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The adventure of three loyal young ladies

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While Her Majesty was preparing to return, the following amusing incident in connection with the presentation of a bracelet to the Princess Christian is probably without a parallel. It had been arranged that four young ladies, Miss Morris, Miss Ironmonger, Miss Hartley, and Miss Mander, who were to present the bracelet, should leave the pavilion in a carriage a few minutes after the departure of the Queen, but from some cause the carriage did not arrive, and the crowd round the pavilion was so dense that a quarter of an hour elapsed ere they could leave it, accompanied by Mr. Hartley and Mr. Kitson. 


Queen Square. From an old magic lantern slide, courtesy of David Clare.

It was impossible to get to the railway station where the presentation was to take place, in the face of the vast crowds who blocked the way, and an effort was therefore made to gain the back way by the Horsefair. Some time, however, was spent in vain, and the party had to beat a retreat; in the hope of meeting with a carriage, they went to the Town Hall, but finding none, Mr. Hartley, considering the task impossible, relinquished it on the part of himself and his daughter. Mr. Kitson, however, chivalrously offered to assist the ladies, and promised them success if they would take nil desperandum for their motto, and follow him as their leader; their chance consisted in making a long detour, so they started by the Townwell Fold, where they happily met the brother of Miss Morris and another young gentleman, and continued their course as fast as they decorously could, as time pressed, along Skinner Street, Bell Street, Snow Hill, Cleveland Road, Bilston Street, Walsall Street, Union Street, across Horseley Fields, the High Level Railway, until they approached the object of their desire, the Great Western Railway Station.

Here, however, the obstacles were so great with cavalry keeping the ground and crowds of people that a second detour became necessary, and passing on, they succeeded in getting to the rear of the station, but were effectually stopped by a high fence which they could not surmount. Calling to their aid a railway policeman, and explaining their mission, he managed, with the assistance of several others, to remove a part of the obstruction, they then ran down the steep bank of the railway, clearing the wires for the signal posts and the ditch at the bottom, but encountered a formidable obstacle in the shape of a long luggage train. There was no time to lose, however, so they must needs pass under it as best they could, and so they succeeded in gaining the platform side of the station, hot and weary, but carrying the bracelet in triumph, and in time to present it to the Princess Christian, through the Mayoress, Lady Morris, as Her Majesty passed to her carriage.

During this time the friends of the young ladies were anxiously awaiting them at the station, and, not knowing the cause of their detention, a mounted orderly was sent in search of them; and, again, as Her Majesty was expected to depart every minute, Captain Segrave kindly sent off a carriage, with two mounted orderlies, to make diligent search for them. This, however, proved unnecessary, for directly afterwards they took their friends in the rear, in the manner we have described.


Queen Square in 1902. Courtesy of Eardley Lewis.

We have been careful in giving the route, as it would be impossible otherwise to appreciate the difficulty of the task so cleverly accomplished and which reflects so much credit upon all concerned, especially upon our three fair young townswomen. The bracelet was furnished by Messrs. Hancock and Co., jewellers, of London, and was worth, we understand, £150. It was a very beautiful piece of jewelry, designed with much taste. A number of large oval amethysts were set round a gold band, each amethyst bearing in its centre a letter set in brilliants, and all the letters so formed composed the word "Souvenir."


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