Dinner At Kew Fetes At Syon House Queen Adelaide's Fund

'BOSTON HOUSE, 'July 13 [1835].

'WE were invited on Saturday to dine at Kew with their Majesties. It

was quite a social party, no company but ourselves and the Landgravine;

the rest were the ladies in attendance, the household, and the King's

family. We mustered thirty at dinner. They came down early in the day

to thoroughly enjoy the country. They walked about till luncheon; then

the Queen had her horse to ride, and little carriages, and they all

went to Richmond Park, and returned to dress for seven o'clock dinner.

They both seemed remarkably well. I had not been seen by the King for a

long time, and when I went in he expressed himself most glad to see me

quite well, and at dinner drank wine with me.

'When we went in to dinner, the Queen said: "Mrs. Clitherow, you must

sit by Lord Howe." The fact was she was expecting her sister to land

Sunday morning, and would have been at the water-side to receive her,

but she felt she ought to go to church with the King. Lord Howe told

her certainly; she could drive and meet her sister after church. Still,

her wish was to go to Deptford early, and she wanted somebody to second

that wish. She bid Lord Howe ask Mrs. Clitherow--"She will say

honest." The Queen is so quick, she discovered when they were

conversing on the subject, though they were at the very bottom of the

table, and addressed Mrs. Clitherow, "Are you for me, or against me?"

"I must agree with Lord Howe," was her answer. Now, I suppose there are

few women but my Jane who would not have advised according to the

Queen's wishes, and I am certain it is her honesty, so unlike a

courtier, that makes the Queen so partial to her. After dinner she

called Mrs. Clitherow to sit by her, and they conversed together the

whole evening. Her ideas and right way of thinking are quite delightful.

'I had a very amusing evening, for the good-humoured Landgravine called

me to her, and was full of fun and chat. She has a sweet countenance,

but her figure is extraordinary. "My dear," she said, "Augusta charged

me to tell you a charade--

'"Three shakes and a grin, Shake your tail and you're in."

She was in such a hurry to tell me I had not time to find it out; but

you may take your time, I shan't tell you. She laughed so hearty. She

seems to enjoy herself most exceedingly in her native land, and must be

in excellent health to go about as she does. Yet her figure looks as if

she was dropsical. She cannot stand long, and walks with difficulty; at

the Drawing Room she sits.

'The whole party left Kew for London at ten.

'We have been wondrous gay at both the fetes at Syon House. As to the

first fete, I think it was the most perfect thing of the kind that

possibly could be. We were invited to a breakfast at three o'clock to

meet their Majesties, and we went according to orders; but the

breakfast proved a good dinner at seven. The day was lovely, the

company of the very first order, and the dresses most elegant morning


'The King did not come; he was overfatigued at the Waterloo dinner. The

Queen came at five. She and the Duchess of Northumberland led the way

to the famous conservatory, and all the party followed. I believe it is

reckoned the finest in Europe. The flower-garden, filled with all the

smart and the pretty, was really a sight of sights. There were chairs

and benches innumerable on the lawn, the Blues band of music, and

people amused themselves till dinner was announced. It was certainly

the most elegant party I ever was in, for the whole 524 guests followed

each other into the tent as quiet and orderly as into the dinner-room

at Windsor. The dinner was sumptuous. Three turkeys were drest, and

eight men cooks employed. A seat for everyone, a napkin, three china

plates, three silver forks, knife, and spoon. The waiters had only to

remove your plate. And such quantities of waiters! yet so quiet, no

bustle or clatter. We all came out of the tent together, when the house

was lit up, and you went in or staid out as you pleased. The great

drawing-room for tea and coffee, tables each side. And so the time

passed till it was dark enough for the fireworks, which were most


'The Queen was then ushered into the tent, which, like magic, had been

prepared for dancing. A very good floor, as clean as if no soul had

dined in the room. The tables were laid round the room on the floor to

make a platform to raise the sitters to look at the dancing. There were

two tiers of benches, so that really the room seemed hardly full. There

was a noble space for the dancers 180 feet long. Weippert's beautiful

band. I quite longed to dance. It was lit the whole length by large

handsome glass lanthorns, and round the tent was a broad border of

growing flowers and coloured lamps in festoons. Nothing could be

prettier. They had waltzes, quadrilles, gallopade, and reels. The Queen

went at eleven, and everybody was gone by one. Refreshments of all

sorts were provided at each end of the tent.

'The second fete rather failed, as the day it was to have been held was

so wet it was obliged to be put off; and then Royalty had gone to

Windsor, and thought it too far to come. Numbers also were engaged. We

were only asked in the evening, but everything was in as good style as

the first, only a different style of company. The fireworks equally

good, and the dancing, but the night was cold.

'The papers will have told you of my brother's success in Queen

Adelaide's Fund. It is most particularly gratifying to him. Ever since

the lunatic asylum was finished he has been wishing to establish this

fund, and was brought about by the Queen signifying to him that she

wished to subscribe to the lunatic asylum, about which he interested

himself so much. He told her it was a county asylum, not supported by

subscriptions, and then named this plan, which she eagerly acceded to,

and gave L100 and her name as patroness. He has got near L700, and does

not mean to be satisfied till he has L1,000, and as much more as he

can. I must conclude, as the man has called. Lucky for you.

'Your affectionate friend, 'M. C.'

The fund mentioned at the close of this letter was founded to assist

patients at the Hancock Asylum on their discharge, and is still in

existence. As this was due to Colonel Clitherow's initiation, it may be

well to mention here that another trace of his influence also remains

in the system of employing patients in occupations with which they were

previously acquainted, which was established during his chairmanship,

with very successful results.

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