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The Condemnation Of The English Duel

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The Queen's Trip To Ostend Drayton Chatsworth And Belvoir








"Ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute." In the course of another
week the Queen took a second trip to the Continent, sailing to Ostend to
pay the most natural visit in the world--the only thing singular about it
was that it had been so long delayed--to her uncle, King Leopold. The
yacht, which had been lying off Brighton, was accompanied by eight other
steamers, and joined at Walmer by two ships of the line. At Dover a salute
was fired from the castle. At Deal the Duke of Wellington came on board
and dined with the royal party, the Queen watching with some anxiety the
return of the old man in his boat, through a considerable surf which
wetted him thoroughly, before he mounted his horse and rode off to Walmer,
to superintend the illumination of the Castle in lines of light. In like
manner every ship lying in the Downs glittered through the darkness.

At two o'clock on the following afternoon the Queen and the Prince reached
Ostend, where they were received by King Leopold and Queen Louise. There
had been some uncertainty whether the travellers, after not too smooth a
passage, would be equal to the fatigue of a banquet at the Hotel de Ville
that evening. But repose is the good thing to which royalty can rarely
attain, so it was settled that the banquet should go on. The display was
less, and there was more of undress among the chief personages than there
had been at the opening banquet at Chateau d'Eu. The Queen must have
looked to her host not far removed from the docile young niece he had so
carefully trained and tutored, as she sat by him in white lace and muslin,
with flowers in her hair--only bound by a ferroniere of diamonds.
The King and Prince Albert were in plain clothes, save that they showed
the ribands and insignia of the orders of the Garter and the Bath; the
Queen of the Belgians wore a white lace bonnet. It was in the main a
simple family party made for the travellers.

The next day the Prince and Princess of Hohenlohe arrived, when the elder
sister would have knelt and paid her homage to the younger, had not her
Majesty prevented her with a sisterly embrace. Ostend was the
head-quarters of the royal party, from which in the mellow autumn time
they visited Bruges and Ghent. "The old cities of Flanders had put on
their fairest array and were very tastefully decorated with tapestries,
flowers, trees, pictures, &c. &c." The crowds of staid Flemings wore
stirred up to joyous enthusiasm.

The Queen's artistic tastes, in addition to her fresh sympathies and her
affection for her uncle and his wife, rendered the whole scene delightful
to her. She was fitted to relish each detail, from the carillons to the
carvings. She inspected all that was to be seen at Bruges, from the Palace
of Justice to the Chapel of the Holy Blood. At Ghent, she went to the
church of St. Bavon, where the Van Eycks have left the best part of their
wonderful picture before the altar while the dust of Hubert and Margaret,
rests in the crypt below. She saw the fragment of the palace in which John
of Gaunt was born, when an English queen-consort, Philippa, resided there
five hundred years before. She visited the old Beguinage, with the
shadowlike figures of the nuns in black and white flitting to and fro.

From Ostend the Queen and Prince Albert proceeded to the cheerful,
prosperous, and, by comparison, modern town of Brussels, King Leopold's
capital, and stayed a night at his palace of Lacken, which had been built
by Prince Albert's ancestor and namesake, Duke Albert of Sechsen, when he
governed the Netherlands along with his wife the Archduchess Christina,
the favourite daughter of Maria Theresa and the sister of Marie
Antoinette. From Brussels the travellers journeyed to Antwerp, where they
saw another grand cathedral and witnessed the antique spectacle of "the
Giant" before the palace in the Place de Mer.

On leaving Antwerp, the Queen and the Prince sailed for England, escorted
so far on their way by King Leopold and Queen Louise. "It was such a joy
to me," her Majesty wrote to her uncle, soon after their parting, "to be
once again under the roof of one who has ever been a father to me." The
vessel lay all night in Margate Roads, and the next morning arrived at
Woolwich.

In the month of October her Majesty and the Prince visited Cambridge,
where he received his degree of LL.D. A witty letter, written by Professor
Sedgwick, describing the royal visit to the Woodwardian Museum, is quoted
by Sir Theodore Martin

"....I received a formidable note from our master telling me of an
intended royal visit to the Woodwardian den of wild beasts, immediately
after Prince Albert's degree; and enjoining me to clear a passage by the
side entrance through the old divinity schools. This threw me off my
balance, for since the building of the new library this place of ancient
theological disputation has been converted into a kind of lumber-room, and
was filled from end to end with every kind of unclean things--mops,
slop-pails, chimney-pots, ladders, broken benches, rejected broken
cabinets, two long ladders, and an old rusty scythe were the things that
met the eye, and all covered with half an inch of venerable dust. There is
at the end of the room a kind of gallery or gangway, by which the
undergraduates used to find their way to my lecture-room, but this was
also full of every kind of rubbish and abomination. We did our best; soon
tumbled all impediments into the area below, spread huge mats over the
slop-pails, and, in a time incredibly short, a goodly red carpet was
spread along the gangway, and thence down my lecture-room to the door of
the Museum. But still there was a dreadful evil to encounter. What we had
done brought out such a rank compound of villanous smells that even my
plebeian nose was sorely put to it; so I went to a chemist's, procured
certain bottles of sweet odours, and sprinkled them cunningly where most
wanted.

"Inside the Museum all was previously in order, and inside the entrance
door from the gangway was a huge picture of the Megatherium, under which
the Queen must pass to the Museum, and at that place I was to receive her
Majesty. So I dusted my outer garments and ran to the Senate House, and I
was just in time to see the Prince take his degree and join in the
acclamations. This ended, I ran back to the feet of the Megatherium, and
in a few minutes the royal party entered the mysterious gangway above
described. They halted, I half thought in a spirit of mischief, to
contemplate the furniture of the schools, and the Vice-chancellor
(Whewell) pointed out the beauties of the dirty spot where Queen Bess had
sat two hundred and fifty years before, when she presided at the Divinity
Act. A few steps more brought them under the feet of the, Megatherium. I
bowed as low as my anatomy would let me, and the Queen and Prince bowed
again most graciously, and so began act first. The Queen seemed happy and
well pleased, and was mightily taken with one or two of my monsters,
especially with the 'Plesiosaurus,' and a gigantic stag. The subject was
new to her; but the Prince evidently had a good general knowledge of the
old world, and not only asked good questions and listened with great
courtesy to all I had to say, but in one or two instances helped me on by
pointing to the rare things in my collection, especially in that part of
it which contains the German fossils. I thought myself very fortunate in
being able to exhibit the finest collection of German fossils to be seen
in England. They fairly went the round of the Museum, neither of them
seemed in a hurry, and the Queen was quite happy to hear her husband talk
about a novel subject with so much knowledge and spirit. He called her
back once or twice to look at a fine impression of a dragon-fly which I
have in the Solenhope slate. Having glanced at the long succession of our
fossils, from the youngest to the oldest, the party again moved into the
lecture-room. The Queen was again mightily taken with the long neck of
the Plesiosaurus; under it was a fine head of an Ichthyosaurus which I had
just been unpacking. I did not know anything about it, as I had myself
never seen its face before, for it arrived in my absence. The Queen asked
what it was. I told her as plainly as I could. She then asked whence it
came; and what do you think I said? That I did not know the exact place,
but I believed it came as a delegate from the monsters of the lower world
to greet her Majesty on her arrival at the University. I did not repeat
this till I found that I had been overheard, and that my impertinence had
been talked of among my Cambridge friends. All was, however, taken in good
part, and soon afterwards the royal party again approached the mysterious
gangway. The Queen and Prince bowed, the Megatherium packed up his legs
close under the abdominal region of his august body, the royal pageant
passed under, and was soon out of my sight and welcomed by the cheers of
the multitude before the library.

"I will only add that I went through every kind of backward movement to
admiration of all beholders, only having once trodden on the hinder part
of my cassock, and never once having fallen during my retrogradations
before the face of the Queen. In short, had I been a king crab, I could
not have walked backwards better."

When in Cambridgeshire the Queen and the Prince visited Lord Hardwicke at
Wimpole, where the whole county was assembled at a ball, and Earl De la
Warr at Bourne.

In this month of October the great agitator for the repeal of the Irish
Union, Daniel O'Connell, was arrested, in company with other Irish
agitators, on a charge of sedition and conspiracy. After a prolonged
trial, which lasted to the early summer of the following year, he was
sentenced to a year's imprisonment and the payment of a fine of two
thousand pounds, with recognisances to keep the peace for seven years. The
sentence lapsed on technical grounds, but its moral effect was
considerable.

In the month of September the Queen and Prince Albert visited Sir Robert
Peel at Drayton, travelling by railroad, with every station they passed
thronged by spectators. At Rugby the pupils of the great school, headed
by Dr. Tait, were drawn up on the platform. Sir Robert Peel received his
guests in a pavilion erected for the occasion, and conducted her Majesty
to her carriage, round which was an escort of Staffordshire yeomanry. At
the entrance to the town of Tamworth, the mayor, kneeling, presented his
mace, with the words, "I deliver to your Majesty the mace;" to which the
Queen replied, "Take it, it cannot be in better hands."

At eight o'clock in the evening Sir Robert Peel conducted the Queen, who
wore pink silk and a profusion of emeralds and diamonds, to the
dining-room, Prince Albert giving his arm to Lady Peel. Among the guests
were the Duke of Wellington and the Duke and Duchess of Buccleugh. The
Duchess on one occasion during the visit wore an old brocade which had
belonged to a great grand-aunt of the Duke's, and was pronounced very
beautiful. After dinner the party withdrew to the library. Either on this
evening or the next the Queen played at the quaint old game of "Patience,"
with some of her ladies, while the gentlemen "stood about."

On the following day her Majesty walked in the grounds, while Prince
Albert gratified an earnest wish by visiting Birmingham and inspecting its
manufactures, undeterred, perhaps rather allured, by the fact that the
great town of steel and iron was regarded as one of the centres of
Chartism. This did not prevent its mighty population from displaying the
most exultant loyalty as they pressed round the carriage in which the
Prince and the Mayor, reported to be a rank Chartist, drove to glass and
silver-plate manufactories and papier-mache works, the town hall, and the
schools.

At the railway station the Prince was joined by the Queen-dowager and
Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar, who came from Whitley Court to accompany him
back to Drayton. The next morning was devoted to shooting, when Prince
Albert confirmed his good character as a sportsman by bringing down sixty
pheasants, twenty-five hares, eight rabbits, one woodcock, and two wild
ducks. In the afternoon the Queen visited Lichfield, to which she had gone
as "the young Princess." Indeed, the next part of the tour was over old
ground in Derbyshire, for from Drayton the royal couple proceeded to
Chatsworth, and spent several days amidst the beauties of the Peak. Twenty
thousand persons were assembled in the magnificent grounds at Chatsworth,
and artillery had been brought from Woolwich to fire a salute. Many old
friends, notably members of the great Whig houses--Lord Melbourne, Lord
and Lady Palmerston, the Marquis and Marchioness of Normanby--met to grace
the occasion. There was a grand ball, at which the aristocracy of
invention and industry, trade and wealth, represented by the Arkwrights
and the Strutts, mingled with the autocracy of ancient birth and landed
property. Mrs. Arkwright was presented to the Queen. Her Majesty opened
the ball with the Duke of Devonshire, dancing afterwards with Lord Morpeth
and Lord Leveson--in the last instance, "a country dance, with much
vigour"--and waltzing with Prince Albert. On the 2nd of December the party
visited Haddon Hall, the ancient seat of the Vernons, where Dorothy Vernon
lived and loved. On their return in the evening, the great conservatory
was brilliantly illuminated, and there was a display of fireworks.

On the 3rd, Sunday, the Queen walked through the kitchen gardens and
botanical gardens, and drove to Edensor. On the return of the party by the
Home Farm, they went to see a prize-pig, weighing seventy pounds. The day
ended with a concert of sacred music.

On Monday, the 4th, the Queen and the Prince parted from the Duke of
Devonshire at Derby, and proceeded to Nottingham--not to visit what
remained of the Castle so long associated with John and Lucy Hutchinson,
or to penetrate to the cradle of hosiery, daring an encounter with the
"Nottingham Lambs," the roughest of roughs, who at election times were
wont to add to their natural beauties by painting their faces red, white,
and blue, as savages tattoo themselves--but as a step on the way to
Belvoir, the seat of the Duke of Rutland. There her Majesty entered that
most aristocratic portion of England known as "The Dukeries." The Duke of
Rutland, attended by two hundred of his tenantry on horseback, awaited his
guests at Red Mile, and rode with them the three miles to Belvoir. Soon
after the Queen's arrival, Dr. Stanton presented her Majesty with the key
of Stanton Town, according to the tenure on which that estate is held.

Belvoir was a sight in itself, even after the stately lawns of Chatsworth.
"I do not know whether you ever saw Belvoir," writes Fanny Kemble; "it is
a beautiful place; the situation is noble, and the views, from the windows
of the castle, and the terraces and gardens hanging over the steep hill
crowned by it, is charming. The whole vale of Belvoir, and miles of meadow
and woodland, lie stretched below it, like a map unrolled to the distant
horizon, presenting extensive and varied prospects in every direction;
while from the glen which surrounds the castle-hill, like a deep moat
filled with a forest, the spring winds swell up as from a sea of woodland,
and the snatches of birds' carolling, and cawing rooks' discourse, float
up to one from the topmost branches of tall trees, far below one's feet,
as one stands on the battlemented terraces."

December was not the best time for seeing some of the attractions of
Belvoir; but Lady Bloomfield has written of her Majesty's proverbial good
fortune in these excursions: "The Queen yachts during the equinox, and has
the sea a dead calm; visits about in the dead of winter, and has summer
weather." There were other respects in which Belvoir was in its glory in
midwinter--it belonged to a hunting neighbourhood and a hunting society.
Whereas at Drayton and Chatsworth the royal pair had been principally
surrounded by Tory and Whig statesmen, at Belvoir, while the Queen-dowager
and some of the most distinguished members of the company at Chatsworth
were again of the party, the Queen and the Prince found themselves in the
centre of the fox-hunters of Melton Mowbray.

Happily, the Prince could hunt with the best, and the Queen liked to look
on at her husband's sport, so that the order of the day was the throwing
off of the hounds at Croxton. In the evening the Queen played whist. The
next day there was a second splendid meet royally attended, with cards
again at night. The Prince wrote of one of these "runs," to Baron
Stockmar, that he had distinguished himself by keeping up with the hounds
all through. "Anson" and "Bouverie" had both fallen on his left and right,
but he had come off "with a whole skin." We are also told that the
Prince's horsemanship excited the amazed admiration of the spectators, to
the Queen's half-impatient amusement. "One can scarcely credit the
absurdity of the people," she wrote to her uncle, King Leopold; "but
Albert's riding so boldly has made such a sensation that it has been
written all over the country, and they make much more of it than if he had
done some great act." Apparently the Melton Mowbray fox-hunters had, till
now, hardly appreciated that fine combination of physical and mental
qualities, which is best expressed in two lines of an old song:--

His step is foremost in the ha',
His sword in battle keen.

On the 7th of December the visitors left for Windsor, passing through
endless triumphal arches on the road, greeted at Leicester by seven
thousand school children.

Shortly after the Queen's return home, she and the Prince heard, with
regret, of the death of Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch. The veteran fell,
indeed, like a shock of corn ripe for the garner, until it had been
difficult to recognise in the feeble, nearly blind old man, upwards of
ninety, the stout soldier of Barossa and Vittoria. But he carried with him
many a memory which could never be recalled. Gallant captain though he
was, his whole life was touched with tender romance. Born only four years
after the Jacobite rebellion of '45, married in 1774, when he was
twenty-five years of age, to his beautiful wife, the Hon. Mary
Cathcart--whose sister Jane was married on the same day to John, Duke of
Athole--for eighteen years Mr. Graham lived the quiet life of a country
gentleman in Lynedoch Cottage, the most charming of cottages ornes,
thatch-roofed, with a conservatory as big as itself, set down in a fine
park. The river Almond flowed by, serving as a kind of boundary, and
marking the curious limit which the plague kept in its last visit to
Scotland. On a green "haugh" beneath what is known as the Burnbraes,
within a short distance of Lynedoch Cottage, may be seen the
carefully-kept double grave of two girls heroines of Scotch song, who died
there of the "pest," from which they were fleeing.

Mr. Graham was happy in his marriage, though it is said Mrs. Graham did
not relish that element in her lot which had made her the wife of a simple
commoner, while her sister, not more fair, was a duchess. Death entered on
the scene, and caused the distinctions of rank to be forgotten. The
cherished wife was laid in a quiet grave in Methven kirk-yard, and the
childless widower mourned for the desire of his heart with a grief that
refused to be comforted. By the advice of his friends, who feared for his
reason or his life, he went abroad, where he joined Lord Hood as a
volunteer. It is said he fought his first battle in a black coat, with the
hope that, being thus rendered conspicuous in any act of daring which he
might perform, he would be stricken down before the day was done. Honours,
not death, were to be his portion in his new career. A commission, rapid
promotion, the praise of his countrymen followed. He received the thanks
of both Houses of Parliament. It was on this occasion that Sheridan said
eloquently, in allusion to the soldier's services in the retreat to
Corunna, "In the hour of peril Graham was their best adviser, in the hour
of disaster Graham was their surest consolation." A peerage, which there
was none to share or inherit, a pension, the Orders of the Bath, of St.
Michael and St. George, &c. &c., were conferred upon him. It seemed only
the other day since Lord Lynedoch, hearing of her Majesty's first visit to
Scotland, hurried home from Switzerland to receive his queen. A place in
Westminster Abbey was ready for all that was mortal of him, but he had
left express injunctions that he was to be buried in Methven kirk-yard,
beside the wife of his youth, dead more than half a century before.

Most people know the history of Gainsborough's lovely picture of Mrs.
Graham, the glory of the Scotch National Gallery--that it was not brought
home till after the death of the lady, whose husband could not bear to

look on her painted likeness, and sent it, in its case, to the care of a
London merchant, in whose keeping it remained unopened, and well-nigh
forgotten, for upwards of fifty years. On Lord Lynedoch's death, the
picture came into the possession of his heir, Mr. Graham, of Redgorton,
who presented it--a noble gift--to the Scotch National Academy.





Next: Allies From Afar And Death And Absence

Previous: The Condemnation Of The English Duel



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