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Belle Skinner Journal Wednesday, August 17, 1887


Monday, Aug. 17

We spent this morning in the Hotel resting from our long journey yesterday.  About half past one we took a carriage and drove first to the Castle.  We were impressed with its tremendous size and strength.  Procuring a guide we went over the whole castle thoroughly.  We were especially interested in Queen Margaret’s Chapel, the smallest and one of the oldest chapels in England.  A little stone room, not more than four or five feet square.  Near by is “Mons Meg” an immense cannon cast at Mons.  The balls it throws weigh 300 pounds.  We also saw the Scottish Regalia, and the room where James I was born—a little bit of a room, not more than six feet long.  The part formerly occupied by families attending upon the court, is not [did she mean now?] used as barracks, indeed is the whole castle.  We were shown the spot where the Douglass children were murdered


And the building in which the “Black Dinner of Scotland” was given.  On our way out we saw the soldiers drill in front of the castle.  Their suits are very picturesque.  Scotch plaid skirts and white waists.  At the foot of the hill, we saw the funeral procession of one of the pipers.  The bag pipes played a doleful funeral march, supposed to be musical.  After the castle, we visited the Church and Cemetery of the Grey Friars.  The church is a small stone one.  We could not go inside it.  In the Cemetery we saw the tomb of the Martyrs, about 800 of whom were slain in Edinburgh.  From the Cemetery we drove to St. Giles Church, but had only time to look at the stone in the yard marking John Knox’s grave, when we were driven home by the rain.  The stone is only a square slab in the pavement, bearing the initials J.K. and the date of his death.


Sunk in the pavement, rather side-walk near the church is seen the Heart of Mid-Lothian.  After the showers, we started out again, and went first to John Knox’s house.  We found it closed, so were obliged to leave it until tomorrow.  Then we drove straight to Holyrood Palace.  This, Queen and I think, by far the most interesting object we have yet seen.  The first room we visited was the Art Gallery where we saw over one hundred hypothetical paintings of Scottish Kings and Queens.  This same room was used as a ball room by the Pretender during his stay at Holyrood.  From this room we went into Lord Darnley’s apartments.  These belong to a more ancient part of the palace.  In his audience room are three beautiful pieces of tapestry.  There are also two beautiful tapestries representing the battle between  Constantine and Maxentius for the crown. A.D. 312.


We next saw Darnley’s bed-room and dressing-room in which there were four ancient pieces of furniture.  The next thing we saw was Queen Mary’s private stair.  The one that the assassins of Rizzio ascended.  Mounting to the next floor—not by the private stair-case—we went first into Queen Mary’s Audience Chamber.  The ceiling is laid in panels here, and also in her bedroom.  The walls are hung with tapestry.  In this room is the bed of Charles I while at Holyrood.  A magnificent piece of furniture formerly.  There are also some various very old chairs in this room.  We passed from here into the next room, Queen Mary’s bed-room.  Here we saw her bed—an elaborate trough in our eyes a small affair.  Here we also saw James I’s baby basket, the Queen’s own looking glass, and several ancient chairs.  We next entered the Queen’s…


drawing room, and after that her suff[er]ing room, the scene of Rizzio’s murder.  This room seemed very small. In it was displayed some armour.  After going through Queen Mary’s apartment, we went down stairs again, and passed all the Chapel Royal, now in ruins.  This must once have been very beautiful, and is now intensely interesting.  The roof has entirely fallen in.  In this Chapel may be seen a door the very oldest part of the whole castle.  The Chapel completed our visit to Holyrood, and we came away enthusiastic over it.  On our way back to the Hotel, we saw Burns Monument, not nearly as imposing as Scotts.  The High School modeled after the Temple of Theresa at Athens and the Persians.  We expect to take some drives tomorrow.

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