Birth Of The Prince Of Wales





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

time?"



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

God.".



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."





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