. In the
evening, it is said, Scotch music was frequently given for her Majesty's
delectation, and that among the songs were some of the satires and
parodies poured forth on the unfortunate Lord Provost and bailies, who had
robbed the town of the full glory of the Queen's arrival. The cleverest of
these was an adaptation of an old Jacobite ditty, itself a cutting satire
which a hundred years before had taunted the Georgian general, Sir John
Cope, with the excess of caution that led him to shun an engagement,
withdraw his forces over night, and leave the country open to the
Pretender to march southward. The mocking verses thus challenged the
defaulter--

Hey! Johnnie Cope, are ye waukin' yet?
Or are your drums a-beatin' yet?

Now, with a slight variation on the words the measure ran--

Hey! Jamie Forrest, are ye waukin' yet?
Or are your bailies snorin' yet?

Then, after proceeding to run over the temptations which might he supposed
to have overmastered the party, the writer dwelt with emphasis on a
favourite breakfast dish in Scotland--

For kipper it is savoury food,
Sae early in the mornin'.

Common rumour would have it that Lord John Scott, whose good qualities
included a fine voice and a love for Scotch songs, to which his wife
contributed at least one exquisite ballad, sang this squib to her Majesty.
An improvement on the story, which is at least strictly in keeping with
the Prince's character, added, that when another song was suggested, and
the "Flowers of the Forest" mentioned, Prince Albert, unacquainted with
the song in question, and misled by a word in the title, exclaimed kindly,
"No, no; let the poor man alone, he has had enough of this sort of thing."

From Dalkeith the Queen and the Prince started for the Highlands, on a
bright, clear, cold, frosty morning. They crossed the Forth and landed at
Queen's Ferry, which bore its name from another queen when she was going
on a very different errand; for there it is said the fugitive Margaret,
the sister of the Atheling, after she had been wrecked in Scotland Water,
landed and took her way on foot to Dunfermline to ask grace of Malcolm
Cean Mohr, who made her his wife. Queen Victoria only saw Dunfermline and
the abbey which holds the dust of King Robert the Bruce from a distance,
as she journeyed by Kinross and Loch Leven, getting a nearer glimpse of
Queen Mary's island prison, to Perthshire.

At Dupplin the 42nd Highlanders, in their kilts, were stationed
appropriately. Perth, with its fair "Inches" lying on the brimming Tay, in
the shadow of the wooded hills of Kinnoul and Moncrieff, delighted the
royal strangers, and reminded Prince Albert of Basle.

The old Palace of Scone, under the guardianship of Lord Mansfield, was the
restingplace for the night. Next day the Queen saw the mound where the
early kings of Scotland were crowned. A sort of ancient royal visitors'
book was brought out from Perth to her Majesty, and the Queen and the
Prince were requested to write their names in it. The last names written
were those of James VI. and Charles I. Her Majesty and Prince Albert gave
their mottoes as well as their names. Beneath her signature she wrote,
"Dieu et mon Droit;" beneath his he wrote, "Treu und Fest."

From Scone the party proceeded to Dunkeld, passing through Birnam Pass,
the first of the three "Gates," into the Highlands, where the prophecy
against Macbeth was fulfilled, and entered what is emphatically "the
Country" by the lowest spur of the mighty Grampians.

The romantic, richly-wooded beauty of Dunkeld was increased by a
picturesque camp of Athole Highlanders, to the number of a thousand men,
with their piper in attendance. They had been called out for her
Majesty's benefit by the late Duke of Athole, then Lord Glenlyon, who was
suffering from temporary blindness, so that he had to be led about by Lady
Glenlyon, his wife. At Dunkeld the Queen lunched, and walked down the
ranks of Highland soldiers. The piper played, and a reel and the ancient
sword-dance, over crossed swords--the nimble dancer avoiding all contact
with the naked blades--were danced. The whole scene--royal guests, noble
men and women, stalwart clansmen in their waving dusky tartans--must have
been very animated and striking in the lovely autumn setting of the
mountains when the ling was red, the rowan berries hung like clusters of
coral over the brown burns, and a field of oats here and there came out
like a patch of gold among the heather. To put the finishing-touch to the
picture, the grey tower of Gawin Douglas's Cathedral, still and solemn,
kept watch over the tomb of the Wolf of Badenoch.

But Dunkeld was not the Queen's destination. She was going still farther
into the Highlands. She left the mountains of Craig-y-barns and
Craig-vinean behind her, and travelled on by Aberfeldy to Taymouth, the
noble seat of the Marquis of Breadalbane. Lord Glenlyon's Highlanders
gave place to Lord Breadalbane's, the Murrays, in their particular set of
tartan with their juniper badge, to the Campbells and the Menzies, in
their dark green and red and white kilts, with the tufts of bog myrtle and
ash in their bonnets. The pipers were multiplied, and a company of the
92nd Highlanders replaced the 42nd, in kilts like their neighbours. "The
firing of the guns," wrote the Queen, "the cheering of the great crowd,
the picturesqueness of the dresses, the beauty of the surrounding country
with its rich background of wooded hills, altogether formed one of the
finest scenes imaginable. It seemed as if a great chieftain in olden
feudal times was receiving his sovereign. It was princely and romantic."

Such a "sovereign" of such a "chief" is the crowned lady, every inch a
queen, represented in Durham's bust reproduced in the illustration.

Lord Breadalbane was giving his Queen a royal welcome. Lady Breadalbane, a
childless wife, had been one of the beautiful Haddington Baillies,
descendants of Grizel Baillie; she was suffering from wasting sickness,
and her beauty, still remarkable, was "as that of the dead." Some of the
flower of the Scotch nobility were assembled in the house to meet the
Queen and the Prince--members of the families of Buccleugh, Sutherland,
Abercorn, Roxburgh, Kinnoul, Lauderdale &c. &c. The Gothic dining-room was
dined in for the first time; the Queen was the earliest occupant of her
suite of rooms. After dinner, the gardens were illuminated, the hills were
crowned with bonfires, and Highlanders danced reels to the sound of the
pipes by torchlight in front of the house. "It had a wild and very gay
effect."

The whole life, with its environment, was like a revelation of new
possibilities to the young English Queen who had never been out of England
before. It was at the most propitious moment that she made her first
acquaintance with the Scotch Highlands which she has learned to love so
well; she enjoyed everything with the keen sense of novelty and the
buoyance of unquenched spirits. Looking back upon it all, long afterwards,
she wrote with simple pathos, "Albert and I were then only twenty-three,
young and happy."

At Taymouth there was shooting for the Prince; and there was much pleasant
driving, walking, and sketching for the Queen--with the drives walks, and
sketches unlike anything that she had been accustomed to previously. The
weather was not always favourable; the sport was not always so fortunate
as on the first day, when the Prince shot nineteen roe-deer, several hares
and pheasants, three brace of grouse, and wounded a capereailzie, which
was afterwards brought in; but the travellers made the best of everything
and became "quite fond of the bagpipes," which were played in perfection
at breakfast, at luncheon, whenever the royal pair went out and in, and
before and during dinner. One evening there was a ball for the benefit of
the county people, at which the Queen danced a quadrille with Lord
Breadalbane; Prince Albert and the Duchess of Buccleugh being the
vis-a-vis.

On September 10th, a fine morning, the Queen left Taymouth. She was rowed
up Loch Tay, past Ben Lawers with Benmore in the distance. The pipers
played at intervals, the boatmen sang Gaelic songs, and the representative
of Macdougal of Lorn steered. At Auchmore, where the party lunched, they
were rejoined by the Highland Guard. As her Majesty drove round by Glen
Dochart and Glen Ogle, the latter reminded her of the fatal Kyber Pass
with which her thoughts had been busy in the beginning of the year. By the
time Loch Earn was reached, the fine weather had changed to rain. By
Glenartney and Duneira, earthquake-haunted Comrie, Ochtertyre, where grows
"the aik," and Crieff with the "Knock," on which the last Scotch witch was
burnt, the travellers journeyed to Drummond Castle, belonging to Lady
Willoughby d'Eresby, where her Majesty was to make her next stay. Lady
Willoughby was a chieftainess in her own right, the heiress of the old
Drummonds, Earls of Perth. Lord Willoughby was the representative of the
lucky English Burrells and the Welsh Gwydyrs, one of whom had married a
Maid of Honour to Catharine of Aragon, and come to grief, because, unlike
her royal mistress, she and her husband adopted the Protestant religion,
and fell into dire disgrace in the reign of Bloody Mary. The Drummonds.
like the Murrays and unlike the Campbells, had been staunch Jacobites.
The mother of the first and last Duke of Perth caused the old castle to be
blown up after her two sons had joined the rebellion in the '45, lest the
keep should fall into the hands of King George's soldiers. [Footnote: She
is said to have been the heroine of the popular Jacobite song, "When the
King comes over the water."] The Queen alludes in her Journal to the steep
ascent to the castle. The long narrow avenue leads up by the side of the
fine castle rock, tufted with wild strawberries, ferns, and heather, to
the courtyard. Her Majesty also mentions the old terraced garden; "like an
old French garden," or like such an Italian garden as was a favourite
model for the gardens of its day.

The Willoughby Highlanders, wearing the Drummond tartan and the holly
badge, were now the Queen's guard. The lady of the castle and her
daughters wore the Drummond tartan and the holly when they met the Queen.

It was at Drummond Castle that Prince Albert made his first attempt at
deer-stalking, under the able guidance of Campbell of Moonzie. The
Prince's description of the sport was that it was "one of the most
interesting of pursuits," in which the sportsman, clad in grey, in order
to remain unseen, had to keep under the hill, beyond the possibility of
scent, and crawl on hands and knees to approach his prey.

There was a story told at the time of the Prince and Campbell of Moonzie.
Prince Albert had arranged to return at a particular hour to drive with
the Queen. Moonzie, who was the most ardent and agile deer-stalker in the
neighbourhood, had got into the swing of the sport, till then
unsuccessful, when, as the men lay crouching among the heather, waiting
intently for the herd expected to come that way, the Prince said it was,
time to return.

"But the deer, your Royal Highness," faltered the Highlander, looking
aghast, and speaking in the whisper which the exigencies of the case
required.

The Prince explained that the Queen expected him.

It is to be feared the Highlander, in the excitement of the moment, and
the marvel that any man--not to say any prince--could give up the sport at
such a crisis, suggested that the Queen might wait, while the deer
certainly would not.

"The Queen commands," said her true knight, with a quiet smile and a
gentle rebuke.

In the evening there was company, as at Taymouth, some in kilts. Campbell
of Moonzie showed himself as great in reels as in deer-stalking. (Ah! the
wild glee and nimble grace of a Highland reel well danced.) The Queen
danced one country dance with Lord Willoughby, while Prince Albert had the
eldest daughter of the house, Lady Carington, for his partner.

The next day the royal party, starting as early as nine on a hazy morning,
reached Stirling and visited the castle, which figures so largely in the
lives of the old Stewart kings. The Queen saw the room in which James II.
slew Douglas, John Knox's pulpit, the field of Bannockburn, which saved
Scotland from a conquest, and the Knoll or "Knowe" where the Scotch Queens
and the Court ladies sat to look down on their knights "Riding the Ring"
or playing at the boisterously boyish game of "Hurleyhacket." But the
autumn mists shut out the "Highland hills," already receding in the
background, and the Links of Forth, where the river winds like the meshes
of a chain through the fertile lowlands to the sea. Soon Drummond Castle
and Taymouth, with their lochs and mountains and "plaided array," would be
like a wonderful dream, to be often recalled and recounted at Windsor and
Buckingham Palace.

From Stirling the Queen travelled back to Dalkeith, where she arrived the
same night. During her Majesty's last day in Scotland, which she expressed
herself as "very sorry to leave," she drove to Roslin Chapel, where twenty
"barons bold" of the house of St. Clair wear shirts of mail for shrouds,
then went on to storied Hawthornden--a wooded nest hung high over the
water, where the poet Drummond entertained his English brother-of-the-pen,
Ben Jonson.

On Thursday, the 15th of September, the Queen embarked in the
Trident, a large steamboat, likely to be swifter than the Royal
George, and surrounded by the flotilla, which, with the exception of
one, fell behind, and out of sight in the course of the voyage, sailed for
England, past Berwick Law, Tantallon, the ruined keep of the Douglases,
and the Bass, where a gloomy state prison once frowned on a rock, now
given up to seagulls and Solan geese. The weather was favourable and the
moonlight fine. The voyage became enjoyable as the young couple ate a
"pleasant little dinner on deck in a tent, made of flags," or paced the
deck in the moonlight, or read the "Lay of the Last Minstrel," and played
on the piano in the cabin. Notwithstanding the good time, winds and waves
are not to be trusted, and the roar of the guns which announced that the
vessel was at the Nore was a welcome awakening at three o'clock on the
morning of Saturday, the 17th. The sun smiled through a slight haze on
the sail up the river, among the familiar English sights and sounds. The
tour, which had delighted the pair, was over; but home, where a loving
mother and little children awaited them, was sweet.





Next: A Marriage A Death And A Birth In The Royal Family

Previous: Fresh Attempts Against The Queen's Life And The Death Of The Duc D'orleans



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