September 10, 1855.
Mama, and her lady
and gentleman, to dinner.
All were in constant expectation of more telegraphic despatches. At
half-past ten o’clock two arrived, one for me, and one for Lord
Granville. I began reading mine, which was from Lord Clarendon, with
details from Marshal Pelissier of the further destruction of the
Russian ships; and Lord Granville said, “I have still better news"
on which he read, from General Simpson, Sevastopol is in the hands
of the Allies.” God be praised for it! Our delight was great; but we
could hardly believe the good news, and from having so long, so
anxiously expected it, one could not realize the actual fact.
Albert said they should go at once and light the bonfire which had
been prepared when the false report of the fall of the town arrived
last year, and had remained ever since, waiting to be lit. On the
5th of November, the day of the battle of Inkermarin, the wind upset
it, strange to say; and now again, most strangely, it only seemed to
wait for our return to be lit.
The new house seems to be lucky, indeed; for, from the first moment
of our arrival, we have had good news. In a few minutes, Albert and
all the gentlemen, in every species of attire, sallied forth,
followed by all the servants, and gradually by all the population of
the village — keepers, gillies, workmen — up to the top of the
cairn. We waited, and saw them light the bonfire; accompanied by
general cheering. It blazed forth brilliantly, and we could see the
numerous figures surrounding it, some dancing, all shouting; — Ross
playing his pipes, and Grant and Macdonald firing off guns
continually; while poor old Francois d’Albertanconf lighted a number
of squibs below, the greater part of which would not go off. About
three-quarters of an hour after, Albert came down, and said the
scene had been wild and exciting beyond everything. The people had
been drinking healths in whisky, and were in great ecstasy. The
whole house seemed in a wonderful state of excitement. The boys were
with difficulty awakened, and when at last this was the case, they
begged leave to go up to the top of the cairn.
We remained till a quarter to twelve; and, just as I was undressing,
all the people came down under the windows, the pipes playing, the
people singing, firing off guns, and cheering — first for me, then
for Albert, the Emperor of the French, and the “downfall of