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Queen Victoria, her girlhood and womanhood by Grace Greenwood

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She had a great deal to go through with that day. She must have rehearsed
well, or she would have been confused by the multiform ceremonials of
that grand spectacular performance. The scene, as she entered Westminster
Abbey, might well have startled her out of her serene calm, but it
didn't. On each side of the nave, reaching from the western door to the
organ screen, were the galleries, erected for the spectators. These were
all covered with crimson cloth fringed with gold. Underneath them were
lines of foot-guards, very martial-looking, fellows. The old stone floor,
worn with the tread of Kings' coronations and funeral processions, was
covered with matting, and purple and crimson cloth. Immediately under the
central tower of the Abbey, inside the choir, five steps from the floor,
on a carpet of purple and gold, was a platform covered with cloth of
gold, and on it was the golden "Chair of Homage." Within the chancel,
near the altar, stood the stiff, quaint old chair in I which all the
sovereigns of England since Edward the Confessor have been crowned. Cloth
of gold quite concealed the "chunk of old red sandstone," called the
"stone of Scone," on which the ancient Scottish Kings were crowned, and
which the English seem to keep and use for luck. There were galleries on
galleries upholstered in crimson cloth, and splendid tapestries, wherein
sat members of Parliament and foreign Princes and Embassadors. In the
organ loft were singers in white, and instrumental performers in scarlet
--all looking very fine and festive; and up very high was a band of
trumpeters, whose music, pealing over the heads of the people, produced,
at times, a wonderful effect.

Fashionable people had got up early for once. Many were at the Abbey
doors long before 5 o'clock, and when the Queen arrived at 11:30,
hundreds of delicate ladies in full evening-dress, had been waiting for
her for seven long hours. The foreign Princes and Embassadors were in
gorgeous costumes; and there was the Lord Mayor in all his glory,
blinding to behold. His most formidable rival was Prince Esterhazy, who
sparkled with costly jewels from his head down to his boots-looking as
though he had been snowed upon with pearls, and had also been caught out
in a rain of diamonds, and had come in dripping. All these grand
personages and the Peers and Peeresses were so placed as to have a
perfect view of the part of the minster in which the coronation took
place-called, in the programme, "the Theatre."

The Queen came in about the middle of the splendid procession. In her
royal robe of crimson velvet, furred with ermine, and trimmed with gold
lace, wearing the collars of her orders, and on her head a circlet of
gold-her immense train borne by eight very noble young ladies, she is
said to have looked "truly royal," though so young, and only four feet
eight inches in height. As she entered the Abbey, the orchestra and choir
broke out into the National Anthem. They performed bravely, but were
scarcely heard for the mighty cheers which went up from the great
assembly, making the old minster resound in all its aisles and arches and
ancient chapels. Then, as she advanced slowly towards the choir, the
anthem, "_I was glad_" was sung, and after that, the sweet-voiced
choir-boys of Westminster chanted like so many white-gowned, sleek-headed
angels, "_Vivat Victoria Regina!_" Ah, then she felt very solemnly
that she was Queen; and moving softly to a chair placed between the Chair
of Homage and the altar, she knelt down on the "faldstool" before it, and
meekly said her prayers.

When the boys had finished their glad anthem, the Archbishop of
Canterbury, with several high officers of state, moved to the east side
of the theatre, when the Primate, in a loud voice, said: "I here present
unto you Queen Victoria, the undoubted Queen of this realm, wherefore all
you who are come this day to your homage, are you willing to do the

It seems a little confused, but the people understood it, and shouted,
"God save Queen Victoria!" This "recognition," as it was called, was
repeated at the south, west, and north sides of the "theatre," and every
time was answered by that joyous shout, and by the pealing of trumpets
and the beating of drums. The Queen stood throughout this ceremony, each
time turning her head towards the point from which the recognition came.

One may almost wonder if all those loyal shouts and triumphant
trumpetings and drum-beatings did not trouble somewhat the long quiet of
death in the dusky old chapels in which sleep the fair Queen Eleanor, and
the gracious Philippa, and valiant Elizabeth, and hapless Mary Stuart.

Then followed a great many curious rites and ceremonies of receiving and
presenting offerings; and many prayers and the reading of the Litany, and
the preaching of the sermon, in which the poor Queen was exhorted to
"follow in the footsteps of her predecessor"--which would have been to
walk "sailor-fashion" morally. Then came the administration of the oath.
After having been catechised by the Archbishop in regard to the
Established Church, Her Majesty was conducted to the altar, where
kneeling, and laying her hand on the Gospels in the great Bible, she
said, in clear tones, silvery yet solemn: "The things which I have here
before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God!"

She then kissed the book, and after that the hymn, "_Come, Holy Ghost,
our souls inspire_" was sung by the choir, the Queen still kneeling.

I read the other day that the Duke of Connaught (Prince Arthur), on
visiting Norwich Cathedral, was shown the very Bible on which his mother
took her well-kept coronation oath, forty-five years ago. It was a most
solemn pledge, and yet it was all comprehended in the little girl
Victoria's promise to her governess, "I will be good."

Her Majesty next seated herself in St. Edward's chair; a rich cloth of
gold was held over her head, and the Archbishop anointed her with holy
oil, in the form of a cross. Then followed more prayers, more forms and
ceremonies, the presentation of swords and spurs, and such like little
feminine adornments, the investing with the Imperial robe, the sceptre
and the ring, the consecration and blessing of the new crown, and at last
the crowning. In this august ceremony three Archbishops, two Bishops, a
Dean, and several other clergymen were somehow employed. The task was
most religiously performed. It was the Primate of all England who
reverently placed the crown on that reverent young head. The moment this
was done all the Peers and Peeresses, who, with their coronets in their
hands, or borne by pages at their sides, had been intently watching the
proceedings, crowned themselves, shouting, "God save the Queen!" while
again trumpets pealed forth, and drums sounded, and the far-off Tower and
Park guns, fired by signal, boomed over the glad Capital.

It is stated that the most magically beautiful effect of all was produced
by the Peeresses, in suddenly and simultaneously donning their coronets.
It was as though the stars had somehow kept back their radiance till the
young moon revealed herself in all her silver splendor.

Then came the exhortation, an anthem, and a benediction, and after a few
more forms and pomps, the Queen was conducted to the Chair of Homage.
Before the next long ceremony began, the Queen handed her two sceptres to
two of the lords in attendance, to keep for her, as quietly as any other
girl might hand over to a couple of dangling young gentlemen her fan and
bouquet to hold for her, while she drew on her gloves.

The Lords Spiritual, headed by the Primate, began the homage by kneeling,
and kissing the Queen's hand. Then came the Dukes of Sussex and
Cambridge, who, removing their coronets, and touching them to the Crown,
solemnly pledged their allegiance, and kissed their niece on the left
cheek. Her manner to them was observed to be very affectionate. Then the
other Dukes, and Peers on Peers did homage by kneeling, touching coronet
to crown, and kissing that little white hand. When the turn of the Duke
of Wellington came, the entire assembly broke into applause; and yet he
was not the hero of the day, but an older and far more infirm Peer, Lord
Rolle, who mounted the steps with difficulty, and stumbling at the top,
fell, and rolled all the way back to the floor, where "he lay at the
bottom of the steps, coiled up in his robes." At sight of the accident
the Queen rose from her throne, and held out her hands as though to help
him. It was a pretty incident, not for the poor Peer, but as showing Her
Majesty's impulsive kindness of heart. The old nobleman was not hurt, but
quickly unwound himself, rose, mounted the steps, and tried again and
again to touch the crown with the coronet in his weak, uncertain hand,
every plucky effort being hailed with cheers. At length the Queen,
smiling, gave him her hand to kiss, dispensing with the form of touching
her crown. Miss Martineau, who witnessed the scene, states that a
foreigner who was present was made to believe by a wag that this
ludicrous tumble was a part of the regular programme, and that the Lords
Rolle held their title on condition of performing that feat at every
coronation, Rolle meaning roll.

This most tedious ceremony over, finishing up with more anthems,
trumpets, drums, and shouts, the Sacrament was administered to the Queen
--she discrowning herself, and kneeling while she partook of the holy
elements. Then a re-crowning, a re-enthronement, more anthems, and the
blessed release of the final benediction. Passing into King Edward's
chapel, the Queen changed the Imperial for the Royal robe of purple
velvet, and passed out of the Abbey, wearing her crown, bearing the
sceptre in her right hand, and the orb in her left, and so got into her
carriage, and drove home through the shouting multitude. It is stated
that Her Majesty did not seem exhausted, though she was observed to put
her hand to her head frequently, as though the crown was not, after all,
a very comfortable fit.

After reigning more than a year, she had been obliged to spend nearly
five fatiguing hours in being finished as a Queen. How strange it all
seems to us American Republicans, who make and unmake our rulers with
such expedition and scant ceremony.


Pictures and descriptions of the Queen--Her love of pets--Her passion for
horseback exercise--Her spirited behavior in the first change of her

In the Hall of the St. George's Society of Philadelphia there is a very
interesting picture by the late Mr. Sully of Queen Victoria in her
coronation robes. It is life-size, and represents her as mounting the
steps of the throne, her head slightly turned, and looking back over the
left shoulder. It seems to me that Her Majesty should own this picture,
for it is an exquisite specimen of Mr. Sully's peculiar coloring, and a
very lovely portrait. Here is no rigidity, no constraint, no irksome
state. There is a springy, exultant vitality in the bearing of the
graceful figure, and the light poise of the head, while in the complexion
there is a tender softness and a freshness of tints belonging only to the
dewy morning of life. The princeliness of youth, the glow of joy and hope
overtop and outshine the crown which she wears as lightly as though it
were a May-queen's Coronal of roses; and the dignity of simple girlish
purity envelops her more royally than velvet and ermine. The eyes have
the softness of morning skies and spring violets, and the smile hovering
about the red lips, a little parted, is that of an unworn heart and an
eager, confident spirit. This was the first portrait of the young Queen I
ever saw, and still seems to me the loveliest.

Another American artist, Mr. Leslie, painted a large picture of the
coronation, which Her Majesty purchased. As he was to paint the scene, he
was provided with a very good seat near the throne--so near that he said
he could plainly see, when she came to sign her coronation oath, that she
wrote a large, bold hand, doing credit to her old writing master, Mr.

In his recollections he says: "I don't know why, but the first sight of
her in her robes of state brought tears into my eyes, and it had this
effect upon many people; she looked almost like a child." Campbell, the
poet, is related to have said to a friend: "I was at Her Majesty's
coronation in Westminster Abbey, and she conducted herself so well during
the long and fatiguing ceremony that I shed tears many times."

Carlyle said at the time, with a shake of his craggy, shaggy head: "Poor
little Queen! she is at an age at which a girl can hardly be trusted to
choose a bonnet for herself, yet a task is laid upon her from which an
archangel might shrink.":

And yet, according to Earl Russell, this "poor little Queen," over whom
the painters and poets wept, and the great critic "roared gently" his
lofty commiseration, informed her anxious mother that she "ascended the
throne without alarm." Victoria, if reminded of this in later years,
might have said, "They who know nothing, fear nothing"; and yet the very
vagueness, as well as vastness, of the untried life would have appalled
many spirits.

The Queen was certainly a very valiant little woman, but there would have
been something unnatural, almost uncanny, about her had the regal calm
and religious seriousness which marked her mien during those imposing
rites, continued indefinitely, and it is right pleasant to read in the
reminiscences of Leslie, how the child in her broke out when all the
magnificent but tiresome parade, all the grand stage-business with those
heavy actors, was over. The painter says: "She is very fond of dogs, and
has one favorite little spaniel, who is always on the lookout for her
return when she is from home. She had, of course, been separated from him
on that day longer than usual, and when the state-coach drove up to the
Palace steps she heard him barking joyously in the hall, and exclaimed,
'There's Dash,' and was in a hurry to doff her crown and royal robe, and
lay down the sceptre and the orb, which she carried in her hands, and go
and give Dash his bath."

I hope this story is literally true, for I have a strong impression that
it was this peculiar love of pets, this sense of companionship with
intelligent, affectionate animals, especially dogs and horses, that with
an ever-fresh delight in riding and dancing, healthful sports and merry
games, was the salvation of the young Queen. Without such vents, the
mighty responsibility of her dizzy position, the grandeur, the dignity,
the decorum, the awful etiquette would have killed her--or at least,
puffed her up with pride, or petrified her with formality. Sir John
Campbell wrote of her at this time: "She is as merry and playful as a
kitten."--I hope she loved kittens! Again he says: "The Queen was in
great spirits, and danced with more than usual gaiety, a romping,
country-dance, called the Tempest."

In addition to this girlish gaiety, Victoria seems always to have had a
vein of un-Guelph-like humor, a keen sense of the ludicrous, a delicious
enjoyment of fun, which are among Heaven's choicest blessings to poor
mortals, royal or republican. Prince Albert's sympathy with her love of
innocent amusement, and her delight in the absurdities and drolleries of
animal as well as of human life and character, was one and perhaps not
the weakest of the ties which bound her to him.

With the young Queen equestrian exercise was more than a pastime, it was
almost a passion. She rode remarkably well, and in her gratitude for this
beautiful accomplishment,--rarer even in England than people think--she
wished as soon as she came to the throne, to give her riding-master,
Fozard, a suitable position near her person, something higher than that
of a groom. She was told that there was no situation vacant that he could
fill. "Then I will create one," she said, and dubbed him "Her Majesty's
Stirrup holder." I would have done more for him--made him Master of the
Horse, in place of Lord Albemarle, who always rolled along in the royal
carriage, or created for him the office of Lord High Equerry of the

N. P. Willis, in his delightful "Pencilings By the Way," gives a bright
glimpse of the Queen on horseback. It was in Hyde Park, and he saye the
party from the Palace came on so fast that the scarlet-coated outriders
had difficulty in clearing the track of the other equestrians. Her
Majesty has always liked to go fast by horse or steam-power, as though
determined not to let Time get ahead of her, for all his wings.

The poet then adds: "Her Majesty rides quite fearlessly and securely. I
met her party full gallop near the centre of Rotten Row. On came the
Queen, on a dun-colored, highly-groomed horse, with her Prime Minister on
one side of her, and Lord Byron on the other; her _cortège_ of Maids
of Honor, and Lords and Ladies of the Court checking their spirited
horses, and preserving always a slight distance between themselves and
Her Majesty. ... Victoria's round, plump figure looks exceedingly well in
her dark green riding-dress. ... She rode with her mouth open, and seemed
exhilarated with pleasure."

This was in 1839. Some years later, a young American writer, who shall be
nameless, but who was as passionate a lover of horses as the Queen
herself, wrote a sort of pæan to horseback-riding. She began by telling
her friends, all whom it might concern, that when she was observed to be
low in her mind--when she seemed "weary of life," and to "shrink from its
strife"--when, in short, things didn't go well with her generally, they
were not to come to her with the soft tones or the tears of sympathy;
then she went on thus, rather pluckily, I think:

"No counsel I ask, and no pity I need,
But bring me, O bring me, my gallant young steed,
With his high-arched neck and his nostril spread wide;
His eye full of fire, and his step full of pride.
As I spring to his back, as I seize the strong rein,
The strength to my spirit returneth again,
The bonds are all broken that fettered my mind,
And my cares borne away on the wings of the wind,--
My pride lifts its head, for a season, bowed down,
And the queen in my nature now puts on her crown."

Now if the simple American girl prepared for a lonely gallop through the
woods, could so have thrilled with the fulness, joy, and strength of
young life; could have felt so royal, mounted on a half-broken, roughly-
groomed western colt (for that's what the "steed" really was), with few
fine points and no pedigree to speak of--what must the glorious exercise
have been to that great little Queen, re-enthroned on thoroughbred,
"highly-groomed," magnificent English horse-flesh?

Her Majesty has always been constant in her equine loves. Six of her
saddle-horses, splendidly caparisoned, walked proudly, as so many
Archbishops, in the coronation procession; and in the royal stables of
London and Windsor, her old favorites have been most tenderly cared for.
When she could no longer use them, she still petted them, and never
reproached them for having "outlived their usefulness."

Another writer from America, James Gordon Bennett, sent home, this
coronation year, some very pleasant descriptions of the Queen. At the
opera he had his first sight of her. "About ten o'clock, when the opera
was half through, the royal party entered. 'There! there! there!'
exclaimed a young girl behind me--'there's the Queen!' looking eagerly up
to the royal box. I looked too, and saw a fair, light-haired little girl,
dressed with great simplicity, in white muslin, with hair plain, a blue
ribbon at the back, enter the box and take her seat, half hid in the red
drapery at the corner remote from the stage. The Queen is certainly very
simple in her appearance; but I am not sure that this very simplicity
does not set off to advantage her fair, pretty, pleasant, little round
Dutch face. Her bust is extremely well-proportioned, and her complexion
very fair. There is a slight parting of the rosy lips, between which you
can see little nicks of something like very white teeth. The expression
of her face is amiable and good-tempered. I could see nothing like that
awful majesty, that mysterious something which doth hedge a Queen. ...
During the performance, the Queen would now and then draw aside the
curtain and gaze back at the audience, with that earnestness and
curiosity which any young girl might show."

Mr. Bennett gave other descriptions of the Queen as he saw her driving in
the Park. He wrote: "I had been taking a walk over the interior of the
Park, gazing listlessly at the crowd of carriages as they rolled by. Just
as I was entering the arched gateway to depart, a sensation spread
through the crowd which filled that part of the promenade. 'The Queen!
the Queen!' flew from lip to lip. In an instant two outriders shot
through the gate; near Apsley House, followed by a barouche and four,
carrying the Queen and three of her suite. She sat on the right hand of
the back seat, leaning a good deal back. She was, as usual, dressed very
simply, in white, with a plain straw, or Leghorn bonnet, and her veil was
thrown aside. She carried a green parasol."

Ah, why _green_, O Queen? Later that afternoon he saw her again, going at
a slower rate, holding up that green parasol, bowing right and left and
smiling, as the crowd saluted and cheered. The Queen does not bow and
smile so much nowadays, but then she no longer carries a green parasol.

N. P. Willis also saw the young sovereign at the opera, and dashes off a
poet's vivid sketch of her:

"In her box to the left of me sat the Queen, keeping time with her fan to
the singing of Pauline Garcia, her favorite Minister, Lord Melbourne,
standing behind her chair, and her maids of honor grouped around her--
herself the youthful, smiling, admired sovereign of the most powerful
nation on earth. The Queen's face has thinned and grown more oval since I
saw her four years ago as the Princess Victoria. She has been compelled
to think since then, and such exigencies in all stations in life work out
the expression of the face. She has now what I should pronounce a
decidedly intellectual countenance, a little petulant withal when she
turns to speak, but on the whole quite beautiful enough for a virgin
Queen. She was dressed less gaily than many others around her."

I have given much space to these personal descriptions of Queen Victoria
as she appeared in those first two years of her Queenhood, because they
are still to the world--the world of young people, at least--the most
interesting years of all her glorious reign. There was great poetry about
that time, and, it must be confessed, some peril.

Mrs. Oliphant, in her excellent little life of the Queen, says: "The
immediate circle of friends around the young sovereign fed her with no

It is difficult to believe such a statement of any mortal Court-circle.
But if gross adulation was not offered--a sort of moral pabulum, which
the Queen's admirable good sense would have rejected, there was profound
homage in the very attitude of courtiers and in the etiquette of Court
life. The incense of praise and admiration, "unuttered or exprest," was
perpetually and inevitably rising up about her young footsteps wherever
they strayed; it formed the very air she breathed--about as healthful an
atmosphere to live and sleep in as would be that of a conservatory
abounding in tuberoses, white lilies, and jessamine.

Still, that she did not grow either arrogant or artificial, seems proved
by the pleasant accounts given of her simple and gracious ways by the
painters of whom I have spoken--Thomas Sully and Charles Leslie. I
remember particularly, hearing from a friend of Mr. Sully, of the
generous interest she took in his portrait of her, which, I think, was
painted at Windsor. She gave him all the sittings, or rather standings,
her busy life would allow; giving him free use of all the splendid
paraphernalia necessary for his work. Between whiles the painter's young
daughter stood for the picture, being, of course, obliged to don the
royal robes and even the tiara. One day, while thus engaged and arrayed,
the Queen came suddenly into the room. Miss Sully much confused was about
to descend from the steps of the throne, when the Queen exclaimed,
laughing: "Pray stay as you are; I like to see how I look!"

Leslie, whose picture of the Coronation was painted at Windsor, gave a
pleasant account of the Queen's kindly and easy ways. "She is now," he
says, "so far satisfied with the likeness that she does not wish me to
touch it again. She sat five times--not only for the face, but for as
much as is seen of the figure, and for the hands, with the coronation-
ring on the finger. Her hands, by the by, are very pretty--the backs
dimpled and the fingers delicately shaped. She was particular to have her
hair dressed exactly as she wore it at the ceremony every time she sat."

The Queen in her writings says very little of this portion of her
"strange, eventful history,"--a time so filled with incident, so gilded
with romance, so bathed in poetry, so altogether splendid in the eyes of
all the world; for to her, life--or all which was most "happy and
glorious" in life--began and ended with Prince Albert. She even speaks
with regret of that period of single queenliness, and says: "A worse
school for a young girl--one more detrimental to all natural feelings and
affections--cannot well be imagined than the position of a Queen at
eighteen without experience and without a husband to guide and support
her. This the Queen can state from painful experience, and she thanks God
that none of her own dear daughters are exposed to such danger."

Human nature is rash and young-woman-nature ambitious and ill-disposed to
profit by the costly experience of eld, and I doubt not the clever
Princess Royal or the proud and fair Princess Louise would have mounted
any throne in Christendom "without alarm." Most of Her Majesty's loyal
subjects deny that any harm came to her from her unsupported position as
Queen Regnant, or that she was capable of being thus harmed--but the
Queen knows best.

The Princess Victoria was a proud, high-spirited girl, and it were no
treason to suppose that at the first she had a sense of relief when the
leading-strings, in which she had been so long held, were cut, though by
the scissors of Atropos, and she was free to stand and go alone. Her good
mother, becoming at once an object of political jealousy, removed herself
from the old close companionship, though retaining in her heart the old
tender solicitude--perhaps feeling herself more than ever necessary to
her daughter. Mothers are so conceited. It is small wonder if after her
life of studious and modest seclusion and filial subordination, the
gaiety, the splendor, and the supremacy of the new existence intoxicated
the young sovereign somewhat. The pleasures of her capital and the homage
of the world captivated her imagination, while the consciousness of power
and wealth and personal loveliness inclined her to be self-indulgent and
self-willed. In spite of the good counsel of the family Mentor, Baron
Stockmar, and of her sagacious uncle, Leopold, she must have committed
some errors of judgment--fallen into some follies; she was so young and
impulsive--so very human. Her first independent political act seems to
have been a mistake, founded on a misunderstanding. It was at all events
an act more Georgian than Victorian. The Whig party, to which she was
attached, had by a series of blunders and by weak vacillation lost
strength and popularity, and Lord Melbourne's Ministry found itself so
hard-pressed that it struck colors and resigned. Then the Queen was
advised by the Duke of Wellington to invite the Conservative leader, Sir
Robert Peel, to form a new Ministry. She did so, but frankly told that
gentleman that she was very sorry to lose Lord Melbourne and his
colleagues, whom she liked and approved--which must have been pleasant
talk to Sir Robert. However, he went to work, but soon found that
objections were made by his colleagues to certain Whig ladies in personal
attendance on the Queen, and likely to influence her. So it was proposed
to Her Majesty to make an important change in her household. I believe
that the Duchess of Sutherland and Lady Normandy--the first the sister
and the second the wife of a prominent Liberal--were especially meant;
but the Queen took it that she was called on to dismiss all her ladies,
and flatly refused, saying that to do so would be "repugnant to her
feelings"--forgetting that feeling was no constitutional argument. She
had got used to those Ladies of the Bed-Chamber, and they to her. They
knew just where everything was, what colors became her, and what gossip
and games amused her. Doubtless she loved them, and doubtless also she
loved her own way. Surely the right of her constitutional advisers to
dictate to her must have a limit somewhere, and she drew the line at her
bed-chamber door. Then, as Sir Robert would not yield the point, she
recalled Melbourne and went on as before. The affair created immense
excitement. Non-political people were amused at the little Queen's spirit
of independence. Liberals applauded her patriotism and pluck in defeating
the "wicked Bed-Chamber Plot," and for her loyalty to her friends; but
the defeated Tories were very naturally incensed, and, manlike, paid Her
Majesty back, when measures which she had much at heart came before
Parliament a year or so later--as we shall see.

Many years later the Queen appears to have thought that she was beginning
to drift on to rocks of serious political mistakes and misfortunes as
well as into rapids of frivolity, when the good, wise Pilot came to take
the helm of her life-craft.

This pilot was, of course, the "Prince Charming," selected and reared for
her away in Saxe-Coburg--that handsome Cousin Albert, once in a letter to
the good uncle Leopold tacitly accepted by her in girlish
thoughtlessness, as she would have accepted a partner in a joyous
country-dance, and afterwards nearly as thoughtlessly thrown over and
himself sent adrift.


Prince Albert.

If the Princess Charlotte was the prototype of her cousin Victoria,
Prince Leopold was in some respects the prototype of his beloved nephew
Albert, who was born in August, 1819, at Rosenau, a charming summer
residence of his father, the reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield. The
little Prince's grandmother, the Dowager-Duchess of Saxe-Coburg, in
writing to her daughter, the Duchess of Kent, to announce the happy
event, says: "The little boy is to be christened to-morrow, and to have
the name of Albert."

When the christening came off it appeared that "Albert" was only one and
the simplest of several names, but he was always known and always will be
known by that name. It has been immortalized by his upright character,
his rare intellectual gifts, his goodness and grace; by the affection of
his countrymen and his noble life-work in England; by the genius of
England's greatest living poet, and by the love and sorrow of England's

While the Prince was yet a baby, his mother wrote of him: "Albert is
superb,--remarkably beautiful, with large blue eyes, a delicate mouth, a
fine nose, and dimpled cheeks. He is lively and always gay."

Albert was the second son of the Duke and Duchess. Ernest, a year or two
older, is thus described by his mother: "Ernest is very strong and
robust, but not half so pretty as his brother. He is handsome, though;
with black eyes."

Prince Leopold spent some time with his brother at Coburg when Albert was
about two years old, and then began the tender, life-long mutual
affection which led to such happy and important results. The young mother
wrote: "Albert adores his uncle Leopold; never quits him for a moment;
looks sweetly at him; is constantly embracing him; and is never happy
except when near him."

The grandmother also wrote: "Leopold is very kind to the little boys.
Bold _Albertinchen_ drags him constantly about by the hand. The little
fellow is the pendant to the pretty cousin (Princess Victoria); very
handsome, but too slight for a boy; lively, very funny, all good nature,
and full of mischief. The other day he did not know how to make enough of
me, because I took him with me in the carriage. He kept saying, 'Albert
is going with grandmamma!' and gave me his little hand to kiss. 'There,
grandmamma, kiss!'"

The little Princes were not long to enjoy the care and society of their
loving and lovely mother. An unhappy estrangement between their parents,
followed by a separation and a divorce, left them at seven and five years
old half-orphaned; for they never saw their mother again. She died at St.
Wendel, in Switzerland, while still young and beautiful; but doubtless
weary enough of life, which had brought her such happiness, only to take
it away. Two words as holy as her prayers, were on her dying lips--
"Ernest!" "Albert!"

But the boys were rich in grandmothers--having two of the very tenderest
and dearest of Dowager-Duchesses to watch over them (watching each other,
perhaps, the while) and to minister to them for many a year. According to
these venerable ladies, Albert, who was certainly a delicate, nervous
child, was one of those "little angels" who are destined not to survive
the dimpled, golden-curled, lisping, and croupy period; being too good
and sweet and exquisite for this wicked and rough world. But, according
to certain entries in the Prince's own diary--his first, begun in his
sixth year--he at that age happily revealed some hopeful signs of saving
naughtiness and healthful "original sin."

"11th _February_, 1825.
"I was told to recite something, but did not wish to do so. That was not

"20th _February_.
"I had left all my lesson books lying about in the room, and I had to put
them away; then I cried."

"28th _February_.
"I cried at my lesson to-day because I could not find a verb, and the
Rath (tutor) pinched me, to show me what a verb was. I cried about it."

"9th _April_.
"I got up well and happy; afterward I had a fight with my brother."

"10th _April_.
"I had another fight with my brother; that was not right."

This almost baby-prince seems to have been a valorous little fellow. When
his blood was up he seems to have given little thought to the superior
age or strength of his opponents, but to have been always ready to "pitch
in"; or, to use the more refined and courtly language of his tutor, M.
Florschütz, "he was not, at times, indisposed to resort to force, if his
wishes were not at once complied with."

For several years the young Princes, devoted to each other, passed
studious, yet active and merry lives at the Coburg Palace, and in the
dear country home of Rosenau. They seem to have corresponded with their
cousin Victoria, whom, it seems, the lad Albert was led by his grandmamma
Coburg to regard with an especially romantic and tender interest. That
grandmamma, the mother of Prince Leopold and the Duchess of Kent, and who
seems to have been a very able and noble woman, died when her darling
Albert was about twelve years old; but the hope of her heart did not die
with her, and without doubt Prince Albert was educated with special and
constant reference to a far more important and brilliant destiny than
often falls to the lot of the young sons of even Grand Ducal houses. He
was well instructed in many branches of science, in languages, in music
and literature, in politics, and what seems a contradiction, in ethics,--
his moral development being most carefully watched over, while his
physical training was a pendant to that which made his cousin Victoria
one of the healthiest and hardiest of modern Englishwomen. With a
delicate constitution and a sensitive, nervous temperament, Prince Albert
would scarcely have lived to manhood, except for that admirable physical
training. As a child, he was braced up by much life in the open air,
simple diet, a good deal of rough play--while as to sleep, he was allowed
to help himself, which he did plentifully, being much given to
somnolency. As a lad and youth, he hardened himself by all healthful
manly sports and exercises; in short, made a boy of mamma's "angel," a
man of grandmamma's golden-haired darling. Nor was that great element of
a liberal education, travel, wanting. The brothers paid visits to their
uncle Leopold, now King of Belgium, and after tours in Germany, Austria,
and Holland, visited England, and their aunt Kent and their cousin
Victoria, to whom they were most warmly commended by their uncle.

According to the Queen's books, with this visit of three weeks began the
personal acquaintance of the cousins; yet old Kensingtonians have a
legend which they obstinately cling to, that Prince Albert, when much
younger, spent three years in the old brick palace with his aunt and
cousin, in pursuance of the matrimonial plans of the Duchess of Kent and
Prince Leopold; and I have seen in a quaint old juvenile book a wood-cut
representing the little Victoria in a big hat, riding on a pony in the
park, and little Albert in a visored cap and short jacket running along
at her side. But, of course, it was all a mistake; there was no such
period of childish courtship, and the boy in the queer Dutch cap was an
optical illusion, or a "double," in German a _doppel-gänger_. During
the real visit, occurred the seventeenth birthday of the Princess, and
there were public rejoicings and Court-festivities, preceded and followed
for the cousins by days of pleasant companionship, in walking and riding,
and evenings of music and dancing. But if the lad Albert, remembering the
promise of his garrulous nurse, and the prophecy of his fond grandmamma,
and the wish of his father and uncle Leopold, sought to read his destiny
in the baffling blue eyes of the gay young girl, he seems to have failed,
for he could only write home: "Our cousin is most amiable." Perhaps
Victoria's own wonderful destiny, now drawing near, left little room in
her heart or thought for lesser romances; perhaps the crown of England
suspended over her head as by a single hair, the frail life of an old
man, outdazzled even the graces and merits of her handsome but rather
immature kinsman. Besides, "Prince Charming" at that time was short and
stout, and he spoke our language too imperfectly to make love (which he
would have pronounced _luf_) in the future Queen's English; and so
he went away without any exchange of vows, or rings, or locks of fair
hair or miniatures, and returned to his studies, principally at the
University of Bonn. It is true that the Princess wrote to her "dearest
uncle Leopold" soon after this visit, begging him to take special care of
one now so dear to her, adding: "I hope and trust that all will go on
prosperously and well on this subject now of so much importance to me."
Yet King Leopold was a wise man, and did not build too securely on the
fancy of a girl of seventeen, though he kept to work, he and the Baron,
on their Prince-Consort making, in spite of the opposition of old King
William, and all his brothers, and the candidates favored by them.

It was from quaint, quiet old Bonn that Prince Albert wrote, on his
cousin's accession to the throne, his famous letter of congratulation, in
which there appeared not one word of courtier-like adulation--not a
thought calculated to stir the heart of the young girl suddenly raised to
that giddy height overlooking the world, with a thrill of exultation or
vain-gloriousness. Thus wrote this boy-man of eighteen: "Now you are
Queen of the mightiest land of Europe; in your hand lies the happiness of
millions. May Heaven assist you, and strengthen you with its strength in
the high, but difficult task."

After leaving the University Prince Albert traveled in Switzerland and
Italy with Baron Stockmar--everywhere winning the admiration and respect
of the best sort of people by the rare princeliness of his appearance,
his refined taste, his thoughtful and singularly receptive mind. And so
three years went by. They were three years of uncertainty in regard to
the great projects formed for him, of happiness, and a noble and useful,
if subordinate career. King Leopold, the good genius of the two families,
had not suffered his cousin to forget him, but though she declared she
cared for no one else, she was not disposed to enter into any positive
engagement, even with Albert. She enjoyed intensely her proud,
independent position as Queen Regnant. She was having such a glorious
swing at life, and very naturally feared the possible restraints, and the
inevitable subordination of marriage. She was "too young to marry," and
Albert was still younger--full three months. She would remain as she was,
the gay, untrammeled maiden-Queen of England, for at least three or four
years longer, and then think about it. The Prince was made, aware by his
uncle Leopold of his royal cousin's state of feeling, or unfeeling, and
was in a very doubtful and despondent state of mind when, polished by
study and travel, grown tall and graceful, and "ideally beautiful," a
veritable "Prince Charming," he came over the sea, out of fairyland, via
Rotterdam, to seek his fortune--to attempt, at least, to wake the
grandeur-enchanted Princess from her passionless dream of lonely,
loveless sovereignty. He came, was seen, and conquered! But not at once;
ah, no; for this charming royal idyll had its changing strophes, marking
deepening degrees of sentiment--admiration, interest, hope, assurance,
joyous certainty.

The Queen had resolved to receive both the Princes with cousinly
affection and royal honors, but as though they had come on an ordinary
visit. As for Albert, she meant probably to reason with him frankly, till
he should be convinced that they were "ower young to marry yet"--till he
should realize his own exceeding youthfulness. Then, as he must go away,
and "wait a little longer," she would see as much of him as possible--he
was such a good, constant fellow. But she must give due attention to her
other guests; and then the State had some claim on her time. But when the
Coburg Princes arrived at Windsor, and the Queen, with her mother, met
them at the head of the grand staircase, somehow she had only eyes for
the younger brother; he had grown so manly, so tall, quite out of the old
objectionable stoutness; he had so improved in his English; he was so
handsome--so every way presentable! So, in spite of the gaieties and
forms, and the comings and goings of Windsor, so very much did the royal
maiden, hitherto so gay and "fancy-free" see of her cousin Albert
preparatory to bidding him an indefinite adieu, that on the second day
even, cause for jealousy was given to aspiring courtiers by smiles and
words, especially sweet and gracious, bestowed on the fair Saxon Knight.
On that second day the Queen wrote to her uncle Leopold: "Albert's beauty
is most striking, and he is most amiable and unaffected; in short, very
fascinating." She then added, with an exquisite touch of maiden coyness:
"The young men are _both_ amiable, delightful companions, and I am
glad to have them here."

When a few more days had passed in familiar intercourse, in singing and
walking, in dancing and driving, and best of all, in riding together
(for there is no cradle to rock young Love in like the saddle), the poor
little Queen forsworn, found she had no longer the courage to propose to
that proud young Prince to wait indefinitely on her will--to tarry at
Coburg for more wisdom and beard. At the thought of it she seemed to see
something of noble scorn about his lips, and such grave remonstrance in
his gentle, pensive, forget-me-not eyes, that--the words of parting were
never spoken, or not till after many happy years.

Alas for this fairy-Prince in an unfairylike kingdom! He could only
declare his love, and sound the heart of his beloved, with his eyes.
Etiquette put a leaden seal on his lips till from hers should come the
sweet avowal and the momentous proffer to rule the ruler--to assume
love's sovereignty over the Sovereign. After five days of troubled yet
joyous waiting, it came--the happy "climax," as the Prince called it in a
letter to Baron Stockmar--and then that perfectest flower of human life,
whether in palace or cottage, a pure and noble love, burst into full and
glorious bloom in each young heart. One cannot, even now, read without a
genuine heart-thrill, and a mistiness about the eyes, the simple touching
story of that royal romance of royal old Windsor. More than two-score
years have passed, and yet how fresh it seems! It has the dew and the
bloom of Paradise upon it.

What in all this story seems to me most beautiful and touching, because
so exquisitely womanly, is the meekness of the young Queen. Though as
Queen she offered the Prince her coveted hand--that hand that had held
the sceptre of sceptres, and which Princes and Peers and the
representatives of the highest powers on earth, had kissed in homage, it
was only as a poor little woman's weak hand, which needed to be upheld
and guided in good works, by a stronger, firmer hand; and her head, when
she laid it on her chosen husband's shoulder, had not the feel of the
crown on it. Indeed, she seems to have felt that his love was her real
coronation, his faith her consecration.

To the beloved Stockmar, to whom but a little while before she had
communicated her unalterable determination not to marry any one for ever
so long the newly betrothed wrote: "I do feel so guilty I know not how to
begin my letter; but I think the news it will contain will be sufficient
to ensure your forgiveness. Albert has completely won my heart, and all
was settled between us this morning. I feel certain he will make me
happy. I wish I could feel as certain of my making him happy, but I will
do my best."

Among the entries in the Queen's journal are many like this: "How I will
strive to make Albert feel as little as possible the great sacrifice he
has made. I told him it _was_ a great sacrifice on his part, but he
would not allow it."

Of course the Prince had too much manly feeling and practical good sense
to "allow it." He knew he was the most envied, not only of all poor
German Princes about that time, but of all young scions of royalty the
world over; and besides, he loved his cousin. There is no record or
legend or hint of his having ever loved any other woman, except his good
grandmothers. To her of Gotha he wrote: "The Queen sent for me alone to
her room the other day, and declared to me in a genuine outburst of
affection that I had gained her whole heart, and would make her intensely
happy if I would make her the sacrifice of sharing her life with her, for
she said she looked on it as a sacrifice; the only thing which troubled
her was that she did not think she was worthy of me. The joyous openness
with which she told me this enchanted me, and I was quite carried away by

Still, and always the thought of "sacrifice!" This sentiment of tender
humility, of deference and reverence the Queen never lost. Indeed, it
seems to have grown with years, and as the character of the Prince-
Consort unfolded more and more in beauty, strength, dignity, and

A month was passed by the lovers, in such happiness as comes but once in
life to the most fortunate human beings--to some, alas! never. Then the
Prince returned to Coburg, to settle his affairs and to take leave of his
old home and his kindred. Those partings seem to have pulled hard on his
heart-strings, and are distressing to read about. One would think he was
bound for the "under-world," to wed the Queen of Madagascar. These
Germans are such passionate lovers of the fatherland, that one wonders
how they can ever bring themselves to leave it, to make grand marriages
in England, or fortunes in America, to start a royal house, or a
kindergarten--to become a Field Marshal or a United States Senator.

But all that grief at Coburg and Gotha showed how dearly Prince Albert
was loved, and how he loved.

It seems that the fair cousin at Windsor was scarcely gay, for the
Prince, writing to her mother, says: "What you say of my poor little
bride, sitting all alone in her room, silent and sad, has touched my
heart. Oh, that I might fly to her side to cheer her!"

But she could not have much indulged in this solitary, idle brooding, for
she had work to do, and must be up and doing. First, she had to summon a
Privy Council, which met at Buckingham Palace;--more than eighty Peers,
mostly solemn old fellows, who had outlived their days of romantic
sentiment, if they ever had any, yet to whom the Queen had to declare her
love for her cousin Albert, and her intention to marry him, being
convinced, she said, that this union would "secure her domestic felicity,
and serve the interests of her country." It was a little hard, yet a
certain bracelet, containing a certain miniature, which she wore on her
arm, gave her "courage," she said. Then came a yet more trying ordeal,
for a modest young lady--the announcement of her intended marriage, in a
speech from the throne, in the House of Lords. With the utmost dignity
and calmness, and with a happiness which sparkled in her eyes and glowed
in her blushes, and made strangely beautiful her young face, she read the
announcement in the clear, musical tones so peculiar to her, and with an,
almost religious solemnity. The glory of pure maidenly trust and devotion
resting on her head, outshone the jewels of her tiara; Love was enthroned
at her side.

All was not sunshine, rose-bloom and soft airs before the young German
husband of the Queen. Much doubt and jealousy and some unfriendliness
were waiting for him in high places. The disappointed Tory party, and
some Radicals, opposed hotly the proposed grant for the Prince of
£50,000, and at last cut it down to £30,000.

Then came a discussion over a clause in the Bill for the Naturalization
of the Prince, empowering the husband of the Queen to take precedence
over even the Royal Princes, and to be ever at her side, where he
belonged, which, though finally assented to by these most interested in
England--the Dukes of Sussex and Cambridge--was stoutly opposed by their
elder brother, the Duke of Cumberland, for Heaven and Hanover had not
relieved the English Government of "the bogie." In support of his rights,
Wellington and Brougham stood out, and the clause was dropped. But the
Queen, by the exercise of her prerogative, gave the Prince the title of
Royal Highness, and made him a Field Marshal in the British army; and
about a month later, she settled the precedence question, as far as
concerned England, by proclaiming that by her royal will and pleasure her
husband should "enjoy place, pre-eminence and precedence, next to Her

The amiable Prince is said never to have cherished resentment towards Sir
Robert Peel and others who had voted to cut down his allowance, or the
Duke of Wellington, and Lord Brougham, who had argued that those tiresome
old gentlemen, the Royal Dukes, should have the right to walk and sit
next to _his_ wife on State occasions; but Victoria confesses that
she long felt "most indignant." She was hurt not only in her wifely love,
but in her queenly pride.

Greville says of Kings: "The contrast between their apparent authority
and the contradictions which they practically meet with, must be
peculiarly galling--more especially to men whose minds are seldom
regulated by the beneficial discipline of education, and early collision
with their equals." It must be yet more "galling" for Queens, because
they always have been more flattered, and are imaginative enough to fancy
that in grasping the symbols they hold the power.

But I do not believe that the royal lovers took deeply to heart these
disagreeable matters at this time. I hope they didn't mourn much over the
£20,000 they didn't get. I hope that Love lifted them far above the murky
air of party strife and petty jealousy into a clear, serene atmosphere of
its own. They knew--and it was a great thing to know--that they had the
sympathy of all the true hearts of the realm, whether beating under the
"purple and fine linen" of the rich and noble, or the rough and simple
garments of the poor and humble.

On the 10th of February, 1840, Prince Albert, always tenderly thoughtful
of the dear old Dowager of Saxe-Gotha, his "_liebe grosmama_" who,
when he had parted from her last, had stood at her window, weeping,
stretching out her arms and so desolately calling after him, "Albert!
Albert!" sat down and wrote as no beautifulest Prince of poetry or
romance ever wrote to a feeble, old female relative on his wedding-day:

"DEAR GRANDMAMMA: In less than three hours, I shall stand at the altar,
with my dear bride. In these solemn moments, I must once more ask your
blessing, which I am well assured I shall receive, and which will be my
safeguard and future joy. I must end. God be my stay!

"Your faithful


This letter may seem a little too solemn and ill-assured, but it shows in
what a serious and devout spirit this young Prince, not yet of age,
entered on that auspicious and splendid union, whose wedding-bells rang
round the world. Moreover, the young man's position was a rather trying
one. As yet, he was little known in England, while it was well known that
the Royal Family had been from the first opposed to his marriage with
Victoria. Though the land of the Teutons had so long been the nursery of
English Kings and Queens, the English common people were jealous of
Teutonic Princes--regarding them for the most part as needy adventurers,
for whom England was only the great milch-cow of Germany. Prince Albert
had a host of prejudices to live down; and he did live down most of them,
but some have died hard over his grave.

The Queen's wedding was second only to the coronation, as a grand and
beautiful pageant for the privileged few who could witness it, for of
course the old Royal Chapel of St. James was a much narrower stage for
the great scene than the Abbey. Still, royalty and nobility turned out in
force, and all the greatest of the great were there. The sombre chapel
was made to look very gay and gorgeous with hangings and decorations;
even before the ladies in rich dresses and with all their costliest
jewels on, and the gentlemen in brilliant uniforms and Court-costumes
arrived. The bridegroom, when he walked up the aisle, between his father
and his brother, bowing affably right and left, drew forth murmurs of
admiration by his rare beauty and grace--princeliest of Princes.

The Queen is described as looking unusually pale, but very lovely, in a
magnificent robe of lace over white satin trimmed with orange blossoms,
and with a most exquisite Honiton veil. In the midst of her twelve
bridesmaids, her face radiant with happiness, she seemed like the whitest
of diamonds set in pearls--or so they say.

Her Majesty is also described as bearing herself with great dignity and
composure, and to have gone through the service very solemnly. And yet I
have heard a little story that runs thus: When Prince Albert, in this
last act of "_Le Jeune Homme Pauvre_" came to repeat, as he placed
the ring on her finger, the words, "With all my worldly goods I thee
endow," the merry girl-Queen was unable to suppress an arch smile.

The Duchess of Kent is described as looking "tearful and distressed." Ah,
why will mothers always cry at their daughters' weddings, even when they
have hoped and schemed for that very match; and why will brides, though
ever so much in love, weep, first or last, on the wedding morning? Lady
Lyttleton, in her correspondence, said of the Queen--"Her eyes were
swollen with tears; but," she adds, "there was great happiness in her
countenance, and her look of confidence and comfort at the Prince, when
they walked away, as man and wife, was very pleasant to see."

Ah, "when they walked away as man and wife"--now simply and for always to
each other, "Albert" and "Victoria," the separate life of our "Prince
Charming" closed. Thenceforth, the two bright life-streams seemed to flow
on together, completely merged, indistinguishable, indivisible, but only
_seemed_--for, alas, one has reached the great ocean before the




The first months of Marriage--Incidents and anecdotes--The adoption of
Penny postage--The Inauguration of Steam Railway travel--The Duchess of
Kent takes a separate residence--Prince Albert presides at a meeting
favoring the abolition of the Slave Trade.

In this mere sketch of the great life of the Queen of England, I can give
little space to the political questions and events of her reign,
important and momentous as some of them were, even for other lands and
other people than the English. For a clear and concise account of those
questions and events, I refer my readers to "A History of Our Own Times,"
by Justin McCarthy, M.P. I know nothing so admirable of its kind. But
mine must be something less ambitious--a personal and domestic history--
light, gossipy, superficial, as regards the profound mysteries of
politics; in short, "pure womanly."

I shall not even treat of the great wars which stormed over the
Continent, and upset and set up thrones, except as they affected the life
of my illustrious subject. At first they seemed to form a lurid
background to the bright pictures of peace and love presented by her
happy marriage and maternity, and afterwards in the desolation and
mourning they brought, seemed in keeping with the sorrow of her

Happily all was quiet and peace in the United Kingdom, and in the world
at large, when the honeymoon began for that august but simple-hearted
pair of lovers, Victoria and Albert; or, as she would have preferred to
write it, Albert and Victoria. The fiery little spurt of revolt in
Canada, called rather ambitiously, "The Canadian Rebellion," had ended in
smoke, and the outburst of Chartism, from the spontaneous combustion of
sullen and long-smothered discontent among the working classes, had been
extinguished, partly by a fog of misapprehension and misdirection, partly
by a process of energetic stamping out. The shameful Chinese opium war,
the Cabul disasters, and the fearful Sepoy rebellion were, as yet, only
slow, simmering horrors in the black caldron of the Fates. Irish
starvation had not set in, in its acute form, and Irish sedition was, as
yet, taking only the form of words--the bold, eloquent, magnificent, but
not malignant and scarcely menacing words of Daniel O'Connell In the
Infernal Council Chamber below, the clock whose hours are epochs of
crime, had not yet struck for the era of political assassination. France
was resting and cooling from the throes and fires of revolution, and
growing the vine over its old lava courses. The citizen-King and his
family were setting an example of domestic affection and union, of
morality, thrift, and forehandedness--diligently making hay while the
fickle sun of French loyalty was shining. Italy was lying deathly quiet
under the mailed foot of Austria, and under the paternal foot of the old
Pope, shod with a velvet slipper, cross-embroidered, but leaden-soled;
Garibaldi was fighting for liberty in "the golden South Americas";
Mazzini was yet dreaming of liberty--so was Kossuth. Russia was quietly
gathering herself up for new leaps of conquest tinder her most imperial,
inflexible autocrat--the inscrutable, unsmiling Nicholas.

In England and America it was, though a peaceful, a stirring and an
eventful time. English manufacturers, not content with leveling mountains
of American cotton bales, converting them into textile fabrics and
clothing the world therewith, were reaching deep and deeper into the
bowels of the earth, and pulling up sterner stuff to spin into gigantic
threads with which to lace together all the provinces and cities of the
realm. That captive monster, Steam, though in the early days of its
servitude, was working well in harness, while in America Morse was after
the lightning, lassoing it with his galvanic wires. In England the steam-
dragon had begun by killing one of his keepers, and was distrusted by
most English people, who still preferred post-horses and stage-coaches--
all the good old ways beloved by hostel-keepers, Tony Welters, postilions
and pot-boys. There was something fearful, supernatural, almost profane
and Providence-defying in this new, swift, wild, and whizzing mode of
conveyance. Churchmen and Tories were especially set against it; yet I
have been told that later, that Prince of conservatives, F. M., the Duke
of Wellington, did, on the occasion of one of Her Majesty's
_accouchements_ travel from London to Windsor, at the rate of
seventy-five miles an hour, in order to be in at the birth! What were the
perils of Waterloo to this daring, dizzying journey?

Just a month before the Queen's marriage there occurred in London a union
yet more auspicious, not alone for England, but for all Christendom. It
was the wedding, by act of Parliament, of Knowledge and Humanity in the
cheap postage reform--carried through with wonderful ability, energy,
persistence, and pluck by Rowland Hill; blessed be his memory. The Queen
afterwards knighted him, but he did not need the honor, though I doubt
not it was pleasant, coming from her hands. The simple name of the dear
old man was full of dignity, and long before had been stamped--penny-
stamped, on the heart of the world.

So it seemed that life smiled on and around the royal wedded pair on that
winter afternoon, so unwintry to them, when they took leave of relations
and wedding guests at Buckingham Palace, and set out for Windsor Castle.
Even the heavens which had wept in the morning with those who wept,
changed its mood, and smiled on bride and bridegroom, as they drove forth
in an open carriage and four, followed by other open carriages containing
a picked suite of friends and attendants--all with favor-decked
postilions and footmen in the royal red liveries, and everything grand
and gay. The Queen was dressed in a white satin _pelisse_, profusely
trimmed with swan's-down. She seems, in those days, to have been very
fond of nestling down under that soft, warm, dainty sort of a wrap. How
like a white dove she must have looked that day, for her bonnet was
white, trimmed with white, plumes. Prince Albert wore a fur-trimmed coat,
with a high collar, and had a very high hat, which for the most part was
in his hand, so much saluting was he obliged to do to the saluting

All the world was abroad that day--great was the flow of good feeling,
and mighty was the flow of good ale, while the whole air of the Kingdom
was vibrating with the peal of merry marriage-bells. All through the land
free dinners were provided for the poor--good roast beef, plum-pudding--
'alf and 'alf fare--and I am afraid the Queen's pauper-subjects would
have been unwilling to have the occasion indefinitely repeated, with such
observances,--would not have objected to Her Majesty proving a female
Henry VIII.

Victoria and Albert drove that afternoon more than twenty miles between
ranks of frantically loyal, rejoicing people,--past countless festive
decorations, and a world of "_V_"s and "_A_"s--under arches so
gay that one wondered where and how at that season all the flowers and
foliage were produced,--if nature had not hurried up her spring work, so
as to be able to come to the wedding. The Queen turned now and then her
happy face on her shouting subjects, in graceful acknowledgment of their
sympathy with her happiness; but much of the time she was observed to be
regarding her husband, intently or furtively. So she had betrayed her
heart during She marriage ceremony, when, as an eye-witness records, she
"was observed to look frequently at Prince Albert,--in fact, she scarcely
ever took her eyes off him." I suppose she found him "goodly to look
upon." It is certain that she worshiped him with her eyes, as well as
with her heart and soul,--then and ever after. For the world, even for
the Court, he grew, as the pitiless, pilfering years went by, a little
too stout, and somewhat bald, while his complexion lost something of its
fine coloring and smoothness, and his eyes their fulness,--but for her,
he seems to have always kept the grace and glory of his youth. Even when
he was dying-when the gray twilight of the fast-coming night was creeping
over his face, clouding the light of his eyes, chilling the glow of his
smile--his beauty was still undimmed for her. She says in her pathetic
account of those sad moments--"his beautiful face, more beautiful than
ever, is grown so thin."

But on this their wedding-day, death and death-bed partings were far
enough from the thoughts of the royal lovers. Life was theirs,--young
life, in all its fulness and richness of health, and hope, and joy, and
that "perfect, love, which casteth out fear."

So essentially young and so light-hearted were they, that they laughingly
welcomed the crowd of shouting, leaping, hat-waving, mad Eton boys, who
as they neared Windsor, turned out to receive them. The Queen jotted down
this jolly incident in her journal thus: "The boys in a body accompanied
the carriage to the castle, cheering and shouting as only schoolboys can.
They swarmed up the mound, as the carriage entered the quadrangle, and,
as the Queen and the Prince descended at the grand entrance, they made
the old castle ring again with their acclamations."

What would Queen Charlotte, or any of the stiff, formal Dutch Queens of
any of the Georges have thought of such a boisterous wedding escort,--of
such a noisy welcome to stately Windsor? They would very likely have
said, "Go away, naughty _pays_! How dare you!"

Alas, this royal pair, natural, joyous, girl-like and boy-like as they
were still were slaves to, their station. They could not long hide
themselves from the million-eyed world. In a few days the Court came down
upon them from London. "Mamma" came with them--and I hope that she, at
least, was welcome. Then followed show and ceremony, and amusements of
the common, unpoetic, unparadisiacal, Courtly order. There were "fiddling
and dancing every night," and feasting, and full-dressing, and all that.
Still nothing seems to have interfered much with the Queen's happiness
and content, for Lady Lyttleton wrote of her about this time,--"I
understand she is in extremely high spirits. Such a new thing for her to
dare to be unguarded in conversing with anybody, and with her frank and
fearless nature, the restraints she has hitherto been under, from one
reason or another, with everybody, must have been most painful."

Only the day after her marriage, the Queen wrote to Baron Stockmar:
"There cannot exist a purer, dearer, nobler being in the world than the

She never took those words back--she never had cause to take them back,
to lie heavy on her heart. But such utter adoration persisted in year
after year, with cheerful obstinacy, even against the modest protests of
the object, would have spoiled any man who was spoilable.

Her Majesty was soon obliged to return to London, in order to hold
Courts, to receive addresses of congratulation on her marriage. It seemed
that half the men of the Kingdom of any standing, had formed themselves
into delegations. So numerous were they, that Prince Albert was obliged
to "come up to the help of the QUEEN against the mighty"--bore, for she
records that he in one day received and personally answered no less than
twenty-seven addresses! In fact, he was nearly addressed to death.

The Queen after receiving many members of both Houses of Parliament,
bearing addresses--received large delegations from the State Church--the
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland--the English Non-Conformists,
and the Society of Friends--all walking peacefully enough together to the
throne of Victoria, but having widely different ways to the "throne of
grace;"--all uniting in loyal prayers for the divine blessing on the fair
head of their Sovereign, and in the hope that the comely young man of her
choice might do virtuously, and walk humbly, and gingerly by her side--
but a little in the rear, as became him; not, of course, as a husband,
Scripturally regarded, but as the German Consort of an English Queen

This subordinate view of her husband's place the Queen did not fully
accept from anybody, at any time. At that period, it is probable she
would have gladly taken off the crown, to place it on his dear head, and
doffed the ermine mantle to put it on his manly shoulders, and would have
been the first to swear allegiance to "King Albert."

She thought that he might, at least, have the title of "King-Consort,"
and perhaps because of this hope, she deferred for years--till 1857--
conferring on him, by Royal Letters Patent, the title of Prince-Consort.

Doubtless the English people, if they had been on the lookout for a King,
might have gone farther and fared worse,--but the four Georges had
somehow got them out of conceit with the word "King," and William, the
Sailor, had not quite reconciled them to it;--then they were jealous of
foreigners, and last, but not least, there were apprehensions that the
larger title would necessitate a larger grant. But the Prince did not
need the empty honor, which in his position would have been "a
distinction without a difference." I do not believe he cared much for it,
though titles are usually dear to the Teutonic soul, determined, as he
always so wisely was, to "sink his individuality in that of the Queen,"
and when at last, the second best title of Prince-Consort, that by which
the people already named him, was made his legal right, by his fond wife,
grieved to have kept

--"the best man under the sun,
So many years from his due,"

he was well content, because it pleased her.

The Queen certainly did all she constitutionally could to confer honors
on her husband, who after all outdid her, and best honored himself.

Before their marriage, she had invested him with the noble order of the
Garter, and given him the Star, and the Badge, and the Garter itself set
in diamonds. She now invested him with the insignia of a Knight Grand
Cross of the Order of the Bath. It amused her, this investing--she would
have liked to invent a few orders, for royal Albert's sake--he became the
insignia so well! She also made him Colonel of the 11th Regiment of Light
Dragoons--he rode so well!--and she had the name changed to "Prince
Albert's Own Hussars."

Everywhere the Queen and Prince appeared together--at reviews and art
exhibitions, at church and at the theatre (for the Queen was very fond of
the drama in those days), at drawing-rooms and at races--and everywhere
the people delighted in their beauty and their happiness.

Early in April, the Duchess of Kent, in pursuance of what she deemed her
duty, and best for the young people, parted from her darling daughter,
and took up her residence in a separate home in London--Ingestrie House.
She afterwards occupied Clarence House, the present residence of the Duke
of Edinburgh. When the Court was at Windsor, the Duchess resided at
Frogmore, a very lovely place, belonging to the royal estate, and so near
the Castle that she was able to dine and lunch with Victoria almost
daily. Still the partial separation was a trial for a mother and daughter
so closely and tenderly attached, and they both took it hard,--as did,
about that time, Prince Albert his separation from his brother Ernest,
whose long visit was over. The Queen's account of the exceeding
sorrowfulness of that parting must now bring to the lips of the most
sentimental reader, though "a man and a brother," an unsympathetic smile--
unless he happens to remember that those were the earliest days of steam
on sea and land, and that journeys from England to any part of the
Continent were no light undertakings. So the brothers sung together a
mournful college song, and embraced, kissing one another on both cheeks,
doubtless, after the German fashion,--"poor Albert being pale as a sheet,
and his eyes full of tears." Ah, what would he have said could his
"prophetic soul" have beheld his son, Albert Edward, skipping from London
to Paris in eight hours--dashing about the Continent, from Copenhagen to
Cannes, from Brussels to Berlin--from Homburg to St. Petersburg--taking
it all as lightly and gaily as a school-boy takes a "jolly lark" of a
holiday trip to Brighton or Margate! That was not the day of
peregrinating Princes. Now they are as plenty as commercial travelers.

Early in June the Queen and Prince and their Court left busy, smoky
London for a few days of quiet and pure air at lovely Claremont. They
spent part of that restful time in going to the Derby, in four carriages
and four with outriders and postilions--a brave sight to see.

On the first of June, Prince Albert was invited to preside at a great
public meeting in Exeter Hall, for the abolition of the Slave Trade--and
he did preside, and made a good speech, which he had practiced over to
the Queen in the morning. That was an ordeal, for he spoke in English for
the first time, and before a very large and distinguished audience. It
was a very young "Daniel come to judgment" on an ancient wrong--for the
Prince was not yet of age.

That sweet Quakeress, Caroline Fox, thus speaks of the Prince on this
interesting occasion, in her delightful "Memories":--"Prince Albert was
received with tremendous applause, but bore his honors with calm and
modest dignity. He is certainly a very beautiful man,--a thorough German,
and a fine poetical specimen of the race."

Ah, what would that doughty champion of the Slave Trade, William IV.,
have said, could he have seen his niece's husband giving royal
countenance to such a fanatical, radical gathering! It was enough to make
him stir irefully in his coffin at Windsor.

But for that matter, could our ancestors generally, men and women who
devoutly believed in the past, and died in the odor of antiquity, know of
our modern goings-on, in political and humanitarian reforms--know of our
"Science so called," and social ethics, there would be "a rattling among
the dry bones," not only in royal vaults, but in country churchyards,
where "_The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep._"


Death passes by--Life comes.

On the 10th of June, 1840, occurred the first mad attempt to assassinate
Queen Victoria--made as she and Prince Albert were driving up
Constitution Hill, near Buckingham Palace, in a small open phaeton.
Prince Albert, in a letter to his grandmamma, gives the clearest account
of it. He says: "We had hardly proceeded a hundred yards from the Palace,
when I noticed, on the foot-path on my side, a little, mean-looking man,
holding something toward us, and, before I could distinguish what it was,
a shot was fired, which almost stunned us both, it was so loud--barely
six paces from us. ... The horses started, and the carriage stopped. I
seized Victoria's hands and asked if the fright, had not shaken her, but
she laughed."

Almost immediately the fellow fired a second shot, from which the Queen
was saved probably by the presence of mind of the Prince, who drew her
down beside him. He states that the ball must have passed just over her
head. The wretch was at once arrested and taken away, and soon after
committed for trial, on the charge of high treason. The Queen was seen to
be very pale, but calm. She rose in the carriage to show the excited
people that she was not hurt, and then ordered the postilions to drive at
once to Ingestrie House, that the Duchess of Kent might hear of the
startling incident first from her and not be frightened by wild rumors.
It was a thoughtful and filial act, and brave, moreover, for there were
those about her who suspected that there might be a revolutionary
conspiracy, and that Oxford was only one of many banded assassins. These
alarmists advised her and her husband to show themselves abroad as little
as possible. How they heeded this advice is shown in another passage of
Prince Albert's letter: "We arrived safely at Aunt Kent's. From thence we
took a drive through the Park, to give Victoria a little air,--also to
show the people that we had not, on account of what had happened, lost
confidence in them."

The Prince does not mention a very pretty incident which I find recorded
elsewhere. As the Queen's carriage reached the Park, it was received with
enthusiastic cheers, smiles, and tears by crowds of people, equestrians
and pedestrians, and the gay world on wheels; and as they neared the
Marble Arch, the gentlemen and ladies on horseback followed them as with
one impulse--all Rotton Row turned out, and escorted them to Buckingham
Palace. It is said, too, that for several days this was repeated--that
whenever the Queen and Prince drove out they were escorted by this
singular volunteer body-guard.

Of course, the whole country was excited, and the Queen, whose life had
been menaced, was more popular than ever. They say that her first visit
to the opera after this shocking attempt was a most memorable occasion.
Her reception was something almost overwhelming. The audience were all on
their feet, cheering and shouting, and waving handkerchiefs and hats, and
there was no quieting them till the National Anthem was sung--and even
then, they broke in with wild cheers at the close of every verse. Her
Majesty stood throughout these demonstrations, bowing and smiling, her
heart melted within her, I doubt not.

Of course there was no conspiracy, and Oxford the pot-boy, "a pot-boy
was, and, nothing more." He was acquitted on the ground of insanity, but
ordered to be confined "during Her Majesty's pleasure," which he was in
Bedlam for some years. Then he was sent to Australia as cured, and where
he went into better business than shooting Queens, and earned an honest
living, they say. He always declared that he was not insane, except from
a mad passion for notoriety--which he got.

The five or six successors of Oxford who have shot at Her Majesty, and
that wretched retired officer, Robert Pate, who waylaid her in 1850, and
struck her a cruel blow across the face with a walking-stick, were
pronounced insane, and confined in mad-houses merely. The English are too
proud and politic to admit that a sane man can lift his hand against the
Constitutional Sovereign of England. When there arrived in London the
news of the shooting of President Garfield, a distinguished English
gentleman said to me, "I think we will not be annexed to the United
States while you shoot your Presidents."

I replied by reminding him of the many attempts on the life of his
beloved Queen, adding, "I believe the homicidal mania is a Monarchical as
well as a Republican affliction,--the difference only is that, unhappily
for us, our madmen are the better shots."

It must be that for monarchists born and bred, an anointed head, whether
covered by a silk hat or a straw bonnet, is circled by a
_simulacrum_ of a crown, which dazzles the aim of the would-be regicide,
they are so almost certain to miss, at long or short range. Alas there is
no halo of sovereignty or "hedge of divinity" about our poor Presidents!
It is, perhaps, because of this unsteadiness of nerve and aim, that
Continental regicides are taking to sterner and surer means--believing
that no thrice blessed crown can dazzle off dynamite, and that no most
imperial "divinity" is bomb-proof.

In July an act which was the shadow of a coming event, was passed by
Parliament, and received the Royal assent. It provided that Prince Albert
should be Regent in case that the Queen should die before her next lineal
descendant should attain the age of eighteen years.

In August the Queen prorogued Parliament for the first time since her
marriage, and she brought her handsome husband to show to all the Lords
and gentlemen--bravely attired in his Field-Marshal's uniform, with his
Collars of the Garter and the Bath, and diamond Stars--and she had him
seated only a little lower than herself and very near, in a splendid
chair, gilded, carved, and velvet-cushioned. The Prince wrote to his
father as a piece of good news, "The prorogation of Parliament passed off
very quietly." He had had reason to fear that his right to sit in that
lofty seat would be disputed--that the old Duke of Sussex might come
hobbling up to the throne, calling out, "I object! I object!"

But nothing of the kind happened. The Queen, by her wit and her courage,
had circumvented all the royal old sticklers for precedence--who put
etiquette before nature. The Queen's mother, and her uncle and aunt, the
King and Queen of Belgium, were present,--so it was quite a family-party.
The good Uncle Leopold was observed to smile benignly on both Victoria
and Albert, as though well pleased with his work. The Queen was most
magnificently attired with all her glories on, in the shape of diamonds
and orders, and looked very proud and happy,--and yet there was a dreamy,
half-troubled expression in her eyes at times, which was not usual, but
which her mother understood.

On this day, Prince Albert's _status_ was fixed. He had taken a ride
with his wife, in the State-carriage, with the twelve cream-colored,
long-tailed State horses, and the gorgeous footmen, and he had sat
higher, and nearer the throne than any other man in the House of Lords,
Prince or Peer. The next thing the Queen did for him was to make him a
member of the Privy Council. But a little later, he had a higher
promotion than that; for, on the 21st of November, the Princess Royal was
born in Buckingham Palace, in the early afternoon.

During the morning the Duchess of Kent had been sent for--and came
hurrying over. They also sent for the Duke of Sussex, the Archbishop of
Canterbury, the Bishop of London, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Melbourne,
Lord Palmerston, Lord Errol, Lord Albemarle--Lord John Russell, and other
Privy Councillors, whose constitutional duty it is to be present at the
birth of an heir to the throne of England,--and they came bustling in, as
old ladies come together on a like occasion in country places in New
England. It is probable they all looked for a boy. The girl was an
extraordinary baby, however, for when she was barely two days old, her
papa wrote to her grandpapa at Coburg, "The little one is very well and
very merry." The Prince welcomed her in a fatherly way, though, as he
confesses, sorry that she was the same sort of a human creature as her
mother,--that is, a daughter instead of a son. He wrote to his father
very frankly, "I should certainly have liked it better if she had been a
son, as would Victoria also," and so, strangely enough, would the English
people--unfortunate as they had often been with their Kings, and
fortunate as they had always been with their Queens. The great officers
of the Church and State went away probably saying, "Only a girl!" Dear
"little Pussie," as she was often called, wouldn't have been so "merry"
if she had known how it was. She was looked upon as a temporary stop-gap-
-something to keep out Cumberland, and naturally she did not have so many
silver cups and gold spoons as she would have had if she had been a boy--
nor so many guns, poor thing! When the firing ceased at the feminine
limit, people all over the city said, "Only a girl!"

Some years later, when, at the birth of one of her brothers, the guns
were booming away, Douglas Jerrold exclaimed to a friend at dinner: "How
they do powder these royal babies!"

The Queen in her journal gives a beautiful account of her husband's
devotion to her during her illness. She says, always speaking of herself
in the third person: "During the time the Queen was laid up, his care and
devotion were quite beyond expression. He refused to go to the play, or
anywhere else; generally dining alone with the Duchess of Kent, till the
Queen was able to join them, and was always on hand to do anything in his
power for her comfort. He was content to sit by her in a darkened room,
to read to her or write for her. No one but himself ever lifted her from
her bed to her sofa, and he always helped to wheel her on her sofa into
the next room. For this purpose he would come instantly when sent for
from any part of the house. As years went on, and he became overwhelmed
with work, this was often done at much inconvenience to himself (for his
attentions were the same in all the Queen's subsequent confinements), but
he always came with a sweet smile on his face. In short," the Queen adds,
"his care of her was like that of a mother, nor could there be a kinder,
wiser, or more judicious nurse."

The Prince also during the Queen's illness, conferred with her ministers,
and transacted all necessary business for her. There were nine of these
natural illnesses. I commend the example of the Prince-Consort to the
husbands of America, to husbands all over the world.

It was a glad and grateful Christmas which they spent in Windsor that
year--the first after their marriage,--the first since their union, so
pompously and piously blessed by priests and people, had been visibly
blessed by Heaven.

The next month the Queen opened Parliament in person, and gave the Lords
and gentlemen another elocutionary treat in her admirable reading of her
speech,--that "most excellent thing in woman," a sweet voice, telling
even on the Tories. Prince Albert was with her, of course, and she looked
even prouder and happier than usual. She had found yet new honors for
herself and for him,--the most noble and ancient orders of Maternity and
Paternity,--exceeding old, and yet always new.

That day the young Prince may have felt glowing in his heart a sweet
prescience of the peculiar comfort and joy he afterwards found in the
loving devotion and noble character of his firstborn, that little
blessing that _would_ come, though "only a girl."

That day the Queen wore in her diadem a new jewel, a "pearl of great
price,"--a pure little human soul.

That faithful stand-by, King Leopold, came over to stand as chief sponsor
at the christening of the Princess Royal,--which took place at Buckingham
Palace, on the anniversary of her mother's marriage. The little girl, who
received the names of Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa, is said by her
father to have behaved "with great propriety and like a Christian."

So ended the first year of Queen Victoria's married life. To say it had
been a happy year would seem, after the records we have, to put a very
inadequate estimate on its degree of harmony and content--and yet it were
much to say of any marriage, during the trying period in which many of
the tastes and habits of two separate lives must be harmonized, and some
heroically abandoned. It is a period of readjustment and sacrifice.
Redundant and interfering growths of character must be pruned away, and
yet if the lopping process is carried too far, character itself must
suffer, the juices of its life and power, individuality and will, are

The Queen always contended that it was the Prince who made all the
sacrifices--unselfishly adjusting his life and character to suit hers,
and her position--yet not long after her marriage she records the fact
that she was beginning to sympathize with him in his peculiar tastes,
particularly in his love for a quiet country life. She says: "I told
Albert that formerly I was too happy to go to London, and wretched to
leave it; and now since the blessed hour of my marriage, and still more
since the summer, I dislike and am unhappy to leave the country, and
could be content and happy never to go to town. This pleased him."

I am afraid that there are those of Her Majesty's subjects who bless not
the memory of "Albert the Good," for this metamorphose of their once gay
and thoughtless, ball-giving, riding, driving, play-going Queen. These
malcontents are Londoners proper, mostly tradesmen, newspaper men,
milliners, and Hyde Park idlers. I think American visitors and Cook's
tourists are among those who hold that the Queen's proper place is in her
capital--at least during the season while _they_ are here.

Upon the whole, I should say of that first year of Queen Victoria's
married life, that the honeymoon lasted throughout those twelve bright
and busy (perhaps bright because busy) months. Or, it would seem that
some fairy Godmother had come to that wedding, in homely guise, bringing
as her humble gift, a jar of honey--but a miraculous jar, the honey
gathered from Arcadian flowers, and which perpetually renewed itself,
like the poor widow's blessed cruse of oil.


The Boy "Jones" and his singular pranks--A change in the Ministry--Sir
Robert Peel becomes Premier--Prince Albert made Chairman of the Fine Arts
Commission--Birth of the Prince of Wales--The Queen commemorates the
event by a beautiful act.

The next sensation in connection with the Court was the discovery of the
famous "boy Jones" in Buckingham Palace. This singular young personage
was by no means a stranger in the Palace. He had made himself very
familiar with, and at home in that august mansion, about two years
before. He was then arrested, and had lived an exceedingly retired life
ever since. On that first occasion he was discovered by one of the
porters, very early one morning, leisurely surveying one of the
apartments. He was caught and searched; nothing of any consequence was
found on him, but in a hall was a bundle, evidently made up by him,
containing such incongruous articles as old letters, a sword, and a pot
of bear's grease. He had he appearance of a sweep, being very sooty, but
disclaimed the chimney-cleaning profession. He had occupied, for a while,
the vacant room of one of the Equerries, leaving in the bed the impress
of his sooty figure. He declared that he had not entered the Palace for
the purpose of theft, but only to gratify his curiosity, as to how royal
people and "great swells" like royal footmen, lived. The young rascal's
examination before the Magistrate caused much amusement. In answer to
questions, he admitted, or boasted that he had been in the Palace
previously, and for days at a time--in fact, had "put up" there--adding,
"And a very comfortable place I found it. I used to hide behind the
furniture and up the chimneys, in the day-time; when night came, I walked
about, went into the kitchen, and got my food, I have seen the Queen and
her ministers in Council, and heard all they had to say."

Magistrate: "Do you mean to say you have worn but one shirt all the

Prisoner: "Yes; when it was dirty, I washed it out in the kitchen. The
apartment I like best is the drawing-room."

Magistrate: "You are a sweep, are you?"

Prisoner: "Oh, no; it's only my face and hands that are dirty; that's
from sleeping in the chimneys.... I know my way all over the Palace, and
have been all over it, the Queen's apartments and all. The Queen is very
fond of politics."

He was such an amusing vagabond, with his jolly ways and boundless
impudence, and so young, that no very serious punishment was then meted
out to him, nor even on his second "intrusion," as it was mildly
denominated, when he was found crouched in a recess, dragged forth, and
taken to the police-station. This time he said he had hidden under a sofa
in one of the Queen's private apartments, and had listened to a long
conversation between her and Prince Albert. He was sent to the House of
Correction for a few months, in the hope of curing him of his "Palace-
breaking mania"; but immediately on his liberation, he was found prowling
about the Palace, drawing nearer and nearer, as though it had been built
of loadstone. But finally he was induced to go to Australia, where, it is
said, he grew up to be a well-to-do colonist. Perhaps he met the house-
painter Oxford there, and they used to talk over their exploits and
explorations together, after the manner of heroes and adventurers, from
the time of Ulysses and Æneas. We can imagine the _man_ Jones being
a particularly entertaining boon companion, with his reminiscences of
high life, not only below, but above stairs, in Buckingham Palace. That
he ever made an entrance into those august precincts, and was so long
undiscovered, certainly speaks not well for the police and domestic
arrangements of the household; and it is little wonder that Baron
Stockmar was finally sent for to suggest some plan for the better
regulation of matters in both the great royal residences. And he did work
wonders,--though mostly by inspiring others, the proper officers, to
work. This extraordinary man seemed to have a genius for order,
discipline, economy, and dispatch. He found the palaces grand
"circumlocution offices,"--with, in all the departments, an entangling
network of red-tape, which needed to be swept away like cobwebs. He
himself entered the Royal Nursery finally with the besom of reform. It is
said in his "Memoirs"--"The organization and superintendence of the
children's department occupied a considerable portion of Stockmar's
time"; and he wrote, "The Nursery gives me more trouble than the
government of a King would do." Very likely the English nurses and maids
questioned among themselves the right of an old German doctor to meddle
with their affairs, and dictate what an English Princess Royal should
eat, drink, and wear; but they lived to see the Baron's care and skill
make of a delicate child--"a pretty, pale, erect little creature," as she
is described, a ruddy and robust little girl, of whom the Baron wrote:
"She is as round as a little barrel"; of whom the mother wrote: "Pussy's
cheeks are on the point of bursting, they have grown so red and plump."

After the domestic reforms in the Palace, no such adventure could have
happened to a guest as that recorded by M. Guizot, who having been unable
to summon a servant to conduct him to his room at night, wandered about
the halls like poor Mr. Pickwick at the inn, and actually blundered into
Her Majesty's own dressing-room. The boy Jones, too, had had his day.

At the very time of the "intrusions" into Buckingham Palace, there was in
London another young man, with a "mania for Palace-breaking," of a
somewhat different sort. He, too, was "without visible means of support,"
but nobody called him a vagabond, or a burglar, but only an adventurer,
or a "pretender." He had his eye particularly on Royal Windsor, and once
a cruel hoax was played off upon him, in the shape of a forged invitation
to one of the Queen's grand entertainments at the Castle. He got himself
up in Court costume, with the aid of a friend, and went, to be told by
the royal porter that his name was not down on the list, and afterwards
by a higher officer of the household that really there must be some
mistake, for Her Majesty had not the honor of knowing him, so could not
receive him. We shall see how it was when he came again, nine or ten
years later.

But after all, the French royal palaces were more to this young man's
taste, for he was French. He longed to break into the Tuileries--not to
hide behind, or under any furniture, but to sit on the grandest piece of
furniture there. He had a strange longing for St. Cloud, and
Fontainebleau, and even stately Versailles. Said of him one English
statesman to another, "Did you ever know such a fool as that fellow is?
Why, he really believes he will yet be Emperor of France."

That "fellow" was Louis Napoleon Bonaparte.

In August of this year, the Whig Ministry finding themselves a minority
in the new Parliament, resigned, and a Conservative one was formed, with
Sir Robert Peel as Premier. It came hard for the Queen to part with her
favorite Minister and faithful friend, Lord Melbourne, but she soon
became reconciled to his Tory successor, and things went on very
harmoniously. The benign influence and prudent counsels of Prince Albert,
with some lessons of experience, and much study of her constitutional
restrictions, as well as obligations, had greatly modified Her Majesty's
strong partisan prejudices, and any proclivities she may have had toward
personal and irresponsible government.

One great thing in favor of the new Minister, was that he thoroughly
appreciated Prince Albert. One of his early acts was to propose a Fine
Arts Commission--having for its chief, immediate object, the
superintendence of the artistic work on the new Houses of Parliament.
This was formed--composed of some of the most eminent artists and
_connaisseurs_ in the kingdom, and Prince Albert was the chairman.
He used to speak of this as his "initiation into public life." The Queen
rejoiced in it, as in every stage of her husband's advance--which it is
only just to say was the advance of the liberal arts in England, as well
as of social and political reforms. I believe it is not generally known
that to the humane influence of the Prince-Consort with the Duke of
Wellington, was owing the new military regulation which finally put an
end to duelling in the English army. Lord, keep his memory green!

The second year of the Queen's marriage wore on to November, and again
the Archbishops and Bishops, the statesmen and "Medicine men," the good
mother-in-law, and the nurses were summoned by the anxious Prince to
Buckingham Palace. This time it was a boy, and the holy men and wise men
felt that they had not come out so early in the morning and waited four
hours in an ante-room for nothing. Prince Albert was overjoyed. Everybody
at the Palace was wild with delight, so wild that there was great
confusion. Messengers were dispatched right and left to royal relatives.
It is said that no less than three arrived within as many minutes, at
Marlborough House, to acquaint the Queen Dowager of the happy event. As
they came in breathless, one after another, Her Majesty might have
supposed that Victoria and Albert had been blessed with triplets. The
biggest guns boomed the glad tidings over London,--the Privy Council
assembled to consider a form of prayer and thanksgiving, to relieve the
overcharged hearts of the people; the bells in all the churches rang
joyous peals. So was little Albert Edward ushered into the kingdom he is
to rule in God's own time.

No such ado was made over the seven brothers and sisters who came after;
but they were made welcome and comfortable, as, alas! few children can be
made, even by loving hearts and willing hands. The Queen may have thought
of this, and of what a sorry chance some poor little human creatures
have, from the beginning, for she did a beautiful thing on this occasion.
She notified the Home Secretary that all those convicts who had behaved
well, should have their punishment commuted, and that those deserving
clemency, on the horrible prison-hulks, should have their liberty at
once. She had a right to be happy, and that she was happy, a beautiful
picture in her journal shows:

"Albert brought in dearest little Pussy, in such a smart, white morino
dress, trimmed with blue, which mama had given her, and a pretty cap, and
placed her on my bed, seating himself next to her, and she was very dear
and good, and as my precious invaluable Albert sat there, and our little
love between us, I felt quite moved with happiness and gratitude to

The next month she wrote from Windsor Castle to her Uncle Leopold: "I
wonder very much whom our little boy will be like. You will understand
how fervent are my prayers, and I am sure everybody's must be, to see him
resemble his father, in every respect, both in mind and body." Later
still she writes: "We all have our trials and vexations--but if _one's
home is happy_, then the rest is comparatively nothing."

They had an unusually merry Christmas-time at Windsor, and they danced
into the new year, in the old English style--only varying it by a very
poetic and impressive German custom. As the clock struck twelve, a
flourish of trumpets was blown.

The Prince of Wales was christened in the Royal Chapel, at Windsor, with
the greatest state and splendor, King Frederick William of Prussia, who
had come over for the purpose, standing as chief sponsor. Then followed
all sorts of grand festivities and parades--both at Windsor and in
London. The Queen did honor to her "brother of Prussia" in every possible
way--in banquets and balls, in proroguing Parliament, in holding a
Chapter of the Garter, and investing him with the splendid insignia of
the Order, and in having a grand inspection for him, of "Prince Albert's
Own Hussars," he being a little in the military line himself.

Among the suite of the Prussian King was Baron Alexander Von Humboldt.
The great _savant_ was treated by the Queen and the Prince with
distinguished consideration, then and ever after. The Prince, on hearing
of his death in 1859, wrote to the Crown Princess: "What a loss is the
excellent Humboldt! You and Berlin will miss him greatly. People of this
kind do not grow on every bush, and they are the glory and the grace of a
country and a century." When the Baron's private correspondence was
published, and found to contain certain slurs and sarcasms regarding him,
and, as he affirmed, misrepresentations--probably based on
misunderstandings of his political opinions--the Prince showed no
resentment, though he must have been wounded. I know nothing more
sensible and charitable in all his admirable private writings, than his
few words on this unpleasant incident. He says: "The matter is really of
no consequence, for what does not one write or say to his intimate
friends, under the impulse of the moment. But the publication is a great
indiscretion. How many deadly enemies may be made if publicity be given
to what one man has said of another, or perhaps has _not_ said!"

But what does it matter to the dead, how many "deadly enemies" are made?
They have us at unfair advantage. We may deny, we may cry out, but we
cannot make them apologize, or retract, or modify the cruel sarcasm, or
more cruel ridicule. They seem to stealthily open the door of the tomb,
to shoot Parthian arrows at the very mourners who have just piled wreaths
before it. Carlyle fired a perfect _mitrailleuse_ from his grave.
The Prince's English biographer calls the Humboldt publication
"scandalous." Yet the English, who sternly condemn the most kindly
personalities of living authors (especially American authors), seem to
have rather a relish for these peppery posthumous revelations of genius,
--often saddening post-mortem exhibitions of its own moral weaknesses and
disease. No great English author dies nowadays, without his most
attached, faithful and familiar friends being in mortal terror lest they
be found spitted on the sharp shafts of his, or worse, _her_ satire.

During those Windsor festivities, the little Prince of Wales was shown to
the people at an upper window and pronounced satisfactory. A Court lady
described him at the time, as "the most magnificent baby in the Kingdom."
And perhaps he was. He was fair and plump, with pleasant blue eyes. It
seems to me that after all the years, he must look to-day, with his
fresh, open face, a good deal as he did on the day when his nurse dandled
him at the Castle window. He still has the fairness, the plumpness, the
pleasant blue eyes. It is true he has not very abundant hair now, but he
had not much then.

Tytler, the historian, gives a charming picture of him. as he appeared
some two years later. He was waiting one morning in the corridor at
Windsor with others to see the Queen, who came in bowing most graciously,
and having by the hand the Prince of Wales, "trotting on, looking happy
and merry." When she came to where Mr. Tytler stood, and saw him "bowing
and looking delightedly" at the little Prince and her, she bowed and said
to the little boy, "Make a bow, sir!" "When the Queen said this, the Duke
of Cambridge and the rest stood still, and the little Prince, walking
straight up to me, made a bow, smiling all the while, and holding out his
hand, which I immediately took, and bowing low, kissed it." The Queen, he
added, "smiled affectionately on the little Prince, for the gracious way
in which he deported himself."


Miscreants and Monarchs--A visit from Mendelssohn--The Queen's first
visit to Scotland--Anecdote--A trip to France and Belgium--Death of the
Duke of Sussex and of Prince Albert's father--The Dwarf and the Giant.

This year of 1842 was not all joy and festivity. It was the year of the
massacres of the British forces in Cabul; there was financial distress in
England, which a charitable masked ball at Buckingham Palace did not
wholly relieve; and in May occurred the second attempt on the life of the
Queen--that of John Francis.

The Queen behaved with her own wonderful courage on this occasion--which
was expected by her and Prince Albert, from their having a strong
impression that the same wretch had the day before pointed at them, from
the midst of a crowd, a pistol which had missed fire. They drove out
alone together, keeping a pretty sharp lookout for the assassin--and at
last, they saw him just as he fired. The ball passed under the carriage,
and Francis was at once arrested. Lady Bloomfield, who was then Maid of
Honor, gives an account of the excitement at the Palace that evening, and
quotes some words of the Queen, very beautiful because revealing her rare
consideration for others. She says that Sir Robert Peel was there, and
showed intense feeling about the risk Her Majesty had run, and that the
Queen, turning to her, said: "I dare say, Georgy, you were surprised at
not driving with me to-day--but the fact was, that as we were returning
from church yesterday, a man presented a pistol at the carriage window.
It flashed in the pan, and we were so taken by surprise that he had time
to escape. I knew what was hanging over me to-day, and was determined not
to expose any life but my own."

Francis was tried and sentenced to death, but through the Queen's
clemency the sentence was commuted to transportation for life, and the
very day after, Bean, the hunchback, essayed to shoot Her Majesty with a
charge of paper and bits of clay-pipe. He was such a miserable, feeble-
minded creature, that they only gave him eighteen months' imprisonment.

Soon after, the Queen was called to mourn with her aunt of Belgium, and
the rest of the family of Louis Philippe of France, for the death of the
Duke of Orleans, who was killed by being thrown from his carriage. If he
had lived, Louis Napoleon would hardly have been Emperor of France.

So it was hardly a gay summer for the Queen, though she had some
pleasure, especially in receiving Prince Albert's brother, Ernest, Duke
of Saxe-Coburg, and his bride, who came to England for their honeymoon.
They had also a pleasant visit from the great composer, Mendelssohn, who
thus wrote from Windsor to his mother, "Add to this the pretty and most
charming Queen Victoria, who looks so youthful, and is so gently
courteous and gracious, who speaks such good German, and knows all my
music so well,"--great praise from a Teutonic and Mendelssohnian point of
view. In the autumn, the Queen and Prince made their first visit to
Scotland--were received with immense enthusiasm everywhere, and had a
charming and health-bracing tour. They took Edinburgh by surprise--
entering the city from the sea, so early in the morning, that the
authorities, who had made great preparations to receive them, and rain
flowers and speeches upon them, were still in bed. Still the Queen made
up for it, by afterwards making a grand State-procession through the
grand old town. All the country for many miles about, poured into the
city on that day, and among some amusing anecdotes of the occasion, I
find this: "A gentleman living near Edinburgh, said to his farm-servant,
'Well, John, did you see the Queen?' 'Troth did I that, sir.' 'Well,
what did you think of her?' 'In truth, sir, I was terrible 'feared afore
she came forrit--my heart was maist in my mouth, but whan she did come
forrit, I was na feared at a'; I just lookit at her, and she lookit at
me, an' she bowed her heid at me, an' I bowed my heid at her.'"

The Queen traveled then with a much larger Court than she takes with her
nowadays, and to this were added the escorts of honor which the great
Scottish nobles and Highland chiefs furnished her, till it grew to be a
monster of a caravan. Among the items, I find that in conveying Her
Majesty and suite from Dalkeith to Taymouth, and from Taymouth back to
Dalkeith, 656 horses were employed. Yet this was nothing to the number of
animals engaged on the royal progresses of former times. It is stated
that 20,000 horses were in all employed in conveying Marie Antoinette,
her enormous suite and cumbrous belongings, from Vienna to Paris. Poor
woman!--it took all those horses to bring her into her kingdom, but only
one to carry her out of her kingdom, _via_ the Place de la

In the spring of the year following this tour, another Princess was born
in Buckingham Palace, and christened Alice Maud Mary. The summer went by
as usual, or even more pleasantly, for every new baby seemed to make this
family happier and gayer.

Lady Bloomfield gives some charming pictures of the happy home-life at
Windsor--of the children, pretty, merry, healthy, and well-bred; tells
very pleasant things of the Queen, and of the sweet and noble Duchess of
Kent--but gives only now and then, a glimpse of that gracious and
graceful presence, Prince Albert. Her Majesty made the life of her maids
of honor almost too easy. No long, tiresome waiting on their poor, tired
feet--no long hours of reading aloud, such as poor Miss Burney had to
endure, in the time of old Queen Charlotte. Lady Bloomfield--then
Georgiana Ravensworth--had little to do but to hand the Queen her bouquet
at dinner--to ride out with her and sing with her.

In the summer of 1843, the Queen and Prince made their first visit to the
King and Queen of France, at the Chateau d'Eu, near Treport, on the
coast. The King and several of his sons came off in the royal barge to
meet their yacht, which they boarded. One account says that Louis
Philippe, most unceremonious of monarchs, caught up the little Queen,
kissed her on both cheeks, and carried her bodily on to his barge.

Two Queens--Marie Amélie of France and her daughter, Louise of Belgium,
and two of her daughters-in-law--were at the landing to receive the first
Sovereign of England who had ever come to their shores on a friendly,
neighborly visit. It was a visit "of unmixed pleasure," says the Queen,
and the account of it is very pleasant reading now; but I have not space
to reproduce it. One little passage, in reference to the widowed Duchesse
d'Orleans, strikes my eye at this moment: "At ten, dear Hélène came to me
with little Paris, and stayed till the King and Queen came to fetch us to

"Little Paris" is the present Bourbon-Orleanist bugbear of the French
Republic--a very tame and well-behaved _bête noir_, but distrusted
and dreaded all the same.

After this French visit, the Queen and Prince went over to see their
uncle and aunt, at Brussels, and had a very interesting tour through
Belgium. Prince Albert, writing to the Baron soon after, said: "We found
uncle and aunt well. ... The children are blooming. Little Charlotte is
quite the prettiest child you ever saw." This "little Charlotte"
afterwards married Maximilian of Austria, the imperial puppet of Louis
Napoleon in Mexico. So Charlotte was for a brief, stormy time an Empress
--then came misfortune and madness. She is living yet, in that world of
shadows so much sadder than "the valley of the shadow of death."

In the spring of this year, the Duke of Sussex died, and at the next
prorogation of Parliament I read that the Queen, no longer fearing to
wound the susceptibilities of her proud old uncle, said to her husband,
"Come up higher!"--and had a chair for him, precisely like her own, on a
level with her own. It was on her left. The smaller chair, on her right,
belonged to "little Bertie," who was not yet quite ready to occupy it.

In the autumn, came a visit to the University of Cambridge, where the
Queen had the delight of seeing the degree of LL.D. conferred on her
husband. So he mounted, step by step, into the honorable position which
belonged to him. In this year also, he won laurels which he cared little
for, but which counted much for him among a class of Englishmen who
lightly esteemed his literary, artistic, and scientific taste and
knowledge. In a great hunting-party he carried off the honors by his
fearless and admirable riding. Sporting men said: "Why, there really is
something in the man beside good looks and German music and metaphysics.
He can take hedges and ditches as well as degrees."

I do not think Prince Albert did justice to the English people, when,
after his father's death, in the following year, he wrote in the first
gush of his grief, to the Baron: "Here we sit together, poor Mama,
Victoria and I, and weep, with a great, cold public around us, insensible
as stone."

I cannot believe that the British public is ever insensible to royal

The Prince-Consort went over to Coburg on a visit of condolence. Some
passages in his letters to the Queen, who took this first separation from
him hard, are nice reading for their homely and husbandly spirit. From
the yacht, before sailing, he wrote: "I have been here an hour, and
regret the lost time which I might have spent with you. Poor child! you
will, while I write, be getting ready for luncheon, and you will find a
place vacant where I sat yesterday. In your heart, however, I hope my
place will not be vacant. I at least, have you on board with me in
spirit. I reiterate my entreaty, 'Bear up! and don't give way to low
spirits, but try to occupy yourself as much as possible.'" ... "I have
got toys for the children, and porcelain views for you." ... "Oh! how
lovely and friendly is this dear old country. How glad I should be to
have my little wife beside me, to share my pleasure."

Miss Mitford, speaking of a desire expressed by the Queen, to see that
quaint old place, Strawberry Hill and all its curiosities, says: "Nothing
can tend more to ensure popularity than that Her Majesty should partake
of the national amusements and the natural curiosity of the more
cultivated portion of her subjects."

In such directions, certainly, the Queen was never found wanting in those
days. In "natural curiosity" she was a veritable daughter of Eve, and
granddaughter of George the Third. She was interested not only in the
scientific discoveries, new mechanical inventions, and agricultural
improvements which so interested her husband, but in odd varieties of
animals and human creatures. She accepted with pleasure the gift of a
Liliputian horse, supposed to be the smallest in the world--over five
years old, and only twenty-seven and a half inches high--brought from
Java, by a sea-captain, who used to take the gallant steed under his arm,
and run down-stairs with him; and she very graciously received and was
immensely entertained with the distinguished young American, who should
have been the Alexander of that Bucephalus--General Tom Thumb. This
little _lusus naturæ_, under the masterly management of Mr. Barnum,
had made a great sensation in London--which, after the Queen had summoned
him two or three times to Windsor, grew into a fashionable furor. Mr.
Barnum's description of those visits to the royal palaces is very
amusing. They were first received in the grand picture-gallery by the
Queen, the Duchess of Kent, Prince Albert, and the usual Court ladies and
gentlemen. Mr. Barnum writes: "They were standing at the farther end of
the room when the doors were thrown open, and the General walked in,
looking like a wax-doll gifted with the powers of locomotion. Surprise
and pleasure were depicted on the faces of the royal circle, at beholding
this remarkable specimen of humanity, so much smaller than they had
evidently expected to see him. The General advanced with a firm step, and
as he came within hailing distance, made a graceful bow, and said, 'Good-
evening, ladies and gentlemen!'

"A burst of laughter followed this salutation. The Queen then took him by
the hand, and led him about the gallery, and asked him many questions,
the answers to which kept the party in continual merriment. The General
informed the Queen, that her picture-gallery was 'first-rate,' and said
he should like to see the Prince of Wales. The Queen replied that the
Prince had gone to bed, but that he should see him on a future occasion."
The General then gave his songs, dances, and imitations; and after an
hour's talk with Prince Albert and the rest, departed as coolly as he had
come, but not as leisurely, as the long backing-out process being too
tedious, he varied it with little runs, which drew from the Queen,
Prince, and Court peels of laughter, and roused the ire of the Queen's
poodle, who attacked the small Yankee stranger. The General defended
himself with his little cane, as valiantly as the original Tom Thumb with
his mother's darning-needle. On the next visit, he was introduced to the
Prince of Wales, whom he addressed with a startling, "How are you,
Prince?" He then received a costly souvenir from the Queen, and, each
time he performed, generous pay in gold. The Queen Dowager was also much
taken with him, and presented him with a beautiful little watch. She
called him "dear little General," and took him on her lap. The time came
(when this "full-grown" dwarf was fuller-grown) that the most powerful
Queen Dowager would have found it difficult to dandle him, Charles
Stratton, Esq., a husband and father, on her knee: The fact is the
General was a bit of a humbug, being considerably younger than he was
given out to be. But he was an exceedingly pretty, amusing little humbug,
so it was no matter then. But when the truth came out, the Queen's faith
in Yankee showmen must have suffered a shock, as must that of the honest
old Duke of Wellington, who used to drop in at Egyptian Hall so often to
see the tiny creature assume the dress and the pensive pose of Napoleon
"thinking of the loss of the battle of Waterloo," and looking so like his
old enemy, seen through a reversed field-glass. Very likely the Queen's
"full-grown" Java horse turned out to be a young colt.

After the dwarf, came the giant--the tallest and grandest of the
sovereigns of Europe, Nicholas, the Emperor of all the Russias. He came
on one of his war-ships, but with the friendliest feelings, and "just
dropped in" on the Queen, with only a few hours' notice. It was a
pleasant little way he had of surprising his friends. However, he was
made welcome, and everything possible was done to entertain and do him
honor during his stay. He had visited England before, when he was much
younger and handsomer. Baron Stockmar met him at Claremont, in the time
of the Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold, and quotes a compliment
paid him by a Court lady, in the refined language of the Regency: "What
an amiable creature! He is devilish handsome! He will be the handsomest
man in Europe." And so he might have been, had he possessed a heart and
soul. But his expression was always, if not actually bad, severe and

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