Part 3 out of 6
East contended with the West in soft and deep colours and sumptuous
stuffs. Huge iron machines had their region, and trophies of cobweb
lace theirs; while "walking-beams" clanked and shuttles flew, working
wonders before amazed and enchanted-eyes.
Especially never had there been seen, such modern triumphs in carved
woodwork, in moulded iron, zinc, and bronze, in goldsmiths' work, in
stoneware and porcelain, in designs for damasks in silk and linen.
The largest diamond in the world, the Koh-i-Noor or "mountain of
light," found in the mines of Golconda, presented to the great Mogul,
having passed through the hands of a succession of murderous and
plundering Shahs, had been brought to England and laid at the feet of
Queen Victoria as one of the fruits of her Afghan conquests, the year
before the Exhibition. It was now for the first time publicly
displayed. Like many valuable articles, its appearance, marred by bad
cutting, did not quite correspond with the large estimate of its
worth, about two millions. In order to increase its effect, the
precious clumsily-cut "goose's egg," relieved against a background of
crimson velvet in its strong cage, was shown by gas-light alone. Since
those days, the jewel has been cut, so that its radiance may have full
play when it is worn by her Majesty on great occasions. To keep the
Koh-i-Noor in company, one of the largest emeralds and one of the
largest pearls in the world were in this Exhibition. So were "_le
saphir merveilleux_"--of amethystine colour by candle-light, once
the property of Egalit� Orleans, and the subject of a tale by Madame
Genlis-and a renowned Hungarian opal.
Hiram Powers's "Greek Slave" from America more than rivalled Monti's
veiled statue from Italy, while far surpassing both in majesty was
Kiss's grand group of the "Mounted Amazon defending herself from, the
attack of a Lioness," cast in zinc and bronzed. Statues and statuettes
of the Queen abounded, and must have constantly met her eye, from Mrs.
Thornycroft's spirited equestrian statue to the great pedestal and
statue, in zinc, of her Majesty, crowned, in robes of State, with the
sceptre in one hand and the orb in the other, modelled by Danton,
which stood in the centre of the foreign nave.
What enhanced the fascination of the scene to untravelled spectators
was that without the deliberate contrivance brought to perfection in
the great Paris Exhibition, real Chinamen walked among their junks and
pagodas, Russians stood by their malachite gates, Turks hovered about
Women's quaint or exquisite work, whether professional or amateur, was
not absent. It was notable in the magnificent covers for the head and
footboard of a bed which had occupied thirty girls for many weeks, and
in a carpet worked in squares by a company of ladies, and presented as
a tribute of their respect and love for the most unremittingly
diligent woman in England, her Majesty the Queen.
THE QUEEN'S ACCOUNT OF THE OPENING OF THE EXHIBITION.
Of all the many descriptions of the Exhibition of 1851, which survive
after more than thirty years, the best are those written by the Queen,
which we gratefully borrow, as we have already borrowed so many of the
extracts from her journal in the Prince's "Life."
Sir Theodore Martin has alluded to the special attraction lent to the
Exhibition on its opening day by the excitement of the glad
ceremonial, the throng of spectators, the Court element with "its
splendid toilets" and uniforms, while Thackeray has a verse for the
Behold her in her royal place,
A gentle lady, and the hand
That sways the sceptre of this land,
How frail and weak
Soft is the voice and fair the face;
She breathes amen to prayer and hymn
No wonder that her eyes are dim,
And pale her cheek.
But she has deigned to speak for herself, and no other speaks words
so noble and tender in their simplicity.
"May 1st. The great event has taken place, a complete and beautiful
triumph, a glorious and touching sight, one which I shall ever be
proud of for my beloved Albert and my country.... Yes, it is a day
which makes my heart swell with pride and glory and thankfulness.
"We began it with tenderest greetings for the birthday of our dear
little Arthur. At breakfast there was nothing but congratulations....
Mamma and Victor (the Queen's nephew, son of the Princess of
Hohenlohe, now well-known as Count Gleichen) were there, and all the
children and our guests. Our humble gifts of toys were added to by a
beautiful little bronze _replica_ of the 'Amazon' (Kiss's) from
the Prince (of Prussia), a beautiful paper-knife from the Princess (of
Prussia), and a nice little clock from mamma.
"The Park presented a wonderful spectacle, crowds streaming through
it, carriages and troops passing quite like the Coronation day, and
for me the same anxiety; no, much greater anxiety, on account of my
beloved Albert. The day was bright, and all bustle and excitement....
At half-past eleven the whole procession, in State carriages, was in
motion.... The Green Park and Hyde Park were one densely crowded mass
of human beings in the highest good-humour and most enthusiastic. I
never saw Hyde Park look as it did, as far as the eye could reach. A
little rain fell just as we started, but before we came near the
Crystal Palace the sun shone and gleamed upon the gigantic edifice,
upon which the flags of all the nations were floating. We drove up
Rotten Row and got out at the entrance on that side.
"The glimpse of the transept through the iron gates--the waving palms,
flowers, statues, myriads of people filling the galleries and seats
around, with the flourish of trumpets as we entered, gave us a
sensation which, I can never forget, and I felt much moved. We went
for a moment to a little side-room, where we left our shawls, and
where we found mamma and Mary (now Duchess of Teck), and outside which
were standing the other Princes. In a few seconds we proceeded, Albert
leading me, having Vicky at his hand, and Bertie holding mine. The
sight as we came to the middle, where the steps and chair (which I did
not sit on) were placed, with the beautiful crystal fountain in front
of it, was magical--so vast, so glorious, so touching. One felt, as so
many did whom I have since spoken to, filled with devotion, more so
than by any service I have ever heard. The tremendous cheers, the joy
expressed in every face, the immensity of the building, the mixture of
palms, flowers, trees, statues, fountains--the organ (with two hundred
instruments and six hundred voices, which sounded like nothing), and
my beloved husband the author of this peace festival, which united the
industry of all nations of the earth--all this was moving indeed, and
it was and is a day to live for ever. God bless my dearest Albert, God
bless my dearest country, which has shown itself so great to-day! One
felt so grateful to the great God who seemed to pervade all and to
bless all. The only event it in the slightest degree reminded me of
was the Coronation, but this day's festival was a thousand times
superior. In fact it is unique and can bear no comparison, from its
peculiarity, beauty, and combination of such different and striking
objects. I mean the slight resemblance only as to its solemnity; the
enthusiasm and cheering, too, were much more touching, for in a church
naturally all is silent.
"Albert left my side after "God save the Queen" had been sung, and at
the head of the commissioners, a curious assemblage of political and
distinguished men, read me the report, which is a long one, and to
which I read a short answer; after which the Archbishop of Canterbury
offered up a short and appropriate prayer, followed by the "Hallelujah
Chorus," during which the Chinese mandarin came forward and made his
obeisance. This concluded, the procession began. It was beautifully
arranged and of great length, the prescribed order being exactly
adhered to. The nave was full, which had not been intended; but still
there was no difficulty, and the whole long walk, from one end to the
other, was made in the midst of continued and deafening cheers and
waving of handkerchiefs. Everyone's face was bright and smiling, many
with tears in their eyes. Many Frenchmen called out "_Vive la
Reine_!" One could, of course, see nothing but what was near in the
nave, and nothing in the courts. The organs were but little heard, but
the military band at one end had a very fine effect as we passed
along. They played the march from _Athalie_.... The old Duke and
Lord Anglesey walked arm in arm, which was a touching sight. I saw
many acquaintances among those present. We returned to our own place,
and Albert told Lord Breadalbane to declare that the Exhibition was
opened, which he did in a loud voice: 'Her Majesty commands me to
declare this Exhibition open,' which was followed by a flourish of
trumpets and immense cheering. All the commissioners, the executive
committee, who worked so hard, and to whom such immense praise is due,
seemed truly happy, and no one more so than Paxton, who may be justly
proud; he rose from being a common gardener's boy. Everybody was
astonished and delighted, Sir George Grey (Home Secretary) in tears.
"The return was equally satisfactory, the crowd most enthusiastic, the
order perfect. We reached the palace at twenty minutes past one, and
went out on the balcony and were loudly cheered, the Prince and
Princess (of Prussia) quite delighted and impressed. That we felt
happy, thankful, I need not say; proud of all that had passed, of my
darling husband's success, and of the behaviour of my good people. I
was more impressed than I can say by the scene. It was one that can
never be effaced from my memory, and never will be from that of any
one who witnessed it. Albert's name is immortalised, and the wicked
reports of dangers of every kind, which a set of people, viz. the
_soi disant_ fashionables, the most violent Protectionists,
spread, are silenced. It is therefore doubly satisfactory, and that
all should have gone off so well, and without the slightest accident
or mishap.... Albert's emphatic words last year, when he said that the
feeling would be _that of deep thankfulness to the Almighty for the
blessings which He has bestowed on us here below_ this day
"I must not omit to mention an interesting episode of this day, viz:--
the visit of the good old Duke on this his eighty-second birthday to
his little godson, our dear little boy. He came to us both at five,
and gave him a golden cup and some toys, which he had himself chosen,
and Arthur gave him a nosegay.
"We dined _en famille_, and then went to the Covent Garden Opera,
where we saw the two finest acts of the _Huguenots_ given as
beautifully as last year. I was rather tired, but we were both so
happy, so full of thankfulness! God is indeed our kind and merciful
In answer to Lord John Russell's statement, on the close of the
Exhibition, that the great enterprise and the spirit in which it had
been conducted would contribute "to give imperishable fame to Prince
Albert," the Queen asserted that year would ever remain the happiest
and proudest of her life.
THE QUEEN'S "RESTORATION BALL" AND THE "GUILDHALL BALL."
The season of the first Exhibition was full of movement and gaiety, in
which the Queen and Prince Albert joined. They had also the pleasure
of welcoming their brother and sister, the Duke and Duchess of Saxe
Coburg, who arrived to witness the Prince's triumph. As usual he came
forward on every occasion when his services, to which his position and
personal gifts lent double value, were needed--whether he presided at
an Academy dinner, or at a meeting of the Society for the Propagation
of the Gospel, or laid the foundation of the Hospital for Consumption,
or attended the meeting of the British Association, and the Queen
delighted in his popularity and usefulness.
On the 4th of May Baroness Bunsen was at Stafford House "when her
there," and thus describes the Queen. "The Queen looked charming, and I
could not help the same reflection that I have often made before, that
she is the only piece of _female royalty_ I ever saw who was also a
creature such as almighty God has created. Her smile is a _real_ smile,
her grace is _natural_; although it has received a high polish from
cultivation, there is nothing artificial about it. Princes I have seen
several whose first characteristic is that of being _men_ rather than
princes, though not many. The Duchess of Sutherland is the only person I
have seen, when receiving the Queen, not giving herself the appearance
of a visitor in her own house by wearing a bonnet."
On the 16th of May the Queen and the Prince were at Devonshire House,
when Lord Lytton's comedy of "Not so Bad as we Seem" was played by
Dickens, Foster, Douglas Jerrold, on behalf of the new "Guild of
Literature and Art," in which hopes for poor authors were cheerfully
On the 23rd of May Lord Campbell was anticipating the Queen's third
costume ball with as much complacency as if the eminent lawyer had
been a young girl. "We are invited to the Queen's fancy ball on the
13th of June," he wrote "where we are all to appear in the characters
and costume of the reign of Charles II. I am to go as Sir Matthew
Hale, Chief Justice, and I am now much occupied in considering my
dress, that is to say, which robe I am to wear--scarlet, purple, or
black. The only new articles I shall have to order are my black velvet
coif, a beard with moustaches, and a pair of shoes with red heels, and
The period chosen for the Restoration Ball was the time midway between
the dates of the Plantagenet and the Powder Ball.
As on former occasions, the Court walked in procession to the throne-
room, where each quadrille passed in turn before the Queen and Prince
Her Majesty's dress was of grey watered silk, trimmed with gold and
silver lace, and ornamented with bows of rose-coloured riband fastened
by bouquets of diamonds. The front of the dress was open, and the
under-skirt was made of cloth of gold embroidered in a shawl pattern
in silver. The gloves and shoes were embroidered alternately with
roses and _fleurs-de-lys_ in gold. On the front of the body of
the dress were four large pear-shaped emeralds of great value. The
Queen wore a small diamond crown on the top of her head, and a large
emerald set in diamonds, with pearl loops, on one side of the head;
the hair behind plaited with pearls.
Prince Albert wore a coat of rich orange satin, brocaded with gold,
the sleeves turned up with crimson velvet, a pink silk epaulette on
one shoulder; a baldrick of gold lace embroidered with silver for the
sword; the breeches of crimson velvet with pink satin bows and gold
lace, the stockings of lavender silk, the sash of white silk, gold
There were four national quadrilles. The English Quadrille was led by
the Marchioness of Ailesbury; the Scotch Quadrille was under the
guidance of the young Marchioness of Stafford, daughter-in-law of the
Duke of Sutherland; the French Quadrille was led by Countess Flahault,
the representative of the old barons Keith, and the wife of a
brilliant Frenchman; the Spanish Quadrille was marshalled by Countess
Granville. There were two more Quadrilles, the one under the control
of the Countess of Wilton, the other, called the "Rose Quadrille," led
by Countess Grey.
With all due deference to the opinion of the late Mr. Henry Greville,
the accounts of these quadrilles leave the impression not only that
they were arranged with finer taste, but that a considerable advance
had been made in artistic perception and sense of harmony. The ladies
in each quadrille were dressed alike, so were the gentlemen; thus
there were no harsh contrasts. In the English set the ladies wore blue
and white silk gowns with trimmings of rose-colour and gold. The
gentlemen were in scarlet and gold, and blue velvet. Lady Waterford
was in this set, and Lady Churchill, daughter of the Marquis of
Conyngham, long connected with the Court. The Duke of Cambridge and
Prince Edward of Saxe Weimar were among the gentlemen in the set.
Certainly it is a little hard to decide on what principle the
exceedingly piquant costume of the ladies in the Scotch Quadrille was
classed as Scotch. The ladies wore riding-habits of pale green taffeta
ornamented with bows of pink ribbon, and had on grey hats with pink
and white feathers. Lady Stafford carried a jewelled riding-whip. The
gentlemen were in Highland costume.
In the French Quadrille the ladies wore white satin with bows of light
blue ribbon opening over cloth of gold. The gentlemen were in the
uniform of _Mousquetaires_. In this quadrille danced Lady
Clementina Villiers, with her "marble-like beauty." She had ceased to
be a Watteau shepherdess, and she had lost her companion shepherdess
of old, but her intellectual gifts and fine qualities were developing
themselves more and more. In the same dance was Lady Rose Lovell, the
young daughter of the Duke of Beaufort, whose elopement at the age of
seventeen with a gallant one-armed soldier had been condoned, so that
she still played her part in the Court gala.
In the Spanish Quadrille the ladies wore black silk over grey damask,
trimmed with gold lace and pink rosettes, and Spanish mantillas. The
gentlemen were in black velvet, with a Spanish order embroidered in
red silk on coat and cloak, grey silk stockings, and black velvet hats
with red and yellow feathers. In this quadrille were the matronly
beauties Lady Canning, Lady Jocelyn, and Lady Waldegrave.
After the quadrilles had been danced, the ladies falling into lines,
advanced to the throne and did reverence, the gentlemen forming in
like manner and performing the same ceremony. Her Majesty, and Prince
Albert then proceeded to the ballroom, where Lady Wilton's and Lady
Grey's quadrilles were danced. In the Rose Quadrille the ladies wore
rose-coloured skirts over white moire, with rose-coloured bows and
pearls, rose colour and pearls in the hair. Each lady wore a single
red rose on her breast.
After the quadrilles, the Queen opened the general ball by dancing the
_Polonnaise_ with Prince Albert, the Duke of Cambridge, and
Prince Edward of Saxe Weimar; Prince Albert dancing next with the
Duchess of Norfolk, the premier peeress present. The Queen danced
after supper with the Prince of Leiningen. He was at the Restoration
as he had been at the Powder Ball, and wore black velvet and gold lace
with orange ribbons.
The characters seem to have been chosen with more point than before.
The Countess of Tankerville personated a Duchesse de Grammont, in
right of her mother-in-law, Corisande de Grammont, grand-daughter of
Marie Antoinette's friend Gabrielle de Polignac.
Lady Ashburton was Madame de Sevign�, whose fashion of curls beginning
in rings on the forehead and getting longer and longer towards the
neck, was as much in demand for the ladies, as Philip Leigh's
lovelocks were for the gentlemen.
Lady Hume Campbell was "La Belle Duchesse de Bourgogne;" Lady
Middleton, Lucy Percy, Countess of Carlisle. Mrs. Abbot Lawrence
vindicated her American nationality by representing Anna Dudley, the
wife of an early governor of Massachusetts; Mr. Bancroft Davies,
secretary of the United States legation, figured as William Penn.
Lady Londonderry and Miss Burdett Coutts were still remarkable for the
splendour of their jewels. Lady Londonderry wore a girdle of diamonds,
a diamond _berthe_, and a head-dress a blaze of precious stones,
the whole valued roughly at a hundred and fifty thousand pounds. Miss
Burdett Coutts displayed a band of jewels, after the fashion of the
gentlemen's baldricks, passing over one shoulder and terminating in a
diamond clasp fastening back the upper skirt. After diamonds, which,
like the blossom of the gorse, may be considered as always _� la
mode_, the specialities of the Restoration Ball were Honiton lace,
which was reckoned in better keeping with falling collars than old
point, and an enormous expenditure of ribbons. Some of the magnificent
collars, such as that of Lord Overton, were manufactured for the
occasion. As for ribbons, not only did ladies' dresses abound in bows
and rosettes, the gentlemen's doublets, "trunks," and sleeves, were
profusely beribboned. The very shirt-sleeves, exposed by the coat-
sleeves terminating at the elbow, were bound and festooned with
ribbons; while from the ends of the waistcoat hung a waterfall of
ribbons, like a Highlander's philabeg. Verily, the heart of Coventry
must have rejoiced; the Restoration Ball might have been got up for
its special benefit.
The Duke of Wellington was in the scarlet and gold uniform of the
period, but he alone of all the gentlemen was privileged to wear his
own scanty grey hair, which rendered him conspicuous. The old man
walked between his two daughters-in-law, Lady Douro and Lady Charles
Lord Galway wore a plain cuirass and gorget so severely simple that it
might have been mistaken for the guise of one of Cromwell's officers,
who were otherwise unrepresented.
Mr. Gladstone was there as Sir Leoline Jenkins, judge of the High
Court of Admiralty in Charles's reign. His dress was copied from an
engraving in the British Museum. It was quiet enough, but it is
difficult to realise "the grand old man" of to-day in a velvet coat
turned up with blue satin, ruffles and collar of old point, black
breeches and stockings, and shoes with spreading bows.
Sir Edwin Landseer, whom Miss Thackeray has described as helping to
dress some of the ladies for this very ball, was so studiously plain
that it must have looked like a protest against the use of
"properties" in his apparel. He wore a dress of black silk, with no
cloak, no mantle, no skirts to his coat. Round his neck was a light
blue scarf, hanging low behind. He had on a grey wig, imitating
partial baldness. There could have been no doubt of the historical
correctness of the dress, though there might have been some question
of its becomingness.
There were changes of some importance in the royal household at this
time, caused by the retirement of General, afterwards Sir George
Bowles, the Master of the Household, and of Mr. Birch, tutor to the
Prince of Vales. With the assistance of Baron Stockmar, fitting
successors for those gentlemen were found in Sir Thomas Biddulph and
Mr. Frederick Gibbes.
The ball at Guildhall had been fixed for the 2nd of July, but the day
was changed when it was remembered that the 2nd was the anniversary of
the death of Sir Robert Peel. The entertainment was a very splendid
affair. The city was continually progressing in taste and skill in
these matters, and the times were so prosperous as to admit of large
expenditure without incurring the charge of reckless extravagance. The
Queen, Prince Albert, and their suite left Buckingham Palace, in State
carriages, at nine o'clock on the summer evening, and drove through
brilliantly illuminated streets, densely crowded with large numbers of
foreigners as well as natives.
The great hall where the ball took place was magnificently fitted up,
many ideas for the decoration being borrowed from the Exhibition. Thus
there was a striking array of banners emblazoned with the arms of the
nations and cities which had contributed to the Exhibition. "Above the
centre shaft of each cluster of columns, shot up towards the roof a
silver palm-tree, glittering and sparkling in the brilliant light so
profusely shed around. On touching the roof these spread forth and
ended in long branches of bright clustering broad leaves of green and
gold, from which hung pendant rich bunches of crimson and ruby
sparkling fruit." The compartments beneath the balconies were filled
with pictures of the best known and most admired foreign contributions
to the Exhibition--such as the Amazon group, the Malachite gates, the
Greek Slave; &c., &c. Huge griffins had their places at the corners of
the dais supporting the throne, while above it a gigantic plume of
Prince of Wales's feathers reared itself in spun glass. The chambers
and corridors of the Mansion House were fitted up with "acres of
looking-glass, statuary, flowers, &c., &c.," provided for the crowd of
guests that could not obtain admittance to the hall, where little room
was left for dancing. The supper, to which the Queen was conducted,
was in the crypt. It was made to resemble a baronial hall, "figures in
mediaeval armour being scattered about as the bearers of the lights
which illuminated the chamber." Before leaving, in thanking the Lord
Mayor (Musgrove) for his hospitality, the Queen announced her
intention of creating him a baronet. Her Majesty and the Prince took
their departure at one o'clock, returning to Buckingham Palace through
the lit streets and huzzaing multitude.
ROYAL VISITS TO LIVERPOOL AND MANCHESTER--CLOSE OF THE EXHIBITION.
On the 27th of August the Court left for Balmoral, travelling for the
most part by the Great Northern Railway, but not, as now, making a
rapid night and day journey. On the contrary, the journey lasted three
days, with pauses for each night's rest between. Starting from Osborne
at nine, the Royal party reached Buckingham Palace at half-past
twelve. Halting for an hour and a half, they set off again at two.
They stopped at Peterborough, where old Dr. Fisher, the Bishop, was
able to greet in his Queen the little Princess who had repeated her
lessons to him in Kensington Palace. No longer a solitary figure but
for the good mother, she was herself a wife and mother, the happiest
of the happy in both relations. The train stopped again at Boston and
Lincoln for the less interesting purpose of the presentation and
reception of congratulatory addresses on the Exhibition. The same
ceremony was gone through at Doncaster where the party stayed for the
night at the Angel Inn.
Leaving before nine on the following morning, after changing the line
of railway at York, and stopping at Darlington and Newcastle,
Edinburgh was reached in the course of the afternoon. Her Majesty and
the Prince, with their children, proceeded to Holyrood, and before the
evening was ended drove for an hour through the beautiful town. Here,
too, the Exhibition bore its fruit in the honour of knighthood
conferred on the Lord Provost.
On the third morning the travellers left again at eight o'clock, and
journeyed as far as Stonehaven, where the royal carriages met them,
and conveyed them to Balmoral, which was reached by half-past six. The
Prince had now bought the castle and estate, seven miles in length,
and four in breadth, and plans were formed for a new house more
suitable for the accommodation of so large a household.
On the day after the Queen and Prince Albert's arrival in the
Highlands, he received the news of the death of his uncle, brother to
the late Duke of Coburg and to the Duchess of Kent, Duke Ferdinand of
There is little to record of the happy sojourn in the North this year,
with its deer-stalking, riding and driving, except that Hallam, the
historian, and Baron Liebig, the famous chemist, visited Sir James
Clark, the Queen's physician, at Birkhall, which he occupied, and were
among the guests at Balmoral.
It had been arranged that the Queen and the Prince should visit
Liverpool and Manchester on their way south, in order to give the
great cities of Lancashire the opportunity of greeting and welcoming
their Sovereign. It was the 8th of October before the royal party set
out on their homeward journey, ending the first of the shortening days
On the following day the strangers went on to the ancient dull little
town of Lancaster, and drove to the castle, where the keys were
presented, and an address read under John O'Gaunt's gateway. The tower
stairs were mounted for the view over Morcambe Bay and the English
lake country on the one hand, and away across level lands to the sea
on the other. Every native of the town "wore a red rose or a red
rosette, as emblems of the House of Lancaster."
The Queen and the Prince then proceeded to Prescot, where they left
the railway, driving through Lord Derby's fine park at Knowsley, to be
the guests of the Earl of Sefton at Croxteth. Next morning, when
Liverpool was to be visited, a _contretemps_ occurred. The
weather was hopelessly wet; the whole party had to go as far as
possible in closed carriages; afterwards the downpour was so
irresistible that the Prince's large cloak had to be spread over the
Queen and her children to keep them dry. But her Majesty's
commiseration is almost entirely for the crowd on foot, "the poor
people so wet and dirty." They spoil her pleasure in her enthusiastic
reception and the fine buildings she passes.
The royal party drove along the docks, and in spite of the rain got
out at the appointed place of embarkation, went on board the
_Fairy_, accompanied by the Mayor and other officials, and sailed
along the quays round the mouth of the Mersey, surveying the grand
mass of shipping from the pavilion on deck as well as the dank mist
would permit. On landing, the Town Hall and St. George's Hall were
visited in succession. In the first the Queen received an address and
knighted the Mayor. She admired both buildings--particularly St.
George's, which she called "worthy of ancient Athens," and said it
delighted Prince Albert. At both halls she presented herself on
balconies in order to gratify the multitudes below.
The Queen left Liverpool by railway, going as far as Patricroft, where
she was received by Lady Ellesmere and a party from Worsley, including
the Duke of Wellington, Lord and Lady Westminster, and Lord and Lady
Wilton. Her Majesty was to try a mode of travelling new to her. She
had arrived at the Bridgewater Canal, one of the greatest feats of
engineering in the last century, constructed by the public-spirited,
eccentric Duke of Bridgewater, and Brindley the engineer. The Queen
went on board a covered barge drawn by four horses. She describes the
motion as gliding along "in a most noiseless and dream-like manner,
amidst the cheers of the people who lined the sides of the canal."
Thus she passed under the "beautifully decorated bridges" belonging to
Lord Ellesmere's colliery villages.
Only at the hall-door of Worsley were Lord Ellesmere, lame with gout,
and Lord Brackley, his son, "terribly delicate" from an accident in
the hunting-field, the husband of one of the beautiful Cawdor
Campbells, able to meet their illustrious guests. Henry Greville says
her Majesty brought with her four children, two ladies-in-waiting, two
equerries, a physician, a tutor, and a governess. Men of mechanical
science seem to belong to Worsley, so that it sounds natural for the
Queen and the Prince to have met there, during the evening, Nasmyth,
the inventor of the steam-hammer, and to have examined his maps of his
investigations in the moon, and his landscape-drawings, worthy of his
father's son. The Queen and Prince Albert derived great pleasure from
their passing intercourse with a man of varied gifts, whose sterling
qualities they could well appreciate.
The next morning, the 10th of October, the weather was all that could
be wished, but another and even more unfortunate complication
threatened the success of the arrangements, on which the comfort of a
few and the gratification of many thousands of persons depended.
Prince Albert, never strong, was always liable to trying attacks of
sleeplessness and sickness. In the course of the night he had been
"very unwell, very sick and wretched for several hours." "I was
terrified for our Manchester visit" wrote the Queen in her journal.
"Thank God! by eight o'clock he felt much better, and was able to get
up" indefatigable as ever.
At ten the party started to drive the seven miles to Manchester,
escorted by Yeomanry and a regiment of Lancers, Lord Cathcart and his
staff riding near the Queen's carriage through an ever-increasing
crowd. The Queen was greatly interested in the rows of mill-workers
between whom she passed, "dressed in their best, ranged along the
streets, with white rosettes in their button-holes"--that patient,
easily pleased crowd, which has an aspect half comical, half pathetic.
Her Majesty admired the intelligent expression of both men and women,
but was painfully struck with their puniness and paleness. In the Peel
Park the visitors were greeted by a great demonstration, which her
Majesty calls "extraordinary and unprecedented," of no less than
eighty-two thousand school children, of every denomination, Jews as
well as Christians. The Queen received and replied to an address, from
her carriage, and the immense body of children sang "God save the
The party then drove through the principal streets of Salford and
Manchester--the junction of the two being marked by a splendid
triumphal arch, under which the Mayor and Corporation (dressed for the
first time in robes of office--so democratic was Manchester), again
met the Queen and presented her with a bouquet. At the Exchange she
alighted to receive another address, to which she read an answer, and
knighted the Mayor. Her Majesty missed "fine buildings," of which,
with the exception of huge warehouses and factories, Manchester had
then none to boast; but she was particularly struck by the demeanour
of the inhabitants, in addition to what she was pleased to call their
"most gratifying cheering and enthusiasm." "The order and good
behaviour of the people, who were not placed behind any barriers, were
the most complete we have seen in our many progresses through capitals
and cities--London, Glasgow, Dublin, Edinburgh--for there never was a
running crowd, nobody moved and therefore everybody saw well, and
there was no squeezing...." The Queen heard afterwards that she had
seen a million of human beings that day. In the afternoon her Majesty
and the Prince, returned to Worsley.
Henry Greville tells an almost piteous incident of this visit, in
relation to the Duke of Wellington and his advanced age, with the
infirmities that could no longer be repelled. After saying that in
order to prevent the procession's becoming too large, no other guest
at Worsley was admitted into it, except the privileged old Duke, whom
the teller of the story describes as driving in the carriage with
Henry Greville's sister, Lady Enfield, one of the ladies in attendance
on the Queen, he goes on to mention "he (the Duke) was received with
extraordinary enthusiasm; notwithstanding Lady Enfield had to nudge
him constantly, to keep him awake, both going and coming, with very
little success." Lady Enfield adds a note to her brother's narrative.
"The whole scene was one of the most exciting I ever saw in my life.
Being carried away by the general enthusiasm, and feeling that the
people would be disappointed if no notice was taken of their cheering,
I at last exclaimed 'Duke, Duke, that's for _you_.' Thereupon he
opened his eyes, and obediently made his well-known salutation, two
fingers to the brim of his hat."
The next morning when the Prince had started by seven o'clock to
inspect a model factory near Bolton, while there was a long and busy
day before them, the Queen made a little entry in her journal which
will find a sorrowful echo in many a faithful heart, "This day is full
of sad recollections, being the anniversary of the loss of my beloved
Louise (Queen of the Belgians), that kind, precious friend, that
angelic being whose loss I shall ever feel."
The same pleasant passage was made by the canal back to Patricroft,
where the railway carriages were entered and the train steamed to
Stockport. Crewe, Stafford--there another old soldier, Lord Anglesey,
was waiting--Rugby, Weedon, Wolverton, and Watford, then at five
o'clock the railway journey ended. The royal carriages were in
attendance, and rest and home were near at hand. The day had been hot
and fatiguing, but the evening was soft and beautiful with moonlight;
a final change of horses at Uxbridge, the carriage shut when the
growing darkness prevented any farther necessity for seeing and being
seen; at half-past seven, Windsor, and the three little children still
up and at the door "well and pleased."
From Windsor the Court went for some days to London for the closing of
the Exhibition. The number of visitors had been six millions two
hundred thousand, and the total receipts five hundred thousand pounds.
There had not been a single accident, "We ought, indeed, to be
thankful to God for such a success," the Prince wrote reverently. On
the 14th of October the Queen paid a farewell visit to the place in
which she had been so much interested, with the regret natural on such
an occasion. "It looked so beautiful," she wrote in her journal, "that
I could not believe it was the last time I was to see it." But already
the dismantling had begun.
The Queen refers in the next breath to a heroine of the Exhibition, an
old Cornish woman named Mary Kerlynack, who had found the spirit to
walk several hundreds of miles to behold the wonder of her generation.
This day she was at one of the doors to see another sight, the Queen.
"A most hale old woman" her Majesty thought Mary, "who was near crying
at my looking at her."
On the 15th, a cheerlessly wet day, in keeping with a somewhat
melancholy scene, Prince Albert and his fellow commissioners closed
the Exhibition--a ceremony at which it was not judged desirable the
Queen should be present, though she grieved not to witness the end as
well as the beginning. "How sad and strange to think this great and
bright time has passed away like a dream," her Majesty wrote once more
in her diary. The day of the closing of the Exhibition happened to be
the twelfth anniversary of the Queen's betrothal to the Prince.
The tidings arrived in the course of November of the death, in his
eighty-first year, in the old palace of Herrenhausen, on the 18th of
the month, of the King of Hanover, the fifth, and last surviving son
of George III and Queen Charlotte. He had been more popular as a king
than as a prince.
The arrival of Kossuth in England in the autumn of 1851 had brought a
disturbing element into international politics. But it was left for
Louis Napoleon's _coup d'�tat_ in Paris on the 2nd of December,
when the blood shed so mercilessly on the Boulevards was still fresh
in men's minds, to get Lord Palmerston into a dilemma, from which
there was no disentanglement but the loss of office on his part.
An impetus, great though less lasting than it seemed, was given this
year to emigration to Australia, by the discovery in the colony of
gold in quartz beds, under much the same conditions that the precious
metal had been found in California. The diggings, with the chance of a
large nugget, became for a time the favourite dream of adventurers.
Nay, the dream grew to such an absorbing desire, that men heard of it
as a disease known as "the gold fever." And quiet people at home were
told that it was hardly safe for a ship to enter some of the
Australian harbours, on account of the certainty of the desertion of
the crew, under whatever penalties, that they might repair to the last
The successful ambition of Louis Napoleon and his power over the
French army, began to excite the fears of Europe with regard to French
aggression, and a renewal of the desolating wars of the beginning of
the century; before the talk about the Exhibition and the triumphs of
peace had well died on men's lips. The Government was anxious to fall
back on the old resource of calling out the militia, with certain
modifications and changes--brought before Parliament in the form of a
Militia Bill. It did not meet with the approval of the members any
more than of the Duke of Wellington, whose experience gave his opinion
much weight. Lord Palmerston spoke with great ability against the
measure. The end was that the Government suffered a defeat, and the
Ministry resigned office in February, 1852. This time Lord Derby was
successful in forming a new Cabinet, in which Mr. Disraeli was
Chancellor of the Exchequer. A fresh Militia Bill was brought forward
and carried by the new Government, after it had received the warm
advocacy of the Duke of Wellington. The old man spoke in its favour
with an amount of vigour and clear-headedness which showed that
however his bodily strength might be failing, his mental power
DISASTERS--YACHTING TRIPS--THE DEATH OF THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON.
The month of February, 1852, was unhappily distinguished by three
great English calamities, accompanied by extensive loss of life. The
first was the destruction of the West India mail steamer _Amazon_
by fire, as she was entering the Bay of Biscay, in which a hundred and
forty persons perished, among them Eliot Warburton, the accomplished
traveller and author.
The second was the wreck of her Majesty's troop-ship _Birkenhead_
near the Cape of Good Hope, with the loss of upwards of four hundred
lives, in circumstances when the discipline and devotion of the men
were of the noblest description. The third was the bursting of the
Bilberry Reservoir in midland England, with the sacrifice of nearly a
hundred lives and a large amount of property.
When the season commenced, and it was this year, as last, particularly
gay, a reflection of the general prosperity of the country, with the
high hopes inspired by the Australian gold-fields, the Queen wrote to
the King of the Belgians in order to re-assure him with regard to a
fear which seems to have arisen in the elderly man's mind, that she
whom he remembered at the beginning of her reign as fond of pleasure
and untiring in her amusements, might be swept away in the tide.
"Allow me just to say one word about the London season. The London
season for us consists of two State balls and two concerts. (The State
balls and concerts are given to this day, though her Majesty, since
her widowhood, has ceased to attend them. The Queen's place and that
of Prince Albert in these social gaieties, have been naturally taken
by the Prince and Princess of Wales.) We are hardly ever later than
twelve o'clock at night, and our only dissipation is going three or
four times a week to the play or opera, which is a great amusement and
relaxation to us both. As for going out as people do here every night,
to balls and parties, and to breakfasts and teas all day long besides,
I am sure no one would stand it worse than I should; so you see,
dearest uncle, that in fact the London season is nothing to us."
So much higher, and more solid and lasting, as they should have been,
were the pursuits and gratifications of the woman, the wife and
mother, than of the young girl.
The Queen added that the only one who was fagged was the Prince, and
that from business and not pleasure, a result which made her often
anxious and unhappy. Indeed, this suspicion of precarious health on
Prince Albert's part was the cloud the size of a man's hand that kept
hovering on the horizon in the summer sky.
Parliament was prorogued and dissolved at the same time at an
unusually early date, the first of July, so that the season itself
came to a speedy end.
Before the Queen left London, she was present at the baptism and stood
sponsor for the young Hindoo Princess Gouromma, the pale, dark,
slender girl whose picture looks down on the visitor at Buckingham
Palace. She had been brought to England by her father, the Rajah of
Coorg, a high-caste Hindoo, who desired that she should be brought up
a Christian. He was one of the princes of Northern India, whose
inheritance had become a British possession. He lived at Benares under
the control of the East India Company, and had an allowance from
Government as well as a large private fortune. The little princess was
the same age as the Princess Royal, eleven years. She was the daughter
of the Rajah's favourite wife, who had died immediately after the
infant's birth. The ceremony took place in the private chapel of
Buckingham Palace. The Archbishop of Canterbury officiated. Besides
the Queen, the sponsors were Lady Hardinge, Mr. Drummond, and Sir
James Weir Hogg, the chairman of the East India Company. The little
girl received the name "Victoria." The Rajah returned soon afterwards
The Court had longer time to enjoy the sea air and quiet of Osborne,
where, however, sorrow intruded in the shape of the news of the death
of Count Mensdorff, the uncle by marriage both of the Queen and Prince
Albert, to whom they were warmly attached. Though he had been no
prince, only a French emigrant officer in the Austrian service, when
he married the sister of the Duchess of Kent, he was held in high
esteem by his wife's family for the distinction with which he had
served as a soldier, and for his many good qualities.
Princess Hohenlohe, with a son and daughter, came to Osborne as a
stage to Scotland and Abergeldie, where she was to visit her mother,
the Duchess of Kent, and where she could also best enjoy the Queen's
society. The poor Princess, who made a stay of several months in this
country, had need of a mother's and a sister's sympathy. A heavy
sorrow had lately befallen her. The eldest daughter of the Hohenlohe
family, Princess Elise, a girl of great promise, had died at Venice of
consumption in her twenty-first year.
Yachting excursions were again made to Devonshire and Cornwall, to
Torquay and the often-visited beauties of Mount Edgcumbe and the banks
of the Tamar. There was a proposal of a visit to the King of the
Belgians, with the Channel Islands to be touched at on the way. One
part of the programme had to be given up, on account of the
tempestuous weather. The yacht, after waiting to allow Prince Albert
to pay a flying visit--the last--to the Duke of Wellington at
Walmer, ran up the Scheldt in one of the pauses in the storm, and the
travellers reached Antwerp at seven o'clock on the morning of the 11th
of August, "in a hurricane of wind and rain."
But the weather is of little consequence when friends meet. King
Leopold was waiting for his welcome guests, and immediately carried
them off to his country palace, for their visit this time was to him
and not to any of the old Flemish towns.
The Queen and Prince Albert, with their children, stayed at Laeken for
three days, returning to Antwerp in time for a visit to the cathedral
and the museum, before sailing in the same unpropitious weather for
Flushing. The intention was still to cross on the following morning to
the Channel Islands, but the wet, wild weather did not change, and the
yacht remained where it was, the Queen indemnifying herself for the
disappointment by landing and going over an old Dutch town and a
farmhouse, with which she was much pleased.
On the 30th of August the Court went to Balmoral by Edinburgh. Soon
after her arrival the Queen had the gratifying intelligence that a
large legacy, about two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, had been
left to her and her heirs by one of her subjects--Mr. Campden Nield--
a gentleman without near relatives, who had lived in the most
penurious way, denying himself the very necessaries of life.
The Queen's comment on the bequest to King Leopold was like her. "It
is astonishing, but it is satisfactory to see that people have so much
confidence that it will not be thrown away, and so it certainly will
not be." Baron Stockmar held with some justice that it was "a monument
reared to the Queen during her life, in recognition of her simple,
honourable, and constitutional career."
Her Majesty and Prince Albert went on the 16th of September for their
customary two days' stay by Loch Muich, though they had been startled
in the morning by a newspaper report of the death of the Duke of
Wellington at Walmer. But the rumour had arisen so often during these
many years that nobody believed it, now that it was true.
The little party started in the course of the forenoon on a showery
day. Arrived at the Loch, the Queen walked up the side to Alt-na-
Dearg, a "burn" and fall, then rode up the ravine hung with birch and
mountain-ash, and walked again along the top of the steep hills to
points which command a view of Lord Panmure's country, "Mount Keen and
the Ogilvie Hills."
A little farther on, while resting and looking down on the Glassalt
Shiel and the head of the loch, the Queen, by a curious coincidence,
missed the watch which the Duke of Wellington had given her. Her
Majesty sent back a keeper to inquire about her loss; in the meanwhile
she walked on and descended by the beautiful falls of the Glassalt,
one hundred and fifty feet in height, which she compares to those of
the Bruar. The cottage or shiel of the Glassalt had just been built
for the Queen, and offered accommodation in its dainty little dining-
room and drawing-room for her to rest and refresh herself. After she
had eaten luncheon, she set out again on a pony, passed another
waterfall, called the Burn of the Spullan, and reached the wild
solitary Dhu Loch.
The Queen had sat down to sketch when the keeper returned to tell her
that the watch was safe at home; but that was not all. He brought a
letter from Lord Derby with a melancholy confirmation of the report of
the morning. The Duke of Wellington was dead. The Queen calls the news
"fatal," and with something of the fond exaggeration of a daughter,
writes of the dead man as "England's--rather Britannia's--pride, her
glory, her hero, the greatest man she ever had produced."
We can understand it, when we remember how closely connected he was
with all her previous career, from her cradle till now. He had taken
pride in her, advised her, obeyed her, with half a father's, half a
servant's devotion. The King of the Belgians was hardly more her
second father than the Duke of Wellington had been.
Besides, the Duke was not only a soldier; he had been a statesman, tried
and true as far as his vision extended; brave here no less than in the
stricken field, honest with an upright man's straightforwardness, wise
with a practical man's sense of what could and could not be done, what
must be yielded when the time came.
The Queen might well mourn for her grey-bearded captain, her faithful
old councillor. There was one comfort, that the Duke had reached a
good old age, and died after a few hours illness, without suffering.
He simply fell asleep, and awoke no more in this world. His old
antagonist, Marshal Soult, had pre-deceased him only by a few months.
The Queen sums up the position: "One cannot think of this country
without 'the Duke,' our immortal hero."
Her Majesty hastened down on foot to the head of Loch Muich, and rode
back in the rain to Alt-na-Giuthasach to write to Lord Derby and Lord
Charles Wellesley, who had been with his father in his last hours. She
wrote mournfully in her journal: "We shall soon stand sadly alone.
Aberdeen is almost the only personal friend of that kind left to us.
Melbourne, Peel, Liverpool, now the Duke, all gone!...."
Invitations were countermanded, and the Court went into mourning. The
Queen was right that the sorrow was universal. The ships in the Thames
and in all the English ports had their flags half-mast high, the
church bells were tolled, business was done "with the great exchanges
half-shuttered," garrison music was forbidden.
The Duke had left no directions with regard to his funeral, and it was
fitting that it should receive the highest honour Sovereign and people
could pay. But the Queen refrained from issuing an order, preferring
that the country should take the initiative. It was necessary to wait
till the 11th of November, when Parliament must meet. In the meantime
the body of the Duke was placed under a Guard of Honour at Walmer.
Viscount Hardinge was appointed Commander-in-Chief.
The Court left Balmoral on the 12th of October, about a month after
the Duke of Wellington's death, and on the 11th--a day which the Queen
calls in her journal "a very happy, lucky, and memorable one"--her
Majesty and Prince Albert, with their family, household, tenants,
servants, and poorer neighbours, ascended Craig Gowan, a hill near
Balmoral, for the purpose of building a cairn, which was to
commemorate the Queen and the Prince's having taken possession of
their home in the north. At the "Moss House," half-way up, the Queen's
piper met her, and preceded her, playing as he went. Not the least
welcome among the company already collected were the children of the
keepers and other retainers, with whom her Majesty was familiar in
their own homes. She calls them her "little friends," and enumerates
them in a motherly way, "Mary Symons, and Lizzie Stewart, the four
Grants, and several others."
The Queen laid the first stone of the cairn, Prince Albert the next.
Their example was followed by the Princes and Princesses, according to
their ages, and by the members of the household. Finally every one
present "came forward at once, each person carrying a stone and
placing it on the cairn." The piper played, whiskey was handed round.
The work of building went on for an hour, during which "some merry
reels were danced on a flat stone opposite." All the old people
danced, apparently to her Majesty's mingled gratification and
diversion. Again the happy mother of seven fine children notices
particularly the children and their performance. "Many of the
children--Mary Symons and Lizzie Stewart especially--danced so nicely,
the latter with her hair all hanging down."
There is another little paragraph which is very characteristic of the
love of animals, and the faithful remembrance of old landmarks, well-
known features in the Queen's character. "Poor dear old Monk, Sir
Robert Gordon's (the former owner of Balmoral) faithful old dog, was
sitting there among us all."
When the cairn ("seven or eight feet high") was all but finished,
Prince Albert climbed to the top and deposited the last stone, when
three cheers were given. The Queen calls it "a gay, pretty, and
touching sight," that almost made her cry. "The view was so beautiful
over the dear hills; the day so fine, the whole so _gem�thlich_."
She ends reverently, "May God bless this place, and allow us to see it
and enjoy it many a long year."
THE IRON DUKE'S FUNERAL.
On the 11th of November the Parliament met and voted the Duke a public
funeral in the City cathedral of St. Paul's, by the side of Nelson,
the great soldier and the great sailor bearing each other company in
their resting-place, in the middle of the people whom they had saved
from foreign dominion.
The hearse with the body had left Walmer at seven o'clock on the
morning of the 10th, minute guns being fired in succession from the
castles of Walmer, Deal, and Sandown, startling the sea-mews hovering
over the Goodwin Sands, causing the sailors in the foreign vessels in
the Downs to ask if England had gone to war. From the railway station
in London, the coffin was escorted by Life Guards to Chelsea, where it
was received by the Lord Chamberlain and conducted to the great hall
for the lying-in-state, which occupied four days.
The fine old hospital, where so many of the Duke's soldiers had found
refuge, which Wilkie had painted for him at the moment when the
pensioners were listening to the reading of the Gazette that announced
the victory of Waterloo, was carefully prepared for the last scene but
one of a hero's life. Corridors, vestibule, and hall were hung with
black cloth and velvet, and lit with tall candles in silver
candelabra. Trophies of tattered banners, the spoils of the many
victories of him who had just yielded to the last conqueror, were
surmounted by the royal standard; Grenadiers lined hall and vestibule,
their heads bent over their reversed arms. A plumed canopy of black
velvet and silver was raised over a dais, with a carpet of cloth of
gold, on which rested the gilt and crimson coffin. At the foot of the
bier hung the mace and insignia of the late Duke's numerous orders of
knighthood; and on ten pedestals, with golden lions in front, were the
eight field-marshals' batons of eight different kingdoms, which had
been bestowed on him. On the ninth and tenth pedestals were placed the
Great Banner and the banner of Wellesley.
The Queen and Prince Albert came privately with their children, early
on the first day, a windy, rainy Saturday in November, to view the
On the night before the funeral the coffin was removed to the Horse
Guards, over which Wellington had so long presided, where it is said
that in the early days of his career he met Nelson. Early next morning
the coffin was conveyed to a pavilion on the parade, whence it was
lifted to the car which was to convey it to St. Paul's.
Not later than six o'clock on the morning of the 18th, the troops in
large numbers began to muster in Hyde Park, under the direction of the
Duke of Cambridge. The streets and windows were lined with seats
covered with black cloth. Barriers were raised at the mouths of the
side streets in the line of route, to prevent the danger of any side
rush. In the dread of missing the sight, hundreds of people took up
their position the night before, and kept it during the dark hours, in
spite of wind and rain. All the richer classes were in mourning;
indeed, whoever could bring out a scrap of black did so. There was a
peculiar hush and touch of solemnity, which had its effect on the
roughest in the million and a half of spectators.
At a quarter before eight, nineteen minute guns were fired in the
park, the walls of the pavilion were suddenly drawn up, revealing the
funeral car and its sacred burden. Instantly the troops presented arms
for the last time to their late commander, and the drums beat "a long
and heavy roll, increasing like the roll of thunder." The words "to
reverse arms" were then given, and the funeral procession began to
move. First came battalion after battalion of infantry, commencing
with the rifles, the bands playing "The Dead March in Saul," the
trumpets of the cavalry taking up "the wailing notes." "As the dark
mass of the rifles appeared, and the solemn dead march was heard, the
people were deeply affected, very many of both sexes to tears....
Great interest was felt as the Duke's regiment, the 33rd, passed."
Squadrons of cavalry were succeeded by seventeen guns; the Chelsea
Pensioners, old men, like him whose remains they followed, to the
number of eighty three--his years on earth; one soldier from every
regiment in her Majesty's service, to say that none had been left out,
when their leader was borne to his grave; standards and pennons;
deputations from public bodies--Merchant Taylors' Company, East India
Company, and the deputation from the Common Council of London, joining
the procession at Temple Bar; more standards, high officials,
Sheriffs, and Knights of the Bath; the Judges, members of the
Ministry, and Houses of Parliament; the Archbishop of Canterbury; the
Lord Mayor of London carrying the City Sword; His Royal Highness
Prince Albert, attended by the Marquesses of Exeter and Abercorn--
Lord Chamberlain and Groom of the Stole; the Great Banner, borne by an
officer, and supported by two officers on horseback; the Field-
marshals' batons--each carried by a foreign officer of high rank--
which every country in Europe, except France and Austria, had
entrusted to the care of the Great Duke. To the imposing scene to-day
France, like an honorable enemy, sent a representative; but Austria,
still smarting under the affront to Haynau, was conspicuous by
absence. The English Field-marshal's baton was borne on its cushion by
the Duke's old comrade in arms, the Marquis of Anglesey. The Duke's
coronet followed. Then the pall-bearers--eight generals in mourning
coaches. At length the huge funeral car, heavily wrought and
emblazoned and inscribed with the names of the Duke's battles, drawn
by twelve horses, with five officers on horseback, bearing the
banneroles of the lineage of the deceased, riding on either side. On
the car was placed the coffin, and on the coffin rested the hat and
sword of the dead commander.... Every emotion, save that of solemn
awe, was hushed. The massive structure moved on its course with a
steady pressure, and produced a heavy dull sound, as it ground its
path over the road.... But the car, apart from its vast size, passed
unnoticed, for on its highest stage rested a red velvet coffin, which
contained all that was mortal of England's greatest son. It seemed
that a thousand memories of his great and long career were awakened at
the sight of that narrow tenement of so great a man.... The voice
which had cried "Up, Guards, and at them!" at the critical moment on
the afternoon of that rainy Sunday at Waterloo, thirty-seven years
before, was silent for ever. The sagacious and skilled brain which had
planned so well the defence of London from the threatened outbreak of
the Chartists, would plan no more for Queen and country. No longer
would the shouting crowd press round him on every gala, and strangers
watch patiently near the Horse Guards for one of the sights of London--
the eagle face of the conqueror of him who conquered Europe.
"No more in soldier fashion would he greet,
With lifted hand, the gazer in the street."
Wellington was making his way from the Horse Guards for the last time,
attended by such a mighty multitude as seldom waits on the steps of
Kings, hardly ever with such mute reverence as they gave him that day.
The "good grey head" of "the last Great Englishman" was about to be
laid in the dust, and his best epitaph was Tennyson's line--
"One that sought but duty's iron crown."
Behind the car came the chief mourner, accompanied by his younger
brother, with cousins and relatives to the last degree of kindred, and
friends filling a long train of mourning coaches. Then followed what
moved the people more than all the splendour, because it came like a
touch of homely nature appealing to all, in a familiar part of the
life that was gone, the late Duke's horse, led by John Mears, his aged
groom. The horse might have been "Copenhagen," which had borne the
Duke in the thick of his greatest battle, and died long since at
Strathfieldsaye, so eagerly did the crowds gaze on it. More carriages
and troops closed the march.
And she was not absent who had held the dead man in such high esteem,
whom he had so loved and honoured. From two different points--as if
she were reluctant to see the last of her old friend--from the balcony
of Buckingham Palace, where the Royal Standard floated half-mast high,
as the funeral passed up Constitution Hill, and again from the windows
of St. James's Palace, as the melancholy train went down St. James's
Street, the Queen, surrounded by her children and her young cousins
from Belgium, looked down on the solemn pageant.
Nearly twenty thousand privileged persons--many of them of high rank,
filled St. Paul's, black-draped and gas-lit on the dark November day.
After the funeral company were seated, the body, which had been
received at the west entrance by the Bishop of London and the other
clergy of the Cathedral, was carried up the nave to the chanting of "I
am the Resurrection and the Life." The spurs were borne by one herald,
the helmet and crest by another, the sword and target by a third, the
surcoat by a fourth, the foreign batons by their foreign bearers, the
English baton by Lord Anglesey.
Among the psalms and anthems, a dirge accompanied by trumpets was
sung, "And the King said to all the people that were with him, rend
your clothes and gird you with sackcloth and mourn. And the King
himself followed the bier. And they buried him; and the King lifted up
his voice and wept at the grave, and all the people wept. And the King
said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great
man fallen this day in Israel."
An affecting incident occurred, when, at the conclusion of this dirge,
the body was lowered into the crypt to the "intensely mournful" sound
of "The Dead March in Saul." As the coffin with the coronet and baton
slowly descended, and thus the great warrior departed from the sight
of men, a sense of heavy depression came on the whole assembly. Prince
Albert was deeply moved, and the aged Marquess of Anglesey, the
octogenarian companion in arms of the deceased, by an irresistible
impulse stepped forward, placed his hand on the sinking coffin that
contained the remains of his chief in many battles, and burst into
"In the vast Cathedral leave him;
God accept him, Christ receive him."
THE EMPEROR NAPOLEON III. AND THE EMPRESS EUG�NIE--FIRE AT WINDSOR--
THE BIRTH OF PRINCE LEOPOLD.
At the close of 1852 Mr. Disraeli announced his Budget in one famous
speech, to which Mr. Gladstone replied in another, the first of those
memorable speeches--at once a fine oration and a convincing argument--
so often heard since then. The Derby Ministry, already tottering to
its fall on the ground of its opposition to Free-trade principles, was
defeated, and the same night Lord Derby resigned office, and Lord
Aberdeen, who was able to unite the Whigs and the followers of the
late Sir Robert Peel, took his place.
On the 2nd of December, the anniversary of the _coup d'�tat_, the
Empire was declared in France, and Louis Napoleon entered Paris as
Emperor on the following day.
On the 22nd of January, 1853, the Emperor of the French made public
his approaching marriage to the beautiful Eug�nie de Montigo, Comtesse
A serious fire broke out at Windsor Castle on the night of the 19th of
March, the very day that the Court had come down for Easter. It was
the result of an accident from the over-heating of a flue, which might
have been doubly disastrous.
The scene of the fire was the upper stories of the Prince of Wales's
Tower, above the Gothic dining-room, which is in the same suite with
the Crimson, Green, and White drawing-rooms, in the last of which the
Queen and Prince Albert were sitting, at ten o'clock in the evening,
when the smell of smoke and burning aroused an alarm.
Besides the suite of drawing-rooms, with their costly furniture, the
plate-rooms were beneath the Gothic dining-room; and on the other
side--beyond a room known as the Octagon-room--was the Jewelled
Armoury. The fire had taken such hold that the utmost exertions were
needed to keep it under, and prevent it from spreading, and it
remained for hours doubtful whether the rest of the Castle would
escape. Prince Albert, the gentlemen of the household, and the
servants, with seven hundred Guards brought from the barracks and
stationed in the avenues to prevent further disorder, strove to
supplement the work of the fire-engines. The Gothic dining-room was
stripped of its furniture, including the gold vase or bath for wine,
valued at ten thousand pounds. The Crimson drawing-room and the
Octagon-room were dismantled. The plate-rooms were considered
fireproof, but the Jewelled Armoury was emptied of its treasures,
among them the famous peacock of Tippoo Sahib.
More than five hours passed before the danger was over. The Queen, in
writing to reassure the King of the Belgians, said, "Though I was not
alarmed, it was a serious affair, and an acquaintance with what a fire
is, and with its necessary accompaniments, does not pass from one's
mind without leaving a deep impression. For some time it was very
obstinate, and no one could tell whether it would spread or not. Thank
God, no lives were lost."
Less than three weeks after the fire, the Queen's fourth son, and
eighth child, was born at Buckingham Palace on the 7th of April.
Within a fortnight her Majesty was sufficiently recovered to write to
the King of the Belgians, and here the wound which had been felt so
keenly bled afresh. "My first letter is this time, as last time,
addressed to you. Last time it was because dearest Louise--to whom the
first announcement had heretofore always been addressed, was with me,
alas! Now," she goes on to remind him affectionately, "Stockmar will
have told you that Leopold is to be the name of our fourth young
gentleman. It is a mark of love and affection which I hope you will
not disapprove. It is a name which is the dearest to me after Albert,
one which recalls the almost only happy days of my sad childhood. To
hear "Prince Leopold" [Footnote: When Prince Leopold's title was
merged into that of Duke of Albany, our readers may remember that some
reluctance was expressed at the change, and that there was an attempt
to preserve the earlier name, by arranging that his Royal Highness
should be styled "Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany."] again will make me
think of all those days. His other names will be George, Duncan,
Albert, and the sponsors will be the King of Hanover, Ernest Hohenlohe
(the Queen's brother-in-law), the Princess of Prussia, and Mary of
Cambridge. George is after the King of Hanover, and Duncan is a
compliment to dear Scotland."
In the Royal Academy this year one of the pre-Raphaelites, who had
been at first treated with vehement opposition and ridicule, came so
unmistakably to the front as to stagger his former critics, and render
his future success certain. Even the previous year Millais's
"Huguenot" had made a deep impression, and his "Order of Release" this
year carried everything before it. In the same Academy exhibition were
Sir Edwin Landseer's highly poetic "Night" and "Morning."
On the Court's return from Osborne to London, the Queen and Prince
Albert were present with their guests, the King and Queen of Hanover,
and the Duke and Duchess of Coburg, on the 21st of June, in the camp
at Chobham, when a sham-fight and a series of military manoeuvres over
broken ground were carried out with great spirit and exactness, to the
admiration of a hundred thousand spectators. Her Majesty, as in the
early years of her reign, wore a half-military riding-habit, and was
mounted on a splendid black horse, on which she rode down the lines
before witnessing the mock battle from an adjoining height.
Four days afterwards Prince Albert returned to the camp to serve for a
couple of days with his brigade, the Guards. The Prince experienced
something of the hardships of bivouacing in stormy weather, and
suffered in consequence. He came back labouring under a bad cold, to
be present at the baptism of his infant son on the 28th. All the
sponsors were there in person. The Lord Chamberlain conducted the
baby-prince to the font; the Archbishop of Canterbury performed the
sacred rite. The usual State banquet and evening party followed. But
illness, not very deadly, yet sufficiently prostrating, was hovering
over the royal pair and their guests. The Prince of Wales was already
sick of measles. Prince Albert, pre-disposed by the cold he had
caught, got the infection from his son, had a sharp attack of the same
disease, and we are told "at the climax of the illness showed great
nervous excitement," symptomatic of a susceptible, highly-strung,
rather fragile temperament.
Though the country was unaware of the extent of the Prince's illness,
we can remember the public speculation it excited, and the
contradictory assertions that the Queen would claim her wife's
prerogative of watching by her husband's sick-bed, and that she would
be forbidden to do so, for State reasons, her health or sickness, not
to say the danger to her life, being of the utmost importance to the
body politic. It is easy to see that if such a question had arisen, it
would have been peculiarly trying to one who had been brought up to
regard her duty to the country as a primary obligation, while at the
same time every act of her life showed how precious and binding were
her conjugal relations. But the matter settled itself. After the
Princess Royal and Princess Alice had also been attacked by the
epidemic, the Queen was seized with it, happily in the mildest form,
which was of short duration. But the mischief did not confine itself
to the English royal family. The juvenile malady of measles became for
a time the scourge of princes, a little to the diversion of the world,
since no great harm was anticipated, or came to pass, while the
ailment invaded a succession of Courts. The guests at Prince Leopold's
baptism carried the seeds of the disease to Hanover, in the person of
the little Hanoverian cousin, King George's son, who had been a
visitor in the English royal nurseries; to Brussels, in the case of
the Duke and Duchess of Coburg, who unconsciously handed on the
unwelcome gift to King Leopold's sons, the Due de Brabant and the
Comte de Flandres, the former on the eve of his marriage, before the
illness was taken across Germany to Coburg.
By the 6th of August, the birthday of Prince Alfred, the Queen and the
Prince were sufficiently recovered to pay a second visit with their
children to Chobham, when a fresh series of manoeuvres were performed
prior to the breaking up of the camp.
A great cluster of royal visitors had arrived in England, making the
season brilliant. It was, perhaps, significant that these visitors
included three Russian archduchesses, in spite of the fact that a war
with Russia was in the air, being only held back by the strenuous
efforts of statesmen, against the wishes of the people. Other visitors
were the Crown Prince and Princess of Wurtemberg, near akin to Russia,
and the Prince of Prussia--the later came from Ostend, on an
invitation to witness a sight well calculated to recommend itself to
his martial proclivities--a review, on the grandest scale, of the
fleet at Spithead, on the 11th of August. The weather was fine, and
the spectacle, perfect of its kind, was seen by all the royal company,
by what was in effect "the House of Commons with the Speaker at its
head," and by multitudes in more than a hundred steamers, besides, the
crowds viewing the scene from the shores of the Isle of Wight and
Hampshire. On the 21st of August, a French sailor whose name has
become a household word in England, died far away amidst the horrors
of the north seas, in a gallant effort to rescue Sir John Franklin and
his crew. Among the brave men who sailed on this perilous quest, none
earned greater honour and love than young Bellot.
On the 22nd of August, a marriage of some interest to the Queen was
celebrated at Brussels. King Leopold's eldest son, the Due de Brabant,
was married in St. Gudule's to the Archduchess Marie Henriette of
Austria. The bridegroom was only eighteen years of age, the bride as
young; but it was considered desirable that the heir-apparent should
marry, and Queen Louise's place had remained vacant while her
daughter, Princess Charlotte, was still unfit to preside over the
Court in her mother's room.
On the 29th of August, Sir Charles Napier, the dauntless, eccentric
conqueror of Scinde, follows his old commander to the grave. Though
more than ten year's younger, Sir Charles's last public appearance was
at the Duke's funeral. He was the grandson of Lord Napier, and the
son of the beautiful Lady Sarah Lennox.
A great art and industrial exhibition at Dublin--the first of the
numerous progeny of the Great Exhibition of two years before--was held
this year. Naturally, the Queen and the Prince were much interested in
its fortunes, and had promised to be present at the opening, but were
prevented by the outbreak of measles in June. It was possible,
however, to visit the Irish Exhibition before its close, and this her
Majesty and Prince Albert did on their way to Balmoral. Proceeding by
train to Holyhead, where they were detained a day and a night by a
violent storm, the travellers sailed on the 29th of August for
Kingstown, which was reached next morning. On landing they were
received by the Lord-Lieutenant, Lord St. Germains and Lady St.
Germains, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Duke of Leinster, &c., &c.,
together with an immense number of people, lining the dock walls and
hailing her Majesty's arrival with vociferous cheers, as on her last
visit to Ireland. Enthusiasm, equal to what had been shown before, was
displayed on the railway route and the drive through the thronged
streets to the Viceregal Lodge. Not long after her arrival, the Queen,
as energetic as ever, was seen walking in the Phoenix Park, and in the
evening she took a drive in the outskirts of the city. At night Dublin
was illuminated. The next day the Queen and the Prince, with their two
elder sons, paid a State visit to the exhibition, full to overflowing
with eager gazers. The royal party were conducted to a dais, where the
Queen, seated on the throne prepared for her, received the address of
the commissioners thanking her for the support she had lent to the
undertaking by her presence, and by her contributions to the articles
The Queen replied, expressing her satisfaction that the worthy
enterprise had been carried out in a spirit of energy and self-
reliance, "with no pecuniary aid but that derived from the patriotic
munificence of one of her subjects." That subject, Mr. Dargan, who had
erected the exhibition building at his own expense, was present, and
kissed hands amidst the cheers of the assembly. The Queen and the
Prince afterwards made the circuit of the whole place, specially
commending the Irish manufactures of lace, poplin, and pottery.
In, the afternoon her Majesty and Prince Albert, to the high
gratification of the citizens of Dublin, drove out through pouring
rain to Mount Annville, the house of Mr. Dargan, saw its beautiful
grounds, and conversed with the host and hostess. His manner struck
the Queen as "touchingly modest and simple," and she wrote in her
journal, "I would have made him a baronet, but he was anxious it
should not be done."
Every morning during their week's stay the royal pair returned
unweariedly to the exhibition, and by their interest in its
productions, stimulated the interest of others. The old engagements--a
review, visits to the castle, and the national schools--occupied what
time was left.
On Saturday, the 3rd of September, a beautiful day succeeding
miserable weather, the Queen drove slowly through the Dublin streets,
"unlined with soldiers," feeling quite sorry that it was the last day
after what she called "such a pleasant, gay, and interesting tune in
Ireland." Loyal multitudes waited at the station and at Kingstown,
cheering the travellers. Lord and. Lady St. Germains went on board the
yacht, and dined with hen Majesty and Prince Albert.
On the following morning, the _Victoria and Albert_ crossed to
A glad event at Balmoral that year was the laying of the foundation-
stone of the new house. The rite was done with all the usual
ceremonies, Mr. Anderson, then the minister of Crathie, praying for a
blessing on the work.
THE EASTERN QUESTION--APPROACHING WAR--GROSS INJUSTICE TO PRINCE
ALBERT--DEATH OF MARIA DA GLORIA.
The return of the Court to England was hastened by what had disturbed
the peace of the stay in the North. The beginning of a great war was
imminent. The Eastern Question, long a source of trouble, was becoming
utterly unmanageable. Russia and Turkey were about to take up arms.
Indeed, Russia had already crossed the Danube and occupied the
Turkey, in a fever-heat, declared war against Russia, crossed the
Danube, and fought with desperate valour and some success at Oltenitza
and Kalafat; but matters were brought to a crisis by the nearly utter
destruction of the Turkish fleet at Sinope, one of the Turkish ports
on the shores of the Black Sea. The French and English Governments
uttered a practical protest by informing the Czar, that if his fleet
in the south made any further movement against the Turks, the English
and French fleets already in the Dardanelles would immediately enter
the Black Sea and take active steps in defence of their ally.
In the meantime there had been some commotion in the English Cabinet.
Lord Palmerston suddenly resigned, and as quickly resumed office. The
ostensible cause of difference between him and his colleagues was the
new Reform Bill; but the real motive is believed to have been the
Government's tactics with regard to the threatened war. These changed
all at once, the change coinciding with the return of Lord Palmerston
to office, and suiting the fighting mood of the people. He was once
more the favourite of the hour, and in the popular pride and
confidence in him, a great injustice was done to another. Startled and
angered by Lord Palmerston's withdrawal from the Government, the old
clamour about Court prejudice and intrigue, and German objections to
Liberal statesmen, broke out afresh, and raged more hotly than ever.
Prince Albert was openly mentioned as the hostile influence "behind
the throne," and in the Cabinet of which he was a member, against the
man who was prepared to assert the dignity of England in spite of all
opposition; the man who had uniformly sided with the weak, and spoken
the truth of tyrants, let them be in ever so high places; the man at
the same time who had approved of the _coup d'�tat_. The most
unfounded charges of unfaithfulness to English interests, and personal
interference for the purpose of gaining his own ends, and working into
the hands of foreign Governments, were brought against the Queen's
husband. His birth as a German, and his connection with the King of
the Belgians and the Orleans family, were loudly dwelt upon. It was
treated as an offence on his part that he should attend the Cabinet
counsels of which he was a member, and be in the confidence of the
Queen, who was his loving wife. He was attacked alike by Liberals and
Protectionists; assailed, with hardly an assumption of disguise, both
in public and private, and in many of the principal newspapers. The
man who little more than two years before, at the time of the Great
Exhibition, had been hailed as a general benefactor, and praised as
the worthiest of patriots, was now almost the best-abused man in
England, pursued with false accusations and reproaches equally false.
"One word more about the credulity of the public," wrote Prince Albert
to Baron Stockmar; "you will scarcely credit that my being committed
to the Tower was believed all over the country; nay, even 'that the
Queen had been arrested!' People surrounded the Tower in thousands to
see us brought to it."
All this ingratitude and stupidity must have been galling to its
object, in spite of his forbearance, and, if possible, still more
exquisitely painful to the Queen, who had felt a natural and just
pride, not merely in her husband's fine qualities, but in her people's
appreciation of them. The Prince wrote in the same letter, "Victoria
has taken the whole affair greatly to heart, and was exceedingly
indignant at the attacks." And the Queen wrote with proud tender pain
to Lord Aberdeen, "In attacking the Prince, who is one and the same
with the Queen herself, the throne is assailed; and she must say she
little expected that any portion of her subjects would thus requite
the unceasing labours of the Prince."
This unscrupulous accusation was grave enough to demand a refutation
in Parliament, which Lord Aberdeen and Lord John Russell were ready to
give as soon as the House should meet.
During this trying winter, the Queen heard of the melancholy death of
her sister queen and girlish acquaintance, who had become a kinswoman
by marriage--Maria da Gloria. The two queens were the same in age--
thirty-four--and each had become the mother of eight children, but
there the similarity ceased. At the birth of her last child--dead
born--the Queen of Portugal ended a life neither long nor happy,
though she had been fortunate in her second husband. Queen Maria da
Gloria lacked Queen Victoria's reasonableness and fairness. The Queen
of Portugal started on a wrong course, and continued with it,
notwithstanding the better judgment of her husband. She supported the
Cabrals--the members of a noble Portuguese family, who held high
offices under her government--in ruling unconstitutionally and
corruptly. She consented to her people's being deprived of the liberty
of the press, and burdened with taxes, till, though her private life
was irreproachable, she forfeited their regard. In 1846 civil war
broke out, and the Cabrals were compelled to resign; the Count of
Soldanha and his party took the place of the former ministers. But the
insurrection spread until it was feared the Queen and her husband
would be driven out of the country. Suddenly the tide turned; the
better portion of the army declared for the Queen, her cause was
upheld by the English Government, and peace and the royal authority
were restored. But in spite of a pledge that the Cabrals should be
excluded from the Government, the elder brother again became Premier,
with the old abuse of power. A second revolution was accomplished by
Soldanha, to whose control Maria da Gloria had to yield, much against
the grain. She was succeeded by her eldest son, Don Pedro, still a
minor, with the King-Consort his father for regent, an arrangement
which proved satisfactory to the distracted kingdom.
A different event was the premature death of perhaps the most
beautiful, and the most fortunate, in the eyes of the world, of the
Queen's fair bridesmaids. Lady Sarah Villiers, who had become a
princess by her marriage with the son of one of the richest, most
aristocratic subjects in Europe, Prince Nicholas Esterhazy--of diamond
notoriety, died at Torquay in her thirty-second year.
When Parliament met in January, 1854, the Prince was triumphantly
vindicated by the leaders on both sides, but it was not till his death
that his character was done full justice to. In the meantime the cloud
had broken, and the royal couple rejoiced unaffectedly. The Queen
wrote to Baron Stockmar that there was "an immense concourse" of
people assembled, and they were very friendly when she went to the
House of Lords. The anniversary of the marriage was hailed with fresh
gratitude and gladness, and with words written to Germany that fall
pathetically on our ears to-day. "This blessed day is full of joyful,
tender emotions," are her Majesty's words. "Fourteen happy and blessed
years have passed, and I confidently trust many more will, and find us
in old age as we are now, happy and devotedly united. Trials we must
have; but what are they if we are together?"
It was on this occasion that there was a family masque, of which
Baroness Bunsen, who was present, has given a full description. She
tells how, between five and six o'clock in the evening, the company
followed the Queen and the Prince to a room where a red curtain was
let down. They all sat in darkness till the curtain was drawn aside,
"and the Princess Alice, who had been dressed to represent 'spring,'
recited some verses taken from Thomson's "Seasons," enumerating the
flowers which the spring scatters around, and she did it very well,
spoke in a distinct and pleasing manner, with excellent modulation,
and a tone of voice like that of the Queen. Then the curtain was drawn
up, and the whole scene changed, and the Princess Royal represented
'summer,' with Prince Arthur lying upon some sheaves, as if tired with
the heat of the harvest work; the Princess Royal also recited verses.
Then again there was a change, and Prince Alfred, with a crown of
vine-leaves and a panther's skin, represented 'autumn,' and recited
also verses and looked very well. Then there was a change to a winter
landscape, and the Prince of Wales represented 'winter,' with a white
beard and a cloak with icicles or snow-flakes (or what looked like
such), and the Princess Louise, warmly clothed, who seemed watching
the fire; and the Prince also recited well a passage altered from
Thomson.... Then another change was made, and all the seasons were
grouped together, and far behind, on high, appeared the Princess
Helena, with a long veil hanging on each side down to her feet, and a
long cross in her hand, pronouncing a blessing on the Queen and Prince
in the name of all the seasons. These verses were composed for the
occasion. I understood them to say that St. Helena, remembering her
own British extraction, came to utter a blessing on the rulers of her
country; and I think it must have been so intended, because Helena the
mother of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, was said to have
discovered the remains of the cross on which our Saviour was
crucified, and so when she is painted she always has a cross in her
hand. But grandpapa understood that it was meant for Britannia
blessing the royal pair. At any rate, the Princess Helena looked very
charming. This was the close; but when the Queen ordered the curtain
to be drawn back, we saw the whole royal family, and they were helped
to jump down from their raised platforms; and then all came into the
light and we saw them well; and the baby, Prince Leopold, was brought
in by his nurse, and looked at us all with big eyes, and wanted to go
to his papa, Prince Albert. At the dinner-table the Princesses Helena
and Louise and Prince Arthur were allowed to come in and stand by
their mamma, the Queen, as it a was festival day.... In the evening
there was very fine music in St. George's Hall, and the Princess Royal
and Princess Alice, and the Prince of Wales and Prince Alfred, were
allowed to stop up and hear it, sitting to the right and left of the
chairs where sat the Queen and Prince Albert and the Duchess of Kent."
Some of the graceful figures in the pretty masque were given, with
modifications, by the sculptor's art. Four are reproduced in the
engravings in this book, that of the Princess Royal at page 146, that
of Princess Alice at page 190, that of the Prince of Wales at page
153, and that of Prince Alfred at page 224, Volume First.
On the 7th of February Baron Brunnow, who had been Russian ambassador
in England for fifteen years, quitted London. Notes were dispatched on
the 27th from London and Paris to St. Petersburg, calling on Russia to
evacuate the Principalities, a summons to which the Czar declined to
reply. War was declared in a supplemental gazette, and on the 31st of
March the declaration was read, according to ancient usage, from the
steps of the Royal Exchange by the Sergeant-at-Arms of the City of
London, to a great crowd that wound up the ceremony by giving three
cheers for the Queen. Part of the troops had already embarked, their
marching and embarkation being witnessed by multitudes with the utmost
interest and enthusiasm. The chief sight was the departure of the
Guards, the Grenadiers leaving by gaslight on the winter morning, the
Fusiliers marching to Buckingham Palace, where at seven o'clock the
Queen and the Prince, with their children, were ready to say good-bye.
"They formed line, presented arms, and then cheered us very heartily,
and went off cheering," the Queen wrote to the King of the
Belgians.... "Many sorrowing friends were there, and one saw the shake
of many a hand. My best wishes and prayers went with them all." It was
a famous scene, which is remembered to this day. Another episode was
that of the Duchess of Cambridge and her daughter, the Princess Mary,
taking leave of the brigade with which the Duke of Cambridge, the only
son and brother, left.
Her Majesty and the Prince started for Osborne in the course of the
next fortnight, to visit the superb fleet which was to sail from
Spithead under Sir Charles Napier. "It will be a solemn moment," the
Queen wrote again to Lord Aberdeen; "many a heart will be very heavy,
and many a prayer, including our own, will be offered up for its
safety and glory." In spite of the bad weather, which marred the
arrangements, the Queen sailed from Portsmouth in the _Fairy_,
and passing the _Victory_, with its heroic associations, went
through the squadron of twenty great vessels, amidst the booming of
the guns, the manning of the yards, and the cheers of the sailors. The
following day the little _Fairy_, with its royal occupants,
played a yet more striking part. At the head of the outward-bound
squadron, it sailed with the ships for several miles, then stopped for
the fleet to pass by, the Queen standing waving her handkerchief to
the flag-ship. Her Majesty was, as she said, "very enthusiastic" about
her army and navy, and wished she had sons in both of them, though she
foresaw how she would suffer when she heard of the losses of her brave
men. If she had not sons in either service, her cousin, the Duke of
Cambridge, was with the Guards for a time, and her young nephews,
Prince Victor of Hohenlohe and Prince Ernest Leiningen, were with
their ships. The Queen paid the same compliment of giving a farewell
greeting to the second division of the fleet.
When the address to the Throne in reply to the Queen's message
announcing the declaration of war was presented, her Majesty and the
Prince were accompanied to the House for the first time by the Prince
of Wales, a boy of thirteen.
In the middle of the worry, the season was gay as if no life-blood was
drained in strong currents from the country; and Varna, with its
cholera swamps, where the troops had encamped on Turkish soil, was not
present to all men's minds. The Queen set an example in keeping up the
social circulation without which there would be a disastrous collapse
of more than one department of trade. On May-day, Prince Arthur's
birthday, there was a children's ball, attended by two hundred small
guests, at Buckingham Palace. Sir Theodore Martin quotes her Majesty's
merry note, inviting the Premier to come and see "a number of happy
little people, including some of his grandchildren, enjoying
themselves." Among the grandchildren of Lord Aberdeen were the young
sons of Lord Haddo--sinking under a long wasting illness--George,
sixth Earl of Aberdeen, who, when he came to man's estate, served as
an ordinary seaman in a merchant ship, where his rank was unsuspected,
and who perished by being washed overboard on a stormy night; and the
Honourable James Gordon, who died from the bursting of his gun when he
was keeping his terms at Cambridge.
The Queen honoured Count Walewski, the French ambassador, by her
presence at one of the most brilliant of costume balls. A great Court
ball was followed by a great Court concert, at which Lablache sang
again in England after an interval of many years. Among the visitors
to London in June were poor Maria da Gloria's sons, Coburgs on the
father's side, young King Pedro of Portugal, and his brother, the Duke
of Oporto, fine lads who were much liked wherever they went.
The Queen and the Prince spent her Majesty's birthday at Osborne, and
commemorated it to their children by putting them in possession of the
greatest treasure of their happy childhood--the Swiss cottage in the
grounds, about a mile from the Castle, in which youthful princes and
princesses played at being men and women, practised the humbler duties
of life, and kept natural history collections and geological
specimens, as their father and uncle had kept theirs in the museum at
Coburg. Another great resource consisted of the plots of ground--among
which the Princess Royal's was a fair-sized garden, ultimately nine in
number, where the amateur gardeners studied gardening in the most
practical manner, and had their tiny tool-house, with the small spades
and rakes properly grouped and duly lettered, "Prince Alfred" or
"Princess Louise," as the case might be. A third idea, borrowed like
the first from Coburg, was the miniature fort, with its mimic
defences, every brick of which was made and built, and the very
cannon-balls founded, by the two sons destined to be soldiers--the
Prince of Wales and Prince Arthur.
Before the end of the season cholera broke out in London. Among its
victims was Lord Jocelyn, eldest son of Lord Roden, and husband of
Lady Fanny Cowper. He had been on guard at the palace, and died after
an illness of not more than two hours' duration in the drawing-room of
his mother-in-law, Lady Palmerston.
The Queen came up to town to prorogue Parliament in person. Afterwards
her Majesty and the Prince spent his birthday at Osborne, when one of
the amusements, no doubt with a view to the entertainment of the
children as well as of the grown-up people, was Albert Smith's "Ascent
of Mont Blanc," which was then one of the comic sights of London.
Early in September Prince Albert, in compliment to the alliance
between England and France, went, by the Emperor's invitation, to
visit the French camp at St. Omer, and was absent four or five days.
The Prince's letters were as constant and lover-like as ever.
On the 15th of September the Court arrived at Balmoral, and the same
day the Queen received the news of the sailing of the English and
French soldiers for the Crimea. An anxious but brief period of
suspense followed. Six days later came the tidings of the successful
landing, without opposition, in the neighbourhood of Eupatoria.
Lord Aberdeen came on a visit to Balmoral, and had just left when the
glad tidings arrived of the victory of the Alma, followed immediately
by a false report of the fall of Sebastopol.
During this year's stay in the north, her Majesty met for the first
time a remarkable Scotchman whom she afterwards honoured with her
friendship. Both the Queen and Dr. Macleod describe the first sermon
he preached before her, on Christian life. He adds, "In the evening,
after _daundering_ in a green field with a path through it which
led to the high-road, and while sitting on a block of granite, full of
quiet thoughts, mentally reposing in the midst of the beautiful
scenery, I was roused from my reverie by some one asking me if I was
the clergyman who had preached that day. I was soon in the presence of
the Queen and Prince, when her Majesty came forward and said with a
sweet, kind, and smiling face, 'We wish to thank you for your sermon.'
She then asked me how my father was, what was the name of my parish,
&c.; and so, after bowing and smiling, they both continued their quiet
evening walk alone." [Footnote: Life of Dr. Norman Macleod.]
The Court returned from Balmoral by Edinburgh. At Hull, and again at
Grimsby, the Queen and the Prince inspected the docks, of which he had
laid the foundation stones.
THE BATTLE OF INKERMANN--FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE--THE DEATH OF THE
In the beginning of November England heard with mingled triumph and
pain of the repulsed attack on the English at Balaclava on the 25th of
October, and of the charge of the Light Brigade.
The number of the English soldiers in the field fell lower and lower.
The Queen wrote to King Leopold, "We have but one thought, and so has
the nation, and that is--Sebastopol. Such a time of suspense, anxiety,
and excitement, I never expected to see, much less to feel."
On the 13th of November telegrams arrived with the news of the battle
of Inkermann, fought against terrible odds on the 5th.
The Queen wrote herself to Lord Raglan to tell of her "pride and joy"
at receiving the intelligence of "the glorious, but alas! bloody
victory of the 5th." She conferred upon him the baton of a Field-
Marshal. Her Majesty also addressed a kind and sympathising letter to
the widow of Sir George Cathcart.
The Queen wrote with high indignation to the King of the Belgians
after the battle of Inkermann: "They (the enemy) behaved with the
greatest barbarity; many of our poor officers who were only slightly
wounded were brutally butchered on the ground. Several lived long
enough to say this. When poor Sir G. Cathcart fell mortally wounded,
his faithful and devoted military secretary (Colonel Charles Seymour)
... sprang from his horse, and with one arm--he was wounded in the
other--supported his dying chief, when three wretches came and
bayoneted him. This is monstrous, and requisitions have been sent by
the two commanders-in-chief to Menschikoff to remonstrate...."
The winter of 1854-55 was a sorrowful and care-laden time. Little or
no progress was made in the war, while in the meanwhile the sufferings
of the soldiers from a defective commissariat, a rigorous climate, and
the recurring ravages of cholera, were frightful. The very winds and
waves seemed to fight against the allies and to side with "Holy
Russia." Never had the Black Sea been visited by such storms and
From the palace to the cottage, women's fingers worked eagerly and
unweariedly knitting comforters and muffatees to protect the throats
and wrists of the shivering men. We have heard that the greatest lady
in the land deigned thus to serve her soldiers. We have been told of
a cravat worked in crochet by a queen's fingers which fell to the
share of a gallant young officer in the trenches--the same brave lad
who had carried, unscathed, the colours of his regiment to the heights
of the Alma.
The hospitals were in as disorganised a state as the commissariat, and
Mr. Sydney Herbert, well-nigh in despair, had the bright inspiration
of sending to the seat of war Florence Nightingale, the daughter and
co-heiress of a Derbyshire squire, with a staff of nurses.
Such reformation of abuses was wrought by a capable devoted woman,
such order brought out of disorder, such comfort and consolation
carried to wounded and dying men, that the experiment became a
triumphant success. Many were the stories told of the soldiers'
boundless reverence for the woman who had left country and friends and
all the good things that wealth and rank can command to relieve her
fellow-creatures; how one of them was seen to kiss her shadow on the
wall of his ward as she passed; how the convalescents engaged in
strange and wonderful manufactures of gifts to offer to her.
A second large instalment of nurses was sent out after the first, the
latter led by Mary Stanley, daughter of the Bishop of Norwich, and
sister of the Dean of Westminster, who had already been a sister to
the poor in her father's diocese.
The Queen wrote again to Lord Raglan, "The sad privations of the army,
the bad weather, and the constant sickness, are causes of the deepest
concern and anxiety to the Queen and the Prince. The braver her noble
troops are, the more patiently and heroically they bear all their
trials and sufferings, the more miserable we feel at their long
continuance. The Queen trusts that Lord Raglan will be _very
strict_ in seeing that no unnecessary privations are incurred by
any negligence of those whose duty it is to watch over their wants.
"The Queen heard that their coffee was given them green instead of
roasted, and some other things of this kind, which have distressed
her, as she feels so anxious that they should be as comfortable as
circumstances can admit of. The Queen earnestly trusts that the large
amount of warm clothing sent out has not only reached Balaclava, but
has been distributed, and that Lord Raglan has been successful in
procuring the means of hutting for the men. Lord Raglan cannot think
how much we suffer for the army, and how painfully anxious we are to
know that their privations are decreasing.... The Queen cannot
conclude without wishing Lord Raglan and the whole of the army, in the
Prince's name and her own, a happy and _glorious_ new year."
No sooner had Parliament reassembled than Mr. Roebuck brought forward
his famous motion for the appointment of a committee to inquire into
the state of the army and the management of the War Department of the
Lord John Russell resigned office, and there was a threatened
resignation of the whole Ministry, an ill-timed step, which was only
delayed till Mr. Roebuck's motion was carried, by a large majority,
not amidst the cheers, but to the odd accompaniment of the derisive
laughter of the Liberal members who had voted for the motion. Lord
Aberdeen's Ministry immediately resigned office; and after an abortive
attempt on the part of Lord Derby, at the request of the Queen, to
form a new Ministry, Lord Lansdowne and Lord John Russell were in
succession asked to take the leadership, but each in his turn had to
own his inability to get the requisite men to act under him. In
summoning Lord John Russell to become Premier, the Queen had expressed
a wish that Lord Palmerston--the man to whom the country looked as the
only proper war minister--should take office. The wish, especially
flattering and acceptable to Lord Palmerston, because it indicated
that old differences were forgotten, was in marked keeping with a
certain magnanimity and candour--excellent qualities in a sovereign--
which have been prominent features in her Majesty's character.
Lord John Russell having been as unsuccessful as his predecessors in
forming a Ministry, Lord Palmerston was sent for by the Queen and
offered the premiership, and the most popular minister of the day was
soon able, to the jubilation of the country, to construct a Cabinet.
On the 10th of February, the anniversary of the Queen's marriage-day,
there was this year, as usual, a home festival, with the nursery drama
of "Little Red Riding Hood" performed by the younger members of the
family, and appropriate verses spoken by Princess Alice, who seems to
have been the chosen declaimer among the princes and princesses. But
beneath the rejoicing there were in the elders anxiety, sympathetic
suffering, and the endurance of undeserved suspicion. The committee
carrying out the inquiry proposed by Mr. Roebuck's motion, conceived
most unjustly that the Prince's hostile influence prevented them from
obtaining the information they desired. The Queen's health was
suffering from her distress on account of the hardships experienced by
her soldiers, so that when Lord Cardigan returned to England, repaired
to Windsor, and had the royal children upon his knee, they said, "You
must hurry back to Sebastopol and take it, else it will kill mamma!"
On the 2nd of March the strange news burst upon Europe, exciting
rather a sense of solemnity than any less seemly feeling, of the
sudden death of the Emperor Nicholas, former guest and fervent friend
of the Queen--for whom she seems to have retained a lingering, rueful
regard--grasper at an increase of territory, disturber of the peace of
Europe, dogged refuser of all mediation. He had an attack of
influenza, but the real cause of his death is said to have been bitter
disappointment and mortification at his failure to drive the allies
out of the Crimea. The "Generals, January and February," on whom he
had counted to work his will, laid him low.
INSPECTION OF THE HOSPITAL AT CHATHAM--VISIT OF THE EMPEROR AND
EMPRESS OF THE FRENCH--DISTRIBUTION OF WAR MEDALS.
On the 3rd of March, the Queen and the Prince, with the Prince of
Wales, Prince Alfred and the Duke of Cambridge, visited the hospital
at Chatham, to which many of the wounded and sick soldiers had been
brought home. The whole of the invalids who were in a condition to
leave their beds "were drawn up on the lawn," each having a card
containing his name and services, his wounds, and where received. Her
Majesty passed along the line, saying a few kind words to those
sufferers who particularly attracted her notice, or to those whose
services were specially commended. It is easy to imagine how the
haggard faces would brighten and the drooping figures straighten
themselves in that royal and gentle presence.
In the course of the month, at an exhibition and sale of water-colour
drawings and pictures by amateurs, in aid of a fund for the widows and
orphans of officers in the Crimea, the artistic talent of which there
have been many proofs in the Queen's and the Prince's children, was
first publicly shown. A water-colour drawing by the Princess Royal,
already a fine girl of fifteen--whose marriage was soon to be mooted,
in which she had represented a woman weeping over a dead grenadier,
displayed remarkable merit and was bought for a large price.
On the 16th of April the Emperor and Empress of the French arrived in
England on a visit to the Queen. The splendid suite of rooms in
Windsor Castle which includes the Rubens, Zuccarelli, and Vandyck
rooms, were destined for the imperial guests. And we are told that, by
the irony of fate, the Emperor's bedroom was the same that had been
occupied on previous occasions by the late Emperor Nicholas and King
Louis Philippe. Sir Theodore Martin refers to a still more pathetic
contrast which struck the Queen. He quotes from her Majesty's journal
a passage relating to a visit paid by the old Queen Am�lie to Windsor
two or three days before. "It made us both so sad to see her drive
away in a plain coach with miserable post-horses, and to think that
this was the Queen of the French, and that six years ago her husband
was surrounded by the same pomp and grandeur which three days hence
would surround his successor."
Prince Albert received the travellers at Dover in the middle of a
thick mist which had delayed the _corvette_, hidden the English
fleet, and somewhat marred what was intended to have been the
splendour of the reception. After the train had reached London, the
drive was through densely crowded streets, in which there was no lack
of enthusiasm for the visitors.
The strangers did not reach Windsor till past seven. The Queen had
been waiting for them some time in one of the tapestry rooms near the
guard-room. "The expectation and agitation grew more intense," her
Majesty wrote in her diary. "The evening was fine and bright. At
length the crowd of anxious spectators lining the road seemed to move;
then came a groom; then we heard a gun, and we moved towards the
staircase. Another groom came. Then we saw the advanced guard of the
escort; then the cheers of the crowd burst forth. The outriders
appeared, the doors opened, I stepped out, the children and Princes
close behind me; the band struck up "Partant pour la Syrie," the
trumpets sounded, and the open carriage, with the Emperor and Empress,
Albert sitting opposite to them, drove up, and they got out.
"I cannot say what indescribable emotions filled me, how much all
seemed like a wonderful dream. These great meetings of sovereigns,
surrounded by very exciting accompaniments, are always very agitating.
I advanced and embraced the Emperor, who received two salutes on
either cheek from me, having first kissed my hand. I next embraced the
very gentle, graceful, and evidently very nervous Empress. We
presented the Princes (the Duke of Cambridge and the Prince of
Leiningen, the Queen's brother) and our children (Vicky, with very
alarmed eyes, making very low curtsies); the Emperor embraced Bertie;
and then we went upstairs, Albert leading the Empress, who in the most
engaging manner refused to go first, but at length with graceful
reluctance did so, the Emperor leading me, expressing his great
gratification at being here and seeing me, and admiring Windsor."
[Footnote: Life of the Prince Consort.]
Her Majesty was pleased with the Emperor; his low soft voice and quiet
manner were very attractive. She was delighted with the Empress, of
whom she repeatedly wrote with admiration and liking. "She is full
courage and spirit," the Queen described her visitor, "yet so gentle,
with such innocence and _enjouement_, that the _ensemble_ is
most charming. With all her great liveliness, she has the prettiest
and most modest manner." There were morning walks during the
visitors' stay, and long conversations about the war. A deputation
from the Corporation of London came down to Windsor, and presented the
Emperor with an address. There was a review of the Household troops in
the Great Park, to which the Queen drove with the Empress. The
Emperor, the Prince, and the Duke of Cambridge rode. There was a
tremendous enthusiastic crowd in the Long Walk, and considerable
pushing at the gates. The Queen was alarmed because of the spirited
horse the Emperor rode.
The day ended with a ball in the Waterloo Room, when the Queen danced
a quadrille with the Emperor, who, she wrote, "danced with great
dignity and spirit. How strange" she added "to think that I, the
grand-daughter of George III., should dance with the Emperor Napoleon,
nephew of England's great enemy, now my nearest and most intimate
ally, in the Waterloo Room, and this ally only sixteen years ago
living in this country in exile, poor and unthought of."
A Council of War was held the day after the Emperor's arrival, at
which the Queen was not present. It was attended by the Emperor, the
Prince, Lords Palmerston, Panmure, Hardinge, Cowley (English
ambassador in Paris), Count Walewski (French ambassador in London),
Marshal Vaillant, &c., &c. It met at eleven, and had not separated at
two, the hour of luncheon, after which a chapter of the Order of the
Garter--for which special toilettes were indispensable, was to be
held. The Empress went and told Lord Cowley how late it was, in vain.
She advised the Queen to go to them. "I dare not go in, but your
Majesty may; it is your affair." The Queen passed through the
Emperor's bedroom, which was next to the council-room, knocked, and
entered to ask what was to be done, perhaps a solitary instance of a
queen having to go in search of her guests. Both the Emperor and the
Prince rose and said they would come, but business was so enchaining
that still they delayed, and the ladies had to take luncheon alone.
The Emperor was invested with the Order of the Garter in the Throne-
room. The forms were the same as those followed in the investiture of
Louis Philippe, and no doubt the one scene recalled the other vividly
enough. Bishop Wilberforce was present and gives some particulars: "A
very full chapter. The Duke of Buckingham (whose conduct had not been
very knightly) came unsummoned, and was not asked to remain to dinner.
The Emperor looked exulting and exceedingly pleased." After the
chapter, the Emperor sent for the Bishop, that he might be presented.