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Leaves from the Journal
Yachting Excursion 20 Aug. 1846


On Board the Victoria and Albert, Dartmouth,
Thursday, August 20, 1846.

We steamed past the various places on the beautiful coast of Devonshire which we had passed three years ago —Seaton, Sidmoutk, off which we stopped for ten minutes, Axmouth, Teignwouth, &c.;—till we came to Bubbicombe, a small bay, where we remained an hour. It is a beautiful spot, which before we had only passed at a distance. Red cliffs and rocks with wooded hills like Italy, and reminding one of a ballet or play where nymphs are to appear—such rocks and grottos, with the deepest sea, on which there was not a ripple. We intended to disembark and walk up the hill; but it came on to rain very much, and we could not do so. We tried to sketch the part looking towards Torbay. I never saw our good children looking better, or in higher spirits. I contrived to give Vicky a little lesson, by making her read in her English history.

We proceeded on our course again at half-past one o’clock, and saw Torquay very plainly, which is very fine. The sea looked so stormy and the weather became so thick that it was thought best to give up Plymouth (for the third time), and to put into that beautiful Dartmouth, and we accordingly did so, in pouring rain, the deck swimming with water, and ail of us with umbrellas; the children being most anxious to see everything. Notwithstanding .the rain, this place is lovely, with its wooded rocks and church and castle at the entrance. It puts me much in mind of the beautiful Rhine, and its fine ruined castles, and the Lurlei.

I am now below writing, and crowds of boats are surrounding us on all sides.

Plymouth Harbour,
Friday, August 21.

We got under weigh by half-past six o'clock, and on looking out we saw the sea so calm and blue and the sun so bright that we determined to get up. It was a very fine day, but there was a great deal of swell. At length at half past nine we entered the splendid harbour of Plymouth, and anchored again below Mount Edgcumbe; which, with its beautiful trees, including pines, growing down into the sea, looks more lovely than ever. 1 changed my dress and read innumerable letters and despatches, and then went on deck and saw the authorities —the Admirals and Generals. I did Vicky’s lessons and wrote; and at half-past one we went on board the “Faiiy,” (leaving the children on board the “Victoria and Albert,”) with all our ladies and gentlemen, as well as Sir James Clark, who has joined us here. We steamed up theTamar, going first a little way up the St. Germans river, which has very prettily wooded banks. Trematon Castle to the right, which belongs to Bertie as Duke of Cornwall, and Jafs to the left, are extremely pretty. We stopped here and afterwards turned back and went up the Tamar, which at first seemed fiat; but as we proceeded the scenery became quite beautiful—richly wooded hills, the trees growing down into the water, and the river winding so much as to have the effect of a lake. In this it reminded me so much of going up the Rhine,—though I don’t think the river resembles the Rhine. Albert thought it like the Danube. The finest parts begin about Saltash, which is a small but prettily built town. To the right as you go up all is un-English looking; a little further on is the mouth of the Tavy ; here the -river becomes very beautiful. We passed numbers of mines at work. Further on, to the left, we came to Pentillie Castle situated on a height most beautifully wooded down to the water’s edge, and the river winding rapidly above and below it. Albert said it reminded him of the situation of Greinburg on the Danube. Not much further on we came to the picturesque little village and landing-place of Cothele, at the foot of a thickly wooded bank, with a valley on one side. Here the river is very narrow. We landed, and drove up a steep hill under fine trees to the very curious old House of Cothele, where we got out of the carriage. It is most curious in every way—as it stands in the same state as it was in the time of Henry VII. and is in great preservation—the old rooms hung with arras, &c.

We drove down another way under beautiful trees, and above the fine valley; embarked and proceeded down the river. The evening was beautiful, the sun bright, and the sky and sea so blue. We arrived just too late for the launch of the frigate “Thetis.” It reminded me so much of when we were here three years ago, as we approached our yacht, surrounded by myriads of boats, and had to row- through them in our barge. We returned at half-past five. The evening was delightful—clear, calm, and cloudless, but a good deal of noise in the boats around us. Lord and Lady Mount Edgcumbe and Sir James Clark dined with us.

Plymouth, Saturday, August 22.

Albert was up at six o’clock, as he was to go to Dartmoor Forest. At ten I went in the barge with the two children, the ladies, Baron Stockmar, and Lord Alfred Paget, and landed at Mount Edgcumbe, where we were received by Lady Mount Edgcumbe, her two boys, her sister and nieces, and beyond the landing-place by Lord Mount Edgcumbe. There were' crowds where we landed, and I feel so shy and put out without Albert. I got into a carriage with the children and Lady Mount Edgcumbe —I.ord Mount Edgcumbe go’ ig before us and the others following—and took a lovely drive along the road which overhangs the bay, commanding such beautiful views on all sides, and going under and by such fine trees. We had been there three years ago ; but it is always a pleasure to see it again. The day very hot and a little hazy. We came to the house at eleven. The children went with their governess and the other children into the shade and had luncheon in the house, and I remained in the gallery—a very pretty room, with some fine pictures, a nd with a door opening on the garden, and commanding a lovely little brt of sea view, which I tried to sketch. A little after twelve we returned to the yacht, which had been beset with boats ever since six in the morning. Albert returned safely to me at one o’clock, much pleased with his trip; and said that Dartmoor Forest was like Scotland.

At two we went with our ladies and gentlemen, and without the children, again to the landing-place at Mount Edgcumbe, where we were received as before, and drove up to the house. There are some of the finest and tallest chestnut trees in existence here, and the beech-trees grow very peculiarly—quite tall and straight—the branches growing upwards. We walked about the gallery and looked into Lady Mount Edgcumbe’s little room at one end of it, which is charming, and full of pretty little things which she has collected, and then we took luncheon in a room where there are some fine portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds. They are all of the Mount Edgcumbe family, one of whom was his great patron. Sir Joshua was born a few miles from Plymouth. There are in the same room pictures by him when he first began to paint, which have kept their colour; then when he made experiments—and these are quite faded; and again of his works when he discovered his mistakes, and the colour of his pictures is then beautiful. We walked about the garden near the house, and then drove to the "Kiosk,” by beautiful stone pines and pinasters, which interested Albert very much, and put me so much ‘n mind of Mr. Lear’s drawings. The view from this “•Kiosk,” which is very high over the sea and town, is most beautiful, and the sea was like glass, not a ripple to be seen. We walked down a very pretty road or path through the woods and trees till we met the carriage, and we drove along that beautiful road, which is said to be a little like the Cornice, overhanging the sea, down to the place of embarkation, where we took leave of them all, and returned to our yacht by half-past four. Poor Lord Mount Edgcumbe is in such a sad, helpless state; but so patient and cheerful. We went on board just to fetch the children, and then on to the “Fairy,” and steamed in her round the harbour, or rather bay, in which there are such pretty spots; into the Cat Water, from whence we rowed in one of the barges a little way up the river to look at Saltram, Lord Morley’s; after that back to the “Fairy,” went in her into Mill Bay, Sutton Pool, and Stonchouse, and returned to the yacht by half-past six.

In Guernsey Bay, off St. Pierre, Guernsey,
Sunday, August 23.

On waking, the morning was so lovely that we could not help regretting that we could not delay our trip a little, by one day at least, as the Council which was to have been on the 25th is now on the 29th. We thought, however, we could do nothing but sail for Torbay, at halfpast nine, and for Osborne on Monday. While dressing, I kept thinking whether we could not manage to see Falmouth, or something or other. Albert thought we might perhaps manage to see one of the Channel Islands, and accordingly he sent for Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence, and it was settled that we should go to Guernsey, which delighted me, as I had so long wished to see it. The day splendid. The General and Admiral came on board to take leave. Sir J. West is the Admiral, and General Murray, the General; and at about half past nine we set off, and the sea the whole way was as calm as it was in ’43. Plymouth is beautiful, and we shall always be delighted to return there.

For two hours we were in expectation of seeing land; but it was very hazy, and they did not know where we were—till about six, when land was seen by the “Fairy,” who came to report it, and then all the other vessels went on before us. As we approached we were struck by the beauty of the Guernsey coast, in which there are several rocky bays, and the tow n of St. Pierre is very picturesquely built, down to the water’s edge. You see Sark (or Sercq) as you enter the harbour to the right, and further on, close opposite St. Pierre, two islands close together—Herm and Jethou. The bay with these fine islands is really most curious. We anchored at seven, immediately opposite St. Pierre, and with the twyo islands on the other side of us. We dined at eight, and found on going on deck the whole town illuminated, which had a very pretty effect, and must have been done very quickly, for they had no idea of our coming. It is built like a foreign town. The people speak mostly French amongst themselves.

August 24.

St. Pierre is very picturesque-looking—with very high, bright-coloured houses built down almost into the sea. The College and Church are very conspicuous buildings. This island with its bold point, and the little one of Cornet with a sort of castle on it (close to which we were anchored), and the three islands of Herm, Jethou, and Sark, with innumerable rocks, are really very fine and peculiar,—especially as they then were in bright sunlight. We both sketched, and at a quarter to nine got into our barge with our ladies. The pier and shore were lined with crowds of people, and with ladies dressed in white, singing “God save the Queen,” and strewing the ground with flowers. We walked to our carriage, preceded by General Napier, brother to Sir Charles (in Scitide), a very singular-looking old man, tall and tliln, with an aquiline nose, piercing eyes, and white moustaches and hair. The people were extremely well-behaved and friendly, and received us very warmly as we drove through the narrow streets, which were decorated with flowers and flags, and lined with the Guernsey militia, 2,000 strong, with their several bands. Some of the militia were mounted.

The vegetation beyond the town is exceedingly fine; and the evergreens and flowers most abundant. The streets and hills steep, and the view from the fort, which is very high, (and where General Napier presented me with the keys,) is extremely beautiful. You look over the bay of Guernsey, and see opposite to you the islands of Jlerm, Jethou, and Sark; with Alderney, and the coast of France, Cape de la Hague, to the left in' the distance, and to the right in the distance, Jersey. The island appears very flourishing. In the town they speak English, but in the country French, and this is the same in all the islands. They belonged to the Duchy of Normandy, and have been in our possession ever since William the Conqueror's time. King John1 was the last of their sovereigns who visited them. We drove along the pier, and then embarked amidst great cheering. It was all admirably managed ; the people are extremely loyal.

We got under weigh a little before one and in about an hour-and-a-half we came close to Alderney, seeing all the time the French coast, Cape de la Hague, very plainly to our right, and leaving the Casqnels Lights to our left. Alderney is quite different from all the other islands, excessively rocky and barren, and the rocks in and under the sea are most frightful.


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