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    Chapter 9

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    Chapter 10
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    The Queen as an Artist and Author--In her Holiday Haunts--Side-lights on the Queen--Norman Macleod--The Queen's appreciation of Tennyson, Dickens, and Livingstone--Letter to Mr Peabody--The Queen's Drawing-room--Her pet Animals--A Model Mistress--Mr Jeaffreson's Tribute--Baron Stockmar--A golden Reign.

    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:


    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,


    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. L150,000. 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.
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