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


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:


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


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,


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


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.

The Queen And The Children The Queen In Mourning facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail