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The Royal Plate, &c.

The Royal Plate, &c. image
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The Royal píate, kitchen garden, deer, dogs and ponies, are thus described by tlie editor of Smith's Weekly Volume, who is now traveling in England : "After lunch, we went to visit the Queen's new kitchen garden, near Frogmore ; Mr. Jesse's station admitted us where strangers cannot otherwise penétrate. One hundred and sixly thousand dollars have lately been expended on this new garden for royalty ; the forcing houses are extcnsive ; the glasses move by machinery like watch or clock work. We paced the superb graperies, pineries, peach and nectarine forcing houses, and tasted fine specimens of the Queen's fruits; the Chasselas grapes and prince Albert strawberries were certainly never excecded for excellence. On my observing that Dr. Brinckle, of Philadelphia, had solved that difiicult problem in which European gardeners had failed, of hybridizung the Alpine strawberry with the large cultivated kinds, and thus producing a perpetual bearer, the head gardner, Mr. Ingram, expressed the strongest interest ; said he had not succeeded in his various attempts, and bcgged that I would endeavor to forward him a few plants, in order that he might serve the royal table with this delicious fruit at unseasonable periods. - I have promised for my friend, Dr. B., that the Queen shall be gratifièd ; she has already eaten canvass back ducks fromAmerica with gusto, from a parcel sent over to the late Granville Penn, who forwarded a portion to his neighbor at Windsor. Ilittle thought, when going to England, that I should suggest any novelty for the Queen's table. By the frcqucncy with which the subject was mentioned, I was impressed with its importancc, and have written to Dr. B., to induce him to fulfill my promiáe made in his name. From the library we went to the aparlment called technically "the gold room ;" it is this to which I wish to cali your attention. I surveyed it leisurely, and I do not remcmber to have read adescription of its contents, nor can I give an ouiline of its various treasures ; I commenccd taking notes from the mouth of the custodo, who with his various assistants is every day of the year fully employed in cleansing the píate, but he said it was contrary to orders to allow any notes tobe taken. VVhat memoranda I did make, and what I romember accurately, 1 will state, trusting that my letterwili not be opened, and I convicted o (rcason. To begin ; - the whole collection is valued at twclvc millions of dollars! - There are glass cases like asiïversmith'ü shop, and behind the glass are ihe prin cipal articles ; would you believe that I there saw a dinner service of silver gilt of the most gorgeous kind, presented by the merchants of Liverpool, to the late William the Fourth, long before he was king, in reward for his advocacy of the slave trade. Believe it or not, there it is, with the inscription telling the tale. There is a salver of an immense size, made from the gold snuif boxes alone of George the P'ourth - the lidsand inscriptionscuriously preserved on the surface in a kind of mosaic of gold ; its value fifty thousand dollars. Then you may see near it, Nell Gwynn's bellows - the handles, nozzle, &c., of gold ! the golden peacock inlaid with diamonds and rubies from Delhi - not as large asa phesant, but valued at one hundred and fifty thousand dollars: the footstool ofTippoo Saib, a solid gold lion with chrystal eyes, the value of seventy-five thousand dollars ; Georgc the Fourth's celebrated golden candalabra for a dinneitable, valued at fifty tbousand dollars, so heavy that two men are required to lift each. Piles upon piles of golden plates, sufficient to dine two hundred and fifty persons, with ampie changes, were spread about or in the cleaher's hands. If ihis enumeration does not satisfy your aching visión, we will ask the custode, who seemed extremely auxious in the midst of so much treasure, and would evidently bs glad to get rid of us, to open the long series of drawers. Here are 140 dozen each of gold knives and forks of various patlerns, of which he repeats the names ; as " oak," stag," " George the Third," and so on. Another setofdressers ! - what can they contain % Only 140 dozen each of gold table and tea spoons, all arranged in the most perfect order. Take another walk up and down the room, glass cases on tables in the middle, filled with gorgeous gold, and try to impress some form of taste more elegant than another. It is in vain - memory only carries away a confused idea of riches, such as must have cost poor underground laborers lives of toil, and sweat, and pain, to procure, merely to pamper wealth and royalty ; to do no good - to be almost as useless asitwas in the mine, foritis rarely pro( duced, and requircs a host of human beings merely to keep it bright. A little conversation with this king of the gold-room informed us that it was a poor time fo see the plate, because fifty chests were removed to be used by the Queen at Buckingham Palace ! He said itwas an nwful thing to have to get the plate out for a state dinner, it was so heavy ; and the frequent changes made it a labor to the pages more onerous than the most over-tasked worker in iron. - Mr. Jesse asked him if the ï-ecently inserted iron bars in a ceñara window had not relieved his mind from robbers. He said it had ; " but you know," added he. turning to me, " with so much plate one could hardly sleep, when we knew one of the guards outslde might be bribed at any time, the walls mounted by means of ladders, and a greattlnftcommitted."