« EelmineJätka »
ing Posts of the period took no manner of notice, and who was to be so soon“ broken upon the wheel,” and have his head stolen by four English sailors, received here the compliment of a university degree, and was presented by the regius professor of physic to the honorary title of M.D. The universal approbation was accepted by the King with much condescension; and he appeared to be “highly pleased, very politely boring as he advanced.” He went away, too, expressing the highest satisfaction."
From Oxford le hurried away to Ditchley, Blenheim, Woodstock, and other places. The headlong pace at which he saw all these famous places, and the few moments be devoted to each, seenis to have struck the mind of the Court Newsman perhaps leaving the august personage open to remark. He gets over the difficulty by the happiest and most delicate compliment: “His journeyings are so rapid, and his stay at places so short, that if he is not a youth of more than common talents, he must have a very confused idea of what he sees.” Still,“ his person and behaviour have so many charms, that the people every where, high and low, seem captivated with him to a very bigh degree."
Next the Lord Mayor and aldermanic dignitaries came forward with a superb civic feast. Previously the King “had condescended to dine with the locum tenens,"—Sir Robert Ladstroke, Knt., the Lord Mayor being indisposed,—and was then taken out upon the water, at the head of a superb procession of barges. As soon as he went on board, he was saluted by cannon and “the joyful acclamations of the Livery Companies," and "a vast surrounding multitude.” They all sailed down together to the new bridge, and while passing under the great arch were saluted in a sort of odd composite way, which must have distracted the young monarch considerably. For as he “shot the bridge” he was hailed by “fifes and drums," and by “the shouts of the workmen above, and by the French horns underneath.” The position of the shouting workmen may be easily put before our eyes; but that of the “French horns" unulerneath is not so clear. The “French horns," it will be remarked, are much insisted on throughout, and took a lively part in every phase of the King's entertainment.
During the course of the procession, his Majesty frequently expressed bis surprise and pleasure, and sometimes “condescended to come forward to gratify the curiosity of the people, who eagerly sought to get a sight of his royal person,” adds Jenkins gracefully, “ though at the hazard of their lives.” At the Mansion House he was received by the committee in “ their mazarine gowns,” and “with white wands.” He was then conducted into the Egyptian Hall, where, by a rather equivocal act of politeness, “ in order that the ladies might have a full view of his royal person, his Majesty condescended to proceed quite round.” He then sat down, and the orchestra of “forty performers saluted" him.
The King of England was at the charges of the table at St. James's. There were two principal ones kept up. The first is described as being
“noble," and the dessert as “elegant and superb.” The whole daily cost for each meal, exclusive of wines, came to nearly 1001.
He was next entertained at Richmond Lodge, with triumphal arches “ forty feet high,” transparencies, paintings,“ sideboards,” and all manner of devices. Wherefore "sideboards”? At the close "a firework” was "played off," and, as of course, his Majesty and “the nobility were pleased to express their entire satisfaction.”
Then followed an entertainment at Carlton House by the Princess Dowager of Wales, and a visit to Greenwich. But on the 10th of October his Majesty himself became host, and, taking the Haymarket, threw open his doors for a superb masked ball, which had this remarkable feature, that at it were “the greatest number of nobility and gentry ever assembled together upon any occasion of the like nature." Two thousand five hundred persons
1 of distinction” were present. His Majesty went quite “in a private manner, in his own coach and pair,” and afterwards withdrew to a dressing-room, where he “ robed” himself “in masquerade” in the most simple, unostentatious way possible. All the dresses of this Danish party were “extremely rich and elegant.” The chief grotesque characters were “the Conjuror, the Black, and the Old Woman.” There was also in the crowd a capital chimneysweeper, with his bag, shovel, and scraper quite complete; and “a boar with a bull's head,”—all which were supported “with great humour.”Every body was charmed, excepting, as may be imagined, a certain noble duke. He had the misfortune to lose "a particular snuff-box” in the crowd, on which was the King of France's picture set in brilliants, and for which he had to offer a reward of fifty guineas.
Never was there such a gay and scamping monarch, or one so fond of sights. “They hurried,” says Horace Walpole in his contemptuous way, “through most parts of England without attention; took notice of nothing-took pleasure in nothing; dining and supping at seats on the road, without time enough to remark so much of their beauties as would ílatter the great lords who treated them.” A peripatetic royalty, wandering hither and thither, uncertain itself where it would perch, due north or south, kept the hearts of the English magnates in a constant fever. The barons had met him at St. James's, at that free table, the cost of which either the nation or “Great George our King" had to discharge. He had laid himself out to recollect their faces and names, and with some was on terms of actual aquaintance. To an agreeable King travelling up towards Yorkshire, and announcing that he would pass within a league or so of a famous show palace,—being curious to see every thing that was noteworthy in this great country,—there could be no answer but a burst of spontaneous hospitality. And yet the visits of princes, however flattering, are favours of the most inconvenient order, and akin to the present of the elephant, which the grateful Eastern despot sends to the man he intends to honour and at the same time ruin.
Unhappily, the Danish King was so delighted with London gaieties, and at the same time so fitful in the changes of his humour, that no precise programme of his movements could be obtained from him, for the benefit of the anxious nobility in the country. He had taken a fancy to see famous Stowe,-which had not yet been won and lost by the Buckinghams,—and Lord Temple had hoped he would do it the honour of a visit. But he had proper scouts in London, who watched the signs of the times, and gave notice when the awful yet pleasing advent might be looked for. No less than a royal personage condescended to pick up any stray hints that might be useful as warnings; and the Princess Amelia, writing from Gunnersbury on September the 6th, gives a friendly notice to the Countess Temple, waiting anxiously at Stowe. “ All the intelligence,” she says, “I can pick up about the King of Denmark is, that he leaves London on Saturday, for another progress.” Are plain subjects so distinguished in these days as to have royal ladies “picking up” news for them, and quieting the anxieties of vassals by a hurried line ?
Mr. Grenville lived not very far away from his brother's, and his London correspondents supplied him with information as authentic and accurate as could be procured under the circumstances. A few days after the receipt of the Princess's letter, this gentleman was disturbed at early morning by an agitated letter from Lord Temple, dated an hour after midnight. It was to this effect :
“ DEAR BROTHER, -An express brings word that the King of Denmark will accept an early dinner. This disarranges our whole plan, and disturbs me exceedingly.”
He then asks for the loan of “the plate;" will “accept a dozen or so" of Mr. Grenville's particular Hermitage ; and also his cook. The plate will keep, but “I must beg of you to despatch the cook in your one-horse chaise, as fast as possible." There is a haziness about the measure of quantity of that "dozen or so" of Hermitage, which, when coupled with the terms upon which it was to arrive, is certainly felicitous; especially, too, in a hurried despatch dated “half-past one a.m."
There must have been an uneasy time of it in the splendid chambers and corridors of Stowe, and a sort of general disorganisation, amounting to what might be called a palace out of windows. Later was to come the sumptuous reception of a greater royalty than the mere Danish youth, which was to be the last straw breaking the ducal camel's back. Happy for that Duke of our day, whose strawberry-leaves were crushed and soiled by the dust and débris of a tottering mansion, and of his palace tumbling down about his ducal ears, if he had handsomely enlarged that admirable Temple bit of philosophy, and “accepted a dozen or so" of whatever magnificence was necessary to do honour to his guest Queen Victoria.
Mr. Grenville went over that very Wednesday; but the uncertain
King did not arrive until the Friday following. Even in that matter of the selected meal he changed his mind. Earl Temple had counted on an “early dinner;" but the early dinner became changed into a breakfast and an early dinner. Mr. Grenville, the guest, wrote two days after, quite flushed with the glories of the visit: “The King came on Friday last to breakfast. We afterwards walked out, and attended bim all round the gardens. Dinner was ordered, by his desire, a little before one." This was indeed an early dinner in the age of early dinners; and at this preAdamite hour Mr. Grenville, no doubt, sipped some of his own “dozen or so” of Hermitage. After the dinner was happily over, he “set off again" to London, between three and four. He was very gracious, writes Mr. Grenville, brimming over at the gratifying retrospect, and condescended to “ like the place.” “Indeed my brother omitted nothing” to render every thing agreeable to him. Poor nobleman! it would not be likely that he would. The only danger in the suitable entertainment of the elephant, sent as a royal elephant, is an excess in the contrary direction. Nine gentlemen came in the royal train, and partook of the early dinner and the “dozen or so” of Mr. Grenville's doomed Hermitage. Mr. Grenville had “ a great deal of conversation” with the two Danish noblemen, whom he calls familiarly “Holcke and Bernstorff.” He was
" so well pleased with this intercourse, that he is good enough to say, thought they behaved extremely well.”
At length the time arrived for him to return; and on the 11th of October a grand levee was held at St. James's, at which most of the nobility attended. On the 12th he went to take leave of the royal family. On that day his Majesty performed a “very graceful” act; for seeing some poor people under his window, he raised the sash and threw out a handful of gold among them. It was said, a hundred and fifty guineas. The fine gentlemen gave out that the King's absence would be much lamented by the mob. To the servants of the royal household he left a douceur of a thousand pounds. Lords Hertford and Talbot received diamond snuff-boxes. His whole visit was fortunate in at least procuring a bon-mot from that over rated jester, George Selwyn, Esquire. He gave out, that “the King of Denmark and his favourite are strollers that act the part of our King and Lord Bute." A more graceful act, however, was giving Mr. Garrick an audience, and presenting him with an elegant gold snuff-box studded with diamonds. Finally, on the 14th, a melancholy day, he embarked at Dover, aboard the Mary; and the Morning Post of the time, inspired by the Jenkins of the day, keeps true to the poesy of court loyalty to the very end, and tells us how “ the populace kept their eyes steadily fixed upon the vessel till she was out of sight.”
WHENCE IT AROSE, AND WHAT IT MEANT.
PART II. AMONG all branches of the Teuton and the Scandinavian stock, the rites, dogmas, and legends concerning fire and lightning grouped themselves round the person of Thunar, or Thor, the thunder - god, who has given his name to the fifth day of the week. It was in the second century of our era that the Chaldean mode of calling the days of the week by the names of the planets became gradually established in the Roman empire; and when it made its way, about two centuries later, into Germany, the people of that country and the Romans had both been long agreed upon the identity of Jupiter and Thor, of Mercury and Woden, -"god of Saxons, of whom cometh Wednesday.” The “dies Jovis"French jeudi-then became Donarestac, Thunaresdag, or Thursday, and was made a weekly holiday in honour of the god, as the dies Jovis had long been in the Roman provinces. There, as St. Augustine complains in the beginning of the fifth century, men and women made holiday on the fifth day of the week in honour of Jupiter, whilst they did not scruple to work on the Lord's day. St. Eligius denounces the same practice amongst the heathen Burgundians in the seventh century; and Boniface expressly prohibited the Franks and Thuringians from sacrificing to Jupiter, that is, Thunar, and celebrating his festival. But the old faith, or at least the usages belonging to it, held their ground in many places, in spite of these ghostly warnings. To this day, the peasantry in the Mark of Brandenburg, in Holstein, and elsewhere, refrain from certain kinds of work on Thursday, and especially from such as are connected with hops. Not a woman amongst them dares to spin on Thursday evening; if she did, the devil would throw an empty spindle into the room, shouting to her as he did so, “Spin this full too." In some parts of Germany the prejudice against working has become confined to those Thursdays which coincide with church-festivals. On Ascension-day (Holy Thursday) if a woman so much as threads a needle, the clouds gather over her head, and a stroke of lightning kills her, or leaves her a cripple for life. In England this superstition has been transferred to Good Friday. The villagers in Hertfordshire have a legend of a woman in London, who pricked her finger when in the act of using her needle on Good Friday, and bled to death. Her figure may be seen to this day sitting on a house-top in the great town, with its left elbow raised to the level of the shoulder, and the wounded hand drooping before its face.
The Anglo-Saxons called the tempest Thunorrâd, that is, “ thundercar;" for Thunar gallops through the clouds in a car drawn by two buck goats. The sparks fly beneath their hoofs in their stormy flight, and the heavenly wheels roll in thunder. When the Ditmarsh peasant hears