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When the Queen had taken her seat, the cabinet Ministers took their stand before the throne, and one of them read an address to her, stating the circumstances that made it expedient she should be declared of age by the next Cortes, and should then take the oaths of office. As the little Queen held her reply, ready cut and dry, in a paper in her hand, she paid but little attention to the speech, but kept glancing her eyes here and there about the hall, and now and then toward her little sister, when a faint smile would appear stealing over her lips, but instantly repressed. The speech ended, she opened the paper in her hand, and read the brief reply which had been prepared for her. A shout then burst forth from the assemblage, Viva la Reina! (Long live the Queen!) The venerable Duke of Bailen, taking the lead as tutor to the Queen, then bent on one knee and kissed her hand. The Infanta Don Francisco and his son gave the same token of allegiance. The same was done by every person present, excepting the diplomatic corps. They also knelt and kissed the hand of the Princess, and some kissed the hand of Don Francisco, but those were his partisans. As the crowd was great, this ceremonial took up some time. I observed that the Queen and her sister discriminated greatly as to the crowd of persons who paid this homage, distinguishing with smiles and sometimes with pleasant words, those with whom they were acquainted. It was curious to see generals kneeling and kissing the hand of the sovereign, who but three weeks since were in rebellion against her government, besieging her capital, and menacing the royal abode, where they were now doing her homage.
This ceremony over, the Queen and her sister took their stand in a balcony in front of the great hall of ambassadors, under a rich and lofty silken awning. The high dignitaries of her court attended on her. The ladies of the court were in a balcony on one side, and the diplomatic corps in one on the other; and every window of the royal suite of apartments was thronged by persons in court dresses or uniforms. The whole effect, in that magnificent palace, was remarkably brilliant. A vast throng was collected in the great square before the palace. In a little while martial music was heard, and General Narvaez, with his staff, escorted by a troop of horse, came advancing under an archway on the VOL. III.-4
opposite side of the square. In fact, the whole army that had lately besieged the city, now came marching in review before the palace, shouting vivas as they passed beneath the royal balcony. It was really a splendid sight--one of those golden cloudless evenings of this brilliant climate, when the sun was pouring his richest effulgence into the vast square, around which the troops paraded. Here were troops from various parts of Spain, many of them wayworn and travel-stained, and all burnt by the ardent sun under which they had marched. The most curious part of this military spectacle was the Catalan legion-men who looked like banditti rather than soldiers-arrayed in half-Arab dress, with mantas, like horse-cloths, thrown over one shoulder, red woollen caps, and hempen socks instead of shoes. They are, in fact, little better than banditti-a fierce turbulent race, as are all the Catalans. I remained for a great part of an hour witnessing the passing of these insurgent legions, which were recently overrunning the country and menacing the capital, but which, by the sudden hocus-pocus of political affairs, are transformed into loyal soldiers, parading peacefully before the royal palace, and shouting vivas for the Queen. This is the last act I have witnessed of the royal drama, and here I will let fall the curtain.
After writing the foregoing to his sister, he drove out to pay visits of ceremony to some of the persons who had suddenly been brought into official station by the recent change of government. The visit detailed below, however, was not one of form, and had a higher prompting than diplomatic etiquette. I have heard him say it provoked a courtier's scoff. When about to bring his long letter to an end, he writes to his sister, August 11th:
Before I conclude let me say a word or two about that most amiable and excellent woman, the Duchess of Victoria. I have always esteemed and admired her, but never so much as since her great reverse of fortune.
During the siege, as the palace of Buena Vista was near the point of attack, she took refuge in the royal palace. Since the capitulation of the city, the occupation of it by the insurgent armies, and the formation of the provisional government, she retired to the house of an aunt in the centre of Madrid. Here I visited her, and found her still attended by some faithful friends. I found her calm, self-possessed, and free from all useless repining or weak lamentation. In fact, she was in a far better state of mind than when I saw her at her soirées at Buena Vista, surrounded by something like a court, but harassed by doubts and forebodings. She said her conscience was clear; she had never been excited by her elevation as the wife of the Regent, and trusted her conduct had always been the same as when wife of a simple general. She felt no humiliation in her downfall. She spoke of the charges made against her husband of grasping ambition, artifice, love of power-he, said she, whose habits were so simple, whose desires so limited; who cared not for state, and less for money; whose great pleasure was to be in his garden, planting trees and cultivating flowers. It was a matter of pride and consolation to her, she added, that they left the regency poorer than when they entered it. I was pleased to see that she spoke without acrimony of those political rivals who had effected the downfall of her husband, but with deep feeling of the conduct of some who had always professed devotion to him, who had risen by his friendship, and who had betrayed him. "This," said she, "is the severest blow of all, for it destroys our confidence in humankind." I could not but admire the discrimination of her conduct with respect to the two great leaders of the present government, Generals Narvaez (Commander-in-chief) and Serrano (the Minister of War). They both sent her offers of escort, and of any other service and facility. "As to General Narvaez," said she, "he has always been the avowed enemy of my husband, but an open and frank one; he practiced nothing but what he professed; I accept his offers with gratitude and thanks. As to Serrano, he professed to be my husband's friend; he rose by his friendship and favors, and he proved faithless to him; I will accept nothing at his hands, and beg his name may not again be mentioned to me."
The Duchess has set off for England by the way of France, and an
escort was furnished her by Narvaez to protect her on her journey through Spain. I have no doubt she will be well received in England, and will feel a tranquillity of mind there to which she has long been a stranger. "Oh," said she, drawing a long breath, "how glad I shall be to find myself once more at complete liberty, where I can breathe a freer air, and be out of this atmosphere of politics, trouble, and anxiety!"
LEAVES MADRID FOR CHANGE OF AIR.-EXCURSION TO VERSAILLES AND PARIS.GRISI IN NORMA."-BORDEAUX.-LETTER TO HENRY BREVOORT.-REGRETS ABOUT THE INTERRUPTION OF HIS LITERARY PLANS.- ALLUSION TO THE DIPLOMATIC INTERVENTION FOR THE SAFETY OF THE QUEEN.-MEETING WITH ROGERS. RETURN TO MADRID.-LETTER TO MRS. PARIS.—THE YOUNG QUEEN'S ACCESSION TO THE THRONE.-MADAME CALDERON.-PASSAGES FROM A LETTER TO MRS. GRINNELL.
EING strongly urged by his physician to try the effects of travel and a change of air for the inflammation in his ankles, which had now harassed him, more or less, for seven months past, confining him for a great part of the time to the house, and sometimes to his bed, Mr. Irving left Madrid on the 7th of September, to make an excursion into France, leaving the legation in the hands of the Secretary, Mr. Hamilton. He was accompanied by his faithful servant, Lorenzo, and from Bordeaux, where he stopped to pass a few days among his friends, the Guestiers and Johnsons, writes to his niece, Mrs. Storrow, then quartered at Versailles :
I hope you will retain your apartments at Versailles. I would vastly prefer visiting you there than at Paris.
I must tell you that I have thus far enjoyed my journey extremely. I