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Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's Trip to Scotland
Chapter VII. Dalkeith


Friday, the 2d of September, was, comparatively speaking, a day of repose to the Queen. Her Majesty had a delightful walk in the grounds around the Palace, and about the same time Prince Albert, accompanied by the Duke of Buccleuch, left Dalkeith Palace, and entering the Edinburgh road by a private gate, they rode by Duddingston mill and Jock’s Lodge to Par-son’s-green, for the purpose of ascending Arthur Seat. Striking into a path conducting to the top of the hill, His Royal Highness rode up to within 200 yards of the summit, and there dismounting, he climbed the rest of the ascent on foot. The Prince was much charmed by the view, and frequently exclaimed, “How beautiful!” And where, indeed, is there a prospect to be found that may much exceed this? Looking towards the west, and immediately under him, he beheld the grand mass of Salisbury Crags, with its green back sloping towards him, and the precipices so foreshortened, as to enable the eye to drop from the very verge of the cliffs down upon the whole extent of the city, stretching far westward, till its confines are lost in that rich strath of level country sweeping away by the northern base of the Pentlands, into Linlithgow and Stirlingshires,—the great spine of the town rising with its churches, towers, and spires, till it terminates in the fortifications of the Castle, frowning formidably from their rock. More to the north were seen, the New Town, and the Calton Hill, with its splendid terraces, its High School, and numerous monuments. To the north-west, and farther off, appeared the wooded Corstorphine hills, beyond which were the grounds of Barnton, Cramond, and Dalmeny Park, and the distant mountains of the Western Highlands. Then to the north and east, the flat country stretched away below, with Leith and its shipping, Portobello, and all the beautiful features of Musselburgh bay, with the county of Haddington, closed in behind by the Lammcrmoor range, and with the Garleton hills, Dunpender, and North Berwick Law rising out of it,—the wide expanse of the Firth, Inchkeith, the Bass, the distant isle of May, and the whole stretch of the coast of Fife, with all its maritime towns and inland hills. Then the immediate foreground, in this direction, was enriched by the Marquis of Abercorn’s beautiful park of Duddingston House, with its fine pieces of water, the village, with its old church, and the modest manse of its clergyman. To the south, the wide and rich country rising from Musselburgh by Dalkeith towards the Pentlands, diversified by the woods of Prestonfield, the Inch, Niddry-Marischall, Edmonston, and other places, having, as one of its most important and striking features, Craigmillar Castle, once the residence of the beautiful but unhappy Queen Mary, on its rocky crowned and tufted eminence, and, as its Gaelic name denotes, in the midst of the richest agriculture. The Moorfoot and Peeblesshire hills, extended into the far distance, and immediately to the south of the city the Meadows, with their walks and double rows of trees, Bruntsfield Links, the old Scottish houses of St. Giles’ Grange, and Bruntsfield, with their fields and trees, great part of which now occupy the ancient Borough Muir, where the Scottish army encamped before the fatal field of Flodden, and at the farther end of which, near Morningside, may yet be seen the great stone where the Royal standard was set up, to gather that fatal muster of the flower of Scottish chivalry. Then to the south-west, between the spectator and the Pentland range, were the hills of Braid and Blackford, from the brow of which last Sir Walter Scott makes his hero, Marmion, survey the royal array of Scotland, its white tents covering the wide ground below. The view from thenee is still very grand, though different indeed from that which displayed itself, when

“Marmion, from the crown
Of Blackford, saw that martial scene
Upon the bent so brown :
Thousand pavilions, white as snow,
Spread all the Borough-moor below,
Upland, and dale, and down :—
A thousand did I say?—I ween,
Thousands on thousands there were seen,
That chequer’d all the heath between
The streamlet and the town;
In crossing ranks extending far,
Forming a camp irregular ;
Oft giving way, where still there stood
Some relics of tho old oak wood,
That darkly huge did intervene,
And tamed the glaring white with green :
In these extended lines there lay
A martial kingdom’s vast array.
Nor mark’d they loss, where in the air
A thousand streamers flaunted fair;
Various in shape, device, and hue,
Green, sanguine, purple, red, and hlue,
Broad, narrow, swallow-tail’d, and square,
Scroll, pennon, pensil, handl'd, there
O’er the pavilions flow.
Highest, and midmost, was descried
The royal banner floating wide;
The staff, a pine-tree, strong and straight,
PitcliM deeply in a massive stone,
Which still in memory is shown,
Yet bent beneath the standard’s weight
Whene’er the western wind unroll’d,
With toil the huge and cumbrous fold,
And gave to view the dazzling field,
Where, in proud Scotland’s royal shield,
The ruddy lion ramp’d in gold.”

His Royal Highness particularly noticed Edinburgh Castle and the Calton Hill. He much admired the beauty of the demesne of Duddingston, and enquired to whom it belonged. After remaining on that summit which had so recently blazed like a volcano with a welcome to the Queen and himself, and apparently fully enjoying the magnificent prospect which everywhere surrounded him, he began to descend the hill in so active a manner as to satisfy the numerous persons who had the good fortune to be present, that he was not altogether unaccustomed to such feats. He was loudly cheered by those grouped upon the summit, and the people starting pell mell, and with great force down the hill, in their eager haste to follow him, many of them overshot their mark, so that they went rolling head over heels down the steep grassy slope, much to the amusement of the Prince. By the time he had reached the foot of the hill, he was met by a number of people who had gradually collected there, by whom he was loudly cheered, and after he had mounted to ride away, he graciously acknowledged their kind greetings.

Prince Albert returned by Parson’s-green, through the grounds of Duddingston House, and thence to Craigmillar Castle. There the key was not to be had, and as the Prince’s engagements did not admit of his waiting till it could be procured from the Inch House, he contented himself with a hasty examination of the exterior of this fine ruin, and a glance at the beautiful prospects which its site commands. Craigmillar was a famous fortress of old. Like all such buildings, it belonged to the Crown during war, no subject being allowed to build castles or strongholds on any other condition. There was a castle here in 1212, that is, in the reign of Alexander II. It became the property of John de Capella, from whom it was purchased by Sir Symon Preston in 1374. The Prestons, who continued to possess the castle for nearly 300 years, must have made considerable additions to it, as their arms appear on the building, together with a punning hieroglyphic on the name, consisting of a fruit press, and a ton. The Earl of Mar, younger brother of James

III., was confined here in 1477- It was likewise the residence of James Y. for some months during his minority, when he was compelled to leave Edinburgh Castle from dread of the plague, and here the Queen-Dowager had frequent interviews with the young monarch, by the favour of Lord Erskine, who was his Majesty’s constant attendant and guardian, whilst the Duke of Albany, the governor, was in France. Queen Mary frequently made this castle her place of residence, after her return to Scotland in 15G1. The apartment which she particularly occupied is extremely small, being only seven feet by five. The small cluster of houses by the side of the little stream that runs through the valley to the south of the hill on which the castle stands, is called Petit France, from its having been the place where the Queen’s French retinue were lodged. The keep of the castle is very strong, and contains a fine old hall, with an arched roof; and there are a number of apartments within the walls. A barnikin or thick rampart wall of thirty feet high, surrounds the square space where the keep stands, having parapets and circular towers at the an cries; and there seems also to have been an exterior defence of a similar description. The arms of the Cockburns of Ormiston, the Congaltons of Congalton, the Moubrays of Barnbougle, and the Redfords of Otterburne, all very old families, and connections of the Prestons, are to be found in different parts of the building. It is much to be regretted that Prince Albert did not get entrance into this most interesting ruin, and still more so that Her Majesty had no opportunity of visiting it. To have beheld the confined apartment which lodged a Queen in ancient days, might have awakened strange and interesting thoughts, and she might have plucked a sprig from the thorn which tradition says was planted by Mary, and which is still fresh and green. After leaving Craigmillar, the Prince and his party returned to Dalkeith.

A deputation of the Town Council of Edinburgh having waited on Her Majesty’s Ministers, in the course of the forenoon of Friday, to learn the arrangements necessary for the royal progress through the city next day, the following notice was published by the Lord Provost and Magistrates, immediately after their return from Dalkeith :—

“Council Chambers, Friday, Half-past. Two o’clock.

“Her Majesty will leave Dalkeith Palace on Saturday at ten o’clock, and enter the Queen’s Park near to Parson’s-green, passing the south side of Holyrood House, and thence to the Castle, up the Canongate. Her Majesty will leave the Castle by Bank-street, and proceed by the Mound along Princes-street, Queensferry-street, and the Dean Bridge, to Dalmeny Park. Her Majesty will return from Dalmeny by the Leith Queensferry road, proceeding along it, Jamaica-street, North Leith, Junction-street, Plermitage-plaee, Leith Links, to Seafield Baths, and thence to Dalkeith by the Portobello road.

“JAMES FORREST, Lord Proron.
“JOHN RICHARDSON, B.
“D. J. THOMSON, B.
“W. JOHNSTON, B.
“ANDREW WILKIE, B."

The following programme of the mode in which the different public functionaries were to arrange themselves, was also published:—

“1. The High Constables of the City will attend as the official guard of the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Council, and assemble in the square of the Royal Exchange at nine o’clock. 2. The Deputy-Lieutenants and Justices of the Peace of the City will attend in the same place, and at the same hour, and will take up a position to the west of the entrance to the Royal Exchange. 3. The General and Resident Commissioners of Police will take up a position in front of the Police Office. 4. To the west of the Police Commissioners, the Merchant Company and the Guildry will take up a position. 5. The Incorporated Trades of the City will take up a position, as they arrive, to the west of the Merchant Company and Guildry. 6. All other bodies will assemble in such places of the City as they themselves shall determine; and having arranged in order, will proceed to the Lawnmarket by the west, or by George the Fourth’s Bridge, or the Earthen Mound, and take up such positions as may be assigned to them by the Chief Marshalman, taking care to be at the head of Bank-street by nine o’clock, after which no cart or carriage will be allowed to enter or remain on the High-street. 7. Each body will elect one of their own number as their marshalman, who, on the arrival on the ground of the body represented by him, will communicate immediately with Mr. Ramsay of the Police Establishment, who has been appointed by the Lord Provost and Magistrates to act as Chief Marshalman on this occasion, and whose directions, it is expected, will be implicitly attended to by the different bodies who may he present. 8. No body of a merely political character will be allowed to take up a position, neither will any banner or other insignia of a political description be permitted to be exhibited, I). The different bodies who had lined the streets, will please steadily to retain their places till the cortege has passed and returned, after which they are requested to move off in order to those places where they had assembled in the morning, and there disperse.

“ City Chambers, Edinburgh, Srj/temler 2, 1842.”

The Magistrates of the ancient burgh of Canongate also issued the following notice :—“The Magistrates of Canongate having just received authentic information that Pier Majesty intends leaving Dalkeith Palace to-morrow, about ten o’clock forenoon, to visit the ancient burgh of Canongate, take the earliest opportunity of communicating this gratifying intelligence to the citizens, and request that the Incorporated Trades, the High Constables, and other public bodies will assemble, with their flags and insignia, in front of the Council Chambers, Canongate, at nine o’clock morning precisely, and proceed with the Magistrates to take up their respective stations, so as to receive the Queen at the entrance of the burgh, and line the streets throughout her progress. Her Majesty will enter the burgh by the Duke’s-walk, passing in front of the Palace of Holyrood, and thence up the High-street towards the Castle.

“GEORGE GULLAND, Bailie.
“ALEXANDER BRYCE, Bailie.

“GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!

“Canongate Council Chambers, Friday, 2d September 1842.”

The people having been thus warned by these various public announcements to prepare for receiving the Queen, new galleries were constructed, and many of those already existing in places where they were now useless, were taken down and put up somewhere in the line of the Royal progress; and the workmen toiled all night, lighted by the brilliant fires of the illumination. Among these changes, not the least remarkable of all, was that of the barrier gate, which was removed from Brandon-street, and carried, with great expedition, to the site in the High-street, where anciently stood the City Cross.

“Dun-Edin’s Cross, a pillar’d stone,
Rose on a turret octagon ;
But now is razed that monument,
Whence royal edict rang,
And voice of Scotland’s law was sent
In glorious trumpet-clang.
O! be his tomb as lead to lead,
Upon its dull destroyer’s head!—
A minstrel’s malison is said.”

And there the gates and their adjoining gallery were erected during the night. The spot selected was certainly good for the production of spectacle and picturesque effect—considerations which were enough to outweigh the apparent, though very unimportant absurdity of placing the gate of a city in the very middle of it, in order to deliver the keys of its supposed fortifications to the Queen, when already in its very centre.

A circumstance occurred this day, which excited some amusement at the Palace. Two of Her Majesty’s maids, accompanied by pages, were sent into Edinburgh in a Royal carriage, which was recognised, anxiously watched, and followed by a large body of people, who firmly believed that it contained the Queen herself incognita, until it drew' up before the shop where their business lay. The two ladies were much alarmed by the crowd, and by the delirious excitement which agitated every individual in it. For the honour and good taste of Scotland, the universal opinion fixed on the youngest and best looking of the two as Her Majesty. In the exuberance of their loyalty, the good people looked not for lords in waiting to present them, for each eagerly struggled to present himself. Resolved to benefit by this glorious opportunity for obtaining a sight of their beloved Sovereign, the exertions of the various contending powers were such, that she who played the Queen was thrown into dreadful alarm lest she should be pulled to pieces in the low scuffle. It was with great difficulty that these gentlemen, who were so determined that the Queen should hold a drawing-room in the street, could be persuaded that they beheld any other than Her Majesty. The people’s hearts were so full of the Queen, that a similar mistake took place with regard to a lady who had on a pink bonnet, somewhat like that which Her Majesty wore when she landed, and who was proceeding slowly up the High-street, attended by a gentleman. The rumour quickly spread that this was the Queen, wishing to pay a private visit to the Castle. For some time the pressure and crush about the carriage was so fearful, that the crowd moved like an agitated ocean around it, and the screams and shrieks that burst from individuals who were kicked, trampled on, and seriously bruised, very much alarmed the innocent cause of all this confusion. At length the real state of the case was explained, and the carriage was allowed to proceed on its way without further annoyance.

Lord Liverpool, too, whilst riding through the town, was mistaken for Sir Robert Peel, and greeted with cheers and hooting, by the two parties who respectively idolize and dislike the policy of the Prime Minister. In vain did his Lordship protest that he had no right either to applause or disapprobation as Sir Robert Peel ; and to satisfy those around him that he was not that Right Honourable Baronet, he took out his card-case, and offered them his cards right and left. But whatever effect these may have had upon individuals who received them—and all Scotsmen can read, or are said so to do—certain it is, that they did little towards the illumination of the mass; for although those who were hostile to Sir Robert and his measures, did not go beyond that exercise of their lungs in groaning, which is probably fully as painful to the operator as it is to the recipient, those who were kindly disposed nearly overwhelmed Lord Liverpool by their well intended marks of affection. Finding it impossible to convince them of their mistake, and the crowd thickening, and his Lordship having no means of judging whether the reinforcements were favourable or unfavourable to Sir Robert, he thought it wiser to retreat in time, and calling to them to stand clear, he put spurs to his horse, and so effected an honourable retreat.

The inhabitants of Dalkeith, and the multitudes who that day reinforced them from Edinburgh, Musselburgh, and other places, were in a perfect ferment, buzzing like bees about to swarm. Fortunately for them, and perhaps not altogether without the considerate design of gratifying the desire of these good people, the Queen expressed her royal pleasure to take a drive. Accordingly, Her Majesty, Prince Albert, the Duchess of Buccleuch, and the Duchess of Norfolk, left Dalkeith Palace about three o’clock, p.m., in an open carriage and four, preceded by two outriders in scarlet liveries, and accompanied by the Duke of Buccleuch, and four or five other noblemen and gentlemen on horseback. The carriage, unattended by any military escort, and proceeding at a very moderate pace, left the Park by the great gate, opening directly on the broad High-street of Dalkeith, which was lined with expectant crowds. Both the Queen and the Prince appeared in high health, no symptom of fatigue being perceptible in the countenance of Her Majesty, who returned the enthusiastic greetings of her people with the most gracious affability. The Prince took off his hat, and bowed repeatedly.

Having driven through the town in a direct line, as far as the toll-bar, Her Majesty’s carriage there took the road leading to Bonnyrigg, and passing through that neat little village, it turned towards Polton, an ancient seat of the Ramsays, cadets of the noble family of Dalhousie, which hangs embowered among old trees on the southern side of the beautiful glen of the North Esk, a little way above the village, of Lasswade. The scenery here is extremely fine; but it happened most unluckily, that it became necessary to close the carriage against rain, just as Her Majesty came to this part of her drive. The Royal equipage turned to the right, towards the village of Lasswade, situated in a most romantic manner on the steep banks, and along the river’s margin, with the spire of its “decent church” topping a wooded projection of the opposite hill,—and having the richly timbered grounds of Melville Castle stretching down the valley below, and the beautiful tufted promontories of the glen running up the course of the stream in perspective, backed by the blue Pentlands.

On entering the village of Lasswade, and just before taking the turn round an acute and extremely awkward angle, to go down a very steep hill, the Royal carriage was stopped, to have the drag applied, and there, as well as on the bridge at the bottom, where the drag was removed, the inhabitants had a full opportunity of satisfying their longing eyes by gazing at their beloved Queen, and of giving full vent to their feelings. Climbing the steep road leading northwards, the carriage turned in by the west gate of Melville Castle, the seat of Lord Viscount Melville, and drove through the beautiful grounds, which embrace within them the whole banks of that charming glen, for more than two miles, wooded with park timber, of the finest and oldest growth. The line taken by the Queen was that called the Higher Drive, and passing thence by the eastern gate, across the Gilmerton road, Her Majesty returned to the ducal palace by the Sheriff-hall gate. It is worthy of remark, that the country people, who were not prepared to expect the Queen on this day, received her throughout with a greeting, that told warmly on the heart, from the exuberant joy which beamed in every countenance that met her eye.

The Royal Party, at the Palace, this day consisted of—

THE Queen and Prince Albert,
The Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch,
The Duke and Duchess of Roxburgh,
The Duchess of Norfolk,
The Earl and Countess of Morton,
The Earl and Countess of Eglinton,
The Earl and Countess of Cawdor,
The Earl of Mansfield,
The Earl of Liverpool,
The Earl of Aberdeen,
The Countess of Haddington,
Lord Viscount Melville,
Lord Elcho,
Lord and Lady John Scott,
Sir Robert Peel,
The Honourable Miss Paget,
The Honourable Miss Dundas,
Mr. and Lady Georgina Balfour,
Lady Mary Campbell,
Mr. and Mrs. G. Hope,
Sir James Forrest,
Lord Provost of Edinburgh,
General Wemyss,
Colonel Bouverie,
Si. George Edward Anson,
Sir Janies Clarke,
The very Rev. Principal Lee,
The Rev. Dr. Cook,
The Rev. Dr. Welsh.

The inhabitants of Edinburgh were meanwhile busily engaged in preparing for an illumination, which, from the picturesque nature of the city, is always one of the most brilliant spectacles anywhere to be seen. On this occasion the effect was much injured by the high wind and the drizzling rain; otherwise it would have been the most magnificent that Edinburgh ever exhibited. Notwithstanding the unpropitious nature of the weather, it was extremely grand, from the great number of extensive devices that covered the more important edifices.

The rain continued all night, but it had no effect in diminishing the crowd, for the streets were filled with people of all ranks until a late hour. At the point where the North Bridge debouches into Princes-street, the multitude was so great, that all onward movement was arrested for a time, and the shrieking of women was quite appalling. The squibs, crackers, and other pyrotechnical tormenters, thrown about by boys, added to the noise and confusion; and whilst the steeples were jowling from all quarters, and the smaller and more musical bells of Saint Giles’s cathedral were performing all manner of loyal tunes, whole flights of rockets were continually rushing into the upper air. The more general views in the town, such as those from the Mound, the North Bridge, and the Castle and Calton hills, were very superb. The tall monument to Nelson, looked like a magnificent column of fire, and various coloured lights were burned near it, from time to time, with fine effect. The Officers of the 53d Regiment exhibited fireworks from the ramparts of the castle.


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