The Prince Of Wales' Trip To America





In May, Prince Albert ran over to Germany to visit his old home, and his

new son, and his darling daughter, whom he found well and happy. In one

of his letters to the Queen from Gotha, he says: "I enclose a forget-me-

not from grandmama's grave."



There is in that simple sentence an exquisite indication of his

affectionate and constant nature. This was a hurried visit, with many

interests and excitements, and yet the grave of that infirm, deaf, old

Dowager Duchess, who had, as practical people say, "outlived her

usefulness," was not found "out of the way." There was little need of the

dear grandmama calling softly through that tender blue flower--

"Vergiss mein nicht, mein Engel Albert!" He never forgot.



In July, the Queen and Prince took to their yacht again, for a visit to

the Emperor and Empress, at Cherbourg, and had a grand reception, and

there was a great fête, and fireworks and bombs and rockets; but the

account is not half so interesting to me as the one given by Her Majesty,

of their return to Osborne; an exquisite picture that, which I feel I

must reproduce almost entire: ... "At twenty minutes to five, we landed

at our peaceful Osborne. ... The evening was very warm and calm. Dear

Affie was on the pier, and we found all the other children, including

Baby, standing at the door. Deckel (a favorite dog), and our new charming

kennel-bred Dachs 'Boy,' also received us with joy." I like that bringing

in of the dogs to complete the-picture.



The Queen continues: "We went to see Affie's (Alfred's) table of birthday

presents--entirely nautical. ... We went with the children, Alice and I

driving, to the Swiss Cottage, which was all decked out with flags in

honor of Affie's birthday. ... I sat (at dinner) between Albert and

Affie. The two little boys (Princes Arthur and Leopold) appeared. A band

played, and after dinner we danced, with the three boys and three girls,

a merry country dance on the terrace."



A little later, the Queen and Prince made a visit to their daughter in

Germany. Her Majesty's description of the happy meeting is very sweet.

"There on the platform stood our darling child, with a nosegay in her

hand. She stepped in, and long and warm, was the embrace. ... So much to

say and to tell and ask, yet so unaltered--looking well--quite the old

Vicky still."



From beautiful Babelsberg, she wrote: "Vicky came and sat with me. I felt

as if she were my own again."



This was not a long, but a very happy visit; the Queen and Prince had

received many courteous attentions from the Prussian Court, and had found

their beloved daughter proud and content. From Osborne, in a letter to

his daughter, the Prince-Consort writes: "Alfred looks very nice and

handsome in his new naval cadet's uniform--the round-jacket and the long-

tailed coat, with the broad knife by his side." The next month the Prince

went to Spithead, to see this son off on a two-years' cruise--and felt

that his family had indeed begun to break up. The next exciting public

matter was the news of Louis Napoleon's alliance with King Victor

Emmanuel in the war against Austria. And this was the Emperor who, had

given out that his empire was "peace"--that the only clang of arms

henceforth to be heard therein would be a mighty beating of swords and

spears into plow-shares and pruning-hooks. The next domestic excitement

was caused by a telegram from Berlin, announcing the birth of a son to

the Crown Prince and Princess, and that mother and child were doing well.

Queen Victoria was a grandmother, and prouder, I doubt not, than when

afterwards she was made Empress of India.



For her mother's birthday, in May, 1859, the Crown Princess came over and

made a delightful little visit. The Queen wrote of her: "Dear Vicky is a

charming companion." Of the Princess Alice she had before written: "She

is very good, sensible and amiable, and a real comfort to me." Mothers

know how much there is in those words--"a real comfort to me." The Crown

Princess found most change in baby--Beatrice--and after her return home,

her father often wrote to her of this little sister: "The little aunt,"

he says, "makes daily progress, and is really too comical. When she

tumbles, she calls out, in bewilderment, 'She don't like it! She don't

like it!'--and she-came into breakfast a short time ago, with her eyes

full of tears, moaning, 'Baby has been so naughty,--poor baby so

naughty!' as one might complain of being ill, or of having slept badly."

Later in the year the Prince writes: "Alice comes out admirably, and is a

great support to her mother. Lenchen (the Princess Helena) is very

distinguished, and little Arthur amiable and full of promise as ever."



In November, Prince Frederick William and his Princess came over on a

visit--and the fond father wrote: "Vicky has developed greatly of late--

and yet remains quite a child; of such, indeed, 'is the kingdom of

heaven.'" Of the Prince he said: "He has quite delighted us." So all was

right then. About this time he said of his daughter, Alice, that she had

become "a handsome young woman, of graceful form and presence, and is a

help and stay to us all in the house." What a rich inheritance such

praise!



In the Queen's diary there was, on July 24, 1860, an interesting entry:

"Soon after we sat down to breakfast came a telegram from Fritz--Vicky

had got a daughter, at 8:10, and both doing well! What joy! Children

jumping about, every one delighted--so thankful and relieved."



The Prince wrote to his daughter as only he could write--wisely and

thoughtfully, yet tenderly and brightly. There was in this letter a

charming passage about his playfellow, Beatrice. After saying of his new

grandchild, "The little girl must be a darling," he adds, "Little girls

are much prettier than boys. I advise her to model herself after her Aunt

Beatrice. That excellent lady has now not a moment to spare. 'I have no

time,' she says, when she is asked for anything, 'I must write letters to

my niece.'"



Shortly after his first little niece was born, the Prince of Wales made

his first acquaintance with the New World. He went over to America to

visit the vast domain which was to be his, some day, and the vaster

domain which might have been his, but for the blind folly of his great-

grandfather, George III. and his Ministers, who, like the rash voyagers

of the "Arabian Nights' Entertainment," kindled a fire on the back of a

whale, thinking it "solid land," till the leviathan "put itself in

motion," and flung them and their "merchandise" off into the sea. He was

a fine young fellow, the Prince, and was received with loyal enthusiasm,

and heartily liked in the Canadas. I believe we of the States treated him

very well, also--and that he had what Americans call "a good time,"

dancing with pretty girls in the Eastern cities, and shooting prairie-

chickens on the Western plains. I think we did not overdo the matter in

fêting and following the son of the beloved Queen of England. We had

other business on hand just then--a momentous Presidential election--the

election of Abraham Lincoln.



In our capital he was treated to a ball, a visit to the Patent-Office and

the tomb of Washington, and such like gaieties. President Buchanan

entertained him as handsomely as our national palace, the White House,

would allow; and afterwards wrote a courtly letter to Queen Victoria,

congratulating her on the charming behavior of her son and heir--"the

expectancy and rose of the fair State." The Queen replied very

graciously and even gratefully, addressing Mr. Buchanan as "my good

friend." That was the most she could do, according to royal rules. The

elected temporary ruler of our great American empire, even should it

become greater by the annexation of Cuba and Mexico, can never expect to

be addressed as "mon frère" by regularly born, bred, crowned and

anointed sovereigns--or even by a reigning Prince or Grand Duke; can

never hope to be embraced and kissed on both cheeks by even the Prince of

Monaco, the King of the Sandwich Islands, or the Queen of Madagascar. We

must make up our minds to that.



In the early autumn of 1860, the Queen, Prince, and Princess Alice went

over to Germany for another sight of their dear ones. It was the last

visit that the Queen was to pay with the Prince to his beloved

fatherland. They were delighted with their grandson, and I hope with

their granddaughter also. Of baby Wilhelm the Queen writes: "Such a

little love. ... He is a fine, fat child, with a beautiful, soft white

skin, very fine shoulders and limbs, and a very dear face. ... He has

Fritz's eyes and Vicky's mouth, and very fair, curling hair." Afterwards

she wrote: "Dear little William came to me, as he does every morning. He

is such a darling, so intelligent."



I believe this darling grandchild was the "little love" who gave to the

Queen her first great-grandchild.



At Coburg the Prince-Consort came frightfully near being killed by the

running away of his carriage-horses. The accident was a great shock to

the Queen, and the escape an unspeakable joy. At Mayence Her Majesty

confided a family secret to her discreet diary. During a visit from the

Prince and Princess Charles of Hesse-Darmstadt it was settled that the

young Prince Louis should come to England to get better acquainted with

the Princess Alice, whom he already greatly admired. So everything was

arranged and the way smoothed for these lovers, and in this case the

union proved as happy as though brought about in the usual hap-hazard way

of marriages in common life.



The next November the Prince wrote from Windsor: "The Prince Louis of

Hesse is here on a visit. The young people seem to like each other. He is

very simple, natural, frank and thoroughly manly."



The next day the Queen jotted down in her diary the simple story of the

betrothal in a way to reveal how fresh in her own heart was the romance

of her youth:



"After dinner, while talking to the gentlemen, I perceived Alice and

Louis talking before the fireplace more earnestly than usual, and when I

passed to go to the other room both came up to me, and Alice in much

agitation said he had proposed to her, and he begged for my blessing. I

could only squeeze his hand and say 'Certainly,' and that we would see

him in my room later. Got through the evening, working as well as we

could. Alice came to our room. ... Albert sent for Louis to his room,

then called Alice and me in. ... Louis has a warm, noble heart. We

embraced our dear Alice and praised her much to him. He pressed and

kissed my hand and I embraced him." The Queen was right, as she generally

was in her estimate of character. This son-in-law, of whom she has always

been especially fond, is a Prince of amiable and noble disposition, good

ability and remarkable cultivation; not exactly a second Prince Albert--

he was a century plant.



At this Christmas time the Queen's two eldest sons were at home and full

of strange stories of strange lands. Soon after, the Prince of Wales went

to Cambridge and Prince Alfred joined his ship. Before that cruise was

over a deeper, darker sea rolled between the sailor lad and his father.



On February 9, 1861, Prince Albert wrote Baron Stockmar: "To-morrow our

marriage will be twenty-one years old. How many storms have swept over

it, and still it continues green and fresh." The anniversary occurring on

Sunday was very quietly observed, chiefly by the performance in the

evening of some fine sacred music, the appropriateness of which was

scarcely realized at the time. In a very sweet letter to the Duchess of

Kent, such a letter as few married men write to their mothers-in-law, the

Prince says: ... "To-day our marriage comes of age, according to law. We

have faithfully kept our pledge for better and for worse,' and have only

to thank God that He has vouchsafed so much happiness to us. May He have

us in His keeping for the days to come! You have, I trust, found good and

loving children in us, and we have experienced nothing but love and

kindness from you."



This dear "Mama-aunt" had been in delicate health for some time, and once

or twice seriously ill, but she seemed better, her physicians were

encouraging and all were hopeful till the 12th of March, when the Queen

and Prince were suddenly summoned from London to Frogmore by the news of

a very alarming relapse. They went at once with all speed, yet the Queen

says "the way seemed so long." When they readied the house, the Queen

writes: "Albert went up first, and when he returned with tears in his

eyes, I saw what awaited me. ... With a trembling heart I went up the

staircase and entered the bedroom, and here on a sofa, supported by

cushions, sat leaning back my beloved Mama, breathing rather heavily, but

in her silk dressing-gown, with her cap on, looking quite herself. ... I

knelt before her, kissed her dear hand and placed it next my cheek; but

though she opened her eyes she did not, I think, know me. She brushed my

hand off, and the dreadful reality was before me that for the first time,

she did not know the child she had ever received with such tender

smiles."



The further description given by the Queen of this first great sorrow of

her life, is exceedingly pathetic and vivid. It is the very poetry of

grief. I cannot reproduce it entire, nor give that later story of

incalculable loss as related by her in that diary, through which her very

heart beats. It is all too unutterably sad. There are passages in this

account most exquisitely natural and touching. When all was over, the

poor daughter tried to comfort herself with thoughts of the blessed rest

of the good mother, of the gentle spirit released from the pain-racked

body, but the heart would cry out: "But I--I, wretched child, who had

lost the mother I so tenderly loved, from whom for these forty-one years

I had never been parted, except for a few weeks, what was my case? My

childhood, everything seemed to crowd upon me at once... What I had

dreaded and fought--off the idea of, for years, had come, and must be

borne... Oh, if I could nave been with her these last weeks! How I grudge

every hour I did not spend with her! ... What a blessing we went on

Tuesday. The remembrance of her parting blessing, of her dear, sweet

smile, will ever remain engraven on my memory."



During all this time, the Queen received the most tender sympathy and

care from her children, and Prince Albert, was--Prince Albert;--

weeping with her, yet striving to comfort her, full of loving kindness

and consideration.



The Queen's grief was perhaps excessive, as her love had been beyond

measure, but he was not impatient with it, though he writes from Osborne,

some weeks after the funeral of the Duchess: "She (the Queen) is greatly

upset, and feels her childhood rush back upon her memory with the most

vivid force. Her grief is extreme... For the last two years her constant

care and occupation have been to keep watch over her mother's comfort,

and the influence of this upon her own character has been most salutary.

In body she is well, though terribly nervous, and the children are a

great disturbance to her. She remains almost entirely alone."



How true to nature! When the first love of a life is suddenly uprooted,

all the later growths, however strong, seem to have been torn up with it.

When the mother goes, only the child seems to remain. Victoria, tender

mother as she herself was, and adoring wife, was now the little girl of

Kensington and Claremont, whose little bed was at the side of her

mother's, and who had waked to find that mother's bed empty, and forever

empty! And yet she said in her first sense of the loss: "I seemed to have

lived through a life; to have become old."



We may say that with the coming of that first sorrow went out the youth

of the Queen; for it seems that while her mother lives, a woman is always

young, that there is something of girlhood, of childhood even, lingering

in her life while she can lay her tired head on her mother's knee, or

hide her tearful face against her mother's breast, that most sweet and

restful refuge from the trials and weariness of life.



Her Majesty's sister, Feodore, strove to comfort her; the dear daughter

Victoria came to her almost immediately; her people's tears and prayers

were for her, and amid the quiet and seclusion of Osborne she slowly

regained her cheerfulness; but the old gladness and content never came

back. The children, too, with all the natural gayety of their years,

found that something of sweetness and comfort had dropped out of life--

something of the charm and dearness of home was gone with "grandmama,"

from the Palace, the Castle, the seaside mansion, as well as from

pleasant Frogmore, where they were always so welcome. Not till then,

perhaps, had they known all she was to them--what a blessed element in

their lives was her love, so tender and indulgent. Age is necessary to

the family completeness. We do not even in our humbler condition, always

realize, this--do not see how the quiet waning life in the old arm-chair

gives dignity and serenity to the home, till the end comes--till the

silver-haired presence is withdrawn.





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