(311) James the First is said to have ordered it to be destroyed, in consequence of its having been the scene of the trial and execution of his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, beheaded there in February 1587.-E.
(312) Mr. Cole.
You must know we were drowned on Saturday night. It rained, as it did at Greatworth on Wednesday, all night and all next morning, so we could not look even at the outside of Burleigh; but we saw the inside pleasantly; for Lord Exeter, whom I had prepared for our intentions, came to us, and made every door and every lock fly open, even of his magazines, yet unranged. He is going through the house by decrees, furnishing a room every year, and has already made several most sumptuous. One is a little tired of Carlo Maratti and Lucca Jordano, yet still these are treasures. The china and japan are of the finest; miniatures in plenty, and a shrine full of crystal vases, filigree, enamel, jewels, and the trinkets of taste, that have belonged to many a noble dame. In return for his civilities, I made my Lord Exeter a present of a glorious cabinet, whose drawers and sides are all painted by Rubens. This present you must know is his own, but he knew nothing of the hand or the value. Just so I have given Lady Betty Germain a very fine portrait, that I discovered ,at Drayton in the Woodhouse.
I was not much pleased with Peterborough; the front is adorable, but the inside has no more beauty than consists in vastness. By the way, I have a pen and ink that will not form a letter. We were now sent to Huntingdon in our way to Ely, as we found it impracticable, from the rains and floods, to cross the country thither. We landed in the heart of the assizes, and almost in the middle of the races, both which, to the astonishment of the virtuosi, we eagerly quitted this morning. We were hence sent south to Cambridge, still on our way north to Ely: but when we got to Cambridge we were forced to abandon all thoughts of Ely, there being nothing but lamentable stories of inundations and escapes. However, I made myself amends at the university, which I have not seen these four-and-twenty years, and which revived many youthful scenes, which, merely from their being youthful, are forty times pleasanter than any other ideas. You know I always long to live at Oxford: I felt that I could like to live even at Cambridge again. The colleges are much cleaned and improved since my days, and the trees and groves more venerable; but the town is tumbling about their ears. We surprised Gray with our appearance, dined and drank tea with him, and are come hither within sight of land. I always find it worth my while to make journeys, for the joy I have in getting home again. A second adieu!