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Life of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, (Victoria) Vol II by Sarah Tytler

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Life Of

Her Most Gracious Majesty

THE QUEEN

by

SARAH TYTLER

_Edited with an Introduction by_

LORD RONALD GOWER, FSA.

IN TWO VOLUMES

Vol II

* * * * *

CONTENTS.

VOL. II.

CHAP.

I. ROYAL PROGRESSES TO BURGHLEY, STOWE, AND STRATHFIELDSAYE

II. THE QUEEN'S POWDER BALL

III. THE QUEEN'S FIRST VISIT TO GERMANY

IV. RAILWAY SPECULATION--FAILURE OF THE POTATO CROP--SIR ROBERT PEEL'S
RESOLUTIONS--BIRTH OF PRINCESS HELENA--VISIT OF IBRAHIM PASHA

V. AUTUMN YACHTING EXCURSIONS--THE SPANISH MARRIAGES--WINTER VISITS

VI. INSTALLATION OF PRINCE ALBERT AS CHANCELLOR OF CAMBRIDGE

VII. THE QUEEN'S VISIT TO THE WESTERN ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND AND STAY AT
ARDVERIKIE

VIII. THE FRENCH FUGITIVES--THE PEOPLE'S CHARTER

IX. THE QUEEN'S FIRST STAY AT BALMORAL

X. PUBLIC AND DOMESTIC INTERESTS--FRESH ATTACK UPON THE QUEEN

XI. THE QUEEN'S FIRST VISIT TO IRELAND

XII. SCOTLAND AGAIN--GLASGOW AND DEE-SIDE

XIII. THE OPENING OF THE NEW COAL EXCHANGE--THE DEATH OF QUEEN
ADELAIDE

XIV. PREPARATION FOR THE EXHIBITION--BIRTH OF THE DUKE OF CONNAUGHT

XV. THE DEATHS OF SIR ROBERT PEEL, THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE, AND LOUIS
PHILIPPE

XVI. THE QUEEN'S FIRST STAY AT HOLYROOD--THE DEATH OF THE QUEEN OF
THE BELGIANS

XVII. THE PAPAL BULL--THE GREAT EXHIBITION

XVII. THE QUEEN'S ACCOUNT OF THE OPENING OF THE EXHIBITION

XIX. THE QUEEN'S "RESTORATION BALL" AND THE "GUILDHALL BALL."

XX. ROYAL VISITS TO LIVERPOOL AND MANCHESTER--CLOSE OF THE EXHIBITION

XXI. DISASTERS--YACHTING TRIPS--THE DEATH OF THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON

XXII. THE IRON DUKE'S FUNERAL

XXIII. THE EMPEROR NAPOLEON III. AND THE EMPRESS EUGÉNIE--FIRE AT
WINDSOR

XXIV. THE EASTERN QUESTION--APPROACHING WAR--GROSS INJUSTICE TO PRINCE
ALBERT

XXV. THE BATTLE OF INKERMANN--FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE--THE DEATH OF THE
EMPEROR NICHOLAS

XXVI. INSPECTION OF THE HOSPITAL AT CHATHAM--DISTRIBUTION OF WAR
MEDALS

XXVII. DEATH OF LORD RAGLAN--VISIT OF THE QUEEN AND PRINCE ALBERT TO
THE EMPEROR AND EMPRESS OF THE FRENCH--FALL OF SEBASTOPOL

XXVIII. BETROTHAL OF THE PRINCESS ROYAL--QUEEN'S SPEECH TO THE
SOLDIERS RETURNED FROM THE CRIMEA--BALMORAL

XXIX. DEATH OF THE PRINCE OF LEININGEN--BIRTH OF PRINCESS BEATRICE--
BESTOWAL OF THE VICTORIA CROSS--INDIAN MUTINY

XXX. THE MARRIAGE OF THE PRINCESS ROYAL

XXXI. DEATH OF THE DUCHESSE D'ORLEANS--THE PRINCE CONSORT'S VISIT TO
GERMANY--THE QUEEN AND PRINCE CONSORT'S VISIT TO PRINCE AND PRINCESS
FREDERICK WILLIAM AT BABELSBERG

XXXII. BIRTH OF PRINCE WILLIAM OF PRUSSIA--DEATH OP PRINCE HOHENLOHE

XXXIII. DEATH OF THE DUCHESS OF KENT

XXXIV. LAST VISIT TO IRELAND--MEETING OF THE PRINCE OF WALES AND THE
PRINCESS ALEXANDRA OF DENMARK--DEATH OF THE KING OF PORTUGAL AND HIS
BROTHERS.

XXXV. THE DEATH OF THE PRINCE CONSORT

XXXVI. THE WITHDRAWAL TO OSBORNE--THE PRINCE CONSORT'S FUNERAL

XXXVII. THE FIRST MONTHS OF WIDOWHOOD--MARRIAGE OF THE PRINCE OF
WALES, ETC., ETC.

XXXVIII. DEATHS OF LORD PALMERSTON AND THE KING OF THE BELGIANS

XXXIX. STAY AT HOLYROOD--DEATHS OF PRINCESS HOHENLOHE AND OF PRINCE
FREDERICK OF DARMSTADT--MARRIAGE OF THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH

XL. BIRTH OF THE FIRST GREAT-GRANDCHILD--MARRIAGE OF THE DUKE OF
ALBANY--CONCLUSION

* * * * *

LIST OF STEEL PLATES.

H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES
OSBORNE HOUSE
THE PASTURE, OSBORNE
THE AMAZON (PORTRAIT OF H.R.H. THE PRINCESS HELENA)
THE ROYAL YACHT OFF MOUNT ST. MICHAEL
THE PRINCESS LOUISE
THE PRINCESS HELENA
PRINCESSES HELENA AND LOUISE
THE HUNTER (H.R.H. PRINCE ARTHUR)
HYDE PARK IN 1851
THE FISHER (H.R.H. PRINCE LEOPOLD)
H.R.H. THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE, K.G., ETC.
THE CRADLE (H.R.H. PRINCESS BEATRICE)
H.R.H. THE PRINCESS OF WALES (BUST)
H.R.H. THE PRINCESS OF WALES
THE ALBERT MEMORIAL
MONUMENT TO THE PRINCESS ALICE OF HESSE

* * * * *

QUEEN VICTORIA.

CHAPTER I.

ROYAL PROGRESSES TO BURGHLEY, STOWE, AND STRATHFIELDSAYE.

On the 29th of November the Queen went on one of her visits to her
nobility. We are told, and we can easily believe, these visits were
very popular and eagerly contested for. In her Majesty's choice of
localities it would seem as if she loved sometimes to retrace her
early footsteps by going again with her husband to the places where
she had been, as the young Princess, with the Duchess of Kent. The
Queen went at this time to Burghley, the seat of the Marquis of
Exeter. The tenantry of the different noblemen whose lands she passed
through lined the roads, the mayors of the various towns presented
addresses, the school children sang the National Anthem.

At Burghley, too, Queen Elizabeth had been before Queen Victoria. She
also had visited a Cecil. The Maiden Queen had travelled under
difficulties. The country roads of her day had been so nearly
impassable that her only means of transit had been to use a pillion
behind her Lord Steward. Her seat in the chapel was pointed out to the
Queen and Prince Albert when they went there for morning prayers.
Whether or not both queens whiled away a rainy day by going over the
whole manor-house, down to the kitchen, we cannot say; but it is not
likely that her Majesty's predecessor underwent the ordeal to her
gravity of passing through a gentleman's bedroom and finding his best
wig and whiskers displayed upon a block on a chest of drawers. And we
are not aware that Queen Elizabeth witnessed such an interesting
family rite as that which her Majesty graced by her presence. The
youngest daughter of the Marquis and Marchioness of Exeter was
christened in the chapel, at six o'clock in the evening, before the
Queen, and was named for her "Lady Victoria Cecil," while Prince
Albert stood as godfather to the child. After the baptism the Queen
kissed her little namesake, and Prince Albert presented her with a
gold cup bearing the inscription, "To Lady Victoria Cecil, from her
godfather Albert." At dinner the newly-named child was duly toasted by
the Queen's command.

The next day the royal party visited "Stamford town," from which the
Mayor afterwards sent Prince Albert the gift of a pair of Wellington
boots, as a sample of the trade of the place. The drive extended to
the ruins of another manor-house which, Lady Bloomfield heard, was
built by the Cecils for a temporary resort when their house of
Burghley was swept. The Queen and the Prince planted an oak and a
lime, not far from Queen Elizabeth's lime. The festivities ended with
a great dinner and ball, at which the Queen did not dance. Most of the
company passed before her chair of State on the dais, as they do at a
drawing-room.

On the 29th of December an aged English kinswoman of the Queen's died
at the Ranger's House, Blackheath, where she held the somewhat
anomalous office of Ranger of Greenwich Park. This was Princess Sophia
Matilda, daughter of the Duke of Gloucester, George III.'s brother,
and sister of the late Duke of Gloucester, the husband of his cousin,
Princess Mary.

Her mother's history was a romance. She was the beautiful niece of
Horace Walpole, the illegitimate daughter of his brother, the Earl of
Oxford. She married first the Earl of Waldegrave, and became the
mother of the three lovely sisters whom Sir Joshua Reynolds's brush
immortalised. The widowed countess caught the fancy of the royal Duke,
just as it was said, in contemporary letters, that another fair young
widow turned the head of another brother of the King's. George III.
refused at first to acknowledge the Duke of Gloucester's marriage, but
finally withdrew his opposition. If, as was reported, the Duke of York
married Lady Mary Coke, the marriage was never ratified. The risk of
such marriages caused the passing of the Royal Marriage Act, which
rendered the marriage of any member of the royal family without the
consent of the reigning sovereign illegal. The children of the Duke of
Gloucester and his Duchess were two--Prince William and Princess
Sophia Matilda. They held the somewhat doubtful position, perhaps more
marked in those days, of a family royal on one side of the house only.
The brother, if not a very brilliant, an inoffensive and not an
illiberal prince, though wicked wags called him "Silly Billy,"
improved the situation by his marriage with the amiable and popular
Princess Mary, to whom a private gentleman, enamoured by hearsay with
her virtues, left a considerable fortune. We get a passing glimpse of
the sister, Princess Sophia Matilda, in Fanny Burney's diary. She was
then a pretty, sprightly girl, having apparently inherited some of her
beautiful mother's and half-sisters' attractions. She was admitted to
terms of considerable familiarity and intimacy with her royal cousins;
and yet she was not of the circle of Queen Charlotte, neither could
she descend gracefully to a lower rank. No husband, royal or noble,
was found for her. One cannot think of her without attaching a sense
of loneliness to her princely estate. She survived her brother, the
Duke of Gloucester, ten years, and died at the age of seventy-two at
the Ranger's House, Blackheath, from which she had dispensed many
kindly charities. At her funeral the royal standard was hoisted half-
mast high on Greenwich Hospital, the Observatory, the churches of St.
Mary and St. Alphege, and on Blackheath. She was laid, with nearly all
her royal race for the last two generations, in the burial-place of
kings, St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Prince Albert occupied his stall
as a Knight of the Garter, with a mourning scarf across his field-
marshal's uniform.

In the middle of January, 1845, the Queen and Prince Albert went on a
visit to the Duke of Buckingham at Stowe, which was still unstripped
of its splendid possessions and interesting antiquarian relics. The
huge gathering of neighbours and tenants included waggons full of
labourers, admitted into the park to see the Queen's arrival and the
illumination of the great house at night.

The amusements of the next two days, the ordinary length of a royal
visit, began with _battues_ for the Prince, when the accumulation
of game was so enormous that, in place of the fact being remarkable
that "he hit almost everything he fired at," it would have been
singular if a good shot could have avoided doing so. Fifty beaters, so
near each other that their sticks almost touched, entered a thick
cover and drove the game past the place where the sportsmen were
stationed, into the open space of the park. Out the hares rushed from
every quarter, "so many of them, that it was often impossible to stop
more than one out of half-a-dozen. The ground immediately in front of
the shooters became strewn with dead and dying.... It was curious to
behold the evident reluctance with which the hares left their retreat,
and then their perplexity at finding themselves so beset without. Many
actually made for the canal, and swam like dogs across a piece of
water nearly a hundred yards wide, shaking themselves upon landing,
and making off without any apparent distress. The pheasants were
still more averse 'to come and be killed.' For some time not one
appeared above the trees. The cocks were heard crowing like domestic
fowls, as the numerous tribe retreated before the sticks of the
advancing army of beaters. Upon arriving, however, at the edge of the
wood, quite a cloud ascended, and the slaughter was proportionately
great."

"Slaughter," not sport, is the appropriate word. One cannot help
thinking that so it must have struck the Prince; nor are we surprised
that, on the next opportunity he had of exercising a sportsman's
legitimate vocation, with the good qualities of patience, endurance,
and skill, which it is calculated to call forth, emphatic mention is
made of his keen enjoyment.

Besides shooting there was walking for both ladies and gentlemen, to
the number of twenty guests, "in the mild, clear weather," in the
beautiful park. There was the usual county gathering, in order to
confer on the upper ten thousand, within a radius of many miles, the
much-prized honour of "meeting" the Queen at a dinner or a ball.
Lastly, her Majesty and the Prince planted the oak and the cedar which
were to rank like heirlooms, and be handed down as trophies of a royal
visit and princely favour, to future generations.

The Queen and Prince Albert returned to Windsor on the evening of
Saturday, the 18th of January, and on the afternoon of Monday, the
20th, they started again to pay a long-projected visit to her old
friend the Duke of Wellington at Strathfieldsaye. It was known that
the Duke had set his heart on entertaining his sovereign in his own
house, and she not only granted him the boon, but in consideration of
his age, his laurels, and the long and intimate connection between
them, she let the visit have more of a private and friendly character
than the visits of sovereigns to subjects were wont to have. However,
the country did not lose its gala. Arches of winter evergreens instead
of summer flowers, festive banners, loyal inscriptions, yeoman corps,
holiday faces, met her on all sides. At Swallowfield--a name which
Mary Russell Mitford has made pleasant to English ears--"no less a
person than the Speaker of the House of Commons," the representative
of an old Huguenot refugee, the Right Honourable John Shaw Lefevre,
commanded the troop of yeomanry.

The Iron Duke met his honoured guests in the hall and conducted them
to the library. Every day the same formula was gone through. "The Duke
takes the Queen in to dinner, sits by her Majesty, and after dinner
gets up and says, 'With your Majesty's permission I give the health of
her Majesty,' and then the same to the Prince. They then adjourn to
the library, and the Duke sits on the sofa by the Queen (almost as a
father would sit by a daughter) for the rest of the evening until
eleven o'clock, the Prince and the gentlemen being scattered about in
the library or the billiard-room, which opens into it. In a large
conservatory beyond, the band of the Duke's grenadier regiment plays
through the evening."

There was much that was unique and kindly in the relations between the
Queen and the greatest soldier of his day. He had stood by her
baptismal font; she had been his guest, when she was the girl-
Princess, at Walmer. He had sat in her first Council; he had witnessed
her marriage; she was to give his name to one of her sons; in fact, he
had taken part in every event of her life. The present arrangements
were a graceful, well-nigh filial, tribute of affectionate regard for
the old man who had served his country both on the battle-field and in
the senate, who had watched his Queen's career with the keenest
interest, and rejoiced in her success as something with which he had
to do.

The old soldier also gave the Prince shooting, but it was the "fine
wild sport" which might have been expected from the host, and which
seemed more to the taste of the guest. And in the party of gentlemen
who walked for miles over the ploughed land and through the brushwood,
none kept up the pace better than the veteran.

The weather was broken and partly wet during the Queen's stay at
Strathfieldsaye, and in lieu of out-of-door exercise, the tennis-court
came into request. Lord Charles Wellesley, the Duke's younger son,
played against professional players, and Prince Albert engaged Lord
Charles and one of the professional players, the Queen looking on.

When the visit was over, the Duke punctiliously performed his part of
riding on horseback by her Majesty's carriage for the first stage of
her journey.

Comical illustrations are given of the old nobleman and soldier's dry
rebuffs, administered to the members of the press and the public
generally, who haunted Strathfieldsaye on this occasion.

The first was in reply to a request for admission to the house on the
plea that the writer was one of the staff of a popular journal
commissioned to give the details of the visit. "Field-Marshal the Duke
of Wellington presents his compliments to Mr. ---, and begs to say
he does not see what his house at Strathfieldsaye has to do with the
public press." The other was in the form of a still more ironical
notice put up in the grounds, "desiring that people who wish to see
the house may drive up to the hall-door and ring the bell, but that
they are to abstain from walking on the flagstones and looking in at
the windows."

In February the Queen opened Parliament in person for what was
destined to be a stormy session, particularly in relation to Sir
Robert Peel's measure proposing an increased annual grant of money to
the Irish Roman Catholic priests' college of Maynooth. In the
Premier's speech, in introducing the Budget, he was able to pay a
well-merited compliment on the wise and judicious economy shown in
the management of her Majesty's income, so that it was equal to meet
the heavy calls made upon it by the visits of foreign sovereigns, who
were entertained in a manner becoming the dignity of the sovereign,
"without adding one tittle to the burdens of the country. And I am not
required, on the part of her Majesty," went on Sir Robert Peel, "to
press for the extra expenditure of one single shilling on account of
these unforeseen causes of increased expenditure. I think, to state
this is only due to the personal credit of her Majesty, who insists
upon it that there shall be every magnificence required by her
station, but without incurring a single debt." In order to show how
the additional cost of such royal hospitality taxed the resources even
of the Queen of England, it may be well to give an idea of the
ordinary scale of housekeeping at Windsor Castle. Lady Bloomfield
likens the kitchen-fire to Nebuchadnezzar's burning fiery furnace.
Even when there was no company, from fifteen to twenty joints hung
roasting there. In one year the number of people fed at dinner in the
Castle amounted to a hundred and thirteen thousand!

Shall we be accused of small moralities and petty lessons in thrift if
we say that this passage in Sir Robert Peel's speech recalls the
stories of the child-Princess's training, in a wholesome horror of
debt, and the exercise of such little acts of self-denial as can alone
come in a child's way; that it brings to mind the Tunbridge anecdote
of the tiny purchaser on her donkey, bidden to look at her empty purse
when a little box in the bazaar caught her eye, and prohibited from
going further in obtaining the treasure, till the next quarter's
allowance was due? Well might the nation that had read the report of
Sir Robert Peel's speech listen complacently when it heard in the
following month, of the Queen's acquisition of a private property
which should be all her own and her husband's, to do with, as they
chose. Another country bestowed, upon quite different grounds, on one
of its sovereigns the honourable title of King Honest Man. Here was
Queen Honest Woman, who would not buy what she could not afford, or
ask her people to pay for fancies in which she indulged, regardless of
her means. A different example had been presented by poor Louis XVI.
and Marie Antoinette, who, after a course of what their most faithful
servants admitted to be grievous misrule and misappropriation of
public dignities and funds--to satisfy the ambition and greed of
favourites or their friends--in the face of national bankruptcy,
private ruin, and widespread disaffection, in the very death-throes of
the Revolution, chose that time of all others to buy--under whatever
specious pretext of exchange and indemnification--for him who had
already so many hunting-seats, the fresh one of Rambouillet; for her,
who had Little Trianon in its perfection, the new suburban country
house of St. Cloud.

Osborne abounded in the advantages which the royal couple sought. It
was in the Isle of Wight, which her Majesty had loved in her girlhood,
with the girdle of sea that gave such assurance of the much-courted,
much-needed seclusion, as could hardly be procured elsewhere--
certainly not within a reasonable distance of London. It was a lovely
place by nature, with no end of capabilities for the practice of the
Prince's pleasant faculty of landscape-gardening, with which he had
already done wonders in the circumscribed grounds of Buckingham Palace
and the larger field of Windsor. There were not only woods and valleys
and charming points of view--among them a fine look at Spithead; the
woods went down to the sea, and the beach belonged to the estate. Such
a quiet country home for a country and home-loving Queen and Prince,
and for the little children, to whom tranquillity, freedom, the woods,
the fields, and the sea-sands were of such vital and lasting
consequence, was inestimable.

In addition to other outlets for an active, beneficent nature,
Osborne, with its works of building, planting, and improving going on
for years to come, had also its farms, like the Home Farm at Windsor.
And the Prince was fond of farming no less than of landscape-gardening
--proud of his practical success in making it pay, deeply interested
in all questions of agriculture and their treatment, so as to secure
permanent employment and ample provision for the labourers. Prince
Albert's love of animals, too, found scope in these farming
operations. When the Queen and the Prince visited the Home Farm the
tame pigeons would settle on his hat and her shoulders. The
accompanying engraving represents the pasture and part of the Home
Farm at Osborne. "The cow in the group was presented to her Majesty by
the Corporation of Guernsey, when the Queen visited the Channel
Islands; the animal is a beautiful specimen of the Alderney breed, and
is a great favourite ... on the forehead of the cow is a V
distinctly marked; a peculiarity, it may be presumed, which led to the
presentation; the other animals are her calves."

In the course of this session of Parliament, the Queen sought more
than once to mark her acknowledgment of the services of Sir Robert
Peel, round whose political career troubles were gathering. She acted
as sponsor to his grandchild--the heir of the Jersey family--and she
offered Sir Robert, through Lord Aberdeen, the Order of the Garter, an
offer which the Prime Minister respectfully declined in words that
deserve to be remembered. He sprang from the people, he said, and was
essentially of the people, and such an honour, in his case, would be
misapplied. His heart was not set upon titles of honour or social
distinction. His reward lay in her Majesty's confidence, of which, by
many indications, she had given him the fullest assurance; and when he
left her service the only distinction he courted was that she should
say to him, "You have been a faithful servant, and have done your duty
to your country and to myself."

CHAPTER II.

THE QUEEN'S POWDER BALL.

On the evening of the 6th of June, 1845, her Majesty, who was at
Buckingham Palace for the season, gave another great costume ball,
still remembered as her Powder Ball--a name bestowed on it because of
the universally-worn powder on hair and periwigs. It was not such a
novelty as the Plantagenet Ball had been, neither was it so splendidly
fantastic nor apparently so costly a performance; not that the
materials used in the dresses were less valuable, but several of them
--notably the old lace which was so marked a feature in the spectacle
that it might as well have been called "The Lace Ball"--existed in
many of the great houses in store, like the family diamonds, and had
only to be brought out with the other heirlooms, and properly disposed
of, to constitute the wearer _en grande tenue_. No doubt trade
was still to be encouraged, and Spitalfields, in its chronic
adversity, to be brought a little nearer to prosperity by the
manufacture of sumptuous stuffs, in imitation of gorgeous old
brocades, for a portion of the twelve hundred guests. But these
motives were neither so urgent nor so ostensible, and perhaps the ball
originated as much in a wish to keep up a good custom once begun, and
to show some cherished guests a choice example of princely
hospitality, as in an elaborate calculation of forced gain to an
exotic trade.

The period chosen for the representation was much nearer the present.
It was only a hundred years back, from 1740 to 1750. It may be that
this comparative nearness fettered rather than emancipated the players
in the game, and that, though civil wars and clan feuds had long died
out, and the memory of the Scotch rebellion was no more than a
picturesque tragic romance, a trifle of awkwardness survived in the
encounter, face to face once more, in the very guise of the past, of
the descendants of the men and women who had won at Prestonpans and
lost at Culloden. It was said that a grave and stately formality
distinguished this ball--a tone attributed to dignified, troublesome
fashions--stranger then, but which since these days have become more
familiar to us.

No two more attractive figures presented themselves that night than
the sisters-in-law, the Duchess of Kent and the Duchess of
Gloucester, the one in her sixtieth the other in her seventieth year.
The third royal duchess in the worthy trio, who represented long and
well the royal matronhood of England, the Duchess of Cambridge, was,
along with her Duke, prevented from being present at the Queen's ball
in consequence of a recent death in her family. The Duchess of Kent
wore a striped and "flowered" brocade, with quantities of black lace
relieving the white satin of her train. The Duchess of Gloucester,
sweet pretty Princess Mary of more than fifty years before, came in
the character of a much less happy woman, Marie Leczinska, the queen
of Louis XV. She must have looked charming in her rich black brocade,
and some of the hoards of superb lace--which she is said to have
inherited from her mother, Queen Charlotte--edged with strings of
diamonds and agraffes of diamonds, while over her powdered hair was
tied a fichu capuchin of Chantilly.

Among the multitude of guests assembled at Buckingham Palace, the
privileged few who danced in the Queen's minuets, as well as the
members of the royal family, arrived by the Garden Gate and were
received in the Yellow Drawing-room. Included in this select company
was a German princess who had lately married an English subject--
Princess Marie of Baden, wife of the Marquis of Douglas, not the first
princess who had wedded into the noble Scotch house of Hamilton,
though it was many a long century since Earl Walter received--

all Arran's isle
To dower his royal bride

The Queen had special guests with her on this occasion--her brother
the Prince of Leiningen, the much-loved uncle of the royal children;
and the favourite cousin of the circle, the young Duchesse de Nemours,
with her husband. The Queen and Prince Albert, accompanied by their
visitors, the various members of the English royal family present at
the ball, and the different suites, passed into the ball-room at half-
past ten. The first dance, the graceful march of the German
_polonaise_, was danced by all, young and old, the bands striking
up simultaneously, and the dance extending through the whole of the
State apartments, the Queen leading the way, preceded by the Vice-
Chamberlain, the Comptroller and Treasurer of the Household, and two
gentlemen ushers to clear a space for her. After the _polonaise_
the company passed slowly before the Queen. A comical incident
occurred in this part of the programme through the innocent mistake of
an old infantry officer, who in his progress lifted his peaked hat and
gave the Queen a military salute, as he walked by.

Then her Majesty left the ball-room and repaired to the throne-room,
where the first minuet was formed. It is only necessary to recall that
most courtly of slow and graceful dances to judge how well suited it
was for this ball. The Queen danced with her cousin, Prince George of
Cambridge. Her Majesty wore a wonderful dress of cloth of gold and
cloth of silver, with daisies and poppies worked in silks, and shaded
the natural colours; trimmings and ruffles of exquisite old lace,
stomacher covered with old lace and jewels, the sacque set off with
scarlet ribands, the fair hair powdered under a tiara and crown of
diamonds, dainty white satin shoes with scarlet rosettes--a diamond in
each rosette, the Order of the Garter on the arm, the Star and Riband
of the Order.

Prince George was less fortunate in the regimentals of a cavalry
officer a century back; for, as it happened, while the costume of
1740-50 was favourable to women and to civilians, it was trying to
military men.

Prince Albert danced with the Duchesse de Nemours. These two had been
early playmates who never, even in later and sadder days, got together
without growing merry over the stories and jokes of their childhood in
Coburg. The Prince must have been one of the most graceful figures
there, in a crimson velvet coat edged with gold and lined with white
satin, on the left breast the splendid Star of the Order of the
Garter, shoulder-strap and sword inlaid with diamonds, white satin
waistcoat brocaded with gold, breeches of crimson velvet with gold
buttons, shoes of black kid with red heels and diamond buckles, three-
cornered hat trimmed with gold lace, edged with white ostrich
feathers, a magnificent loop of diamonds, and the black cockade of the
Georges, not the white cockade of the Jameses.

His golden-haired partner was in a tastefully gay and fantastic as
well as splendid costume of rose-coloured Chinese damask, with gold
blonde and pearls, over a petticoat of point d'Alençon, with a deep
border of silver and silver rosettes. The stomacher of brilliants and
pearls, on the left shoulder a nosegay with diamond wheat-ears
interspersed, shoes of purple satin with fleurs-de-lys embroidered in
gold and diamonds, as became a daughter of France, and gloves
embroidered with similar fleurs-de-lys.

There were many gay and gallant figures and fair faces in that minuet
of minuets. Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar was meant to dance with the
young Marchioness of Douro, but she by some strange chance came too
late for the honour, and her place was supplied by another young
matron and beauty, Lady Jocelyn, formerly Lady Fanny Cowper. Prince
Leiningen, who wore a white suit faced with blue and a buff waistcoat
edged with silver lace, danced with Lady Mount-Edgcumbe. The Duke of
Beaufort once more disputed with the Earl of Wilton the distinction of
being the finest gentleman present.

The Queen danced in four minuets, standing up in the second with
Prince Albert. This minuet also included several of the most beautiful
women of the time and of the Court; notably Lady Seymour, one of the
Sheridan sisters, the Queen of Beauty at the Eglinton tournament; and
Lady Canning.

After the second minuet the Queen and all the company returned to the
ball-room, where two other minuets, those of Lady Jersey and Lady
Chesterfield, were danced, and between them was given Lady
Breadalbane's strathspey. There was such crowding to see these dances
that the Lord Chamberlain had difficulty in making room for them.
While Musard furnished special music for the minuets and quadrilles,
adapting it in one case from airs of the '45, the Queen's piper,
Mackay, gave forth, for the benefit of the strathspey and reel-
dancers, the stirring strains of "Miss Drummond of Perth,"
"Tullochgorum," and "The Marquis of Huntly's Highland Fling," which
must have rung with wild glee through the halls of kings.

Lady Chesterfield's minuet was the last dance before supper, served
with royal splendour in the dining-room, to which the Queen passed at
twelve o'clock. After supper the Queen danced in a quadrille and in
the two next minuets. Her first partner was the Duc de Nemours, who
wore an old French infantry general's uniform--a coat of white cloth,
the front covered with gold embroidery, sleeves turned up with crimson
velvet, waistcoat and breeches of crimson velvet, stockings of crimson
silk, and red-heeled shoes with diamond buckles. In the second minuet
her Majesty had her brother, the Prince of Leiningen, for her partner.
The ball was ended, according to a good old English fashion, by the
quaint changing measure of "Sir Roger de Coverley," known in Scotland
as "The Haymakers," in which the Queen had her husband for her
partner. This country-dance was danced in the picture gallery.

Let who would be the beauty at the Queen's ball, there was at least
one poetess there in piquant black and cerise, with cerise roses and
priceless point à l'aiguille, Lady John Scott, who had been the witty
heiress, Miss Spottiswoode of Spottiswoode. She wrote to an old
refrain one of the most pathetic of modern Scotch ballads--

Douglas, Douglas, tender and true

The beauty of the ball was the Marchioness of Douro, who not so long
ago had been the beauty of the season as Lady Elizabeth Hay, daughter
of the Marquis of Tweeddale, when she caught the fancy of the elder,
son and heir of the Duke of Wellington. In this case beauty was not
unadorned, for the lovely Marchioness, [Footnote: Her likeness is
familiar to many people in an engraving from a well-known picture of
the Duke of Wellington showing his daughter-in-law the field of
Waterloo] the Greek mould of whose head attracted the admiration of
all judges, was said to wear jewels to the value of sixty thousand
pounds, while the superb point-lace flounce to her white brocade must
have been a source of pious horror to good Roman Catholics, since it
was believed to have belonged to the sacred vestments of a pope.

We have said that lace and jewels gave the distinguishing stamp to the
ball--such lace!--point d'Alençon, point de Bayeux, point de Venise,
point a l'aiguille, Mechlin, Guipure, Valenciennes, Chantilly, enough
to have turned green with envy the soul of a cultured _petit-
maître_, an aesthetic fop of the present day.

Some of the jewels, no less than the lace, were historical. The
Marchioness of Westminster, besides displaying _sabots_ of point-
lace, which had belonged to Caroline, queen of George II., wore the
Nassuk and Arcot diamonds.

Miss Burdett-Coutts wore a lustrous diadem and necklace that had once
graced the brow and throat of poor Marie Antoinette, and had found
their way at last into jewel-cases no longer royal, owing their
glittering contents to the wealth of a great city banker.

A word about the antiquated finery of the Iron Duke, with which the
old soldier sought to please his young mistress. It provoked a smile
or two from the more frivolous as the grey, gaunt, spindle-shanked old
man stalked by, yet it was not without its pathetic side. The Duke
wore a scarlet coat, a tight fit, laced with gold, with splendid gold
buttons and frogs, the brilliant star of the Order of the Garter, and
the Order of the Golden Fleece, a waistcoat of scarlet cashmere
covered with gold lace, breeches of scarlet kerseymere trimmed with
gold lace; gold buckles, white silk stockings, cocked hat laced with
gold, sword studded with rose diamonds and emeralds.

It is nearly forty years since these resplendent masquers trod the
floors of Buckingham Palace, and if the changes which time has brought
about had been foreseen, if the veil which shrouds the future had been
lifted, what emotions would have been called forth!

Who could have borne to hear that the bright Queen and giver of the
fete would pass the years of her prime in the mournful shade of
disconsolate widowhood? That the pale crown of a premature death was
hovering over the head of him who was the life of her life, the active
promoter and sustainer of all that was good and joyous in that great
household, all that was great and happy in the kingdom over which she
ruled?

Who would have ventured to prophesy that of the royal kindred and
cherished guests, the Prince of Leiningen was to die a landless man,
the Duc de Nemours to spend long years in exile, the Duchesse to be
cut down in the flower of her womanhood? Who would have guessed that
this great nobleman, the head of an ancient house, was to perish by a
miserable accident in a foreign hotel; that his sister, the wife of an
unfortunate statesman, was to be dragged through the mire of a divorce
court; that the treasures of a princely home were to pass away from
the race that had accumulated them, under the strokes of an
auctioneer's hammer? Who could have dreamt that this fine intellect
and loving heart would follow the lord of their destiny to Hades, and
wander there for evermore distracted, in the land of shadows, where
there is no light of the sun to show the way, no firm ground to stay
the tottering feet and groping hands? As for these two fair sisters in
Watteau style of blue and pink, and green and pink taffetas, lace, and
pearls, and roses--surely the daintiest, most aristocratic
shepherdesses ever beheld--one of them would have lost her graceful
equanimity, reddened with affront, and tingled to the finger-tips
with angry unbelief if she had been warned beforehand that she would
be amongst the last of the high-born, high-bred brides who would
forfeit her birthright and her presence at a Queen's Court by agreeing
to be married at the hands of a blacksmith instead of a bishop, before
the rude hymeneal altar at Gretna.

But to-night there was no alarming interlude, like a herald of evil,
to shake the nerves of the company--nothing more unpropitious than the
_contretemps_ to an unlucky lady of being overcome by the heat
and seized with a fainting-fit, which caused her over-zealous
supporters to remove her luxuriant powdered wig in order to give her
greater air and coolness, so that she was fain, the moment she
recovered, to hide her diminished head by a rapid discomfited retreat
from what remained of the revelry.

On the 21st of June the Queen and the Prince, with the Lords of the
Admiralty, inspected the fleet off Spithead. The royal yacht was
attended by a crowd of yachts belonging to the various squadrons, a
throng of steamboats and countless small boats. The Queen visited and
went over the flagship--which was the _St. Vincent_--the
_Trafalgar_, and the _Albion_. On her return to the yacht
she held a levee of all the captains of the fleet. A few days
afterwards she reviewed her fleet in brilliant, breezy weather. The
royal yacht took up its position at Spithead, and successive signals
were given to the squadron to "Lower sail," "Make sail," "Shorten sail
and reef," and "Furl topgallant sails," all the manoeuvres--including
the getting under way and sailing in line to St. Helen's--being
performed with the very perfection of nautical accuracy. The review
ended with the order, "Furl sails, put the life-lines on, and man
yards," which was done as only English sailors can accomplish the
feat, while the royal yacht on its return passed through the squadron
amidst ringing cheers.

During the earlier part of the summer Sir John Franklin sailed with
his ships, the _Erebus_ and _Terror_, in search of that
North Pole which, since the days of Sir Hugh Montgomery, "a captain
tall," has been at once the goal and snare of many a gallant English
sailor. The good ships disappeared under the horizon, never to reach
their haven. By slow degrees oblivion, more or less profound, closed
over the fate of officers and men, while, for lack of knowledge of
their life or death, the light of many a hearth was darkened, and
faithful hearts sickened with hope deferred and broke under the
strain. As one instance, out of many, of the desolation which the
silent loss of the gallant expedition occasioned, sorrow descended
heavily on one of the happy Highland homes among which the Queen had
dwelt the previous summer. Captain, afterwards Lord James, Murray,
brother of Lord Glenlyon, was married to Miss Fairholme, sister of one
of the picked men of whom the explorers were composed. When no tidings
of him came, year after year, from the land of mist and darkness,
pining melancholy seized upon her and made her its prey.

In the month of July the King of the Netherlands, who, as Prince of
Orange, had served on the Duke of Wellington's staff at the close of
the Peninsular War, came to England and took up his quarters at
Mivart's Hotel, the Queen being in the Isle of Wight, where he joined
her. Prince Albert met the King at Gosport and escorted him to
Osborne. On his return to London the King, who was already a general
in the English army, received his appointment as field-marshal, and
reviewed the Household troops in Hyde Park. He paid a second visit to
the Queen at Osborne before he left Woolwich for Holland.

A curious accident happened when the Queen prorogued Parliament on the
9th of August. The Duke of Argyle, an elderly man, was carrying the
crown on a velvet cushion, when, in walking backwards before the
Queen, he appeared to forget the two steps, leading from the platform
on which the throne stands to the floor, and stumbled, the crown
slipping from the cushion and falling to the ground, with the loss of
some diamonds. The Queen expressed her concern for the Duke instead of
for the crown; but on her departure the keeper of the House of Lords
appeared in front of the throne, and prevented too near an approach to
it, with the chance of further damage to the dropped jewels. The
misadventure was naturally the subject of a good deal of private
conversation in the House.

CHAPTER III.

THE QUEEN'S FIRST VISIT TO GERMANY.

On the evening of the day that she prorogued Parliament, the Queen and
the Prince with the Earl of Aberdeen as the minister in attendance,
started from Buckingham Palace that she might pay her first visit to
Germany. Surely none of all the new places she had visited within the
last few years could have been of such surpassing interest to the
traveller. It was her mother's country as well as her husband's, the
home of her brother and sister, the place of which she must have
heard, with which she must have had the kindliest associations from
her earliest years.

The first stage of the journey--in stormy weather, unfortunately--was
to Antwerp, where the party did not land till the following day, when
they proceeded to Malines, where they were met by King Leopold and
Queen Louise, who parted from their royal niece at Verviers. On the
Prussian frontier Lord Westmoreland, the English ambassador, and Baron
Bunsen met her Majesty. "To hear the people speak German," she wrote
in her Journal, "to see the German soldiers, seemed to me so singular.
I overheard people saying that I looked very English."

At Aix-la-Chapelle the King and Prince of Prussia received the
visitors and accompanied them to Cologne. The ancient dirty town of
the Three Kings gave the strangers an enthusiastic reception. The
burghers even did their best to get rid of the unsavoury odours which
distinguish the town of sweet essences, by pouring eau-de-Cologne on
the roadways.

At Bruhl the Queen and the Prince were taken to the palace, where they
found the Queen of Prussia, whose hostility to English and devotion to
Russian interests when Lord Bloomfield represented the English
Government at Berlin, are recorded by Lady Bloomfield. With the Queen
was her sister-in-law, the Princess of Prussia, and the Court. The
party went into one of the _salons_ to hear the famous tatoo
played by four hundred musicians, in the middle of an illumination by
means of torches and coloured lamps. The Queen was reminded that she
was in a land of music by hearing at a concert, in which sixty
regimental bands assisted, "God save the Queen" better played than she
had ever heard it before. "We felt so strange to be in Germany at
last," repeats her Majesty, dwelling on the pleasant sensation, "at
Bruhl, which Albert said he used to go and visit from Bonn."

The next day the visitors went to Bonn, accompanied by the King and
Queen of Prussia. At the house of Prince Furstenberg many professors
who had known Prince Albert were presented to the Queen, "which
interested me very much," the happy wife says simply. "They were
greatly delighted to see Albert and pleased to see me.... I felt as
if I knew them all from Albert having told me so much about them." The
experience is known to many a bride whose husband takes her proudly to
his old _alma mater_.

The day was made yet more memorable by the unveiling of a statue to
Beethoven. But, by an unlucky _contretemps_, the royal party on
the balcony found the back of the statue presented to their gaze. The
_Freischutzen_ fired a _feu-de-joie_. A chorale was sung.
The people cheered and the band played a _Dusch_--such a flourish
of trumpets as is given in Germany when a health is drunk.

The travellers then went to the Prince's "former little house." The
Queen writes, "It was such a pleasure for me to be able to see this
house. We went all over it, and it is just as it was, in no way
altered.... We went into the little bower in the garden, from which
you have a beautiful view of the _Kreuzberg_--a convent situated
on the top of a hill. The _Siebengebirge_ (seven mountains) you
also see, but the view of them is a good deal built up."

This visiting together the ground once so familiar to the Prince
formed an era in two lives. It was the fulfilment of a beautiful,
brilliant expectation which had been half dim and vague when the
ardent lad was a quiet, diligent student, living simply, almost
frugally, like the other students at the university on the Rhine, and
his little cousin across the German Ocean, from whom he had parted in
the homely red-brick palace of Kensington, had been proclaimed Queen
of a great country. The prospect of their union was still very
uncertain in those days, and yet it must sometimes have crossed his
mind as he built air-castles in the middle of his reading; or strolled
with a comrade along those old-fashioned streets, among their
population of "wild-looking students," with long fair hair, pipes
between their lips, and the scars of many a sword-duel on forehead and
cheek; or penetrated into the country, where the brown peasant women,
"with curious caps and handkerchiefs," came bearing their burden of
sticks from the forest, like figures in old fairy tales. He must have
told himself that the time might come when something like the
transformation of a fairy-tale would be effected on his account; the
plain living and high-thinking and college discipline of Bonn be
exchanged for the dignity and influence of an English sovereign's
consort. Then, perhaps, he would bring his bride to the dear old
"fatherland," and show her where he had dreamt about her among his
books.

At the banquet in the afternoon the accomplished King gave the Queen's
health in a speech fit for a poet. He referred to a word sweet alike
to British and German hearts. Thirty years before it had echoed on the
heights of Waterloo from British and German tongues, after days of hot
and desperate fighting, to mark the glorious triumph of their
brotherhood in arms. "Now it resounds on the banks of our fair Rhine,
amidst the blessings of that peace which was the hallowed fruit of the
great conflict. That word is 'Victoria.' Gentlemen, drink to the
health of her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland, and to that of her august consort."

"The Queen," remarked Bunsen, "bowed at the first word, but much lower
at the second. Her eyes brightened through tears, and as the King was
taking his seat again, she rose and bent towards him and kissed his
cheek, then took her seat again with a beaming countenance."

After the four-o'clock dinner, the royal party returned to Cologne,
and from a steamer on the Rhine saw, through a drizzle of rain which
did not greatly mar the spectacle, a splendid display of fireworks and
illumination of the town, in which the great cathedral "seemed to glow
with fire."

We quote a picturesque description of the striking scene. "The Rhine
was made one vast _feu-de-joie_. As darkness closed in, the dim
city began to put forth buds of light. Lines of twinkling brightness
darted like liquid gold or silver from pile to pile, then by the
bridge of boats across the river, up the masts of the shipping, and
along the road on the opposite bank. Rockets now shot from all parts
of the horizon. The royal party embarked in a steamer at St. Tremond
and glided down by the river. As they passed the banks blazed with
fireworks and musketry. At their approach the bridge glowed with
redoubled light, and, opening, let the vessel pass to Cologne, whose
cathedral burst forth a building of light, every detail of the
architecture being made out in delicately-coloured lamps--pinkish,
with an underglow of orange. Traversing in carriages the illuminated
and vociferous city, the King and his companions returned by the
railroad to Bruhl."

Next morning there was a great concert at Bonn--part of the Beethoven
festival, in which much fine music was given, but, oddly enough, not
much of Beethoven's, to her Majesty's regret. The Queen drove to the
University--in the classrooms of which the Prince had sat as a
student--and saw more of the professors who had taught him, and of
students similar to those who had been his class-fellows. Then she
went once more to Cologne, and visited its glory, the cathedral, at
that time unfinished, returning to Bruhl to hail with delight the
arrival of the King and Queen of the Belgians. "It seems like a dream
to them and to me to see each other in Germany," the Queen wrote once
more. The passages from her Majesty's Journal read as if she were
pleased to congratulate herself on being at last with Prince Albert in
his native country.

The last day at Cologne ended in another great concert, conducted by
Meyerbeer, for which he had composed a cantata in honour of the Queen.
Jenny Lind sang in the concert. It was her Majesty's first opportunity
of hearing the great singer, who, of all her sister singers, has most
identified herself with England, and from her noble, womanly character
and domestic virtues, endeared herself to English hearts.

The tutelary genius of the river which is the Germans' watchword was
not able to procure the Queen her weather for her sail on its green
waters. Rain fell or threatened for both of the days. Not even the
presence of three queens--of England, Prussia, and Belgium--two kings,
a prince consort, an archduke, and a future emperor and empress, could
propitiate the adverse barometer, or change the sulky face of the sky.
Between showers the Queen had a glimpse of the romantic scenery, and
perhaps Ehrenbreitstein was most in character when the smoke from the
firing of twenty thousand troops "brought home to the imagination the
din and lurid splendours of a battle."

The halt was made at Schlossenfels, which included among its
distinguished guests Humboldt and Prince Metternich. Next day the King
and Queen of Prussia took leave of their visitors, still under heavy
rain. The weather cleared afterwards for a time, however, and
beautiful Bingen, with the rest of the Rhenish country, was seen in
sunshine. The only inconvenience remaining was the thunder of cannons
and rattle of muskets which every loyal village kept up.

At Mayence the Queen was received by the Governor, Prince William of
Prussia, and the Austrian commander, while the Prussian and Austrian
troops, with their bands, gave a torchlight serenade before the hotel
windows. On the rest-day which Sunday secured, the Queen saw the good
nurse who had brought the royal pair into the world. Her Majesty had
also her first introduction to one of her future sons-in-law--an
unforeseen kinsman then--Prince Louis of Hesse, whom she noticed as "a
very fine boy of eight, nice, and full of intelligence."

There were still long leagues to drive, posting, before Coburg could
be reached, and the party started from Mayence in two travelling
carriages as early as seven o'clock next morning. They went by
Frankfort to Aschaffenburg, where they were met by Bavarian troops and
a representative of the King on their entrance into Bavaria. Through
woodland scenery, and fields full of the stir of harvest, where a
queenly woman did not relish the spectacle of her sister-women
treated as beasts of burden, the travellers journeyed to Wurzburg.
There Prince Luitpold of Bavaria met and welcomed them to a
magnificent palace, where the luggage, which ought to have preceded
the wearied travellers, was not forthcoming. Another long day's
driving, beginning at a little after six in the morning, would bring
the party to Coburg. By one o'clock they were at the old prince-
bishop's stately town of Bamberg. In the course of the afternoon the
Queen had changed horses for the last time in Franconia. "I began,"
she wrote, "to feel greatly moved, agitated indeed, in coming near the
Coburg frontier. At length we saw flags and people drawn up in lines,
and in a few minutes more were welcomed by Ernest (the Duke of Coburg)
in full uniform.... We got into an open carriage of Ernest's with six
horses, Ernest sitting opposite to us."

The rest of the scene was very German, quaintly picturesque and warm-
hearted. "The good people were all dressed in their best, the women in
pointed caps, with many petticoats, and the men in leather breeches.
Many girls were there with wreaths of flowers." A triumphal arch, a
Vice-Land-Director, to whose words of greeting the Queen replied, his
fellow-officials on either side, the people welcoming their prince and
his queen in "a really hearty and friendly way."

The couple drove to what had been the pretty little country house of
their common grandmother, the late Dowager-Duchess of Coburg, and
found King Leopold and Queen Louise awaiting them there. He also was
an honoured son of Coburg, pleased to be present on such a proud day
for the little State. He and his queen took their places beside Queen
Victoria and Prince Albert--Ernest Duke of Coburg mounting on
horseback and riding beside the carriage as its chief escort. In this
order the procession, "which looked extremely pretty," was formed. At
the entrance to the town there was another triumphal arch, beneath
which the Burgomaster addressed the royal couple. "On the other side
stood a number of young girls dressed in white, with green wreaths and
scarfs, who presented us with bouquets and verses."

Oh! what anxious, exciting, girlish rehearsals must have been gone
through beforehand.

"I cannot say how much I felt moved on entering this dear old place,
and with difficulty I restrained my emotion. The beautifully-
ornamented town, all bright with wreaths and flowers, the numbers of
good affectionate people, the many recollections connected with the
place--all was so affecting. In the Platz, where the _Rathhaus_
and _Rigierungshaus_ are, which are fine and curious old houses,
the clergy were assembled, and Ober-Superintendent Genzler addressed
us very kindly--a very young-looking man for his age, for he married
mamma to my father, and christened and confirmed Albert and Ernest."
Neither was the motherly presence of her whose marriage vow the Ober-
Superintendent had blessed, who had done so much to contribute to the
triumph of this day, wanting to its complete realization of all that
such a day should have been. The Duchess of Kent was already on a
visit to her nephew, standing on the old threshold--once so well known
to her--ready to help to welcome her daughter, prepared to show her
the home and cherished haunts of her mother's youth. As the carriage
drew up, young girls threw wreaths into it. Beside the Duchess of Kent
were the Duchess and Dowager-Duchess of Coburg, Prince Albert's
sister-in-law and stepmother. The staircase was full of cousins. "It
was an affecting but exquisite moment, which I shall never forget,"
declared the Queen.

But in the middle of the gratification of the son of the house who
thus brought his true wife under its roof-tree, and of his
satisfaction of being with her there, the faithful hearts did not
forget the late sovereign and house-father who had hoped so eagerly to
welcome them to the ancestral home. They were there, but his place was
filled by another. At Coburg and at Rosenau, which had been one of the
old Duke's favourite resorts, his memory haunted his children. "Every
sound, every view, every step we take makes us think of him and feel
an indescribable hopeless longing for him."

By an affectionate, thoughtful provision for their perfect freedom and
enjoyment, Rosenau, Prince Albert's birthplace, was set apart for the
Queen and the Prince's occupation on this very happy occasion when
they visited Coburg, and still it is the widowed Queen's residence
when she is dwelling in the neighbourhood. Beautiful in itself among
its woods and hills, it was doubly beautiful to both from its
associations. The room in which the Queen slept was that in which the
Prince had been born. "How happy, how joyful we were," the Queen
wrote, "on awaking to find ourselves here, at the dear Rosenau, my
Albert's birthplace, the place he most loves.... He was so happy to be
here with me. It is like a beautiful dream."

Fine chorales were sung below the window by some of the singers in the
Coburg theatre. Before breakfast the Prince carried off the Queen to
see the upper part of the house, which he and his brother had occupied
when children. "It is quite in the roof, with a tiny little bedroom on
each side, in one of which they both used to sleep with Florschutz,
their tutor. [Footnote: The Prince was then such a mere child that the
tutor used to carry him in his arms up and down stairs. One is
reminded of the old custom of appointing noble governors for royal
children of the tenderest years, and of the gracious pathetic
relations which sometimes existed between bearded knights and infant
kings. Such was the case where Sir David Lindsay of the Mount and
little King James V. were concerned, when the pupil would entreat the
master for a song on the lute with childish peremptoriness, "P'ay,
Davie Lindsay, p'ay!"] The view is beautiful, and the paper is still
full of holes from their fencing; and the very same table is there on
which they were dressed when little."

The days were too short for all that was to be seen and done. The
first day there was a visit to the fortress overhanging the town,
which looks as far away as the sea of trees, the Thuringerwald. It has
Luther's room, with his chair and part of his bed.

In the evening the Queen went to the perfect little German theatre,
where Meyerbeer's _Huguenots_ was given, and the audience sang
"God save the Queen" to German words.

The next day the visitors drove to Kalenberg, another of the Duke's
seats. In the evening they held a reception at the palace, when not
only those persons who had the magic prefix _von_ to their names
were admitted, but deputations of citizens, merchants, and artisans
were presented, the Queen praising their good manners afterwards.

The following day was the Feast of St. Gregorius, the children's
festival, in which thirteen hundred children walked in procession
through Coburg, some in fancy dresses, most of the girls in white and
green. Three girls came up to the palace balcony and sang a song in
honour of the Queen. Then great and small repaired to the meadow--
fortunately the fine weather had set in--where there were tents
decorated with flowers, in which the royal party dined, while the band
played and the children danced "so nicely and merrily, waltzes,
polkas, and it was the prettiest thing I ever saw," declared the
Queen. "Her Majesty talked to the children, to their great
astonishment, in their own language. Tired of dancing and processions,
and freed from all awe by the ease of the illustrious visitors, the
children took to romps, 'thread my needle,' and other pastimes, and
finally were well pelted by the royal circle with bon-bons, flowers
and cakes" is the report of another observer.

The day ended with a great ball at the palace.

The next day was spent more quietly in going over old favourite
haunts, among them the cabinet or collection of curiosities, stuffed
birds, fossils, autographs, &c., which had been formed partly by the
Princes when boys. Prince Albert continued to take the greatest
interest in it, and had made the Queen a contributor to its treasures.
At dinner the Queen tasted _bratürste_ (roasted sausages), the
national dish of Coburg, and pronounced it excellent, with its
accompaniment of native beer. A royal neighbour, Queen Adelaide's
brother, the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, joined the party at dinner, and
the company witnessed the performance of Schiller's _Bride of
Messina_ at the theatre.

On Sunday the August weather was so hot that the Queen and the Prince
breakfasted for the second time out of doors. In the course of the
morning they drove over with Duke Ernest and the Duchess to St. Moritz
Kirche--equivalent to the cathedral of the town. The clergy received
the party at the door of the church, and the Ober-Superintendent
Genzler made a brief oration "expressive of his joy at receiving the
great Christian Queen who was descended from their Saxon dukes, who
were the first Reformers, and at the doors of the church where the
Reformation was first preached." The Queen describes the service as
like the Scotch Presbyterian form, only with more ceremony and more
singing. The last impressed her deeply. The pastor preached a fine
sermon. The afternoon's drive led through scenery which, especially in
its pine woods, resembled the Scotch Highlands, and ended in the
_Thiergarten_, where the Duke reared his wild boars.

"I cannot think," the Queen wrote longingly, "of going away from here.
I count the hours, for I have a feeling here which I cannot describe--
a feeling as if my childhood also had been spent here." No wonder;
Coburg was home to her, like her native air or her mother tongue; she
must have learnt to know it at her mother's knee. Her husband's
experience was added to the earlier recollection of every salient
point, every _Haus-Mahrchen_; and never were husband and wife
more in sympathy than the two who now snatched a short season of
delight from a sojourn in the cradle of their race.

Another brilliant sunshiny day--which the brother Princes spent
together reviving old associations in the town, while the Queen
sketched at Rosenau--closed with the last visit to the theatre, when
the people again sang "God save the Queen," adding to it some pretty
farewell verses.

The last day which the Queen passed in Coburg was, by a happy
circumstance, the Prince's birthday--the first he had spent at Rosenau
since he was a lad of fifteen, and, in spite of all changes, the day
dawned full of quiet gladness. "To celebrate this dear day in my
beloved husband's country and birthplace is more than I ever hoped
for," wrote her Majesty, "and I am so thankful for it; I wished him
joy so warmly when the singers sang as they did the other morning."
The numberless gifts had been arranged by no other hands than those of
the Queen and the Prince's brother and sister-in-law on a table
"dressed with flowers."' Peasants came in gala dress, [Footnote: The
Queen admired greatly many of the peasant costumes, often as
serviceable and durable as they were becoming, which she saw in
Germany. She expressed the regret so often uttered by English
travellers that English labourers and workers at handicrafts, in place
of retaining a dress of their own, have long ago adopted a tawdry
version of the fashions of the upper classes. Unfortunately the
practice is fast becoming universal.] with flowers, music, and dancing
to offer their good wishes. In the afternoon all was quiet again, and
the Queen and the Prince took their last walk together, for many a
day, at Rosenau, down into the hayfields where the friendly people
exchanged greetings with them, drank the crystal clear water from the
stream, and looked at the fortifications which two princely boys had
dug and built, as partly lessons, partly play.

The next day at half-past eight the travellers left "with heavy
hearts," measuring the fateful years which were likely to elapse
before Coburg was seen again. The pain of parting was lessened by the
presence of the Duke and Duchess of Coburg, who accompanied their
guests to the Duke's other domain of Gotha. The way led through Queen
Adelaide's country of Meiningen, and at every halting-place clergymen
with addresses more or less discursive, and "white and green young
ladies," literally bombarded the travellers with speeches, flowers,
and poems. At last the Duke of Coburg's territory was again entered
after it was dark; and the party reached the lovely castellated
country-seat of Reinhardtsbrunn, amidst forest and mountain scenery,
with its lake in front of the house, set down in the centre of a
mining population that came up in quaint costumes, with flaming
torches, to walk in procession past the windows. The Queen was charmed
with Reinhardtsbrunn, and would fain have lingered there, but time
pressed, and she was expected in the course of the next afternoon at
Gotha, on a visit to the Prince's aged grandmother who had helped to
bring him up, and was so fondly attached to her former charge.

The old lady at seventy-four years of age anticipated the visit. She
travelled the distance of eight miles before breakfast, in order to
take her grandchildren by surprise. "I hastened to her," is the
Queen's account, "and found Albert and Ernest with her. She is a
charming old lady, and though very small, remarkably nice-looking,
erect and active, but unfortunately very deaf.... She was so happy to
see us, and kissed me over and over again. Albert, who is the dearest
being to her in the world, she was enraptured to see again, and kissed
so kindly. It did one's heart good to see her joy."

In the afternoon the travellers proceeded to Gotha, which was in a
state of festival and crowded with people. The Queen and the Prince
resided at the old Duchess's house of Friedrichsthal, where the
greatest preparations, including the hanging of all her pictures in
their rooms, had been made for them. The first visit they paid in
Gotha was a solemn one, to the chapel which formed the temporary
resting-place of the body of the late Duke, till it could be removed
to its vault in Coburg. Then the rooms in which the father had died
were visited. These were almost equally melancholy, left as they had
been, unchanged, with the wreaths that had decorated the room for his
last birthday still there; "and there is that sad clock which stopped
just before he died." Who that has seen in Germany these faded
wreaths, with their crushed, soiled streamers of white riband, can
forget the desolate aspect which they lend to any room in which they
are preserved!

There was a cabinet or museum here, too, to inspect, and the curious
old spectacle of the popinjay to be witnessed, in company with the
Grand Duke of Weimar and his son. This kind of shooting was harmless
enough, for the object aimed at was a wooden bird on a pole. The
riflemen, led by the rifle-king (_schutzen-konig_), the public
officials, and deputations of peasants marched past the platform where
the Queen stood, like a pageant of the Middle Ages. All the princes,
including King Leopold, fired, but none brought down the bird; that
feat was left for some humbler hero.

On the Queen's return from the popinjay she had the happiness to meet
Baroness Lehzen, her old governess, who had come from Buckeburg to see
her Majesty. During the next few days the old friends were often
together, and the Queen speaks with pleasure of the Baroness's
"unchanged devotion," only she was quieter than formerly. It must have
appeared like another dream to both, that "the little Princess" of
Kensington, travelling with her husband, should greet her old
governess, and tell her, under the shadow of the great Thuringerwald,
of the four children left behind in England.

The next day the forest itself was entered, when "the bright blue sky,
the heavenly air, the exquisite tints," gave a crowning charm to its
beauties. The road lay through green glades which occasionally
commanded views so remote as those of the Hartz Mountains, to
_Jagersruh_, a hunting-lodge on a height "among stately firs that
look like cedars." Here the late Duke had excited all his skill and
taste to make a hunter's paradise, which awoke again the regretful
thought, "How it would have pleased him to have shown all this himself
to those he loved so dearly!"

But _Jagersruh_ was not the goal of the excursion; it was a
"deer-drive" or battue, which in Germany at least can be classed as "a
relic of mediaeval barbarism." A considerable space in the forest was
cleared and enclosed with canvas. In the centre of this enclosure was
a pavilion open at the sides, made of branches of fir-trees, and
decorated with berries, heather, and forest flowers; in short, a
sylvan bower provided for the principal company, outside a table
furnished with powder and shot supplied a station for less privileged
persons, including the chasseurs or huntsmen of the Duke, in green and
gold uniforms.

Easy-chairs were placed in the pavilion for the Queen, the Queen of
the Belgians, and the Duchess Alexandrina, while Prince Albert, King
Leopold, the Prince of Leiningen, and Duke Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg,
the Prince's uncle, stood by the ladies. Stags to the number of
upwards of thirty, and other game, were driven into the enclosure, and
between the performances of a band which played at intervals, the
gentlemen loaded their rifles, and fired at the helpless prey in the
presence of the ladies.

Her Majesty records in her Journal, "As for the sport itself, none of
the gentlemen like this butchery." She turns quickly from the piteous
slaughter to the beautiful, peaceful scenery.

A quiet Sunday was spent at Gotha. Monday was the _Lieder fest_,
or festival of song, to which, on this occasion, not only the
townspeople and villagers from all the neighbouring towns and villages
came with their banners and bands, but every small royalty from far
and near flocked to meet the Queen of England. These innumerable
cousins repaired with the Queen to the park opposite the Schloss, and
shared in the festival. The orchestra, composed of many hundreds of
singers, was opposite the pavilion erected for the distinguished
visitors. Among the fine songs, rendered as only Germans could render
them, songs composed by Prince Albert and his brother, and songs
written for the day, were sung. Afterwards there was a State dinner
and a ball.

The last day had come, with its inevitable sadness. "I can't--won't
think of it," wrote the Queen, referring to her approaching departure.
She drove and walked, and, with her brother-in-law and his Duchess,
was ferried over to the "Island of Graves," the burial-place of the
old Dukes of Gotha when the duchy was distinct from that of Coburg. An
ancient gardener pointed out to the visitors that only one more
flower-covered grave was wanted to make the number complete. When the
Duchess of Gotha should be laid to rest with her late husband and his
fathers, then the House of Gotha, in its separate existence, would
have passed away.

One more drive through the hayfields and the noble fir-trees to the
vast Thuringerwald, and, "with many a longing, lingering look at the
pine-clad mountains," the Queen and the Prince turned back to attend a
ball given in their honour by the townspeople in the theatre.

On the following day the homeward journey was begun. After partings,
rendered still more sorrowful by the fact that the age of the
cherished grandmother of the delightful "dear" family party rendered
it not very probable that she, for one, would see all her children
round her again, the Duke and Duchess of Coburg went one stage with
the travellers, and then there was another reluctant if less painful
parting.

The Queen and the Prince stopped at the quaint little town of
Eisenach, which Helen of Orleans was yet to make her home. They were
received by the Grand Duke and Hereditary Duchess of Saxe-Weimar, with
whom the strangers drove through the autumn woods to the famous old
fortress of the Wartburg, which, in its time, dealt a deadly blow to
Roman Catholicism by sheltering, in the hour of need, the Protestant
champion, Luther. Like the good Protestants her Majesty and the Prince
were, they went to see the great reformer's room, and looked at the
ink-splash on the wall--the mark of his conflict with the devil--the
stove at which he warmed himself, the rude table at which he wrote and
ate, and above all, the glorious view over the myriads of tree-tops
with which he must have refreshed his steadfast soul. But if Luther is
the hero of the Wartburg, there is also a heroine--the central figure
of that "Saint's Tragedy" which Charles Kingsley was to give to the
world in the course of the next two or three years--St. Elizabeth of
Thuringia, the tenderest, bravest, most tortured soul that ever
received the doubtful gain of canonization. There is the well by which
she is said to have ministered to her sick poor, half-way up the
ascent to the Wartburg, and down in the little town nestling below,
may be seen the remains of an hospital bearing her name.

From Fulda, where the royal party slept, they journeyed to Goethe's
town of Frankfort, where Ludwig I., who turned Munich into a great
picture and sculpture gallery, and built the costly Valhalla to
commemorate the illustrious German dead, dined with her Majesty.

At Biberich the Rhine was again hailed, and a steamer, waiting for the
travellers, carried them to Bingen, where their own little vessel,
_The Fairy_, met and brought them on to Deutz, on the farther
side from Cologne. The Queen says naively that the Rhine had lost its
charm for them all--the excitement of novelty was gone, and the
Thuringerwald had spoilt them. Stolzenfels, Ehrenbreitstein, and the
Sieben-Gebirge had their words of praise, but sight-seeing had become
for the present a weariness, and after Bonn, with its memories, had
been left behind, it was a rest to the royal travellers--as to most
other travellers at times--to turn away their jaded eyes, relinquish
the duty of alert observation, forget what was passing around them,
and lose themselves in a book, as if they were in England. Perhaps the
home letters had awakened a little home-sickness in the couple who
had been absent for a month. At least, we are given to understand
that it was of home and children the Queen and the Prince were chiefly
thinking when they reached Antwerp, to which the King and Queen of the
Belgians had preceded them, and re-embarked in the royal yacht
_Victoria and Albert_, though it was not at once to sail for
English waters. In gracious compliance with an urgent entreaty of
Louis Philippe's, the yacht was to call, as it were in passing, at
Tréport.

On the morning of the 8th of September the Queen's yacht again lay at
anchor off the French seaport. The King's barge, with the King, his
son, and son-in-law, Prince Joinville, and Prince Augustus of Saxe-
Coburg, and M. Guizot, once more came alongside. After the friendliest
greetings, the Queen and Prince Albert landed with their host, though
not without difficulty. The tide would not admit of the ordinary
manner of landing, and Louis Philippe in the dilemma fell back on a
bathing-machine, which dragged the party successfully if somewhat
unceremoniously over the sands.

The Queen of the French was there as before, accompanied among others
by her brother, the Prince of Salerno and his Princess, sister to the
Emperor of Austria. The crowd cheered as loudly as ever; there seemed
no cloud on the horizon that bright, hot day; even the plague of too
much publicity and formality had been got rid of at Château d'Eu. The
Queen was delighted to renew her intercourse with the large, bright
family circle--two of them her relations and fast friends. "It put me
so much in mind of two years ago," she declared, "that it was really
as if we had never been away;" and the King had to show her his
_Galerie Victoria_, a room fitted up in her honour, hung with the
pictures illustrating her former visit and the King's return visit to
Windsor.

Although she had impressed on him that she wished as much as possible
to dispense with state and show on this occasion, the indefatigable
old man had been at the trouble and expense of erecting a theatre, and
bringing down from Paris the whole of the Opéra Comique to play before
her, and thus increase the gaiety of the single evening of her stay.

Only another day was granted to Château d'Eu. By the next sunset the
King was conducting his guests on board the royal yacht and seizing
the last opportunity, when Prince Albert was taking Prince Joinville
over the _Fairy_, glibly to assure the Queen and Lord Aberdeen
that he, Louis Philippe, would never consent to Montpensier's marriage
to the Infanta of Spain till her sister the Queen was married and had
children.

At parting the King embraced her Majesty again and again. The yacht
lay still, and there was the most beautiful moonlight reflected on the
water. The Queen and the Prince walked up and down the deck, while not
they alone, but the astute statesman Aberdeen, congratulated
themselves on how well this little visit had prospered, in addition to
the complete success of the German tour. With the sea like a lake, and
sky and sea of the deepest blue, in the early morning the yacht
weighed anchor for England. Under the hot haze of an autumn noonday
sun the royal travellers disembarked on the familiar beach at Osborne.
The dearest of welcomes greeted them as they "drove up straight to the
house, for there, looking like roses, so well and so fat, stood the
four children."

The Queen referred afterwards to that visit to Germany as to one of
the happiest times in her life. She said when she thought of it, it
made her inclined to cry, so pure and tender had been the pleasure.

CHAPTER IV.

RAILWAY SPECULATION--FAILURE OF THE POTATO CROP--SIR ROBERT PEEL'S
RESOLUTIONS--BIRTH OF PRINCESS HELENA--VISIT OF IBRAHIM PASHA.

One thousand eight hundred and forty-five had begun with what appeared
a fresh impetus to national prosperity--a new start full of life and
vigour, by which the whole resources of the country should be at once
stirred up and rendered ten times more available than they had ever
been before. This was known afterwards as "the Railway Mania," which,
like other manias, if they are not mere fever-fits of speculation, but
are founded on real and tangible gains, had its eager hopeful rise,
its inflated disproportioned exaggeration, its disastrous collapse,
its gradual recovery, and eventually its solid reasonable success. In
1845 the movement was hurrying on to the second stage of its history.

The great man of 1845 was Hudson the railway speculator, "the Railway
King." Fabulous wealth was attributed to him; immense power for the
hour was his. A seat in Parliament, entrance into aristocratic
circles, were trifles in comparison. We can remember hearing of a
great London dinner at which the lions were the gifted Prince, the
husband of the Queen, and the distorted shadow of George Stephenson,
the bourgeois creator of a network of railway lines, a Bourse of
railway shares; the winner, as it was then supposed, of a huge
fortune. It was said that Prince Albert himself had felt some
curiosity to see this man and hear him speak, and that their encounter
on this occasion was prearranged and not accidental.

The autumn of 1845 revealed another side to the country's history. The
rainy weather in the summer brought to sudden hideous maturity the
lurking potato disease. Any one who recalls the time and the aspect of
the fields must retain a vivid recollection of the sudden blight that
fell upon acres on acres of what had formerly been luxuriant
vegetation, under the sunshine which came late only to complete the
work of destruction; the withering and blackening of the leaves of the
plant, the sickening foetid odour of the decaying bulbs, which tainted
the heavy air for miles; the dismay that filled the minds of the
people, who, in the days of dear corn, had learnt more and more to
depend upon the cultivation of potatoes, to whom their failure meant
ruin and starvation.

This was especially the case in Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland,
where the year closed in gloom and apprehension; famine stalked
abroad, and doles of Indian corn administered by Government in
addition to the alms of the charitable, alone kept body and soul
together in fever-stricken multitudes.

About this time also, like another feature of the spirit of adventure
which sent Franklin to the North Pole, and operated to a certain
extent in the flush of railway enterprise, England was talking half
chivalrously, half commercially, and alas! more than half sceptically,
of Brook and Borneo, and the new attempt to establish civilization and
herald Christianity under English influence in the far seas. All these
conflicting elements of new history were felt in the palace as in
other dwellings, and made part of Queen Victoria's life in those days.

A great statesman closed his eyes on this changing world. Earl Grey,
who had been in the front in advocating change in his time, died.

A brave soldier fell in the last of his battles. Sir Robert Sale, who
had been the guest of his Queen a year before, having returned to
India and rejoined the army of the Sutlej on fresh disturbances
breaking out in the Punjab, was killed at the battle of Moodkee.

Something of the wit and humour of the country was quenched or
undergoing a transformation and passing into other hands. Two famous
English humorists, Sydney Smith and Tom Hood the elder, went over to
the great majority.

By the close of 1845 it had become clear that a change in the Corn
Laws was impending. In the circumstances Sir Robert Peel, who, though
he had been for some time approaching the conclusion, was not prepared
to take immediate steps--who was, indeed, the representative of the
Conservative party--resigned office. Lord John Russell, the great Whig
leader, was called upon by the Queen to summon a new Ministry; but in
consequence of difficulties with those who were to have been his
colleagues, Lord John was compelled to announce himself unable to form
a Cabinet, and Sir Robert Peel, at the Queen's request, resumed
office, conscious that he had to face one of the hardest tasks ever
offered to a statesman. He had to encounter "the coolness of former
friends, the grudging support of unwilling adherents, the rancour of
disappointed political antagonists."

In February, 1846, the royal family spent a week at Osborne, glad to
escape from the strife of tongues and the violent political contention
which they could do nothing to quell. The Prince was happy, "out all
day," directing the building which was going on, and laying out the
grounds of his new house; and the Queen was happy in her husband and
Children's happiness. During this short absence Sir Robert Peel's
resolutions were carried, and his Corn Bill, which was virtually the
repeal of the Corn Laws, passed. He had only to await the
consequences.

In the middle of the political excitement a single human tragedy,
which Sir Robert Peel did something to prevent, reached its climax.
Benjamin Haydon, the painter, the ardent advocate, both by principle
and practice, of high art, took his life, driven to despair by his
failure in worldly success--especially by the ill-success of his
cartoons at the exhibition in Westminster Hall.

On the 25th of May a third princess was born, and on the 20th of June
Sir Robert Peel's old allies, the Tories, who had but bided their time
for revenge, while his new Whig associates looked coldly on him,
conspired to defeat him in a Government measure to check assassination
in Ireland, so that he had no choice save to resign. He had sacrificed
himself as well as his party for what he conceived to be the good of
the nation. His reign of power was at an end; but for the moment, at
least, he was thankful.

To Lord John Russell, who was more successful than on an earlier
occasion, the task of forming a new Ministry was intrusted. The
parting from her late ministers, on the 6th of July, was a trial to
the Queen, as the same experience had been previously. "Yesterday,"
her Majesty wrote to King Leopold, "was a very hard day for me. I had
to part from Sir Robert Peel and Lord Aberdeen, who are irreparable
losses to us and to the country. They were both so much overcome that
it quite upset me. We have in them two devoted friends. We felt so
safe with them. Never during the five years that they were with me did
they ever recommend a person or a thing that was not for my or the
country's best, and never for the party's advantage _only_.... I
cannot tell you how sad I am to lose Aberdeen; you cannot think what a
delightful companion he was. The breaking up of all this intercourse
during our journeys is deplorable."

In the separation the Queen turned naturally to a nearer and dearer
friend, whom only death could remove from her. "Albert's use to me,
and I may say to the country, by his firmness and sagacity in these
moments of trial, is beyond all belief." And beyond all gainsaying
must have been the deep satisfaction with which the uncle, who was
like a father, heard the repeated assurance of how successful had been
his work--what a blessing had rested upon it.

Here is a note of exultation on the political changes from the
opposite side of the House. Lord Campbell wrote: "The transfer of the
ministerial offices took place at Buckingham Palace on the 6th of
July. I ought to have been satisfied, for I received two seals, one
for the Duchy of Lancaster and one for the County Palatine of
Lancaster. My ignorance of the double honour which awaited me caused
an awkward accident, for, when the Queen put two velvet bags into my
hand, I grasped one only, and the other with its heavy weight fell
down on the floor, and might have bruised the royal toes, but Prince
Albert good-naturedly picked it up and restored it to me."

In July the Court again paid a short visit to Osborne, that the
Queen's health might be recruited before the baptism of the little
Princess. Her Majesty earnestly desired that the Queen of the Belgians
might be present, as the baby was to be the godchild of the young
widow of Queen Louise's much-loved brother, the late Duc d'Orleans.
Unfortunately the wish could not be fulfilled. The child was
christened at Buckingham Palace. She received the names of "Helena
Augusta Victoria." Her sponsors were the Duchesse d'Orleans,
represented by the Duchess of Kent; the Duchess of Cambridge; and the
Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The illustration
represents the charming little Princess at rather a more advanced age.

At the end of July Prince Albert was away from home for a few days. He
visited Liverpool, which he had greatly wished to see, in order to lay
the foundation-stone of a Sailors' Home and open the Albert Dock. In
the middle of the bustle and enthusiasm of his reception he wrote to
the Queen: "I write hoping these lines, which go by the evening post,
may reach you by breakfast time to-morrow. As I write you will be
making your evening toilette, and not be ready in time for dinner.
[Footnote: The Queen dressed quickly, but sometimes she relied too
much on her powers in this respect, and failed in her wonted
punctuality.] I must set about the same task and not, let me hope,
with the same result. I cannot get it into my head that there are two
hundred and fifty miles between us.... I must conclude and enclose, by
way of close, two touching objects--a flower and a programme of the
procession."

The same day the Queen wrote to Baron Stockmar: "I feel very lonely
without my dear master; and though I know other people are often
separated for a few days, I feel habit could not make me get
accustomed to it. This I am sure you cannot blame. Without him
everything loses its interest.... It will always be a terrible pang
for me to separate from him even for two days." Then she added with a
ring of foreboding, "And I pray God never to let me survive him." She
concluded with the true woman's proud assertion, "I glory in his being
seen and heard."

CHAPTER V.

AUTUMN YACHTING EXCURSIONS--THE SPANISH MARRIAGES--WINTER VISITS.

In the beginning of August the Queen and the Prince, accompanied by
the King and Queen of the Belgians, went again to Osborne. This autumn
the Queen, the Prince and their two elder children, made pleasant
yachting excursions, of about a week's duration each, to old admired
scenes and new places. In one of these Baron Stockmar was with them,
since he had come to England for a year's visit. He expressed himself
as much gratified by the Prince's interest and judgment in politics,
and his opinion of the Queen was more favourable than ever. "The Queen
improves greatly," he noted down as the fruits of his keen
observation, "and she makes daily advances in discernment and
experience. The candour, the tone of truth, the fairness, the
considerateness with which she judges men and things, are truly
delightful; and the ingenuous self-knowledge with which she speaks of
herself is simply charming." The yachting excursions included
Babbicombe, with the red rocks and wooded hills, which gave the Queen
an idea of Italy, where she had never been, "or rather of a ballet or
play where nymphs are to appear;" and Torbay, where William of Orange
landed. It was perhaps in reference to that event that her Majesty
made her little daughter "read in her English history." It seems to
have been the Queen's habit, in these yachting excursions, to take
upon herself a part, at least, of the Princess Royal's education.
"Beautiful Dartmouth" recalled--it might be all the more, because of
the rain that fell there--the Rhine with its ruined castles and its
Lurlei. Plymouth Harbour and the shore where the pines grew down to
the sea, led again to Mount Edgcumbe, always lovely. But first the
Queen and the Prince steamed up the St. Germans and the Tamar rivers,
passing Trematon Castle, which belonged to the little Duke of
Cornwall, and penetrated by many windings of the stream into lake-like
regions surrounded by woods and abounding in mines, which made the
Prince think of some parts of the Danube. The visitors landed at
Cothele, and drove up to a fine old house unchanged since Henry VII.'s
time. When they returned in the _Fairy_ to the yacht proper, they
found it in the centre of a shoal of boats, as it had been the last
time it sailed in these waters.

Prince Albert made an excursion to Dartmoor, and could have believed
he was in Scotland, while her Majesty contented herself with another
visit to Mount Edgcumbe, the master of which, a great invalid, yet
contrived to meet her near the landing-place at which his wife and
sons, with other members of the family, had received the royal
visitor. The drowsy heat and the golden haze were in keeping with the
romantically luxuriant glories of the drive, which the Queen took with
her children and her hostess. The little people went in to luncheon
while the Queen sketched.

After Prince Albert's return in the afternoon, the visit was repeated.
"The finest and tallest chestnut-trees in existence," and the
particularly tall and straight birch-trees, were inspected, and Sir
Joshua Reynolds's portraits examined. Well might they flourish at
Mount Edgcumbe, since Plymouth was Sir Joshua's native town, and some
of the Edgcumbe family were among his first patrons, when English art
stood greatly in need of such patronage.

The next excursion was an impromptu run in lovely weather to Guernsey,
which had not been visited by an English sovereign since the days of
King John. The rocky bays, the neighbouring islands, the half-foreign
town of St. Pierre, with "very high, bright-coloured houses,"
illuminated at night, pleased her Majesty greatly. On the visitors
landing they were met by ladies dressed in white singing "God save the
Queen," and strewing the path with flowers. General Napier, a white-
haired soldier, received the Queen and presented her with the keys of
the fort. The narrow streets through which she drove were "decorated
with flowers and flags, and lined with the Guernsey militia." The
country beyond, of which she had a glimpse, was crowned with fine
vegetation.

Whether or not it was to prevent Jersey, with St. Helier's, from
feeling jealous, ten days later the Queen and the Prince, the Prince
of Wales, and the Princess Royal, the usual suite, Lord Spencer, and
Lord Palmerston, set out on a companion trip to the sister island. The
weather was colder and the sea not so calm. Indeed, the rolling of the
vessel in Alderney Race was more than the voyagers had bargained for.
After it became smoother the little Prince of Wales put on a sailor's
dress made by a tailor on board, and great was the jubilation of the
Jack Tars of every degree.

The whole picturesque coast of Jersey was circumnavigated in order to
reach St. Helier's, which was gained when the red rocks were gilded
with the setting sun. A little later the yacht was hauled up under the
glow of bonfires and an illumination. On a splendid September day,
which lent to the very colouring a resemblance to Naples, the Queen
passed between the twin towers of Noirmont Point and St. Aubin, and
approached Elizabeth Castle, with the town of St. Helier's behind it.
The Queen landed amidst the firing of guns, the playing of military
bands, and the roar of cheers, the ladies of the place, as before,
strewing her path with flowers, and marshalling her to a canopy, under
which her Majesty received the address of the States and the militia.
The demonstrations were on a larger and more finished scale than in
Guernsey, greater time having been given for preparation.

The French tongue around her arrested the Queen's attention. So did a
seat in one of the streets filled with French women from Granville,
"curiously dressed, with white handkerchiefs on their heads." The
Queen drove through the green island, admiring its orchards without
end, though the season of russet and rosy apples was past for Jersey.
The old tower of La Hogue Bie was seen, and the castle of Mont Orgueil
was still more closely inspected, the Queen walking up to it and
visiting one of its batteries, with a view across the bay to the
neighbouring coast of France. Mont Orgueil is said to have been
occupied by Robert of Normandy, the unfortunate son of William the
Conqueror. Her Majesty heard that it had not yet been taken, but found
this was an error, though it was true the island of Guernsey had never
been conquered.

The close of the pleasant day was a little spoilt by the heat and
glare, which sent the Queen ill to her cabin. The next day saw the
party bound for Falmouth, where they arrived under a beautiful moon,
with the sea smooth as glass--not an unacceptable change from the
rolling swell of the first part of the little voyage.

Something unexpected and unwelcome had happened before the close of
the excursion, while the French coast which the Queen had hailed with
so much pleasure was still full in sight. Whether the news which
arrived with the other dispatches had anything to do with the fit of
indisposition that rendered the heat and glare unbearable, it
certainly marred the enjoyment of the last part of her trip. Before
quitting Jersey the Queen was made acquainted with the fact that Louis
Philippe's voluntary protestations with regard to the marriage of his
son, the Duc de Montpensier, had been so many idle words. He had
stolen a march both upon England and Europe generally. The marriage of
the Due de Montpensier with the Infanta Luisa of Spain was announced
simultaneously with the marriage of her sister, the Queen of Spain, to
her cousin the Due de Cadiz.

Everybody knows at this date how futile were Louis Philippe's schemes
for the aggrandisement of his family, and how he learnt by bitter
experience, as Louis XIV. had done before him, that a coveted Spanish
alliance, in the very fact of its attainment, meant disaster and
humiliation for France.

Louis Philippe had the grace, as we sometimes say, to shrink from
writing to announce the double marriage against which he had so often
solemnly pledged himself to the Queen. He delegated the difficult task
to Queen Amélie, who discharged it with as much tact as might have
been expected from so devoted a wife and kind a woman.

The Queen of England's reply to this begging of the question is full
of spirit and dignity:--

"OSBORNE, September 10, 1846.

"MADAME,--I have just received your Majesty's letter of the 8th, and I
hasten to thank you for it. You will, perhaps remember what passed at
Eu between the King and myself. You are aware of the importance which
I have always attached to the maintenance of our cordial
understanding, and the zeal with which I have laboured towards this
end. You have no doubt been informed that we refused to arrange the
marriage between the Queen of Spain and our cousin Leopold (which the
two Queens [Footnote: The reference is to the young Queen of Spain and
her mother the Queen-dowager Christina.] had eagerly desired) solely
with the object of not departing from a course which would be more
agreeable to the King, although we could not regard the course as the
best. [Footnote: The confining of the Queen of Spain's selection of a
husband to a Bourbon prince, a descendant of Philip V.] You will
therefore easily understand that the sudden announcement of this
double marriage could not fail to cause us surprise and very keen
regret.

"I crave your pardon, Madame, for speaking to you of politics at a
time like this, but I am glad that I can say for myself that I have
always been _sincere_ with you. Begging you to present my
respectful regards to the King, I am, Madame, your Majesty's most
devoted friend,

"VICTORIA."

The last yachting excursion of the season was to Cornwall. The usual
party accompanied the Queen and the Prince, the elder children, and
the ladies and gentlemen in waiting, her Majesty managing, as before,
to hear her little daughter repeat her lessons. Lizard Point and
Land's End were reached. At Penzance Prince Albert landed to inspect
the copper and serpentine-stone works, while the Queen sketched from
the deck of the _Fairy_. As the Cornish boats clustered round the
yacht, and the Prince of Wales looked down with surprise on the half-
outlandish boatmen, a loyal shout arose, "Three cheers for the Duke of
Cornwall."

The romantic: region of St. Michael's Mount, dear to the lovers of
Arthurian legends, was visited, the Queen climbing the circuitous path
up the hill to enter the castle, the Prince mounting to the tower
where "St Michael's chair," the rocky seat for betrothed couples,
still tests their courage and endurance. Each man and woman races up
the difficult path, and the winner of the race who first sits down in
the chair claims the right to rule the future home.

The illustration from a painting by Stanfield represents the imposing
pile of the "old religious house" crowning the noble rock, the royal
yacht lying off the shore commanding St. Michael's Mount, the numerous
spectators on shore and in boats haunting the royal footsteps--in
short, the whole scene in the freshness and stir which broke in upon
its sombre romance.

On Sunday service was held under the awning with its curtains of
flags, Lord Spencer--a captain in the navy--reading prayers "extremely
well." On Monday there was an excursion to the serpentine rocks, where
caves and creeks, cormorants and gulls, lent their attractions to the
spot. At Penryn the corporation came on board, "very anxious to see
the Duke of Cornwall." The Queen makes a picture in writing of the
quaint interview. "I stepped out of the pavilion on deck with Bertie.
Lord Palmerston told them that that was the Duke of Cornwall, and the
old mayor of Penryn said he hoped 'he would grow up a blessing to his
parents and his country.'"

The party were rowed up the beautiful rivers Truro and Tregony,
between banks covered with stunted oaks or woods of a more varied kind
down to the water's edge, past charming pools, creeks, and ferries,
with long strings of boats on the water and carts on the shore, and a
great gathering of people cheering the visitors, especially when the
little Duke of Cornwall was held up for them to see. The Queen took
delight in the rustic demonstration, so much in keeping with the
place, and the simple loyalty of the people.

Her Majesty went to Fowey, and had the opportunity of driving through
some of the narrowest, steepest streets in England, till she reached
the hilly ground of Cornwall, "covered with fields, and intersected
with hedges," and at last arrived at her little son's possession, the
ivy-covered ruin of the old castle of Restormel, an appanage of the
Duchy of Cornwall, in which the last Earl of Cornwall had resided five
hundred years before.

The Queen also visited the Restormel iron-mines. She was one of the
comparatively few ladies who have ventured into the nether darkness of
a pit. She saw her underground subjects as well as those above ground,
and to the former no less than to the latter she bore the kindly
testimony that she found them "intelligent good people." We can vouch
for this that these hewers and drawers of ore, in their dark-blue
woollen suits, the arms bare, and caps with the candles or lamps stuck
in the front, lighting up the pallid grimy faces, would be fully
conscious of the honour done them, and would yield to no ruddy,
fustian-clad ploughman or picturesque shepherd, with his maud and
crook in loyalty to their Queen.

The Queen and the Prince got into a truck and were drawn by the
miners, the mineral agent for Cornwall bringing up the rear, into the
narrow workings, where none could pass between the truck and the rock,
and "there was just room to hold up one's head, and not always that."
As it is with other strangers in Pluto's domains, her Majesty felt
there was something unearthly about this lit-up cavern-like place,
where many a man spent the greater part of his life. But she was not
deterred from getting out of the truck with me Prince, and scrambling
along to see the veins of ore, from which Prince Albert was able to
knock off some specimens. Daylight was dazzling to the couple when
they returned to its cheerful presence.

The last visit paid in Cornwall was by very narrow stony lanes to
"Place," a curious house restored from old plans and drawings to a
fac-simile of a Cornwall house of the past as it had been defended by
one of the ancestresses of the present family, the Treffrys, against
an attack made upon her, by the French during her husband's absence.
The hall was lined with Cornwall marble and porphyry.

On the 15th of September the new part of Osborne House was occupied
for the first time by its owners. Lady Lyttelton chronicled the
pleasant event and some ceremonies which accompanied it. "After dinner
we were to drink the Queen and Prince's health as a 'house-warming.'
And after it the Prince said very naturally and simply, but seriously,
'We have a hymn' (he called it a psalm) 'in Germany for such
occasions. It begins'--and then he repeated two lines in German,
which I could not quote right, meaning a prayer to 'bless our going
out and coming in.' It was long and quaint, being Luther's. We all
perceived that he was feeling it. And truly entering a new house, a
new palace, is a solemn thing to do, to those whose probable span of
life in it is long, and spite of rank, and health, and youth, down-
hill now."

Sir Theodore Martin, who quotes Lady Lyttelton's letters in the "Life
of the Prince Consort," gives such a hymn, which is a paraphrase of
the 121st Psalm, as it appears in the Coburg _Gesang-Buch_, and
supplies a translation of the verse in question.

Unsern ausgang segne Gott,
Unsern erngang gleicher massen,
Segne unser taglich brod,
Segne unser thun und lassen.
Segne uns mit sel'gem sterben,
Und mach uns zu Himmel's Erben

* * * * *

By Tre, Con and Pen,
You may know the Cornish men
God bless our going out, nor less
Our coming in, and make them sure,
God bless our daily bread, and bless
Whate'er we do, whate'er endure,
In death unto his peace awake us,
And heirs of his salvation make us

"I forgot," writes Lady Lyttelton again, "much the best part of our
breaking in, which was that Lucy Kerr (one of the maids of honour)
insisted on throwing an old shoe into the house after the Queen, as
she entered for the first night, being a Scotch superstition. It
looked too strange and amusing. She wanted some melted lead and sundry
other charms, but they were not forthcoming. I told her I would call
her _Luckie_, and not _Lucy_."

During the autumn the Princess of Prussia, who was on a visit to her
aunt, Queen Adelaide, went to Windsor Castle, where Madame Bunsen met
her. "I arrived here at six," writes Madame Bunsen "and at eight went
to dinner in the great hall, hung round with Waterloo pictures, the
band playing exquisitely, so placed as to be invisible, so that what
with the large proportions of the hall and the well-subdued lights,
and the splendours of plate and decorations, the scene was such as
fairy tales present; and Lady Canning, Miss Stanley, and Miss Dawson
were beautiful enough to represent an ideal queen's ideal attendants.

"The Queen looked well and _rayonnante_, with the expression of
countenance that she has when pleased with what surrounds her, and
which you know I like to see. The old Duke of Cambridge failed not to
ask after you.

"This morning at nine we were all assembled at prayers in the private
chapel, then went to breakfast, headed by Lady Canning, after which
Miss Stanley took the Countess Haach and me to see the collection of
gold plate. Three works of Benvenuto Cellini, and a trophy from the
Armada, an immense flagon or wine-fountain, like a gigantic old-
fashioned smelling-bottle, and a modern Indian work--a box given to
the Queen by an Indian potentate--were what interested me the most.
Then I looked at many interesting pictures in the long corridor.

"I am lodged in what is called the Devil's Tower, and have a view of
the Round Tower, of which I made a sketch as soon as I was out of bed
this morning."

In October the Queen and the Prince spent several days on a private
visit to the Queen-dowager at her country house of Cashiobury. From
Cashiobury the royal couple went on, in bad weather, to Hatfield
House, which had once been a palace, but had long been the seat of the
Cecils, Marquises of Salisbury. Here more than anywhere else Queen
Victoria was on the track of her great predecessor, Queen Elizabeth,
while the virgin queen was still the maiden princess, considerably
oppressed by her stern sister Queen Mary. Queen Victoria inspected all
the relics of the interesting old place, "the vineyard," the
banqueting-room fallen down into a stable, and the oak still linked
with the name of Queen Bess.

At Hatfield there was a laudable innovation on the usual round of
festivities. From four to five hundred labourers were regaled on the
lawn with a roasted ox and hogsheads of ale.

On the 1st of December, the Queen and Prince, who had been staying at
Osborne, paid the Duke of Norfolk a visit at Arundel. Not only was the
Duke the premier duke and Earl-Marshal of England, but he held at this
time the high office in the Household of Master of the Horse. The old
keep and tower at Arundel were brilliantly illuminated in honour of
the Queen's presence, and bonfires lit up the surrounding country. The
Duke of Wellington was here also, walking about with the Queen, while
the younger men shot with Prince Albert. On the second day of her stay
her Majesty received guests in the state drawing-room. The third day
included the usual commemorative planting of trees in the Little Park.
In the evening there was dancing, in which the Queen joined.

There were great changes, ominous of still further transitions, in the
theatrical and literary world. Liston, the famous comedian who had
delighted a former generation, was dead, and amateur actors, led by
authors in the persons of Charles Dickens, Douglas Jerrold, &c. &c.,
had come to the front, and were winning much applause, as well as
solid benefits for individuals and institutions connected with
literature requiring public patronage. A man and a woman unlike in
everything save their cordial admiration for each other, bore down all
opposition in the reading world: William Makepeace Thackeray, in 1846,
in spite of the discouragement of publishers, started his "Vanity
Fair," and Charlotte Brontë, from the primitive seclusion of an old-
fashioned Yorkshire parsonage, took England by storm with her
impassioned, unconventional "Jane Eyre." The fame of these two books,
while the authors were still in a great measure unknown, rang through
the country.

Art in England was still following the lines laid down for the last

Book of the day: