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My life. From 1815 to 1849 (Volume 2) online

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Commodore Byron McCandles!






>AAH*T\R . .*




FROM 1815 TO 1849.








A II rights reserved.








Yeomanry called out Boat-racing Pigeon -shooting The
Carrier Pigeon Elise sent to School Attempts to
see her Love laughs at Locksmiths Death of Elise
Death of my Eldest Brother A Fox-hunt Exciting
Scene Necessity of a Standing Army A Colonel of
Volunteers Annoying Circumstances Dr. Guthrie's
Treatment Neglect to apply for a Pension . 1


Paul Benfield Punch Race of Geese and Turkeys
Raynham Hall My Marriage Sir Charles Clarke
Agricultural and Pastoral Pursuits Norfolk Dump-
lings Agricultural Unions The English Poor-Laws
Rev. Mr. Pretyman's Pamphlet Royal Inspection
of the Norfolk Militia Saluting the Wrong Man
Black Stag- Hounds Game -Laws ... 30




Visit to Leicestershire Hard Riding A Boat on a New
Plan Boat Racing on the Thames Spread of very
Liberal Notions Equality Farmer Johnson A Sub-
scription Pack of Fox-Hounds An Unruly Horse
subdued Swapping Horses Incendiarism in Kent
Fires in Norfolk and Suffolk Alarming State of the
Country 57


Alarming Riots in 1831 A Threatening Notice Conse-
quences of the Disbandment of the Yeomanry Hunt,
the Pensioner Swearing in Special Constables Ap-
prehension of a Pedler Escape and Re-apprehension
Dispersing a Mob Night Expedition Greenwood,
the Army Agent My Father's Death . . 88


Re-incorporation of the Yeomanry Cavalry Prizes for
good Shooting Uniform of the Norfolk Regiment
Reception at Norwich Docking the Horsetails Sir
Jacob Astley attacked Battle with Roughs Machine
Breakers Lord Brougham on the Introduction of
Machinery Visits of the *' Arabs " Their Sharp
Practice General Fitzroy's Harriers . . 115


Colonel Wilson of Didlington Hall A Heronry The Art
of Falconry Pells, the German Falconer Luring
back a truant Hawk Lord Conyers Osborne A Horse
warranted quiet with Hounds Coursing Club Elec-
tioneering Tactics A Lucky Rencontre Whigs and
Tories The Rival Candidates 140



Midnight Journey on Election Business The Nomination
Banners and Mottoes The Power of Flattery on
Small Freeholders False Charge of Coercion Duel
Prevented Whig Triumph Lord Melbourne's Car-
riage Practical Joke Disturbance among the Agri-
cultural Labourers Services of the Yeomanry Ca-
valry The Chevalier Mechado His Foreign Guests



Canvass of West Norfolk Tired of the Whigs The Nomi-
nation Green v. Pink and Purple Election Tactics
Plot to carry me off The Whigs outmanoeuvred
Conservative Triumph Chairing of the Members
Sir Jacob Astley's Generosity A London Baronet
caught in a Man-Trap Poachers Resignation of
Lord Sondes Serious Fall Sixty Miles' Ride . 190


Divine Providence Drinking Habits Early Marriages
Strikes and their Leaders Conservative Triumph cele-
brated by a Public Dinner Prince Albert's Own Corps
of Norfolk Yeomanry A Troop Horse from the Greys
Corporal Donald Corry Disbandment of my Corps
Inspected by Colonel Molyneux Regatta at Havre
Unfounded Statements Court of Inquiry The
Irish Gentleman's Mistake . . . . 219


Havre French Boasting Paris Palais Royal English
and French Cookery The Douane Versailles
French Insolence Punished A Prussian Policeman
The Chevalier Mechado's Mansion Going to the


Guillotine Cavalry Inspection St. Cloud Strange
Noises in our Lodgings A Maison de Sante St.
Germain Louis Philippe Lyons Grenoble Alevart
Excursion to the Mountains . . . 251


Chambe'ry Mount Cenis Turin Bullocks, Horses, or
Mules A Comical Disaster Descent of Mount Cenis
Turin Astonishing a Priest Piedmont The Wal-
denses Colonel Beckwith Dorcas Party Carlo Al-
berto and the Priesthood Bibles burnt by the Priests
Sport in the Valley Genoa Leghorn Italian
Facchini Valiant Thieves Captain Hanchett's Gold
Chain Death of Lord Wodehouse II Terremoto 292


Florence The Brigands and the Dragoons Scheme to rob
the Diligence frustrated Revolution of 1847 Flower
Vendors The Garda Nobile The Grand Duke
Santa Trinita Becca, the Flower-girl In Sanctuary
Emeute in Paris Pisa Arrival of Austrian Troops
Hussar Bivouac Shoes of the Austrian Soldiers Last
Look at the Mediterranean The Duke of Clarence 328



Yeomanry called out Boat-racing Pigeon-shooting The
Carrier Pigeon Elise sent to School Attempts to
see her Love laughs at Locksmiths Death of Elise
Death of my Eldest Brother A Fox-hunt Exciting
Scene Necessity of a Standing Army A Colonel of
Volunteers Annoying Circumstances Dr. Guthrie's
Treatment Neglect to apply for a Pension.

IN the midst of all the gaieties going on, I
received a letter from Lord James Towns-
hend, Colonel of the Norfolk Rangers, begging
me to come down to Yarrow, for they were to be
out in two days' time. They were to assemble
at Fakenham, as a riot was expected among
the farm-labourers, on account of a horse-thrash-
ing machine, which had been brought into Nor-
folk. I did not lose a moment, but took my
departure with the least delay possible. Arriving


at Fakenham late at night, I took a gig, and
drove to Stiffkey, got all my clothes and
accoutrements, had my old horse saddled and
equipped, sent an order out to John Dunn to
join, with his thorough-bred mare, and with
two others, whom I had enlisted in Stiffkey,
I again started for Fakenham. At eight
o'clock the following morning, I found my-
self in the Market Place at the head of
eighty good men and true, out of the hun-
dred of which the corps consisted, and sent
off an express to my uncle, telling him what I
had done, while I awaited his orders. I desired
the men to put up their horses, and be ready
at bugle call to re-assemble. I lay down, and
slept soundly. At ten o'clock Captain Dewing
and my Colonel arrived, bringing in fifteen
more men.

We remained inactive till six o'clock that
evening, when the men were summoned, and
marched to Hempton Green, where they were
put through some manoeuvres, to refresh their
memory. At eight o'clock the officers sat down
to a comfortable repast at the Crown Inn, kept
by Joshua Ward, whose son was in the corps.
We took advantage of being thus assembled,


on account of the threats of a riot, caused by the
arrival of a thrashing machine from the fens,
in the neighbourhood of Lynn, to muster every
morning, and go through the usual forms of
military duty in the market-place, thus improv-
ing the discipline of the corps. Wishing to
show the men what it was to halt on the march,
we did so one day, on the way to Bircham, at
Houghton, where, having obtained permission
from the steward, we entered the Park, dis-
mounted, and linked our horses, Ev.ery man
having a haversack well stocked with cold meat,
bread, biscuits, &c., they enjoyed their repast
during a halt of two hours. We returned in
the evening to Fakenham. As my Colonel
thought it well to finish the eight days' training,
now that we were out, application was made for
permission to that effect, and it was granted.

At the expiration of our period of duty, no
riot having occurred, we were inspected by a
cavalry officer from Norwich. I felt very proud
of the Hangers, with which little corps I had
taken so much pains, and was elated by the
praises I received for its efficiency, not only
from him and my colonel, but from the Lord-

B 2


Lieutenant also, who was present. As it was
the King's birthday, we fired a feu de joie, and
were dismissed.

On returning to London, I found that rowing
on the Thames was much encouraged by all
who were able and strong enough to enjoy the
healthy exercise. A great feat was expected to
come off. A certain number of the officers of
the Guards had been backed for a large sum to
row from Oxford to Westminster Bridge in
sixteen hours, and this feat they performed with
twenty minutes to spare. When it is con-
sidered with what a different description of
boat from that of the present day it was per-
formed, I think I may say that it was a gallant
exploit ; and my readers will remember that
they had to get their boat through the different
locks. My cousin, Harrington Hudson, was
one of the rowers; Captain Blane, Captain.
Short, Colonel Standen, Edward Douglas, now
Lord Penrhyn, and Captain Westnera, com-
posed, I believe, the crew.

Pigeon-shooting came also much into fashion.
Captain Ross, a first-rate shot, William Coke,
well known in Leicestershire with the Quorn


hounds, and Mr. Osbaldiston, with other gentle-
men, were to be found at the Red House, where
a supply of pigeons was always ready for all in-
dulging in this description of sport. / never
considered it to be sport, not because I myself
was a bad shot, but because I felt it was a cruel
action to place a pigeon in .a box, pull a string
which opened a door for him to fly out, and to
shoot him the next moment. I have often
since thought of the pretty song, " The Carrier

" Fly away to my native land, sweet dove,
Fly away to my native land ;
And take these lines to my lady love,
That I have traced with a feeble hand."

And when I reflect that all who read the Scrip-
tures find the dove therein represented as the
emblem of peace, I wonder, I confess, when 1
see the ruthless and unmeaning destruction of
these harmless and pretty birds under the name
of sport. My brother Ferrers, when a boy,
reared several pigeons of different sorts crop-
pers, fantails, carriers, &c. Speaking of the
carrier pigeon, it has been for centuries the
trusted means of conveying rapidly informa-
tion to friends far away. The bird is taken


from the cage or the dovecot where it has been
reared, and is sent, we will say, from London
to Edinburgh, with a message fastened under
the wing, in such a manner as not to impede
its flight. The bird being fed there, will return
to London with an answer. I do not know the
mode of fastening, but I have seen many doves
sent off. I remember coming from Antwerp to
London many years ago, with a friend, who, on
arriving at the wharf, brought to the deck a
cage containing two beautiful carrier doves,
with this message attached to each "Nine
o'clock all's well." The birds flew upwards to
an immense height, then wheeled in many
circles, narrowing each circle thus to escape
the pounce of a bird of prey and then darted
off straight to their destination, where they
would be fed.

On coming in to dinner one day, I found

B 's card, with his address at an hotel in

Piccadilly, to which I repaired next morning,
and found him at home. We had a long con-
versation, in the course of which I told him that
I had two days previously received a letter from
Elise's sister, telling me that the latter was gone


to the seminary, and had sent me, through her,
a description of the place, that I might the more
easily find it, at the same time warning me that
she was carefully watched ; with a description
of the two elderly gouvernantes of the house.
We discussed the whole matter, and agreed to
go the next day and reconnoitre the premises,
which we did, and found the house to
be in the exact position pointed out a sub-
stantial gentlemanly residence fronting the
road, with a garden of some extent at the back,
fenced off by a high paling of oak planks from
a path to the village on one side, on the other
by a wall nine feet high, a fitting abode in
which to keep watch and ward over young
lovers. At the extreme end of the garden, a door
in the wall led to the path by which they went
to church, about half a mile distant. Through
crevices in the paling I could see the whole
length of a gravel walk, across a well-kept
lawn, to a flight of steps leading to the door of
the house, on the garden side. Having taken, as
a sailor would say, "the bearings and distance "
all round, we returned home, and I laid my plan
of attack for the next evening.


Setting out about six o'clock, I was on the
spot in an hour, having written a letter to Elise,
and enclosed it in a parcel, carefully secured.
I attached it to a flat stone, which should
carry it safely wherever I should fling it a
small bomb-shell falling into a school ; but my
readers will remember that I was a youth, and
that poor " young love " was imprisoned on my
account. With this in my pocket, I went very
quietly up to the side of the paling, and looked
through a crevice, but I neither saw nor heard
anything ; but the whistle of a baker's boy
coming down the village path warned me to
move on, to avoid observation. When the boy
was out of sight, I took another peep, and, to
my joy, saw the pretty figure of Elise walking
alone up the path near the fence. She looked
back at the house twice, and then advanced,
with a book in her hand, as if reading, but she
stood and listened. I think that even now I
see her beautiful face opposite the spot where I
stood. I lost not a moment, but pitching over
my packet, it fell direct at her feet. She start-
ed, but in an instant picked it up, and with one
kiss of her hand towards the paling, divining


that I must be there, she ran like a fawn, swift-
ly, lightly up the path and into the house. I
went away across the road to a small inn, so
agitated that I took a small glass of brandy
and water, and there I waited till it was nearly
dark, when I returned to the oak fence, think-
ing that Elise might be able to come out again
in the cool air, and bring me an answer, for I
had said in my letter that I would whistle her
favourite air, to show her where I could re-
ceive it. However, I had no opportunity of
carrying out this plan, for although I saw her
with her companions in the garden, and ob-
served her looking round now and then, I
feared to attract attention on her account, and
I returned home to London.

The following day but one was Sunday, and
I determined to see her at the church which she
attended. Going there at eleven o'clock, I
waited near the porch door, and saw five ladies
coming down the path, Elise being one. She
passed close to me, and we exchanged glances.
I found a seat near theirs, where I could see
her. I could, of course, hold no communication,
but, as she had said, it would give her pleasure


to see me, though not allowed to speak to me,
I took this step to gratify her, although I cannot
say that it was at all a satisfactory mode of

In the following week I went three times out
of town to see her, but failed each time, for she
was not in the garden. The next Sunday found
me again at her church, and I followed the
party home. The duennas were both of them
with Elise, and I passed them, pretending
to outwalk them. I fancied that one of them
looked very hard in my face, but this might be
only the impression of my own consciousness.
I had, nevertheless, a full opportunity of ob-
serving Elise, and scanning every feature of
that lovely face, and it struck me sadly that
she had a pale and melancholy expression. As
our eyes met, hers told me painfully that she
was unhappy. I resolved to run every risk to
see her, if possible, to hear the truth of my
fears. The next evening, therefore, I again
repaired to the garden fence, and narrowly
examined it, if, happily, I might discover a spot
over which I could clamber, and hide myself
among the shrubs ; but I found that, in sur-


mounting the top, I should be perceived either
from the house, or by some one on the village
path, or both. Being agile, however, and a
sailor, I could climb anywhere, and I observed
where the garden door opened I could rest my
foot on its lower hinge, and draw myself up by
the post on which the door hung, and drop my-
self down behind some full tall laurustinus.

The thing of importance was to choose a
moment in which I could pass unperceived. I
warily looked up and down the garden, but
although I had laid my plan, and saw how it
could be executed, I confess that I had not the
resolution that evening to venture upon it. It
was well that it was so. I found that, during
my scrutiny, I could command the whole gar-
den walk within, and be less perceived without,
by standing close to the door, and looking
through between it and the post ; but I had
scarcely completed my reconnaissance, when I
heard footsteps, and keeping close to my
friendly post, I peeped and saw Elise coming up
the walk with a lady, her sister, both talking
very earnestly together. As they came close
to the door, intending to turn into the walk to


their right, leading to the house, being certain
of their identity, I whistled softly Elise's fa-
vourite song, "Wilt thou think of me, love,
when I am far away ?" I stood still and listen-
ed, and then heard her exclaim, " Oh ! that's
he ! " Her sister came nearer, and I said, " It
is I. How is she 1"

"And how are you?" she answered.

" Pretty well. But I must see her," said I.
"Can she be here at this time to-morrow alone ?
It is nearly dark now."

" Hush !' ; said she, " the old people are coming
up the walk. Pray go away," and I strolled off,
under cover of the fence, unseen.

The next evening I bent my way to the little
inn, before the time I thought it would be safe
to venture to the garden. I ordered some tea,
and there I sat till the evening shadows began
to lengthen. I then walked up the path, look-
ing through the fence wherever there was an
opening, but in vain, no one was in the garden.
I passed the door, and strolled on towards the
church. " And when I return," thought I, " I
will scale the fortress !" Coming back, I per-
ceived still that no one appeared. I put my


foot on the door-hinge, my hands on the top of
the post, and drew myself up, dropping down be-
hind the laurustinus, my heart beating loudly.
Sitting down there, I waited. Not a breath of
wind stirred the leaves above me. All was still.
I found that this was a good position for con-
cealment, so thick was the shrub that anyone
might pass and not discover me, while I could
see the whole garden. It was a capital post of
observation, and there I sat, not daring to
emerge from my place of ambush, with growing
impatience, for half an hour, thinking to myself
how dull it was sitting behind that bush all
alone. Another half hour passed away, but
still no one seemed to stir in the place. Was
she ill, or so closely watched as to fear making
an attempt to come out ? As these miserable
thoughts passed through my mind, a drizzling
rain came on, and with it vanished all my hopes.
It was now quite dark, and the obscurity
favoured my exit ; and it was time, indeed, to
make it, for I was cold and chilly with anxiety
and disappointment. So I sprang back over
the door-post, regained the inn, got my horse,
and rode back briskly to London, greatly


disheartened, unhappy about my poor Elise.

The next evening's post brought me a letter
from her sister, begging me not to venture too
rashly to see Elise, but to keep away both from
the church and the house for some time ; for if
my presence was suspected, she might be re-
moved thence, and some annoyance might also
arise to me ; for, with Argus eyes, one of the
dames had remarked me in church, when I
looked at Elise, and "wondered why I came
there so often, and who I could be ?"

A month dragged its slow length away, dur-
ing which I neither heard nor saw anything of
them. The season being nearly over in London,
the time drew near when I should return to
Norfolk. I made up my mind to know the
worst how she really was and I wrote to my
constant friend, her sister, confiding to her a
little plan I had formed in my mind to enable
me to see Elise again. It was this. I was a
very fair and delicate-looking young man, with
small features, hands, and feet, blue eyes, and,
as I wore no whiskers then, I thought I might,
dressed carefully as a lady, pass for one.
" Nothing venture, nothing get." I com-


municated my thoughts to two dear friends of
mine, a young married pair, who had themselves
passed through many difficulties in their love
affairs, and they kindly interested themselves
greatly in mine. It was proposed that they
should dress me in the lady's dress, and take
me as their friend in their carriage, and leave
me at the door, drive away, and call for me
again, under the pretext that I was a cousin of
Elise, calling to see her. All this I wrote to her
sister, proposing that Elise, on the following
Sunday, should affect illness, and remain at
home, alone. The reply, sadly enough, told me
that she was ill, and had been unable to go to
church for some time ; that they were much
alarmed at my proposed attempt ; that they
deemed it very imprudent, but they did not
forbid it.

On the Saturday after I dined with my friends,
and tried on my dress, a dark brown silk, but-
toned up to the throat, and fitting me to admi-
ration. Some fair ringlets I had procured, as
for a masquerade, a straw bonnet, with a white
veil, which I was instructed how to wear grace-
fully, and a pelerine, frilled at the throat ; a


pair of lavender gloves, and parasol completed
my costume, under which I wore white trousers,
tied up above the ankle, so as not to be seen,
white silk stockings, with ladies' buttoned boots
and a very pretty pair they were. All this
preparation was completed in my friend's dress-
ing-room, superintended by his wife and her maid,
who was enchanted at my metamorphosis, for a
masquerade (so common in those days), as she
thought ; and when I practised walking into the

drawing-room as Miss T , the laugh at my

expense was greater than I can describe each
declaring that the deception was perfect.

During the greater part of this season, one of
my sisters and her family being with my father,
his house was full, and I had two rooms in
Great Marylebone Street, close by, and dined
in Wimpole Street every day, an arrangement
which much facilitated this little plot.

On Sunday morning I rose early and repaired
to my friends, with whom I breakfasted. The
carriage was ordered to the door at ten o'clock,
and I demurely walked into it, carefully holding
my dress. When in the carriage, sitting oppo-
site to, and surveying me from time to time


approvingly, my friend, to the intense amuse-
ment of his wife, declared " that I was such a
charming young lady, he had a great mind to
fall in love with me himself!" while I, poor I,
was not in love with myself at all, but sat
there with rather a faint heart at what I had
undertaken, and thinking how, if discovered,
Elise might suffer ; but " faint heart ne'er won
fair lady," it is said. However, it was a quarter
to eleven when we arrived near to the house ;
and making sure that, by that time, the party
must be gone to church, my friend directed
his coachman to drive up to the hall door,
where I almost said I would not go any further.
My friend, however, opening the door of the
carriage, jumped out and rang the bell. A
maid-servant answered it, and he inquired if
Miss was at home that if so, a lady wish-
ed to see her.

"Yes," she was within, and he handed me,
with due deference, out of the carriage and up
the steps, with a look of witty intelligence I shall
never forgot as he said,

" We shall call for you, Miss T , in a

quarter of an hour."



I bowed, and was ushered along a passage
and shown into a handsome, well-furnished
apartment. I fancied that the maid eyed me
scrutinizingly. My veil was down. I daresay in
that dress I looked taller than I really was,
nearly five feet eight inches. On leaving me in
the room she asked,

" What name, if you please, miss, shall I

I had forgotten this, not wishing to speak, for
fear my voice should betray me, but now I said,

" Miss T ." I then sat down on a sofa, and

the maid disappeared. In a few minutes I heard

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Online LibraryCharles LoftusMy life. From 1815 to 1849 (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 17)