Leaves from the Journal
Torch-light Ball at Corriemulzie 10 Sept. 1852
September 10, 1852.
We dined at a
quarter-past six oclock in morning gowns, (not ordinary ones, but
such as are worn at a breakfast,) and at seven started for
Corriemulzie, for a torch-light ball in the open air. I wore a white
bonnet, a grey watered silk, and (according to Highland fashion) my
plaid scarf over my shoulder; and Albert his Highland dress which he
wears every evening. We drove in the postchaise; the two ladies,
Lord Derby and Colonel Gordon following in the other carriage.
It was a mild though threatening evening, but fortunately it kept
fine. We arrived there at half-past eight, by which time, of course,
it was quite dark. Mr. and Lady Agnes Duff [Now Earl and Countess of
Fife.] received us at the door, and then took us at once through the
house to the open space where the ball was, which was hid from our
view till the curtains were drawn asunder. It was really a beautiful
and most unusual sight. All the company were assembled there. A
space about one hundred feet in length and sixty feet in width was
boarded, and entirely surrounded by Highlanders bearing torches,
which were placed in sockets, and constantly replenished. There were
seven pipers playing together, Mackay [My Piper from the year 1843,
considered almost the first in Scotland, who was recommended by the
Marquis of Breadalbane; he unfortunately went out of his mind in the
year 1854, and died in 1855. A brother of his was Piper to the Duke
of Sussex.] leading and they received us with the usual salute and
three cheers, and Nis! nis! nis! (pronounced: Neesh! neesh! neesh!
the Highland Hip! hip! hip!) and again cheers; after which came a
most animated reel. There were about sixty people, exclusive of the
Highlanders, of whom there were also sixty; all the Highland
gentlemen, and any who were at all Scotch, were in kilts, the ladies
in evening dresses. The company and the Highlanders danced pretty
nearly alternately. There were two or three sword dances. We were
upon a haut fas, over which there was a canopy. The whole thing was
admirably done, and very well worth seeing. Albert was delighted
with it. I must not omit to mention a reel danced by eight
Highlanders holding torches in their hands.
We left at half-past nine oclock, and were home by a little past
eleven. A long way certainly (14 miles I believe).
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