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

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His lordship's opinion was that Louis Napoleon was "rather mean-
looking, small, and a tendency to _embonpoint_; a remarkable way,
as it were, of swimming up a room, with an uncertain gait; a small
grey eye, looking cunning, but with an aspect of softness about it
too. The Empress, a peculiar face from the arched eye-brows, blonde
complexion; an air of sadness about her, but a person whose
countenance at once interests you. The banquet was magnificent. At
night," ends Bishop Wilberforce, "the Queen spoke to me. 'All went off
very well, I think; I was afraid of making some mistake; you would not
let me have in writing what I was to say to him. Then we put the
riband on wrong, but I think it all went off well on the whole.'"

The Emperor and Empress were invited to a banquet at Guildhall. They
went from Buckingham Palace, to which the Queen and Prince Albert had
accompanied them. The Queen wrote in her journal that their departure
from Windsor made her sad. The passing through the familiar rooms and
descending the staircase to the mournful strains of "Partant pour la
Syrie" (composed by the Emperor's mother, Queen Hortense, and heard by
her Majesty fourteen different times that April day), the sense that
the visit about which there had been so much excitement was nearly
over, the natural doubt how and when the group would meet again,
touched her as with a sense of foreboding.

The Emperor and Empress drove from Buckingham Palace to Guildhall in
six of the Queen's State carriages, the first drawn by the famous
cream-coloured horses. The whole route was packed with people, who
gave the visitors a thorough ovation. The City hall was decorated with
the flags of England, France, and Turkey; and the lion and the eagle
conjointly supported devices which bore the names "Alma, Balaclava,
and Inkermann." At the _déjeuner_ sherry was served which had
reached the venerable age of one hundred and nine years, was valued at
£600 the butt, and had belonged to the great Napoleon. The same
evening, the Queen and the Prince, with their guests, went in State to
the Italian Opera, where _Fidelio_ was performed. "We literally
drove through a sea of human beings, cheering and pressing near the
carriage." The illuminated streets bore many devices--of N.E. and
V.A., which the Emperor remarked made the word "Neva"--a coincidence
on which he appears to have dwelt with his share of the superstition
of the Buonapartes. The Opera-house and the royal box were richly
decorated for the occasion. On entering, her Majesty led the Emperor,
and Prince Albert the Empress, to the front of the box, amidst great
applause. The audience was immense, a dense mass of ladies and
gentlemen in full dress being allowed to occupy a place behind the
singers on the stage.

The next day, a beautiful April day, the Queen discovered was the
forty-seventh birthday of the Emperor; and when she went to meet him
in the corridor, she wished him joy and gave him a pencil-case. He
smiled and kissed her hand, and accepted with empressment two violets--
the Buonapartes' flower--brought to him by Prince Arthur. All along
the thronged road to Sydenham, cries of "Vive l'Empereur!" and "Vive
l'Impératrice!" alternated with cheers for the Queen. The public were
not admitted while the royal party were in the palace, but they
gathered twenty thousand strong on the terrace; and when her Majesty,
with her guests, came out on the balcony to enjoy the beautiful view,
such shouts of loyalty and welcome filled the spring air as struck
even ears well accustomed to public greetings. After luncheon the
Queen and her visitors returned to the Palace, having to pass through
an avenue of people lining the nave, to reach the balcony from which
the strangers were to see the fine spectacle of the fountains playing.
The Queen owned afterwards she was anxious; yet, she added, "I felt as
I leant on the emperor's arm, that I was possibly a protection for
him. All thoughts of nervousness for myself were lost. I thought only
of him; and so it is, Albert says, when one forgets oneself, one loses
this great and foolish nervousness." A sentence worthy of him and of
her.

Alas for fickle fortune and the changes which time brings! The present
writer was accidentally present on the occasion of the Emperor and
Empress's last visit to the Crystal Palace. They came from Chislehurst
without any announcement, when they were not expected, on an ordinary
shilling day in autumn, the company happening to be few. A slight stir
and one or two policemen coming to the front, suggested that some
theft had been committed, and that the offender was about to be taken
into custody and removed from the building. Then an official walked
bareheaded down the cleared nave, and behind him came a little yellow-
skinned shrunken man in plain clothes, on whose arm a lady in a simple
black silk walking-dress and country hat leant lightly, as if she were
giving instead of receiving support. He made a slight attempt to
acknowledge the faint greetings of the spectators, some of them
ignorant of the identity of the visitors, all of them taken by
surprise. She smiled and bowed from side to side, a little
mechanically, as if anxious to overlook no courtesy and to act for
both. It was not long after the battle of Sedan and the imprisonment
at Wilhelmshohe, and the hand of death was already upon him. The
couple hurried on, as if desirous of not being detained, and could not
have tarried many minutes in the building when a few straggling cheers
announced their departure.

In the afternoon of the 20th of April a second council relating to the
war in the Crimea was held, at which the Queen was present. With her
large interest in public affairs, her growing experience, and her
healthy appetite for the work of her life, she enjoyed it exceedingly.
"It was one of the most interesting scenes I was ever present at," she
wrote in her journal. "I would not have missed it for the world."

On Saturday, the 21st of April, the visitors left, after the Emperor
had written a graceful French sentence in the Queen's album, and an
admonitory verse in German, which had originally been written for
himself, in the Prince of Wales's autograph book. The Queen
accompanied her visitors to the door, and parted from them with kindly
regret. As they drove off she "ran up" to see the last of the
travellers from the saloon they had just quitted. "The Emperor and
Empress saw us at the window," she wrote, "turned round, got up, and
bowed.... We watched them, with the glittering escort, till they could
be seen no more...." The Prince escorted the Emperor and Empress to
Dover. The Queen wrote in a short memorandum her view of the Emperor's
character, and what she expected from the visit in a political light.
Through the good sense of the paper one can see how the confiding
friendly nature had survived the rough check given to it by Louis
Philippe's manoeuvres and dissimulation.

On the 1st of May the Academy opened with Millais's "Rescue of
children from a burning house," and with a remarkable picture by a
young painter who has long since vindicated the reception it met with.
It was Mr. F. Leighton's "Procession conveying Cimabue's Madonna
through the streets of Florence."

On the 18th of May her Majesty distributed medals to some of the
heroes of the war still raging. The scene was both picturesque and
pathetic, since many of the recipients of the honour were barely
recovered from their wounds. The presentation took place in the centre
of the parade of the Horse Guards, where a dais was erected for the
ceremony, while galleries had been fitted up in the neighbouring
public offices for the accommodation of members of the royal family
and nobility. Barriers shut off the actors in the scene, and a great
gathering of officers, from the crowd which filled every inch of open
space and flowed over into St. James's Park.

The Queen, the Prince, with many of the royal family, the Court, the
Commander-in-Chief, the Secretary for War, and "a host of generals
and admirals," arrived about eleven o'clock. The soldiers who kept the
ground formed four deep, making three sides of a square, and the men
to be decorated passed up the open space, until "the Queen stood face
to face with a mass of men who had suffered and bled in her cause."

The Deputy-Adjutant-General read over the list of names, and each
person, answering to the call, presented to an officer a card on which
was inscribed his name, rank, wounds, and battles. As the soldiers
passed in single file before the Queen, Lord Panmure handed to her
Majesty the medal, which she gave in turn to the medal-holder. He
saluted and passed to the rear, where friends and strangers gathered
round him to inspect his trophy.

The first to receive the medal were the Queen's cousin and
contemporary, the Duke of Cambridge, Lords Lucan, Cardigan, Major-
General Scarlett, Sir John Burgoyne, Sir De Lacy Evans, and Major-
General Torrens. It is needless to say how keenly the public were
moved by the sight of their brave defenders, several of them scarred
and mutilated, many tottering from weakness, some wearing on their
sleeves bands of crape, tokens of mourning for kinsmen lying in
Russian earth.

To every wounded man, officer or private, her Majesty spoke, some of
those addressed blushing like girls under their bronze, and the tears
coming into their eyes. The idea of personally presenting the medals
to the soldiers was the Queen's own, and she must have been amply
rewarded by the gratification she bestowed.

Three officers unable to walk were wheeled past her Majesty in bath-
chairs. Among them was young Sir Thomas Troubridge, both of whose feet
had been carried off by a round shot, while he had continued
commanding his battery till the battle was over, refusing to be taken
away, only desiring his shattered limbs to be raised in order to check
the loss of blood. The Queen leant over Sir Thomas's chair and handed
him his medal, while she announced to him his appointment as one of
her aides-de-camp. He replied, "I am amply repaid for everything."

CHAPTER XXVII.

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

A Sardinian contingent had now, by a stroke of policy on the part of
Count Cavour, the Sardinian Minister, joined the English and French in
arms in the Crimea; but an unsuccessful attack, made with heavy loss
by the combined forces of the English and French on Sebastopol, filled
the country with disappointment and sorrow. The attack was made on the
18th of June, a day which, as the anniversary of Waterloo, had been
hitherto associated with victory and triumph.

Lord Raglan had never approved of the assault, but he yielded to the
urgent representations of General Pelissier. The defeat was the last
blow to the old English soldier, worn by fatigue and chagrin. He was
seized with illness ending in cholera, and died in his quarters on the
29th of June, eleven days after the repulse. He was in his sixty-
seventh year. The Queen wrote to Lady Raglan the day after the tidings
of the death reached England.

During the summer the Queen received visits from King Leopold and his
younger children, and from her Portuguese cousins. During the stay of
the former in England scarlet fever broke out in the royal nurseries.
Princess Louise, Prince Arthur, Prince Leopold, and finally Princess
Alice, were attacked; but the disease was not virulent, and the
remaining members of the family escaped the infection.

In the early morning of the 16th of August, the Russians marched upon
the French lines, and were completely routed in the battle of the
Tchernaya, which revived the allies' hopes of a speedy termination of
the war.

In the meantime, the Queen and Prince Albert, accompanied by the
Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal, paid a visit to the Emperor
and Empress of the French, near Paris. The palace of St. Cloud was set
apart for the use of the Queen and the Prince.

Her Majesty landed at Boulogne during the forenoon of the 18th of
August. She was received by the Emperor, who met her on the gangway,
first kissed her hand, and then kissed her on both cheeks. He led her
on shore, and rode by the side of her carriage to the railway station.

Paris, where no English sovereign had been since the baby Henry VI.
was crowned King of France, was not reached till evening. The city had
been _en fête_ all day with banners, floral arches, and at last
an illumination. Amidst the clatter of soldiers, the music of brass
bands playing "God save the Queen," and endless cheering, her Majesty
drove through the gathering darkness by the Bois de Boulogne to St.
Cloud. To the roar of cannon, the beating of drums, and the echoing of
_vivats_, she was greeted and ushered up the grand staircase by
the Empress and the Princess Mathilde. Everybody was "most civil and
kind," and in the middle of the magnificence all was "very quiet and
royal."

The next day was Sunday, and after breakfast there was a drive with
the Emperor through the beautiful park, where host and guests were
very cheerful over good news from Sebastopol. The English Church
service was read by a chaplain from the Embassy in one of the palace
rooms. In the afternoon the Emperor and the Empress drove with their
guests to the Bois de Boulogne, and to Neuilly--so closely associated
with the Orleans family--lying in ruins. General Canrobert, just
returned from the Crimea, was an addition to the dinner party.

On Monday the weather continued lovely. The Emperor fetched his guests
to breakfast, which, like luncheon, was eaten at small round tables,
as in her Majesty's residences in England. She remarked on the cookery
that it was "very plain and very good." After breakfast the party
started in barouches for Paris, visiting the Exposition des Beaux Arts
and the Palais d'Industrie, passing through densely crowded streets,
amidst enthusiastic shouts of "Vive l'Empereur!" "Vive la Reine
d'Angleterre!" At the Elysée the _corps diplomatique_ were
presented to the Queen. In the meantime, the Emperor himself drove the
boy Prince of Wales in a curricle through Paris. Afterwards the Queen
and Prince Albert, in the company of the Emperor, visited the
beautiful Sainte Chapelle and the Palais de Justice. On the way the
Emperor pointed out the _conciergerie_ as the place where he had
been imprisoned.

Nôtre Dame, where the Archbishop of Paris and his clergy met the
visitors, and the Hôtel de Ville, followed in the regular order of
sightseeing.

The Queen dwells not only on the kindness but on the quietness of the
Emperor as a particular "comfort" on such an occasion.

_Les Demoiselles de St. Cyr_ was acted in the evening. In the
Salle de Mars all the company passed before the Queen, the Empress
presenting each in turn. The Emperor and Empress, preceded by their
gentlemen, always took the Queen and the Prince to their rooms.

On, Tuesday Versailles was the visitors' destination. They went in
many carriages. Troops and national guards, and especially gendarmes,
were to be seen everywhere. The gardens and the fountains, with
throngs of company, were much admired.

The Queen visited the two Trianons. At the larger the Emperor showed
her the room and bed provided for her, in the expectation of her
visiting Paris, by "poor Louis Philippe;" Madame Maintenon's sedan-
chair, by which Louis XIV. was wont to walk; and the little chapel in
which "poor Marie (Louis Philippe's daughter) was married to Alexander
of Wurtemberg in 1838," two years before the Queen's marriage.

At Little Trianon the Empress (who had a passion for every relic of
Marie Antoinette) joined the party, and luncheon was eaten in one of
the cottages where princes and nobles were wont to play at being
peasants.

In the evening the Emperor, with his guests, paid a State visit to the
opera-house in the Rue Lepelletier. Part of the performance was a
representation of Windsor Castle, with the Emperor's reception there,
when "God save the Queen" was splendidly sung, and received with
acclamation. The Emperor's happy animation, in contrast to his usual
impassiveness, was remarked by the audience.

Wednesday's visit, in the continuously fine August weather, was to the
French Exhibition, which the Queen and the Prince were so well
calculated to appreciate. They rejoiced in the excellent manner in
which England was represented, particularly in pottery. The specially
French productions of Sèvres, Goblins, and Beauvais were carefully
studied. The Queen also examined the French Crown jewels, the crown
bearing the renowned Regent diamond, which, though less large than the
Koh-i-noor, is more brilliant. The Emperor presented the Prince with a
magnificent Sèvres vase, a souvenir of the Exhibition of 1851. The
Tuileries was visited, and luncheon taken there in rooms containing
pictures and busts or Napoleon I., Josephine, &c., &c. The Queen
received the Prefect and consented to attend the ball to be given in
her honour.

After a visit to the British Embassy, the Queen and the Prince, with
the Princess Royal and one of the ladies of the suite, took a drive
incognito through Paris, which they enjoyed exceedingly. They went in
an ordinary _remise_, the three ladies wearing common bonnets and
mantillas, and her Majesty having a black veil over her face.

On Thursday morning the Queen rested, walking about the gardens with
her young daughter, and sketching the Zouaves at the gate. The
afternoon was spent at the Louvre, where the Queen mentions the heat
as "tropical."

After dinner at the Tuileries, the party stood laughing together at an
old-fashioned imperial cafetière which would not let down the coffee,
listening to the music, the carriages, and the people in the distance,
and talking of past times; as how could people fail to talk at the
Tuileries! The Emperor spoke of having known Madame Campan (to whose
school his mother was sent for a time), and repeated some of the old
court dresser's anecdotes of Marie Antoinette and the Great
Revolution.

In her Majesty's full dress for the ball given to her by the City of
Paris, she wore a diadem in which the Koh-i-noor was set. Through the
illuminated, crammed streets, the Queen proceeded to the Hotel de
Ville, and entered among flags, flowers, and statues, "like the
Arabian Nights," the Emperor said.

The royal visitors occupied chairs on a dais. One quadrille and one
valse were danced, the Emperor being the Queen's partner, while Prince
Albert danced with Princess Mathilde (the Empress was in delicate
health); Prince Napoleon and Madame Haussman (the wife of the Prefect
of the Seine), and Prince Adalbert of Bavaria and Lady Cowley (wife of
the English ambassador) completing the set.

Several Arabs in long white burnouses were among the guests, and
kissed the hands of the Queen and the Emperor. Her Majesty made the
tour of the stately suite of rooms, lingering in the one in which
"Robespierre was wounded, Louis Philippe proclaimed, and from the
windows of which Lamartine spoke for so many hours in 1848."

On Friday there was a second visit to the Exhibition, and in the
afternoon a grand review of troops in the Champ de Mars, which the
Queen admired much, regretting that she had not been on horseback,
though the day was not fine. From the Champ de Mars the visitors drove
to the Hôtel des Invalides, and there occurred the most striking scene
in the memorable visit, of which the passages from the Queen's journal
in the "Life of the Prince Consort," give so many graphic, interesting
details. Passing between rows of French veterans, the Queen and the
Prince went to look by torchlight at the great tomb, in which,
however, all that was mortal of Napoleon I. had not yet been laid. The
coffin still rested in a side chapel, to which her Majesty was taken
by the Emperor. The coffin was covered with black velvet and gold, and
the orders, hat, and sword of "le Petit Caporal" were placed at the
foot. The Queen descended for a few minutes into the vault, the air of
which struck cold on the living within its walls.

The Emperor took his guests in the evening to the Opéra Comique. It
was not a State visit, but "God save the Queen" was sung, and her
Majesty had to show herself in front of the Emperor's private box. On
Saturday the royal party went to the forest of St. Germain's, and a
halt was made at the hunting-lodge of La Muette. The _Grand
Veneur_ and his officials in their hunting-dress of dark-green
velvet, red waistcoats, high boots, and cocked hats, received the
company. The dogs were exhibited, and a _fanfare_ sounded on the
huntsmen's horns.

The strangers repaired to the old palace of St. Germain's, where her
Majesty saw the suite of rooms which had served as a home for her
unhappy kinsman, James II. It is said she went also to his tomb, and
stood by it in thoughtful silence for a few minutes. On the return
drive to St. Cloud detours were made to Malmaison, where the Emperor
remembered to have seen his grandmother, the Empress Josephine, and to
the fortress of St. Valérien.

The same night there was a State ball at Versailles. At the top of the
grand staircase stood the Empress--"like a fairy queen or nymph," her
Majesty writes, "in a white dress trimmed with bunches of grass and
diamonds, ..." wearing her Spanish and Portuguese orders. The
enamoured Emperor exclaimed in the hearing of his guests, "Comme tu es
belle!" (how beautiful you are!) The long Galerie de Glaces, full of
people, was blazing with light, and had wreaths of flowers hanging
from the ceiling. From the windows the illuminated trellis was seen
reflected in the splashing water of the fountains. The balconies
commanded a view of the magnificent fireworks, among which Windsor
Castle was represented in lines of light.

The Queen danced two quadrilles, with the Emperor and Prince Napoleon,
Prince Albert dancing with Princess Mathilde and the Princess of
Augustenburg. Among the guests presented to her Majesty was Count
Bismarck, Prussian Minister at Frankfort.

The Queen waltzed with the Emperor, and then repaired to the famous
Oeil-de-Boeuf, hung with Beauvais tapestry. After the company had gone
to supper, the Queen and the Emperor's procession was formed, and
headed by guards, officers, &c. &c, they passed to the theatre, where
supper was served. The whole stage was covered in, and four hundred
people sat in groups of ten, each presided over by a lady, at forty
small tables. Innumerable chandeliers and garlands of flowers made the
scene still gayer. The boxes were full of spectators, and an invisible
band was playing. The Queen and Prince Albert, with their son and
daughter, the Emperor and the Empress, Prince Napoleon, Princess
Mathilde, and Prince Adalbert of Bavaria, sat at a small table in the
central box. Her Majesty seems to have been much struck with this
Versailles ball, which was designed and arranged by the Empress from a
plate of the time of Louis XV. It was said there had been no ball at
Versailles since the time of Louis XVI. The last must have been the
ball in the Orangery, on the night that the Bastille fell.

Sunday was Prince Albert's birthday, which was not forgotten among
these brilliant doings. Loving hands laid out the flower-decorated
table with its gifts. At luncheon the Emperor presented the Prince
with a picture by Meissonier. The Empress gave a _pokal_, or
mounted cup, carved in ivory. During a quiet drive with the Emperor
through the park in the morning, the Queen, with her characteristic
sincerity, courageously approached a topic which was a burden on her
mind, on which Baron Stockmar had long advised her to act as she was
prepared to do. She spoke of her intercourse with the Orleans family,
on which the French ambassador in London had laid stress as likely to
displease the Emperor. She said they were her friends and relations,
and that she could not drop them in their adversity, but that politics
were never touched upon between her and them. He professed himself
perfectly satisfied, and sought in his turn to explain his conduct in
the confiscation and forced sale of the Orleans property.

The English Church service was read in a room at St. Cloud as before.
In the afternoon the Emperor took his guests to the memorial Chapelle
de St. Ferdinand, erected on the spot where the late Duc d'Orleans was
killed.

On Monday, the 27th of August, the Queen wrote in her diary her deep
gratitude for "these eight happy days, for the delight of seeing such
beautiful and interesting places and objects," and for the reception
she had met with in Paris and France. The Emperor arrived to say the
Empress was ready, but could not bring herself to face the parting,
and that if the Queen would go to her room it would make her come.
"When we went in," writes her Majesty, "the Emperor called her:
'Eugénie, here is the Queen,' and she came," adds her Majesty, "and
gave me a beautiful fan, and a rose and heliotrope from the garden,
and Vicky a beautiful bracelet, set with rubies and diamonds,
containing her hair...."

The morning was beautiful as the travellers, accompanied by the
Emperor and Empress, drove for the last time through the town of St.
Cloud, with its Zouaves and wounded soldiers from the Crimea, under
the Arc de Triomphe, where the ashes of the great Napoleon had passed,
to Paris and the Tuileries. There was talk of future meetings at
Windsor and Fontainbleau. (And now of the places which the Queen
admired so much, St. Cloud and the Tuileries are in ruins like
Neuilly, while the Hôtel de Ville has perished by the hands of its own
children.) Leave was taken of the Empress not without emotion;

At the Strasbourg railway station the Ministers and municipal
authorities were in attendance, and the cordiality was equal to the
respect shown by all.

Boulogne, to which the Emperor accompanied his guests, was reached
between five and six in the afternoon. There was a review of thirty-
six thousand infantry, besides cavalry, on the sands. The Queen
describes the beautiful effect of the background of calm, blue sea,
while "the glorious crimson light" of the setting sun was gilding the
thousands of bayonets, lances, &c. It was the spot where Napoleon I.
inspected the army with which he was prepared to invade England; while
Nelson's fleet, which held him in check, occupied the anchorage where
the Queen's squadron lay. Before embarking, her Majesty and Prince
Albert drove to the French camps in the neighbourhood.

At last, when it was only an hour from midnight, in splendid
moonlight, through a town blazing with fireworks and illuminations,
with bands playing, soldiers saluting, and a great crowd cheering as
if it was noonday, the Queen and the Prince returned to their yacht,
accompanied by the Emperor. As if loth to leave them, he proposed to
go with them a little way. The parting moment came, the Queen and the
Emperor embraced, and he shook hands warmly with the Prince, the
Prince of Wales, and the Princess Royal. Again at the side of the
vessel, her Majesty pressed her late host's hand, and embraced him
with an, "Adieu, sire." As he saw her looking over the side of the
ship and watching his barge, he called out, "Adieu, Madame, au
revoir," to which the Queen answered, "Je l'espère bien."

On the 6th of September the Court went to Scotland, staying a night at
Holyrood, as usual in those years. On the Queen's arrival she drove
through the old castle of Balmoral, the new house being habitable,
though much of the building was still unfinished. An old shoe was
thrown after her Majesty, Scotch fashion, for luck, as she entered the
northern home, where everything charmed her.

On the 10th of September the Duchess of Kent, who was staying at
Abergeldie, dined with the Queen. At half-past ten despatches arrived
for her Majesty and Lord Granville, the Cabinet Minister in
attendance. The Queen began reading hers, which was from Lord
Clarendon, with news of the destruction of Russian ships. Lord
Granville said, "I have still better news," on which he read, "'From
General Simpson. Sebastopol is in the hands of the allies.'" "God be
praised for it," adds the Queen.

Great was the rejoicing. Prince Albert determined to go up Craig Gowan
and light the bonfire which had been ready the year before, had been
blown down on the day of the battle of Inkermann, and was at last only
waiting to be lit. All the gentlemen, in every species of attire, all
the servants, and gradually the whole population of the little
village, keepers and gillies, were aroused and started, in the autumn
night, for the summit of the hill. The happy Queen watched from below
the blazing light above. Numerous figures surrounded it, "some
dancing, all shouting; Ross (the Queen's piper) playing his pipes
(surely the most exultant of pibrochs), and Grant and Macdonald firing
off guns continually," the late Sir E. Gordon's old Alsatian servant
striving to add his French contribution to the festivities by lighting
squibs, half of which would not go off. When Prince Albert returned he
described the health-drinking in whiskey as wild and exciting.

CHAPTER XXVIII.

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

An event of great importance to the Queen and her family was now
impending. A proposal of marriage for the Princess Royal--still only
fifteen years of age--had been made by the Prince of Prussia, the heir
of the childless king, in the name of the Prince's only son, Prince
Frederick William, a young man of four-and-twenty, nearly ten years
the Princess's senior. From the friendship which had long existed
between the Queen and the Prince and the Princess of Prussia, their
son was well-known and much liked in the English royal family, and the
youthful Princess Royal was favourably inclined to him. The proposal
was graciously received, on certain conditions. Of course the marriage
of the young Princess could not take place for some time. She had not
even been confirmed. She ought to be allowed to know her mind fully.
The couple must become better acquainted. It was agreed at first that
nothing should be said to the Princess Royal on the subject till after
her confirmation. But when the wooer arrived to pay a delightfully
private visit to the family in their Highland retreat, the last
interdict was judged too hard, and he was permitted to plead his cause
under the happiest auspices.

We have pleasant little glimpses in her Majesty's journal, and Prince
Albert's letters, of what was necessarily of the utmost moment to all
concerned; nay, as the contracting parties were of such high estate,
excited the lively sympathies of two great nations. The Prince writes
in a half tender, half humorous fashion, of the young couple to Baron
Stockmar, "The young man, 'really in love,' 'the little lady' doing
her best to please him." The critical moment came during a riding
party up the heathery hill of Craig-na-Ban and down Glen Girnock,
when, with a sprig of white heather for "luck" in his hand, like any
other trembling suitor, the lover ventured to say the decisive words,
which were not repulsed. Will the couple ever forget that spot on the
Scotch hillside, when they fill the imperial throne of Charlemagne?
They have celebrated their silver wedding-day with loud jubilees, may
their golden wedding still bring welcome memories of Craig-na-Ban and
its white heather.

The Court had travelled south to Windsor, and in the following month,
in melancholy contrast to the family circumstances in which all had
been rejoicing, her Majesty and the Prince had the sorrowful
intelligence that her brother, the Prince of Leiningen, while still
only in middle age, just over fifty, had suffered from a severe
apoplectic attack.

In November the King of Sardinia visited England. His warm welcome was
due not only to his patriotic character, which made Victor Emmanuel's
name a household word in this country, but to the fact that the
Sardinians were acting along with the French as our allies in the
Crimea. He was royally entertained at Windsor, saw Woolwich and
Portsmouth, received an address at Guildhall, and was invested with
the Order of the Garter. He left before five the next morning, when,
in spite of the early hour, the intense cold, and a snowstorm, the
Queen took a personal farewell of her guest.

In the beginning of 1896 the Queen and the Prince were again wounded
by newspaper attacks on him, in consequence of his having signed his
name, as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, among the other officers of
the Guards, to a memorial to the Queen relating to the promotion and
retirement of the officers.

On the 31st of January her Majesty opened Parliament amidst much
enthusiasm, in a session which was to decide the grave question of
peace or war. In March the welcome news arrived that the Empress of
the French had given birth to a son.

On the 20th of March the ceremony of the confirmation of the Princess
Royal took place in the private chapel, Windsor. The Archbishop of
Canterbury and the Bishop of Oxford, Lord High Almoner, officiated,
in the presence of the Queen and the royal family, the Ministers,
Officers of State, &c. Prince Albert led in the Princess; her
Godfather, King Leopold, followed with the Queen. Bishop Wilberforce
made a note of the scene in a few words. "To Windsor Castle. The
confirmation of Princess Royal. Interesting. She devout, composed,
earnest. Younger sister much affected. The Queen and Prince also."

On the 30th of March peace was signed. London became aware of it by
the firing of the Park and the Tower guns at ten o'clock at night. The
next morning the Lord Mayor, on the balcony of the Mansion House, read
a despatch from the Secretary of State, to a large crowd assembled in
the street, who received the tidings with loud cheers. At noon his
Lordship, preceded by the civic functionaries, went on foot to the
Exchange and read the despatch there.

The Tower guns were again fired, the church-bells rang merry peals,
flags were hung out from all the public buildings. A few days
afterwards the Queen conferred on Lord Palmerston the Order of the
Garter--a frank and cordial acknowledgment of his services, which the
high-spirited statesman received with peculiar pleasure.

On the 18th of April her Majesty and Prince Albert went to Aldershot
to commemorate the completion of the camp and review the troops, when
the Queen spent her first night in camp, in the pavilion prepared for
her use. On one of the two days she wore a Field-Marshal's uniform,
with the Star and Order of the Garter, and a dark blue riding habit.
Within a week, in magnificent weather, Her Majesty and Prince Albert
inspected a great fleet at Spithead.

After Easter Lord Ellesmere, in his last appearance in the House of
Lords, moved the address to the Queen on the peace, and spoke the
feelings of the nation when he expressed in the words of a poet the
country's deep debt of gratitude to Florence Nightingale. On the 8th
of May the Lords and Commons went in procession to Buckingham Palace
to present their addresses to the Queen. The same evening she gave a
State ball--the first in the new ball-room--to celebrate the peace.

Lord Dalhousie returned in this month of May from India, where he had
been Governor-General. He was a hopeless invalid, while still only in
his forty-fifth year. The moment the Queen heard of his arrival, she
wrote to him a letter of welcome, for which her faithful servant
thanked her in simple and touching words, as for "the crowning honour
of his life." He could not tell what the end of his illness might be,
but he ventured to say that her Majesty's most gracious words would be
a balm for it all.

On the 19th of May the Queen laid the foundation of the military
hospital at Netley, which she had greatly at heart.

In June a serious accident, which might have been fatal, occurred to
the Princess Royal while her promised bridegroom was on a visit to
this country. Indeed he was much in England in those days, appearing
frequently in public along with the royal family, to the gratification
of romantic hearts that delighted to watch young royal lovers. She was
sealing a letter at a table when the sleeve of her light muslin dress
caught fire and blazed up in a moment. Happily she was not alone. The
Princess's governess, Miss Hildyard, was at the same table, and
Princess Alice was receiving a lesson from her music-mistress in the
room. By their presence of mind in wrapping the hearthrug round the
Princess Royal, who herself showed great self possession under the
shock and pain of the accident, her life was probably saved. The arm
was burnt from below the elbow to the shoulder, though not so as to be
permanently disfigured. Lady Bloomfield has a pretty story about this
accident. She has been describing the Princess as "quite charming. Her
manners were so perfectly unaffected and unconstrained, and she was
full of fun." The writer goes on to say, "When she, the Princess,
burnt her arm, she never uttered a cry; she said 'Don't frighten
mamma--send for papa first.'" She wrote afterwards to her music-
mistress, dictating the letter and signing it with her left hand, to
tell how she was, because she knew the lady, who had been present when
the accident happened, would be anxious.

King Leopold, his younger son, and his lovely young daughter, Princess
Charlotte, were among the Queen's visitors this summer, and a little
later came the Prince and Princess of Prussia to improve their
acquaintance with their future daughter-in-law.

In July the Queen and the Prince were again at Aldershott to review
the troops returned from the Crimea. But the weather, persistently
wet, spoilt what would otherwise have been a joyous as well as a
glorious scene. During a short break in the rain, the Crimean
regiments formed three sides of a square round the carriage in which
the Queen sat. The officers and four men of each of the troops that
had been under fire "stepped out," and the Queen, standing up in the
carriage, addressed them. "Officers, non-commissioned officers, and
soldiers, I wish personally to convey through you to the regiments
assembled here this day my hearty welcome on their return to England
in health and full efficiency. Say to them that I have watched
anxiously over the difficulties and hardships which they have so nobly
borne, that I have mourned with deep sorrow for the brave men who have
fallen in their country's cause, and that I have felt proud of that
valour which, with their gallant allies, they have displayed on every
field. I thank God that your dangers are over, while the glory of your
deeds remains; but I know that should your services be again required,
you will be animated with the same devotion which in the Crimea has
rendered you invincible."

When the clear, sweet voice was silent, a cry of "God save the Queen!"
sprang to every lip. Helmets, bearskins, and shakos were thrown into
the air; the dragoons waved their sabres, and a shout of loyal
acclamation, caught up from line to line, rang through the ranks.

The next day, in summer sunshine, the Queen and her City of London
welcomed home the Guards. In anticipation of a brilliant review in the
park, she saw them march past from the central balcony of Buckingham
Palace, as she had seen them depart on the chill February morning more
than two years before: another season and another scene--not
unchastened in its triumph, for many a once-familiar face was absent,
and many a yearning thought wandered to Russian hill and plain and
Turkish graveyard, where English sleepers rested till the great
awakening.

An old soldier figured before the Queen and the Prince in
circumstances which filled them with sorrow and pity. Lord Hardinge,
the Commander-in-Chief, was having an audience with the Queen, when he
was suddenly struck by paralysis. He resigned his post, to which the
Duke of Cambridge was appointed. Lord Hardinge died a few months
afterwards.

After several yachting excursions, marred by stormy weather, the Court
went north, and reached Balmoral on the 30th of August. The tower and
the offices, with the terraces and pleasure-grounds, were finished,
and every trace of the old house had disappeared. The Balmoral of to-
day, though it still lacked what has become some of its essential
features, stood before the Queen. We are fain to make it stand before
our readers as it is now.

The road to Balmoral may be said to begin with the Strath at Aberdeen.
The farther west the railway runs, the higher grow the mountains and
the narrower waxes the valley. Yet the Highlands proper are held to
commence only at Ballater, the little northern town with its gray
square, and its pleasant inn by the bridge over the rushing Dee. The
whole is set between the wooded hills of Pannanich and Craigendarroch,
the last-named from the oak wood which crowns its summit. The Prince
of Wales's house, Birkhall, stands back from the road on a green
eminence with the mountain rising behind, and in front the river Muich
running down to join the Dee.

At Ballater the railway ends, and two picturesque roads follow the
course of the river, one on each side, the first passing Crathie, the
other going through the fir and birch woods of Abergeldie on the same
side as Balmoral. Both command grand glimpses of the mountains, which
belong to the three great ranges of the district--Cairngorm,
Glengairn, and Loch-na-Gar.

Approaching on the Crathie side, the stranger is struck with the
frequent tokens of a life that was once the presiding genius of this
place, which passing away in its prime, has left the shadow of a great
grief, softened by the merciful touch of time. The haunting presence,
mild in its manliness and gentle in its strength, of a princely
benefactor common to all, has displaced the grim phantoms of old
chieftains and reigns in their stead. It hovers over the dearly loved
Highland home with its fitting touch of stateliness in the middle of
its simplicity, over the forest where a true sportsman stalked the
deer, over the streams and lochs in which he fished, and the paths he
trod by hill and glen. We are made to remember that Balmoral was the
Prince Consort's property, that he bought it for his possession, as
Osborne was the Queen's, and that it was by a bequest in his will that
it came, with all its memories, to his widow. Three different
monuments to the Prince, on as many elevations above the castle, at
once attract the eye. The highest and most enduring, seen from many
quarters and at considerable distances, is a gable-like cairn on the
summit of a hill. It is here that such of the Prince's sons as are in
the neighbourhood, and all the tenantry and dependents who can comply
with the invitation, assemble on the Prince Consort's birthday and
drink to his memory.

Lower down stands a representation of the noble figure of the Prince,
attended by his greyhound, Eos. On another spur of the same hill is an
obelisk, erected by the tenantry and servants to the master who had
their interests so deeply at heart.

The castle, like its smaller predecessor of which this pile of
building has taken the place, stands in a haugh or meadow at the foot
of a hill, within a circle of mountain-tops. The porter's ledge and
gate might belong to the hunting-seat of any gentleman of taste and
means; only the fact that, even when her Majesty is not in residence,
a constable of police is in attendance, marks the difference between
sovereign and subject.

Within the gate the surroundings are still wild and rural, in keeping
with nature free and unshackled, and have a faint flavour of German
parks where the mowing-machine is not always at work, but a sweet
math of wild flowers three or four feet high is supposed to cheat the
dweller in courtly palaces into a belief that he too is at liberty to
breathe the fresh air without thought or care, and roam where he will,
free from the fetters of form and etiquette.

Great innocent moon-daises, sprightly harebells, sturdy heather, bloom
profusely and seem much at home within these royal precincts, under
the brow of the hills and within sight and sound of the flashing Dee.
Gradually the natural birch wood shows more traces of cultivation, and
is interspersed with such trees and shrubs as suit the climate, and
the rough pasture gives place to the smooth lawn, with a knot of
bright flower-beds on one side.

The house is built of reddish granite in what is called the baronial
style, with a sprinkling of peaked gables and pepper-box turrets, and
a square tower with a clock which is said to keep the time all over
the parish. Above the principal entrance are the coats of arms,
carved, coloured, and picked out with gold. There are two bas-reliefs
serving to indicate the character of the building--a hunting-lodge
under the patronage of St. Hubert, supported by St. Andrew of Scotland
and St. George of England, the stag between whose antlers the sacred
cross sprang, forming part of the representation. The other bas-relief
shows groups of men engaged in Highland games.

Within doors many a relic of the chase appears in antlered heads
surmounting inscriptions in brass of the date of the slaying of the
stag and the name of the slayer. The engravings on the walls are
mostly of mountain landscapes and sporting scenes, in which Landseer's
hand is prominent, and of family adventures in making this ascent or
crossing that ford.

The furniture is as Scotch as may be--chairs and tables, with few
exceptions, of polished birch hangings and carpets with the tartan
check on the velvet pile, the royal "sets" in all their bewildering
variety: "royal Stewart," strong in scarlet; "Victoria," with the
check relieved on a white ground; "Albert," on a deep blue, and
"hunting Stewart," which suddenly passes into a soft vivid green,
crossed by lines of red and yellow.

Drawing-room, dining-room, billiard-room, and library are spacious
enough for royalty, while small enough for comfort when royalty is in
happy retreat in little more than a large family circle rusticating
from choice. The corridors look brown and simple, like the rest of the
house, and lack the white statuary of Osborne, and the superb vases,
cabinets, and pictures of Buckingham Palace and Windsor. By the
chimney-piece in the entrance hall rest the tattered colours once
borne through flood and field by two famous regiments, one of them
"the Cameronians."

In the drawing-room is a set of chairs with covers in needlework sewed
by a cluster of industrious ladies-in-waiting. In the library hangs a
richly wrought wreath of flowers in porcelain, an offering from
Messrs. Minton to the Queen. On the second story are the private rooms
of her Majesty and the different members of the royal family. Perhaps
the ballroom, a long hall, one story in height, running out from the
building like an afterthought, is one of the most picturesque features
of the place. The decorations consist of devices placed at intervals
on the walls. These devices are made up of Highland weapons, Highland
plaids, Highland bonnets bearing the chief's feather or the badge of
the clan. Doubtless tufts of purple heather and russet bracken, with
bunches of the coral berries of the rowan, will supplement other
adornments as the occasion calls for them; and when the lights gleam,
the pipers strike up, and the nimble dancers foot it with grace and
glee through reel [Footnote: "Yesterday we had the Gillies' Ball, at
which Arthur distinguished himself and was greatly applauded in the
Highland reels. Next to Jamie Gow, he was the 'favourite in the
room.'"--Extract from one of the Prince Consort's letters.] and sword-
dance, the effect must be excellent of its kind. For long years the
balls at Balmoral have been mostly kindly festivals to the humble
friends who look forward to the royal visits as to the galas of the
year, the greater part of which is spent in a remote solitude not
without the privations which accompany a northern winter.

The parish church of Crathie, a little, plain, white building, well
situated on a green, wooded knoll, looks across the Dee to Balmoral.
The church is notable for its wide, red-covered gallery seats, to
which the few plain pews in the area below bear a small proportion.
The Queen's arms are in front of the gallery, which contains her seat
and that of the Prince of Wales. Opposite are two stained-glass
windows, representing King David with his harp, and St. Paul with the
sword of the Spirit and the word of God, gifts of the Queen in memory
of her sister, the Princess of Hohenlohe, and of Dr. Norman Macleod.
Famous speakers and still more famous hearers have worshipped together
in this simple little country church. Macleod, Tulloch, Caird,
Macgregor--the foremost orators in the Church of Scotland--have taken
their turn with the scholarly parish minister, while in the pews,
bearing royalty company, have sat statesmen and men of letters of whom
the world has heard: Lord Derby, Mr. Gladstone, Dean Stanley, Sir
Arthur Helps, &c., &c.

The old churchyard in which John Brown, the Queen's trusty Scotch
servant, faithful as a squire of old, sleeps, lies down in the low
land near the Dee. John Brown's house, solid and unpretending like the
man himself, which he only occupied once, when his coffin lay for a
night in the dining-room, is in the neighbourhood.

The Queen has white cottages not far from the castle gate, built on
the model of the Osborne cottages, pretty and convenient homes of
keepers, keepers' widows, &c., &c., with the few artisans whose
services are necessary for the small population. There are other
cottages of the old, homely sort, containing no more than "the butt
and the benn" of stereotyped Scotch architecture, with the fire made
of "peats" or of sticks on the hearth-floor. In some of these, the
walls of the better rooms are covered with good plates and photographs
of every member of the royal family, with whose lineaments we are
familiar, from the widowed Queen to the last royal couple among her
grandchildren. These likenesses are much-valued gifts from the
originals.

As a nucleus to the cottages, there is _the_ shop or Highland
store with a wide door and a couple of counters representing two
branches of trade in the ordinarily distinct departments of groceries
and haberdashery. Probably this is the one shop in her Majesty's
domains in which, as we have evidence in her journal, [Footnote: "Life
in the Highlands"--Queen's journal. "Albert went out with Alfred for
the day, and I walked out with the two girls and Lady Churchill,
stopped at the shop and made some purchases for poor people and
others. Drove a little way, got out and walked up the hill to
_Balnacroft_, Mrs. P. Farquharson's, and she walked round with us
to some of the cottages to show me where the poor people lived, and to
tell them who I was.... I went into a small cabin of old Kitty Kear's,
who is eighty-six years old, quite erect, and who welcomed us with a
great air of dignity. She sat down and spun. I gave her, also, a warm
petticoat; she said, 'May the Lord ever attend ye and yours, here and
hereafter, and may the Lord be a guide to ye and keep ye from all
harm.' ... We went into three other cottages--to Mrs. Symons's
(daughter-in-law to the old widow living next door) who had an 'unwell
boy,' then across a little burn to another old woman's, and afterwards
peeped into Blair's, the fiddler. We drove back and got out again to
visit old Mrs. Grant (Grant's mother), who is so tidy and clean, and
to whom I gave a dress and a handkerchief; and she said, 'You're too
kind to me, you're over kind to me, ye give me more every year, and I
get older every year.' After talking some time to her, she said, 'I am
happy to see ye looking so nice.' She had tears in her eyes, and
speaking of Vicky's going said, 'I'm very sorry, and I think she is
sorry hersel'.'..."] she avails herself of the feminine privilege of
shopping. For the Queen can live the life of a private lady--can show
herself the most considerate and sympathetic of noble gentlewomen in
this primitive locality. She can walk or drive her ponies, or visit on
foot her commissioner or her minister, or look in at her school, or
call on her sick, aged, and poor, and take to them the comforts she
has provided for them, the tokens of her remembrance they prize so
much. She can enjoy their simple friendliness and native shrewdness.
She can read to them words of lofty promise and tender consolation.
She can do all as if she were not crowned Queen and ruler of a great
kingdom. In hardly any other part of her empire would such pleasant
familiar intercourse and gentle personal charities be possible for
her. The association has been deepened and strengthened by a duration
of more than thirty years. The Queen came while still a young wife to
Balmoral, and she has learnt to love and be loved by her neighbours in
the long interval which leaves her a royal widow of threescore. Her
children were fair-haired little boys and girls, making holiday here,
playing at riding and shooting, getting into scrapes like other
children, [Footnote: There is a story told of one of the little
princes having chased an old woman's hen and been soundly scolded by
her for the offence. Her neighbours remonstrated with her, and her
heart failed her when, a few days afterwards, she saw the Prince
Consort coming up the path to her house leading the small offender.
But the visit was one of courteous deprecation, in order that the
little hunter of forbidden game might personally apologise for his
delinquency.] prattling to the old women in "mutches" and "short
gowns," whose houses were so charmingly queer and convenient, with the
fires on the hearths to warm cold little toes, and the shadowy nooks
ready for hide-and-seek. These children are now older than their
mother was when she first came up Dee-side, heads of houses in their
turn, but they have not forgotten the friends of their youth.

The rustic community is pervaded in an odd and fascinating manner with
the fine flavour of a Court. It has, as it were, a touch of Arcady.
Among tales of the great storms and fragments of old legends, curious
reflections of high life and gossip of lords and ladies crop up. Not
only are noble names and distinguished personages, everyday sounds and
friendly acquaintances in this privileged region, but when the great
world follows its liege lady here, it is to live in _villiagiatura_, to
copy her example in adapting itself to the ways of the place and in
cultivating the natives. Courtiers are only courtly in being frankly at
ease with the whole human race. Ladies-in-waiting and maids of honour
lose their pride of rank and worldly ambition--if they ever had any,
stroll about, drop into this or that cottage at will, and have their
cronies there as in loftier localities. We hear of this or that
marriage, which has yet to be announced in the _Morning Post_; how a
noble duke, who was conveniently in attendance on the Prince, once
walked with a fair and gentle lady, whose father was in waiting on the
Queen, through the birch woods and by the brawling Dee, and a marriage,
only too shortlived, came of it. And we end by listening to the piteous
details of the swift fading away of the much-loved young duchess. Other
names, with which the Court Calendar has made us familiar, are
constantly coming to the surface in the conversation, generally in
association with some act of cheery good fellowship. The son of an earl
found a dog for his mother at one of these cottage hearths, and never
returned to the neighbourhood without punctually reporting himself to
tell its old mistress how well her former pet was thriving--that it had
its dinner with the family in the dining-room, and drove every day with
the countess in her carriage.

The fine old white house of Abergeldie, with its single-turreted
tower, has become the Scotch home of a genial prince and a beautiful
princess, who, we may remember, remained steadfastly settled there
during the darkening, shortening days of a gloomy autumn, in devoted
watch over her lady-in-waiting lying sick, nigh unto death with fever.
Abergeldie has another cherished memory, that of the good old Duchess
of Kent, for whom Prince Albert first rented the castle, who often
stayed in it, accompanied by her son, the Prince of Leiningen, her
daughter, the Princess of Hohenlohe, or some member of their families.
The peculiar cradle which used to be swung across the Dee here,
conveying passengers as well as parcels, has been removed in
consequence of the last disaster which befell its progress. An earlier
tragedy of a hapless bride and bridegroom who perished in making the
passage is still remembered. Remoter traditions, like that of the
burning of a witch on Craig-na-Ban, linger in the neighbourhood.

Beyond Balmoral, in the Braemar direction, stretches the fine deer-
forest--a great fir-wood on broken ground--of Ballochbuie, a remnant of
the old forest of Mar, where a pretended hunting expedition meant a
projected rebellion. It is said an earl of that name bestowed it on a
Farquaharson in exchange for so small a matter as a plaid. It is now
part of the estate of Balmoral. The hills of Craig Nortie and Meal
Alvie lie not far off, while on the opposite side rise Craig-na-Ban
and Craig Owsel.

Of all the Queen's haunts, that which she has made most her own, where
she has stayed for a day or two at a time, seeming to prefer to do so
when the hills have received their first powdering of snow, [Footnote:
"A little shower of snow had fallen, but was succeeded by brilliant
sunshine. The hills covered with snow, the golden birch-trees on the
lower brown hills, and the bright afternoon sky, were indescribably
beautiful"--Extract from the Queen's journal.] almost every year
during her residence in Aberdeenshire, is that which includes Alt-na-
Giuthasach and the Glassalt Shiel. This retreat is now reached by a
good carriage-road over a long tract of moorland among brown hills,
opening now and then in different directions to show vistas closed in
by the giant heads and shoulders--here of dark Loch-na-Gar, there of
Ben Macdhui, both of them presenting great white splashes on their
seamed and scarred sides--wide patches of winter snow on this July
day, far more than usual at the season, which will not melt now while
the year lasts. "Burns," the Girnoch and the Muich, trot by turns
along with us, singing their stories, half blythe, half plaintive.
Once or twice a lowly farmhouse has a few grass or oat-fields spread
out round it, with the solitude of the hills beyond. A cross-road to
such a house was so bad that a dog-cart brought up to it, had been
unyoked and left by the side of the main road, while its occupants
trudged to their destination on foot, leading with them the horse,
which needed rest and refreshment still more than its masters. The
blue waters of Loch Muich come in sight with bare precipitous hills
round; a little wood clothes the mouth of the pass and the loch, and
helps to shelter Alt-na-Ginthasach. The hut is now the Prince of
Wales's small shooting-lodge. The modest blue stone building, with its
brown wooden porch and its offices behind, is built on a knoll, and
commands a beautiful view of the loch and the steep rocky crags to
those who care for nature at the wildest. The only vestige of soft
green is the knoll on which the hut stands. All the rest is bleak and
brown, or purple when the heather is in bloom. The hills, torn by the
winter torrents, are glistening after a summer shower with a hundred
silver threads in the furrows of the watercourses.

There are fences and gates to the royal domicile, but there is hardly
an attempt to alter its character within, unless by a round plot of
rhododendrons offering a few late blossoms. But all nature, however
stern and savage, smiles on a July day. The purple heather-bell is in
bloom, the tiny blue milkwort and the yellow rock-rose help to make a
summer carpet which is rendered still gayer by many a pale peach-
coloured orchis and by an occasional spray of wild roses, deeper in
the rose than the same flower is in the low countries, or by a tall
white foxglove. Loch Muich may be desolation itself when the heather
and bracken are sere, when the lowering sky breathes nothing save
gloom, and chill mist-wreaths creep round its precipices; but when the
air is buoyant in its tingling sharpness, when the dappled white
clouds are reflected in water--blue, not leaden, and there is enough
sunshine to cast intermittent shadows on the hillsides and the loch,
though a transient darkness and a patter of raindrops vary the scene,
it has its day and way of blossoming.

The Queen's house or shiel of the Glassalt stands near the head of the
two miles long loch, just beyond the point where the Glassalt burn
comes leaping and dashing down the hillside. Here, too, is a small
sheltering fir and birch plantation, though not large enough to hide
the full view of the sentinel hills. A "roundel" of _Alpenrosen_,
or dwarf rhododendrons, is the only break in the growth of moss and
heather. The loch is so near the house that a stone thrown by a
child's hand from the windows of the principal rooms would fall into
the watery depths.

The interior is almost as simple and limited in accommodation as Alt-
na-Giuthasach was when the Queen described it in her journal. The
dining-room and drawing-room might, in old fashioned language, be
called "royal closets"--cosy and sweet with chintz hangings and covers
to chairs and couches, a small cottage piano, a book-tray in which
Hill Burton's "History of Scotland" and Sir Walter Scott's "Tales of a
Grandfather," find their place among Scotch poetry old and new. The
engravings on the walls tell of that fidelity to the dead which
implies truth to the living. There are likenesses of the Prince--who
died before this house was built, as in the great palaces; the Duchess
of Hesse--best known in the north as Princess Alice; the Princess of
Hohenlohe, with her handsome matronly face, full of sense and
kindness, and her young daughter, Princess Elise, who passed away in
the springtime of her life. In these rustic sitting-rooms and the
adjacent bedrooms and dressing-rooms we come again on many a portrait
of the humble friends of the family--the dogs which we seem to know so
well; the early group of little Dash and big Nero, and Hector with the
parrot Lorey; Cairnach, Islay, Deckel, &c. [Footnote: An anecdote of
the royal kennels states that when no notice has been given, the
servants shall know of her Majesty's presence in the vicinity, and
will say among themselves, "The Queen is at Frogmore" by the actions
of the dogs, the stir and excitement, the eager listening, sniffing of
the air, wagging of tails, and common desire to break bounds and
scamper away to greet their royal mistress.]

Behind the house a winding footpath leads up the hill to the rocky
cleft from which issues in a succession of white and foamy twists and
downward springs, the Falls of the Glassalt. Turning round from the
spectacle, the stranger looks down on the loch in its semicircle of
mountains. Gaining the crest of the hill and descending the edge on
the opposite side, the foot of the grim giant Loch-na-Gar is reached.

Among the visitors at Balmoral in 1858 was Florence Nightingale. The
Queen had before this presented her with a jewel in remembrance of her
services in the Crimea. The design was as follows: a field of white
enamel was charged with a St. George's cross in ruby red enamel, from
which shot rays of gold. This field was encircled by a black band
bearing the scroll "Blessed are the merciful." The shield was set in a
framework of palm-branches in green enamel tipped with gold, and
united at the bottom by a riband of blue enamel inscribed "Crimea" in
gold letters. The cypher V.R. surmounted by a crown in diamonds, was
charged upon the centre of the cross. On the back was a gold tablet
which bore an inscription from the hand of her Majesty.

While the Queen was in Scotland the marriage in Germany of one of the
daughters of the Princess of Hohenlohe took place. Princess Adelaide,
like her sister Princess Elise, possessed of many attractions, became
the wife of Prince Frederick of Schleswig Holstein Sonderberg-
Augustenberg, the brother of Prince Christian, destined to become the
husband of Princess Helena.

CHAPTER XXIX.

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

The court returned to Windsor in October, and in November a severe
blow struck the Queen in the death of her brother, the Prince of
Leiningen. A second fit of apoplexy ended his life while his sister,
the Princess of Hohenlohe, watched by his death-bed. Prince Leiningen
was fifty-two years of age. He had served in the Bavarian army, and
was a man of recognised influence among his countrymen in the German
troubles of 1848, which cost him his principality. He had married in
1829, when he was twenty-seven years of age and when the Queen was
only a little girl of ten, Marie (née) Countess of Kletelsberg. He
left two sons, the eldest of whom, Prince Ernest, entered the English
navy.

Her Majesty's references to the death in her letters to King Leopold
are very pathetic. "Oh! dearest uncle, this blow is a heavy one, my
grief very bitter. I loved my dearest, only brother, most tenderly."
And again, "We three were particularly fond of each other, and never
felt or fancied that we were not real _geschwister_ (children of
the same parents). We knew but one parent, _our_ mother, so
became very closely united, and so I grew up; the distance which
difference of age placed between us entirely vanished...." The aged
Duchess of Kent was "terribly distressed, but calm and resigned."

Baron Stockmar was with the royal family at this time. It was his last
visit to England. His company, always earnestly coveted, especially by
the Prince, was apt to be bestowed in an erratic fashion
characteristic of the man. Some one of the royal children would
unexpectedly announce, "Papa, do you know the Baron is in his room,"
which was the first news of his arrival.

During the stay of the Court at Osborne in December, the graceful gift
of the _Resolute_ was made by the Americans to the Queen, and
accepted by her Majesty in person, with marked gratification. The
_Resolute_ was one of the English ships which had gone to the
north seas in search of Sir John Franklin. It had been abandoned in
the ice, found by an American vessel, taken across the Atlantic,
refitted, and by a happy thought offered as a suitable token to the
Queen.

On the 14th of April, 1857, the Queen's fifth daughter and ninth and
last child was born at Buckingham Palace. A fortnight afterwards the
Duchess of Gloucester, the last of George the III. and Queen
Charlotte's children, died in her eighty-third year. The Queen wrote
of her to King Leopold, who must have been well acquainted with her in
his youth, "Her age, and her being a link with bygone times and
generations, as well as her great kindness, amiability, and
unselfishness, rendered her more and more dear and precious to us all,
and we all looked upon her as a sort of grandmother." Sixty-two years
before, when the venerable Princess was a charming maiden of eighteen,
she had gloried in the tidings of her princely cousin's laurels, won
on the battlefields of Flanders. More than twenty years afterwards,
when Princess Charlotte descended the staircase of Carlton House after
her marriage with Prince Leopold, "she was met at the foot with open
arms by the Princess Mary, whose face was bathed in tears." The first
wedding had removed the obstacle to the second, which was celebrated a
few weeks later. The Duchess lived for eighteen years happily with her
husband, then spent more than twenty years in widowhood. She ended her
long life at Gloucester House, Park Lane. At her earnest request, she
was buried without pomp or show with her people in the family vault at
Windsor.

Before the late Duchess of Gloucester's funeral, Prince Albert,
according to a previous pledge, opened, on the 5th of May, the great
Art Exhibition at Manchester, to which the Queen contributed largely.

On the announcement to Parliament of the Princess Royal's approaching
marriage, the House of Commons voted in a manner gratifying to the
Queen and the Prince a dowry of forty thousand, with an annuity of
eight thousand a year to the Princess.

At Osborne the Queen had a flying visit from one of her recent
enemies, the Archduke Constantine, the Admiral-in-Chief of the Russian
navy.

On the 14th of June, the young Archduke Maximilian of Austria arrived.
He was an object of peculiar interest to the Queen and the Prince, as
the future husband of their young cousin, Princess Charlotte of
Belgium. He seemed in every way worthy of the old king's careful
choice for his only daughter. Except in the matter of looks, he was
all that could have been wished--good, clever, kind. But man proposes
and God disposes; so it happened that the marriage attended by such
bright and apparently well-founded hopes resulted in one of the most
piteous tragedies that ever befell a noble and innocent royal pair.
Another bridegroom, Prince Frederick William, was in England to meet
the Archduke, and a third was hovering in the background in the person
of Don Pedro of Portugal, whose marriage with Princess Stephanie of
Hohenzollern Prince Albert had been requested to negotiate. Marriage-
bells were in the air, and that must indeed have been a joyous
christening at which two of the bridegrooms were present. Prince
Frederick William of Prussia acted as godfather to his future little
sister-in-law, while his betrothed bride was one of the godmothers.
The infant was named as her Majesty explained to King Leopold: "She is
to be called Beatrice, a fine old name, borne by three of the
Plantaganet princesses, and her other names will be Mary (after poor
Aunt Mary), Victoria (after mamma and Vicky, who with Fritz Wilhelm
are to be the sponsors), and Feodore (the Queen's sister)." Her
Majesty's last baby was a beautiful infant, soon to exhibit bright and
winning ways, the pet plaything of her brothers and sisters, and
especially of her father.

On the 25th of June the Queen conferred on Prince Albert, by letters
patent, the title of "Prince Consort." The change was desirable, to
insure the proper recognition of his rank, as her Majesty's husband,
at foreign courts.

On the following day, the 26th, the interesting ceremony of the first
bestowal of the Victoria Cross took place in Hyde Park before many
thousands of spectators. The idea was to provide a decoration which
might be earned by officers and soldiers alike, as it should be
conferred for a single merit--the highest a soldier could possess, yet
in its performance open to all--devoted, unselfish courage. Thus arose
the most coveted and honourable of English orders, which confers more
glory on its wearer than the jewelled star of the Order of the Garter
gives distinction. In excellent keeping with the motive of the
creation, the Maltese cross is of the plainest material, iron from the
cannon taken at Sebastopol; in the centre is the crown, surmounted by
the lion; below it the scroll "For Valour." On the clasp are branches
of laurel; the cross hangs suspended from it by the letter V--a red
riband being for the army, a blue for the navy. The decoration
includes a pension of ten pounds a year. The arrangements for the
ceremony were similar to those at the distribution of the medals,
except that her Majesty was on horseback. She rode a grey roan, and
wore a scarlet jacket with a black skirt. Stooping from her seat on
horseback, she pinned the cross on each brave man's breast, while the
Prince saluted him with "a gesture of marked respect." [Footnote:
"Life of the Prince Consort."] Prince Frederick William was with the
royal party.

A few days afterwards, the Queen, the Prince, their two elder
daughters and two elder sons and Prince Frederick William of Prussia,
a large party, paid a visit to Manchester, staying two nights at
Worsley Hall. They inspected the great picture exhibition, received
addresses, and traversed the streets to Peel Park, where a statue to
her Majesty had been recently erected, the whole amidst much
rejoicing.

In the end of June, King Leopold arrived with his daughter on a
farewell visit before her marriage, so that there were two young
brides comparing experiences and anticipating what the coming years
would bring, under her Majesty's wing. The princesses were nearly of
an age, neither quite seventeen. They had been playmates and friends
since childhood, but the fates in store for them were very different.

In the second week of July the freedom of the City of London was
presented to Prince Frederick William of Prussia; the Prince Consort
was sworn in master of the Trinity House, and the Queen and the Prince
visited the camp at Aldershott. On the 27th the marriage of the
Princess Charlotte of Belgium and the Archduke Maximilian was
celebrated at Brussels. The Prince went abroad for a few days, to make
one in the group of friends and relations, among whom was the old
French Queen Amélie, the grandmother of the bride. Queen Victoria
wrote to King Leopold, that she was present with them in spirit, and
that she could not have given a greater proof of her love than she had
shown in urging her husband to go. "You cannot think how much this
costs me," she added, "or how completely forlorn I am and feel when he
is away, or how I count the hours till he returns. All the numerous
children are as nothing to me when he is away. It seems as if the
whole life of the house and the home were gone."

On the 6th of August, the Emperor of the French's yacht, with the
Emperor and Empress on board, arrived on the English coast, and a
private visit of a few days' length was paid to the Queen and the
Prince at Osborne. On the 19th of August Her Majesty and the Prince,
with six of their children, in the royal yacht, paid an equally
private visit to Cherbourg, in the absence of the Emperor and Empress.
During the short stay there was a long country drive to an old
chateau, when darkness overtook the adventurous party, and all was
agreeably fresh and foreign.

By the beginning of September terrible tidings arrived from India. The
massacre of the English women and children at Cawnpore, after the
surrender of the fort, and the perilous position of the garrison at
Lucknow, darkened the usually joyous stay at Balmoral, to which the
Princess Royal was paying her last visit. Another source of distress
to the Queen and the Prince, when the mutiny began to be put down, was
the indiscriminate vengeance which a section of the rulers in India
seemed inclined to take on the natives for the brutalities of the
rebels. At length Lucknow was relieved, and England breathed freely
again, though the country had to mourn the death of Havelock. Sir
Colin Campbell completed the defeat of the enemy, and the first steps
were taken to put an end to the complications of government in India,
by bringing the great colony directly under the rule of the Queen, and
causing the intermediate authority of the East India Company to cease.

CHAPTER XXX.

THE MARRIAGE OF THE PRINCESS ROYAL.

In the end of 1857 there were many preparations for the marriage of
the Princess Royal in the month of January in the coming year. In the
interval a calamity occurred at Claremont which revived the
recollection of the great disaster in the early years of the century,
and was deeply felt by the Queen and the Prince Consort. The pretty
and gentle Victoire, Duchesse de Nemours, the Queen and the Prince
Consort's cousin, and his early playfellow, had given birth to a
princess, and appeared to be recovering, in spite of her presentiment
to the contrary. The Queen had gone to see and congratulate her. The
old Queen Amélie and the Duc de Nemours had been at Windsor full of
thankfulness for the happy event. The Duchess was sitting up in bed,
looking cheerfully at the new dress in which she was to rejoin the
family circle next day, when in a second she fell back dead.

Another shock was the news of the Orsini bomb, which exploded close to
the Emperor and Empress of the French as they were about to enter the
opera-house.

The marriage of the Princess Royal was fixed for the 25th of January,
1858. On the 15th the Court left Windsor for Buckingham Palace, when
the Queen's diary records the sorrow with which the young bride
relinquished many of the scenes and habits of her youth. One sentence
recalls vividly the kindly family ties which united the royal
children. Her Majesty writes, "She slept for the last time in the same
room with Alice." In the course of the next few days all the guests
had assembled, including, King Leopold and his sons, the Prince and
Princess of Prussia, the Duke of Saxe Coburg, with minor princes and
princesses, to the number of nearly thirty, so that even Buckingham
Palace was hardly large enough to hold the guests and their suites. At
the nightly dinner party from eighty to ninety covers were laid. But
one old friend was absent, to the regret of all, and not least so of
the bride. Baron Stockmar was too ill to accept the invitation to be
present at the ceremony. One of his sons was to accompany the Princess
to Berlin as her treasurer.

"Such bustle and excitement," wrote the Queen, and then she describes
an evening party with a "very gay and pretty dance" on the 18th, when
Ernest, Duke of Coburg, said, "It seemed like a dream to him to see
Vicky dance as a bride, just as I did eighteen years ago, and I am
still (so he said) looking very young. In 1840 poor dear papa (late
Duke of Coburg) danced with me, as Ernest danced with Vicky." In
truth, neither the father nor the mother of the bride of seventeen had
reached the age of forty.

The first of the public festivities were three of the four State
visits to Her Majesty's Theatre, "when the whole of the boxes on one
side of the grand tier had been thrown into one" for the royal company
gracing the brilliant audience--which, as on a former occasion, filled
the back of the stage as well as the rest of the house. The plays and
operas were, _Macbeth_, in which Helen Faucit acted, [Footnote:
Another great actress had just passed away in her prime. Mademoiselle
Rachel had died in the beginning of this month, near Cannes.] _Twice
Killed, The Rose of Castille, Somnambula_. At the first
performance, the Queen sat between the King of the Belgians and the
Prince of Prussia. After the play, "God save the Queen" was sung with
much enthusiasm.

As when her own marriage had occurred, all the nation sympathised with
Her Majesty. It was as if from every house a cherished young daughter
was being sent with honour and blessing. The Princess Royal, always
much liked, appealed especially to the popular imagination at this
time because of her extreme youth, her position as a bride, and the
circumstance that she was the first of the Queen's children thus to
quit the home-roof. But, indeed, we cannot read the published passages
in the Queen's journal that refer to the marriage without a lively
realisation of the touch of nature which makes the whole world kin,
without a sense that good true hearts beat alike everywhere, and that
strong family affection--an elixir of life--is the same in the palace
as in the cottage.

In fine frosty weather, on Saturday, the 23rd, the Prince Consort,
after a walk in Buckingham Palace Gardens with the Queen and the child
so soon to be parted from them, started to bring the bridegroom, who
had landed in England that morning. He arrived in the middle of the
day, and was received in the presence of the Court. The Queen found
him looking pale and nervous, but no doubt alive to her warm greeting,
at the bottom of the grand staircase. At the top a still sweeter
reward awaited him, for the Princess Royal, with her fifteen years'
old sister, Princess Alice, to keep her company, stood there.

On the 24th, all the gifts to the young couple, which the Queen calls
"splendid," were shown in the large drawing-room--the Queen's, the
Prince Consort's, the Duchess of Kent's, &c., on one table; the
Prussian and other foreign gifts on another. Of the bride-groom's
gift--a single string of large pearls, said to have been worth five
thousand pounds, her Majesty remarks that they were the largest she
ever saw. The Queen gave a necklace of diamonds, the Prince Consort a
set of diamonds and emeralds, the Prince of Wales a set of diamonds
and opals, the King and Queen of Prussia a diamond tiara, the Prince
of Prussia a diamond and turquoise necklace, King Leopold a Brussels
lace dress, valued at a thousand pounds. On a third table were the
candelabra which the Queen and the Prince gave to their son-in-law.
The near relations of the bride and bridegroom brought the young
couple into the room, and witnessed their pleasure at the magnificent
sight. Before the Sunday service the Princess Royal gave the Queen a
brooch with the Princess's hair, clasping her mother in her arms as
she did so, and telling her--precious words for such a mother to hear,
nobly fulfilled in the days to come--that she hoped to be worthy to be
her child.

Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, preached an eloquent sermon.

"Very busy, interrupted and disturbed every instant," the record runs
on. Many can enter into the feelings which prompted the Queen and the
Prince, after the duties of hospitality were discharged, to accompany
their child to her room for the last time, and to kiss and bless her
while she clung to them. It is necessary to remember that every rank
has its privations. Not the least penalty of such a station as that
which the Princess Royal was to occupy arose from the fact that its
many and weighty obligations precluded the hope of her returning
frequently or for any length of time to the home where she had been so
happy, which she was so grieved to quit, though social customs have
improved in this respect, and royal marriages no longer mean, as a
matter of course, banishment for life from the bride's native country.

On the wedding morning, the Queen declared very naturally that she
felt as if she were being married over again herself, "only much more
nervous," since now it was for another, and a dearer than herself,
that her heart was throbbing. Besides, she said, she had not "that
blessed feeling, elevating and supporting, of giving herself up for
life to him whom she loved and worshipped--then and ever." She was
comforted by her daughter's coming to her while the Queen was
dressing, showing herself quiet and composed. The day was fine, with a
winter sun shining brightly, as all England, especially all London
knew, for many a pleasure-seeker was abroad betimes to enjoy the
holiday. The marriage was to take place, like the Queen's marriage, in
the little Chapel Royal of St. James's. Before setting out, a final
daguerreotype was taken of the family group, father, mother, and
daughter, "but I trembled so," the Queen writes, "my likeness has come
out indistinct."

In the drive from Buckingham Palace to St James's, the Princess Royal
in her wedding dress was in the carriage with her Majesty, sitting
opposite to her, when "the flourish of trumpets and the cheering of
thousands" made the Queen's motherly heart sink. In the bride's
dressing-room, fitted up for the day, to which the Queen took the
Princess, were the Prince Consort and King Leopold, both in field-
marshals' uniform, and carrying batons, and the eight bridesmaids,
"looking charming in white tulle, with wreaths and bouquets of pink
roses and white heather."

Her Majesty left the bride and repaired to the royal closet, where she
found the Duchess of Kent and the Duchess of Cambridge with her son
and daughter. Old and new relations were claiming the Queen at the
same time. Her thoughts were perpetually straying back to that former
wedding-day. She spared attention from her daughter to bestow it on
her mother, "looking so handsome in violet velvet, trimmed with ermine
and white silk and violets." And as the processions were formed, her
Majesty exclaimed, perhaps with a vague pang, referring to the good
old Duchess still with her, and still able to play her part in the
joyful ceremony, "How small the _old_ royal family has become!"
Indeed, there were but two representatives--the Duchesses of Kent and
Cambridge. The Princess Mary of Cambridge, the farthest removed from
the throne, walked first of the English royal family, her train borne
by Lady Arabella Sackville West; then the Duke of Cambridge; the
Duchess of Cambridge followed, her train borne by Lady Geraldine
Somerset. The Duchess of Kent, with her train borne the Lady Anna
Maria Dawson, walked next to the present royal family. They were
preceded by Lord Palmerston, bearing the sword of state. The Prince of
Wales, and Prince Alfred, fresh from his naval studies, lads of
sixteen and fourteen, in Highland costumes, were immediately before
the Queen, who walked between Prince Arthur and Prince Leopold,
children of eight and five years of age. Her Majesty's train was of
lilac velvet, petticoat of lilac and silver moiré--antique, with a
flounce of Honiton lace; corsage ornamented with diamonds, the Koh-i-
noor as a brooch; head-dress, a magnificent diadem of diamonds and
pearls. The three younger princesses--Alice, Helena, and Louise, girls
of fifteen, twelve, and ten--went hand-in-hand behind their mother.
They wore white lace over pink satin, with daisies and blue
cornflowers in their hair.

Most of the foreign princes were already in the chapel, which was full
of noble company, about three hundred peers and peeresses being
accommodated there. White and blue prevailed in the colours of the
ladies dresses, blue in compliment to Prussia. At the altar, set out
with gold plate of Queen Anne's reign, were the Archbishop of
Canterbury, the Bishops of London, Oxford, and Chester, and the Dean
of Windsor. As the Queen entered, she and the Princess of Prussia
exchanged profound obeisances. Near her Majesty were her young princes
and princesses; behind her the Duchess of Kent; opposite her the
Princess of Prussia, with the foreign princes behind her.

The drums and trumpets and the organ played as the bridegroom's and
the bride's processions approached, and the Queen describes the
thrilling effect of the music drawing nearer and nearer. The
bridegroom entered between his supporters, his father and brother-in-
law, the Prince of Prussia and Prince William of Baden. Prince
Frederick William, soldierly and stately, wore the blue uniform of a
Prussian general, with the insignia of the Black Eagle, and carried in
his hand his polished silver helmet. He looked pale and agitated, but
was quite master of himself. He bowed low to the Queen and to his
mother, then knelt with a devotion which attracted attention. The
bride walked as at her confirmation, between her father and godfather--
her grand-uncle King Leopold. Her blooming colour was gone, and she
was pale almost as her white dress of moiré and Honiton lace, with
wreaths of orange and myrtle blossoms. Her train was borne by eight
bridesmaids--daughters of dukes, marquises, and earls--Lady Susan
Clinton, Lady Emma Stanley, Lady Susan Murray, Lady Victoria Noel,
Lady Cecilia Gordon Lennox, Lady Katherine Hamilton, Lady Constance
Villiers, and Lady Cecilia Molyneux.

One can well conceive that the young princess looked "very touching
and lovely, with such an innocent, confiding, and serious expression,
her veil hanging back over her shoulders."

As the Princess advanced to the altar, she paused and made a deep
obeisance to her mother, colouring high as she did so, and the same to
the Princess of Prussia. The bridegroom when he took the bride's hand
bent one knee.

Once more as the Prince Consort gave her daughter away, her Majesty
had a bright vision of her own happy marriage on that very spot; again
she was comforted by her daughter's self-control, and she could
realise that it was beautiful to see the couple kneeling there with
hands joined, the bridesmaids "like a cloud of maidens hovering near
her (the bride) as they knelt."

When the ring was placed on the Princess's finger cannon were fired,
and a telegram was sent off to Berlin that the same compliment might
be paid to the pair there. The close of the "Hallelujah Chorus" was
sung at the end of the ceremony.

The usual congratulations followed. The bride flung herself into her
mother's arms and was embraced by her again and again, then by her
bridegroom and her father. Prince Frederick William kissed first the
hand and then the cheek of his father and mother, saluted the Prince
Consort and King Leopold foreign fashion, and was embraced by the
Queen. Princess Frederick William would have kissed her father-in-
law's hand, but was prevented by his kissing her cheek. The bride and
bridegroom left the chapel hand-in-hand to the sound of Mendelssohn's
"Wedding March." The register was signed in the Throne-room first by
the young couple, then by their parents, and afterwards by all the
princes and princesses--including the Maharajah Duleep Singh
"resplendent in pearls."

The newly wedded pair drove to Buckingham Palace, to which the Queen
and the Prince Consort followed, with the Prince and Princess of
Prussia, through an immense multitude, amidst ringing cheers. The
whole party showed themselves on the balcony before the window over
the grand archway, where the Queen had appeared on so many memorable
occasions. First her Majesty with her children came out, then the
Queen led forward the bride, who stood hand-in-hand with her
bridegroom; afterwards the rest of the circle joined them. It was a
matter of lively satisfaction to her Majesty and the Prince Consort to
witness the loyal, affectionate interest which the people took in
their daughter, and the Queen and the Prince were ready to gratify the
multitude by what is dear to every wedding crowd, "a sight of the
bride and bridegroom."

The wedding cake was six feet high. The departure of the couple for
Windsor, where they were to spend their honeymoon, was no more than a
foreshadowing of that worse departure a week later. The Queen and the
Princess of Prussia accompanied their children to the grand entrance;
the Prince Consort escorted his daughter to her carriage. The bride
wore a while _épinglé_ dress and mantle trimmed with grebe, a
white bonnet with orange blossoms, and a Brussel's lace veil.

At the family dinner after the excitement and fatigue of the day were
over, the Queen felt "lost" without her eldest daughter. In the
evening a messenger arrived from Windsor, bringing a letter from the
bride telling how the Eton boys had dragged the carriage from the
station to the castle, though she might not know that they, had flung
up their hats in the air, many of them beyond recovery, the wearers
returning bareheaded to their college. When the Queen and the Prince
read this letter all London was illuminated, and its streets filled
with huzzaing spectators. At the palace the evening closed quietly
with a State concert of classic music.

The Princess Royal's honeymoon so far as a period of privacy was
concerned, did not last longer than the Queen's. Two days after the
marriage the Court followed the young couple to Windsor, where a
chapter of the Order of the Garter was held, and Prince Frederick
William was created a knight, a banquet being held in the Waterloo
Gallery. On the 29th of January, the Court-including the newly married
pair-returned to Buckingham Palace, and in the evening the fourth
state visit was paid to Her Majesty's Theatre, when _The Rivals_
and _The Spitalfields Weaver_ were given. The bride was in blue
and white, the Prussian colours, and wore a wreath of sweet peas on
her hair.

On the 30th of January, the addresses from the City of London and
other cities and towns of the Empire, many of them accompanied by
wedding gifts, were received, and there was a great and of course
specially brilliant Drawing-room, which lasted for four hours. On
Sunday the thought of the coming separation pressed heavily on those
loving hearts, "but God will carry us through, as He did on the 25th,"
wrote the Queen reverently, "and we have the comfort of seeing the
dear young people so perfectly happy."

On Monday, the Queen in noting that it was the last day of their dear
child's being with them, admitted she was sick at heart, and the poor
young bride confided to her mother, "I think it will kill me to take
leave of dear papa."

Tuesday, the 2nd of February, was dark and cold, with snow beginning
to fall, unpropitious weather for a long journey, unless in the Scotch
saying which declares that a bride is happy who goes "a white gate"
(road:) All were assembled in the hall, not a dry eye among them, the
Queen believed. "I clasped her in my arms, and blessed her, and knew
not what to say." The royal mother shared all good mother's burdens.
"I kissed good Fritz, and pressed his hand again and again. He was
unable to speak, and the tears were in his eyes." One more embrace of
her daughter at the door of the open carriage, into which the Prince
Consort and the Prince of Wales went along with the Prince and
Princess Frederick William, the band struck up, and they were gone.

The embarkation was at Gravesend. The Londoners assembled in crowds to
see the last of their Princess on her route to the coast by the
Strand, Cheap, and London Bridge. Many persons recall to this day the
sorrowful scene in the cheerless snowy weather. This was the reverse
side of all the splendid wedding festivities-the bride of seventeen
quitting family, home, and native country, sitting grave and sad
beside her equally pale, and silent father--the couple so tenderly
attached, on the eve of the final parting. At Gravesend, where young
girls, in spite of the snow, strewed flowers before the bride's steps,
the Prince waited to see the ship sail--not without risk in the
snowstorm--for Antwerp. But no daughter appeared for a last look; the
passionate sorrow of youth hid itself from view.

Away at Buckingham Palace the Queen could not bear to look at the
familiar objects--all linked with one vanished presence. The very baby
princess, so great a darling in the household, only brought the
thought of how fond her elder sister had been of her; how but
yesterday the two had played together.

The Princess wrote home from the steamer, and every telegram and
letter, together with the personal testimony of Lady Churchill and
Lord Sydney, who had accompanied the travellers to Berlin, conveyed
the most gratifying and consoling intelligence of the warm welcome the
stranger had met with, and how well she bore herself in difficult
circumstances. "Quiet and dignified, but with a kind word to say of
everybody; on the night of her public entry into Berlin and reception
at Court, when she polonaised with twenty-two princes in succession."
[Footnote: Lady Bloomfield.] The Princess Frederick William continued
to write "almost daily, sometimes twice a day," to her mother, and
regularly once a week to her father. And another fair young daughter
was almost ready to take the Princess Royal's place at the Queen's
side. From the date of her sister's marriage, the Prince Consort's
letters and the Queen's journal tell that the Princess Alice, with her
fine good sense and unselfishness, almost precocious at her age, was a
great help and comfort in the royal circle.

CHAPTER XXXI.

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

In February, Lord Palmerston's ministry resigned after a defeat on the
Conspiracy Bill, and Lord Derby, at the Queen's request, formed a
short-lived Cabinet. The Prince of Wales was confirmed on Maundy
Thursday in the chapel at Windsor.

In April, the young Queen of Portugal, Princess Stéphanie of
Hohenzollern, visited England with her father on her way to her
husband--to whom she had been married by proxy--and her future home.
Her charm and sweetness greatly attracted the Queen and the Prince. In
May, only seven months after the death of Victoire, Duchesse de
Nemours, the sympathies of her Majesty and the Prince Consort were
awakened afresh for the Orleans family. Helene, Duchesse d'Orleans,
died suddenly from the effects of influenza at Cranbourne House,
Richmond. How many of the large family party with which the Queen had
been so delighted when she visited Chateau d'Eu had already passed
away--the old King, Queen Louise, the Duchesse de Nemours, and now the
Duchesse d'Orleans! Her two young sons--the elder the Comte de Paris,
not yet twenty--were specially adopted by Queen Amélie.

In the end of May the Prince started for a short visit to Germany,
with the double intention of getting a glimpse of his daughter, and
revisiting his country for the first time after thirteen years
absence. He accomplished both purposes, and heard "the watchman's
horn" once more before he retired to rest in the old home. He sent
many a loving letter, and tender remembrance to England in
anticipation of his speedy return. On his arrival in London he was met
by the Queen at the Bricklayers' Arms station.

In the course of a very hot June, the Queen and the Prince went to
Warwickshire, which she had known as a young girl, in order to pay a
special visit to Birmingham. They were the guests for two nights of
Lord and Lady Leigh, at Stoneleigh. Her Majesty had the privilege of
seeing Birmingham without a particle of smoke, while a mighty
multitude of orderly craftsmen, with their wives and children, stood
many hours patiently under the blazing sun, admiring their banners and
flags, and cheering lustily for their Queen. One of the objects of the
visit was that her Majesty might open a people's museum and park at
Aston for the dwellers in the Black country. The royal party drove
next day to one of the finest old feudal castles in England--Warwick
Castle, with its noble screen of woods, mirroring itself in the Avon--
and were entertained at luncheon by Lord and Lady Warwick. In the
evening, in the middle of a violent thunderstorm, the Queen and the
Prince returned to Buckingham Palace.

This season as usual, there was a visit from the King of the Belgians
and several of his family.

The first Atlantic cable was laid, and lasted just long enough for the
exchange of messages of proud congratulation on the wonderful
annihilation of distance between Europe and America, so far as the
thoughts of men were concerned.

After a month's stay at Osborne, during one of the warmest Julys ever
known in this country, when the condition of the river Thames
threatened to drive the Parliament from Westminster, the Queen and the
Prince Consort, with the Prince of Wales and their suites, paid a
state visit to Cherbourg. The great fort was nearly completed, and the
harbour was full of French war-vessels as her Majesty steamed in, on
the evening of the 4th of August, receiving such a salute from the
ships and the fortress itself as seemed to shake earth and sky. The
Emperor and Empress, who arrived the same day, came on board at eight
o'clock, and were cordially received by the Queen and the Prince,
though the relations between France and England were not quite so
assured as when their soldiers were brothers-in-arms in the Crimea.
After the visitors left, the Queen's journal records that she went
below and read, and nearly finished "that most interesting book 'Jane
Eyre.'"

When the Queen and the Prince landed next day, which was fine, they
were received by the Emperor and Empress, entered with them one of the
imperial carriages, and drove through the town to the Prefecture,
where the party breakfasted or rather lunched. In the afternoon the
fort with its gigantic ramparts and magnificent views was visited.
There was a State dinner in the evening, in the French ship
_Bretagne_. The Emperor received the Queen at the foot of the
ladder. The dinner was under canvas on deck amidst decorations of
flowers and flags. The Queen sat between the Emperor and the Duke of
Cambridge; the Empress sat between the Prince Consort and the Prince
of Wales. The speechmaking, to which one may say all Europe was
listening, was a trying experience. The Emperor, though he changed
colour, spoke well "in a powerful voice," proposing the health of the
Queen, the Prince, and the royal family, and declaring his adherence
to the French alliance with England. The Prince replied. "He did it
very well, though he hesitated once," the Queen reported. "I sat
shaking, with my eyes riveted to the table." The duty done, a great
relief was felt, as the speechmakers, with the Queen and the Empress,
retired to the privacy of the cabin, shook hands, and compared notes
on their nervousness.

A splendid display of fireworks was witnessed from the deck of the
_Bretagne_. In the middle of it the Queen and the Prince returned
to the yacht, escorted by the Emperor and Empress, when they took
their departure in turn. They were followed by showers of English
rockets and rounds of English cheers.

The next morning the Emperor and Empress paid a farewell visit on
board the yacht, which sailed at last under "heavy salutes." At five
o'clock in the afternoon the beach at Osborne was reached. The sailor
Prince, whose fourteenth birthday it was, stood on the pier. All the
children, including the baby, were at the door. The dogs added their
welcome. The young Prince's birthday-table was inspected. There was
still time to visit the Swiss Cottage, to which Princess Alice and the
Queen drove the other members of the family. The children's castle,
where they had lunched in honour of the day, was gay with flags.
Prince Alfred with Princess Alice was promoted to join the royal
dinner party. The little princes, Arthur and Leopold, appeared at
dessert. "A band played," writes the Queen, "and after dinner we
danced, with the three boys and the three girls and the company, a
merry country-dance on the terrace--a delightful finale to the
expedition! It seemed a dream that this morning at twelve we should
have been still at Cherbourg, with the Emperor and Empress on board
our yacht."

On the 11th of August, the Queen and the Prince arrived in the yacht
at Antwerp, on their way to Germany, to pay their first eagerly
anticipated visit to the Princess Royal--then a wife of six months
standing--in her Prussian home.

The travellers proceeded by railway to Malines, where they were met by
King Leopold with his second son, and escorted to Verviers in a
progress which was to be as far as possible without soldiers, salutes,
addresses; and at Aix-la-Chapelle the Prince of Prussia joined the
party. The halt for the night was at Dusseldorf, where the Prince and
Princess of Hohenzollern were waiting. The Queen and the Prince
Consort quitted their hotel to dine with the Hohenzollern family, in
whose members they were much interested. The Queen made the
acquaintance of a young son who is now Prince of Roumania, and a
handsome girl-princess who has become the wife of the Comte de
Flanders, King Leopold's younger son.

The next day, long looked forward to as that which was to bring about
a reunion with the Princess Royal, was suddenly overclouded by the
news of the sad, unexpected death of the Prince's worthy valet,
"Cart," who had come with him to England, and been in his service
twenty-nine years--since his master was a child of eight The Prince
entered the room as the Queen was dressing, carrying a telegram, and
saying "My poor Cart is dead." Both felt the loss of the old friend
acutely. "All day long," wrote the Queen, "the tears would rush into
my eyes." She added, "He was the only link my loved one had about him
which connected him with his childhood, the only one with whom he
could talk over old times. I cannot think of my dear husband without
Cart." It was no day for sorrow, yet the noble, gentle hearts bled
through all their joys.

Before seven the royal party, including the Prince of Prussia, were on
their way through Rhenish Prussia. As the train rushed by the railway
platform at Buckeburg there stood the aged Baroness Lehzen, the
Queen's good old governess, waving her handkerchief. In the station at
Hanover were the King and Queen of Hanover, Princess Frederick Charles
of Prussia, and her Majesty's niece, the Princess Feodore of
Hohenlohe, a charming girl of nineteen, with her betrothed husband,
the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, a widower of thirty-two.

The Queen then made the acquaintance of one of the cradles of her
race, driving out to the country palace of Herrenhausen, which had
been the home of the Electress Sophia, and where George I. was
residing when he was summoned to be king of England. At five o'clock,
in the heat and the dust, her Majesty resumed her journey, "with a
racking headache." At Magdeburg Prince Frederick William appeared,
"radiant," with the welcome intelligence that his Princess was at the
Wildpark station. "There on the platform stood our darling child, with
a nosegay in her hand." The Queen described the scene. "She stepped
in, and long and warm was the embrace, as she clasped me in her arms;
so much to say, and to tell, and to ask, yet so unaltered; looking
well, quite the old Vicky still! It was a happy moment, for which I
thank God!" It was eleven o'clock at night before the party reached
Babelsberg--a pleasant German country house, with which her Majesty
was much pleased. It became her headquarters for the fortnight during
which her visit lasted. In addition to enjoying the society of her
daughter, the Queen became familiar with the Princess's surroundings.
Daily excursions were made to a succession of palaces connected with
the past and present Prussian royal family. In this manner her Majesty
learnt to know the King's palace in Berlin, while the poor King, a
wreck in health, was absent; Frederick the Great's Schloss at Potsdam;
his whimsical Sans Souci with its orange-trees, the New Palais, and
Charlottenburg with its mausoleum. The Queen also attended two great
reviews, gave a day to the Berlin Museum, and met old Humboldt more
than once. Among the other guests at Babelsberg were the Duke of Saxe-
Coburg and Baron Stockmar. The Prince Consort's thirty-ninth birthday
was celebrated in his daughter's house. At last with struggling tears
and a bravely said "_Auf baldiges wiedersehn_" (to a speedy
meeting again), the strongly attached family party separated. The
peculiar pang of separation to the Queen, she expressed in words which
every mother will understand. "All would be comparatively easy were it
not for the one thought, that I cannot be with her (the Princess
Royal), at that very critical moment when every other mother goes to
her child."

The royal travellers stayed over the Sunday at Deutz, and again saw
Cologne illuminated, the cathedral like "a mass of glowing red fire."
On reaching Osborne on the 31st of August, the Queen and the Prince
were met by Prince Alfred--who had just passed his examination and
been appointed to a ship--"in his middy's jacket, cap, and dirk."

On their way to Scotland the Queen and the Prince Consort, accompanied
by the Princesses Alice and Helena, visited Leeds, for the purpose of
opening the Leeds Town Hall. The party stayed at Woodley House, the
residence of the mayor, who is described in her Majesty's journal as a
"perfect picture of a fine old man." In his crimson velvet robes and
chain of office he looked "the personification of a Venetian doge."
The Queen as usual made "the tour of the town amidst a great concourse
of spectators." She remarked on the occasion, "Nowhere have I seen the
children's names so often inscribed. On one large arch were even
'Beatrice and Leopold,' which gave me much pleasure...." a result
which, had they known it, would have highly gratified the loyal
clothworkers. After receiving the usual addresses, the Queen knighted
the mayor, and by her command Lord Derby declared the hall open.

While her Majesty was at Balmoral, the marriages of a niece and nephew
of hers took place in Germany--Princess Feodore, the youngest daughter
of the Princess of Hehenlohe, married the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen; and
Ernest, Prince of Leiningen, the eldest son of the late Prince of
Leiningen, who was in the English navy, married Princess Marie Amélie
of Baden.

More of the English royal children were taking flight from the parent
nest. Mr. Bruce, Lord Elgin's brother, was appointed Governor to the
Prince of Wales, and was about to set out with him on a tour in Italy.
Prince Alfred was with his ship at Malta.

CHAPTER XXXII.

BIRTH OF PRINCE WILLIAM OF PRUSSIA--DEATH OF PRINCE HOHENLOHE--
VOLUNTEER REVIEWS--SECOND VISIT TO COBURG--BETROTHAL OF PRINCESS
ALICE.

One of the beauties of the Queen's early Court, Lady Clementina
Villiers, daughter of the Earl of Jersey, died unmarried at her
father's seat of Middleton Park in 1858. She was as good and clever as
she was beautiful. Like her lovely sister, Princess Nicholas
Esterhazy, Lady Clementina died in the prime of life, being only
thirty-four years of age.

On the 27th of January, 1859, the Queen and the Prince received the
good news of the birth of their first grandchild, a fine boy, after
great suffering on the part of the young mother. He had forty-two
godfathers and godmothers.

In April Princess Alice was confirmed. Her Majesty's estimate of her
daughter's character was amply borne out in the years to come. "She is
very good, gentle, sensible, and amiable, and a real comfort to me."
Without her sister, the Princess Royal's, remarkable intellectual
power, Princess Alice had fine intelligence. She was also fair to see
in her royal maidenhood. The two elder sons were away. The Prince of
Wales was in Italy, Prince Alfred with his ship in the Levant. At home
the volunteer movement, which has since acquired such large
proportions, was being actively inaugurated. The war between Austria
and France, and a dissolution of Parliament, made this spring a busy
and an anxious time. The first happy visit from the Princess Royal,
who came to join in celebrating her Majesty's birthday at Osborne,
would have made the season altogether joyous, had it not been for a
sudden and dangerous attack of erysipelas from which the Duchess of
Kent suffered. The alarm was brief, but it was sharp while it lasted.

In June her Majesty opened the new Parliament, an event which was
followed in a fortnight by the resignation of Lord Derby's Ministry,
and Lord Palmerston became Prime Minister with a strong Cabinet.

At the close of the season the sad news arrived of the sudden death
from diphtheria of the year-old wife, the young Queen of Portugal.

In August the Queen and the Prince made one of their yachting
excursions to the Channel Islands. The Duchess of Kent's seventy-third
birthday was kept at Osborne. During the autumn stay of the Court at
Balmoral, the Prince presided over the British Association for the
Promotion of Science, which met that year at Aberdeen. He afterwards
entertained two hundred members of the association, filling four
omnibuses, in addition to carriages, at a Highland gathering at
Balmoral. The day was cold and showery, but with gleams of sunshine.
It is unnecessary to say that the attendance was large, and the games
and dancing were conducted with much spirit. In honour of the country,
the Prince and his sons appeared in kilts, the Queen and the
Princesses in royal Stewart tartan skirts and shawls over black velvet
bodices.

In 1859 the Queen made no less than three successful ascents of
Highland mountains, Morvem, Lochnagar, and at last Ben Macdhui, the
highest mountain in Scotland, upwards of four thousand feet. On the
return of the royal party they went from Edinburgh to Loch Katrine, in
order to open the Glasgow Waterworks, the conclusion of a great
undertaking which was marred not inappropriately by a very wet day.
The Queen and the Prince made a detour on their homeward route, as
they had occasionally done before, visiting Wales and Lord Penryn at
Penryn Castle.

This year saw the publication of a memorable book, "Adam Bede," for
which even its precursor, "Scenes from Clerical Life," had not
prepared the world of letters. The novel was much admired in the royal
circle. In one of the rooms at Osborne, as a pendant to a picture from
the "Faery Queen," there hangs a representation from a very different
masterpiece in English literature, of the young Squire watching Hetty
in the dairy.

In the beginning of winter the Prince suffered from an unusually
severe fit of illness. In November the Princess Royal again visited
England, accompanied by her husband.

There were cheery winter doings at Osborne, when the great household,
like one large family, rejoiced in the seasonable snow, in a slide
"used by young and old," and in a "splendid snow man." The new year
was joyously danced in, though the children who were wont to assemble
at the Queen's dressing-room door to call in chorus "_Prosit Neu
Jahr_," were beginning to be scattered far and wide.

In January, 1860, the Queen opened Parliament in person, when for the
first time the Princesses Alice and Helena were present.

On the twentieth anniversary of the Queen's wedding-day she wrote to
Baron Stockmar, "I wish I could think I had made one as happy as he
has made me."

In April the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenberg, the Queen's brother-in-
law, who was now an old man, died at Baden, after a long illness. He
had been an upright, unlucky German prince, trusted by his
contemporaries, a good husband and father--whose loss was severely
felt by the widowed Princess. Her sorrow was reflected in the Queen's
sympathy for her sister.

This year's Academy Exhibition contained Millais's "Black
Brunswicker," Landseer's "Flood in the Highlands," and Phillips's
"Marriage of the Princess Royal," now in the great corridor at Windsor
Castle. "The Idyls of the King," much admired by the Prince, were the
poems of the year.

Among the guests at Windsor Castle for Ascot week, in addition to King
Leopold, who came to look once more on the old scene, were Prince
Louis of Hesse and his younger brother. In a letter of the Prince
Consort's, written soon afterwards, he alludes to an apparent "liking"
between Prince Louis and Princess Alice.

Sir Arthur Helps, whose subsequent literary relations with the Queen
were so friendly, was sworn in Clerk of the Council on the 23rd of
June.

The first great volunteer review took place in Hyde Park this summer.
The Queen was present, driving with Princess Alice, Prince Arthur, and
King Leopold, while the Prince Consort rode. The display of the twenty
thousand citizen soldiers, at that time reckoned a large volunteer
force, was in every respect satisfactory. As a sequel her Majesty was
also present during fine weather, in an exceptionally wet summer, at
the first meeting of the National Rifle Association at Wimbledon, when
the first shot was fired by the Queen, the rifle being so arranged
that a touch to the trigger caused the bullseye to be hit, when the

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