Friday, December 19, 2008

16Jun1863, Cheers for the Prince

OXFORD, Tuesday, June 16th, 1863.
—An almost unbroken soak of small, soft, penetrating rain, cruelly taking from one's enjoyment, and 0 how one hates one's unavoidable smartness in weather when a short print petticoat and waterproof cloak and hood wd be the only comfortable garments ! Nevertheless great have been to-day's enjoyments. We went 1st to the Deanery to see the lovely rooms prepared for T.R.H.'s, and soon after saw them arrive in Tom Quad. I saw them quite beautifully walk up to the Deanery, and for the 1st time realized the loveliness of the Princess, her noble, innocent, and peculiarly dignified expression, her winning grace, and her most beautiful smile. She gave away the prizes standing at the top of one of the flights of steps, under an awning. At about ¼ to 3, Agnes and I found ourselves wedged into a corner of the Ladies' Gallery in the theatre, close to one of the rostrums, and albeit we had nothing particular to sit on, and but little to stand on, we saw and heard famously. And never shall I forget the astounding cheers when the great doors were opened, and our Princess walked up ! As the Prince appeared immediately after her train, the cheers ceased only for the whole mass of voices to join in " God save the Queen " with a mighty shout ; and this was the sublimest thing, in its intense effect upon one, that I have ever heard. Afterwards the tremendous cheers began again and again ; till the theatre and everyone in it was ready to burst ; of course there was plenty of noise besides, and more, and more unruly, than at Cambridge, but this is all I care to remember.

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