Gateway to the Classics: Scotland's Story by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Scotland's Story by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall

George IV.—God Save the King

"Hark! the pibroch's martial strain

Ca's the clans to Lothian plain:

Scotland's got her King again;

Welcome, Royal Geordie!"

George ii. died in 1759 a.d. , and was succeeded by his grandson, George iii. He reigned for sixty years, and was succeeded in 1820 a.d. by his son George iv. I have not told you very much about these kings because most of the interesting things which happened belong to the story of Britain, and you will read of them in British histories.

You remember in the time of Anne, when the kingdoms of England and Scotland were joined together, the Regalia of Scotland were carefully locked up and hidden away. So carefully were they hidden away that many people thought that they were lost for ever. At last the King was asked to allow the strong room to be opened, so that the Regalia might be searched for.

The King gave his consent, and one morning several gentlemen went to Edinburgh castle to look for the crown.

The door of the strong room was opened, and inside, the chest was found. There were two locks on the chest, and as the keys had been lost, the King's smith was sent for to break the locks. As the blows of his hammer fell, the chest seemed to give back a hollow, empty sound.

Among the gentlemen who stood round watching and waiting anxiously was Mr. Walter Scott. He was a writer of books. He wrote stories of Scotland and Scottish life which are read not only by Scotsmen, but by people all over the world. He also wrote a History of Scotland for his grandson, which he called Tales of a Grandfather,  and some day, when you are a very little older, you will read his History and his other stories too. George iv. thought so much of Mr. Scott's books that he made him a baronet, and so we remember him, not as Mr. Scott, but as Sir Walter Scott.

Sir Walter loved Scotland and everything that belonged to Scotland, and while the locks of the chest in which the Regalia lay, were being broken, he waited with an anxious heart.

At last the heavy lid was lifted, and there, to the delight of every one, lay the Regalia, just as they had been hidden away more than a hundred years before. As soon as it was known that the jewels were safe, the royal standard was hoisted on the castle, and the cheers of the soldiers were echoed by hundreds of people who had gathered in the streets, waiting for the news.

Since then the Regalia have been placed in a room in Edinburgh castle where every one may see them. And when you go to Edinburgh, as you will some day, you will climb the castle rock and look at the crown and sceptre and sword of the Ancient Kingdom.

About two years after George iv. came to the throne he paid a visit to Scotland. Except for "the King over the water" it was the first time that a king had visited Scotland since the days of Charles i. , and although George iv. was neither a good man nor a great king, the people welcomed him with joy.

It was resolved to remove the Regalia from the castle of Edinburgh to Holyrood Palace, so that they might be carried before the King when he rode in state to the castle. This was done with much ceremony. A great procession of lords and gentlemen went to the castle, the gates of which were found fast shut. A herald blew his trumpet. "Who is there?" asked a voice from within the castle.

"The King's Knight Marischal," replied the herald. "He comes to receive the Regalia which are placed within your castle. He demands admission in the name of the King."

"Throw open the gates and make way for the King's Knight Marischal," cried the voice from within.

The gates were then thrown open, and the Knight Marischal, followed by other great people, marched in.

When he came out again the Knight Marischal carried the Regalia on a velvet cushion, the band played "God save the King," and so, with banners flying and bagpipes playing, the Regalia were carried in state to Holyrood, through streets crowded with cheering people. There they were kept, guarded night and day by twelve gentlemen, until the King's visit was over, and they were then taken back again to the castle.

The King sailed to Scotland in his yacht the Royal George.  When he anchored at Leith, Sir Walter Scott went out in a boat to welcome him.

"What," said the King when he heard that he was there, "Walter Scott, the man in Scotland I most want to see. Let him come up."

So Sir Walter went on board and knelt to kiss the King's hand, and George called for wine and drank to his health.

Next day the King drove through the streets of Edinburgh. He wore a thistle and a sprig of heather in his hat, and was dressed in Stewart tartan, and the people cheered him for a true Scottish King. For a few days there was great excitement, bonfires and fireworks, balls, parties, and processions. Then the King went back to England.

And here I think I must end, for Scotland has no more a story of her own—her story is Britain's story.

It was Highlandmen who withstood the enemy at Balaclava; it was the sound of the bagpipes that brought hope to the hopeless in dreadful Lucknow; it was Scotsmen who led the way up the Heights of Abraham; it was a Scotsman, David Livingstone, who first brought light into Darkest Africa, and it was another Scotsman, General Gordon, who there laid down his life for the Empire, so you must read the rest of the story of Scotland in the story of the Empire. For Scotsmen did not do these things alone. They were able to do them because they stood shoulder to shoulder with their English brothers, and fought and laboured, not for themselves, but for the Empire, and so Scotland shares in the glory of the Empire, and adds to it.

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