THE HALLS AT HOME IN THE 1850's Part II (PLATES XIV. 27-29) IN July 1857, Queen Sophie of the Netherlands1 (first wife of King William III, grandfather of Queen Juliana) visited England. Travelling under the name of 'Countess of Buren',2 she arrived in London with her younger son, Prince Alexander, 3 and was met by Baron Bentinck,4 Minister for the Netherlands, who escorted her to Claridges Hotel. Sir Benjamin5 and Baron Bentinck had long been friends, so it was a foregone conclusion that he and Lady Hall6 would be among the first to meet the Queen, and to hear of all her activities. The Halls were also among those whom the Queen 'Honoured with her presence at dinner in the evening'7 during her stay. One of the very few surviving letters8 written by Sir Benjamin, other than official letters, describes some of her activities, and the entertainment he and Lady Hall gave for the Queen at Great Stanhope Street.9 It shows him to have been endowed with a sense of humour, and the kind of hospitality which is prepared to go to any trouble to give pleasure to an invited guest. Writing to Col. Phipps10 on 25 July 185711 he says: 'The Queen of the Netherlands is daily engaged in seeing all that should be seen. She is most agreeable and full of information, and seems thoroughly to delight in adding to the vast amount of knowledge already possessed. You will have heard that on Thursday Her Majesty went to Windsor. After viewing the castle and taking Luncheon at Frogmore12 the Queen drove for many miles through the Park, etc. I cannot describe the exact route, but it was through a drive with very fine rhododendrons and laurels, thence to Virginia water,13 and the 'ruins of a Temple',14 where the Queen, the Duchess of Kent15 and Princess Mary16 got out of the carriage. Thence through a portion of the Long Walk17 to the Station. On Friday the Queen went to Greenwich,18 then to the Agamemnon19 which was just about to sail then alongside the Great Eastern20 then to London Docks. Her Majesty then returned home, and afterwards came here. We had great trouble to get the National Airs with or without words, so we telegraphed to Holland and thus obtained the true version of 'Wilhelmus van Nassowen', and the Old Air 'Wein Neerland's Bloedt'. But no effort of genius could enable us to make the 'Orpheus Union' pronounce the Old Dutch. At last it was discovered that at the Record Office there was a learned man who understands Dutch. He put it into literal prose and then a harmonic poet improvised to put it into such metre as would go with the music and having done so much we got a friend who is a very good poet to compose 'Stanzas to the Queen of The Netherlands' in the same metre. Nothing I can say can describe the rehearsals, of which I received an account from Lady Hall, who superintended The Sons of Orpheus, and who she had great difficulty in persuading that to be accompanied by instruments was additionally honorable to themselves but we have the satisfaction of believing that all our efforts were successful. I must add that the effect was really good. I