Early on the morning of the 15th the party started, the Queen having three of the children in the carriage with herself and the Prince, on the long drive through beautiful Highland scenery to Balmoral.
This year her Majesty made her first stay at Alt-na-guithasach, the hut or bothie of "old John Gordon," the situation of which had taken her fancy and that of the Prince. They had another hut built for themselves in the immediate vicinity, so that they could at any time spend a day or a couple of days in the wilds, with a single lady-in- waiting and the most limited of suites. On the 30th of August the Queen, the Prince, and the Honourable Caroline Dawson, maid of honour, set out on their ponies, attended only by Macdonald, Grant, another Highlander, and an English footman. The rough road had been improved, and riding was so easy that Prince Albert could practise his Gaelic by the way.
The Queen was much pleased with her new possession, which meant "a charming little dining-room, sitting-room, bedroom, and dressing-room all en suite; a little bedroom for Miss Dawson and one for her maid, and a pantry." In the other hut were the kitchen where the Gordon family sat, a room where the servants dined, a storeroom, and a loft where the men slept. All the people in attendance on the small party were the Queen's maid, Miss Dawson's maid, Prince Albert's German valet, a footman, and Macdonald, together with the old couple, John Gordon and his wife. After luncheon the visitors went to Loch Muich—a name which has been interpreted "darkness" or "sorrow"—and got into a large boat with four rowers, while a smaller boat followed, having a net. The excursion was to the head of the loch, which joins the Dhu or Black Loch. "Real severe Highland scenery," her Majesty calls it, and to those who know the stern sublimity of such places, the words say a great deal. "The boat, the net, and the people in their kilts in the water and on the shore," called for an artist's pencil. Seventy trouts were caught, and several hawks were seen. The sailing was diversified by scrambling on shore. The return in the evening was still more beautiful. At dinner the German valet and Macdonald, the Highland forester, helped the footman to wait on the company. Whist, played with a dummy, and a walk round the little garden, "where the silence and solitude, only interrupted by the waving of the fir-trees, were very striking," ended the day.
The Queen and her family left Balmoral on the 27th. Travelling by Edinburgh and Berwick, they visited Earl Grey at Howick. Derby was the next halting-place. At Reading the travellers turned aside for Gosport, and soon arrived at Osborne.
Already, on the 16th of September, a special prayer had been read in every church in England, petitioning Almighty God to stay the plague of cholera which had sprung up in the East, travelled across the seas, and broken out among the people. But the dreaded epidemic had nothing to do with the sad news which burst upon the Queen and Prince Albert within, a few days of their return to the south. Both were much distressed by receiving the unexpected intelligence of the sudden death of Mr. Anson, who had been the Prince's private secretary, and latterly the keeper of the Queen's privy purse.
The offices which Mr. Anson filled in succession were afterwards worthily held by Colonel Phipps and General Grey.
OPENING OF THE NEW COAL EXCHANGE—THE DEATH OF QUEEN ADELAIDE.
On the 30th of October the new Coal Exchange, opposite Billingsgate, was to have been opened by the Queen in person. A slight illness—an attack of chicken-pox—compelled her Majesty to give up her intention, and forego the motherly pleasure of seeing her two elder children, the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal, make their first appearance in public. Prince Albert, with his son and daughter, accompanied by the Duke of Norfolk as Master of the Horse, drove from Buckingham Palace at twelve o'clock, and embarked on the Thames in the royal barge, "a gorgeous structure of antique design, built for Frederic, Prince of Wales, the great-great-grandfather of the Prince and Princess who now trod its deck." It was rowed by twenty-seven of the ancient craft of watermen, restored for a day to the royal service, clad in rich livery for the occasion, and commanded by Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence. Commander Eden, superintendent of Woolwich Dockyard, led the van in his barge. Then came Vice-Admiral Elliot, Commander-in-chief at the Nore; next the Lord Mayor's bailiff in his craft, preceding the Lord Mayor in the City barge, "rearing its quaint gilded poop high in the air, and decked with richly emblazoned devices and floating ensigns.... Two royal gigs and two royal barges escorted the State barge, posted respectively on its port and starboard bow, and its port and starboard quarter. The Queen's shallop followed; the barges of the Admiralty and the Trinity Corporation barge brought up the rear." [Footnote: Annual Register.] According to ancient custom one barge bore a graceful freight of living swans to do honour to the water procession. Such a grand and gay pageant on the river had not been seen for a century back. It only wanted some of the "water music," which Handel composed for George II., to render the gala complete.
It would be difficult to devise a scene more captivating for children of nine and ten, such as the pair who figured in it. Happily the day, though it was nearly the last of October, was beautiful and bright, and from the position which the royal party occupied in their barge when it was in the middle of the river, "not only the other barges and the platformed steamers and lighters with their living loads, but the densely-crowded banks, must have formed a memorable spectacle. The very streets running down from the Strand were so packed with spectators as to present each one a moving mass. Half a million of persons were gathered together to witness the unwonted sight; the bridges were hung over with them like swarms of flies, and from the throng at intervals shouts of welcome sounded long and loud." Between Southwark and London Bridge the rowers lay on their oars for a moment, in compliment to the ardent loyalty of the scholars of Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School. The most picturesque point was "at the moment the vessels emerged from London Bridge and caught sight of the amphitheatre of shipping in the Upper Pool—a literal forest of masts, with a foliage of flags more variously and brilliantly coloured than the American woods after the first autumn frost. Here, too, the ear was first saluted by the boom of guns, the Tower artillery firing as the procession swept by."
The landing-place on the Custom House Quay was so arranged, by means of coloured canvas, as to form a covered corridor the whole length of the quay, to and across Thames Street, to the principal entrance to the Coal Exchange.
Prince Albert and the young Prince and Princess passed down the corridor, "bowing to the citizens on either side," a critical ordeal for the simply reared children. When the Grand Hall of the Exchange was reached, the City procession came up, headed by the Lord Mayor, and the Recorder read aloud an address "with such emphatic solemnity," it was remarked, that the Prince of Wales seemed "struck and almost awed by his manner." Lady Lyttelton takes notice of the same comical effect produced on the little boy. Prince Albert replied.
At two o'clock the dejeuner was served, when the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress, at Prince Albert's request, sat near him. The usual toasts were given; the health of the Queen was drunk with "loudest cheers," that of the Queen-Dowager with "evident feeling," called forth by the fact that King William's good Queen, who had for long years struggled vainly with mortal disease, was, as everybody knew, drawing near her end. The toast of the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal was received with an enthusiasm that must have tended at once to elate and abash the little hero and heroine of the day.
At three o'clock the royal party re-embarked in the Fairy. As Prince Albert stepped on board, while expressing his gratification with the whole proceedings, he said to his children, with the gracious, kindly tact which was natural to him, "Remember that you are indebted to the Lord Mayor for one of the happiest days of your lives."
Before December wound up the year it was generally known that the Queen-Dowager Adelaide, who had in her day occupied a prominent place in the eyes of the nation, was to be released from the sufferings of many years.
In November Queen Victoria paid her last visit to the Queen-Dowager. "I shall never forget the visit we paid to the Priory last Thursday,", the Queen wrote to King Leopold. "There was death written in that dear face. It was such a picture of misery, of complete prostration, and yet she talked of everything. I could hardly command my feelings when I came in, and when I kissed twice that poor dear thin hand.... I love her so dearly; she has ever been so maternal in her affection to me. She will find peace and a reward for her many sufferings."
Queen Adelaide died quietly on the 2nd of December, at her country seat of Bentley Priory, in the fifty-eighth year of her age. Her will, which reflected her genuine modesty and humility, requested that she should be conveyed to the grave "without any pomp or state;" that she should have as private a funeral as was consistent with her rank; that her coffin should be "carried by sailors to the chapel;" that, finally, she should give as little trouble as possible.
The Queen-Dowager's wishes were strictly adhered to. There was no embalming, lying in State, or torchlight procession. The funeral started from the Priory at eight o'clock on a winter morning, and reached Windsor an hour after noon. There was every token of respect and affection, but an entire absence of show and ostentation. Nobody was admitted to St. George's Chapel except the mourners and those officially connected with the funeral. Few even of the Knights of the Garter were present. Among the few was the old Duke of Wellington, sitting silent and sad; Prince Albert and the Duke of Cambridge also occupied their stalls. The Duchess of Kent and the Duchess of Cambridge, with the Duchess of Saxe-Weimar and two Princesses of Saxe- Weimar, the late Queen's sister and nieces, were in the Queen's closet.
The Archbishop of Canterbury officiated. Ten sailors of the Royal Navy "gently propelled" the platform on which the coffin was placed to the mouth of the vault. Among the supporters of the pall were Lord Adolphus and Lord Frederick Fitzclarence. The chief mourner was the Duchess of Norfolk. Prince George of Cambridge and Prince Edward and Prince Gustaf of Saxe-Weimar, nephews of the late Queen, followed. Then came the gentlemen and ladies of her household. All the gentlemen taking part in the funeral were in plain black with black scarfs; each lady had a large black veil over her head.
After the usual psalms and lessons, Handel's anthem, "Her body is buried in peace," was sung. The black velvet pall was removed and the crown placed on the coffin, which, at the appropriate time in the service, was lowered to the side of King William's coffin. Sir Charles Young, King-at-Arms, proclaimed the rank and titles of the deceased. The late Queen's chamberlain and vice-chamberlain broke their staves of office amidst profound silence, and kneeling, deposited them upon the coffin. The organ played the "Dead March in Saul," and the company retired.
Long years after Queen Adelaide had lain in her grave, the publication of an old diary revived some foul-mouthed slanders, which no one is too pure to escape. But the coarse malice and gross falsehood of the accusations were so evident, that their sole result was to rebound with fatal effect on the memory of the man who retailed them.
PREPARATION FOR THE EXHIBITION—BIRTH OF THE DUKE OF CONNAUGHT—THE BLOW DEALT BY FATE—FOREIGN TROUBLES—ENGLISH ART.
The first great public meeting in the interest of the Exhibition was held in London in the February of this year, and on the 21st of March a banquet was given at the Mansion House to promote the same cause. Prince Albert was present, with the ministers and foreign ambassadors; and the mayors and provosts of all the principal towns in the United Kingdom were also among the guests. The Prince delivered an admirable speech to explain his view of the Exhibition.
It was at this time that the Duke of Wellington made the gratifying proposal that the Prince should succeed him as Commander-in-chief of the army, urging the suggestion by every argument in his power, and offering to supply the Prince with all the information and guidance which the old soldier's experience could command. After some quiet consideration the Prince declined the proposal, chiefly on the ground that the many claims which the high office would necessarily make on his time and attention, must interfere with his other and still more binding duties to the Queen and the country.
On May-day, 1850, her Majesty's third son and seventh child was born. The Prince, in announcing the event to the Dowager-Duchess of Coburg, says: "The little boy was received by his sisters with jubilates. 'Now we are just as many as the days of the week,' was the cry, and then a bit of a struggle arose as to who was to be Sunday. Out of well-bred courtesy the honour was conceded to the new-comer."
The circumstance that the 1st of May was the birthday of the Duke of Wellington determined the child's name, and perhaps, in a measure, his future profession. The Queen and the Prince were both so pleased to show this crowning mark of friendship from a sovereign to a subject, that they did not allow the day to pass without intimating their intention to the Duke. "It is a singular thing," the Queen wrote to Baron Stockmar, "that this so much wished-for boy should be born on the old Duke's eighty-first birthday. May that, and his beloved father's name, bring the poor little infant happiness and good fortune!"
An amusing episode of the Queen's visit to Ireland had been the passionate appeal of an old Irishwoman, "Och, Queen, dear! make one of them Prince Patrick, and all Ireland will die for you!" Whether or not her Majesty remembered the fervent request, Prince Arthur had Patrick for one of his names, certainly in memory of Ireland, and William for another, partly in honour of one of his godfathers—the present Emperor of Germany—and partly because it would have pleased Queen Adelaide, whose sister, Duchess Ida of Saxe-Weimar, was godmother. Prince Albert's name wound up the others. The child was baptized on the 22nd of June at Buckingham Palace. The two godfathers were present; so were the Duchesses of Kent and Cambridge (the Duke of Cambridge lay ill), Prince George and Princess Mary of Cambridge, the Prince of Leiningen, and Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar, the ministers and foreign ambassadors. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of London and Oxford, &c. &c., officiated. Prince Albert's chorale, "In life's gay morn," was performed again. After the christening there was a State banquet in the picture gallery. Prince Arthur was the finest of all the Queen's babies, and the royal nurseries still retain memories of his childish graces.
Before the ceremony of the christening, and within a month of the birth of her child, her Majesty was subjected to one of the most wanton and cowardly of all the attacks which half-crazed brains prompted their owners to make upon her person. She had driven out about six o'clock in the evening, with her children and Lady Jocelyn, to inquire for her uncle, the Duke of Cambridge, who was suffering from his last illness. While she was within the gates of Cambridge House, a tall, gentlemanlike man loitered at the entrance, as it appeared with the by no means uncommon wish to see the Queen. But when her carriage drove out, while it was leisurely turning the corner into the road, the man started forward, and, with a small stick which he held, struck the Queen a sharp blow on the face, crushing the bonnet she wore, and inflicting a severe bruise and slight wound on the forehead. The fellow was instantly seized and the stick wrested from his grasp, while he was conveyed to the nearest police-station.
The Queen drove home, and was able to show herself the same evening at the Opera, where she was received with the singing of the National Anthem and great cheering.
The offender was neither a boy nor of humble rank. He proved to be a man of thirty—a gentleman by birth and education.
The Prince wrote of the miserable occurrence to Baron Stockmar that its perpetrator was a dandy "whom you must often have seen in the Park, where he has made himself conspicuous. He maintains the closest silence as to his motives, but is manifestly deranged. All this does not help to make one cheerful."
The man was the son of a gentleman named Pate, of wealth and position, who had acted as sheriff of Cambridgeshire. The son had had a commission in the army, from which he had been requested to retire, on account of an amount of eccentricity that had led at least to one serious breach of discipline. He could give no reason for his conduct beyond making the statement that he had acted on a sudden uncontrollable impulse. He was tried in the following July. The jury refused to accept the plea of insanity, and he was sentenced, like his predecessor, to seven years' transportation.
At the date of the attack the minds of the Queen and the Prince, and indeed of a large portion of the civilised world, were much occupied with a serious foreign embroilment into which the Government had been drawn by what many people considered the restless and interfering policy of Lord Palmerston, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He had gone so far as to send a fleet into Greek waters for the protection of two British subjects claiming assistance, and in the act he had offended France and Russia.
Much political excitement was aroused, and there were keen and protracted debates in both Houses of Parliament. In the House of Lords something like a vote of censure of the foreign policy of the Government was moved and carried. In the House of Commons the debate lasted five nights, and the fine speech in which Lord Palmerston, a man in his sixty-sixth year, defended his policy, was continued "from the dusk of one day to the dawn of the next."
Apart from these troubles abroad, the country, on the whole, was in a prosperous and satisfactory condition. Trade was flourishing. Neither had literature fallen behind. Perhaps it had rarely shown a more brilliant galaxy of contemporary names, including those of John Stuart Mill in logic, Herbert Spencer in philosophy, Charles Darwin in natural science, Ruskin in art criticism, Helps as an essayist. And in this year Tennyson brought out his "In Memoriam," and Kingsley his "Alton Lock". It seemed but natural that the earlier lights should be dying out before the later; that Lord Jeffrey, the old king of critics, should pass beyond the sound of reviews; and Wordsworth, after this spring, be seen no more among the Cumberland hills and dales; and Jane Porter, whose innocent high-flown romances had been the delight of the young reading world more than fifty years before, should end her days, a cheerful old lady, in the prosaic town of Bristol.
In the Academy's annual exhibition the same old names of Landseer (with his popular picture of the Duke of Wellington showing his daughter-in-law, Lady Douro, the field of Waterloo), Maclise, Mulready, Stanfield, &c. &c., came still to the front. But a new movement, having a foreign origin, though in this case an English development, known as the pre-Raphaelite theory, with Millais, Holman Hunt, and Rossetti as its leaders, was already at work. This year there was a picture by Millais—still a lad of twenty-one—in support of the protest against conventionality in the beautiful, which did not fail to attract attention, though it excited as much condemnation as praise. The picture was "Christ in the House of His Parents," better known as "The Carpenter's Shop."
THE DEATHS OF SIR ROBERT PEEL, THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE, AND LOUIS PHILIPPE.
The Court had been at Osborne for the Whitsun holidays, and the Prince had written to Germany, "In our island home we are wholly given up to the enjoyment of the warm summer weather. The children catch butterflies, Victoria sits under the trees, and I drink the Kissingen water, Ragotzky. To-day mamma-aunt (the Duchess of Kent) and Charles (Prince of Leiningen) are come to stay a fortnight with us; then we go to town to compress the (so-called) pleasures of the season into four weeks. God be merciful to us miserable sinners."
There was more to be encountered in town this year, than the hackneyed round of gaieties—from which even royalty, with all the will in the world, could not altogether free itself. The first shock was the violent opposition, got up alike by the press and in Parliament, to Hyde Park as the site of the building required for the Exhibition. Following hard upon it came the melancholy news of the accident to Sir Robert Peel, which occurred at the very door, so simply and yet so fatally. Sir Robert, who, was riding out on Saturday, the 29th of June, had just called at Buckingham Palace and written his name in her Majesty's visiting-book. He was going up Constitution Hill, and had reached the wicket-gate leading into the Green Park, when he met Miss Ellis, Lady Dover's daughter, with whom he was acquainted, also riding. Sir Robert exchanged greetings with the young lady, and his horse became restive, "swerved towards the rails of the Green Park," and threw its rider, who had a bad seat in the saddle, sideways on his left shoulder. It was supposed that Sir Robert held by the reins, so as to drag the animal down with its knees on his shoulder.
He was taken home in a carriage, and laid on a sofa in his dining- room, from which he was never moved. At his death he was in his sixty- third year.
The vote of the House of Commons settled the question that Hyde Park should be the site of the Exhibition, and Punch's caricature, which the Prince enjoyed, of Prince Albert as "The Industrious Boy," cap in hand, uttering the petition—
"Pity the troubles of a poor young Price, Whose costly scheme has borne him to your door,"
lost all its sting, when such a fund was guaranteed as warranted the raising of the structure according to Sir Joseph Paxton's beautiful design.
The Queen and the Prince had many calls on their sympathy this summer. On the 8th of July the Duke of Cambridge died, aged seventy-six. He was the youngest of George III and Queen Charlotte's sons who attained manhood. He was one of the most popular of the royal brothers, notwithstanding the disadvantages of having been educated partly abroad, taken foreign service, and held appointments in Hanover which caused him to reside there for the most part till the death of William IV. Neither was he possessed of much ability. He had not even the scientific and literary acquirements of the Duke of Sussex, who had possessed one of the best private libraries in England. But the Duke of Cambridge's good-nature was equal to his love of asking questions— a hereditary trait. He was buried, according to his own wish, at Kew.
The House of Commons voted twelve thousand a year to Prince George, on his becoming Duke of Cambridge, in lieu of the twenty-seven thousand a year enjoyed by the late Duke.
Osborne was a more welcome retreat than ever at the close of the summer, but even Osborne could not shelter the Queen from political worry and personal sorrow. There were indications of renewed trouble from Lord Palmerston's "spirited foreign policy."
The Queen and the Prince believed they had reason to complain of Lord Palmerston's carelessness and negligence, in not forwarding in time copies of the documents passing through his department, which ought to have been brought under the notice both of the sovereign and the Prime Minister, and to have received their opinion, before the over- energetic Secretary for Foreign Affairs acted upon them on his own responsibility.
In these circumstances her Majesty wrote a memorandum of what she regarded as the duty of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs towards the Crown. The memorandum was written in a letter to Lord John Russell, which he was requested to show to Lord Palmerston.
Except the misunderstanding with Sir Robert Peel about the dismissal of the ladies of her suite, which occurred early in the reign, this is the only difference on record between the Queen and any of her ministers.
During this July at Osborne, Lady Lyttelton wrote her second vivid description, quoted in the "Life of the Prince Consort," of Prince Albert's organ-playing. "Last evening such a sunset! I was sitting, gazing at it, and thinking of Lady Charlotte Proby's verses, when from an open window below this floor began suddenly to sound the Prince's organ, expressively played by his masterly hand. Such a modulation! Minor and solemn, and ever changing and never ceasing. From a piano like Jenny Lind's holding note up to the fullest swell, and still the same fine vein of melancholy. And it came on so exactly as an accompaniment to the sunset. How strange he is! He must have been playing just while the Queen was finishing her toilette, and then he went to cut jokes and eat dinner, and nobody but the organ knows what is in him, except, indeed, by the look of his eyes sometimes."
Lady Lyttelton refers to the Prince's cutting jokes, and the Queen has written of his abiding cheerfulness. People are apt to forget in their very admiration of his noble thoughtfulness, earnestness, and tenderness of heart that he was also full of fun, keenly relishing a good story, the life of the great royal household.
The Queen had been grieved this summer by hearing of the serious illness of her greatest friend, the Queen of the Belgians, who was suffering from the same dangerous disease of which her sister, Princess Marie, had died. Probably it was with the hope of cheering King Leopold, and of perhaps getting a glimpse of the much-loved invalid, that the Queen, after proroguing Parliament in person, sailed on the 21st of August with the Prince and their four elder children in the royal yacht on a short trip to Ostend, where the party spent a day. King Leopold met the visitors—the younger of whom were much interested by their first experience of a foreign town. The Queen had the satisfaction of finding her uncle well and pleased to see her, so that she could call the meeting afterwards a "delightful, happy dream;" but there was a sorrowful element in the happiness, occasioned by the absence of Queen Louise, whose strength was not sufficient for the journey to Ostend, and of whose case Sir James Clark, sent by the Queen to Laeken, thought badly.
The poor Orleans family had another blow in store for them. On Prince Albert's thirty-first birthday, the 26th of August, which he passed at Osborne, news arrived of the death that morning, at Claremont, of Louis Philippe, late King of the French, in his seventy-seventh year.
The Queen and the Prince had been prepared to start with their elder children for Scotland the day after they heard of the death, and by setting out at six o'clock in the morning they were enabled to pay a passing visit to the house of mourning.
We may be permitted to remark here, by what quiet, unconscious touches in letters and journals we have brought home to us the dual life, full of duty and kindliness, led by the highest couple in the land. Whether it is in going with a family of cousins to take the last look at a departed kinsman, or in getting up at daybreak to express personal sympathy with another family in sorrow, we cannot fail to see, while it is all so simply said and done, that no painful ordeal is shirked, no excuse is made of weighty tasks and engrossing occupations, to free either Queen or Prince from the gentle courtesies and tender charities of everyday humanity; we recognise that the noblest and busiest are also the bravest, the most faithful, the most full of pity.
THE QUEEN'S FIRST STAY AT HOLYROOD—LIFE IN THE HIGHLANDS—THE DEATH OF THE QUEEN OF THE BELGIANS.
This year the Queen went north by Castle Howard, the fine seat of the Earl of Carlisle, the Duchess of Sutherland's brother, where her Majesty made her first halt. After stopping to open the railway bridges, triumphs of engineering, over the Tyne and the Tweed, the travellers reached Edinburgh, where, to the gratification of an immense gathering of her Scotch subjects, her Majesty spent her first night in Holyrood, the palace of her Stewart ancestors. The place was full of interest and charm for her, and though it was late in the afternoon before she arrived, she hardly waited to rest, before setting out incognito, so far as the old housekeeper was concerned, to inspect the historical relics of the building. She wandered out with her "two girls and their governess" to the ruins of the chapel or old abbey, and stood by the altar at which Mary Stewart, the fair young French widow, wedded "the long lad Darnley," and read the inscriptions on the tombs of various members of noble Scotch houses, coming to a familiar name on the slab which marked the grave of the mother of one of her own maids of honour, a daughter of Clanranald's.
The Queen then visited Queen Mary's rooms, being shown, like other strangers, the closet where her ancestress had sat at supper on a memorable night, and the stair from the chapel up which Ruthven, risen from a sick-bed, led the conspirators who seized Davie Rizzio, dragged him from his mistress's knees, to which he clung, and slew him pitilessly on the boards which, according to old tradition, still bear the stain of his blood. After that ghastly token, authentic or non- authentic, which would thrill the hearts of the young princesses as it has stirred many a youthful imagination, Darnley's armour and Mary's work-table, with its embroidery worked by her own hand, must have fallen comparatively flat.
The next morning the Queen and the Prince, with their children, took their first drive round the beautiful road, then just completed, which bears her name, and, encircling Arthur's Seat, is the goal of every stranger visiting Edinburgh, affording as it does in miniature an excellent idea of Scotch scenery. On this occasion the party alighted and climbed to the top of the hill, rejoicing in the view. "You see the beautiful town, with the Calton Hill, and the bay with the island of Inchkeith stretching out before you, and the Bass Rock quite in the distance, rising behind the coast.... The view when we gained the carriage hear Dunsappie Loch, quite a small lake, overhung by a crag, with the sea in the distance, is extremely pretty.... The air was delicious."
In the course of the forenoon the Prince laid the foundation stone of the Scotch National Gallery, and made his first speech (which was an undoubted success) before one of those Edinburgh audiences, noted for their fastidiousness and critical faculty. The afternoon drive was by the beautiful Scott monument, the finest modern ornament of the city, Donaldson's Hospital, the High Street, and the Canongate, and the lower part of the Queen's Drive, which encloses the Queen's Park. "A beautiful park indeed," she wrote, "with such a view, and such mountain scenery in the midst of it."
In the evening there was assembled such a circle as had not been gathered in royal old Holyrood since poor Prince Charlie kept brief state there. Her Majesty wrote in her journal, "The Buccleuchs, the Roxburghs, the Mortons, Lord Roseberry, Principal Lee, the Belhavens, and the Lord Justice General, dined with us. Everybody so pleased at our living at my old palace." The talk seems to have been, as was fitting, on old times and the unfortunate Queen Mary, the heroine of Holyrood. Sir Theodore Martin thinks it may have been in remembrance of this evening that Lord Belhaven, on his death, left a bequest to the Queen "of a cabinet which had been brought by Queen Mary from France, and given by her to the Regent Mar, from whom it passed into the family of Lord Belhaven." The cabinet contains a lock of Queen Mary's golden hair, and a purse worked by her.
On the following day the royal party left Holyrood and travelled to Balmoral. The Queen, with the Prince and her children, and the Duchess of Kent, with her son and grandson, were at the great gala of the district, the Braemar gathering, where the honour of her Majesty's presence is always eagerly craved.
Another amusement was the leistering, or spearing, of salmon in the Dee. Captain Forbes of Newe, and from forty to fifty of his clan, on their return to Strathdon from the Braemar gathering, were attracted by the fishing to the river's edge, when they were carried over the water on the backs of the Queen's men, who volunteered the service, "Macdonald, at their head, carrying Captain Forbes on his back." The courteous act, which was quite spontaneous, charmed the Queen and the Prince. The latter in writing to Germany gave further details of the incident. "Our people in the Highlands are altogether primitive, true-hearted and without guile.... Yesterday the Forbeses of Strath Don passed through here. When they came to the Dee our people (of Strath Dee) offered to carry them across the river, and did so, whereupon they drank to the health of Victoria and the inmates of Balmoral in whisky (schnapps), but as there was no cup to be had, their chief, Captain Forbes, pulled off his shoe, and he and his fifty men drank out of it."
The Forbeses got permission to march through the grounds of Balmoral, "the pipers going, in front. They stopped and cheered three times three, throwing up their bonnets." The Queen describes the characteristic demonstration, and she then mentions listening with pleasure "to the distant shouts and the sound of the pibroch."
There were two drawbacks to the peace and happiness of Balmoral this year. The one was occasioned by an unforeseen vexatious occurrence, and the complications which arose from it. General Haynau, the Austrian officer whose brutalities to the conquered and to women during the Hungarian war had aroused detestation in England, happened to visit London, and was attacked by the men in Barclay's brewery. Austria remonstrated, and Lord Palmerston made a rash reply, which had to be recalled.
The other care which darkened the Balmoral horizon in 1850 was the growing certainty of a fatal termination to the illness of the Queen of the Belgians. Immediately after the Court returned to Osborne the blow fell. Queen Louise died at Ostend on the 11th of October, 1850. She was only in her thirty-ninth year, not more than eight years older than Queen Victoria. She was the second daughter of Louis Philippe, Princess Marie having been the elder sister.
THE PAPAL BULL—THE GREAT EXHIBITION.
In the winter of 1850 the whole of England was disturbed by the Papal Bull which professed to divide England afresh into Roman Catholic bishoprics, with a cardinal-archbishop at their head. Protestant England hotly resented the liberty the Pope had taken, the more so that the Tractarian movement in the Church seemed to point to treachery within the camp. Lord John Russell took this view of it, and the announcement of his opinion intensified the excitement which expressed itself, in meetings all over the county and numerous addresses to the Queen, condemning the act of aggression and urging resistance. The protests of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and of the Corporation of London, were presented to her Majesty in St. George's Hall, Windsor Castle, on the 10th of December. The Oxford address was read by the Chancellor of Oxford, the Duke of Wellington, the old soldier speaking "in his peculiar energetic manner with great vigour and animation." The Cambridge address was read by the Chancellor of Cambridge, Prince Albert, "with great clearness and well-marked emphasis." The Queen replied "with great deliberation and with decided accents." Her Majesty, while repelling the invasion of her rights and the offence to the religious principles of the country, held, with the calmer judges of the situation, that no pretence, however loudly asserted, could constitute reality. The Pope might call England what he liked, but he could not make it Catholic.
In January, 1851, the Court had a great loss in the retirement of Lady Lyttelton from her office of governess to the royal children, which she had filled for eight years; while her service at Court, including the time that she had been a lady-in-waiting, had lasted over twelve years. Thenceforth her bright sympathetic accounts of striking events in the life at Windsor and Osborne cease. The daughter of the second Earl of Spenser married, at twenty-six years of age, the third Lord Lyttelton. She was forty-two when she became a lady-in-waiting, and fifty-four when she resigned the office of governess to the Queen's children. She desired to quit the Court because, as she said, she was old enough to be at rest for whatever time might be left her. In the tranquillity and leisure which she sought, she survived for twenty years, dying at the age of seventy-four in 1870. The parting in 1851 was a trial to all. "The Queen has told me I may be free about the middle of January," wrote Lady Lyttelton, "and she said it with all the feeling and kindness of which I have received such incessant proofs through the whole long twelve years during which I have served her. Never by a word or look has it been interrupted." Neither could Lady Lyttelton say enough in praise of the Prince, of "his wisdom, his ready helpfulness, his consideration for others, his constant kindness." "In the evening I was sent for to my last audience in the Queen's own room," Lady Lyttelton wrote again, "and I quite broke down and could hardly speak or hear. I remember the Prince's face, pale as ashes, and a few words of praise and thanks from them both, but it is all misty; and I had to stop on the private staircase and have my cry out before I could go up again."
Lady Lyttelton was succeeded in her office by Lady Caroline Barrington, sister of Earl Grey, who held the post for twenty-four years, till her death in 1875. She too was much and deservedly esteemed by the Queen and the royal family.
The Exhibition was the event in England of 1851. From the end of March till the opening-day, for which May-day was fitly chosen, Prince Albert strove manfully day and night to fulfil his important part in the programme, and it goes without saying that the Queen shared in much of his work, and in all his hopes and fears and ardent desires.
Already the building, with its great transept and naves, lofty dome, transparent walls and roof, enclosing great trees within their ample bounds, the chef-d'-oeuvre of Sir Joseph Paxton—who received knighthood for the feat—the admiration of all beholders, had sprung up in Hyde Park like a fairy palace, the growth of a night. Ships and waggons in hundreds and thousands, laden by commerce, science and art, were trooping from far and near to the common destination. Great and small throughout the country and across the seas were planning to make the Exhibition their school of design and progress, as well as their holiday goal.
It must be said that the dread of what might be the behaviour of the vast crowds of all nations gathered together at one spot, and that spot London, assailed many people both at home and abroad. But as those who are not "evil-doers" are seldom "evil-dreaders," the Queen and the Prince always dismissed the idea of such a danger with something like bright incredulous scorn, which proved in the end wiser than cynical suspicion and gloomy apprehension.
The Exhibition of 1851, with its reverent motto, chosen by Prince Albert, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the compass of the world, and they that dwell therein," is an old story now, and only elderly people remember some of its marvels—like the creations of the "Arabian Nights'" tales—and its works of art, which, though they may have been excelled before and since, had never yet been so widely seen and widely criticised. The feathery palm-trees and falling fountains, especially the great central cascade, seemed to harmonize with objects of beauty and forms of grace on every side. The East contended with the West in soft and deep colours and sumptuous stuffs. Huge iron machines had their region, and trophies of cobweb lace theirs; while "walking-beams" clanked and shuttles flew, working wonders before amazed and enchanted-eyes.
Especially never had there been seen, such modern triumphs in carved woodwork, in moulded iron, zinc, and bronze, in goldsmiths' work, in stoneware and porcelain, in designs for damasks in silk and linen.
The largest diamond in the world, the Koh-i-Noor or "mountain of light," found in the mines of Golconda, presented to the great Mogul, having passed through the hands of a succession of murderous and plundering Shahs, had been brought to England and laid at the feet of Queen Victoria as one of the fruits of her Afghan conquests, the year before the Exhibition. It was now for the first time publicly displayed. Like many valuable articles, its appearance, marred by bad cutting, did not quite correspond with the large estimate of its worth, about two millions. In order to increase its effect, the precious clumsily-cut "goose's egg," relieved against a background of crimson velvet in its strong cage, was shown by gas-light alone. Since those days, the jewel has been cut, so that its radiance may have full play when it is worn by her Majesty on great occasions. To keep the Koh-i-Noor in company, one of the largest emeralds and one of the largest pearls in the world were in this Exhibition. So were "le saphir merveilleux"—of amethystine colour by candle-light, once the property of Egalite Orleans, and the subject of a tale by Madame Genlis-and a renowned Hungarian opal.
Hiram Powers's "Greek Slave" from America more than rivalled Monti's veiled statue from Italy, while far surpassing both in majesty was Kiss's grand group of the "Mounted Amazon defending herself from, the attack of a Lioness," cast in zinc and bronzed. Statues and statuettes of the Queen abounded, and must have constantly met her eye, from Mrs. Thornycroft's spirited equestrian statue to the great pedestal and statue, in zinc, of her Majesty, crowned, in robes of State, with the sceptre in one hand and the orb in the other, modelled by Danton, which stood in the centre of the foreign nave.
What enhanced the fascination of the scene to untravelled spectators was that without the deliberate contrivance brought to perfection in the great Paris Exhibition, real Chinamen walked among their junks and pagodas, Russians stood by their malachite gates, Turks hovered about their carpets.
Women's quaint or exquisite work, whether professional or amateur, was not absent. It was notable in the magnificent covers for the head and footboard of a bed which had occupied thirty girls for many weeks, and in a carpet worked in squares by a company of ladies, and presented as a tribute of their respect and love for the most unremittingly diligent woman in England, her Majesty the Queen.
THE QUEEN'S ACCOUNT OF THE OPENING OF THE EXHIBITION.
Of all the many descriptions of the Exhibition of 1851, which survive after more than thirty years, the best are those written by the Queen, which we gratefully borrow, as we have already borrowed so many of the extracts from her journal in the Prince's "Life."
Sir Theodore Martin has alluded to the special attraction lent to the Exhibition on its opening day by the excitement of the glad ceremonial, the throng of spectators, the Court element with "its splendid toilets" and uniforms, while Thackeray has a verse for the chief figure.
Behold her in her royal place, A gentle lady, and the hand That sways the sceptre of this land, How frail and weak Soft is the voice and fair the face; She breathes amen to prayer and hymn No wonder that her eyes are dim, And pale her cheek.
But she has deigned to speak for herself, and no other speaks words so noble and tender in their simplicity.
"May 1st. The great event has taken place, a complete and beautiful triumph, a glorious and touching sight, one which I shall ever be proud of for my beloved Albert and my country.... Yes, it is a day which makes my heart swell with pride and glory and thankfulness.
"We began it with tenderest greetings for the birthday of our dear little Arthur. At breakfast there was nothing but congratulations.... Mamma and Victor (the Queen's nephew, son of the Princess of Hohenlohe, now well-known as Count Gleichen) were there, and all the children and our guests. Our humble gifts of toys were added to by a beautiful little bronze replica of the 'Amazon' (Kiss's) from the Prince (of Prussia), a beautiful paper-knife from the Princess (of Prussia), and a nice little clock from mamma.
"The Park presented a wonderful spectacle, crowds streaming through it, carriages and troops passing quite like the Coronation day, and for me the same anxiety; no, much greater anxiety, on account of my beloved Albert. The day was bright, and all bustle and excitement.... At half-past eleven the whole procession, in State carriages, was in motion.... The Green Park and Hyde Park were one densely crowded mass of human beings in the highest good-humour and most enthusiastic. I never saw Hyde Park look as it did, as far as the eye could reach. A little rain fell just as we started, but before we came near the Crystal Palace the sun shone and gleamed upon the gigantic edifice, upon which the flags of all the nations were floating. We drove up Rotten Row and got out at the entrance on that side.
"The glimpse of the transept through the iron gates—the waving palms, flowers, statues, myriads of people filling the galleries and seats around, with the flourish of trumpets as we entered, gave us a sensation which, I can never forget, and I felt much moved. We went for a moment to a little side-room, where we left our shawls, and where we found mamma and Mary (now Duchess of Teck), and outside which were standing the other Princes. In a few seconds we proceeded, Albert leading me, having Vicky at his hand, and Bertie holding mine. The sight as we came to the middle, where the steps and chair (which I did not sit on) were placed, with the beautiful crystal fountain in front of it, was magical—so vast, so glorious, so touching. One felt, as so many did whom I have since spoken to, filled with devotion, more so than by any service I have ever heard. The tremendous cheers, the joy expressed in every face, the immensity of the building, the mixture of palms, flowers, trees, statues, fountains—the organ (with two hundred instruments and six hundred voices, which sounded like nothing), and my beloved husband the author of this peace festival, which united the industry of all nations of the earth—all this was moving indeed, and it was and is a day to live for ever. God bless my dearest Albert, God bless my dearest country, which has shown itself so great to-day! One felt so grateful to the great God who seemed to pervade all and to bless all. The only event it in the slightest degree reminded me of was the Coronation, but this day's festival was a thousand times superior. In fact it is unique and can bear no comparison, from its peculiarity, beauty, and combination of such different and striking objects. I mean the slight resemblance only as to its solemnity; the enthusiasm and cheering, too, were much more touching, for in a church naturally all is silent.
"Albert left my side after "God save the Queen" had been sung, and at the head of the commissioners, a curious assemblage of political and distinguished men, read me the report, which is a long one, and to which I read a short answer; after which the Archbishop of Canterbury offered up a short and appropriate prayer, followed by the "Hallelujah Chorus," during which the Chinese mandarin came forward and made his obeisance. This concluded, the procession began. It was beautifully arranged and of great length, the prescribed order being exactly adhered to. The nave was full, which had not been intended; but still there was no difficulty, and the whole long walk, from one end to the other, was made in the midst of continued and deafening cheers and waving of handkerchiefs. Everyone's face was bright and smiling, many with tears in their eyes. Many Frenchmen called out "Vive la Reine!" One could, of course, see nothing but what was near in the nave, and nothing in the courts. The organs were but little heard, but the military band at one end had a very fine effect as we passed along. They played the march from Athalie.... The old Duke and Lord Anglesey walked arm in arm, which was a touching sight. I saw many acquaintances among those present. We returned to our own place, and Albert told Lord Breadalbane to declare that the Exhibition was opened, which he did in a loud voice: 'Her Majesty commands me to declare this Exhibition open,' which was followed by a flourish of trumpets and immense cheering. All the commissioners, the executive committee, who worked so hard, and to whom such immense praise is due, seemed truly happy, and no one more so than Paxton, who may be justly proud; he rose from being a common gardener's boy. Everybody was astonished and delighted, Sir George Grey (Home Secretary) in tears.
"The return was equally satisfactory, the crowd most enthusiastic, the order perfect. We reached the palace at twenty minutes past one, and went out on the balcony and were loudly cheered, the Prince and Princess (of Prussia) quite delighted and impressed. That we felt happy, thankful, I need not say; proud of all that had passed, of my darling husband's success, and of the behaviour of my good people. I was more impressed than I can say by the scene. It was one that can never be effaced from my memory, and never will be from that of any one who witnessed it. Albert's name is immortalised, and the wicked reports of dangers of every kind, which a set of people, viz. the soi disant fashionables, the most violent Protectionists, spread, are silenced. It is therefore doubly satisfactory, and that all should have gone off so well, and without the slightest accident or mishap.... Albert's emphatic words last year, when he said that the feeling would be that of deep thankfulness to the Almighty for the blessings which He has bestowed on us here below this day realised....
"I must not omit to mention an interesting episode of this day, viz:— the visit of the good old Duke on this his eighty-second birthday to his little godson, our dear little boy. He came to us both at five, and gave him a golden cup and some toys, which he had himself chosen, and Arthur gave him a nosegay.
"We dined en famille, and then went to the Covent Garden Opera, where we saw the two finest acts of the Huguenots given as beautifully as last year. I was rather tired, but we were both so happy, so full of thankfulness! God is indeed our kind and merciful Father."
In answer to Lord John Russell's statement, on the close of the Exhibition, that the great enterprise and the spirit in which it had been conducted would contribute "to give imperishable fame to Prince Albert," the Queen asserted that year would ever remain the happiest and proudest of her life.
THE QUEEN'S "RESTORATION BALL" AND THE "GUILDHALL BALL."
The season of the first Exhibition was full of movement and gaiety, in which the Queen and Prince Albert joined. They had also the pleasure of welcoming their brother and sister, the Duke and Duchess of Saxe Coburg, who arrived to witness the Prince's triumph. As usual he came forward on every occasion when his services, to which his position and personal gifts lent double value, were needed—whether he presided at an Academy dinner, or at a meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, or laid the foundation of the Hospital for Consumption, or attended the meeting of the British Association, and the Queen delighted in his popularity and usefulness.
On the 4th of May Baroness Bunsen was at Stafford House "when her there," and thus describes the Queen. "The Queen looked charming, and I could not help the same reflection that I have often made before, that she is the only piece of female royalty I ever saw who was also a creature such as almighty God has created. Her smile is a real smile, her grace is natural; although it has received a high polish from cultivation, there is nothing artificial about it. Princes I have seen several whose first characteristic is that of being men rather than princes, though not many. The Duchess of Sutherland is the only person I have seen, when receiving the Queen, not giving herself the appearance of a visitor in her own house by wearing a bonnet."
On the 16th of May the Queen and the Prince were at Devonshire House, when Lord Lytton's comedy of "Not so Bad as we Seem" was played by Dickens, Foster, Douglas Jerrold, on behalf of the new "Guild of Literature and Art," in which hopes for poor authors were cheerfully entertained.
On the 23rd of May Lord Campbell was anticipating the Queen's third costume ball with as much complacency as if the eminent lawyer had been a young girl. "We are invited to the Queen's fancy ball on the 13th of June," he wrote "where we are all to appear in the characters and costume of the reign of Charles II. I am to go as Sir Matthew Hale, Chief Justice, and I am now much occupied in considering my dress, that is to say, which robe I am to wear—scarlet, purple, or black. The only new articles I shall have to order are my black velvet coif, a beard with moustaches, and a pair of shoes with red heels, and red rosettes."
The period chosen for the Restoration Ball was the time midway between the dates of the Plantagenet and the Powder Ball.
As on former occasions, the Court walked in procession to the throne- room, where each quadrille passed in turn before the Queen and Prince Albert.
Her Majesty's dress was of grey watered silk, trimmed with gold and silver lace, and ornamented with bows of rose-coloured riband fastened by bouquets of diamonds. The front of the dress was open, and the under-skirt was made of cloth of gold embroidered in a shawl pattern in silver. The gloves and shoes were embroidered alternately with roses and fleurs-de-lys in gold. On the front of the body of the dress were four large pear-shaped emeralds of great value. The Queen wore a small diamond crown on the top of her head, and a large emerald set in diamonds, with pearl loops, on one side of the head; the hair behind plaited with pearls.
Prince Albert wore a coat of rich orange satin, brocaded with gold, the sleeves turned up with crimson velvet, a pink silk epaulette on one shoulder; a baldrick of gold lace embroidered with silver for the sword; the breeches of crimson velvet with pink satin bows and gold lace, the stockings of lavender silk, the sash of white silk, gold fringed.
There were four national quadrilles. The English Quadrille was led by the Marchioness of Ailesbury; the Scotch Quadrille was under the guidance of the young Marchioness of Stafford, daughter-in-law of the Duke of Sutherland; the French Quadrille was led by Countess Flahault, the representative of the old barons Keith, and the wife of a brilliant Frenchman; the Spanish Quadrille was marshalled by Countess Granville. There were two more Quadrilles, the one under the control of the Countess of Wilton, the other, called the "Rose Quadrille," led by Countess Grey.
With all due deference to the opinion of the late Mr. Henry Greville, the accounts of these quadrilles leave the impression not only that they were arranged with finer taste, but that a considerable advance had been made in artistic perception and sense of harmony. The ladies in each quadrille were dressed alike, so were the gentlemen; thus there were no harsh contrasts. In the English set the ladies wore blue and white silk gowns with trimmings of rose-colour and gold. The gentlemen were in scarlet and gold, and blue velvet. Lady Waterford was in this set, and Lady Churchill, daughter of the Marquis of Conyngham, long connected with the Court. The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Edward of Saxe Weimar were among the gentlemen in the set.
Certainly it is a little hard to decide on what principle the exceedingly piquant costume of the ladies in the Scotch Quadrille was classed as Scotch. The ladies wore riding-habits of pale green taffeta ornamented with bows of pink ribbon, and had on grey hats with pink and white feathers. Lady Stafford carried a jewelled riding-whip. The gentlemen were in Highland costume.
In the French Quadrille the ladies wore white satin with bows of light blue ribbon opening over cloth of gold. The gentlemen were in the uniform of Mousquetaires. In this quadrille danced Lady Clementina Villiers, with her "marble-like beauty." She had ceased to be a Watteau shepherdess, and she had lost her companion shepherdess of old, but her intellectual gifts and fine qualities were developing themselves more and more. In the same dance was Lady Rose Lovell, the young daughter of the Duke of Beaufort, whose elopement at the age of seventeen with a gallant one-armed soldier had been condoned, so that she still played her part in the Court gala.
In the Spanish Quadrille the ladies wore black silk over grey damask, trimmed with gold lace and pink rosettes, and Spanish mantillas. The gentlemen were in black velvet, with a Spanish order embroidered in red silk on coat and cloak, grey silk stockings, and black velvet hats with red and yellow feathers. In this quadrille were the matronly beauties Lady Canning, Lady Jocelyn, and Lady Waldegrave.
After the quadrilles had been danced, the ladies falling into lines, advanced to the throne and did reverence, the gentlemen forming in like manner and performing the same ceremony. Her Majesty, and Prince Albert then proceeded to the ballroom, where Lady Wilton's and Lady Grey's quadrilles were danced. In the Rose Quadrille the ladies wore rose-coloured skirts over white moire, with rose-coloured bows and pearls, rose colour and pearls in the hair. Each lady wore a single red rose on her breast.
After the quadrilles, the Queen opened the general ball by dancing the Polonnaise with Prince Albert, the Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Edward of Saxe Weimar; Prince Albert dancing next with the Duchess of Norfolk, the premier peeress present. The Queen danced after supper with the Prince of Leiningen. He was at the Restoration as he had been at the Powder Ball, and wore black velvet and gold lace with orange ribbons.
The characters seem to have been chosen with more point than before. The Countess of Tankerville personated a Duchesse de Grammont, in right of her mother-in-law, Corisande de Grammont, grand-daughter of Marie Antoinette's friend Gabrielle de Polignac.
Lady Ashburton was Madame de Sevigne, whose fashion of curls beginning in rings on the forehead and getting longer and longer towards the neck, was as much in demand for the ladies, as Philip Leigh's lovelocks were for the gentlemen.
Lady Hume Campbell was "La Belle Duchesse de Bourgogne;" Lady Middleton, Lucy Percy, Countess of Carlisle. Mrs. Abbot Lawrence vindicated her American nationality by representing Anna Dudley, the wife of an early governor of Massachusetts; Mr. Bancroft Davies, secretary of the United States legation, figured as William Penn.
Lady Londonderry and Miss Burdett Coutts were still remarkable for the splendour of their jewels. Lady Londonderry wore a girdle of diamonds, a diamond berthe, and a head-dress a blaze of precious stones, the whole valued roughly at a hundred and fifty thousand pounds. Miss Burdett Coutts displayed a band of jewels, after the fashion of the gentlemen's baldricks, passing over one shoulder and terminating in a diamond clasp fastening back the upper skirt. After diamonds, which, like the blossom of the gorse, may be considered as always a la mode, the specialities of the Restoration Ball were Honiton lace, which was reckoned in better keeping with falling collars than old point, and an enormous expenditure of ribbons. Some of the magnificent collars, such as that of Lord Overton, were manufactured for the occasion. As for ribbons, not only did ladies' dresses abound in bows and rosettes, the gentlemen's doublets, "trunks," and sleeves, were profusely beribboned. The very shirt-sleeves, exposed by the coat- sleeves terminating at the elbow, were bound and festooned with ribbons; while from the ends of the waistcoat hung a waterfall of ribbons, like a Highlander's philabeg. Verily, the heart of Coventry must have rejoiced; the Restoration Ball might have been got up for its special benefit.
The Duke of Wellington was in the scarlet and gold uniform of the period, but he alone of all the gentlemen was privileged to wear his own scanty grey hair, which rendered him conspicuous. The old man walked between his two daughters-in-law, Lady Douro and Lady Charles Wellesley.
Lord Galway wore a plain cuirass and gorget so severely simple that it might have been mistaken for the guise of one of Cromwell's officers, who were otherwise unrepresented.
Mr. Gladstone was there as Sir Leoline Jenkins, judge of the High Court of Admiralty in Charles's reign. His dress was copied from an engraving in the British Museum. It was quiet enough, but it is difficult to realise "the grand old man" of to-day in a velvet coat turned up with blue satin, ruffles and collar of old point, black breeches and stockings, and shoes with spreading bows.
Sir Edwin Landseer, whom Miss Thackeray has described as helping to dress some of the ladies for this very ball, was so studiously plain that it must have looked like a protest against the use of "properties" in his apparel. He wore a dress of black silk, with no cloak, no mantle, no skirts to his coat. Round his neck was a light blue scarf, hanging low behind. He had on a grey wig, imitating partial baldness. There could have been no doubt of the historical correctness of the dress, though there might have been some question of its becomingness.
There were changes of some importance in the royal household at this time, caused by the retirement of General, afterwards Sir George Bowles, the Master of the Household, and of Mr. Birch, tutor to the Prince of Vales. With the assistance of Baron Stockmar, fitting successors for those gentlemen were found in Sir Thomas Biddulph and Mr. Frederick Gibbes.
The ball at Guildhall had been fixed for the 2nd of July, but the day was changed when it was remembered that the 2nd was the anniversary of the death of Sir Robert Peel. The entertainment was a very splendid affair. The city was continually progressing in taste and skill in these matters, and the times were so prosperous as to admit of large expenditure without incurring the charge of reckless extravagance. The Queen, Prince Albert, and their suite left Buckingham Palace, in State carriages, at nine o'clock on the summer evening, and drove through brilliantly illuminated streets, densely crowded with large numbers of foreigners as well as natives.
The great hall where the ball took place was magnificently fitted up, many ideas for the decoration being borrowed from the Exhibition. Thus there was a striking array of banners emblazoned with the arms of the nations and cities which had contributed to the Exhibition. "Above the centre shaft of each cluster of columns, shot up towards the roof a silver palm-tree, glittering and sparkling in the brilliant light so profusely shed around. On touching the roof these spread forth and ended in long branches of bright clustering broad leaves of green and gold, from which hung pendant rich bunches of crimson and ruby sparkling fruit." The compartments beneath the balconies were filled with pictures of the best known and most admired foreign contributions to the Exhibition—such as the Amazon group, the Malachite gates, the Greek Slave; &c., &c. Huge griffins had their places at the corners of the dais supporting the throne, while above it a gigantic plume of Prince of Wales's feathers reared itself in spun glass. The chambers and corridors of the Mansion House were fitted up with "acres of looking-glass, statuary, flowers, &c., &c.," provided for the crowd of guests that could not obtain admittance to the hall, where little room was left for dancing. The supper, to which the Queen was conducted, was in the crypt. It was made to resemble a baronial hall, "figures in mediaeval armour being scattered about as the bearers of the lights which illuminated the chamber." Before leaving, in thanking the Lord Mayor (Musgrove) for his hospitality, the Queen announced her intention of creating him a baronet. Her Majesty and the Prince took their departure at one o'clock, returning to Buckingham Palace through the lit streets and huzzaing multitude.
ROYAL VISITS TO LIVERPOOL AND MANCHESTER—CLOSE OF THE EXHIBITION.
On the 27th of August the Court left for Balmoral, travelling for the most part by the Great Northern Railway, but not, as now, making a rapid night and day journey. On the contrary, the journey lasted three days, with pauses for each night's rest between. Starting from Osborne at nine, the Royal party reached Buckingham Palace at half-past twelve. Halting for an hour and a half, they set off again at two. They stopped at Peterborough, where old Dr. Fisher, the Bishop, was able to greet in his Queen the little Princess who had repeated her lessons to him in Kensington Palace. No longer a solitary figure but for the good mother, she was herself a wife and mother, the happiest of the happy in both relations. The train stopped again at Boston and Lincoln for the less interesting purpose of the presentation and reception of congratulatory addresses on the Exhibition. The same ceremony was gone through at Doncaster where the party stayed for the night at the Angel Inn.
Leaving before nine on the following morning, after changing the line of railway at York, and stopping at Darlington and Newcastle, Edinburgh was reached in the course of the afternoon. Her Majesty and the Prince, with their children, proceeded to Holyrood, and before the evening was ended drove for an hour through the beautiful town. Here, too, the Exhibition bore its fruit in the honour of knighthood conferred on the Lord Provost.
On the third morning the travellers left again at eight o'clock, and journeyed as far as Stonehaven, where the royal carriages met them, and conveyed them to Balmoral, which was reached by half-past six. The Prince had now bought the castle and estate, seven miles in length, and four in breadth, and plans were formed for a new house more suitable for the accommodation of so large a household.
On the day after the Queen and Prince Albert's arrival in the Highlands, he received the news of the death of his uncle, brother to the late Duke of Coburg and to the Duchess of Kent, Duke Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg.
There is little to record of the happy sojourn in the North this year, with its deer-stalking, riding and driving, except that Hallam, the historian, and Baron Liebig, the famous chemist, visited Sir James Clark, the Queen's physician, at Birkhall, which he occupied, and were among the guests at Balmoral.
It had been arranged that the Queen and the Prince should visit Liverpool and Manchester on their way south, in order to give the great cities of Lancashire the opportunity of greeting and welcoming their Sovereign. It was the 8th of October before the royal party set out on their homeward journey, ending the first of the shortening days at Holyrood.
On the following day the strangers went on to the ancient dull little town of Lancaster, and drove to the castle, where the keys were presented, and an address read under John O'Gaunt's gateway. The tower stairs were mounted for the view over Morcambe Bay and the English lake country on the one hand, and away across level lands to the sea on the other. Every native of the town "wore a red rose or a red rosette, as emblems of the House of Lancaster."
The Queen and the Prince then proceeded to Prescot, where they left the railway, driving through Lord Derby's fine park at Knowsley, to be the guests of the Earl of Sefton at Croxteth. Next morning, when Liverpool was to be visited, a contretemps occurred. The weather was hopelessly wet; the whole party had to go as far as possible in closed carriages; afterwards the downpour was so irresistible that the Prince's large cloak had to be spread over the Queen and her children to keep them dry. But her Majesty's commiseration is almost entirely for the crowd on foot, "the poor people so wet and dirty." They spoil her pleasure in her enthusiastic reception and the fine buildings she passes.
The royal party drove along the docks, and in spite of the rain got out at the appointed place of embarkation, went on board the Fairy, accompanied by the Mayor and other officials, and sailed along the quays round the mouth of the Mersey, surveying the grand mass of shipping from the pavilion on deck as well as the dank mist would permit. On landing, the Town Hall and St. George's Hall were visited in succession. In the first the Queen received an address and knighted the Mayor. She admired both buildings—particularly St. George's, which she called "worthy of ancient Athens," and said it delighted Prince Albert. At both halls she presented herself on balconies in order to gratify the multitudes below.
The Queen left Liverpool by railway, going as far as Patricroft, where she was received by Lady Ellesmere and a party from Worsley, including the Duke of Wellington, Lord and Lady Westminster, and Lord and Lady Wilton. Her Majesty was to try a mode of travelling new to her. She had arrived at the Bridgewater Canal, one of the greatest feats of engineering in the last century, constructed by the public-spirited, eccentric Duke of Bridgewater, and Brindley the engineer. The Queen went on board a covered barge drawn by four horses. She describes the motion as gliding along "in a most noiseless and dream-like manner, amidst the cheers of the people who lined the sides of the canal." Thus she passed under the "beautifully decorated bridges" belonging to Lord Ellesmere's colliery villages.
Only at the hall-door of Worsley were Lord Ellesmere, lame with gout, and Lord Brackley, his son, "terribly delicate" from an accident in the hunting-field, the husband of one of the beautiful Cawdor Campbells, able to meet their illustrious guests. Henry Greville says her Majesty brought with her four children, two ladies-in-waiting, two equerries, a physician, a tutor, and a governess. Men of mechanical science seem to belong to Worsley, so that it sounds natural for the Queen and the Prince to have met there, during the evening, Nasmyth, the inventor of the steam-hammer, and to have examined his maps of his investigations in the moon, and his landscape-drawings, worthy of his father's son. The Queen and Prince Albert derived great pleasure from their passing intercourse with a man of varied gifts, whose sterling qualities they could well appreciate.
The next morning, the 10th of October, the weather was all that could be wished, but another and even more unfortunate complication threatened the success of the arrangements, on which the comfort of a few and the gratification of many thousands of persons depended. Prince Albert, never strong, was always liable to trying attacks of sleeplessness and sickness. In the course of the night he had been "very unwell, very sick and wretched for several hours." "I was terrified for our Manchester visit" wrote the Queen in her journal. "Thank God! by eight o'clock he felt much better, and was able to get up" indefatigable as ever.
At ten the party started to drive the seven miles to Manchester, escorted by Yeomanry and a regiment of Lancers, Lord Cathcart and his staff riding near the Queen's carriage through an ever-increasing crowd. The Queen was greatly interested in the rows of mill-workers between whom she passed, "dressed in their best, ranged along the streets, with white rosettes in their button-holes"—that patient, easily pleased crowd, which has an aspect half comical, half pathetic. Her Majesty admired the intelligent expression of both men and women, but was painfully struck with their puniness and paleness. In the Peel Park the visitors were greeted by a great demonstration, which her Majesty calls "extraordinary and unprecedented," of no less than eighty-two thousand school children, of every denomination, Jews as well as Christians. The Queen received and replied to an address, from her carriage, and the immense body of children sang "God save the Queen."
The party then drove through the principal streets of Salford and Manchester—the junction of the two being marked by a splendid triumphal arch, under which the Mayor and Corporation (dressed for the first time in robes of office—so democratic was Manchester), again met the Queen and presented her with a bouquet. At the Exchange she alighted to receive another address, to which she read an answer, and knighted the Mayor. Her Majesty missed "fine buildings," of which, with the exception of huge warehouses and factories, Manchester had then none to boast; but she was particularly struck by the demeanour of the inhabitants, in addition to what she was pleased to call their "most gratifying cheering and enthusiasm." "The order and good behaviour of the people, who were not placed behind any barriers, were the most complete we have seen in our many progresses through capitals and cities—London, Glasgow, Dublin, Edinburgh—for there never was a running crowd, nobody moved and therefore everybody saw well, and there was no squeezing...." The Queen heard afterwards that she had seen a million of human beings that day. In the afternoon her Majesty and the Prince, returned to Worsley.
Henry Greville tells an almost piteous incident of this visit, in relation to the Duke of Wellington and his advanced age, with the infirmities that could no longer be repelled. After saying that in order to prevent the procession's becoming too large, no other guest at Worsley was admitted into it, except the privileged old Duke, whom the teller of the story describes as driving in the carriage with Henry Greville's sister, Lady Enfield, one of the ladies in attendance on the Queen, he goes on to mention "he (the Duke) was received with extraordinary enthusiasm; notwithstanding Lady Enfield had to nudge him constantly, to keep him awake, both going and coming, with very little success." Lady Enfield adds a note to her brother's narrative. "The whole scene was one of the most exciting I ever saw in my life. Being carried away by the general enthusiasm, and feeling that the people would be disappointed if no notice was taken of their cheering, I at last exclaimed 'Duke, Duke, that's for you.' Thereupon he opened his eyes, and obediently made his well-known salutation, two fingers to the brim of his hat."
The next morning when the Prince had started by seven o'clock to inspect a model factory near Bolton, while there was a long and busy day before them, the Queen made a little entry in her journal which will find a sorrowful echo in many a faithful heart, "This day is full of sad recollections, being the anniversary of the loss of my beloved Louise (Queen of the Belgians), that kind, precious friend, that angelic being whose loss I shall ever feel."
The same pleasant passage was made by the canal back to Patricroft, where the railway carriages were entered and the train steamed to Stockport. Crewe, Stafford—there another old soldier, Lord Anglesey, was waiting—Rugby, Weedon, Wolverton, and Watford, then at five o'clock the railway journey ended. The royal carriages were in attendance, and rest and home were near at hand. The day had been hot and fatiguing, but the evening was soft and beautiful with moonlight; a final change of horses at Uxbridge, the carriage shut when the growing darkness prevented any farther necessity for seeing and being seen; at half-past seven, Windsor, and the three little children still up and at the door "well and pleased."
From Windsor the Court went for some days to London for the closing of the Exhibition. The number of visitors had been six millions two hundred thousand, and the total receipts five hundred thousand pounds. There had not been a single accident, "We ought, indeed, to be thankful to God for such a success," the Prince wrote reverently. On the 14th of October the Queen paid a farewell visit to the place in which she had been so much interested, with the regret natural on such an occasion. "It looked so beautiful," she wrote in her journal, "that I could not believe it was the last time I was to see it." But already the dismantling had begun.
The Queen refers in the next breath to a heroine of the Exhibition, an old Cornish woman named Mary Kerlynack, who had found the spirit to walk several hundreds of miles to behold the wonder of her generation. This day she was at one of the doors to see another sight, the Queen. "A most hale old woman" her Majesty thought Mary, "who was near crying at my looking at her."
On the 15th, a cheerlessly wet day, in keeping with a somewhat melancholy scene, Prince Albert and his fellow commissioners closed the Exhibition—a ceremony at which it was not judged desirable the Queen should be present, though she grieved not to witness the end as well as the beginning. "How sad and strange to think this great and bright time has passed away like a dream," her Majesty wrote once more in her diary. The day of the closing of the Exhibition happened to be the twelfth anniversary of the Queen's betrothal to the Prince.
The tidings arrived in the course of November of the death, in his eighty-first year, in the old palace of Herrenhausen, on the 18th of the month, of the King of Hanover, the fifth, and last surviving son of George III and Queen Charlotte. He had been more popular as a king than as a prince.
The arrival of Kossuth in England in the autumn of 1851 had brought a disturbing element into international politics. But it was left for Louis Napoleon's coup d'etat in Paris on the 2nd of December, when the blood shed so mercilessly on the Boulevards was still fresh in men's minds, to get Lord Palmerston into a dilemma, from which there was no disentanglement but the loss of office on his part.
An impetus, great though less lasting than it seemed, was given this year to emigration to Australia, by the discovery in the colony of gold in quartz beds, under much the same conditions that the precious metal had been found in California. The diggings, with the chance of a large nugget, became for a time the favourite dream of adventurers. Nay, the dream grew to such an absorbing desire, that men heard of it as a disease known as "the gold fever." And quiet people at home were told that it was hardly safe for a ship to enter some of the Australian harbours, on account of the certainty of the desertion of the crew, under whatever penalties, that they might repair to the last El Dorado.
The successful ambition of Louis Napoleon and his power over the French army, began to excite the fears of Europe with regard to French aggression, and a renewal of the desolating wars of the beginning of the century; before the talk about the Exhibition and the triumphs of peace had well died on men's lips. The Government was anxious to fall back on the old resource of calling out the militia, with certain modifications and changes—brought before Parliament in the form of a Militia Bill. It did not meet with the approval of the members any more than of the Duke of Wellington, whose experience gave his opinion much weight. Lord Palmerston spoke with great ability against the measure. The end was that the Government suffered a defeat, and the Ministry resigned office in February, 1852. This time Lord Derby was successful in forming a new Cabinet, in which Mr. Disraeli was Chancellor of the Exchequer. A fresh Militia Bill was brought forward and carried by the new Government, after it had received the warm advocacy of the Duke of Wellington. The old man spoke in its favour with an amount of vigour and clear-headedness which showed that however his bodily strength might be failing, his mental power remained untouched.
DISASTERS—YACHTING TRIPS—THE DEATH OF THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON.
The month of February, 1852, was unhappily distinguished by three great English calamities, accompanied by extensive loss of life. The first was the destruction of the West India mail steamer Amazon by fire, as she was entering the Bay of Biscay, in which a hundred and forty persons perished, among them Eliot Warburton, the accomplished traveller and author.
The second was the wreck of her Majesty's troop-ship Birkenhead near the Cape of Good Hope, with the loss of upwards of four hundred lives, in circumstances when the discipline and devotion of the men were of the noblest description. The third was the bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir in midland England, with the sacrifice of nearly a hundred lives and a large amount of property.
When the season commenced, and it was this year, as last, particularly gay, a reflection of the general prosperity of the country, with the high hopes inspired by the Australian gold-fields, the Queen wrote to the King of the Belgians in order to re-assure him with regard to a fear which seems to have arisen in the elderly man's mind, that she whom he remembered at the beginning of her reign as fond of pleasure and untiring in her amusements, might be swept away in the tide. "Allow me just to say one word about the London season. The London season for us consists of two State balls and two concerts. (The State balls and concerts are given to this day, though her Majesty, since her widowhood, has ceased to attend them. The Queen's place and that of Prince Albert in these social gaieties, have been naturally taken by the Prince and Princess of Wales.) We are hardly ever later than twelve o'clock at night, and our only dissipation is going three or four times a week to the play or opera, which is a great amusement and relaxation to us both. As for going out as people do here every night, to balls and parties, and to breakfasts and teas all day long besides, I am sure no one would stand it worse than I should; so you see, dearest uncle, that in fact the London season is nothing to us."
So much higher, and more solid and lasting, as they should have been, were the pursuits and gratifications of the woman, the wife and mother, than of the young girl.
The Queen added that the only one who was fagged was the Prince, and that from business and not pleasure, a result which made her often anxious and unhappy. Indeed, this suspicion of precarious health on Prince Albert's part was the cloud the size of a man's hand that kept hovering on the horizon in the summer sky.
Parliament was prorogued and dissolved at the same time at an unusually early date, the first of July, so that the season itself came to a speedy end.
Before the Queen left London, she was present at the baptism and stood sponsor for the young Hindoo Princess Gouromma, the pale, dark, slender girl whose picture looks down on the visitor at Buckingham Palace. She had been brought to England by her father, the Rajah of Coorg, a high-caste Hindoo, who desired that she should be brought up a Christian. He was one of the princes of Northern India, whose inheritance had become a British possession. He lived at Benares under the control of the East India Company, and had an allowance from Government as well as a large private fortune. The little princess was the same age as the Princess Royal, eleven years. She was the daughter of the Rajah's favourite wife, who had died immediately after the infant's birth. The ceremony took place in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace. The Archbishop of Canterbury officiated. Besides the Queen, the sponsors were Lady Hardinge, Mr. Drummond, and Sir James Weir Hogg, the chairman of the East India Company. The little girl received the name "Victoria." The Rajah returned soon afterwards to India.
The Court had longer time to enjoy the sea air and quiet of Osborne, where, however, sorrow intruded in the shape of the news of the death of Count Mensdorff, the uncle by marriage both of the Queen and Prince Albert, to whom they were warmly attached. Though he had been no prince, only a French emigrant officer in the Austrian service, when he married the sister of the Duchess of Kent, he was held in high esteem by his wife's family for the distinction with which he had served as a soldier, and for his many good qualities.
Princess Hohenlohe, with a son and daughter, came to Osborne as a stage to Scotland and Abergeldie, where she was to visit her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and where she could also best enjoy the Queen's society. The poor Princess, who made a stay of several months in this country, had need of a mother's and a sister's sympathy. A heavy sorrow had lately befallen her. The eldest daughter of the Hohenlohe family, Princess Elise, a girl of great promise, had died at Venice of consumption in her twenty-first year.