1822 - Elizabeth Grant
George the Fourth's Visit to Scotland
This autumn King George the Fourth visited Scotland. The whole country went mad. Everybody strained every point to get to Edinburgh to receive him. Sir Walter Scott and the Town Council were overwhelming themselves with the preparations. My mother did not feel well enough for the bustle, neither was I at all fit for it, so we stayed at home with aunt Mary. My father, my sisters and William, with lace, feathers, pearls, the old landau, the old horses, and the old liveries, all went to add to the show, which they said was delightful. The Countess of Lauderdale presented my two sisters and the two Miss Grants of Congalton, a group allowed to be the prettiest there. The Clan Grant had quite a triumph, no equipage was as handsome as that of Colonel Francis Grant, our acting chief, their red and green and gold. There were processions, a view, a levée, a drawing-room, and a ball, at which last Jane was one of the ladies selected to dance in the reel before the King, with, I think, poor Captain Murray of Abercairney, a young naval officer, for her partner. A great mistake was made by the stage managers - one that offended all the southern Scots; the King wore at the levée the Highland dress. I dare say he thought the country all Highland, expected no fertile plains, did not know the difference between the Saxon and the Celt. However, all else went off well, this little slur on the Saxon was overlooked, and it gave occasion for a laugh at one of Lady Saltoun's witty speeches. Someone objecting to this dress, particularly on so large a man, "Nay," said she, "we should take it very kind of him; since his stay will be so short, the more we see of him the better." Sir William Curtis was kilted too, and standing near the King, many persons mistook him, amongst others John Hamilton Dundas, who kneeled to kiss the fat Alderman's hand, when, finding out his mistake, called, "Wrong, by Jove!" and rising, moved on undaunted the larger presence. One incident connected with this time made me very cross. Lord Conyngham, the ChamberIain, was looking everywhere for pure Glenlivet whisky - the King drank nothing else. It was not to be had out of the Highlands. Father sent word to me - I was the cellarer - to empty my pet bin, where was whisky long in wood, long in uncorked bottles, miId as milk, and the contraband goût in it. Much as I grudged this treasure it made our fortunes afterwards, showing on what trifles great events depend. The whisky, and fifty brace of ptarmigan all shot by one man, went up to Holyrood House, and were graciously received and made much of, and a reminder of this attention at a proper moment by the gentlemanly Chamberlain ensured to my father the Indian judgeship.
Grant of Rothiemurchus, Elizabeth
Memoirs of a Highland Lady