Classic History Books


Great Britain and Her Queen - by Anne E. Keeling

pitiable patients who crowd our English infirmaries. In her northern and southern "homes" of Osborne
and Balmoral the Queen, too, has been able to share a true, unsophisticated friendship with her humble

neighbours, to rejoice in their joys and lighten their griefs with gentle, most efficient sympathy. It was of

a Highland cottage that Dr. Guthrie wrote that "within its walls the Queen had stood, with her kind hands

smoothing the thorns of a dying man's pillow. There, left alone with him at her own request, she had sat

by the bed of death - a Queen ministering to the comfort of a saint." It was in a cottage at Osborne that

the same gentle and august almsgiver was found reading comfortable Scripture words to a sick and aged

peasant, quietly retiring upon the entrance of the clerical visitant, that his message of peace might

be freely given, and thus allowing the sufferer to disclose to the pastor that the lady in the widow's weeds

was Victoria of England. These are examples, which it would be easy to multiply, of that true oneness of

feeling between the lofty and the lowly which is the special, the unique glory of Christ's kingdom. May

our land never lack them; may they multiply themselves to all time.

The best evidence of the truth of the Gospel is admittedly its unequalled power of lifting up humanity to
higher and yet higher levels. In many and mighty instances of that power our age is not barren. And in

despite of the foes without and within that have wrought her woe - of the Pharisaism that is a mask for

fraud, of the mammon-worship cloaked as respectability, of scepticism lightly mocking, of the bolder

enmity of the blasphemer - we cannot contemplate the story of Christianity throughout our epoch, even

in these islands and this empire, without seeing that the advance of the Faith is real and constant, the

advance of the rising tide, and that her seeming defeats are but the deceptive reflux of the ever-mounting

waves.

 

CHAPTER X. PROGRESS OF THE EMPIRE FROM 1887 TO 1897.

Resuming our pen after an interval of ten years, we have thought it well, not only to carry on our story of
the Sovereign and her realm to the latest attainable point, but also to give some account of the advance

made and the work accomplished by the Methodist Church, which, youngest of the greater

Nonconformist denominations, has acted more powerfully than any other among them on the religious

and social life, not only of the United Kingdom and the Empire, but of the world. This account, very

brief, but giving details little known to outsiders, will form a valuable pendant to the sketch of the

general history of Victoria's England that we are now about to continue.

Many thousands who rejoiced in the Queen's Jubilee of 1887 are glad to-day that the close of the decade
should find the beloved Lady of these isles, true woman and true Queen, still living and reigning.

On September 23, 1896, Queen Victoria had reigned longer than any other English monarch, and the
desire was general for some immediate celebration of the event; but, by the Queen's express wish, all

recognition of the fact was deferred until the sixtieth year should be fully completed, and the nation

prepared to celebrate the "Diamond Jubilee" on June 22, 1897, with a fervour of loyalty that should far

outshine that of the Jubilee year of 1887.

In the personal history of our Queen during those ten years we may note with reverent sympathy some
events that must shadow the festival for her. The calm and kindly course of her home-life has again been

broken in upon by bereavement. All seemed fair in the Jubilee year itself, and the Queen was appearing

more in public than had been her wont - laying the foundations of the Imperial Institute; unveiling in

Windsor Park a statue of the Prince Consort, Jubilee gift of the women of England; taking part in a

magnificent naval review at Spithead. But a shadow was already visible to some; and early in 1888

sinister rumours were afloat as to the health of the Crown Prince of Germany, consort of the Queen's

 

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