“Once seated; the combined bands of the army sounded a very loud and animated march, which was the signal for the beginning of the ceremony of the carousel. The seven knights of The Blended Rose, most marvellously dressed in a costume of the Henry IV. period of France (which, being so beyond description, I have endeavoured a sketch), on white horses, preceded by a herald and three trumpeters, entered the quadrangle, and by proclamation asserted that the ladies of The Blended Rose excelled in wit, beauty, and accomplishment those of the whole world, and challenged any knight to dispute it. Thereupon appeared the seven knights of The Burning Mountain, and by their herald announced that they would disprove by arms the vainglorious assertions of the knights of The Blended Rose and show that the ladies of The Burning Mountain as far excelled all others in charms as the knights themselves surpassed all others in prowess. Upon this a glove of defiance was thrown, the esquires presented their knights with their lances, the signal for the charge was sounded, and the conflict ensued, until on a second signal they fell back, leaving but their chiefs in single combat. These fighting furiously, were Presently parted by the judges of the field, with the announcement that they were of equal valour, and their ladies of equal beauty. Forming in single file, they advanced and saluted, and a finish was put to this part of the entertainment.
“We now retired to the house for tea, where the knights, having dismounted, followed us, and paid homage to their fair ones, from each of whom they received a favour. The ball then succeeded, which lasted till nine, when the company distributed themselves at the windows and doors to view fireworks of marvellous beauty, ending with a grand illumination of the arch. More dancing then occupied us, till we were summoned to supper, which was served in a saloon one hundred and eighty feet long, gaily painted and decorated; and made brilliant by a great number of lustres hung from the roof, while looking-glasses, chandeliers, and girandoles decked the walls, the whole enlivened by garlands of flowers and festoons of silk and ribbons. Here we were waited upon by twenty-four negroes in blue and white turbans and party-coloured clothes and sashes, whilst the most pathetic music was performed by a concealed band. Toasts to the king and queen, the royal family, the army and navy, with their respective commanders, the knights and their ladies, and the ladies in general, were drunk in succession, each followed by a flourish of music, when once again the dancing was resumed, and lasted till the orb of day intruded his presence upon us.
“Sir William left us at noon to-day, regretted by the whole army, and, as I write this, I can hear a salute of guns in honour of Sir Henry Clinton’s assuming the command. Pray Heaven he does not remove dadda.
“At last I know, Tibbie, what court life must be like.”