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Leaves from the Journal
Second Yachting Excursion 2 Sept. 1846


On Board the Victoria and Albert,
Off St. Heliers, Jersey,
Wednesday, September 2, 1846.

At a quarter-past seven o’clock we set off with Vickv, Bertie, Lady Jocelyn, Miss Kerr, Mdlle. Gruner, Lord Spencer, Lord Palmerston, and Sir James Clark (Mr. Anson and Colonel Grey being on board the “Black Eagle”), and embarked at Osborne Pier. There was a good deal of swell. It was fine, but very cold at first. At twelve we saw Alderney, and between two and three got into the Alderney Race, where there w as a great deal of rolling, but not for long. We passed between Alderney and the French coast—Cape de la Hague—and saw the other side of Alderney; and then, later, Sark, Guernsey, and the other islands. After passing the Alderney Race, it became quite smooth ; and then Bertie put on his sailor’s dress, which was beautifully made by the man on board who makes for our sailors. When he appeared, the officers and sailors, who were all assembled on deck to see him, cheered, and seemed delighted with him.

The coast of Jersey is very beautiful, and we had to go nearly all round, in order to get to St. Heliers. We first passed the point called Rondnes, then Grosnez with a tower, St. Ouen's Pay, La Roeca, a curious old tow'er on a rock, and then Brelade's Bay. The red cliffs and rocks, with the setting sun gilding and lighting them all up, were beautiful. At last, at a quarter to seven, we arrived in this fine large bay of St. Aubin, in which lies St. Heliers; and after dinner we went on deck to see the illumination and the bonfires.

Off St. Heliers, Thursday, September 3.

A splendid day. I never saw a more beautiful deep blue sea, quite like Naples; and Albert said that this fine bay of St. Aubin, in which we lie, really is like the Bay of Naples. Noirmont Point terminates in a low' tower to our left, with St. Aubin anil a tower on a rock in front of it; farther in, and to our right, Elizabeth Castle, a. picturesque fort on a rock, with the town of St. Heliers behind it.

The colouring and the effect of light were indescribably beautiful. We got into our barge with our ladies and gentlemen, and then went on board the “Fairy,” until we were close to the harbour, and then we got into the barge again. We landed at the stairs of the Victoria Harbour, amid the cheers of the numberless crowds, guns firing, and bands playing; were received, as at Guernsey, by all the ladies of the town, very gaily dressed, who, strewing flowers on our way, conducted us to a canopy, where I received the address of the States and of the militia.

We then got into our carriage and drove along the pier; Colonel Le Couteur, my militia aide-de-camp, riding by my side, with other officers, and by Albert’s side Colonel Le Breton, commanding the militia, who, 5,000 strong, lined the streets, and were stationed along the pier. The States walking in front. The crowds were immense, but everything in excellent order, and the people most enthusiastic, though not more so than the good Guernsey people; the town is much larger, and they had much longer time for preparations; the decorations and arches of flowers were really beautifully done, and there were numberless kind inscriptions. All the country people here speak French, and so did the police who walked near us. It was a very gratifying reception. There was a seat in one of the streets filled by Frenchwomen from Granville, curiously dressed with white handkerchiefs on their heads. After passing through several streets we drove up to the Govern?ne7it House, but did not get out. General Gibbs, the Governor, is very infirm.

We then proceeded at a quicker pace—the walking procession having ceased—through the interior of the island, which is extremely pretty and very green,— orchards without end, as at Mayence. We passed the curious old tower of La Hougue Hie, of very ancient date, and went to the Castle of Afont Orgueil, in Gronville Bay, very beautifully situated, completely overhanging the sea, and where Robert, Duke of Normandy, son of William the Conqueror, is said to have lived. [Mont Orgueil was also called Gouray Castle. Duke Robert the Second, the Conqueror’s son, lived at Gouray Castle in Normandy : Duke Robert the First, commonly called “ Robert le Diable,” was in Jersey for twelve days; and, during that time, probably occupied Gouray Castle in that island. Hence may have arisen the tradition of Robert the Second having lived there, of which there is no evidence.— Ed.] We walked part of the way up, and from one of the batteries, where no guns are now mounted, you command the bay, and the French coast is distinctly seen, only 13 miles distant. The people are very proud that Mont Orgueil had never been taken; but I have since learnt it was taken by surprise and held for a few days; Guernsey, however, never was taken.

We then returned to our carriage, and proceeded to the pier by a shorter road, and through a different part of the town. There is a peculiar elm-tree in the island, which is very pretty, and unlike any other,—the leaf and the way it grows almost resembling the acacia. The crowd was very great and the heat very intense in going back.

We re-embarked in the barge, but had only to go a few yards to the “Fairy.” The situation of the harbour is very fine,—and crowned with the fort, and covered by numbers of people, was like an amphitheatre. The heat of the sun, and the glare, had made me so ill and giddy that I remained below the greater part of the afternoon, and Albert went out for an hour on the “Fairy.”

Falmouth Harbour, Friday, September 4.

A beautiful day again, with the same brilliantly blue sea. At a quarter to eight o’clock we got under weigh. There was a great deal of motion at ‘first, and for the greater part of the day the ship pitched, but getting up the sails steadied her. From five o’clock it became quite smooth; at half-past five we saw laml, and at seven we entered Falmouth Harbour, where we were immediately surrounded by boats. The evening was beautiful and the sea as smooth as glass, and without even a ripple. The calmest night possible, with a beautiful moon, when we went on deck; every now and then the splashing of oars and the hum of voices were heard; but they were the only sounds, unlike the constant dashing of the sea against the vessel, which we heard all the time we were at Jersey.

[The public Records certainly state that Guernsey was taken by the French in 1339. Bur the same records show that it was again in the possession of the English as early as January 1340. The tradition, therefore, “that Guernsey never was taken,” may be true, as the occupation by the French might only have been partial—viz., of Castle Comet and the vicinity; and this might have been magnified, by report in England, into a conquest of the whole island. Popular traditions, contradicted at first by documentary evidence, are often eventually found to be true. Everything depends upon the meaning of the words “taken”and “conquered.” It could hardly have been said that England had been “conquered ” by the Normans, while the gallant Hereward held out in the Isle of Ely. —Ed.]

Mount's Fay, Cornwall, Saturday, September 5.

At eight o’clock we left Falmouth and proceeded along the coast of Cornwall, which becomes bold and rugged beyond the Lizard Point and as one approaches Lands End. At about twelve we passed Land's End, which is very fine and rocky, the view from thence opening beautifully. We passed quite close by the Longships, some rocks on which stands a lighthouse. The sea was unusually smooth for the Land's Find. We went beyond a point with some rocks near it, called The Prisons, and then steamed back; the famous Botallack mine lies here.

A little before two we landed in this beautiful Mount's Bay, close below St. Michael's Mount, which is very fine. When the bay first opened to our view the sun was lighting up this beautiful castle, so peculiarly built on a lofty rock, and which forms an island at high water.

In entering the bay we passed the small village of Mousehole and the town of Penzance, which is prettily situated, about one mile and a half from St. Michael’s Mount. The day brightened just as we arrived, and the sea again became so blue.

Soon after our arrival we anchored; the crowd of boats was beyond everything; numbers of Cornish pilchard fishermen, in their curious large boats, kept going round and- round, and then anchored, besides many other boats full of people. They are a very noisy,, talkative race, and speak a kind of English hardly to be understood.

During our voyage I was able to give Vicky her lessons. At three o’clock we all got into the barge, including the children and Mdlle. Gruner, their governess, and rowed through an avenue of boats of all descriptions to the “Fairy,” where we went on board. The getting in and out of the barge was no easy task. There was a good deal of swell, and the “Fairy" herself rolled amazingly. We steamed round tire bay to look at St. Michael’s Mount from the other side, which is even more beautiful, and then went on to Penzance. Albert landed near Penzance with all the gentlemen, except Lord Spencer (who is most agreeable, efficient, and useful at sea, being a Captain of the Navy) and Colonel Grey, and went to see the smelting of copper and tin, and the works in serpentine stone at Petizance. We remained here a little while without going on, in order to sketch, and returned to the “Victoria and Albert” by half-past four, the boats crowding round us in all directions; and when Bertie showed himself the people shouted:—“Three cheers for the Duke of Cornwall!”

Albert returned a little before seven, much gratified by what he had seen, and bringing home specimens of the serpentine stone.

Mount's Bay, Sunday, September 6.

A hazy, dull-looking morning, but as calm as it possibly could be. At half past eight o’clock we got into our barge, with Miss Kerr and Lord Spencer, and proceeded without any standard to the little harbour below St. Michael's Mount. Behind St. Afichael’s Mount is the little town of Marazion, or “Market Jew,” which is supposed to have taken its name from the Jews having in former times trafficked there. We disembarked and walked up the Mount by a circuitous rugged path over rocks and turf, and entered the old castle, which is beautifully kept, and must be a nice house to live in; as there are so many good rooms in it. The dining-room, made out of the refectory, is very pretty; it is surrounded by a frieze, representing ancient hunting. The chapel is excessively curious. The organ is much famed; Albert played a little on it, and it sounded very fine. Below the chapel is a dungeon, where some years ago was discovered the skeleton of a large man without a coffin; the entrance is in the floor of one of the pews. Albert went down with Lord Spencer, and afterwards went with him and Sir James Clark (who, with Lord Palmerston and Colonel Grey, had joined us,) up to the tow er, on the top of w hich is “ St. Michael’s chair,” which, it is said, betrothed couples run up to, and whoever gets first into the chair will have at home the government of the house ; and the old housekeeper—a nice tidy old woman—said many a couple “ does go there! ” though Albert and Lord Spencer said it was the awkwardest place possible to get at. St. Alichael’s Mount belongs to Sir J. St. Aubyn.

There were several drawings there of Mont St. Michel in Normandy; which is very like this one; and was, I believe, inhabited by the same order of monks as this was, i.e. Benedictines. We walked down again, had to step over another boat in order to get into our barge, as the tide was so very low, and returned on board the yacht before ten.

The view from the top of St. Michael's is very beautiful and very extensive, but unfortunately it was too thick and hazy to see it well. A low ridge of sand separates St. Michael's Mount from Marazion at low water, and the sea at high water. From the sand to the summit of the castle is about 250 feet. The chapel was originally erected, they say, for the use of pilgrims who came here ; and it owes its name to a tradition of St. Michael the Archangel having rested on the rock.

At half past eleven Lord Spencer read on deck the short morning service generally read at sea, which only lasted twenty or twenty-five minutes. The awning was put up, and flags on the sides; and all the officers and sailors were there, as well as ourselves. A flag was hoisted, as is usual when the service is performed on board ship, and Lord Spencer read extremely well.

Albert made a most beautiful little sketch of St. Michael's Mount. Soon after two we left Mount's Bay. About four we came opposite to some very curious serpentine rocks, between Mount's Bay and Lizard Point, and we stopped, that Albert might land. The gentlemen went with him. Lord Spencer soon returned, saying that Albert was very anxious I should see the beautiful little cave in these serpentine rocks; and accordingly I goi. into the barge, With the children, and ladies, and Lord Spencer, and we rowed to these rocks, with their caves and little creeks. There were many cormorants and sea-gulls on the rocks. We returned again, and were soon joined by Albert, who brought many fine specimens which he had picked up. The stone is really beautifully marked with red and green veins.

We proceeded on our course, and reached Falmouth before seven. The fine afternoon was changed to a foggy, dull, cold evening. We have bad on board with us, since we left Falmouth, Air. Taylor, mineral agent to the Duchy of Cornwall, a very intelligent young man, married to a niece of Sir Charles Lemon’s.

Falmouth, Monday, September 7.

Immediately after breakfast, Albert left me to land and visit some mines. The corporation of Pmryn were on board, and very anxious to see “The Duke of Cornwall,” so I stepped out of the pavilion on deck with Bertie, and Lord Palmerston told them that that was “The Duke of Cornwall;” and the old mayor of Penryn said that “he hoped he would grow up a blessing to his parents and to his country.”

A little before four o’clock, we all got into the barge, with the two children, and rowed to the “Fairy.” We rowed through a literal lane of boats, full of people, who had surrounded the yacht ever since early in the morning, and proceeded up the river by St. Just's Pool, to the left of which lies Sir C. Lemon’s place, belonging to Lord Clinton. We went up the Truro, which is beautiful,—something like the Tamar, but almost finer, though not so hold as Pentillie Castle and Cotltele,— wanding between banks entirely wooded with stunted oak, and full of numberless creeks. The prettiest are King Harry's Ferry and a spot near Tragothnan (Lord Falmouth’s), where there is a beautiful little boat-house, quite in the woods, and on the river, at the point where the Tregony separates from the Truro. Albert said the position of this boat-house put him in mind of Tell’s Chapel in Switzerland. We went a little way up the Tregony, which is most beautiful, with high sloping banks, thickly wooded down to the water’s edge. Then we turned back and went up the Truro to Malpas, another bend of the river, from whence one can see Truro, the capital of Cornwall. We stopped here awhile, as so many boats came out from a little place called Sunny Corner, just below Truro, in order to see us; indeed the whole population poured out on foot and in carts, &c. along the banks; and cheered, and were enchanted when Bertie was held up for them to see. It was a very pretty, gratifying sight.

We went straight on to Swan Pool outside Pendennis Castle, where we got into the barge, and rowed near to the shore to see a net drawn. Mr. Fox, a Quaker, who lives at Falmouth, and has sent us flowers, fruit, and many other things, proposed to put in his net and draw, that we might see all sorts of fish caught, but when it was drawn there was not one fish ! So we went back to the "Fairy.” The water near the shore in Swan Pool is so wonderfully clear that one could count the pebbles.

Tuesday, September 8.

A wet morning when we rose and breakfasted with the children. At about ten o’clock we entered Fowey, which is situated in a creek much like Dartmouth, only not so beautiful, but still very pretty. We got into the barge (leaving the children on board, and also Lord Spencer, who was not quite well), and landed at Fowey with our ladies and gentlemen, and Mr. Taylor, whom we had brought with us from Falmouth. We got into our carriage with the ladies, the gentlemen following :n others, and drove through some of the narrowest streets I ever saw in England, and up perpendicular hills in the streets —it really quite alarmed one; but we got up and through them quite safely. We then drove on for a long way, on bad and narrow roads, higher and higher up, commanding a fine and very extensive view of the very hilly country of Cornwall, its hills covered with fields, and Intersected by hedges. At last we came to one field where there was no road whatever, but we went down the hill quite safely, and got out of the carriage at the top of another hill, where, surrounded by woods, stands a circular ruin, covered with ivy, of the old castle of Rosionnel, belonging to the Duchy of Cornwall, and in which the last Earl of Cornwall lived in the thirteenth century. It was very picturesque from this point.

We visited here the Restormel mine, belonging also to the Duchy of Cornwall. It is an iron mine, and you go in on a level. Albert and I got into one of the trucks and w ere dragged in by miners, Mr. Taylor walking behind us. The miners wear a curious woollen dress, with a cap like this:    ...

anti they generally have a candle stuck in front of the cap. This time candlesticks were stuck along the sides of the mine, and those who did not drag or push the truck carried lights. Albert and the gentlemen wore miners’ hats. There was no room for any one to pass between the trucks and the rock, and only just room enough to hold up one’s head, and not always that. It had a most curious effect, and there was something unearthly about this lit-up cavern-like place. We got out and scrambled a little way to see the veins of ore, and Albert knocked off some pieces; but in general it is blown by gunpowder, being so hard. The miners seemed so pleased at seeing us, and are intelligent, good people. It was quite dazzling when we came into daylight again.

We then got into our carriage and passed through the small town of Lostwithiel, where an address was presented to us, and then we passed through Mr. Agar Robarts’ Park, which reminded one of Cothele. We returned by the same road till near Fowey, when we went through some of the narrowest lanes I almost ever drove through, and so fearfully stony. We drove along high above the river to Place, belonging to Mr. Treffry, which has been restored according to drawings in his possession, representing the house as it was in former times. A lady of that name defended the house against the French during the absence of her husband, in the fourteenth or fifteenth century. The old gentleman showed us all over the house, and into an unfinished hall, lined with marble and porphyry, all of which came from Cornwall. We then walked down to the place of embarkation and proceeded at once to the yacht. Mr. Taylor deserved the greatest credit for all the arrangements. He and his father are what are called “Adventurers” of the mine.

Osborne, Wednesday, September 9.

We got up about seven o’clock and found we had just passed The Needles.


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