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.





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