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glory, and are perfectly unique in picturesque magnificence. In honour of her Majesty's visit, the Earl of Shrewsbury's tenants were on that day provided with an excellent dinner at the “Shrewsbury Arms,' Farley, at four o'clock, after which there was dancing upon the Green, before the Towers. The weather was propitious, and the scene was animated and interesting in the extreme.
“ There was also another grand dinner at the Towers, and a soirée in the evening. The labourers upon the estate had a dinner yesterday, in honour of her Majesty's visit.
“Her Majesty and suite left Alton Towers yesterday morning, for Matlock, intending to pass a short time, in surveying the romantic beauties of that part of Derbyshire.”
EXTRACT OF A LETTER
FROM J. B. to G. H., Esq., GIVING SOME ACCOUNT
OF THE GAIETIES THAT TOOK PLACE ON THE OCCASION OF
THE QUEEN DOWAGER'S VISIT TO ALTON TOWERS, IN JULY, 1840.
“Referring you to the account I copied for your sisters, out of the Staffordshire Advertiser, for the 1st August, for the editor's glowing account of the proceedings that took place, and adopting the same in a great degree, as a part of my own statement, I proceed to render you my private account, of what occurred on this interesting occasion.
“On Tuesday, 28th July, the Rev. Mr. Holley, and his nephew, Ralph Sneyd, came, and stayed till Friday. The day following, the Rev. John Sneyd came to dinner, and at four we proceeded to Quickshill Lodge gates, to form part of the equestrian procession, intended to escort the Queen to Alton Towers. I mounted upon your Bobby, Mr. Holley on our Doctor, Mr. Sneyd on our other carriage horse, and Ralph on his pony. Near the pagoda, on the Rock Drive, we overtook the two Princes, Borghese and Aldobrandini, Messrs. W. Patten, Townley, Howard of Corby, &c., proceeding on the same errand, and whose ranks we joined.
“At Quickshill, we found Lord Waterpark, and a number of other gentlemen, sitting their steeds, upon the west side of the gates, and on the east side, the tenants, striding their cart horses, in two long lines, opposite to each other, to the tune of several hundred well-remembered faces.
“At five, exactly, according to appointment, the Queen's cavalcade made its appearance, escorted by a detachment of the Uttoxeter troop of Yeomanry Cavalry; and, as soon as the royal carriage had passed, the gentlemen dashed after it at a rapid rate. I rode, part of the way, between the two Princes : when behind one of them (Prince A.), he said, “Don't press so near to my horse ; he kicks."
I replied, “ Je vous remercie, mon Prince.” He must have thought me a cool customer, or, as Sam Slick says, that I was coming “Soft Sawdor” over him. We kept on at a famous pace, four carriages following ours, and then the slugs.
“On approaching the Towers, the new Roman
Catholic Chapel bell began to toll, which had an odd, out-of-the-way effect.
“The craven himself is hoarse That croaks the fatal entrance of H. M. Under our battlements.”
“Having delivered our charge to the premier Earl, we made our bows, and turned our horses' heads homewards.
“ The next day the Queen and Lady S. rode through Farley, as far as the finger-post, and then returned. Mr. Holley and I were knocking your balls about, at Wootton Lodge; the ladies were in the house ; Louisa and the four young M
-s in the court. At half-past eight my wife, Mrs. M— and I went to the soirée. Miss T- took us to the head of the state dining room, to shew us the guests at table; but the room viewed from thence, looked so like a well, that we were not much the wiser. In about a quarter of an hour afterward, the dinner-party broke up, and adjourned to the drawing-room. Lady S. brought the Queen to us, and introduced us separately; and most kind and gracious was the reception she gave us.
“There was plenty of dancing, parading the Talbot
and other galleries and apartments; ices, punch, and other entertainments.
“At half-past eleven, the Queen withdrew, accompanied by her sister, the Duchess of Saxe Weimar, and the party soon afterward broke up. Lady S. asked me to ride again the next day, with the escort to Quickshill.
“Accordingly, the next day I mounted Bobby again, and rode to the entrance tower, where I saw the leave-taking, and departure at twelve; after which, the two Princes, Lord Waterpark, Messrs. W. Patten, Townley, Howard, Talbot, of New Ross, Pugin (architect), and I, set off after the carriages. Your carriage, with ours, containing the ladies children, and nurse-maids, bringing up the rear.
“What wonders loyalty can work! I, who hate riding, and had not been on horseback for three years, returning towards the Towers, the nobs cut the angle off the road, by crossing the Quickshill meadows, I followed them, forgetting the ditches that divide the fields; these, the nobs cleared, as a matter of course: I shut my eyes, gave Bobby his head, and he did the same: though, as Punch well and wittily observes, ‘Presence of mind, on such occasions, is often, probably, of less value than absence of body.'