The day of high jubilee, the day of feasting and merriment, such as had never been witnessed in Vellenaux by its oldest inhabitant, at length arrived. High and low, rich and poor of the village and for miles around, turned out in holiday costume to witness the return of Edith and Arthur to their childhood’s happy home. Triumphal arches of eve greens and flags had been erected at different places between Switchem station and the Park gates. The two troops of volunteer cavalry that had been raised from among the tenantry of Carlton Abbey and Vellenaux, armed and equipped at the expense of the Earl and Countess, already licked into something like order and discipline by the non-commissioned officers of the regular service, procured through Arthur’s interest at the Horse Guards, lined both sides of the road between the arches. Several bands of music, sent down from London, were stationed in different parts of the grounds, and enlivened the scene by playing many of the most popular airs of the day. A deputation of about one hundred gentlemen and well-to-do farmers, all mounted, and headed by the Lord Lieutenant of the County, met the happy couple as they stepped from the platform into their open barouche, with its four prancing and gaily decorated horses, which was in waiting at the Switchem station. After several addresses had been read and replied to, the cortege passed slowly on towards Vellenaux, the cavalry filing in rear and the gay holiday seekers following as best they could. On arriving at the principal entrance the party alighted, the host and hostess, and their invited guests proceeded to the grand hall, where a magnificent collation awaited them. The remainder spread themselves over the grounds and Park, where, beneath the outspreading branches of the fine old trees, were placed benches, beside tables groaning under the weight of enormous sirloins, rounds of beef, and pies of mighty dimensions, with sweet home-made broad, and other edibles of various descriptions. Tents were pitched here and there, where also could be obtained, all free, gratis and for nothing, fine old October ale, rich sparkling cider, clotted cream, curds and whey, tea and coffee, and confectionery in great abundance. Feasting and merriment being the order of the day.
Games of various kinds were entered into with such alacrity and good will, proving how thoroughly they were enjoyed by both participants and lookers on. Cricket, pitching the quoit, and foot ball was going on in one part of the grounds, single stick; and quarter staff playing, and wrestling matches between the men of “Merrie Sherwood,” Nottingham, and the yeomen of Devon in another.