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Who has not read, in records free,
A WORD or two about Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire ; for some time or other you may see the place, if you have not visited it already.
Belvoir Castle is one of the most splendid mansions in all England. It stands on a hill that commands a goodly prospect, and the deep green foliage of the forest trees that surround it is lovely to look on.
About eight hundred years ago the standardbearer of William the Conqueror_began to build the castle. His name was Robert de Todini. Could he now look on the princely pile, he would not know it again. It is altogether different from what it was.
Again and again the old castle was attacked and taken, and battered and rebuilt. During the civil wars of the Houses of York and Lancaster, it sometimes belonged to one party and sometimes to another; and when king Charles fell out with his parliament it was the same. Many a hard battle has been fought around the castle walls.
Belvoir Castle now belongs to John Henry Manners, duke of Rutland, who has made it what it is at a vast expense,
At one time the greater part of it was burned down, at a loss of at least a hundred and twenty thousand pounds; but the duke, notwithstanding his loss, was thankful to God that no lives in his household were lost.
It was a sad sight to see the castle in flames. The grand staircase was burned, with many of the splendid apartments, and the picture gallery. Fire spares neither roofs nor walls, floors nor fumiture, papers nor pictures. It spreads far and wide, ravaging and destroying everything in its course.
In vain the powers of man oppose ;
There are arms of different kinds-swords, muskets, and pistols in curious forms and splendid suits of armour in the entrance hal] and narrow passages ; and then there are paintings and stained-glass windows in the galleries.
The Regent's gallery is rich in splendid furniture, gilt cornices, costly carpetting, in. laid cabinets, crimson couches, and tapestry of the most elegant and sumptuous kind.
The chapel has in it a number of most valuable paintings, and the library is well stored with books. You would not like to be obliged to read them all. The duchess's boudoir has not been used since she died. The strongest castle walls cannot keep out death.
The ball room, the queen's drawing-room, the Chinese apartment, the dining room, and many others, would surprise you; but of all the rooms in Belvoir Castle, the grand saloon is the most magnificent. From the painted ceiling to the carpetted floor there is something on every side to admire : furniture, ornaments, curiosities, miniatures, and paintings. You have crimson and gold always before you ; with cabinets adorned with bunches of grapes formed with agates, cornelians, and other stones : while the carpets are beautified with peacocks
spreading their tails.
The portraits of the duke and duchess, and the marble statue of the latter, are excellent. This is, indeed, a splendid apartment
Filled with treasures rich and rare
Lofty, spacious, light and fair. If Belvoir Castle had nothing else than its picture gallery it would be worth going many a mile to see. Paintings by Rubens, Poussin, Claude, and most of the olden masters, adorn the walls. Any one fond of pictures might ramble
up and down for a day, and find something to delight him every hour.
When the weather is fair the prospect from the castle windows is very fine. In summer time visitors arrive throughout the day in great numbers. Some with grey hairs and grave faces, but many more with the sparkling cyes and beating hearts of youth. How pleasant it is to see young people happy!
The stronghold of the castle is called Staunton's Tower. In past ages, the Staunton family were required to find men to defend the castle in times of danger. The old custom still remains in force, of the head of the Stauntons presenting the gold key of the stronghold to any part of the royal family visiting the castle.
With loyal pride he stands beside
The portal, clothed with power ;
Or Staunton's massy tower. At a little distance from the castle is the mausoleum or sepulchre of the late duchess, which is very beautiful. You look through a shadowy avenue, and see at the end of it a pure
white marble statue, representing the duchess rising to the skies, where her children appear ready to receive her. The light is thrown so brightly on the statue, that it really seems as if the figure were rising. It is exceedingly beautiful.
Belvoir Castle has delighted thousands, and no doubt will give pleasure to thousands more. Its towers, its chambers, its furniture, its curiosities, its paintings, its woods and its walks, are all of the first order. Be sure that you see it, should the opportunity ever occur, In the meantime let us wish well to its noble owner. May no consuming fire again encircle his princely dwelling; and may a yet nobler habitation be provided for him, "not made with hands,” but “ eternal in the heavens,”—
Where sin and sorrow enter never,
BIBLE QUESTIONS. 1. GIVE instances of a want of faith from the book of Genesis.-Gen. xii. 11-20; xx. ; xxvi. 7--11.
2. How was Joseph a type of Christ?-Gen. xxxvii. 28.
3. What things did the ark of the covenant contain P-Heb. ix. 4.
4. Who was sent to execute punishment upon the Amalekites ? and why P-Sam. xv. 2, 3.
5. Did he obey the command of God ? and what was the consequence ?-1 Sam. xv. 11, 28, 29.
6. What are able to make us wise unto sal. vation P-2 Tim. iii. 15.
LOVE YOUR ENEMIES. ANGRY looks can do no good,
And blows are dealt in blindness ;
If spoken but in kindness.
Although by childhood muttered,
Or oaths that men have uttered.
And quarrels be prevented,
Forgiren, not resented.
For angry thoughts reveal them ;
Than let another feel them.
THE OLD YEAR. This year is just going away,
The moments are finishing fast;
To pardon the sins of the past :
So help me to walk in thy fear,
Or idleness, waste the New Year.
BTEVENS AND CO., PRINTERS, BELL YARD, TEMPLE BAR.