From: Snyder, Trooper W.H.
To: L. D. Robinson
July 15th, 1900 Guards Hospital, London
Dear Mr. Robinson: –
You know, no doubt, that I have been invalided to England with enteric and dysentery. For a few days after landing, I was quite “fit,” but to-day have had to re-enter hospital, very sick indeed, with dysentery and abscess of the liver. During the few days of my liberty I saw Her Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria, at Buckingham Palace, also St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster, the Tower of London, Houses of Lords and Commons, War Office, Kensington Palace, Crystal Palace, British Museum, Madame Tussand’s Wax-works, etc. I have made the acquaintance of Mr. Murray, private Secretary to the Duke of Connaught. By his influence I was permitted to go into one of the Towers of Buckingham Palace, overlooking the grounds, where last Wednesday the Queen held a garden party. Glorious weather favored it, and afforded a grand opportunity for the display of exquisite toilettes, to which the beautiful garden of Buckingham Palace forms so fitting a background.
Long before Her Majesty’s appearance thousands of guests thronged the velvet lawns and shady alleys of the grounds, or floated in lazy enjoyment on the cool waters of the lake, in boats manned by the Queen’s bargemen wearing their picturesque scarlet coats and enormous black headgear, very much resembling a huntsman’s cap. Precisely at five the bands of the Royal Horse Guards, the Royal Artillery and the Irish Guards, which were stationed at different points in the gardens, struck up the National Anthem, and the Queen’s carriage, drawn by grey horses, made its appearance. I shall never forget my first impression of the Queen. She looks a good woman in every sense: – kind, motherly and sympathetic. With her was the Princess of Wales and her granddaughter. The Lord Chamberlain and Lord Steward walked on either side of the carriage which proceeded at a foot’s pace down the broad walk skirting the garden, between rows of guests standing ten deep to greet their royal hostess, who bowed and smiled. After driving twice around the grounds, during which the carriage was often stopped that her Majesty might speak to some of her more distinguished guests, the Queen entered the Royal pavilion, which was one mass of roses, orchids, lilies and ferns, and there received the diplomatic corps.
Now, if I am fit, I shall have to return to South Africa on August 9th, but the doctor ridicules the idea.
Berwick Register, Thursday, August 2nd, 1900
Contributor: This letter is transcribed from, and courtesy of, the Berwick Register newspaper, Berwick NS, by Phil and Stephanie Vogler and reproduced here with Phil’s kind permission.