Classic History Books


Great Britain and Her Queen - by Anne E. Keeling

princess and the heir to the throne, and was present as a spectator, though still wearing her sombre
weeds, at the splendid show of her son's wedding on March 10th, 1863. "Two things have struck me

much," writes Dr. Macleod, from whose Journal we again quote: "one was the whole of the royal

princesses weeping, though concealing their tears with their bouquets, as they saw their brother, who was

to them but their 'Bertie' and their dear father's son, standing alone waiting for his bride. The other was

the Queen's expression as she raised her eyes to heaven while her husband's Chorale was sung.

She seemed to be with him alone before the throne of God."

"No possible favour can the Queen grant me, or honour bestow," said the manly writer of these words,
"beyond what the poor can give the poor - her friendship." It is rarely that one sitting amid "the fierce

light that beats upon the throne" has been able to enjoy the simple bliss of true, disinterested friendship

with those of kindred soul but inferior station. Such rare fortune, however, has been the Queen's; and it is

worthy of note that her special regard has been won by persons distinguished not less by loftiness and

purity of character than by mental power or personal charm. She has not escaped the frequent penalty of

strong affection, that of being bereaved of its objects. She has outlived earlier and later friends alike -

Lady Augusta Stanley and her husband, the beloved Dean of Westminster; the good and beautiful

Duchess of Sutherland; the two eminent Scotchmen, Principal Tulloch and Dr. Macleod himself; and the

Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Tait, with his charming wife. To these might be added, among the more

eminent objects of her regard, the late poet laureate, who shared with Macaulay the once unique privilege

of having been raised to the peerage more for transcendent ability than for any other motive - a

distinction that never would have been so bestowed by our early Hanoverian kings, and which offers a

marked contrast to the sort of patronage with which later sovereigns have distinguished the great writers

of their time. A new spirit rules now; of this no better evidence could be given than this recently

published testimony to the relations between Queen and poet: "Mrs. Tennyson told us that the poet

laureate likes and admires the Queen personally very much, and enjoys conversation with her. Mrs.

Tennyson generally goes too, and says the Queen's manner towards him is childlike and charming, and

they both give their opinions freely, even when those differ from the Queen's, which she takes with

perfect good humour, and is very animated herself [Footnote]."

[Footnote: "Anne Gilchrist: her Life and Writings." London: 1887.]

 

CHAPTER VII. CHANGES GOOD AND EVIL.

With the death of Lord Palmerston in 1865, a sort of truce in the strife of parties, which his supremacy
had secured, came to an end. That supremacy had been imperilled for a moment when the Government

declined to make an armed intervention in the struggle between Denmark and the German Powers in

1864. Such an intervention would have been very popular with the English people, who could hardly

know that "all Germany would rise as one man" to repel it if it were risked. But the English Premier's

rare command of his audience in Parliament enabled him to overcome even this difficulty; and the

gigantic series of contests on the Continent which resulted in the consolidation of the German empire, the

complete liberation of Italy, the overthrow of Imperialism in France and of the temporal power of the

Pope even in Rome itself, went on its way without our interference also, which would hardly have been

the case had we intermeddled in the ill-understood contention between Denmark and its adversaries as to

the Schleswig-Holstein succession.

That strange crime, the murder of President Lincoln, in America just when the long contest between
North and South had ended and the cause of true freedom had triumphed, was actually fruitful of good as

regarded this country and the United States. A cry of horror went up from all England at the news of that

 

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