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Title: Queen Victoria As I Knew Her
Author: Martin, Sir Theodore
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Queen Victoria As I Knew Her" ***





  K.C.B., K.C.V.O.

  For Private Circulation


  _All Rights reserved_

  _Stifle the throbbing of this haunting pain,
    And dash this tearful sorrow from the eyes!
    She is not dead! Though summoned to the skies,
  Still in our hearts she lives, and there will reign;
  Still the dear memory will the power retain
    To teach us where our foremost duty lies,
    Truth, justice, honour, simple worth to prize,
  And what our best have been to be again._

  _She hath gone hence, to meet the great, the good,
    The loved ones, yearn'd for through long toilsome years,
  To share with them the blest beatitude,
    Where care is not, nor strife, nor wasting fears,
  Nor cureless ills, nor wrongs to be withstood;
    Shall thought of this not dry our blinding tears?_

  Published in the 'Nineteenth Century,' February 1901.



My personal introduction to Queen Victoria was due to the circumstance
of my being chosen by Her Majesty to be the biographer of the Prince
Consort. The obvious difficulties of that task, to which I looked
forward with grave apprehension, could not have been successfully
overcome but for the personal confidence early reposed in me by the
Queen, which led not only to her placing unreservedly at my disposal the
very complete collections made by the Prince Consort of confidential
State and other papers connected with Her Majesty's reign, but also to
the frank communication of such personal details as, while they
illustrated the character of the Prince, threw the strongest light upon
that of the Queen herself.

After my book was completed, the same confidential relations continued.
This gave me such unusual opportunity of observing Her Majesty's
qualities of mind and heart, that I am tempted to place on record so
much of what I saw as may without impropriety be told. What she was as a
Sovereign will be for historians to tell; it is only of the woman as she
became revealed to me that I would speak, using, where I may, her own
words, as I find them in looking back upon the very voluminous
correspondence with which I was honoured through many years. The
endearing qualities of the Queen have been acknowledged by all who knew
her. They secured for her what might be truly called the affectionate
devotion of the men and women of her Court. I belonged to the outer
world, but by no one were these qualities more warmly felt than by
myself; for to the end, when the work which first brought me into
contact with Her Majesty had long been completed, her gracious kindness
and trust were vouchsafed to me with a constancy that knew no shade of

       *       *       *       *       *

"How came you to be chosen to write the Life of the Prince Consort?" is
a question I have often been asked. It is a question which, in the early
days, I often asked myself, for the selection came upon me as a great
surprise. I did not know the Prince Consort, but I had heard much of him
through my friend Mr (afterwards Sir Arthur) Helps, Clerk of Her
Majesty's Council, and had been consulted by him in his preparation of
the Collection of the Prince's Speeches and Addresses, and of the
admirable monograph with which he introduced them, in the volume
published by Murray in 1862. He must have laid more stress on my
assistance than it merited. The Queen, to whom I was an entire stranger,
presented me with an inscribed copy of the book dated 20th December
1862. It came with a letter from Lady Augusta Bruce (afterwards
Stanley), one of the Queen's ladies, in which she says she had been
commanded to forward it to me, "in remembrance of my co-operation in the
work of giving these precious memorials to our country and to the world,
and as a token of Her Majesty's true appreciation of the spirit in which
that co-operation was afforded." Lady Augusta was an old and valued
friend of my wife, and she, as well as Sir Arthur Helps, may have spoken
of me to the Queen; but I was quite unprepared for such a recognition of
suggestions which in no way merited, to my thinking, the name of
co-operation. From this time onwards I heard much both of the Queen and
Prince from my friend Helps, and my opinion was often asked in
connection with Her Majesty's _Leaves from a Journal_, which he was
engaged in carrying through the press.

It had been intended that General Charles Grey, the Queen's Private
Secretary, should write the Prince's Life, and a first volume was in
course of being prepared, which dealt with the early years and marriage
of the Prince. The General soon found that he had neither the leisure
nor the strength to carry out the work, and I was aware that the
question how this was to be done had closely occupied Her Majesty's
thoughts. I was, however, taken greatly by surprise when a letter from
Helps reached me in my holiday retreat in North Wales, in which he told
me that the Queen had approved of a suggestion he had made, that I
should be asked to undertake the task. With his letter he sent for my
perusal, through Miss Alice Helps, who was then staying with us, a
memorandum giving an outline of his ideas how the work should be carried

"It will be a very great thing to do," the memorandum said, "covering
many of the most secret transactions of the reign. General Grey's book
is merely the life of the Prince as a child, and up to his marriage. It
now becomes part of the history of England, and also of foreign States.
A special duty will be to judge what documents shall be published,
taking it for granted that such a work cannot long be kept secret....
The more I see of the Prince's doings and sayings, the more I am struck
with their largeness and extent." The memorandum goes on to offer
assistance (which, as it turned out, I never used) in looking up and
selecting materials and in furnishing political information, ending with
the assurance, that "after seeing me, Her Majesty would be most
confidential, and would trust everything to me. H. M. would much like Mr
Martin to undertake the work, and he would find no difficulty in getting
her to assent to any of his wishes in regard to it."

Reflection satisfied me that, as the event proved, Mr Helps had not
fully appreciated either the greatness of the scale on which a
biography, that would in fact be a history, must be constructed, or the
amount of time and labour which it would demand. Much honoured as I felt
by the proposal, I shrank from the task; and in the full sense of my
own unfitness for it, and in the hope that it would not be further
pressed upon me, I replied to Mr Helps as follows:--

                                                _"27th August 1866._

"MY DEAR HELPS,--Alice has read to me your memorandum as to the
proposed Life of the Prince Consort, and I have given the subject
very anxious consideration. The work I conceive to be one which,
while full of the greatest interest, is surrounded with the gravest
responsibility. You do not very clearly indicate what precise shape
the Life is intended to take. It is natural and proper that a Life
of the Prince should be prepared, and given to the world, probably
at no distant date, in which the real greatness of his character,
public and private, and the breadth of his views should be
developed, and developed by letting himself speak through the
memoranda and other documents under his own hand, which, I presume,
exist in abundance, wherever these can with propriety be used. But
it is, of course, obvious that the matters to be dealt with involve
so much that is delicate in their bearing both upon individual and
public affairs, that to decide what should and what should not be
given will involve most anxious consideration at every step; while
it is scarcely less certain that much must either be altogether
withheld, or set apart for a volume of _pièces justificatives_, to
be compiled for possible publication at some more remote period.

"The selection and classification of these materials will occupy
much time and thought before a line of the Biography can be written.
At least such is my present opinion, for I do not think that the
life of any man of mark, much more a man so pre-eminent as the
Prince, can be written until the whole scope and purpose of his
life, as seen in his actions and habits of thought down to its
close, have been, as far as may be, ascertained--until, in
Shakespeare's words, the 'idea of his mind and life' has crept into
the biographer's 'study of imagination.' Then, and then only, can he
hope to paint his portrait with the freedom and warmth of pencil
which can alone be derived from a full mastery of his materials and
thorough sympathy with his theme. Add to this, that much will have
to be read and considered of what has already been said and done in
public matters during the Prince's life.

"Holding these views of the task, I naturally pause very gravely
before making up my mind whether or not to accept a duty so
honourable, but, at the same time, so onerous. You know how fully my
time is engaged in my profession. This will in itself make anything
like frequent absence from London impossible, and indeed I would
undertake nothing which took me frequently from home, where, as you
know, all my happiness is centred. While, therefore, I might upon
occasion be able to attend Her Majesty for instructions or the
discussion of such points as required explanation, I could only do
so upon occasion, and I could, for the meantime at least, only
pledge myself to give such time to the work as my profession and my
health (which, you know, is far from strong) would admit. Now, it
may not be compatible with the views of Her Majesty to accept my
service under such conditions. But, in any case, it is indispensable
that she should be fully aware of them. If, with the full knowledge
of them, Her Majesty should still be pleased to consider that I can
be useful in carrying out Her Majesty's views, I should then feel
less difficulty in undertaking the task, always understanding that I
am to be assisted, as you propose, in the selection and arrangement
of documents, &c."

Mr Helps received my letter at Balmoral, where, as Clerk of the Council,
he was in attendance upon the Queen. "Nothing," he wrote, "can be better
than your letter, which I received yesterday evening, and have just sent
in to the Queen. She has named a time for seeing me to-day, and, if I
have time afterwards, I will tell you what she says." His letter
concludes with an account, that is not unamusing, of one of the
household balls by which the routine of the life at Balmoral was
occasionally broken:--

"The ball went off admirably last night; even Her Majesty remained many
hours watching it. In how many points one's education has been
neglected! I could not dance any of these Scotch dances. However, I
enjoyed the fun as a spectator. All ranks danced together, and one of
the best hits I saw made was when the Prince's coachman, a dapper little
fellow, cut out H.R.H. very neatly in what they call a 'perpetual jig.'

"There was a little 'tiger' who greatly distinguished himself, and
contrived, which is a matter of skill, to get the Princess [of Wales]
for a partner for a short time. Then, perhaps, the little imp was
himself cut out by a duke. The people behaved, as they generally do in
such cases, admirably--free, graceful, and comparatively at their
ease--and yet never forward."

As I heard no more on the subject of the Life for several days, I had
begun to hope that the subject would drop, so far as I was concerned,
when, on the 11th of September, Mr Helps sent me a letter to himself
from the Queen, in which Her Majesty wrote: "She thinks it most
important that the services of Mr Martin should be engaged in this
all-important work, which she feels should be as _faithful_ a
representation of the greatest and best of men, her dearly loved and
honoured husband, as it possibly can be. The copying and _sifting_ of
papers, and the responsibility for what should be put in or omitted,
would rest with the Queen, General Grey, and Mr Helps, and this, she
hopes, will remove Mr Martin's objection to the task. It will give the
Queen much satisfaction to make Mr Martin's acquaintance."

On reading this letter, I waited on Mr Helps, when he gave me full
details of what had passed in his interview with Her Majesty after she
had read my letter. Among other things, I remember, he informed me that
she laid great stress upon the fact that through life I had never taken
a side in party politics; that I was thoroughly versed in the German
language, in which a large proportion of the documents which I should
have to consider was written; that I had gone through a full legal
training, and had in my profession come in contact with many men engaged
in undertakings of great importance. After so gracious an expression of
Her Majesty's confidence, I felt that only one course was open to me,
and accordingly I wrote to Mr Helps: "Her Majesty having been graciously
pleased to accept such aid as I can give towards the great object which
Her Majesty has so deeply at heart, I feel that I can no longer hesitate
to place my best services at her disposal. You will understand best how
to make this known to Her Majesty, whose commands I shall hold myself in
readiness to fulfil."

The Queen soon afterwards returned from Balmoral to Windsor Castle, and
it was arranged that I was to be introduced there by Mr Helps on the
14th of November 1866. The night before was memorable for the
marvellous transit of shooting-stars (the Leonids) across the heavens,
the recurrence of which in subsequent years has been looked for eagerly
but in vain. I remember well wondering to myself, as after midnight I
gazed upon that magnificent spectacle, how I, utter stranger as I was to
the ways and etiquette of courts, should pass through the ordeal that
awaited me. I had been rather disconcerted that evening by hearing that
Mr Helps, whose presence would have somewhat lightened the embarrassment
of a first interview with the Queen, was so unwell that he could not
accompany me to Windsor. Thither, therefore, I had to go alone, and at
the appointed hour was ushered into a room the walls of which were
enriched by part of Her Majesty's great collection of miniatures. Here I
found the Princess Helena awaiting me. I had met her more than once
before, and her presence served to place me more at ease than I should
otherwise have been before Her Majesty appeared. Still, my heart beat
quicker when, very soon, I found myself in the presence of the Queen. In
her face I read at a glance marked traces of the great sorrow she had
undergone. Serene and full of quiet dignity as it was, I seemed to
perceive in the Queen's bearing something of that nervousness, almost
amounting to shyness, which, as I came to know afterwards, Her Majesty
always seemed to feel in first meeting a stranger--a shyness so little
to be expected in a Sovereign who had gone through so many exciting
scenes, and had known nearly all the most distinguished men in Europe.
To show no signs of embarrassment, but to be simple and self-possessed,
I saw at once was my true policy. The consequence was that Her Majesty
herself quickly became at ease, and by her frank, gracious manner made
me feel as it were at home in the long conversation that ensued, and in
which, for the first time, I felt the charm that never failed of her
exquisite smile and of her silver-toned voice.

The details of that conversation I cannot, after so long an interval of
years, recall. An opportunity was given to me of explaining my views as
to the lines upon which the Life of the Prince should be written, and
the information with which I desired more immediately to be furnished.
The Queen promised to send me such extracts from her own and the
Prince's diaries, and copies of such documents in her possession, as she
considered might be useful. Before she withdrew, Her Majesty turned the
conversation to general topics, and, to my surprise, I found that she
somehow knew much of my home ties, and of my tastes and pursuits in
literature and the arts, in regard to which she encouraged me to give
the frank expression of my opinions. I left her presence deeply
impressed by the simplicity of bearing under which the dignity of the
Queen was unostentatiously present but subtly felt, and by a singular
charm of manner, which grew and grew upon me the more I came under its
influence in the years of frequent intercourse that followed.

The absence of Mr Helps upon this occasion was, in a sense, fortunate,
as it gave me the opportunity of learning, in the Queen's own words, the
impression Her Majesty had formed of me in this first interview. On the
same day she wrote to Mr Helps. He was a great purist in regard to
style, which will explain the first paragraph of her letter:--

                                   "WINDSOR CASTLE, _Nov. 14, 1866_.

"The Queen is _so_ grieved (perhaps Mr Helps will scold her for that
_so_!) to hear of Mr Helps feeling so ill to-day, but she thinks he
will be relieved to hear that the first interview with Mr Martin
passed off extremely well, and that the Queen is very much pleased
with him, and _feels sure_ that she can be at her ease with him. He
is clever, kind, and sympathetic, and it will be a great interest to
her to work _with him_ and Mr Helps."

Words so kind naturally dispelled some of the misgivings with which I
was haunted in looking forward to what would be expected from the
biographer of the Prince Consort,--expected both by her, who knew what
she herself and her kingdom had lost in him, and by the public, who only
too late had surmised the extent of that loss. No time was lost in
getting together materials for the story of the early part of the
Prince's life. These were supplied to me by the Queen from her journals,
from family correspondence, and, in short, from everything which could
throw light upon the youth and character of the Prince. Much information
was also furnished in interviews with Her Majesty at Windsor Castle, to
which I was frequently summoned. I gathered much, also, from some of the
gentlemen of the household who had known the Prince, and with whom I
became acquainted during my visits to the Castle, where they were at
pains to show me that I was not an unwelcome guest. Most of all I
learned from General Charles Grey, the Queen's Private Secretary, a man
of strong character and conspicuous ability, whose personal friendship
and confidence in me I must ever remember with the warmest gratitude.

On one of my early visits to the Castle he put to me a question which I
was glad to have an opportunity of answering, and to which, in the
interests of the Queen, he was entitled to a reply. "To what," he said,
"do you look forward in return for executing the onerous task you are
undertaking?" "My compensation," I replied, "will be ample, if I can
make people understand the Prince, how great he was, how devoted to the
welfare of our country, how great the debt which the country owed him.
It must," I added, "be understood that my work is to be without fee or
reward of any kind. My private means are ample for all my wants, and I
can therefore afford full time for doing the work thoroughly. All I
stipulate is that I am to have a free hand both as to the time and
manner in which it is to be done. I foresee that it will be the work of
years, and that it can only be well done if I am allowed entire
independence in forming and expressing my estimate of the Prince, and
of his influence in matters of public or political importance."

General Grey expressed his satisfaction with what I said, and, no doubt,
lost no time in informing the Queen of its import. However this might
be, from that moment I was treated with unreserved confidence, and the
conditions for which I had stipulated were fully and frankly kept
throughout all my labours. In General Grey I found a cordial friend. He
paid me the compliment of asking my assistance in finally seeing through
the press the work, _The Early Years of the Prince Consort_, on which he
was then engaged, and which was soon afterwards published. It had been
originally intended that my work should begin where his left off. But as
I went on with my studies I found that, to make my biography coherent
and complete, I must go over the ground General Grey had already gone
over, and treat its incidents in my own way, and with a view to my plan
for the further narrative of the Prince's life.

As I look back on my correspondence with the Queen, it gratifies me to
see how early Her Majesty's letters had passed from formal reserve into
a strain of confidential friendliness. Thus in a letter of December 18,
1867, she writes, "The Queen thanks Mr Martin for his two kind letters,"
and invites him to Osborne for two or three days, where he will meet M.
Silvain van de Weyer, "a great and intimate friend of the dear Prince, a
man of great cultivation of mind and of the kindest heart, and who will
give Mr Martin many useful hints about the Prince's character." This
meeting led to an unbroken friendship with the singularly gifted man so
well described by Her Majesty. From him I learned much that was of
service to my immediate purpose in depicting the early part of the
Prince's life. He had been so completely behind the scenes also in all
the political movements of the time, that I hoped to have the benefit of
his knowledge in dealing with the subsequent years as well. But this was
not to be. To my infinite regret, he died before the first volume of the
Life was published;[1] but he read the proof-sheets of the greater part
of it, and I was greatly encouraged by the warmth of his approval. In
the same letter the Queen goes on to say: "The Queen is reading Mr
Martin's _Correggio_,[2] of which she used to hear her governess, the
Baroness Lehzen, so often speak. Would he let her have a copy to send to
the Baroness?"

"This day," the letter adds, "has been splendid--a cloudless blue sky,
and equally blue sea, with the purest air. But when the Queen awoke this
morning her heart felt _sick_, as she knew how her darling husband would
have enjoyed such a day in his beloved Osborne, and she yearned for one
hour of former happiness."

I was again summoned to Osborne in the first week of January 1868. A day
or two after my arrival (10th of January) I had a bad accident on the
skating-pond,--so bad that I had to be carried to the Palace, where the
limb was promptly placed in splints by Dr Hofmeister, the Queen's
resident surgeon. The injury was serious, and the pain extreme. On the
Queen's return from her afternoon drive she heard of the accident, and
immediately sent the late Duchess of Roxburghe, her Lady-in-Waiting, to
me. She had been commanded to express Her Majesty's regret that she
could not come at once to see me, as she had so many despatches awaiting
her which required immediate attention. She also added that I was to
write to my wife to come to Osborne: the Royal yacht would be ordered to
Portsmouth to wait her arrival and to bring her over. Before nine
o'clock next morning I was surprised by the appearance of Her Majesty in
my room, where she expressed her warm sympathy with my suffering, and
gave orders for my having the constant attendance of one of her
principal servants. The Queen had scarcely left my room when two
unusually large pillows were brought to me. The Queen, I was told,
thought the pillows I had were too small, and had ordered these larger
ones to replace them. This thoughtful kindness was but the beginning of
a care for my recovery on the part of Her Majesty which left nothing
undone that could minister to my comfort. On the 12th my wife arrived,
and was met by the Duchess of Roxburghe. Soon after, the Queen came to
her room, and her Diary records: "H. M. gave me her hand, and welcomed
me most kindly. I am desired to ask for everything as if I were at
home;" and everything _was_ done to make her feel at home, by Her Majesty,
by the Royal children,--the Princesses Helena, Louise, and Beatrice, and
the Duke of Connaught and Prince Leopold,--and by all the ladies and
gentlemen of the household. What the impression was which she produced
upon the Queen we subsequently learned by a letter from Mr Helps, in
which he quoted Her Majesty's words from a letter he had received:--

                                               "_17th January 1868._

"We are selfishly glad that Mr Martin is kept here, and think Mrs
Martin _most_ pleasing, clever, and distinguished--really very

Almost daily during the three following weeks we had the honour of
lengthened visits in our rooms from Her Majesty, in which there was a
frank interchange of views, not only in regard to the subject on which I
was specially engaged, but also upon the events of the day and other
topics of general interest. It so happened that just at this time the
_Leaves from a Journal_ were published. Her Majesty's estimate of that
little volume was most humble; and as, possibly from a feeling of
shyness, she shrank from writing with this first literary effort to the
Poet Laureate, she honoured me by requesting me to do so on her behalf.
The Queen reverenced genius; greatness in birth and station she regarded
as but an accident. To the genius which makes its own position by
commanding the love and admiration of the world she bowed with genuine
humility. How well this was shown in her visit to Abbotsford! "In the
study," she writes, "we saw Sir Walter's Journal, in which Mr Hope Scott
asked me to write my name, _which I felt it would be presumption to
do_." Surely a beautiful appreciation of genius, as distinguished from
the accident of position.

The _Leaves_ book was inscribed by the Queen's own hand, and this was
the acknowledgment which reached me from Mr Tennyson:--

                      "FARRINGFORD, FRESHWATER, _21st January 1868_.

"DEAR MR MARTIN,--We are very sorry to hear of your accident, and
fear, from what you say, that it may have caused you much pain. We
are sure that with the Queen, if anywhere, you will have been made
to forget it.

"I need not say that I am very much honoured by Her Majesty's
gift--you know that; and I know that I may trust to you to make my
thanks acceptable for a book not only of so much interest in its own
day, but trebly valuable to the historian of that future when we
shall all of us have gone to join Tullus and Ancus.

"Will you remember us most kindly to Mrs Martin? and with a hope
that you will soon be well, I am, yours very sincerely,

                                                      "A. TENNYSON."

I must have written to the Queen in warm terms of satisfaction at the
burst of enthusiastic and affectionate loyalty with which her little
volume was hailed, knowing, as I did, how this feeling contrasted with
much of a very different tenor to which Her Majesty's close retirement
after the Prince's death had given rise, and which had caused her
extreme pain, for on the 16th of January the following note was sent to
my room:--

"The Queen was moved to tears on reading Mr Martin's beautiful and too
kind letter. Indeed it is not possible for her to say _how_ touched she
is by the kindness of _every one_. People are far too kind. What has she
done to be so loved and liked? She did suffer acutely last year, she
will not deny, and it made her ill; but the sore feeling has vanished
entirely, and the very thought of it has lost its sting.... Mr Martin
must keep very quiet to-night, and be very good, and _do_ what Mrs
Martin and the doctor tell him."

Three days later the Queen wrote to me again on the same subject. Her
Majesty had the special virtue of dating all her letters and notes,
however slight--a grace her subjects too little cultivate.

                                          "OSBORNE, _Jan. 19, 1868_.

"The Queen would have liked to go to Mr Martin, but ever since she
came in, at a quarter past five, she has done nothing but read the
reviews in the newspapers. She is very much moved--deeply so--but
not uplifted or 'puffed up' by so much kindness, so much praise. She
sends one [review] that is very gratifying, which Mr Martin has
_probably_ not seen. Pray, let the Queen have it back after dinner.

"Two things there are in some of the reviews which the Queen wishes
Mr Martin could find means to get rectified and explained: 1. That
the Queen wrote _The Early Years_.[3] Pray, have that contradicted.
2. That it is the Queen's _sorrow_ that keeps her secluded to a
certain extent. Now, it is her _overwhelming work_ and her health,
which is greatly shaken by her sorrow, and the totally overwhelming
amount of work and responsibility--work which she feels really wears
her out. Alice Helps was wonder-struck at the Queen's room; and if
Mrs Martin will look at it, she can tell Mr Martin what surrounds
her. From the hour she gets out of bed till she gets into it again
there is work, work, work--letter-boxes, questions, &c., which are
dreadfully exhausting--and if she had not comparative rest and quiet
in the evening, she would most likely _not be alive_. Her brain is
constantly overtaxed. Could this truth not be openly put before
people? So much has been told them, they should know this very
important fact, for _some_ day she may _quite_ break down."

It was not till a subsequent visit that I had an opportunity of seeing,
in Her Majesty's working-room, the huge piles of despatch-boxes arriving
daily from every department of the Government, by which she was
surrounded. But Mrs Martin saw them during this visit, and this is what
she wrote of them to a friend: "Her Majesty took me into her own room
one morning to show me the piles of despatch-boxes, all of them full of
work for her, and all requiring immediate attention; and this goes on
from day to day. It is the Queen's great aim to follow the Prince's
plan, which was to _sign nothing_ until he had read and made notes upon
what he signed. You may imagine how such conscientiousness swallows up
the Royal leisure."

We were still at Osborne when a gloom was cast over the Palace by the
sudden and very alarming illness of Prince Leopold. Only the day before
he had been in our room full of life and spirit, and when we were told
of his illness we were also told that the very worst was feared. The
prevailing grief showed in a very touching way how much he was beloved.
The Queen was deeply moved; but she bore up with the courage and
hopefulness which was a part of her character, and which, it is well
known, upon occasion put courage and hope into the hearts of her
Ministers, when these were wanted, at times of crisis in either home or
foreign affairs. She had seen crises as bad, or worse, and remembered
their details, and she could remind them how these had been successfully
grappled with and got over. Just so, she had previously seen Prince
Leopold in danger quite as great, and he had recovered. While, then,
those around him were almost in despair, she never lost heart and hope.
The first tidings of a decided change for the better came to us in a
little note from the Queen sent to my room on the evening of the 31st of
January, saying, "Our dear child is going on very satisfactorily, thank

When we left Osborne three days afterwards, the Prince was out of
danger, and we started for London with a lighter heart than we should
otherwise have done. We had been permitted to share in the anxiety of
the Royal family, and their joy at its removal was a joy to us also.

The Queen pressed us hard to delay our journey, but the quiet of home
was absolutely necessary for my complete recovery. We had made our
formal adieus to Her Majesty the previous evening. She had not returned
from her morning drive when we left Osborne. But the following letter
overtook us by special messenger at Southampton:--

                                                    "_Feb. 3, 1868._

"The Queen was much vexed to find, on coming home, that Mr and Mrs
Martin had already left, as she was anxious to wish them good-bye,
and give Mrs Martin the accompanying souvenir of her stay here.[4]
The Queen thought they would hardly venture across to-day with this
high wind and in the public boat. She trusts, however, the journey
will be performed with comparatively little suffering, and that Mr
Martin will not be the worse. Prince Leopold is going on as well as

On reaching London we wrote to the Queen, and our letters brought the
following reply:--

"The Queen thanks Mr and Mrs Martin both very much for their kind
letters. She rejoices so much to hear of Mr Martin not having suffered,
and hopes he and Mrs Martin may frequently revisit Osborne under more
pleasant circumstances."

The circumstances of our long visit to Osborne on this occasion might
have been in a sense more "pleasant," had they not been dashed, as they
were, by the brief but alarming illness of Prince Leopold, and by the
very painful accident to myself. But more auspicious they could not have
been for my purpose as biographer of the Prince Consort, or my relations
to Her Majesty and the Royal Family. Their kind natures were drawn to me
by sympathy, as, but for my accident, they might not have been, and one
and all vied in making both my wife and myself feel thoroughly at home.
With regard to the Queen herself, frequent personal interviews did what
no amount of correspondence could have done. They served to confirm the
confidence with which I had been previously regarded, a confidence
essential to the successful execution of my task. Insincerity,
selfishness, obsequiousness could not live before her, and when her
trust was given, her own sincere, sensitive, womanly nature was stirred,
and it revealed itself with a frankness, a considerateness, and a
courtesy that were irresistibly fascinating, and raised loyalty to
chivalrous devotion.


The letters above quoted show how deeply the Queen felt hurt by the
severe remarks of many of the journals as to her seclusion and
disappearance from the ceremonials of public life for some years after
the death of the Prince Consort. Her Majesty must also have been aware
that comments to the same effect were current in general society, where
the accustomed gaieties of the Court remained at a standstill. Indeed
one sometimes hears them still urged in reproach to her otherwise
faultless life as a Sovereign, as though her duty to the State had been
sacrificed to a morbid indulgence in the sorrows of her personal
bereavement. At one time there might have been some excuse for such an
impression, but there is none now. People did not then know, as they
know now, how heavy a weight of labour and anxiety had been thrown upon
the Queen by the death of the Prince. During his life her labours as
Sovereign had been lightened by the constant presence at her side of a
counsellor to whom the welfare of the Empire was as dear as to herself,
whose life was merged in hers, on whose strong brain and constant
devotion she had, for over twenty years, been accustomed to lean for
support and guidance. While he lived, the cares of Royalty pressed
comparatively lightly upon the Queen. But when he died the full burden
of them fell upon her; and from that moment she became the most lonely
of women--for who is so lonely as the survivor of two beings whose
mutual devotion has been so all-sufficing that they have never looked
elsewhere for mental companionship or support? How much more so if the
survivor be a woman!

With no one to whom she could turn for the same sympathy and guidance,
the Queen had henceforth to look solely to her own resources for
fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of the great position which,
with the Prince's assistance, she had built up for herself before the
world. Together it had been their rule to keep themselves advised from
day to day of every detail of public affairs by the officials of every
department, and to make themselves a living chronicle of everything that
passed in the administration of the Empire. This tradition the Queen had
now to carry on by herself. But for her great powers of work, her quick
perception, and a memory of singular tenacity, this would have been
impossible; and it requires no effort of imagination to understand how
great to her must have been the resulting exhaustion of both body and
mind, and how natural the occasional fear, to use her own words, that
some day "she might quite break down." She was not singular in this
fear, for it was shared by those who knew her best, and especially by
her uncle, the King of the Belgians--and no one knew her better than
he, both in her strength and in her weakness. When spoken to about her
seclusion and the prevailing desire that she could come more into public
life, his advice was to leave her alone. "Pauvre Victoire," M. Van de
Weyer told me were his words, "ne la tourmentez pas!"

The outside world, of course, did not then know how great was the
additional burden that had been thrown upon Her Majesty. Only the Queen
herself could enlighten her subjects upon this point, unless some of Her
Majesty's Ministers had taken occasion to do so, which they might well
have done, but none of them did. This I had to explain to the Queen when
she asked me, by her note, above cited, of the 19th of January 1868, and
again personally at Osborne, to take means to let the public know the
truth. At the same time, I ventured to offer my opinion, that it was
neither necessary nor desirable to make any public declaration on the
subject. Whatever might be said by some, her people, I was sure, had
entire trust in her doing what was best, and that she would appear in
public whenever the necessity for doing so arose. My views prevailed,
and the enthusiastic reception given within the next few days to the
_Leaves from a Journal_, and the warm expressions of loyal devotion
stimulated by the insight there given into the Queen's character, came,
happily, to confirm my opinion. It was still further confirmed by the
reception given to the Queen on her visiting the City to open the new
Blackfriars Bridge and the Holborn Bridge and Viaduct on the 6th of
November 1869, of which she wrote to me (11th November): "Nothing could
be more successful than the progress and ceremony of Saturday. The
greatest enthusiasm prevailed, and the reception by countless thousands
of all classes, especially in the City, was most loyal and
gratifying--not a word, not a cry, that could offend any one." The
subject of a public statement was not again mooted. Her Majesty was
content to wait until the story I should have to tell in the Prince's
Life should fully open the eyes of her people to the truth.

Complaints ceased for a time, but during the year 1870 they were renewed
in some of the leading journals, and again the Queen felt deeply
wounded--how deeply will presently appear. In the autumn of 1871 she had
a serious illness, which occasioned general alarm, and the journals
teemed with expressions of the devotion and the sympathetic interest
which lay at the heart of all Her Majesty's subjects. To this change is
due the following letter:--

                                       "BALMORAL, _Septr. 17, 1871_.

"Long, long has the Queen wished to write to Mr Martin, but her
_very severe_ illness has prevented her from doing so. She is now,
however, going on so satisfactorily, _though very slowly_, that she
is glad to be able to thank him for his kind inquiries and letters.

"The Queen cannot help referring to the articles in Thursday's
_Times_, and in Friday's _Daily News_, which are very gratifying, as
these go the length of expressing _remorse_ at the heartless, cruel
way in which they had attacked the Queen. Mr Martin wrote rightly,
that the words were not spoken which were needed to make the public
understand that the Queen could not do more than human strength
could bear.[5] Mr Martin will recollect the Queen's distress for
some years past, and how little she was _believed_. The unjust
attacks this year, the great worry and anxiety and hard work for ten
years, alone, unaided, with increasing age and never very strong
health, broke the Queen down, and almost drove her to despair. The
result has been the very, very serious illness--the severest, except
one (a typhoid fever in 1835), she ever had--and more suffering than
she has ever endured in her life. Now that people are frightened and
kind, the Queen will be kindly treated in future; but it is very
hard that it was necessary she should have the severe illness and
great suffering, which has left her very weak, to make people feel
for and understand her.... The sympathy in dear Scotland has been
great, and their press was the first to raise their voice in defence
of a cruelly misunderstood woman. She will never forget this."

After this time Her Majesty had no reason, so far as I know, to complain
that she was "cruelly misunderstood" by any section of her people. They
learned to understand and to sympathise with her, for they saw day by
day how close a watch she kept upon all public affairs, how full her
thoughts were of them and their wellbeing, and how tender were her
sympathies with all of them who were "in danger, necessity, or

No one could be much in communication with the Queen without being
struck by her power of saying concisely what she had to say in the
plainest and clearest language. The swiftness of her thought was
apparent in her beautiful, firm, rapid writing. Its clearness was
equally shown in her happy choice of the simplest words. She had so much
ground to get over daily that she had no time to waste in elaborate
expression. For her the one thing important was, that no room should be
left for any misapprehension of her meaning--in short, that she should
make what was plain to her own mind as plain to the minds of others as
it was to herself. If a simple, everyday word or phrase would serve her
purpose, she preferred it to anything more ornate. In the course of
editing the _Leaves from a Journal_, Mr Helps had many struggles with
Her Majesty about what he thought her too homely style, which she
defended, because she could not bear it to be thought that what she
wrote was written "for style and effect." "It was," she wrote to me
(20th October 1868), "the simplicity of the style, and the absence of
all appearance of writing for effect, which had given her book such
immense and undeserved success. Besides, how could Mr Helps expect pains
to be taken when she wrote late at night, suffering from headache and
exhaustion, and in dreadful haste, and not for publication?"

This artless skill in rendering a fresh, unstudied transcript of her
impressions--a power eagerly sought for, but very often unattained by
men of letters--undoubtedly gave to these jottings in Her Majesty's
Journal their special charm. But its value was apparent in all she
wrote. The habit of getting as near in words as possible to what was in
her own mind gave great vividness and graphic force upon occasion to her
style, especially where matters of importance had to be dealt with. When
an authoritative Life of Her Majesty is written, proofs of this will be
abundant. But, to speak only of what is already before the world, what
could be more happy or to the purpose than the Addresses and Messages
which she issued upon occasion to her people, and which in point merely
of style, apart from the governing thought and feeling, were always
masterly? The same characteristic was conspicuous in her conversation.
Her words were few and well chosen. You were never puzzled to know what
she meant, and she expected you, in what you said, to be equally concise
and clear--exact in the expression of opinion, and rigidly accurate as
to fact. Her aim always was to get at the truth. Herself the most
truthful of women, she resented any shortcoming in truthfulness in
others. "Oh!" she once said to me, "nobody can tell of what value it is
to me to hear the truth."

The Queen's intolerance of affectation, verbosity, or obscurity of
language affected her judgment not only of men, but also of much of the
contemporary literature which found favour with others. She loved and
appreciated, and indeed delighted in poetry, but it must be poetry as
the vehicle of genuine feeling or wholesome and instructive thought,
clothed in the musical language which ingratiates it to the memory,
without the inversions or obscurity of phrase or the exaggerations of
metaphor or sentiment, which are so often mistaken for originality and
strength. In my experience, Her Majesty was not prone to offer critical
opinions upon books, but when she did so, her judgments were to the
point. Thus, in speaking to me about George Eliot's _Middlemarch_, she
remarked, after saying much about the subtle delineation of the various
characters, "After all, fine as it is, it is a disappointing book; all
the people are failures"--meaning not in the way they were drawn, but in
the issues of their lives, as in truth they are.

The Queen knew, I should say, quite as much of literature, music, and
the arts as most of the people who think themselves entitled to speak
with authority upon all these topics; but she knew the limitations of
her own knowledge, and was much too sincere and too modest to affect
authority to dilate upon them. This she left to those who had made them
their special study, and was

  "Contented if she might enjoy
  The things which others understand,"

or think they understand. She had no leisure for abstruse studies. She
had one great book always before her, which commanded and absorbed her
supreme attention--the book of human life, of human good and ill within
her kingdom, and of all that was going on in Europe and throughout her
vast dominions. The study of that book left little leisure for great
attainments in literature, science, or the arts.

To music she had been devoted from her youth. She had grown up in the
love of the chief Italian composers, ancient and modern, of Mozart,
Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer, and Verdi in the modern
school--in short, all the great masters of melody who wrote from and to
the heart. It was not, then, surprising that she cared comparatively
little for the writers of the latest school, Wagner, Brahms, Grieg, and
others, who write much less from the heart than from the head, building
up elaborately scientific tonic structures, the symmetry of which it is
difficult to trace, and weaving complicated harmonies that tax and
exhaust the attention, and savour more of the science than of the soul
of music. However indifferent the Queen might be to productions of this
class, she was keenly alive to every piece of pure melodic and
harmonious inspiration.

Of Her Majesty's executive power as an artist I cannot speak, as what I
know of her work is confined to a few slight sketches, and the etchings
which she made, when Prince Albert and herself were for a time
fascinated by that attractive but difficult process. Of these I owe to
the Queen's kindness a complete series.[6] Of them it is enough to say
that the drawing is not remarkable, and that, as etchings, the
difficulties of the art have not been overcome. But I had frequent
occasion to observe that Her Majesty's studies had resulted in a power
of judging good artistic work beyond that of even the tolerably
accomplished amateur. She was in the constant habit of having engravings
made of the portraits of her family and friends, for private
circulation, and for several years I acted, by her desire, as the medium
of communication between her and the brothers Francis and William Holl,
the eminent engravers, by whom the work was done. The engravers' proofs
of these, always carefully scrutinised by the Queen, were never returned
to me without some pertinent comment, sometimes illustrated by a drawing
by the Queen upon the margin. "None but an artist could have made that
suggestion" was a not uncommon remark of the engraver. It showed him how
to correct something which he himself had not seen the way to amend.

With so much to do and think of, Her Majesty was entitled to expect from
her Ministers that all important matters submitted for her consideration
should be explained in language at once lucid and concise. This, no
doubt, was generally done. But a very remarkable instance to the
contrary came under my notice while I was lying ill at Osborne. The
Irish Church Disestablishment question, which in 1867 had been much
agitated, took the shape, in January 1868, of a bill, the printed draft
of which, together with a letter explanatory of the measure, was sent by
Mr Gladstone to the Queen. Her Private Secretary, General Grey, must
have been absent from Osborne at the time, otherwise the Queen would
have turned to him for aid in clearing up any difficulty she found in
mastering these documents. I was therefore surprised to receive a note
from Her Majesty, sending them to me, requesting me to read and return
them with a _précis_ of their contents, as she had read and re-read Mr
Gladstone's very long letter, and found herself more and more lost in
the clouds of his explanations the more she toiled through them. My
opinion of the measure, of course, was not asked for--it never was upon
any subject where her Ministers were properly her advisers--and Her
Majesty knew she could rely on my secrecy in regard to its terms as
implicitly as if I had been sworn of her Privy Council. My task was
simply to analyse and state as clearly as I could the scope of the
measure as I might gather it from the documents sent. That the Queen
should have been lost in the fog of the long and far from lucid
sentences of her Minister, running, as they did, through upwards of a
dozen closely written quarto pages, seemed only natural. I therefore
turned from them to the draft bill, and long professional experience in
the study of similar documents made it easy for me to furnish Her
Majesty with the information desired, for which I presently received a
gracious acknowledgment, with the happy assurance that she now saw her
way clearly to deal with the measure proposed.

This incident, long forgotten, was recalled to my mind on reading the
statement made with an air of assured knowledge,[7] that the Queen's
"prejudice" against Mr Gladstone began from her "suspecting him of
trying to overwork her." I have the best reason to know the
groundlessness of this imputation. The Queen's distrust of Mr
Gladstone--not her "prejudice" against him--was of a much earlier date
than his first Premiership. It was deeply seated, and for reasons that
grew more and more serious as the years rolled on. But this is a matter
with which the future chronicler of the Queen's Life may be left to
deal. Instead of complaining that she was overtasked by Mr Gladstone,
Her Majesty's complaint more probably was, that she was not kept fully
and timeously informed by him of important matters to which she
conceived her attention should have been called. However this may be,
the Queen was too fair-minded to allow "prejudice" to warp her judgment
as to any of her Ministers; but her intuitively searching glance, her
unfailing memory and long experience, would instinctively lead her to
make of their characters a penetrating and conscientiously careful

It seems like egotism to quote the following letter, but it shows better
than anything I could write the position in relation to Her Majesty
which, I scarcely know how, I had very early come to occupy.

                                         "BALMORAL, _5th June 1869_.

"The Queen has received Mr Martin's _most_ kind letter of the
3rd.... She really is at a loss to say how much she feels his
constant and invariable kindness to her, and how deeply grateful she
is for it. In the Queen's position, though it might sound strange,
as she has so many to serve her, she feels the assistance rendered
her by others in private matters, in which her official servants,
from one cause or another, seem to feel little interest and to be
very helpless, is of immense value; and she considers it _most
fortunate_, to say the least, to have found so kind a friend as Mr
Martin. The Queen likewise feels that in him she has found an
impartial friend, who can tell her many important things which her
own unbiassed servants cannot hear or tell her. This the Queen
mentioned to Mr Martin the other day when she saw him at Windsor,
when she alluded to the loss of Baron Stockmar."

It puzzled me to think what the many little, by me "unremembered acts of
kindness," could be which prompted such a recognition. It was always not
merely an honour but a delight to be serviceable in any way to a lady so
courteous, so unexacting, so full herself of thoughtful kindness. Being
in no way under the restraint which inevitably keeps official servants
in a great measure aloof from a sovereign mistress, I could speak on all
unofficial subjects on which my opinion was invited with a frank
unreserve that was impossible to them. I had nothing to fear, nothing to
gain, nothing to conceal. More deeply attached, more truly loyal to
their Royal mistress it was impossible to be than were the able and
accomplished officials by whom she was surrounded, and to whom her
wishes were a law which it was their pride to obey. Still, she was their
Royal mistress, and could not have the same feeling of unreserve with
them as with one like myself, who was wholly independent. In my
observation of Court life, I was often reminded of the words of the
Queen in Browning's _In a Balcony_, isolated as she was, although
surrounded by a loyal Court, and shut away from that frank communion
with others, without which life must drag so heavily along:--

  "Oh, to live with a thousand beating hearts
  Around you, swift eyes, serviceable hands,
  Professing they've no care but for your care,
  Thought but to help you, love but for yourself,--
  And you the marble statue all the time
  They praise and point at!"

And yet, no marble statue, but human to the core, and craving for the
homely sympathies of simple, healthy, human life. Such was our Queen.

Early in my attendances upon Her Majesty, the name of Baron Stockmar was
frequently on her lips, and it was always coupled with expressions of
the deepest respect and affection. How well these were justified I soon
learned from his letters and memoranda, addressed to the Queen and
Prince, which were placed in my hands. It was obvious that they would be
of the greatest value for my Life of the Prince, and I told Her Majesty
that I intended to make copious use of them there. On this she wrote to

                                        "BALMORAL, _Sept. 30, 1869_.

"The Queen rejoices to think that the great character of her dear
old Baron will be known now as it ought to be. Indeed, the greatest
worth is often not known.[8] No one feels this so strongly as the
Queen has done and does. What worth, what talent, what real
greatness exist, unknown and unimagined, though not by the Great
Judge of all men!"

I had made my selection of Stockmar's letters and memoranda for my
purpose, when a volume by his son, the Baron Ernest von Stockmar, was
published in the autumn of 1872, of _Memorabilia_ from his father's
papers, which threw not a little additional light upon the life and
character of this remarkable man.[9] As he was to form a prominent
figure in my book, and, though little known to the general public, had
been frequently misrepresented as a dangerous influence at the Queen's
Court, I made his son's book the text for a careful monograph of the
Baron for the _Quarterly Review_.[10] I was the more impelled to do so,
as the Queen, the Princess Royal (Empress Frederic), and others of the
Baron's friends thought the book had failed to do justice to the lovable
and more attractive features of the Baron's character. His wisdom and
great political sagacity spoke for themselves in the extracts from the
published documents, but the finer qualities were not brought out which
endeared him to his friends. His son had not, perhaps, had so many
opportunities as his English friends for judging the Baron, for a large
part of Stockmar's life had been spent away from his home in Coburg,
first in attendance on Prince Leopold (King of the Belgians), and
afterwards in long visits at the English Court. This might well have
been, seeing that "Stockmar," as M. Van de Weyer, who had known him long
and intimately, wrote to me, "concealed the tenderness of his heart, his
loving nature, his sweet temper, his devotion to his friends, under a
stoical appearance which deceived none of those who knew him well; and
to know him was to love him." His son had, somehow, failed to appreciate
this side of his character, and his book, therefore, left an impression
of hardness and austerity which did injustice to his father, and which
it was my endeavour to remove.

That his influence upon the Queen and Prince was all for good, they were
the first and always most eager to acknowledge. No one knew England and
its people--what they would bear and what they would not bear in their
sovereigns--better than he. Sir Robert Peel, Lords Aberdeen, Derby,
Clarendon, John Russell, and Palmerston all deferred to his judgment as
that of the wisest and most far-seeing politician of the day. Having
very fully expressed my opinion of him from this point of view
elsewhere, it only concerns me to say here, that the Queen considered
that she owed much of the success of her reign to the sound
constitutional principles which he had impressed upon her, and to the
warnings, almost prophetic, as to how the changes of circumstance and of
opinion were to be dealt with, which his statesmanlike sagacity foresaw
were likely to arise in the epoch of transition into which England and
Europe were, in his view, rapidly advancing.

Stockmar, who had watched the Queen from childhood, wrote of her in
1847: "The Queen improves greatly. She makes daily advances in
discernment and experience; the candour, the love of truth, the
fairness, the considerateness with which she judges men and things are
truly delightful, and the ingenuous self-knowledge with which she speaks
about herself is amiable to a degree." Of that rare quality of
ingenuousness I saw many illustrations. Thus, for example, how few would
be ready to make so frank a confession as to any portion of their past
lives as this, in a letter to me (February 18, 1869), which Her Majesty
gave as a reason why she could not send, for the purpose of the Prince's
biography, her letters during the first years after her accession:--

                                          "OSBORNE, _Feb. 18, 1869_.

"The Queen's own letters between 1837 and 1840 are not pleasing, and
are, indeed, rather painful to herself. It was the least sensible
and satisfactory time in her whole life, and she must therefore
destroy a great many. That life of constant amusement, flattery,
excitement, and mere politics had a bad effect (as it must have upon
any one) on her naturally simple and serious nature. But all
changed in 1840 [with her marriage]."

The Queen's candour and love of truth, too, made her impatient at being
praised where praise was not due, especially where praise should have
been given to the Prince Consort. Thus she writes to Lord John Russell
(November 18, 1860), on reading in a Cape journal a speech of Sir George
Grey's extolling the nature of the education given to her eldest sons:
"She feels, she must say, _pained_ at such constant praise of _her_
education of our sons, when it is _all_ due to the Prince, and when his
untiring and indefatigable exertions for our children's good is the
chief, indeed sole, cause of the success which till now has attended our
efforts.... The praise so constantly given to the Queen, and the
popularity she enjoys, she knows and feels are due, in a great measure,
to the guidance and assistance of the Prince, to be whose wife she
considers so great a privilege, and she feels it almost wrong when
praise is given to _her_ for what she knows _he_ deserves."

Every inch a Queen as she was, and careful that the Royal authority
which she inherited should suffer no detriment in her hands, there ran
through Her Majesty's nature a vein of modest humility as to her own
knowledge and powers in things of common life, a seeking for guidance
and help, which was infinitely touching. She made no secret to herself
of her own faults and shortcomings. One does not expect queens to make
acknowledgments of these, but even these were made upon occasion. Thus
in her anxiety to throw light for me upon the Prince's character, she
sent me a copy of a letter (July 13, 1848) in which he rebuked her,
tenderly but firmly, for writing to him when he had gone from home on a
public occasion, in what she calls "a very discreditable fit of
pettishness, which she was humiliated to have to own," to the effect
that he could do without her, and did not take her miniature with him.
In her letter to me she says, that she would not have written as she
did had she not been spoilt by his never really leaving her. The
Prince's reply is too sacred to quote in full; but what wife's heart
would not leap with joy to read the concluding words? "Dein liebes Bild
trage Ich in mir; und die Miniaturen bleiben stets weit hinter diesen
zurück; eine solche auf meinem Tisch zu stellen um mich _Deiner_ zu
_erinnern_ bedarf es nicht."[11]


The dominant quality in the Queen's character, it seemed to me, was her
strong common-sense. It enabled her to see things in their just
proportion, to avoid extremes, as a rule, in her estimate of persons, of
opinions, and events; to accept the inevitable without futile murmur or
resistance. Very early this quality must have been developed, and it
will account for that perfect self-possession on the announcement of her
accession and at her first Privy Council, which created surprise and
admiration in all who witnessed it. Those who read of it were often
incredulous, and stories of her agitation on these occasions have found
a place from time to time in newspapers and elsewhere. One of these,
which appeared in a respectable journal so late as November 1886, drew
from the Queen the following very suggestive remark in a letter to me:
"The Queen was _not_ overwhelmed on her accession--rather full of
courage, she may say. _She took things as they came, as she knew they
must be._" It was so with her through life. She met trial, difficulty,
or danger "with courage," and reconciled herself with a thoughtful
constant spirit, and without passionate remonstrance, to what she "knew
must be." What but this quality of mind, and her strong sense of the
claims of duty upon her as Sovereign, could have enabled her within a
few days after the loss, which for a long time took all sunshine out of
her life, to resume her active duties as Queen, and to continue them
unbrokenly through feeble health and the many domestic anxieties and
bereavements which during her long life pressed frequently and heavily
upon her? The Queen's historian will have much to tell in illustration
of her breadth of view, her prompt decision, and undaunted spirit in
times of political difficulty. At these times, the truly Royal spirit
within her answered to the call. A judgment enlightened by a vast
experience, and unwarped by prejudice, then came into play. Her sole
thought was for the good of her people, and to see that neither this,
nor the position of her Empire before the world, should be in anywise
impaired. To this end she brought into play the well-balanced judgment,
which begets and is alone entitled to the name of common-sense.

The same quality was equally conspicuous in her judgment of the affairs
of ordinary life. Of this I might have been able to give many examples,
had I not made it my rule never to make a memorandum of any remarks on
men and things that fell from Her Majesty at any of my interviews with
her. In her letters to me, acute and characteristic remarks like the
following frequently occurred: "The wisest and best people are sadly
weak and foolish about Great Marriages. The Queen cannot comprehend it."
With her experience of the private history of the many homes of both the
noble and the rich, who so able as she to judge how little of the true
happiness of life results from the gratification of such an ambition?
"Her sagacity in reading people and their ruling motives and weaknesses"
was remarkable. This was noted by Archbishop Benson, and it often broke
into remarks touched more with kindliness and humour than with sarcasm.
The Archbishop also remarks, truly, that the Queen "was shrewder and
fuller of knowledge than most men." "She had not much patience with
their follies and the pettiness of their desires." One recognises as
very characteristic a remark of hers which the Archbishop quotes: "I
cannot understand the world--cannot comprehend the frivolities and
littlenesses. It seems to me as if they were all a little mad."[12]

Here, too, may be noted the gentleness of her judgments, even in cases
where not to condemn would have been impossible. One was often reminded
that the axiom, _Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner_, was habitually
present to her mind. If a kind construction could be put upon an action
rather than a severe one, she was prompt to seize it. But at the same
time her condemnation of falsehood, cant, party intrigue, egotistical
ambition, or proved unworthiness was swift and stern.

The time had been when Mr Disraeli's attacks on her friend Sir Robert
Peel had prepossessed her greatly against him. In one of my letters on
the subject of the Prince's _Life_, I must have had occasion to refer to
these attacks. This was her reply (7th of June 1870):--

"The Queen quite agrees with what Mr Martin says about Mr Disraeli's
conduct to Sir R. Peel. It was and is a great blot, and it is to her the
more extraordinary, as he seems a very kindhearted and courteous man.
But he was at that time very young, bitterly disappointed, not thought
much of, and probably urged on by others."

As the years went on Mr Disraeli won for himself a very high place in
Her Majesty's regard. In him she recognised the patriotic statesman,
free from all mean ambition, superior to the prejudices of party,
looking with keen sagacity beyond "the ignorant present," his every
thought directed to the weal, the safety, the expansion of the Empire.
She also found in him a man of generous instincts, on whom she could
depend for consideration and sympathy. Among the other qualities for
which she admired him were the constancy of his devotion to Lady
Beaconsfield, and the honour which he paid to her memory upon her death.
"How touching," she writes to me (December 26, 1872), "is the account of
Lady Beaconsfield's funeral! _He_ is a _very fine_ example to set before
us in these days of _want_ of affection and devotion, and of belief in
what is true, unselfish, and chivalrous."

When in 1870 the land was deafened by the outcry about "Woman's Rights,"
which has not yet wholly subsided, the Queen writes to me (29th May):--

"The Queen is most anxious to enlist every one who can speak or write to
join in checking this mad, wicked folly of 'Woman's Rights,' with all
its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting
every sense of womanly feeling and propriety. Lady ---- ought to get a
_good whipping_.

"It is a subject which makes the Queen so furious that she cannot
contain herself. God created men and women different--then let them
remain each in their own position. Tennyson has some beautiful lines on
the difference of men and women in _The Princess_.[13] Woman would
become the most hateful, heartless, and disgusting of human beings were
she allowed to unsex herself; and where would be the protection which
man was intended to give the weaker sex? The Queen is sure that Mrs
Martin agrees with her."

In regard to the prevailing extravagance and want of individuality in
dress, also, the Queen held strong opinions. Thus she writes to me
(January 14, 1875):--

"The Prince had the greatest possible dislike for extravagance in dress,
and, above all, for always _following_ in fashion. He liked people to be
_well_ and elegantly and neatly dressed, but abhorred in men as well as
in women anything loud, or fast, or startling. He would not have allowed
me or any of our daughters to appear in any dress or coiffure or bonnet
not becoming or proper, and he would have made us take it off. I never
bought a dress or bonnet without consulting him, and his taste was
always good. I remember so well, when my French coiffeur came from Paris
every year, and brought over things which were tried on, the Prince has
come in and said, '_Das trägst Du nicht!_' [That you shall not wear!]
The Queen and Princesses, he said, ought never to _follow_ foolish and
ugly fashions, only because they were new. This was entirely out of

"What would he say now, when every one dresses so overmuch, and thinks
so much more about dress than they ever did before! He thought, and I
think the same, that people ought to adopt what is really becoming, but
not because it is the fashion, and especially what does not suit their
face and figure."

Wise words, no doubt; but how few are they, in all ranks of life, who
have the courage to be in what Falstaff calls "the rereward of the
fashion," however fantastic the fashion may be, and out of harmony with
their face and figure?

The Queen's passionate love for Scotland, with which her little books
have made the world familiar, her delight in the prospect of going to
Balmoral, her dejection at the thought of leaving it, constantly broke
out in her letters to me. Thus (28th June 1867) she writes from

"The Queen hopes Mr Martin will find a good place in the _Life_ for the
Prince's love and admiration for our beloved Scotland. Mr Martin
remembers his memorable words spoken not three weeks before his fatal
illness: 'England does not know what she owes to Scotland.' Beloved
country! The Queen's whole heart yearns to it more and more, and the
14th will be a sad day when she leaves it again."

Notwithstanding my love for my own native land, I found so much of
graver matter to deal with in the Prince's life that I fear I did not
gratify this phase of the Queen's feelings so fully as she desired.
Greatly as the Prince enjoyed his Scottish holidays, Scotland was not to
him what it was to the Queen, especially after his death. She was never
so well in health as there, and with health came fresh vigour of mind
and cheerfulness of spirits. She rejoiced, too, in the contrast of her
comparatively simple and genial life there with the life of state and
courtly convention which awaited her at Windsor, where, as she has told
me, even the measured tread of the sentinels under her windows was
irksome to her. The very splendour of Windsor Castle, that stateliest
and most richly endowed of palaces, weighed upon a spirit that yearned
for the freedom of life and movement, for which monarchs have ever
yearned, but must, perforce, school themselves to forego. Her Majesty's
feeling on this subject finds striking expression in the following
passage of a letter to me from Windsor Castle (November 8, 1869):--

"The departure from Scotland, that beloved and blessed land, 'the
birthplace of valour, the country of worth,' is very painful, and the
_Sehnsucht_ [yearning] for it, and proportionate chagrin on returning to
this gloomiest, saddest of places, very great.[14] It is not alone the
pure air, the quiet and beautiful scenery, which makes it so
delightful--it is the atmosphere of loving affection, and the hearty
attachment of the people around Balmoral, which warms the heart, and
does one good, and the absence of which, replaced by a cathedral church,
with all its bells and clergy, a garrison town, and a very gossiping
one, a Court with all its chilling formality, and the impossibility of
going among the poor here, who are in villages of a very bad
description, makes the change a dreadful one."

While, for the reason I have stated, Scotland took no prominent place in
my _Life_ of the Prince, I made the Queen such amends as I might by my
assistance in the preparation and passing through the press of the
profusely illustrated edition of the _Leaves from a Journal_,[15] in the
details of which Her Majesty took great interest. With her accustomed
courtesy the Queen acknowledged a service which was a pleasure to me
from the frequency with which it brought me into communication with her,
by presentation of a fine copy of the book, inscribed (January 11, 1869)
by her own hand, "To Theodore Martin, Esq., with the expression of
sincere gratitude for the pains he has taken with this illustrated
volume." And here I may say that I have not met in life a nature more
grateful than the Queen's for service done, however slight, or more
courteous in the acknowledgment of it. This perfect courtesy showed
itself in many ways. Thus, for example, if a letter remained without
answer for a day or two, the reply was sure to open with an apology for
the delay. If the delay extended to several days, then "the Queen is
shocked" at her own tardiness, although it was due to the urgent demand
of business of State, or to some other important claim on her attention.
Again, when she has been sitting at work, surrounded by despatch-boxes,
in the open air at Osborne, and I have come to make my adieu, taking off
my hat as I approached, she would desire me to replace it; and when I
deprecated doing so, "Put on your hat," she said with a peremptory
playfulness--"put on your hat, or I will not speak to you! I know you
suffer from neuralgia,"--though how she came to know it I could not

The marriage of H.R.H. the Princess Louise, for whom my wife as well as
myself had a warm regard, was sure, as the Queen knew, to be a matter of
deep interest to us. No sooner was it arranged than Her Majesty wrote to
inform us. The announcement was followed by another letter (12th March
1871), in which she wrote, in anticipation of the official invitation to
the ceremony at St George's Chapel, Windsor, on the 21st: "The Queen is
anxious that Mr Martin should know that he is specially invited to
Princess Louise's marriage as _the Queen's personal friend_." The signal
honour thus done me was continued at all the subsequent marriages of the
Royal children.

The period between the short Administration of Mr Disraeli in 1868 and
his return to office in 1874 was one of great political agitation and
unrest, both at home and abroad. Problems that had not hitherto got
beyond academical discussion took a practical form under the impulse
given to reform by Mr Gladstone on his accession to power. Bills, among
others, were launched for the Abolition of the Irish Church, for
Compulsory Education, for the Establishment of the Ballot, for the
Abolition of University tests, and for Army Reform. These were all
measures novel and of a wide-reaching scope, upon which public opinion
was greatly divided, and on which the Queen, according to her method,
had to form an independent judgment. The state of affairs abroad, also,
demanded close attention. The plots and counterplots, not always
favourable to England, which came to a climax in the outbreak of the
Franco-German war, the attitude of America in regard to the Alabama
Claims, and of Russia in denouncing the clauses of the Treaty of Paris
which provided for the neutralisation of the Black Sea, all fell within
the same period, and in the policy to be maintained in regard to them
Her Majesty's Ministers looked for her advice and assistance.

Early in 1870 an extra pressure of work was thrown upon the Queen by the
death of General Grey, formerly secretary to Prince Albert, and
afterwards her own Private Secretary, on whose vigorous judgment and
political sagacity she had long been accustomed to rely. A passage in a
letter to me (29th March), the day before he died, shows how deeply she
felt his loss: "Alas! poor General Grey will hardly live through the
day! This is very, very sad, for in many, many ways he was most valuable
to the Queen, and a very devoted, zealous, and very able adviser and
friend.... It is too dreadful to think of his poor wife and children,
whom he quite doted on, and who are remarkably fine children. The poor
dear Duchess of St Albans, too, who was confined in the same house, and
very near the father she adored, was struck down. It is too, too sad!"

The double tragedy was indeed sad, and these words express what was felt
by all who knew General Grey and his beautiful daughter, and the great
love by which they were united.

Apart from all considerations of personal feeling, the loss of a friend
so long and intimately associated with the daily work of the Queen as
Sovereign must have been serious indeed.[16] The strain upon her mind,
great enough before, became inevitably greater, and it is not
surprising that in the course of 1871 her health, as she says in the
letter of 17th September of that year, above cited (p. 40), broke down.
I saw much of her, in connection with my work, at this time, and on one
occasion she said: "I wonder what my ladies think of my want of
courtesy. Sometimes I drive out with them for a couple of hours, and all
the time do not exchange a word with them. I am so taken up with
thinking what answers to make to the despatches and letters of the day."

The position of a sovereign in regard to foreign policy must often be
rendered embarrassing by the ties of relationship or personal
friendship. The Queen must have felt this on the outbreak of the
Franco-German war. With Germany she had the closest family ties, and she
saw with satisfaction that, with the progress of the war, German unity,
which she knew had been the cherished dream of the Prince Consort, and
which she herself felt would tend in the long-run to the peace of
Europe, became a fact. On the other hand, she had formed a warm
personal regard for Napoleon III., and also for his Empress,
remembering how much they both loved our country, and how loyally he
had, on several occasions, behaved to England when his support was of
importance. While, therefore, maintaining politically an attitude of
perfect neutrality, the Queen's kind heart gave to the fallen sovereigns
a sympathetic welcome when they came to England. On the 3rd of December
1870 she wrote to me from Windsor Castle:--

"The Queen has seen the poor Empress, who shows great dignity and great
gentleness.... The Queen is pleased to say she was cheered at the
station on arriving. There is a great and kind feeling here for those
who are in misfortune and sorrow, especially among the working people,
and that is not the case in many other countries."

Again, when the Emperor came to Windsor Castle in the following March,
the Queen wrote (31st March):--

"The visit of the Emperor Napoleon--his _first_ return to Windsor since
his triumphal visit here in 1855--was very trying. He was very much
moved, but he behaved beautifully and with all the peculiar charm of
simple, unaffected graciousness which he possesses in a wonderful
degree. He spoke readily of the present and the past...."

The Queen's interest in the Emperor did not diminish during the brief
span of life which was left to him. On the 8th of January 1873 she
writes: "We are all so grieved for the poor Emperor Napoleon, whose
state, the Queen fears, is very critical. She is sure the country is
full of sympathy." Again, on the 15th, she writes: "The Queen is much
pleased with Mr Martin's observations on the poor Emperor Napoleon,
whose sudden death she truly grieves at, and she is proud to see the
sympathy and feeling shown by the nation.... Did Mr Martin go to the
lying-in-state at Chiselhurst yesterday?"

This I was unable to do, and I expressed my regret to the Queen, and
mentioned that I should go down for the funeral. This was Her Majesty's

                                      "OSBORNE, _22nd January 1873_.

"The Queen sends Mr Martin the copies of two letters that will
interest him.[17] The Empress Augusta's especially is very generous
and kind. The Queen thanks Mr Martin for his last letters, and is
very sorry he could not have the last look, which she so very deeply
regrets not having had herself. As soon as she returns to Windsor,
she will go to the poor Empress...."

I had written to the Queen a full account of the funeral. To this she
refers: "The reception on Thursday must have been most affecting. The
dear boy is said to behave so well. The Queen sends on the copy of a
letter which gives a touching trait of him. The Dean of Westminster
[Stanley] the other day said it would be such a good thing, if the poor
Emperor's great charm of manner, great amiability and kindness, and
wonderful power of attracting people--in short, _fascination_--which the
Queen herself felt very strongly, could be generally known; but he did
not exactly know _how_. The Queen said she thought it might be possible
to do it in Mr Martin's _Life of the Prince_; for the visits to Boulogne
of the Prince _alone_ in 1854, of the Emperor and Empress to Windsor in
1855, and of ourselves to Paris in the same year are full of the
greatest interest, and the Queen has a very full account of them in her
Journal, which she thinks of having extracted, and she feels Mr Martin
would be pleased to pay a tribute to one whose reverse of fortune and
great misfortunes were borne with such dignity and patience, and without
any bitterness towards others."

The Queen placed in my hands a manuscript copy of her Journal of these
visits. The attractive qualities of the Emperor were so fully
illustrated by the copious extracts of which I made use in the Prince's
_Life_, that it required no commentary or eulogium of mine to show them
in relief. The complete Journal of these visits was printed for the
Queen in 1881. It is a historical document, which will be of permanent
interest. In sending me a copy on the 10th of October of that year, the
Queen writes:--

"The little account of the two French visits in 1855 has delighted those
of the Queen's children and friends--only two of the latter, as yet--to
whom she has given it. But she finds a great omission on her part, and
that is, of _all_ the names of all those who accompanied us to Paris.
She here sends the list, and would ask how it could be added, and sends
one of the copies for him to look at and see how it could best be
done,--whether as a leaf at the end of the book, or as a note like the
dinner-list at Windsor, and include the Emperor and Empress's suite who
came with them to Windsor."

The reply was to send a printed slip with the list of the names to be
inserted at the end of the volume. With the exception of Lady Ponsonby,
then Miss Bulteel (Maid of Honour), not one of the numerous persons
named in the list is now alive. She is, therefore, the sole survivor of
the Queen's suite who was present on the occasion of the Queen's
reception at the Opera House in Paris, of which the very graphic
description is given in the _Quarterly Review_ article of April last,
already referred to.[18] It is a very welcome addition to the Queen's
own very modest account of what must have been a remarkably brilliant
and memorable scene, but of which the most she records is, that her
"reception was very hearty," that _God save the Queen_ was sung
splendidly, and that "there could not have been more enthusiasm in

In the midst of the public cares and perplexities of the time, the Queen
had to face, at the end of 1871, a deeper anxiety than all other in the
dangerous illness of the Prince of Wales. To place herself by his
bedside, to cheer and to encourage, and never to surrender hope, however
dread the symptoms, was characteristic of her strong, loving nature and
brave spirit. Her conduct at that trying time drew her people nearer to
her, and their sympathy bound her to them by a very tender tie. Through
her kindness I was kept informed by telegram of the progress of the
Prince through the extremes of danger to convalescence. Among the
letters which the Queen wrote to me from Osborne after her return there
with the Prince from Sandringham, the following passage occurs:--

                                          "OSBORNE, _Feb. 13, 1872_.

"Two new sad and shocking events have overclouded the joyful return
of the dear Prince of Wales: the one which, contrasting as it did
with the Queen's own case, made her feel it most keenly--viz., the
death of her dear niece[19] from scarlet fever, a terrible blow to
her dear sister, who is so delicate herself; the other, the horrible
assassination of poor Lord Mayo, a noble and most loyal subject, and
most admirable Viceroy, which has shocked the Queen dreadfully! It
is awful, and _how_ could it happen? Some dreadful neglect, surely.

"The dear Prince of Wales, though quite himself, bears great traces
of his fearful 'death-illness.' He seems like new-born, pleased at
every tree and flower, ... and gazing on them with a sort of
'Wehmuth' which is quite touching...."

Fortunately for the recovery of the Prince of Wales, the treatment of
typhus was now better understood than it had been but a few years
before. "Ah!" the Queen said to me soon after this time, "had _my_
Prince had the same treatment as the Prince of Wales, he might not have
died!"--one of those sad, vain imaginings of "what might have been,"
common to us all, but on which the Queen was too wise to allow her mind
to dwell.

The Queen had long ceased to have reason to complain of want of
appreciation on the part of the people. On the contrary, it was
enthusiastically shown whenever she was seen in public, and most
impressively when she went in January 1872 to the thanksgiving service
in St Paul's for the recovery of the Prince of Wales. Her letters are
full of expressions of satisfaction at these demonstrations of public
feeling. Thus she writes, for example, to me on the 10th of April 1872:
"There never was a greater success or a greater exhibition of
spontaneous loyalty than the Queen's visit to the East End the other
day;" and a few days later (23rd April) she calls my attention to a
similar display "at two very pretty military events which took place at
Parkhurst last Thursday, and here [Osborne] yesterday, on the occasion
of giving new colours to the 79th Cameron Highlanders," and of her
acceptance from them of the old colours. "Their former chaplain," she
adds, with her usual love of detail, "who has been fourteen years with
them, and in Lucknow, came on purpose to bless the colours, which he did
extremely well and touchingly. It is a splendid regiment."

The great change in the public mind, which resulted in the fall of Mr
Gladstone's Ministry at the beginning of 1874, took the Queen somewhat
by surprise. "The result of the elections," she writes to me (10th
February 1874), "is astounding. What an important turn the elections
have taken! It shows that the country is not _Radical_. What a triumph,
too, Mr Disraeli has obtained, and what a good sign this large
Conservative majority is of the state of the country, which really
required (as formerly) a strong Conservative party!"

Amid the turmoil of the elections which led to this important result a
domestic incident took place--the Confirmation of the Princess Beatrice,
which was communicated to me in the following letter (January 13,

"The Queen cannot resist sending the lines which Mlle. Norèle wrote on
her sweet Beatrice at her Confirmation. She did so look like a lily, so
very young, so gentle and good. The Queen can only pray God that this
flower of the flock, which she really is (for the Queen may truly say
she has never given the Queen one moment's cause of displeasure), may
never leave her, but be the prop, comfort, and companion of her widowed
mother to old age! She is the Queen's Benjamin."

The prayer, we know, was granted. Mlle. Norèle's graceful lines form a
worthy pendant to the charming picture presented in this letter. I give
them with my own translation, as it pleased the Queen at the time:--

  "Seule, au pied de l'autel,   | "Alone, at the Altar's foot,
    Nous l'avons contemplée,    |   Thus was she seen,
  Au bonheur immortel,          | Humbly adoring, mute,
    Comme un ange, appelée.     |   With looks serene.
  De son front la candeur       | Awe touch'd us, and we felt
    Imprimait le respect,       |   How pure that sight,
  Et toute sa blancheur         | Fair lily! as she knelt,
    Du lis avait l'aspect.      |   Robed all in white.
  Son âme calme et pure         | Within that holy spot,
    Semblait en ce saint lieu   |   Her soul did seem
  Oublier la nature,            | To soar, all earth forgot,
    Et monter vers son Dieu.    |   To the Supreme.
  Seigneur, bénis sa foi,       | Bless, Lord, the vow she pays,
    Garde-lui ton amour,        |   Make her Thy care,
  Que sa vie sous ta loi        | So blest be all her days,
    Ressemble à ce beau jour!"  |   Like this, and fair!"

In the spring of 1874 the Queen suffered a great loss in the death of
her devoted and most trusted friend, M. Silvain van de Weyer.

On the 24th of April she writes:--

"The Queen has felt much regret at poor Livingstone's fate, and we are
now very anxious, alas! again about dear M. Van de Weyer.[20] She
herself is very much overdone and overworked, and her nerves
overstrained. Never did so many things come together as this winter and
spring. On the 18th of May she hopes, _D.V._, to get off to the North
for a month, and then really to get rest."

Among the many deaths of relatives and friends which the Queen had to
mourn within the last few years, no one was more deeply felt than that
of her half-sister on 23rd September 1872. "Divided in age by eleven
years, and separated by long and unavoidable absences, yet the
affection of the Queen for the companion of her early childhood never
failed, and the connection of the Princess as sister and aunt of the
Royal Family of England was maintained with a fidelity which was never
interrupted, either on the part of the Princess herself or of her
illustrious relatives." A memorial volume of the Princess's Letters to
the Queen was printed in 1874 by Her Majesty, of which I had the honour
to receive an early copy. A more beautiful picture of sisterly devotion
it would be hard to find than is presented in this volume. From the
brief introduction, in which the hand of Dean Stanley may be recognised,
I have taken the words above cited. The letters themselves give the
impression of a highly refined, intellectual, and sympathetic nature,
which must have made the Princess very dear to those who knew her. The
opinion of the volume which I expressed in thanking Her Majesty for the
gift was acknowledged in the following letter, the closing words of
which are especially noteworthy:--

                                         "BALMORAL, _Nov. 19, 1874_.

"The Queen is greatly gratified by Mr Martin's opinion of the
letters of her darling sister. _She_ felt proud of them, but
still she could not know what others might feel, but all who
have seen them admire them much! No one who did not know her
intimately _could_ know what she was, for she was so modest and
unobtrusive--not outwardly expansive, and she did not easily take to
people whom she did not find sympathetic. But she was a remarkable,
noble-minded, kind, good, and single-minded person, whose loss to
the Queen, though we lived so much apart, is daily more keenly felt.
The Prince had the greatest respect and admiration for her, and said
she would have been worthy of a crown. But, oh! _how unenviable is

How the Princess loved and was beloved by the Queen may be seen from a
passage, quoted at the end of the volume above referred to, in a letter
found among the papers of the Princess, and marked to be given to the
Queen after her death:--

"I can never thank you enough for all you have done for me, for your
great love and tender affection. These feelings cannot die; they
must and will live on with my soul--till we meet again, never more
to be separated,--and now you will not forget

                                "Your only own loving sister,



It was the autumn of 1874, nearly seven years after I had undertaken to
write the _Life_ of the Prince Consort, before I found myself able to
prepare the first volume for the press. Although I had from the first
foreseen that the work would involve a greater amount of labour than was
contemplated by the Queen, it soon became obvious that I had myself
under-estimated it. As I advanced in my preparations the materials that
came into my hands grew greater and greater, and I saw that, to give a
true picture of the Prince, my book must be in effect a history of the
Queen's reign from the time of his marriage till his death, while it
would at the same time be a biography not of him only, but in a great
measure of Her Majesty also. I had made considerable progress in the
collection of my materials when I became aware of a body of information,
valuable beyond all others, which had been accumulated by the Prince
himself, and which had been shut away and seen by no one since his
death. As if to assure himself that an authentic record of this period
of the reign should not be wanting, every document, letter, despatch,
private as well as public, which had passed under the eyes and hands of
the Queen and himself in reference to affairs of State, to
communications with foreign Courts, or to public events in which they
had taken a part, had been classified and preserved in an immense mass
of folio volumes, to which the Queen afforded me free access.

These in a measure enabled me to live through the crowded years of the
Prince's life. But the study of them, the bulk of the most important
documents being in manuscript, and not a few of them in the cramped
German _current Schrift_, was a severe strain upon both patience and
eyesight. Months were spent in the perusal and selection of what might
be used, especially as the contents of these volumes were often so
confidential that they had to be read, transcribed, and translated
solely by myself.

I had stipulated that I should not be expected to write of the Prince
until I had followed his life to its close, and every step I made in my
researches confirmed me in this resolution. It was a disappointment to
the Queen that I could not show the fruits of my labour so early as she
wished, naturally eager as she was that full justice should be done, and
done quickly, to the Prince's memory. But when I was able to explain, in
the numerous conferences which passed upon the subject, how elaborate
were the preparations I was making, how important and voluminous the
records to which I was trusting as the basis of what I had to write, Her
Majesty became content to wait, and took a deep interest in the
development of the narrative, which not infrequently recalled
interesting incidents and discussions which had for a time, but for a
time only, escaped her marvellous memory.

Every chapter, as I wrote it, was submitted to the Queen, and most
carefully read and noted by her. No slip in a date or name escaped her
notice, and her fine tact never failed to call attention to any
expression that could be modified with advantage. But from first to last
I was left to the free development of narrative and the expression of my
own opinions. The independence for which I had stipulated at the outset
was most loyally respected; and I reflect with satisfaction on the fact,
that at no point throughout the five volumes to which the _Life_
extended did any conflict of opinion arise between Her Majesty and
myself. An incident will serve to show how anxious the Queen herself was
that my entire independence should be maintained. When I came in 1876 to
write the story of the Crimean war I felt myself in a difficulty. The
second son of Her Majesty had married the daughter of the reigning Czar
in 1874. It was impossible to say what I had to say of Russia without
giving expression to views that could not be otherwise than
unacceptable at the Russian Court. How was I to act, as my work of
necessity must have the sanction of the Queen? I therefore sought an
interview with Her Majesty and explained my difficulty. What was her
instant answer? "Do not let the fact of my son's marriage into the
Russian family weigh with you for a moment! Whatever conclusions you
come to upon the facts and documents before you, express them as if no
such marriage existed!" Here, as always, truth I found was the paramount
consideration with the Queen.

It may be conceived how my responsibility was lightened and my labour
cheered by the perfect freedom allowed to me as well as by the warm
encouragement I received from the Queen, and her growing interest in the
work as it advanced. Her heart was set upon the completion of an
adequate and true memorial of the Prince, and, with all the information
of every kind placed at my disposal, he became to me as if I had lived
through the years with him.

Until they had seen the first volume of my book some of the Queen's
children were rather adverse to the idea of any _Life_ of the Prince
being published so soon. They had a natural fear that it would not do
justice to the father whose memory was so tenderly dear to them, and the
incidents of whose life were in a measure sacred in their eyes. One of
these was the Princess Alice, and in order to remove her impression the
Queen wrote to her (24th June 1874) as follows, and sent me a copy of
the letter:--

"I do not think, that as so many memoirs of statesmen and people of the
same time have been published, that it is too soon to publish a discreet
Life of beloved Papa; indeed, much that has appeared without permission,
or, I must think, reflection, in the dear old Baron's _Life_, rendered
it necessary not to delay in putting things before the world, with all
the sides to them, that did not appear in that _Life_. It will be of
much use to posterity and to Princes to see what an unselfish,
self-sacrificing, and in many ways hard and unenviable life beloved
Papa's was."

After the first volume was published the doubts of the Princess Alice
disappeared, and the Queen, with her habitual consideration, sent me a
letter to read, which she received from the Princess, expressing her
warm commendation of what I had done. The Princess wrote to me herself
in the same strain, and from every member of the family I received the
most warm congratulations on my work. This seemed to give great
satisfaction to the Queen, for it was her desire that the biographical
memorial should be as welcome to them as to herself.

As each subsequent volume appeared, I received assurances from Her
Majesty of her gratitude for the spirit in which I had carried out her
wishes, and from all her children came the warmest acknowledgments of
the success of my endeavour to do justice to their father's memory.
When, in January 1880, I wrote to the Queen with the concluding chapter
of the last volume of the _Life_, and mentioned, in doing so, with what
emotion it was written, this was the answer I received:--

                                       "OSBORNE, _January 27, 1880_.

"The Queen thanks Mr Martin most warmly for his touching letter
accompanying the _last_ chapter of her beloved Husband's _Life_. She
thanks him from her heart for the pains and trouble he has taken in
the execution of this difficult and arduous undertaking, in which he
has so admirably succeeded, and at the same time congratulates him
on having completed it. She can well understand the tears that must
have been shed in doing so, though Mr Martin did not know the dear
Prince personally.

"In the meantime, before she can in a more public manner express her
high sense of his services, the Queen asks Mr Martin to accept the
accompanying bronze statuette reduced from Marochetti's monument in
the Mausoleum.[21] The Queen would wish also to thank Mr Martin for
the kind and feeling manner in which he has performed his difficult

The Queen's kindness did not stop here. I was ill, overtasked with very
heavy professional work, at the same time that I was writing the last
chapters of my book. For months I had been engaged along with the late
Mr Edmund Smith in negotiating, and successfully negotiating, for Lord
Beaconsfield's Government, the purchase of the undertakings of all the
London Water Companies, and preparing the Bill for vesting them in a
public trust. The measure was defeated on Mr Gladstone's return to
office in April 1880, and for this defeat it may safely be said the
community of London has ever since had to suffer severely. Rest and
change were essential for my recovery, and I at once determined to seek
them in Venice and the north of Italy. Two days before I started I was
commanded to dine with Her Majesty at Windsor, and on my arrival I was
knighted and invested by her own hands with the Collar and Star of a
Knight Commander of the Bath, the act being accompanied by words of
commendation far more precious to me than any title of honour. The
Queen had chosen for the ceremony the Prince Consort's working room,
where all my conferences with her on the subject of the _Life_ had taken
place. Her Majesty, I subsequently found, had some difficulty in getting
the Star and Collar of the Bath ready in so short a time: I could not,
therefore, but recognise in the promptitude of her action the kind
thought, that the honour, which would come upon me by surprise, might
help to cheer me in the search for health on which I was going abroad.

Some years before this time I had occasion to see how keenly the Queen
suffered on the death of a friend. On the 7th of March 1875 Sir Arthur
Helps, who held a very warm place in her regard, died, after a few days'
illness, from a cold caught at the Prince of Wales' levee. I was
summoned to Buckingham Palace and found the Queen in tears, and moved to
a degree that was distressing to witness. She had lost in him not only a
valuable official, but a friend to whom she had for years trusted for
counsel in times of personal distress or difficulty. Her first thought
was for his family, and what could be done to lighten the embarrassment
of the position in which his sudden death had placed them, and
arrangements with this view were at once resolved upon and carried into
effect. But, seeing what on this occasion I saw Her Majesty suffer, I
could not but think how much sorrows of this kind, coming as they did
with unusual frequency, and leaving impressions which in her case were
far from transitory, must have added to the exhausting effects of the
Queen's busy life.

It must have been about this time that the Queen one day, in speaking of
her portraits, asked me which of them all I thought the best. "Your
Majesty," I answered, "will smile at what I am going to say. None of
them speak to me so strongly as well as pleasingly, or bring your
Majesty so vividly to my mind, as the bust by Behnes, when you were
between eight and nine years old." I then told her that I had studied it
for years, being so fortunate as to possess the original cast in clay
from which the marble bust in the Windsor great corridor was modelled
by the sculptor. "Not only," I added, "is the bust beautiful as a work
of art, but in it, if I might be so bold as say so, I saw not only the
lineaments, but the latent character which years had developed." The
Queen, I could see, while somewhat surprised, was also pleased. My
criticism must have produced a favourable impression, for the next time
I was at Windsor Castle I found that the bust had been removed from a
comparatively dark corner to a most conspicuous position near the main
entrance to the corridor, where it was shown to the best advantage, and
continued thenceforth to remain. Passing along the corridor one evening
I called Lord Beaconsfield's attention to it, and he quite concurred in
my opinion as to its suggestiveness and peculiar charm.[22]

I recall another conversation about this period that led to the grant,
which gave great public satisfaction at the time, of a pension of £50
a-year to Edward, the Banff shoemaker and Naturalist. I had thrown into
my despatch-box a copy of Dr Smiles's _Life of Edward_, just published,
which reached me as I was leaving home to wait upon Her Majesty at
Windsor. The box contained papers as to which I had to consult the
Queen. On opening it in her presence, her quick eye took notice of the
volume, and she asked me what it was. It contained a fine etched
portrait of Edward by Rajon, and this, I knew, would interest the Queen.
She admired it greatly, and asked, "Who is this Edward?" I told her
briefly his story. "Is this not a case," she said, "for a pension from
the Bounty Fund?" Some of the most eminent naturalists, I was able to
answer, were anxious that he should have one, and a Memorial to Her
Majesty praying for it was being extensively signed. "Go on with the
Memorial," Her Majesty said. "That is essential; but leave the book with
me. I will write to-day to Lord Beaconsfield, and I have no doubt the
pension will be at once granted." The next day (20th December 1876), in
a letter from the Queen, she wrote: "Lord Beaconsfield had already heard
of the book, which with this letter the Queen return, and is most ready
to recommend Edward for a pension of £50. He was most amiable about it."
Thus some days before the formal Memorial was presented to the Queen its
prayer had been granted, and the remarkable old man was made comfortable
for life.[23]

The following letter, while it shows on what friendly relations the
Queen stood with Lord Beaconsfield, also shows with how gracious a
welcome Her Majesty received a gift from one of her subjects:--

                                    "_Dec. 25, 1876, Christmas Day._

"The Queen returns Mr Martin her sincerest thanks for his two kind
letters, and for the splendid copy of his translation of
_Faust_.[24] She had seen it, and sent it as a Christmas offering to
Lord Beaconsfield; but she did not possess one, and therefore is
much pleased to receive it at _his hands_. The Queen hopes Mr Martin
will accept the book with photographs of the Albert Chapel, which
will reach him to-morrow.[25] Most sincerely does she wish Mr and
Mrs Martin every possible blessing for the season, which is
unusually gloomy and dark....

"She has just received a most kind and graceful acknowledgment from
Lord Beaconsfield, which she will later send Mr Martin to read."

1877 and 1878 were years of great anxiety in regard to foreign affairs,
and from Her Majesty's letters to myself it is apparent how constantly
she had to struggle against the severe headaches and weaknesses brought
on by overwork. Thus on 14th February 1878 she writes: "The Queen is
quite incapable of writing, having so much to do and think of, and
suffers from headaches and an over-tired head. But she sees no chance of
rest." Again, on the 8th of March: "The Queen has to apologise very much
for not having answered Mr Martin's letter of the 1st. Could he come on
Monday 11, before 6, and stay till the next day?... Her time is terribly
taken up."

The Queen was now never long without some great sorrow, and in the late
autumn of this year it came in the form of serious illness and death in
the home of her beloved daughter the Princess Alice. On the 20th of
November 1878 she writes:--

"Mr Martin will excuse her for not answering upon ----'s long letter
yet. But her state of anxiety and anguish about all her dear ones at
Darmstadt has been such--and they are still great--that what with
letters and telegrams, she has been quite incapable of attending to any
other things. Her poor child's grief and anxiety are only equalled by
her resignation and marvellous courage. But the darling that was taken
was one of the sweetest, cleverest, and most engaging little children
possible--4-1/2--the only one of her 31 grandchildren born to her who
was born on the Queen's birthday."

Five years before (June 29, 1873) the Princess Alice had lost another
favourite child, who fell out of the window of the room from which she
had gone out for a few seconds, and was killed before her eyes. The
misery which this loss had caused the Princess might be read in the
settled sadness of expression which thenceforth marked her beautiful
face, and seemed to foreshadow the early death which Heaven so often
gives its favourites. Now, in nursing all her numerous children through
a virulent attack of diphtheria, she showed the noble, unselfish courage
for which she had always been distinguished. One of them, the Princess
May, died, as mentioned in the Queen's letter, and very soon (14th
December) the Princess herself succumbed to the same dreadful epidemic.
The other children recovered. It is well to recall what the then Prince
of Wales wrote of his beloved sister to Lord Granville, in a letter read
by his lordship to the House of Lords: "So good, so kind, so clever! We
had gone through so much together--my father's illness, then my own; and
she has succumbed to the pernicious malady which laid low her husband
and children, whom she watched and nursed with unceasing care and
attention. The Queen bears up bravely, but her grief is deep beyond
words." Overwhelmed by it though she was, Her Majesty's instant care was
to settle how she might fill a mother's place in looking after the young
children that were left behind. And that she did fill it is well known,
and she was requited by seeing them all before she died settled in life
suitably to their rank, and the youngest called to share the Imperial
throne of the Czar of Russia.

In her natural anxiety to see a spot which had so many tender
associations for her, the Queen visited Darmstadt in the spring of
1884, and in a letter to me (May 12) from Windsor Castle, after her
return, she makes the following interesting allusion to her visit:--

"The Queen has been living in the dear Grand Duchess's rooms at the Neue
Palais at Darmstadt, where everything remains precisely as it used to
be. The Queen's sitting-room was hers, and the Queen only placed a small
writing-table in the room for her own use, leaving everything else
untouched. This opens into the dear Grand Duchess's bedroom, where she
died, and out of one of the windows of which poor little 'Frittie'[26]
fell, where there is now a fine painted glass window, with the following
words, 'Of such are the kingdom of heaven,' 'Not lost, but gone before.'
It is a charming house.... The light air of the Continent is certainly
very different from England, and more like Scotland. The country was
brilliant, and lovely in its spring attire of most vivid green; the
birch woods are quite beautiful.

"It seemed almost an irony of fate to see nature so bright and
beautiful, when the heart was so sad, and could feel no pleasure."

When my _Life_ of the Prince Consort was completed I should not have
been surprised if the Queen, with all her manifold, fatiguing, and
ever-increasing engagements, had no longer continued the intimate
correspondence with which I had hitherto been honoured. But in this
respect no change took place. The number of letters grew less as the
necessity diminished for constant reference to Her Majesty on the
subjects dealt with in the Prince's _Life_; but I was as frequent a
guest as ever at Windsor Castle, and treated with the same frankness and
confidence as before. When I could be of use to Her Majesty my services,
she knew, were always cheerfully at her command, and they were
invariably acknowledged with the exquisite courtesy and thankfulness of
which I have already given some examples. I had thus constant
opportunities of verifying the justice of the estimate of the personal
qualities of Her Majesty which I very early formed, and to which I have
in previous pages tried to give expression.

In 1883 the Queen had found distraction in preparing further extracts
from her Diary of her life in the Highlands. When it was well advanced
towards publication my assistance in revising the final proofs was
asked. She had no longer her friend Sir Arthur Helps to advise with, who
had edited her first _Leaves from a Journal_. A great deal of
correspondence in regard to the book, I find, took place, and I must, I
suppose, have been somewhat severe in my criticisms, for in sending me
her final sketch of the Preface and Epilogue to the volume, the Queen
writes that she stood "somewhat in awe of me"--a compliment to my
independence which, while it amused me, could not be otherwise than
gratifying. The warm reception given to the volume gave the Queen great
pleasure. Thus on the 14th of February 1884 she writes: "The Queen is
really startled at the success of so humble a production," and again on
the 29th, "The Queen must say, she believes few sovereigns, and fewer
people, have been so kindly spoken of as herself." In a paper written in
1883, now before me, the Queen speaks of the importance to herself of
anything which "has a cheering and invigorating effect on one so
depressed, and so often disheartened as I am." It was therefore very
pleasant to see that she had found this temporary solace in the public
feeling, which had been vivified by her little book.

To add to the Queen's depression, a lameness due to a sprain of the knee
robbed her of the freedom of movement in which she had always delighted.
Of this she speaks in a letter (May 29, 1883):--

"Many things unite in rendering the Queen's remaining years terribly
hard and desolate. Her lameness does not improve much. She can walk very
little indeed (and that is great labour) out of doors, and never without
two sticks indoors, and is carried, which the newspaper reporters with
singular ignorance consider a proof of her great 'delicacy of health,'
complaining also of the public _not_ being admitted everywhere, as if
it would be pleasant for any lady to be carried in and out of a carriage
before crowds of people! But the people are very kind and anxious,
though very unreasoning in thinking a sprain can be cured in a few days,
especially when she is no longer young."

In the autumn of 1881 the Queen held a review in the Queen's Park,
Edinburgh, of the Scottish Volunteers, considerably over 40,000 of whom
passed before her. The march past occupied more than three hours, during
which the rain descended in torrents. The Queen was in an open carriage,
and however much they might have been disappointed, none of her
volunteers would have murmured had Her Majesty withdrawn at an early
stage of the review. But, true soldier's daughter as she was, she paid
no heed to the weather, thinking only of her duty to let herself be seen
by those who had come from all parts of the country in the hope of
seeing and being seen by their Queen. She did not leave the Park until
the last man had passed. By this time the carriage was full of water,
and pools of it, I have been told, dropped from the dresses of herself
and ladies when they returned to Holyrood.

In a like determination never, if she could, to cause disappointment to
her people, when she visited Liverpool about four years later, the Queen
drove slowly through more than three miles of streets under a drenching
rain which lasted throughout the whole route. The open-air drives in the
Highlands had, no doubt, accustomed Her Majesty to bear exposure so
trying without injury to her health. The stimulus, too, given by the
heartiness of the greeting, which her courage and gracious courtesy
evoked, may have helped to keep all evil consequences at bay. In writing
to me, May 17, 1886, the drenching rain was not mentioned. "The
Liverpool visit," she only said, "was a perfectly triumphal ovation, so
warm and hearty ... from a million and a half of people. The feeling
against Home Rule is on the increase."

It was well that the Queen, in all her sorrows, could find solace in the
sympathetic and ever-increasing loyalty of her people. Another heavy
blow was soon to fall upon her in the death of Prince Leopold (March 28,
1884). Only two years before, his marriage had been solemnised in St
George's Chapel at Windsor under circumstances of unusual splendour, in
which Her Majesty had taken a prominent part. Who that witnessed it
could ever forget the figure of the Queen as she passed up the aisle to
the altar. In the bridal train and the general assemblage many of the
most beautiful women in England, arrayed in the costliest robes and
adorned with an infinite wealth of jewels, preceded Her Majesty.
Whatever high blood and bearing, whatever wealth and beauty could give
to delight the eye, was there. But all was eclipsed by the unpretending
figure in black, moving onwards with the simple unstudied grace,
unconscious of its own charm, but insensibly by its perfect composure
filling you with the impression that in her the Majesty of England was
represented. _Vera incessu patuit Regina._ No doubt the memory of that
moment came back to many as it did to me, when the body of Prince
Leopold was borne by the Seaforth Highlanders up the same aisle for the
funeral benediction only two short years after, and the Queen was seen
looking down from the Royal pew upon the group of mourners gathered
round the bier. I had known the Prince well for years, and I believe was
a favourite with him. My letter of condolence to Her Majesty after the
funeral brought me the following reply:--

                                   "WINDSOR CASTLE, _Apl. 10, 1884_.

"The Queen thanks Sir Theodore Martin for his kind letter, as well
as for the previous ones, and for all the kind sympathy, but that is
indeed universal. It has always been thus for her, and each loss
intensifies it.... The accounts of the sad and impressive ceremony
of last Friday and Saturday are excellent, and all in such a
reverent tone--and the _Times_ articles (3) so good. The
_Standard_[27] is admirable, and the Queen thanks Sir Theodore for
it.... The Queen is not ill, but greatly shaken, and this new shock
has been overwhelming....

"The Queen feels the loss of that dear clever child of so many cares
and anxieties more and more, and knows that again a great help and
support has been taken from her in her declining years. She never
felt easy when he was away, and his foreign trips never did him any
good. _Now he is safe._

"The Queen has been urged to have some complete rest and change of
air, and is therefore going for a fortnight to Darmstadt on the

In 1886 the idea became general of a great celebration of the Queen's
Jubilee in the following year. The subject gave rise to a great display
of loyal feeling, and much eloquent writing in praise of Her Majesty in
the journals. I seem to have sent Her Majesty some of these which I
thought would give her pleasure, for on June 28 she writes to me thus:--

"The Queen hastens to thank Sir T. Martin for his kind letters and
enclosures. She was touched and gratified by the articles, as it is
rewarding to find _Anerkennung_, as the Germans say, of a long and hard
life of anxiety, that is not flattery, which the Queen hates....

"For the Queen all the loyalty shown and the celebration to take place
(if she lives, _D. V._) next year are very trying, and much mingled with
deep sadness; for to be alone, bereft of her husband, to whom she and
the country owe so much, of two dear children, and many, and especially
_some_, dear friends, is very painful and trying."

In the Jubilee year it was understood that presents might be offered to
Her Majesty upon her birthday. Very many, no doubt, availed themselves
of the privilege, Lady Martin and myself among the number. We had both
so frequently received memorial gifts from the Queen, that it was an
especial pleasure to us to have an opportunity of offering our slight
tribute of loyal respect, and we selected for the purpose an object of
which it was not likely that a duplicate could be given. A telegram of
warm acknowledgment from Balmoral the day it was received was followed
next day (25th May) by this letter:--

"The Queen thanks Sir Theodore and Lady Martin for their lovely gift,
which she will ever value as coming from them, and on her birthday in
this year. The loyalty and affection so universally exhibited by all
classes and from all parts are very gratifying to her, and are an
encouragement for the few remaining years of her arduous life, as they
show that her efforts for the good of her country and people are

No need to say how this loyalty and affection culminated within a month
in the Jubilee demonstration on the 21st of June. In Westminster Abbey I
had a position from which I could observe the emotions as they passed
over the face of the Queen throughout the whole of the impressive
ceremonial of that memorable day; and it seemed to me, familiar as I was
with the feelings with which Her Majesty had looked forward to this
event, that I could divine some of the thoughts which under that
serenely dignified demeanour were passing through Her Majesty's heart
and mind. Deep and manifold I felt they must be, as she looked back to
the day when she had last sat there in the Coronation Chair, through the
vista of years of happiness and trial, of anxiety and bereavement, of
national struggle and peril and triumph, all culminating in an
unparalleled demonstration of her people's love. At such a time would
not memory recur to the words written to her on her Accession by Prince
Albert fifty years before (26th June 1837)?--"Now you are Queen of the
mightiest land of Europe. In your hand lies the happiness of millions.
May Heaven assist you and strengthen you with its strength in that high
but difficult task! I hope that your reign may be long, happy, and
glorious, and that your efforts may be rewarded by the thankfulness and
love of your subjects!" Full of the feeling I have expressed, on my
return home it shaped itself without effort of mine into the words of
the following sonnet. Some weeks elapsed before I had the courage to
send it to the Queen; but it at once found such favour with Her Majesty
that, in a letter to me next day (11th August), she wrote: "The Queen
thanks Sir T. Martin for his kind letter, and for the very beautiful
lines which he has written.... The Queen hopes he will print and even
publish them." They were accordingly published next month in
_Blackwood's Magazine_:--


  _21st June 1887._

  Again within these walls, again alone!
    A long, long tract of fateful years between
    The day I knelt, to rise a crownèd queen,
  Vowed thenceforth to be all my people's own,
  And this, when, with an empire wider grown,
    Again I kneel, before high Heaven to lay
    My thanks for all, which since that earlier day
  Has blessed my goings, and upheld my throne.
  God! in this hour I think of him, who made
    My young life sweet, who lightened every care,
  In sorest straits my judgment rightly swayed,
    Lived, thought for me, all times and everywhere;
  For him I thank Thee chief, who by his aid
    Nerved me the burden of a crown to bear!

Every Christmas had for years brought with it a letter from the Queen
with her good wishes for Lady Martin and myself, accompanied by a
beautifully painted card for Lady Martin, and some valuable book for my
library enriched by a gracious inscription. In her letter of this year
were the words, "_The Queen is loth to part with the year in which she
has met with so much affection and kindness_," and they suggested to me
the following sonnet. It was my custom to send to the Queen a Christmas
and New Year greeting, generally in verse, and I made the sonnet my
greeting for the year 1888. The Queen in her reply requested that it
might be published, and this was done:--


  _Before Midnight, 31st December 1887._

  One hour, and 'twill be numbered with the past,
    My year of Jubilee, that to my heart
    Has tribute brought from cot and hall and mart
  Of loyalty and love;--a treasure vast,
  There to be nursed and cherished to the last,
    And with that one dear memory held apart,
    Still sweetening through the years its bitter smart
  With love in kingly story unsurpassed!
  Go, then, bright year, go with a fond good-bye,
    For all thy days with loving-kindness fraught!
  And may all blessings from the God on high
    Light on my people for their loving thought,
  Keeping them worthy of the days gone by,
    And the great name by their forefathers wrought!


In the magnificent procession which attended the Queen to and from
Westminster Abbey, no figure attracted more attention, or excited
greater admiration, than that of the Crown Prince of Germany, in his
white Cuirassier's uniform, and rivetting all eyes by his noble head and
majestic bearing. Little was it then dreamed that within a year he was
to succeed his father as Emperor of the Germans, when himself stricken
by the cruel malady under which he sank within a few months after his
accession. The tragic circumstances of his death awakened a very
profound feeling throughout this country, and men's thoughts turned to
the uncrowned Empress whom he left behind, and also to the Queen, who
thus saw the fair hopes blighted, with which she and the Prince Consort
had resigned their first and highly gifted child to the man of her
heart, by whose side they might expect in time to see her throned as
sovereign over a mighty kingdom.

The Emperor Frederic died on the 15th of June 1888. As soon as her
health permitted, the widowed Empress decided to come to England for a
time; and the Queen wrote to me suggesting that some special expression
of public sympathy should meet her daughter on her arrival. That this
sympathy would be generally and warmly expressed through the usual
channels could not be doubted. But I ventured to think, that the
expression of it might not unfitly be concentrated in the compacter form
of verse. With this view I wrote the following sonnet, which appeared in
the _Standard_ two days before the Empress reached England:--


  _On her arriving in England, 17th November 1888._

  When England sent thee forth, a joyous bride,
    A prayer went through the land, that on thy head
    Might all best blessings bounteously be shed,
  And his, the lover-husband by thy side;
  And England marked with ever-growing pride,
    As onwards still the years full-freighted sped,
    How wrought in both the grace of worth inbred,
  To noblest acts and purposes allied.

  With eyes of longing, not undimmed by tears,
    England now greets thee, desolate and lone,
    Heart-stricken, widowed of the twofold crown
  Of love and empire; and the grief endears,
    Remembering all the cherished hopes o'erthrown,
    When at their height thy heart's lord was struck down.

I also wrote this other sonnet, which appeared in the _Morning Post_ on
the day of the Empress's arrival:--


  _19th November 1888._

  Oh lady, how our hearts were pang'd,[29] when he,
    Whom late we saw, in England's festal hour,
    Ride through our streets in manhood's stateliest power,
  Hail'd by all eyes a star of chivalry,
  Through long sad months of sorest agony,
    Faced martyr-like the doom, that hour by hour
    He saw still near and ever nearer lour,
  To tear him from his country and from thee;
  Thee of the childlike heart and manlike brain,
    Fit in all ways to share a monarch's throne,
    Who made his people's good his chiefest care!
  Oh noble heart, all England shares thy pain,
    And in thy grief thou wilt feel less alone,
    'Midst all the love that waits to greet thee there!

The 9th line of this sonnet was prompted by an incident on the last
occasion that I met the Crown Prince and Princess together at Windsor
Castle. "Do you know," he said to me, "what her father said of her?"
"Oh, Fritz," the Princess broke in, anticipating what he was going to
tell me, "you should not speak of such a thing." "I will speak of it,"
he continued, looking at her with eyes of affectionate pride. "Why
should I not? It is only the truth. The Prince Consort said, 'She has
the heart of a child, the brain of a man!'" That her father so thought
of her I had seen many proofs in the private correspondence which was
placed in my hands while I was writing his life.

I sent these Sonnets to the Queen, and on November 13 she wrote: "The
Queen thanks Sir T. Martin for his two kind letters, and the two
exquisite little Sonnets. They should certainly be published, and a
special copy be prepared for her poor dear persecuted daughter." A few
days afterwards (November 20) the Queen again wrote: "The Queen encloses
a letter from her dear daughter the Empress, which she is sure he will
be pleased to receive." This was a letter thanking me in very gratifying
terms for my Sonnets. "She thanks him again," the Queen continued, "for
her two kind letters and the lovely poems.... The dear Empress is very
sad. The arrival upset her terribly, but she struggles bravely with the
dreadful misfortune, and takes an interest in other things. But it is a
misfortune which one cannot understand, and which is a great trial to
one's faith. One can but say, as one of her Indian attendants (who are
all Mohammedans), an excellent, very refined, and gentle young man,
said, 'God ordered it!'..."

A few days afterwards I had a long and most interesting interview with
the Empress at Windsor Castle, and was told of things which explained
what was meant by the Queen in speaking of her as her "poor dear
persecuted daughter." They have now happily sunk into oblivion.

Early in the 'Seventies the Queen intimated to me her great desire to
visit North Wales, if a house could be found there suitable for her
stay. On looking round the counties of Denbigh and Merioneth, where the
Queen wished especially to go, so as to be within reach of some of the
best Welsh scenery and also to be seen by the large bodies of workers in
coal and other mines and industries, to which the county chiefly owes
its prosperity, the mansion of my friend the late Henry Robertson, C.E.,
at Palè on the Dee, between Corwen and Bala, seemed the most eligible in
itself, besides having the advantage of being close to the Llanderfel
station on the railway from Ruabon to Dolgelly and Festiniog. It was at
once placed by Mr Robertson at Her Majesty's disposal; but the projected
visit fell through, owing to the pressure of various engagements which
compelled the Queen to abandon it for the time.

The project was again mentioned to me by Her Majesty in the following
letter, November 4, 1889;--

"The Queen thanks Sir Theodore for the newspaper, and his article on
Wales, which interests her _very_ much. This brings her to the subject
of the visit, once contemplated, to Wales. Would that be possible? by
the loan of a house like the one mentioned at that time by Sir Theodore?
She believes a short visit of four or five days there would do good. She
can no longer ride up hills, but she can drive, and go to some places
where her presence might be useful."

Mr Robertson was dead, but his son and successor in the Palè estate, Mr,
now Sir Henry Beyer Robertson, was delighted to have the opportunity of
fulfilling his father's intention. On being made aware of this, the
Queen decided to make the visit in the summer of the following year on
her way to Balmoral. When this decision became known, the people of the
principality, who are as a rule most loyal, looked forward with
enthusiasm to the prospect of seeing among them the Queen, who had
hitherto been to them only a revered name. Everything was done which
loyalty could devise to show how highly the royal presence among them
was valued. The only cloud on the general satisfaction was the knowledge
that the visit could only be for a very few days--from the 23rd to the
28th of August, one of which was a Sunday.

The Queen arrived at Palè on the 23rd at 7 A.M., and had not been many
hours there before she received a deputation of the farm tenants of the
adjoining district, who had prepared a walking-stick of their native
wood for Her Majesty's acceptance. They were surprised, and more than
delighted, by the royal acceptance of it being made in Welsh, the Queen
having immediately on her arrival taken pains to learn so much of that
far from easy language as served her for this and other similar
occasions. In no other way could Her Majesty have so thoroughly touched
the hearts of her Welsh subjects. The incident, of which the tidings
spread over Wales within a few hours, heightened the enthusiasm with
which she was everywhere received. Two days afterwards this was markedly
shown in her public visit to Wrexham, the centre of the mining and other
industries of Denbighshire, where a reception in Aston Park, the
property of Sir Robert Cunliffe, admirably arranged by the Mayor and
Corporation of Wrexham, awaited Her Majesty. All the leading people of
the adjoining counties were present, and many hundred thousands of the
working population assembled both there and on the five miles of road
along which the Queen drove from Ruabon, to which the royal train had
come from Palè. A choir of 600 singers gave the Queen her first idea of
the choral singing for which Wales is famous. The demeanour of the
working men, rough in exterior, and not always on ordinary occasions
gentle in manners, produced a most favourable impression on Her Majesty.
"They all behaved like gentlemen," she said to me when, two days
afterwards, accompanied by the Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg
and the Princess Alix of Hesse (now the Czarina), she honoured Lady
Martin and myself by a visit to our villa near Llangollen. It had not
occurred to us why the Queen had chosen that day, the 26th of August,
for the visit. But the reason flashed upon us, when, turning to Lady
Martin as she inscribed her name with the date on a sheet of paper
prepared for the purpose, she looked up and said, "The dear Prince's
birthday!" Then we saw that as the Prince's _Life_ had been written in
my study there, Her Majesty had chosen that day for her visit--surely a
very delicately imagined tribute to the author.

Several Welsh airs were sung for the Queen on this visit by a selected
number of the Llangollen choir, chiefly young ladies. When they had
finished, Her Majesty asked me to what class the singers belonged, as
she had observed greater refinement in their execution than in any of
the other choirs she had heard in Wales. She was also struck by the
admirable way they had sustained the pitch from beginning to end of all
the choral pieces sung without the drop of half a tone. Only an ear
finely trained to a subtle appreciation of musical execution could have
noticed these points.

It had been greatly desired that the Queen should visit Festiniog, both
for the beauty of the scenery and to satisfy the loyal feelings of the
large and intelligent slate-making population of that district. This was
found to be impracticable, but a hope was held out that the omission
might be remedied by another visit to North Wales. A few days after her
arrival at Balmoral the Queen wrote: "The Queen and her children have
brought with them the pleasantest recollections of Wales, its beauty,
and the kindness and loyalty of its people. The Queen was greatly
pleased to have been able to see Sir Theodore and Lady Martin's charming

Again in the following year (September 3, 1891) Her Majesty wrote:--

"The Queen thanks Sir T. Martin for his letter of the 26th, on which
dear day last year we made that charming expedition to Llangollen and
visited Sir Theodore and Lady Martin at their delightful little Welsh
home at Bryntysilio. The recollection of the Queen's visit to Wales is a
most pleasing one, to which she often looks back, and hopes to repeat
some day. She would wish to go again to Palè, to which most pleasant and
comfortable house Sir H. Robertson has again and again invited her to
return. The Queen could visit Harlech Castle and Llanberis, &c., from
Palè, returning at night, could she not? The Queen uses the Welsh stick,
so kindly given her by the farmers and people at Palè, very often, and
always when she travels and wants a good strong one."

Greatly to the disappointment of the good people of Wales, Her Majesty
never found it possible to fulfil this contemplated second visit.

In the correspondence which continued at intervals during the ensuing
years there is nothing that is available for the object of this
monograph. But in November 1896 Her Majesty gave me an opportunity of
expressing briefly my views of what an authentic Life of herself should
be, of which I was not sorry to avail myself. On the 10th of that month
she wrote to me:--

"The Queen is glad that Sir Theodore approves the idea of a short Life
of her husband being set in hand and published.

"She so much wishes that something should be done about her own Life, as
so many people have published and are publishing her Life, with the best
intentions, full of extraordinary fabrications and untruths."

Some further communications on the subject took place, and on the 22nd
of that month I wrote as follows:--

"Sir Theodore Martin, with his humble duty, has the honour to
acknowledge the receipt of Her Majesty's gracious letter of the 20th.

"Sir Theodore is much impressed by what the Queen says as to the
desirableness of a Life of Her Majesty, which might put a stop to the
gossiping fabrications which have of late become so current. The subject
has long been present to his mind. While the Queen lives, he fears the
inventors of these fictions must have their way. But that the story of
Her Majesty's Life should be truthfully and sympathetically told for
posterity is a matter of the highest importance. In a great measure the
work must be historical, and will demand the skill of some one capable
of dealing with the events of Her Majesty's reign, and of the political
history of the civilized world, from the date of the Prince Consort's
death onwards. It would be most desirable to lay the foundation of such
a work with Her Majesty's direct assistance, could a biographer with the
necessary qualifications be found. There will be the difficulty; but,
until he can be found, would it be possible for Her Majesty to suggest
the lines on which the Life should be written, and to furnish to some
trusted person the facts and incidents of which Her Majesty would wish a
record to be made?

"The materials must be abundant in Her Majesty's diaries and
correspondence, and they would form the basis of a work of infinite
value and instruction to future times. So much that is false and
misleading is sure to be written in these days of reckless and
unscrupulous writing, that every loyal subject of Her Majesty must wish
that it should in Her Majesty's case be crushed at the outset. Nothing
would do this so effectually as the knowledge that the true story would
be told, based upon authentic information as to the private as well as
public life of the Queen.

"Sir Theodore makes the above suggestion with all deference to Her
Majesty's better judgment. His excuse must be his ardent desire that the
story of a life, which he most deeply honours and reveres, should be
fitly told for the days to come."

The Queen, I believe, in so far concurred with my suggestion, that she
endeavoured to persuade at least one writer of distinction as a
historian to agree to become her biographer. He came to the conclusion
that the task of dealing with a subject so vast, and also with a
character so complex as that of Her Majesty, was one with which he could
not grapple consistently with the duties of a high position which he had
already undertaken. Whether any further attempt was made in the same
direction I am not aware.

And so the years went on, bringing us from time to time assurances of
the Queen's continued interest in Lady Martin and myself. In 1896, when
the new Victorian Order was established, I was among the first on whom
the Commandership of the Order was conferred. The Insignia of the Order
reached me with the following letter:--

                                 "BALMORAL CASTLE, _Sept. 14, 1896_.

"The Queen has heard that Sir Theodore Martin will celebrate his
80th birthday on the 16th, which seems to her hardly possible from
his appearance. She wishes him to accept her warmest and most
heartfelt good wishes for his happiness and welfare for many a year.
The Queen wishes on this occasion to mark her sense of Sir
Theodore's valuable services, and sends him the decoration of Knight
Commander of her new personal 'Victoria Order.'

"She hopes Lady Martin has recovered from her last indisposition,
and that no anxiety on her account may mar the happiness of this

On every Christmas morning the Queen sent greetings and good wishes to
my wife with an inscribed Christmas card, and to myself, with some
framed work of art, or valuable book. In 1897, when all the world was
alive with congratulations on the memorable celebration of Her Majesty's
Diamond Jubilee, the words which appeared in two of her perfect
Addresses to her people inspired me to express, as before, what I
conceived was in her heart in writing these Addresses. I give them here,
because they were stamped with Her Majesty's approval. "The Queen," she
wrote, "thanks Sir Theodore Martin very much for his most kind letter,
and the Sonnets enclosed, which it has touched her much that he should
write. Of course they may be published in the _Times_;" and they were
published there accordingly.


  _June 22, 1897._

  ["From my heart I thank my beloved people. May God bless them!"]

  Not unto me, O Lord, not unto me
    The praise be given, that my beloved land
    This day in all men's eyes from strand to strand
  Shines first in honour and in majesty;
  That borne from every clime, o'er every sea,
    Around me clustering close on every hand,
    Liegemen from far I see, a noble band,
  Type of a nobler Empire yet to be!
    Oh, my beloved people, yours the praise,
  Yours, who have kept the faith, that made your sires
    Free, fearless, faithful, through the nights and days,
  True to the zeal for right, that never tires;
    May God's best blessing rest on you always,
  And keep you blameless in your heart's desires!


  _June 28, 1897._

  ["I gladly renew my association with a place which, as the scene of
  my birth and my summons to the Throne, has had, and ever will have
  with me, tender and solemn recollections."]

  Again the dear old home, the towering trees,
    The lawns, the garden-plots, the lake, that were
    My childhood's fairyland,--the dear ones there,
  Who tended me so lovingly,--the ease
  Of heart when, sporting at my mother's knees,
    I dreamed not of a crown, nor knew a care,
    The call at early morn that crown to wear!
  Ah me, the host of tender memories,
    Tender and solemn, that around me throng,
  Of all that then I was, and since have been,
    The many loved and lost, the One so long
  Missed from my side, and I, a lonely Queen!
    Yet in the love my people bear me, strong
  To front an Empire's cares with brow serene.

Yet once again I had the honour of being permitted to express Her
Majesty's sentiments in verse. It had long been my earnest hope that
peace should reign in Her Majesty's realms while she lived. But this was
not to be; and the South African war, with all the loss of life and
waste of treasure which it involved, threw many a dark shadow over the
last year of the Queen's life. But the shadows were not without breaks
of brilliant sunshine. She was proud of the way in which her subjects
rose to the difficulties of the time; she was proud of the response of
the army and navy, which she loved, to the call upon their valour and
endurance. She was proud, too, of the common feeling that bound the
colonies to the mother-country, as but for this war they might not for
years have been bound, and that they had sent their sons to share its
perils and glories--a first step to the consolidation of her Empire.
This was a suggestive theme, to glance at which I thought might please
the Queen. I had for years been in the habit of writing a letter of
congratulation to Her Majesty upon her birthday. Little weening that it
was to be her last, I sent the following sonnet with my letter. It so
pleased the Queen, that she gave her sanction to its being published in
the _Times_, where accordingly it appeared.


  _Balmoral, 24th May 1900._

  Am I not blest? I cry, as I retrace,
    Through gathering mists of not unwelcome tears,
    All I have seen and known through the long years
  Vouchsafed to me by Heaven's abounding grace;
  How evermore I have found strength to face
    Their cares, their griefs, their overshadowing fears,
    Nerved by the loving loyalty that cheers
  My heart in all its lonely pride of place.
  Oh, my dear land, whose sons, where'er they came,
    Of freedom and of right have sown the seed,
  Behold, _their_ sons in serried thousands claim
    A place beside thee, in thine hour of need,
  Thy peril theirs, thy fortune theirs, thy fame!
    Thinking of this, am I not blest indeed?

As it happens, I write the concluding pages of this humble tribute to
the memory of my beloved Queen in my study at Bryntysilio, on the
anniversary of the day when the noble woman passed from earth, who was
for more than fifty years the crown and comfort of my life. It is a day
intimately associated with my thoughts of Her Majesty, for late in the
evening of this day, after the constant inquiries of many weeks, a
telegram asking for information came from the Queen only a few hours
before my wife fell asleep. Its words were the last she read. She tried
to reply to the Queen with her own hand, but had to give up the attempt.
To the Queen the first news of my loss was sent, and it was answered by
a message right from the heart in a few of those incisive words, for
which the Queen had a special gift, that speak directly home to the
heart. Nor did her sympathy end here. She so arranged that on the
morning of the funeral in London a letter in her own hand from Balmoral
should reach me with words of encouragement such as those from which she
had herself so often had to seek courage in her own hours of desolation
and bereavement.[30] Nor was this all. Next morning, between eight and
nine, I received a telegram from Her Majesty, inquiring how I had borne
the ordeal of the previous day. Can more be said to show the tender,
thoughtful, womanly nature, which won the gratitude and reverence of
those who knew her best, and which also operated to create a feeling of
affectionate regard in all her subjects, and indeed throughout the

One more instance of Her Majesty's never-failing kindness to myself! The
Christmas morning of 1900 brought me its wonted offering from her in the
shape of a beautifully framed copy of Angeli's last portrait. As I
looked at it my heart was full of sadness, for I read in the familiar
face, as there depicted, the manifest indications of physical weakness,
and of the probably early fulfilment of an apprehension, which had for
some time possessed me, that the end of this "great woman" was near.
What pathos to me in the thought, that in a time of so much weakness and
preoccupation the Queen had taken care that I should not be without the
accustomed Christmas memorial from her. There are memories that "lie too
deep for tears." This is one of them.

Yet a few words more! I have lived too long not to have learned
forbearance in my judgments of character in man or woman, even when its
qualities seem to lie very much upon the surface. I have also learned to
revere the memories of all who have earned honourable distinction by
act or word. Experience has taught me how little we can know of the true
nature even of those with whom life has made us familiar, how infinitely
less of those whom we have never known, or who have followed pursuits in
which we have never shared, or lived in a sphere remote from our own.

Much, therefore, as I saw of the Queen as a woman, much as I had
occasion to know of the remarkable powers of mind which she brought to
bear upon the performance of her functions as a sovereign, I should not
venture to form, much less to publish, an appreciation of these powers,
without those full materials for a judgment which are not at present
before the world, but which may in due season be expected to see the
light. Enough, however, came under my observation to show me how great
the Queen could be, when occasion called for the exercise of her higher
powers. I know how richly endowed she was with the "instincts of the
heart, that teach the head,"--intuitions which prompted her to say the
right word and do the right thing without fail, whenever a grave or
great purpose was to be served. Perched as she was, to use her own words
now lying before me, "on a dreary, sad pinnacle of solitary grandeur," I
know with what constancy and courage she bore the isolation. I know how
simple, how humbly-minded she was, how truthful, how full of
loving-kindness, how generous, how constant in her friendships. I know
how she leant for consolation and support upon the love of her people,
how earnestly she sought to gain it by sympathy with their interests and
their sorrows, by constant watchfulness for the wellbeing of all
throughout the world who owned her sway. I know, too, how resolute she
was to uphold justice, and honour, and right, wherever her voice could
be heard.

Others may find pleasure, when they write of Queen Victoria, in speaking
slightingly of the qualities of mind and heart which went to form a
truly noble character, of which personally they can know nothing. To
such I answer, Who in the history of monarchies has lived a life so
exemplary, so pure, so absolutely devoted to the service of the
State,--who of all we read of so won the affection of their people, the
admiration of the world, as she has done? I think of the mighty task she
was called upon to fulfil, and how admirably she fulfilled it, under
trials and drawbacks of which the outside world can form no estimate. I
think of her, borne to her tomb along the London streets, through
threefold ranks of her people, all pale, silent, and with heads
reverently bowed, as though in mourning for one they loved. I see her
bier borne to the altar in St George's Chapel, followed by men who
represented all the Rulers of all the Nations--a gorgeous throng that
crowded the central aisle of the great chapel from the western door up
to the altar steps. Was ever such tribute paid in the world throughout
all the ages past? Is such tribute ever likely to be paid again?

It is of this marvellous tribute, and how it was won, that we should
think,--not of this or that foible or shortcoming, for who is without
them? Above all, we should think of the heavy, unceasing burden that
lay upon brain and heart through a long life, and with how brave and
constant yet how meek a spirit it was borne. Then, remembering all this,
let us, while we live, cherish in our hearts the name of our departed
Queen, and pass it on to those who shall succeed us, as

  Victoria the Great and Good.



[1] He died in May 1874. "Dear M. V. de Weyer's death," Her Majesty
wrote to me on the 30th of that month, "is a terrible loss to the Queen,
and she has been deeply grieved by it."

[2] A translation of Oehlenschläger's drama of that name.

[3] General Grey's book.

[4] A ruby and diamond bracelet.

[5] I must have expressed in some letter at this time regret that none
of Her Majesty's Ministers had taken the opportunity of explaining the
circumstances which had hurt Her Majesty's health, and compelled her to
avoid the fatigues of the public appearances which were called for, and
which were undoubtedly desirable, if the Queen's health had admitted of
their being made.

[6] They came with the following note:--

                                              "OSBORNE, _May 3, 1869_.

"The Queen sends Mr Martin to-day a volume of the beloved Prince's and
her own etchings, which she has had purposely bound for him, and which
she hopes he will place in his library, as a trifling recollection of
his kindness in carrying out so many of her wishes."

[7] _Quarterly Review_ for April 1901: article "Queen Victoria," p. 305.

[8] It is of such that Sir Henry Taylor writes in his _Philip van
Artevelde_, Act I. Sc. v.:--

                            "He was one
  Of that small tally, of the singular few,
  Who, gifted with predominating powers,
  Bear yet a temperate will, and keep the peace.
  The world knows nothing of its greatest men."

[9] _Denkwürdigkeiten aus den Papieren des Freiherr's Christian
Friedrich v. Stockmar._ Braunschweig, 1872.

[10] _Quarterly Review_ for April 1872, p. 386 _et seq._

[11] "Thy dear image I bear within me, and what miniature can come up to
that? No need to place one on my table to _remind_ me of _you_."

[12] Life of Archbishop Benson, vol. ii. pp. 2 and 561.

[13] The allusion is to the lines in the fine passage in the seventh
section of that poem, beginning, "Blame not thyself too much":--

              "Let woman make herself her own
  To give or keep, to live and learn, and be
  All that not harms distinctive womanhood.
  For woman is not undevelopt man,
  But diverse; could we make her as the man,
  Sweet love were slain; his dearest bond is this,
  Not like to like, but like in difference."

[14] I had occasion to record in the Prince's _Life_ (vol. iii. p. 248)
a somewhat similar impression on Napoleon III. and his Empress with
regard to the Tuileries, in the following extract from the Queen's
Diary: "Speaking of the want of liberty attaching to our position, he
(the Emperor) said the Empress felt this greatly, and called the
Tuileries _une belle prison_."

[15] Published, London, 1868, by Smith, Elder, & Co.

[16] General Grey's duties were immediately taken up by Colonel,
afterwards General, Sir Henry Ponsonby, who discharged them with
conspicuous zeal and ability till he was struck down by fatal illness in
January 1895.

[17] These letters were from Royal personages on the subject of the
Emperor's death.

[18] See p. 51, _ante_.

[19] Féodore Victoire, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen, who died on the 12th
of February 1872. Her mother, the Queen's half-sister, Feodora, Princess
of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, survived her only a few months, dying on the
23rd of September 1872.

[20] He died on the 23rd of May 1874. The Queen came from Windsor to
visit him at his house in London, when he was near his end. A few days
before his death I took my leave of him. He was in great pain, but his
bright sparkling spirit remained. He touched my heart by saying how
sorry he was he had only known me within the last few years. On my
expressing a hope that we might meet again in the Hereafter, "Ah! let us
hope so!" he replied, adding, like the bibliophile of bibliophiles that
he was, "and that you will find me in an _editio nova et emendatior_."

[21] In my library in London there happened to be a niche, as if made to
receive this beautiful replica of the Mausoleum monument, where it has
ever since remained.

[22] I had given to the Queen a fine proof before letters of her
portrait, as a girl, by Fowler, and she wrote to say that "the bust by
Behnes, from which Fowler took his picture, was done in 1827, when the
Queen was eight years and a half."

[23] The Sovereign _nominally_ is the dispenser of these pensions, but
the Queen delegated this function to the First Lord of the Treasury.
This was why the concurrence of Lord Beaconsfield was necessary. With
him the Queen's wish in such matters was paramount.

[24] A volume published in Germany in imperial folio, with a series of
very spirited illustrations, and remarkable for the beauty and
originality of the binding.

[25] A magnificent volume, including, among other illustrations,
photographs of all Baron Triqueti's designs in inlaid marble.

[26] The pet name substituted for Friedrich.

[27] This refers to an obituary notice of the Prince by myself.

[28] As to this visit, see _ante_, p. 114.

[29] It seems a pity that this word should have fallen into disuse.
Shakespeare employs it with great effect in the fine scene (_Cymbeline_,
Act III. sc. iv.) where Imogen says--

        "I grieve myself to think,
  When thou shalt be disedged by her
  That now thou tirest on, how thy memory
  Wilt then be _panged_ by me."

[30] A representative of Her Majesty attended Lady Martin's funeral and
placed on her bier a beautiful wreath, inscribed by the Queen, and also
a rich floral cross, inscribed by the Princess Beatrice.


  Text in italics is surrounded with underscores: _italics_.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected as follows:
    Footnote 9: Braunscheig changed to Braunschweig

  The original text appears to be missing words on page 54. The
    original is printed "... it was impossible to be than were the able
    and accomplished officials...".

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Queen Victoria As I Knew Her" ***

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