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More Leaves from the Journal
Visit to Dunrobin 6 Sept 1872


Friday, September 6, 1872

A dull but fair morning. Breakfasted with the children before nine o’clock, and at half-past nine I left dear Balmoral in the open landau and four with Beatrice and Leopold, Jane Churchill, Fraulein Bauer, and Lord Granville, and drove to Ballater, where Colonel Fonsonby, Sir W. Jenner, and Mr. Collins met us. Besides Brown, who superintends everything for me, Emilie Dittweiler, Annie Macdonald, Jemmie Morgan, my second piper Willie Leys, Beatrice’s, Leopold’s, and Lady Churchill’s attendants, three footmen and Goddard went with us. We passed into the station at Aberdeen, which was immensely crowded. An address and the keys were presented by Provost Leslie; then Lord Kintore (who gave me a nosegay and some fruit) and young Lord Aberdeen were presented. The day was becoming fine, and it was excessively hot. From Aberdeenwe went by a line totally new to me—past Inverurie, close past the hill of Benachie, and got a good sight of the Buck of Cabrach and the surrounding hills, past Huntly and the ruined Castle of Huntly to Keith, where the Banff Volunteers were drawn up and there were many people close to the station, but no one on the platform. Here we were delayed by one of the doors, from the bedroom into the little dressing-room, refusing to open. Annie had gone through shortly before we got to Keith, and when she wanted to go back, the door would not open, and nothing could make it open. Brown tried with all his might and with knives, but in vain, and we had to take in the two railway men with us, hammering and knocking away as we went on, till at last they forced it open. We were at Keith at 1.20, and at Elgin at 1.58. The station here was beautifully decorated ; there were several arches adorned with flowers and heather, and a platform with raised seats for many ladies. The Provost and the Duke of Richmond and Lord March were there. The Provost presented an address, and then I spoke to the Duke of Richmond, who told me that dear Uncle Leopold had received the freedom of the city when he was staying in the neighbourhood in 1819. The ruins of the Cathedral are said to be the finest in Scotland’, and the town is full of ancient recollections. No British sovereign has ever been so far north. The Provost’s daughter presented me with a nosegay.

We stopped here about ten minutes. It was broiling hot. The corn and oats looked ripe, and were cut in many places. After this we took our luncheon (cold), and as we were sitting at the small table we suddenly found ourselves passing slowly, without stopping, the station of Forres, near which is the wild “muir” which Shakespeare chose as the scene of Macbeth's meeting with the witches. Nairn lies very prettily on the shore of the Moray Frith. We passed Culloden, and the moor where that bloody battle, the recollection of which I cannot bear, was fought. The heather beautiful everywhere, and now the scenery became very fine. At half-past three we were at Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, the position of which is lovely. We stopped here for ten minutes, but outside the station.

There was an immense crowd, but all very well managed, and no squeeze or crush. There were numbers of seats in galleries filled with ladies, among whom I recognised Mrs. Cluny Macpherson. Cluny Macpherson himself was in command of the Volunteers. On the platform to the left (the Volunteers and the galleries with seats were to the right) was the Provost, Dr. Mackenzie, a fine-looking old man in a kilt, with very white hair and a long white beard, who presented an address. Lord Seafield, the Master of Lovat, Mr. Baillie of Dochfour, and his son Mr. Evan Baillie, were all there, and I said a word to each. The Provost’s grand-daughter presented a bouquet. There was an immense crowd at the back of the platform.

As our train proceeded, the scenery was lovely. Near the ruins of the old Priory of Beauly the river of the same name flows into the Beauly Frith, and the frith looks like an enormous lake with hills rising above it which were reflected on the perfectly still water. The light and colouring were rather grey, but had a charming effect. At twenty minutes to four we reached Dingwall where there were Volunteers, as indeed there were everywhere, and where another address was presented and also flowers. Sir J. Matheson, Lord Lieutenant of the county, was named to me, also the Vice-Lieutenant; and some young ladies gave Beatrice nosegays. The position of Dingwall, in a glen with hills rising above it, is extremely pretty, and reminds me of a village in Switzerland. The head of the Cromartie Frith appears here. After this and passing slowly Tainand St. Duthus (called after the Cathedral there), we thought, as we did not stop, and were not to do so, that we would take our tea and coffee —which kept quite hot in the Norwegian kitchen—when suddenly, before we had finished, we stopped at Bonar. Beauly, so called from the Trench Beaulieu.Bridge, and the Duke of Sutherland came up to the door. He had been driving the engine (!) all the way from Inverness, but only appeared now on account of this being the boundary of his territory, and the commencement of the Sutherland railroad. He expressed the honour it was to him that I was coming to Dunrobin. Lord Ronald L. Gower also came up to the carriage-door. There was a most excited station-master who would not leave the crowd of poor country-people in quiet, but told them to cheer and “cheer again,” another “cheer,” etc., without ceasing.

Here the Dornoch Frith, which first appears at Tain, was left behind, and we entered the glen of the Shin. The railway is at a very high level here, and you see the Shin winding below with heathery hills on either side and many fine rocks, wild, solitary, and picturesque. The Duchess of Sutherland’s own property begins at the end of this glen. At six we were at Golspie station, where the Duchess of Sutherland received us, and where a detachment of the Sutherland Volunteers, who look very handsome in red jackets and Sutherland tartan kilts, was drawm up. I got into the Duchess’s carriage, a barouche with four horses, the Duke riding, as also Lady Florence and their second son Lord Tarbat, and drove through the small town—one long street like Dufftown—which is inhabited chiefly by a fishing population, and was extremely prettily decorated with heather and flowers, and where there were many triumphal arches with Gaelic inscriptions (which I annex) and some very pretty English ones.

"Ar Buidheachas do ’n Bhuadhaich.”
“Our gratitude to Victoria.”

“Na h-uile lath clii'a nach fhaic, slainte duibh is solas.”
“Health and happiness, far or near,”

(Literally—“ Every day see we you, or see we not, health to you and happiness.”)

“Ceud mile faille do Chattaobh.”
“A hundred thousand welcomes to Sutherland.”

"Failte do ’n laith Euidlie.”
“Hail to the lucky day.”

“Better-lo’ed you canna’ be;
Will you no come back again?”

Everywhere the loyalty and enthusiasm were very great. In about ten minutes we were at Dunrobin Castle. Coming suddenly upon it as one does, or rather driving down to it, it has a very fine imposing appearance with its very high roof and turrets, a mixture of an old Scotch castle and French chateau. Constance Westminster (the Marchioness of Westminster, the Duke’s youngest sister) was at the door, and Annie Sutherland’s little girl in the hall, which is, as also the staircase, all of stone, with a sort of gallery going round opening into a corridor. But I will describe this and the rooms to-morrow.

The Duchess took me to my rooms, which had been purposely arranged and handsomely furnished by the dear late Duke and Duchess for us both, and consist of a sitting-room next to the drawing-room, with a little turret communicating by a small passage with the dressing-room, which opens into the bedroom and another room which is my maid’s room, and was intended for dearest Albert’s dressing-room. I went to see Beatrice’s room, which is close by, down three steps in the same passage. Fraulein Bauer, and Morgan, her dresser, are near her.

Brown lives just opposite in the room intended for Albert s valet. It was formerly the prison.

Rested a little while, for I felt very tired. Dined at half-past eight alone in my sitting-room with Beatrice and Leopold, Brown waiting. Shortly afterwards Annie Sutherland came to see us for a little while, and later Jane Churchill. The children went early to bed.

Dunrobin, Saturday, September 7.

I will now describe my rooms. They are very high; the bedroom is the largest and very handsome, with a beautiful bed with white and gold flowers and doves at each corner (just like one at Clieveden), with light blue furniture, and gold and white round the cornice of the ceiling ; pale blue and white panels; blue satin spangled with yellow leaves (which look just like gold) on the walls; and furniture ar.d carpet to match. The dressing-room the same, but pale blue and pink silk fluted, on the walls. The sitting-room pale sea-green satin, with the cyphers of the late I)ukc and Duchess and their daughters on the ceiling. The furniture of light wood; and the sofas, chairs, tables, etc., remind me greatly of Clieveden and Stafford House. The little boudoir has a small domed ceiling, spangled with golden stars, and the same furniture. There are some pretty pictures in the sitting-room and prints in the other rooms. At half past nine we breakfasted in the sitting-room, and soon after saw the Duchess. At twenty minutes to eleven, I walked out with the Duchess and Beatrice to the steps, of which there are several flights, leading down to the garden, which is very pretty, and where there are fountains, and from here straight on to the sea, which is closer to the house, by half a mile I should say, than at Osborne. We walked along here, and then up and into the pretty byre for Ayrshire cows, ana a little farther on to the dairy, a very nice, cool round one. The Duchess told Brown to open the sitting-room, and we found it occupied by a policeman n bed, which we were not at all prepared for, and which caused much amusement. Florence, Jane Churchill, and Fraulein Bauer had joined us here, and shortly after the Duke did so too. We walked back through the kitchen garden, which is very well kept, and the Duke also showred us where he has a quantity of young salmon which are artificially hatched, and also a new apparatus for watering grass. We came home by the steps again. There is plenty of shade, but rather too many trees. The old part of the Castle is as old as the twelfth century. The late Duke enlarged it and added on the towers, and finished the new part in 1849-50.

In at a quarter to twelve. A dull muggy day. Wei lunched as we breakfasted. Afterwards reading, etc., and at twenty minutes past four drove out in the wraggonette (Bourner [My coachman and position, who has been thirty-eight years in my service. —1883.] driving, as I had sent my own carriage and ponies) with the Duchess, Constance Westminster, and Jane Churchill. We drove past the monument of the late Duke, which faces the Castle and is outside the gates, close to which is the Duke’s private little station, used only by the family ; rather near, for it cannot be above five hundred yards from the house, but it is very well managed, so as to be but little seen. We drove by the four cross-roads, turning to the left through Dtmrobin Wood, which is really very pretty, with fine Scotch firs and other trees of all kinds, beech, oak, ash, and birch, above and below the drives, with quantities of lovely pink heather and ferns—some parts of the drive are rather steep—on to Bacchics, then by the Dutch Cottage, on to Benabhragkie Drive, and stopped at the four cross-roads to take our made tea and coffee, the warmth of which surprised Constance and Annie very much. We saw some deer. Drove on by the same drive (Benabhragkie, the name of the hill on which the old Duke’s very colossal statue stands). We stopped a little farther on to look at a fine view of the Castle and village, and to the right the hills which are seen farther inland, and the blue distant hills above the coast of Ross-shire; then came out at Culmallie Lodge and passed through the village of Golspie with all its pretty decorations, and stopped at two cottages outside, when Annie called out a nice-looking girl who makes beautiful Shetland shawls in the one, and an oldish woman, a character, who worked me a book-marker and lives in the other (a double cottage under one roof). We drove through the Golspie Burn and dairy park, along the grass drive on the seashore below the woods, as far as Strathstephen, and looking back had one of the finest views of the Castle, with the hills of Cambusmore rising behind, and, turning up into the Caithness high road, came back to the Castle.

Home at half-past six. A dull evening. Tried to sketch a bit of sea-view. At a quarter past eight we had dinner in the dining-room with the Duke and Annie (between whom I sat), Leopold, Constance Westminster, the Granvilles, Jane Churchill, and Ronald.

I felt strange—such a dinner in a strange place for the first time without my dear one! Brown waited on me, and did so at all meals, attending on me indoors and out of doors, most efficiently and indefatigably. Then onne for a short time into the drawing-room, which is next my sitting-room. Here we were joined by Mrs. Sumner (Miss Kingscote by birth, half-sister to Colonel Kingscote and niece to Lord Bloomfield), a great friend of the Duehess’s, and who is staying in the house with her husband, who is a great friend of the Duke’s; Constanre Pitt, a younger sister of Mary Pitt, and travelling with her uncle and Lady Granville ; Dr. Rayrer (a distinguished physician, who was for two years in India), Mr. Sumner, and Mr. Edwin Lascelles, brother to Mary. I remained for a few minutes, and then went to my room.

Sunday, September 8

A fine bright morning. Breakfast as yesterday. Directly after it, at a quarter-past ten, walked with Beatrice along the Lady's Walk, as it is called, which commences near the Castle and goes for a mile and a half entirely amongst trees, very shady, and overlooking the sea, and with paths leading down to the sea, and seats commanding lovely views of the sea and distant coast. It was very warm, and the thickness of the adjoining woods made the air feel close. We walked back the same way, and got home at a quarter-past eleven. At twelve there was quite a short service performed by Dr. Gumming in the gallery which runs round the staircase, Dr. Gumming being opposite to us. It w as over by a quarter to one. Annie then took me up to her room, which is a very pretty one ; long, but not high, and very light, with a very fine view above all the trees; very simply furnished. Her dressing-room and bedroom equally nice and airy, like those they have at Stafford House. The Duke’s dressing-room is very simply and plainly furnished; he is wonderfully plain and simple in his tastes. The Duchess took me along the passage to where Florence lives, and to the nursery where we saw little Alix in her bed, and then by a staircase, which belongs to the very old part of the Castle, to the rooms which were the dear late Duke’s and Duchess’s, though the last time she came here she lived in my rooms. Everywhere prints of ourselves and of people I know. After this came down again. Luncheon as yesterday.

At twenty minutes past four walked to the nearest seat in the Lady's Walk, and sketched the view, and about half-past five drove out in the waggonette with Beatrice and Lady Granville. We drove through the Uppat Woods, along the big burn drive, past the Pictish Tower up to Mr. Loch’s Memorial, which has the following inscription on it by the late Duchess :—

TO THE HONOURED MEMORY OF
JAMES LOCH,
WHO LOVED IN THE SERENE EVENING OF HIS LIFE TO LOOK AROUND HIM HERE.

May his children's children gather here, and think of him whose life was spent in virtuous labour for the land he loved and for the friends he served, who have raised these stones, A.D. 1858.

Obiit June 28, 1855

The heather is very rich all round here. We got out and went into it, and there is a very fine view looking up Dunrobin Glen and over the sea, and Birk Head, which is the extreme point of the land which runs into the sea. You also get a very'pretty glimpse of the Castle at the end of a path cut through the wood. We drove down again, and before we were out of the lower wood, which is close down upon the sea-shore, we stopped to take our tea and coffee, but were halt devoured by midges. We then came out upon the high road, and got into the sea-shore road, about half a mile beyond where we went yesterday, and drove along it and in by the Dairy—home at seven. Resting, writing. Dined in our sitting-room with our two children and Annie. Afterwards we went into the drawing-room where the ladies and gentlemen were, but I only stayed a short time.

Monday, September 9

Raining a little early in the day. After breakfast drove in the waggonette with Beatrice and Jane Churchill to the Kennel, a remarkably nice and clean one to the left, and rather farther on than the stables, which arc close to the railway station. Mr. Macdonald, the head keeper (who is brother to our poor Macdonald, Albert’s late Jager), whom I saw at Windsor two years ago, shewed us over them. There are fine deerhounds and pointers and setters. We visited the Macdonalds in their nice house, and saw their daughters, three of whom are very good-looking and remind me of their cousins. He is not the least like his brother. From here we went to the stables, which are small, where my ponies were, and where we also saw some of Annie’s ponies and horses. Then walked home, meeting the Duke and Ronald on the way. Two splendid Highland beasts, which are being fattened for the Christmas show, were brought up to the road for me to see. We passed the herd they belong to yesterday, when driving. These beasts really are beautiful, and most picturesque, with their rough coats, shaggy heads, and immense spreading horns; the greatest number are dun- and mouse-coloured. At twenty-five minutes past twelve I started with the two children and Annie for ihe laying of the first stone of the Memorial to be raised by the clansmen and servants *o the memory of my dear Duchess of Sutherland, who was adored in Sutherland. We drove in the barouche and four. The rain had quite ceased. Everyone else had gone on before; the Duke waited to help us in, and then ran on followed by MacAlister, his piper, valet, and confidential servant—a short stout man of sixty, I should say—an excellent man, and first-rate piper. We got out, and I went up on a platform, which was covered over and close to the stone, with the children, Annie, the Duke, Constance, and Jane Churchill. All the others, and many spectators, stood around. Mr. Joass, the minister there, offered up a short prayer, and after it presented (but did not read) the Address. I then answered what I had thought over, but spoke without reading:

“It gives me great pleasure to testify on this occasion my love and esteem for the dear Duchess, my valued friend, with whose children I am happy to be now staying, and I wish also to express my warm thanks for the loyal and hearty welcome I have met with in Sutherland.''

This made me very nervous, but it was said without hesitating. Then the usual ceremony of spreading the mortar and of striking the stone with a mallet was gone through. The Duke gave me a drawing of the intended Memorial, which is to be an Eleanor cross, with a bust of the dear Duchess, and a medal of her which Ronald L. Gower had struck. After this we got into the carriage again, amid the cheers of the people, and drove back. Only Leopold walked, and Constance took his place in the carriage. We were in before one. Almost directly afterwards Beatrice and I went into the ante-room (where all the company who afterwards had luncheon were assembled) with Annie and the Duke, who presented some people to me; amongst others a very old lady, Mrs. Houston by name, who is between eighty and ninety, and was a great friend of the dear Duchess and of the Duchess of Norfolk. She was quite overcome, and said, “Is that my dear Queen,” and, taking the Duke’s hand, “and my darling Duke?”

Luncheon as usual. After it saw Lord Granville. At a quarter past four drove out in the waggonette, drawn by four of the Duke’s horses, with Beatrice, Annie, and Constance. It was fine though not very bright weather, and w indy. We drove to the top of Benabhraghle, or the Monument Hill, on which is the very colossal statue of the Duke’s grandfather, the first Duke, who married the Countess of Sutherland, from whom this enormous property came. She died in 1S39, and I remember her quite well as a very agreeable, clever old lady. We drove through part of the wood by the way we went the previous days, up the big burn drive and through Bacchies, looking up Dunrobin Glen, which is very wild; and the pink heathery hills, though not very high, and the moor, with distant hills, were very pretty. It is a long pull upwards on a grass drive, which makes it very hard work for the horses. Halfway up we stopped to take tea and coffee; and before that, Brown (who has an extraordinary eye for it, when driving quite fast, which I have not) espied a piece of white heather, and jumped off to pick it. No Highlander would pass by it without picking it, for it is considered to bring good luck. We got a very | extensive view, though not quite clear, of endless hills j between this and the west coast—all the Duke’s property —where the Westminsters have two if not three forests of the Duke’s.

In fine weather seven counties are to be seen in the other direction, looking towards Ross-shire and the Moray Frith, but it was not clear enough for this. We saw distinctly Ben Rinnes, a highish hill that rises in the distance above a long stretch of low land extending into the sea, which belongs to the Duke of Richmond. We drove down the hill the same way, but afterwards took a different turn into the high-road, and home by Golspie and the Lodge by seven. The dear pretty little girl carne to see me. Beatrice brought in I.ilah Grosvenor, who had just arrived. Dined at a quarter-past eight in the dining-room, as on Saturday. The same people exactly, with the addition of Colonel Ponsonby. We had some sheep's head, which I tasted for the first time on Sunday, and think really very good. Remained a little while in the drawing-room, and the Duke presented Mr. Stanley, the discoverer of Livingstone. He talked of his meeting with Livingstone, who he thinks will require eighteen months to finish the work on which he is bent. Sir Henry Rawlinson was also there.

Then went to my room and Jane read.

Tuesday, September 10

Very fine. Our usual breakfast. At half-past ten got on my pony Maggie, Annie and Jane Churchill walking, and went to see the Golspie Burn Falls. We made two mistakes before we got right. We went out by the usual approach down to the mill, and past the mill under the great arch for the railway, over some very rough stones in the river, and then along a path in the wood full of hazel bushes and trees of all kinds, till the glen narrows very much, and we came to a wooden bridge, where 1 got off and walked to the head of the falls—over several foot-bridges, along a small path overhung by high rocks and full of rich vegetation. It is extremely pretty, reminding me of Corricmulzie, only on a much smaller scale. I mounted my pony again, and rode home the same way about twelve. Very warm. We had a few drops of rain, but it remained very fine all day.

At ten minutes to four started with the two children and Annie Sutherland in my waggonette for Loch Brora, which is nine miles off. We drove past the stables out on the main Caithness road, through the small fishing village of Brora, where all the people were out, and where they had raised a triumphal arch and decorated the village with heather. We turned sharp to the left, and came into a wild moor country, stopping for a moment at a place where one of the new coal mines which the Duke has found is being worked. One of these, near the sea, we had passed on Sunday. Then on, till we came very soon to the commencement of Lock Brora, which is seven miles in length, very narrow at first, and out of which the Brora flows into the sea. The hills heighten as the loch widens, and to the left as we drove along the Carrol Hill rises very finely with bold rocks up above the loch. An hour’s drive took us to the Fishing Cottage, a small wooden house, built like a chalet, which is just off the road, on the grass. Here we got out. The Duke drove his break, four horses in hand. They had never been together before, and it was not easy to drive them, for the road is full of turnings and rather narrow. Lord Granville sat on the box with him; and Constance Westminster, Jane Churchill, the Duchess de San Arpino (who had just arrived, and is a great friend of the Duchess) and Lady Granville were inside, and two grooms sitting behind. The three young ladies, and Mr. Collins, and Colonel Ponsonby followed in the waggonette. They had started before us, but we caught them up at Brora. MacAlister had broiled some fish and got tea ready for us in a very small room upstairs in this little cottage, where there was a fire. I hsd my coffee. We ladies and Leopold all squeezed into this room. It was a very merry tea. The tea over, we all went down to see a haul of fish. It was very successful; quantities of brilliantly red char, trout, and two salmon, both of which had to be put back again. After this haul I went up and sat sketching on the balcony while there were several more hauls, which Macdonald the keeper superintended, and some walked, and others rowed. The view, looking towards the Carrol Hill, was lovely, and the colouring beautiful.

The ladies and gentlemen rowed across, having sent the carriages round, but I preferred terra firma, and drove round the loch to where the Black Water runs into Loch Brora, and is literally black; we drove over it. The Duchess told us that there was a fine drive into a wild country up that glen. We drove along the loch side, really a beautiful drive, under the Carrol Rock or Hill\ through the Carrol Wood; the trees seem to grow remarkably well there. We saw some deer on the very top of the hills. As we drove along the loch, some high hills were seen rising up behind the low ones on the opposite side, one of which, called Ben Arlmin, is in the Duke’s nearest deer-forest.

We turned to the right, passing by moors which the Duke has cultivated wonderfully with the steam plough, and came back through Uppat, stopping near Mr. Loch’s place, Uppat, where, in early days, the late Duke and Duchess used to live when they were Lord and Lady Gower. Mr. Loch’s father was the commissioner for the late Duke, and the present Mr. Loch (whom I remember in a similar capacity at Worsky, Lord Ellesmere’s, in 1851) is commissioner to the present Duke. Mrs. Loch, and her daughter, and little granddaughter, who gave me a nosegay, were there. And the Dol schoolchildren were drawn up outside the school. We got home through the woods at twenty minutes past seven. Dinner was at half past eight in the dining-room, the same as before, only with the addition of the Duchess of San Arpino and Sir Henry Rawlinson, and the omission of Lord Ronald L. Gower and Colonel Ponsonby.

I must now describe the dining-room. It is not a very large room, but a pretty one; with wood panelling and a portrait of the first I tuchess’s father, the Karl of Sutherland, at one end, anil a beautiful chalk drawing, by Landseer, of two deer in the snow, one having been killed by the other. Stags’ heads are roand the room, and behind one (a very fine one) gaspipes have been introduced, which light up each point. In each panel along the sides of the room are paintings after Thorwaldsen’s statues. By daylight the room is dark. We had some haggis at dinner to-day, and some sheep’s head yesterday. MacAlister had walked round the table each of the previous days playing, but to-day it was my piper, Willie Leys; and afterwards they played together in the next room. Went again for a little while into the drawing-room, which is handsome, and about the size of the dining-room, and cheerfully arranged with tables and ornaments. The paper on the walls is dark red. There is a little turret at one end of it, and windows on two sides, and it opens into the ante-room, which again opens into the library. There is a full-length picture of me in the ante-room. The dining-room is a detached room on the other side; and the billiard-room is close opposite to my sitting-room. Jane Churchill again read to me in my room.

Wednesday, September 11

A dull morning. The military manoeuvres in the South seem to be going on very satisfactorily, and every one praises dear Arthur, his indefatigable zeal and pains. It is very gratifying. At a quarter to eleven walked with Jane Churchill and the Duke down to the small museum in the garden, which is very nicely arranged, and where there is a very interesting collection of Celtic ornaments, some of which are quite perfect, and have been very well imitated, and of all sorts of odd and curious Celtic remains, weapons, utensils, etc., and a very fine large collection of all the birds found at or near Dunrobin. Mr. Joass, the minister, was there to explain everything to us.

We took a short turn, and came home at half-past eleven, as it rained. We met little Alix on her wee pony. We also saw the Duchess’s Norwegian cariole and pony. (Busy choosing presents to give away ; and after our usual luncheon there was some more arranging about these presents.) Painting the view of the sea from my window. At ten minutes to four started in the waggonette, with the two children and Annie. The Duke, the other ladies, Ronald L. Gower, Colonel Ponsonby, and Sir Henry Rawlinson had gone on in the drag. We drove out by the I Vest Lodge, through Golspie, on the road (on part of which we had come before) under theSilver Hill, a very pretty wooded road, and turned to the right across the Mound, an embankment constructed by the first Duke to make a communication across an arm of the sea, called Loch Fleet, which comes in there. This Mound spans Strath fleets. Near it is a railway station

We then drove through a very pretty glen, with fine hills, to Dornoch, along the shore of Dornoch Frith, past Cambus More (though not near the house, which lies up in the wood at the foot of the fine hill of that name), on through woods for some way, till we suddenly emerged in lower ground and saw the steeple of Dornoch Church, formerly a cathedral.

We turned sharp to the left, and went into Dornoch; quite a small place, but the capital of Sutherland, now much out of the world, as the railway does not go near it. It is a small fishing town, smaller than Golspie. There was an arch with a Gaelic inscription, and the houses were decorated with flowers, heather, and green boughs, and many people out. We drove to the door of the so-called cathedral; though I had not intended doing it, I got out there, and walked up the large kirk. The late Duke’s father and mother are buried there, as were sixteen Earls of Sutherland; and there is a statue of the old Duke in marble. The cathedral was built by Gilbert de Moravia, Bishop from 1223 to 1260, at his own expense. St. Gilbert was related to the Sutherlands, who had then recently acquired that vast territory, “the Southern land of Caithness,” which now gives the title to their descendant, the present and third Duke. In a very ancient stone sarcophagus are the bones of Richard Murray, brother to the Bishop. We only remained a few minutes in the church, and then went out by another door, where we got into the carriage. There is a curious old tower opposite the church, which was part of the Bishop’s Palace. The people were very enthusiastic, and an old fishwife, with her creel on her back, bare legs and feet, and very short petticoat (we met many such about Dunrobin)began waving a handkerchief, and almost dancing, near the end of the place as we drove away. Brown motioned to her to come on, and threw her something, which the poor old thing ran to pick up. We stopped when we had regained the wood to take our tea and coffee, and were joined by the Duke’s drag just as we had finished.

We changed our road, going by Embo and Skelbo, the model farm of the late Duke, and drove up to Cambusmore, the pretty little cottage of Mr. and Mrs. Bateson. There is a small garden in front. The two children got out, and so did all the others, but I begged to remain in the carriage, as I was tired. However, I afterwards got out; and certainly the little cottage is most charmingly fitted up with deer’s heads, pretty prints, and pretty things of all kinds. They asked me to write my name in a book, which I did, sitting in the carriage.

From here we drove back again the same way; and the evening was very fine, and the sky beautiful, red and every possible bright colour. As we drove along, before reaching Cambusmore we saw the high land of Caithness, a good way beyond Brora. Back by seven. Dined with the two children in my own room, and then went for a short while into the drawing-room; then wrote, and at half-past eleven left Dunrobin, with the two children and Annie, in the Duke’s carriage, the Duke (in the kilt) helping us in, and then walking, with MacAlister after him, up the approach, straight to the private station, which is about five hundred yards from the house.

There were many people out, and the whole was brilliantly illuminated by Egyptian and red and blue lights. At the station all the ladies and gentlemen were assembled, and I wished them all good-bye, and then got into the train, having kissed Annie, and Constance, and the two girls, and shaken hands with the Duke, who, as well as the Duchess, had been most kind.

It was half-past twelve before I lay down. Beatrice did so sooner.

Thursday, September 12

I had not slept much, but the journey was very quiet. At eight we were at Ballater. A splendid morning. We drove off at once, Beatrice, Leopold, and I in one carriage, and reached dear Balmoral safely at a quarter to nine a.m.

Felt as though all had been a dream, and that it was hardly possible we should have been only last night at Dunrobin, and dined there.


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