Dinner At Kew Fetes At Syon House Queen Adelaide's Fund
'BOSTON HOUSE, 'July 13 .
'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
o 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.