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[16] He was kind enough to invite me to visit him at Windsor Castle, and obtained special permission from her Majesty to show me the private rooms. I went down to breakfast, where we had young Murray (the head of the household), Lord Surrey, &c. Lord Byron,1 who you know was a captain in the navy, is a pleasant, rough fellow, who has not many of the smooth turns of the courtier. He came rushing into the room where we were, crying out, ‘This day is a real sneezer; it is a rum one indeed. Will her Majesty go out to-day?’ Lord Surrey hoped she would not, unless she would ride at the ‘slapping pace’ at which she went the day before, which was twenty miles in two hours. You understand that her suite accompany the Queen in her equestrian excursions. Lord Byron proposed to breakfast with us; but they told him that he must go upstairs and breakfast with ‘the gals,’—meaning the ladies of the bedchamber and maids of honor,—Countess of Albemarle, Lady Byron, Lady Littleton, Miss Cavendish, &c. The ladies of the household breakfast by themselves, and sometimes her Majesty comes in and joins them, though she generally breakfasts quite alone; the gentlemen of the household also breakfast by themselves. Very soon Lord Byron came bouncing down, saying, ‘Murray, ‘the gals’ say that there is nothing but stale eggs in the castle.’ Again the ladies sent a servant to Murray (who I have said is the head of the royal household), complaining that there was no Scotch marmalade. Murray said it was very strange, as a very short time ago he paid for seven hundred pots of it. You will understand that I mention these trivial occurrences to let you know in the simplest way what passed. Of the splendors of Windsor you have read a hundred times, and all your friends who have been abroad can recount them; but such little straws as I am blowing to you will give you indications of the mode of life and manners in the castle. After breakfast (it having been mentioned to the Queen that I had arrived), we went into the private apartments, which are never shown except during the Queen's absence. The table was spread for dinner, and the plate was rich and massive. I did not like the dining-room so well as Lord Leicester's, at Holkham, though it is more showy and brilliant. The drawing-rooms were quite rich. While wandering around with Mr. Rich and Lord Byron, we met the Duchess of Kent in her morning-dress,—a short, squab person,—who returned our profound obeisance with a gracious smile (you see I have caught the proper phrase). Some of the pictures at Windsor are very fine. I have never before seen any thing by Rubens that pleased me, or that I could tolerate (except, perhaps, a picture at Holkham). There is one room devoted to Rubens. They were kind enough to invite me to visit them again at the castle, and Murray told me that a horse would be at my disposal to ride in the park and see the Virginia water. . . .

I am in Westminster Hall every day, and have been most happy in renewing my acquaintance with the bench and bar after my absence in the country.

Believe me, ever affectionately yours,


1 George Anson Byron, who succeeded the poet in the peerage, was an admiral in the navy and an extra lord-in-waiting to the Queen. He died in 1868, at the age of seventy-nine.

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