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The First Christening The Season Of 1841

Youth

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

Reign Of Queen Victoria

Childhood

Childhood

The Princess Opens The Victoria Park At Bath



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The Queen's Sympathy During The Illness Of President Garfield

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

Marriage And Delicacy Of The Prince's Position

The Condemnation Of The English Duel

Marriage Of The Princess Royal

Failing Health Of Prince Albert

First Meeting With Prince Albert Death Of William Iv

Second Attempt On The Queen's Life

Distribution Of Victoria Crosses By The Queen

Last Years Of The Prince Consort






The Queen As An Artist And Author








The Prince-Consort, as we have seen, was accomplished in music and
painting, and knew much about many subjects. The Queen is not only an
author, but an artist, and takes a great interest in art. To an exhibition
under the auspices of the Royal Anglo-Australian Society of Artists, the
Queen contributed five water-colour drawings, and a set of proof-etchings
by the Prince-Consort. The subjects were the Duke of Connaught at the age
of three; the princesses Alice and Victoria of Hesse (1875); portraits of
the Princess Royal, now Dowager Empress of Germany, and Prince Alfred. In
advanced life, too, the Queen began to study Hindustani.

In her Leaves from Her Journal (1869) and More Leaves (1884), and
letters printed in the Life of the Prince-Consort, the Queen took the
public into her confidence, and afforded a glimpse of the simplicity and
purity of the court in our era. In the extracts from her Journals
(1842-82), we have homely records of visits and holiday excursions, with
descriptions of picturesque scenery, simply and faithfully set down, the
writer expressing with directness the feelings of the moment.

Deprived by her high rank of friends--as we understand them in ordinary
life--Her Majesty seems to have borne an affection for her husband and her
offspring even above the common. With her devotion to the late
Prince-Consort we are all acquainted; but her books show us that it was an
attachment by no means owing any of its intensity to regret. While he yet
lived and gladdened her with the sunshine of his presence, there are no
words she can use too strong to express her love and admiration for him;
and it is easy to see, before it happened, how desolate his loss would
leave her. Then the Prince of Wales was always 'Bertie,' and the Princess
Royal 'Vicky,' and the family circle generally a group as loving and
united--without a trace of courtly stiffness--as was to be found round any
hearth in Britain.

What the Prince-Consort wrote of domestic servants, seems to have also
been the feeling of the Queen: 'Whose heart would fail to sympathise with
those who minister to us in sickness, receive us upon our first appearance
in the world, and even extend their cares to our mortal remains--who lie
under our roof, form our household, and are part of our family?'

There is no one, in ever so menial position, about her person, who is not
mentioned with kindness and particularity. A footnote annexed to the
humble name almost always contains a short biography of the individual,
whether wardrobe-maid, groom, or gillie. Thus of her trusty attendant John
Brown (1826-83) she writes: 'The same who, in 1858, became my regular
attendant out of doors everywhere in the Highlands; who commenced as
gillie in 1849, and was selected by Albert and me to go with my carriage.
In 1851 he entered our service permanently, and began in that year leading
my pony, and advanced step by step by his good conduct and intelligence.
His attention, care, and faithfulness cannot be exceeded; and the state of
my health, which of late years has been sorely tried and weakened, renders
such qualifications most valuable, and indeed most needful in a constant
attendant upon all occasions. He has since, most deservedly, been promoted
to be an upper servant, and my permanent personal attendant (December
1865). He has all the independence and elevated feelings peculiar to the
Highland race, and is singularly straightforward, simple-minded,
kind-hearted, and disinterested; always ready to oblige, and of a
discretion rarely to be met with. He is now in his fortieth year. His
father was a small farmer, who lived at the Bush on the opposite side to
Balmoral. He is the second of nine brothers--three of whom have died--two
are in Australia and New Zealand, two are living in the neighbourhood of
Balmoral; and the youngest, Archie (Archibald), is valet to our son
Leopold, and is an excellent, trustworthy young man.' The Queen had that
memory for old faces almost peculiar to her royal house, and no sooner did
she set foot in the new garden which was being made at Dalkeith, than she
recognised Mackintosh there, 'who was formerly gardener at Claremont.'

One very pleasing trait about Her Majesty was that, although, as a matter
of course, all persons vied in doing her pleasure, she never took any act
of respect or kindliness towards her for granted. She made frequent
mention of the courteous civilities shown her, just as though she had been
in the habit of meeting with the reverse of such conduct. At Dalkeith (the
Duke of Buccleuch's, who was her host on more than one occasion),
'everybody was very kind and civil, and full of inquiries as to our
voyage;' and 'the Roseberies' (at Dalmeny, where she lunched) 'were all
civility and attention.'

In her books a healthy interest is shown in all that concerns the welfare
of the people. The Queen and the Prince-Consort came to Scotland in 1842
in the Royal George yacht, and, tired and giddy, drove to Dalkeith
Palace, where they were guests of the Duke of Buccleuch. The Queen tasted
real Scotch fare at breakfast, oatmeal porridge and 'Finnan haddies.' She
saw the sights of Edinburgh, and in driving through the Highlands
afterwards, had a reception from Lord Breadalbane at Taymouth Castle.

The descriptions of her stay at Lord Breadalbane's, and at Lord Glenlyon's
in Blair-Athole, are very graphic. 'At a quarter to six, we reached
Taymouth. At the gate a guard of Highlanders, Lord Breadalbane's men, met
us. Taymouth lies in a valley surrounded by very high, wooded hills; it is
most beautiful. The house is a kind of castle, built of granite. The
coup-d'oeil was indescribable. There were a number of Lord Breadalbane's
Highlanders, all in the Campbell tartan, drawn up in front of the house,
with Lord Breadalbane himself, in a Highland dress, at their head, a few
of Sir Neil Menzies's men (in the Menzies red and white tartan), a number
of pipers playing, and a company of the 92d Highlanders, also in kilts.
The firing of the guns, the cheering of the great crowd, the
picturesqueness of the dresses, the beauty of the surrounding country,
with its rich background of wooded hills, altogether formed one of the
finest scenes imaginable. It seemed as if a great chieftain in olden
feudal times was receiving his sovereign. It was princely and romantic.
Lord and Lady Breadalbane took us up-stairs, the hall and stairs being
lined with Highlanders. The Gothic staircase is of stone, and very fine;
the whole of the house is newly and exquisitely furnished. The
drawing-room, especially, is splendid. Thence you go into a passage and a
library, which adjoins our private apartments. They showed us two sets of
apartments, and we chose those which are on the right hand of the corridor
or anteroom to the library. At eight we dined. Staying in the house,
besides ourselves, are the Buccleuchs and the two Ministers, the Duchess
of Sutherland and Lady Elizabeth Leveson Gower, the Abercorns, Roxburghes,
Kinnoulls, Lord Lauderdale, Sir Anthony Maitland, Lord Lorne, the Fox
Maules, Belhavens, Mr and Mrs William Russell, Sir J. and Lady Elizabeth
and the Misses Pringle, and two Messrs Baillie, brothers of Lady
Breadalbane. The dining-room is a fine room in Gothic style, and has never
been dined in till this day. Our apartments also are inhabited for the
first time. After dinner, the grounds were most splendidly illuminated--a
whole chain of lamps along the railings, and on the ground was written in
lamps: "Welcome Victoria--Albert." A small fort, which is up in the woods,
was illuminated, and bonfires were burning on the tops of the hills. I
never saw anything so fairy-like. There were some pretty fireworks, and
the whole ended by the Highlanders dancing reels, which they do to
perfection, to the sound of the pipes, by torchlight in front of the
house. It had a wild and very gay effect.'



Her Majesty drove about daily, enjoying the magnificent scenery, or by the
banks of Tay, to see Lord Breadalbane's American buffaloes; while Prince
Albert had sport--nineteen roe-deer on the first day, besides hares,
pheasants, grouse, and a capercailzie, all which trophies were spread out
before the house. Three hundred Highlanders 'beat' for him, while,
whenever the Queen (accompanied by the Duchess of Norfolk) walked in the
grounds, two of the Highland guard followed with drawn swords. They
arrived at a lodge, where 'a fat, good-humoured little woman, about forty,
cut some flowers for each of us, and the Duchess gave her some money,
saying: "From Her Majesty." I never saw any one more surprised than she
was; she, however, came up to me, and said very warmly that my people were
delighted to see me in Scotland.' At a later date the Queen revisited
Taymouth, where once--'Albert and I were then only twenty-three!'--she
passed such happy days. 'I was very thankful to have seen it again,' says
she, with quiet pathos. 'It seemed unaltered.'

This visit to Scotland was attended with happy results, and made a
favourable impression upon both. 'The country,' wrote Prince Albert,' is
full of beauty, of a severe and grand character; perfect for sport of all
kinds, and the air remarkably pure and light in comparison with what we
have here. The people are more natural, and marked by that honesty and
sympathy which always distinguish the inhabitants of mountainous countries
who live far away from towns.'

On the occasion of a visit to Blair-Athole, the Queen wrote of the Pass of
Killiecrankie, that it was 'quite magnificent; the road winds along it,
and you look down a great height, all wooded on both sides; the Garry
rolling below.' On another occasion she wrote: 'We took a delightful walk
of two hours. Immediately near the house, the scenery is very wild, which
is most enjoyable. The moment you step out of the house, you see those
splendid hills all round. We went to the left through some neglected
pleasure-grounds, and then through the wood, along a steep winding path
overhanging the rapid stream. These Scotch streams, full of stones, and
clear as glass, are most beautiful; the peeps between the trees, the depth
of the shadows, the mossy stones, mixed with slate, &c., which cover the
banks, are lovely; at every turn you have a picture. We were up high, but
could not get to the top; Albert in such delight; it is a happiness to see
him, he is in such spirits. We came back by a higher drive, and then went
to the factor's house, still higher up, where Lord and Lady Glenlyon are
living, having given Blair up to us. We walked on to a cornfield, where a
number of women were cutting and reaping the oats ("shearing," as they
call it in Scotland), with a splendid view of the hills before us, so
rural and romantic, so unlike our daily Windsor walk (delightful as that
is); and this change does such good: as Albert observes, it refreshes one
for a long time. We then went into the kitchen-garden, and to a walk from
which there is a magnificent view. This mixture of great wildness and art
is perfection.

'At a little before four o'clock, Albert drove me out in the pony-phaeton
till nearly six--such a drive! Really to be able to sit in one's
pony-carriage, and to see such wild, beautiful scenery as we did, the
furthest point being only five miles from the house, is an immense
delight. We drove along Glen Tilt, through a wood overhanging the river
Tilt, which joins the Garry, and as we left the wood we came upon such a
lovely view--Ben-y-Gloe straight before us--and under these high hills the
river Tilt gushing and winding over stones and slates, and the hills and
mountains skirted at the bottom with beautiful trees; the whole lit up by
the sun; and the air so pure and fine; but no description can at all do it
justice, or give an idea of what this drive was.' The royal pair mount
their ponies, and with only one attendant, a gillie, delight in getting
above the world and out of it: 'Not a house, not a creature near us, but
the pretty Highland sheep, with their horns and black faces, up at the top
of Tulloch, surrounded by beautiful mountains.'

The charms of natural scenery, greatly as they were appreciated, required
now and then to be relieved by a little excitement, and the Queen and
Prince hit upon an ingenious plan of procuring this. They would issue
forth from Balmoral in hired carriages, with horses to match, and would
drive to some Highland town, and dine and dress at its inn, under assumed
names. It was no doubt great fun to Her Majesty to put up with the
accommodation of a third-rate provincial inn, where 'a ringleted woman did
everything' in the way of waiting at table, and where in place of soup
there was mutton-broth with vegetables, 'which I did not much relish.'

On one of these expeditions, Her Majesty was so unfortunate as to hit upon
the inn at Dalwhinnie as a place of sojourn. 'We went up-stairs: the inn
was much larger than at Fettercairn, but not nearly so nice and cheerful;
there was a drawing-room and a dining-room; and we had a very good-sized
bedroom. Albert had a dressing-room of equal size. Mary Andrews (who was
very useful and efficient) and Lady Churchill's maid had a room together,
every one being in the house; but unfortunately there was hardly anything
to eat, and there was only tea, and two miserable starved Highland
chickens, without any potatoes! No pudding, and no fun; no little maid
(the two there not wishing to come in), nor our two people--who were wet
and drying our and their things--to wait on us! It was not a nice supper;
and the evening was wet. As it was late, we soon retired to rest. Mary and
Maxted (Lady Churchill's maid) had been dining below with Grant, Brown,
and Stewart (who came the same as last time, with the maids) in the
"commercial room" at the foot of the stairs. They had only the remnants of
our two starved chickens!'

The ascent of the hill of Tulloch on a pony, the Queen wrote, was 'the
most delightful, the most romantic ride and walk I ever had.' The quiet,
the liberty, the Highlanders, and the hills were all thoroughly enjoyed by
the Queen, and when she returned to the Lowlands it made her sad to see
the country becoming 'flatter and flatter,' while the English coast
appeared 'terribly flat.' Again the Queen and Prince-Consort were in the
West Highlands in 1847, but had dreadful weather at Ardverikie, on Loch
Laggan.

Not even Osborne, Windsor, or Buckingham Palace proved happier residences
than their holiday home at Balmoral. The fine air of the north of Scotland
had been so beneficial to the royal family, that they were advised to
purchase a house in Aberdeenshire.

The Queen and prince took up their autumn residence at Balmoral in
September 1848. A few years later, the house was much improved and
enlarged from designs by the Prince-Consort. It was soothing to retire
thither after a year of the bustle of London. 'It was so calm and so
solitary, it did one good as one gazed around; and the pure mountain air
was most refreshing. All seemed to breathe freedom and peace, and to make
one forget the world and its sad turmoils.' Mr Greville, as clerk of the
Council, saw the circle there in 1849, and thought the Queen and prince
appeared to great advantage, living in simplicity and ease. 'The Queen is
running in and out of the house all day long, and often goes about alone,
walks into the cottages, and sits down and chats with the old women.... I
was greatly struck with the prince. I saw at once that he is very
intelligent and highly cultivated; and, moreover, that he has a thoughtful
mind, and thinks of subjects worth thinking about. He seems very much at
his ease, very gay, pleasant, and without the least stiffness or air of
dignity.' The Queen was in Ireland in 1849, and had a splendid reception.

The Queen took possession of the new castle at Balmoral in the autumn of
1855, and a year later she wrote that 'every year my heart becomes more
fixed in this dear paradise, and so much more so now, that all has become
my dear Albert's own creation, own work, own building, own laying out, as
at Osborne; and his great taste, and the impress of his dear hand, have
been stamped everywhere.'

After building the cairn on the top of Craig Gowan, to commemorate their
taking possession of Balmoral, the Queen wrote: 'May God bless this place,
and allow us yet to see it and enjoy it many a long year.'

In the north country, too, she met with little adventures, which doubtless
helped to rally her courage and spirits--a carriage accident, when there
was 'a moment during which I had time to reflect whether I should be
killed or not, and to think there were, still things I had not settled and
wanted to do;' subsequently sitting in the cold on the road-side,
recalling 'what my beloved one had always said to me, namely, to make the
best of what could not be altered.' What a thoroughly loving, clinging
woman's heart the 'Queen-Empress' shows when' she feels tired, sad, and
bewildered' because 'for the first time in her life she was alone in a
strange house, without either mother or husband.'

Some interesting glimpses of the Queen are given in the biography of the
late Dr Norman Macleod. This popular divine was asked to preach before the
Queen in Crathie Church in 1854--the church that stood till 1893, when the
Queen laid the foundation stone of a new one. He preached an old sermon
without a note, never looking once at the royal seat, but solely at the
congregation. The Sunday at Balmoral was perfect in its peace and beauty.
In his sermon he tried to show what true life is, a finding rest through
the yoke of God's service instead of the service of self, and by the cross
of self-denial instead of self-gratification. 'In the evening,' writes Dr
Macleod in his Journal, 'after daundering in a green field with a path
through it which led to the high-road, and while sitting on a block of
granite, full of quiet thoughts, mentally reposing in the midst of the
beautiful scenery, I was aroused from my reverie by some one asking me if
I was the clergyman who had preached that day. I was soon in the presence
of the Queen and prince; when Her Majesty came forward and said, with a
sweet, kind, and smiling face: "We wish to thank you for your sermon." She
then asked me how my father was--what was the name of my parish, &c.; and
so, after bowing and smiling, they both continued their quiet evening walk
alone. And thus God blessed me, and I thanked His name.' The Queen in her
Journal remarked that she had never heard a finer sermon, and that the
allusions in the prayer to herself and the children gave her a 'lump in
the throat.'

Dr Macleod was again at Balmoral in 1862 and 1866. Of this visit in May
1862, made after the Queen's bereavement, he reported to his wife that
'all has passed well--that is to say, God enabled me to speak in private
and in public to the Queen, in such a way as seemed to me to be truth, the
truth in God's sight--that which I believed she needed, though I felt it
would be very trying to her spirit to receive it. And what fills me with
deepest thanksgiving is, that she has received it, and written to me such
a kind, tender letter of thanks for it, which shall be treasured in my
heart while I live.



'Prince Alfred sent for me last night to see him before going away. Thank
God, I spoke fully and frankly to him--we were alone--of his difficulties,
temptations, and of his father's example; what the nation expected of him;
how, if he did God's will, good and able men would rally round him; how,
if he became selfish, a selfish set of flatterers would truckle to him and
ruin him, while caring only for themselves. He thanked me for all I said,
and wished me to travel with him to-day to Aberdeen, but the Queen wishes
to see me again.'

In his Journal of May 14, he wrote: 'After dinner I was summoned
unexpectedly to the Queen's room. She was alone. She met me, and with an
unutterably sad expression which filled my eyes with tears, at once began
to speak about the prince. It is impossible for me to recall distinctly
the sequence or substance of that long conversation. She spoke of his
excellences--his love, his cheerfulness, how he was everything to her; how
all now on earth seemed dead to her. She said she never shut her eyes to
trials, but liked to look them in the face; how she would never shrink
from duty, but that all was at present done mechanically; that her highest
ideas of purity and love were obtained from him, and that God could not be
displeased with her love. But there was nothing morbid in her grief. I
spoke freely to her about all I felt regarding him--the love of the nation
and their sympathy; and took every opportunity of bringing before her the
reality of God's love and sympathy, her noble calling as a queen, the
value of her life to the nation, the blessedness of prayer.'

On the Monday following the Sabbath services, Dr Macleod had a long
interview with the Queen. 'She was very much more like her old self,' he
writes, 'cheerful, and full of talk about persons and things. She, of
course, spoke of the prince. She said that he always believed he was to
die soon, and that he often told her that he had never any fear of
death.... The more I learned about the Prince-Consort, the more I agree
with what the Queen said to me about him, "that he really did not seem to
comprehend a selfish character, or what selfishness was."'

It was Dr Macleod's feeling that the Queen had a reasoning, searching
mind, anxious to get at the root and the reality of things, and abhorring
all shams, whether in word or deed. In October 1866, he records: 'After
dinner, the Queen invited me to her room, where I found the Princess
Helena and Marchioness of Ely. The Queen sat down to spin at a nice Scotch
wheel, while I read Robert Burns to her: "Tam o' Shanter," and "A man's a
man for a' that," her favourite. The Prince and Princess of Hesse sent for
me to see their children. The eldest, Victoria, whom I saw at Darmstadt,
is a most sweet child; the youngest, Elizabeth, a round, fat ball of
loving good-nature. I gave her a real hobble, such as I give Polly. I
suppose the little thing never got anything like it, for she screamed and
kicked with a perfect furore of delight, would go from me to neither
father nor mother nor nurse, to their great merriment, but buried her
chubby face in my cheek, until I gave her another right good hobble. They
are such dear children. The Prince of Wales sent a message asking me to go
and see him.... All seem to be very happy. We had a great deal of
pleasant talk in the garden. Dear, good General Grey drove me home.'

In a letter written in 1867, he expresses himself thus:

'I had a long interview with the Queen. With my last breath I will uphold
the excellence and nobleness of her character. It was really grand to hear
her talk on moral courage, and on living for duty.' The Queen, on hearing
of Dr Macleod's death, wrote: 'How I loved to talk to him, to ask his
advice, to speak to him of my sorrows, my anxieties! ... How dreadful to
lose that dear, kind, loving, large-hearted friend! I cried very bitterly,
for this is a terrible loss to me.'

Both the Queen and Prince-Consort have had a hearty appreciation of
literary men of eminence and all public benefactors. We have already noted
their appreciation of Tennyson.

The Queen, after a long interview with Charles Dickens, presented him with
a copy of her Leaves, and wrote on it that it was a gift 'from one of
the humblest of writers to one of the greatest.'

In December 1850, Dr Livingstone wrote to his parents: 'The Royal
Geographical Society have awarded twenty-five guineas for the discovery of
the lake ('Ngami). It is from the Queen.' Before this he had written: 'I
wonder you do not go to see the Queen. I was as disloyal as others when in
England, for though I might have seen her in London I never went. Do you
ever pray for her?' In 1858 Livingstone was honoured by the Queen with a
private interview. An account says, 'She sent for Livingstone, who
attended Her Majesty at the palace, without ceremony, in his black coat
and blue trousers, and his cap surrounded with a stripe of gold lace....
The Queen conversed with him affably for half-an-hour on the subject of
his travels. Dr Livingstone told Her Majesty that he would now be able to
say to the natives that he had seen his chief, his not having done so
before having been a constant subject of surprise to the children of the
African wilderness. He mentioned to Her Majesty also that the people were
in the habit of inquiring whether his chief was wealthy; and that when he
assured them she was very wealthy, they would ask how many cows she had
got, a question at which the Queen laughed heartily.'

But the Queen had plenty of live-stock too. From an account in the
Idler of the Queen's pet animals, we learn that they consist almost
entirely of dogs, horses, and donkeys. The following is a list of some of
the royal pets: Flora and Alma, two horses fourteen hands high, presented
to the Queen by Victor Emmanuel. Jenny, a white donkey, twenty-five years
of age, which has been with the Queen since it was a foal. Tewfik, a white
Egyptian ass, bought in Cairo by Lord Wolseley. Two Shetland ponies--one,
The Skewbald, three feet six inches high; another, a dark brown mare like
a miniature cart-horse. The royal herd of fifty cows in milk, chiefly
shorthorns and Jerseys. An enormous bison named Jack, obtained in exchange
for a Canadian bison from the Zoological Gardens. A cream-coloured pony
called Sanger, presented to the Queen by the circus proprietor. A Zulu cow
bred from the herd of Cetewayo's brother. A strong handsome donkey called
Jacquot, with a white nose and knotted tail. This donkey draws the Queen's
chair (a little four-wheeled carriage with rubber tyres and a low step),
and has accompanied her to Florence. A gray donkey, the son of the
Egyptian Tewfik, carries the Queen's grandchildren. Jessie, the Queen's
favourite riding mare, which is twenty-seven years old. A gray Arab,
presented to Her Majesty by the Thakore of Morvi. The stables contain
eighteen harness horses, most of them gray, and twelve brougham horses
ranging from dark brown to light chestnut. Four brown ponies, fourteen
hands high, bred from a pony called Beatrice, which Princess Beatrice used
to ride. The Royal Mews cover an extent of four acres, and accommodate as
many as one hundred horses. The carriage-house contains the post-chaise in
which the Queen and the Prince-Consort travelled through Germany seven
years after their marriage. The carriages of the household weigh about 15
cwt. each. The royal kennels contain fifty-five dogs.

George Peabody, who had given in all about half a million of money towards
building industrial homes in London, having declined many honours, was
asked what gift, if any, he would accept. His reply was: 'A letter from
the Queen of England, which I may carry across the Atlantic and deposit as
a memorial of one of her most faithful sons.' The following letter was
accordingly received from Her Majesty:

WINDSOR CASTLE, March 28, 1866.

The Queen hears that Mr Peabody intends shortly to return to America;
and she would be sorry that he should leave England without being
assured by herself how deeply she appreciates the noble act, of more
than princely munificence, by which he has sought to relieve the
wants of her poorer subjects residing in London. It is an act, as the
Queen believes, wholly without parallel; and which will carry its
best reward in the consciousness of having contributed so largely to
the assistance of those who can little help themselves.

The Queen would not, however, have been satisfied without giving Mr
Peabody some public mark of her sense of his munificence; and she
would gladly have conferred upon him either a baronetcy or the Grand
Cross of the Order of the Bath, but that she understands Mr Peabody
to feel himself debarred from accepting such distinctions.

It only remains, therefore, for the Queen to give Mr Peabody this
assurance of her personal feelings; which she would further wish to
mark by asking him to accept a miniature portrait of herself, which
she will desire to have painted for him, and which, when finished,
can either be sent to him in America, or given to him on the return
which she rejoices to hear he meditates to the country that owes him
so much.

To this letter Mr Peabody replied:

THE PALACE HOTEL, BUCKINGHAM GATE,

LONDON, April 3, 1866.

MADAM--I feel sensibly my inability to express in adequate terms the
gratification with which I have read the letter which your Majesty
has done me the high honour of transmitting by the hands of Earl
Russell.

On the occasion which has attracted your Majesty's attention, of
setting apart a portion of my property to ameliorate the condition
and augment the comforts of the poor of London, I have been actuated
by a deep sense of gratitude to God, who has blessed me with
prosperity, and of attachment to this great country, where, under
your Majesty's benign rule, I have received so much personal
kindness, and enjoyed so many years of happiness. Next to the
approval of my own conscience, I shall always prize the assurance
which your Majesty's letter conveys to me of the approbation of the
Queen of England, whose whole life has attested that her exalted
station has in no degree diminished her sympathy with the humblest of
her subjects. The portrait which your Majesty is graciously pleased
to bestow on me I shall value as the most gracious heirloom that I
can leave in the land of my birth; where, together with the letter
which your Majesty has addressed to me, it will ever be regarded as
an evidence of the kindly feeling of the Queen of the United Kingdom
toward a citizen of the United States.

I have the honour to be

Your Majesty's most obedient servant,

GEORGE PEABODY.

This miniature of the Queen is mounted in an elaborate and massive chased
gold frame, surmounted by the royal crown; is a half-length, fourteen
inches long and ten wide, done in enamel, by Tilb, a London artist, and is
the largest miniature of the kind ever attempted in England. It has been
deposited, along with the gold box containing the freedom of the city of
London, in a vault in the Institute at Peabody; also the gold box from the
Fishmongers' Association, London; a book of autographs; a presentation
copy of the Queen's first published book, with her autograph; and a cane
which belonged to Benjamin Franklin.

We have only tried to draw within a small canvas a portrait of her as
'mother, wife, and queen.' She has herself told the story of her happy
days in her Highland home, to which we have already alluded; nor has she
shrunk from letting her people see her when she went there after all was
changed, when the view was so fine, the day so bright--and the heather so
beautifully pink--but no pleasure, no joy! all dead!' But she found help
and sympathy among her beloved Scottish peasantry, with whom she could
form human friendships, unchilled by politics and unchecked by court
jealousies. They could win her into the sunshine even on the sacred
anniversaries. One of them said to her, 'I thought you would like to be
here (a bright and favoured spot) on his birthday.' The good Christian man
'being of opinion,' writes the Queen, 'that this beloved day, and even the
14th of December, must not be looked upon as a day of mourning.' 'That's
not the light to look at it,' said he. The Queen found 'true and strong
faith in these good simple people.' It is pleasant, to note that by-and-by
she kept the prince's birthday by giving souvenirs to her children,
servants, and friends.

She who years before, during a short separation from her dear husband, had
written, 'All the numerous children are as nothing to me when he is
away--it seems as if the whole life of the house and home were gone,'
could enter into the spirit of Dr Norman Macleod's pathetic story of the
old woman who, having lost husband and children, was asked how she had
been able to bear her sorrows, and replied, 'Ah, when he went awa', it
made a great hole, and all the others went through it.'

As we have already said, the Queen was a genuine ruler, and while at
Windsor she had not only a regular array of papers and despatches to go
through, but many court ceremonies. In the morning there was a drive
before breakfast, and after that meal she read her private letters and
newspapers. One of the ladies-in-waiting had previously gone over the
newspapers and marked the paragraphs which seemed of most interest to the
Queen. Afterwards came the examination of the boxes of papers and
despatches, of which there might be twenty or thirty, which sometimes
occupied about three hours. The contents were then sorted, and sent to be
dealt with by her secretary, Sir Henry Ponsonby.

When the Queen was robed for a state occasion, such as a Drawing-room, she
was sometimes adorned with jewellery worth. £150,000. At other times she
wore scarcely any. Drawing-rooms, when ladies were presented and had the
honour of kissing the Queen's hand, were held about two o'clock. At a
royal dinner-party the Queen arrived last. Having walked round and spoken
to her guests, she then preceded them into the royal dining-room, and
seated herself with one of her children on either side. She was always
punctual. It was polite to allow her to start the conversation; after
that, she liked to hear her guests talking. Her own talk was always
agreeable, and she was fond of humour and a hearty laugh.

The Queen showed herself a model mistress, and also showed an example of
industry. At the Chicago Exhibition in 1893 were napkins made from flax
spun by Her Majesty, and a straw hat plaited by her. There was, too, a
noble human grace about her acts of beneficence. For instance, in erecting
an almshouse for poor old women in the Isle of Wight, she retained one
tiny room, exactly like the rest, for her own use. It is, we believe,
untrue that she ever read in cottages. Her diary is full of references to
those who served her, even in the humblest capacities. She attended the
funeral service for the father of her faithful servant, John Brown; and
when the latter died, she wrote that her loss was irreparable, as he
deservedly possessed her entire confidence. Interested in the country
people around Balmoral, Her Majesty paid visits to old women, and gave
them petticoats. On August 26, 1869, she called on old Mrs Grant, gave her
a shawl and pair of socks, 'and found the poor old soul in bed, looking
very weak and very ill, but bowing her head and thanking me in her usual
way. I took her hand and held it.' She abounded in practical sympathy with
all their joys and sorrows. One of the lodge-keepers in Windsor Forest
remarked that 'a wonderful good woman to her servants is the Queen.' Her
Majesty had come several times to see her husband when down with rheumatic
fever, and the princesses often brought her oranges and jellies with their
own hands. She trained her children to live in the same spirit: nearly all
of the Princess Alice's letters home contained references to domestic
friends and messages to be conveyed to them. She wrote in 1865 to the
Queen: 'From you I have inherited an ardent and sympathising spirit, and
feel the pain of those I love, as though it were my own.'

She was always full of kindly consideration for others. Many stories are
told of the gracious methods taken by her to efface the pain caused by
blunders or awkwardness at review, levee, or drawing-room. Mr Jeaffreson
has written: 'Living in history as the most sagacious and enlightened
sovereign of her epoch, Her Majesty will also stand before posterity as
the finest type of feminine excellence given to human nature in the
nineteenth century; even as her husband will stand before posterity as the
brightest example of princely worth given to the age that is drawing to a
close. Regarded with admiration throughout all time as a beneficent queen
and splendid empress, she will also be honoured reverentially by the
coming centuries as a supremely good and noble woman.'

Nor did the Queen lack for friends upon another level. The old Duke of
Wellington, the Iron Duke, the victor of Waterloo, is said to have loved
her fondly. If any stranger had seen them together, 'he would have
imagined he beheld a fond father and an affectionate daughter laughingly
chatting.' She herself recorded her great regard for Dr Norman Macleod, as
we have noted, Lady Jane Churchill, and several others. But the devotion
which she and the Prince-Consort ever showed to the Baron Stockmar rises
to the height of ideal friendship. Stockmar had been the private physician
of Leopold, King of the Belgians, in his earlier days, and in the course
of events became the trusted adviser of the young Prince Albert. To him
the Queen and the prince wrote as only dutiful children might write to the
most affectionate and wisest of parents. They sought his advice and
followed it. They reared their children to do him honour. What this friend
was, may be gathered from what shrewd people thought of him. Lord
Palmerston, no partial critic, declared, 'I have come in my life across
only one absolutely disinterested man, and that is--Stockmar.' Subtle
aphorisms on the conduct of life may be culled, almost at random, from his
letters to the royal pair. We can take but one, which, read in conjunction
with the lives he influenced, is deeply significant:

'Were I now to be asked,' he wrote as he drew near his seventieth year,
'by any young man just entering into life, "What is the chief good for
which it behoves a man to strive?" my only answer would be "Love and
Friendship." Were he to ask me, "What is a man's most priceless
possession?" I must answer, "The consciousness of having loved and sought
the truth--of having yearned for the truth for its own sake! All else is
either mere vanity or a sick man's dream."'

John Bright once said of the Queen, that she was 'the most perfectly
truthful person I ever met.' No former monarch has so thoroughly
comprehended the great truth, that the powers of the crown are held in
trust for the people, and are the means and not the end of government.
This enlightened policy has entitled her to the glorious distinction of
having been the most constitutional monarch Britain has ever seen.

In 1897 the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria was celebrated,
representatives from all parts of the empire and from many foreign
countries taking part in a magnificent procession to and from St Paul's
Cathedral.

The already aged Queen continued to reign for only a few years longer. The
new century had hardly dawned when she was stricken down by the hand of
death. After a brief illness she passed away at Osborne on 22d January
1901, amidst an outburst of sorrow from the whole civilised world. Next
day the Prince of Wales was proclaimed as King Edward VII. On Saturday, 2d
February, amid a splendid naval and military pageant, the body of the
Queen was borne to St George's Chapel, Windsor, and on Monday buried in
the Frogmore Mausoleum beside Prince Albert.





Next: Civil War In America

Previous: The Queen In Mourning



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