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not be contradicted. Nottingham is also noted for its spacious market, second to none in the kingdom, and for its superior Ale, It being also the birth-place of the late admired poet, Henry Kirk White.
It was a great day in Nottingham-the elections were near at hand, and the Corn Laws were agitating the whole country. At twelve o'clock, Sir John Hobhouse made his entrance into the town, standing in a barouche drawn by four white horses, and following him was his political friend, Lord Radcliffe, in a like establishment, both uncovered, and bowing to the immense crowd in the streets, and to the ladies at the windows, who were waving their handkerchiefs as they passed into the great square with banners flying, attended by a band of music, while shouts went up from ten thousand people. In the procession, were five hundred children of both sexes, attended by their instructors, all carrying poles with blue ribands streaming in the air, and suspended from each pole were two loaves of bread: one the size and weight of the English, and one the size of the American loaf, to which were appended placards :-“ America. Repeal of the Corn Laws, and Free Trade !" Both of the noble Lords made speeches on the occasion while standing in their carriages, and loud and repeated shouts were heard of—“ America and Free Trade!” Fears were apprehended that the opposition would rally and a battle take place: under this impression, the stores in and about the square were closed.
Lord Radcliffe, to my eye, resembled Mr. Van Buren in face, hair, and figure, with all that urbanity and pleasing manner so characteristic of the latter, which made him so great a favourite while minister at the Court of St. James, and as a guest at Buckingham Palace, of King William, an honour never before conferred on any of the diplomatic corps.
The day ended with an illumination and fire-works.
Three miles from Nottingham, stands the beautiful residence of Lord Radcliffe, and will well repay the tourist by a ride out to examine the mansion, paintings, grounds, and should his Lordship be at home, it will make the visit
still more pleasant. The ruins of Nottingham Castle stand about one hundred and fifty feet above the town, on a rock; from its battlements is an extensive and picturesque view of the town, surrounding country, and Belvoir Castle, belonging to the Duke of Rutland, also of Bradgate Park, the birth-place of the late Lady Jane Grey. Charles the First, on this castle, first hoisted his banner, which was besieged and taken by Cromwell. Richard the Third and Edward the Fourth held their Courts at this castle: and David, King of Scotland, was kept here a State prisoner;—Queen Isabella also resided in this castle, and permitted Mortimer, Earl of March,
to visit her through a subterranean passage. Spies were set to watch him-he was taken in the queen’s apartments, carried to London, and executed at Tyburn. The passage, which leads from the castle, is still called Mortimer's Hole. Miss B-, who was with us, having a curiosity to enter the passage, I called the veteran warder, who attended at the castle, dressed in the old livery of the Duke of Newcastle (who is now its owner) and for a small trifle attended as a guide. I accompanied Miss B. a good distance from the castle through the damp passage, much to the annoyance of snails and lizards, which we crushed at every step; still the courageous girl, holding fast my arm, continued on, and would have come out at the river, a distance of a quarter of a mile, had our guide, the aged warder, continued to lead on. Miss B., however, insisted on taking back with her something from the dark passage, and stooping, took up a snail, which she brought out to the light to examine and to be her pet at home.
Newstead Abbey is twelve miles from Nottingham, over a fine stone road, but the country around is not under a high state of cultivation—far from it. Mrs. C. procured a barouche and pair of fine horses from one of her relations, and in two hours we arrived at the “ Hut,” so called, a small tavern opposite the gate leading through Sherwood Forest to the Abbey, where strangers have their horses put up, and take a lunch, if necessary. We took a slight repast, and ordered a table to be ready by the time we returned from the abbey, with all the requisites attending an English dinner. If the merry host of the “Hut” be a specimen of the celebrated Nottingham yeomanry in Cromwell's time, no wonder King Charles could not make headway with his army of puny coxcomb noblemen against such sturdy giants. After a pleasant walk through the forest, filled with game as tame as sheep, we arrived at the ancient abbey, the residence of the late Lord Byron. Col. Wildman is now the owner of the abbey and forest; he and the family were in London, but his secretary, Mr. S., received us with all that urbanity which an educated Englishman so well understands when at home, making his guests feel at ease at the first introduction, which seems intuitive in the English particularly. We first entered the shooting-gallery, and displayed our skill in archery, by shooting with the cross-bow that once belonged to Robin Hood. From thence we were taken through every room in the immense Gothic pile. The chamber of the late Lord Byron remains the same as when he left it-every article in its place, even his small kettle inside the fender, which he used in making his gin-toddy. The pen lies idle on the centre table, with which we were permitted to write our names on a card. There stood the old-fashioned, high-post bedstead, with its plain chintz curtains, and narrow black cotton fringe. There the pillow on which rested the noble head, with a mind of that gigantic strength as not only to astonish but elicit the admiration of the Christian world. There the comfortable arm-chair, with its modest chintz cover and cushion, in which, seated at the unique writing table at the right, were penned those sublime, soul-inspiring effusions which immortalized the gifted bard, and caused Greece to enrol his noble name among her celebrated and learned sages. And there the apparently new-nibbed pen in the same place as left by the bard, whose magic hand, governed by a truly exalted and untiring mind, traced with almost electrical rapidity, characters which will endure for ages, and be the pole-star in the literary world for the eyes of unborn millions to gaze with admiration and reverence. My feelings for a moment causing me to forget the usual etiquette on such an occasion, I hastily seized the magic pen and wrote the following lines, which I presented to Mrs. C., at the same time apologizing to the Secretary for such a breach of etiquette within the walls of the venerable abbey :
Immortal bard, thy name shall be enrolled
Among the first to claim the poet's crown ;
And future time shall tell of thy renown. The tourist, on looking out of the west window of this chamber, will have an enchanting view of the beautiful lake in front of the abbey, and by casting his eye above its placid waters to the summit of a gentle rising eminence beyond, he will observe the top of a chimney standing in bold relief against the western horizon; by turning round, he will see that the bed is so placed, that the occupant, on waking at morning's dawn, will observe, as he lies, the smoke from that chimney gently curling heavenward, as pure as the spirit of the fair mistress, who may be seated near the hearth of the hidden cottage, from which chimney the curling smoke ascends. In that cottage, as the wife of another, dwelt Mary, the bard's first and only love, and to whom the literary world is in a great measure indebted for the inspirations which flowed spontaneous from a heart formed for pure and holy love, which could only be revealed to the world through the medium of poetic effusions, thereby relieving the mind of a deep silent grief, which, if smothered, would perhaps have proved fatal. And to this love for his humble Mary, may be attributed the plain, simple manner of furnishing his chamber, when all the other rooms in the ancient abbey were most sumptuously decorated and richly furnished. The gallery of paintings is only surpassed by that of the Duke of Sutherland's, in his palace, St. James Park, London. The library is very extensive, and the works, doubtless well selected, are richly bound, reaching round the room from the ceiling to the polished
oak floor. A single glance through the numerous rooms and saloons, will show that money has not been spared in furnishing them.
While in the chapel, by request, I played several hymns on the fine-toned organ, after which we descended to the cloisters and the Monk's Chapel. The old reading-desk and humble altar, with the prayer-book, appeared in the gloomy chapel as if they had not been used for centuries. While in this chapel, a sudden thunder-gust came over the abbey, and peal after peal shook it to its very foundation: lightning incessant played fearfully through the dismal cloisters. Mrs. C., through awe, in so sacred a place, knelt with her face on the humble ancient altar; the darkness increased as the dense cloud approached, and at each terrific peal I could almost imagine I could see the monks gliding from pillar to pillar, cautiously to observe the intruders at that solemn hour, in a place so sacred to their order.
In the court-yard stands a neat marble monument to the memory of Neptune, a favourite spaniel, erected by order of Lord Byron. Near it is a tree, which was planted by his lordship. The gardens are very extensive and elegantly laid out; in the centre of a grove, is a yew tree, under the branches of which Lord Byron used to indulge himself in reading, and listening to the soft evening zephyrs, as they murmured through its trembling leaves. On the trunk, his lordship carved the initials of his own and wife's name, which still remain, and now united by the growth of the tree, as their spirits are united in another world. A monk's skull was shown us, which had been found beneath the cloisters some years since; it is bound round with silver, and has been used as a wine goblet on certain occasions, at the abbey, during the life-time of Lord Byron. On an eminence, at the right of the abbey, near the lake, can be seen the tree under which Lord Byron wrote “Don Juan;" the old arm-chair, also, still remains, as a relic of those days. The abbey, from a distance, has the most ancient appearance, for a habitation, of any building in England.
A mile from the abbey, north, deep in Sherwood Forest, is a high cliff, called Robin Hood's Chair, from which elevation he used to watch the travelling monks and others from Nottingham, when, from a signal with his horn his merry archers would pounce on them and take the usual toll of money, or kind. A quarter of a mile froin this cliff, west, is a neat open space surrounded with beautiful foliage, where Robin Hood and his archers used to hold their revels, and entertain their friends at certain seasons, some of whom were noble knights, when attending the king at Nottingham Castle.
“On arriving at the “Hut,” we found an excellent repast all in readiness, after which, the carriage coming up, we set off at fine
speed for Old Nottingham, where we arrived about sunset, and passed the evening with a small party, at a friend of Mrs. C.'s, who took the occasion to show that she was mistress of the piano, and had cultivated singing with her other accomplishments, which she was not backward in showing to her numerous and admiring friends.
Belvoir Castle, owned by the Duke of Rutland, is eight miles from Nottingham, standing on a high eminence: it is kept up, as in the old feudal times, banners flying, guns mounted, warder, menat-arms, &c., and is most magnificently furnished.' The gilding alone, in the banqueting-room, and furniture, cost twenty thousand pounds sterling: The silver in this castle is of immense valueihe silver punch bowl will hold a man coiled up, with the cover
At certain seasons, one hundred and fifty beds are made at the castle, and many more in the outhouses, so numerous are the summer friends of the noble duke, whose princely mansion in London is in Grosvenor Square, and as gorgeously furnished. Yet the whole estate is under mortgage, which the sale of the paintings and silver, would pay off at once.
Woolstrop is about a mile from Belvoir Castle, which is the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton. It is a delightful walk from the castle, and the tourist, should he be at the castle, will not regret the walk and seeing the house in which so great an astronomer was born.
At the suggestion of Mrs. C., on returning from Nottingham to Quarndon, we took seats on the London mail coach, preferring that mode to the railway; distance seventeen miles, over a beautiful, picturesque country, and fine stone road. We having secured seats on the top of the splendid mail coach, had an uninterrupted view of all around as we swiftly sped over hill and dale and through the beautiful villages on the way, which were many, and appeared all in trim order, as English villages generally are. In coming out of Nottingham, we passed over, and had a fine view of its noted ancient stone bridge, over the Soar, with nineteen arches. On arriving at Loughborough, within two miles of Quarndon, Mrs. C. proposed, as it was a pleasant afternoon, that we should leisurely walk that short distance, intending stopping at a friend's house on the way, where she had the pleasure of meeting her fond husband.