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The First Christening The Season Of 1841

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The Queen's First Visit To Scotland

The Queen's First Visit To Scotland

The Proroguing Of Parliament The Visit To Guildhall And The Coronation

Comments Upon The Young Queen By A Contemporaneous Writer In Blackwood

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The Queen's Sympathy During The Illness Of President Garfield

First Meeting With Prince Albert Death Of William Iv

Second Attempt On The Queen's Life

Marriage And Delicacy Of The Prince's Position

The Emperor And Empress Of France Visit Windsor

Failing Health Of Prince Albert

Fresh Attempts Against The Queen's Life And The Death Of The Duc D'orleans

Sketch Of The Princess Charlotte

Distribution Of Victoria Crosses By The Queen

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He Queen And Prince Albert Make Their First Visit To Germany-








This year--1844--there was a death in the household at Windsor, and a
birth. The death was that of Eos, the favorite greyhound of Prince
Albert. "Dear Eos," as the Queen called her, was found dead one morning.
The Prince wrote the next day to his grandmother, "You will share my
sorrow at this loss. She was a singularly clever creature and had been
for eleven years faithfully devoted to me. How many recollections are
linked with her."

This beautiful and graceful animal, almost human in her love, and in
something very like intellect and soul, appears in several of Landseer's
pictures. I will not apologize for keeping a Royal Prince waiting while I
give this space to her. This Prince, born at Windsor, in August, was the
present Duke of Edinburgh. He was christened Alfred Ernest Albert. The
Queen in her journal wrote: "The scene in the chapel was very solemn. ...
To see those two children there too" (the Princess Royal and the Prince
of Wales), "seemed such a dream to me. May God bless them all, poor
little things!" Her Majesty adds that all through the service she
fervently prayed that this boy might be "as good as his beloved father."
How is it, your Royal Highness?

This year they went again to the Highlands for a few weeks. The Queen's
journal says: "Mama came to take leave of us. Alice and the baby were
brought in, poor little things! to bid us good-bye. Then good Bertie came
down to see us, and Vicky appeared as voyageuse, and was all
impatience to go."

"Bertie" is the family name for the Prince of Wales. I believe that at
heart he is still "good Bertie." "Vicky" was the Princess Royal. The
Queen further on remarks: "I said to Albert I could hardly believe that
our child was traveling with us; it put me so in mind of myself when I
was the little Princess.'"

This year Louis Philippe came over to return the visit of the Queen and
the Prince, and there were great festivities and investings at Windsor
with all possible kindness and courtesy, and I hope the wily old King
went home with gratitude in his heart, as well as the garter on his leg.
This year too the Queen and Prince made their first visit to Germany
together. The picture the Queen paints of the morning of leaving and the
parting from the children is very domestic, sweet, and motherly: "Both
Vicky and darling Alice were with me while I dressed. Poor dear Puss
wished much to go with us and often said, 'Why am I not going to
Germany?' Most willingly would I have taken her. I wished much to take
one of dearest Albert's children with us to Coburg; but the journey is a
serious undertaking and she is very young still." ... "It was a painful
moment to drive away with the three poor little things standing at the
door. God bless them and protect them--which He will."

The English Queen and the Prince-Consort were received with all possible
royal honors and popular respect at Aix-la-Chapelle and Cologne, and at
the Royal Palace at Brühl. It was past midnight when they reached that
welcome resting-place, and yet, as an account before me states, they were
regaled by a military serenade "in which seven hundred performers were
engaged!" A German friend of ours from that region supplements this story
by stating that five hundred of those military performers were drummers;
that they were accompanied by torch-bearers; that they came under the
Queen's windows, wakened her out of her first sleep, and almost drove her
wild with fright. With those tremendous trumpetings and drum-beatings,
"making night hideous" with their storm of menacing, barbaric sound, and
with the fierce glare of the torchlight, it might have seemed to her that
Doomsday had burst on the world, and that the savage old Huns of Attila
were up first, ready for war.

The next day they all went up the Rhine to the King's Palace of
Stolzenfels. Never perhaps was even a Rhine steamer so heavily freighted
with royalty--a cargo of Kings and Queens, Princes and Archdukes. It was
all very fine, as were the royal feasts and festivals, but the Queen and
Prince were happiest when they had left all this grandeur and parade
behind them and were at Coburg amid their own kin--for there, impatiently
awaiting them, were the mother of Victoria and the brother of Albert, and
"a staircase full of cousins," as the Queen says. They stopped at lovely
Rosenau, and the Queen, with one of her beautiful poetic impulses, chose
for their chamber the room in which her husband was born. She wrote in
her journal, "How happy, how joyful we were, on awaking, to find
ourselves here, at the dear Rosenau, my Albert's birth-place, the place
he most loves. ... He was so happy to be here with me. It was like a
beautiful dream."

The account of the rejoicings of the simple Coburg people, and especially
of the children, over their beloved Prince, and over the visit of his
august wife, is really very touching. Their offerings and tributes were
mostly flowers, poems and music--wonderfully sweet chorales and gay
réveils and inspiriting marches. There was a great fête of
the peasants on Prince Albert's birthday, with much waltzing, and
shouting, and beer-quaffing, and toast-giving. The whole visit was an
Arcadian episode, simple and charming, in the grand royal progress of
Victoria's life. But the royal progress had to be resumed--the State
called back its bond-servants; and so, after a visit to the dear old
grandmother at Gotha--the parting with whom seemed especially hard to
Prince Albert, as though he had a presentiment it was to be the last--
they set out for home. They took their yacht at Antwerp, and after a
flying visit to the King and Queen of France at Eu, were soon at Osborne,
where their family were awaiting them. The Queen wrote: "The dearest of
welcomes greeted us as we drove up straight to the house, for there,
looking like roses, so well and so fat, stood the four children, much
pleased to see us!"

Ah, often the best part of going away is coming home.

During this year the Royal Family were very happy in taking possession of
their new seaside palace on the Isle of Wight, and I believe paid no more
visits to Brighton, which was so much crowded in the season as to make
anything like the privacy they desired impossible. During her last stay
at the Pavilion the Queen was so much displeased at the rudeness of the
people who pressed about her and Prince Albert, when they were trying to
have a quiet little walk on the breezy pier, that I read she appealed to
the magistrates for protection. There was such a large and ever-growing
crowd of excited, hurrying, murmuring, staring Brightonians and strangers
about them that it seemed a rallying cry had gone through the town, from
lip to lip: "The Queen and Prince are out! To the pier! To the pier!"

The Pavilion was never a desirable Marine Palace, as it commanded no good
views of the sea; so Her Majesty's new home in the Isle of Wight had for
her, the Prince and the children every advantage over the one in Brighton
except in bracing sea-air. Osborne has a broad sea view, a charming
beach, to which the woods run down--the lovely woods in which are found
the first violets of the spring and to which the nightingales first come.
The grounds were fine and extensive, to the great delight of the Prince
Consort, who had not only a peculiar passion, but a peculiar talent for
gardening. Indeed, when this many-sided German was born a Prince, a
masterly landscape-gardener was lost to the world--that is, the world
outside the grounds of Windsor, Osborne and Balmoral, which indeed "keep
his memory green." The Queen writing from Osborne says: "Albert is so
happy here--out all day planting, directing, etc., and it is so good for
him. It is a relief to get away from the bitterness which people create
for themselves in London."--But I am not writing the Life of Prince
Albert;--I often forget that.

The year of 1846 was gloriously marked by the repeal of the Corn Laws; a
measure of justice and mercy, the withholding of which from the people
had for several years produced much distress and commotion. Some
destructive work had been done by mobs on the houses of the supporters of
the old laws; they had even stoned the town residence of the Duke of
Wellington, Apsley House. The stern old fighter would have been glad at
the moment to have swept the streets clear with cannon, but he contented
himself with putting shutters over his broken windows, to hide the shame.
I believe they were never opened again while he lived. The great leaders
in this Corn Laws agitation were Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright. These great-
hearted men could not rest for the cries which came up to them from the
suffering people. There were sore privations and "short commons" in
England, and in Ireland, starvation, real, honest, earnest starvation.
The poverty of the land had struck down into the great Irish stand-by,
the potato, a deadly blight. A year or two later the evil took gigantic
proportions; the news came to us in America, and an alarm was sounded
which roused the land. We sent a divine Armada against the grim enemy
which was wasting the Green Isle; ships, which poured into him broadsides
of big bread-balls, and grape-shot of corn, beans and potatoes. It is
recorded that "in one Irish seaport town the bells were kept ringing all
day in honor of the arrival of one of these grain-laden vessels." I am
afraid these bells had a sweeter sound to the poor people than even those
rung on royal birthdays.

Strangely enough, after the passage of measures which immortalized his
ministerial term, Sir Robert Peel was ejected from power. The Queen
parted from him with great regret, but quietly accepted his successor,
Lord John Russell.

Six years had now gone by since the marriage of Victoria and Albert, and
the family had grown to be six, and soon it was seven, for in May the
Princess Helena Augusta Victoria was born. Her godmother was Hélène, the
widowed Duchess of Orleans, the mother of the gallant young men, the
Count de Paris and the Duke de Chartres, who during our great war came
over to America to see service under General McClellan.

About this time the Prince-Consort was called to Liverpool to open a
magnificent dock named after him, which duty he performed in the most
graceful manner. The next day he laid the foundation-stone for a Sailors'
Home. The Queen, who was not able to be with him on these occasions,
wrote to the Baron: "I feel very lonely without my dear master, and
though I know other people are often separated, I feel that I could never
get accustomed to it. ... Without him everything loses its interest. It
will always cause a terrible pang for me to be separated from him even
for two days, and I pray God not to let me survive him. I glory in his
being seen and loved."

In September they went into the new Marine Palace at Osborne. On the
first evening, amid the gaieties of the splendid house-warming festival,
the Prince very solemnly repeated a hymn of Luther's, sung in Germany on
these occasions. Translated it is:

"God bless our going out, nor less
Our coming in, and make them sure;
God bless our daily bread, and bless
Whate'er we do--whate'er endure;
In death unto His peace awake us,
And heirs of His salvation make us."

They were very happy amid all the political trouble and perplexity--
almost too happy, considering how life was going on, or going off in poor
Ireland. Doubtless the cries of starving children and the moans of fever-
stricken mothers must often have pierced the tender hearts of the Queen
and Prince; but the calamity was so vast, so apparently irremediable,
that they turned their thoughts away from it as much as possible, as we
turn ours from the awful tragic work of volcanoes in the far East and
tornadoes in the West. It was a sort of charmed life they lived, with its
pastoral peace and simple pleasures. Lady Bloomfield wrote: "It always
entertains me to see the little things which amuse Her Majesty and the
Prince, instead of their looking bored, as people so often do in English
society." One thing, however, did "bore" him, and that, unfortunately,
was riding--"for its own sake." So it was not surprising that after a
time the Queen indulged less in her favourite pastime. She still loved a
romping dance now and then, but she was hardly as gay as when Guizot
first saw and described her. Writing from Windsor to his son he gives a
picture of a royal dinner party: "On my left sat the young Queen whom
they tried to assassinate the other day, in gay spirits, talking a great
deal, laughing very often and longing to laugh still more; and filling
with her gaiety, which contrasted with the already tragical elements of
her history, this ancient castle which has witnessed the career of all
her predecessors."

The political affairs which tried and troubled the Queen and the Prince
were not merely English. They were much disturbed and shocked by the
unworthy intrigues and the unkingly bad faith shown by Louis Philippe in
the affair of the "Spanish Marriages"--a complicated and rather delicate
matter, which I have neither space nor desire to dwell upon here. It had
a disastrous effect on the Orleans family, and perhaps on the history of
France. It has been mostly interesting to me now for the manner in which
the subject was, handled by the Queen, whose letters revealed a royal
high spirit and a keen sense of royal honor. She regretted the heartless
State marriage of the young Queen of Spain, not only from a political but
a domestic point of view. She saw poor Isabella forced or tricked into a
distasteful union, from which unhappiness must, and something far worse
than unhappiness might, come. Many and great misfortunes did come of it
and to the actors in it.

In the spring of 1847 the Prince-Consort was elected Chancellor of the
University of Cambridge--a great honor for so young a man. The Queen was
present at the installation, and there was a splendid time. Wordsworth
wrote an ode on the occasion. It was not quite equal to his "Ode on the
Intimations of Immortality." In truth, Mr. Wordsworth did not shine as
Poet Laureate. Mr. Tennyson better earns his butt of Malmsey.

Seated on the throne in the great Hall of Trinity, the Queen received the
new Chancellor, who was beautifully dressed in robes of black and gold,
with a long train borne by two of his officers. He read to her a speech,
to which she read a reply, saying that on the whole she approved of the
choice of the University. "I cannot say," writes the Queen, "how it
agitated and embarrassed me to have, to receive this address, and hear it
read by my beloved Albert, who walked in at the head of the University,
and who looked dear and beautiful in his robes."

Happy woman! When ordinary husbands make long, grave speeches to their
wives, they do not often look "dear and beautiful!"

This year a new prima-donna took London by storm and gave the Queen and
Prince "exquisite enjoyment." Her Majesty wrote: "Her acting alone is
worth going to see, and the piano way she has of singing, Lablache
says, is unlike anything he ever heard. He is quite enchanted. There is a
purity in her singing and acting which is quite indescribable."

That singer was Jenny Lind.

About this time lovers of impassioned oratory felt the joy which the
astronomer knows "when a new comet swims into his ken" in the
appearance of a brilliant political orator, of masterly talent and more
masterly will. This still young man of Hebraic origin, rather dashing and
flashing in manner and dress, had not been thought to have any very
serious purpose in life, and does not seem to have much impressed the
Queen or Prince Albert at first; but the time came when he, as a Minister
and friend, occupied a place in Her Majesty's respect and regard scarcely
second to the one once occupied by Lord Melbourne. This orator was
Benjamin Disraeli.





Next: Second Attempt On The Queen's Life

Previous: The Queen's First Visit To Scotland



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