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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 262 pages of information about Queen Victoria.
is now.”  It is easy to imagine the agitating effect of such a correspondence upon Beaconsfield.  This was no longer the Faery; it was a genie whom he had rashly called out of her bottle, and who was now intent upon showing her supernal power.  More than once, perplexed, dispirited, shattered by illness, he had thoughts of withdrawing altogether from the game.  One thing alone, he told Lady Bradford, with a wry smile, prevented him.  “If I could only,” he wrote, “face the scene which would occur at headquarters if I resigned, I would do so at once.”

He held on, however, to emerge victorious at last.  The Queen was pacified; Lord Derby was replaced by Lord Salisbury; and at the Congress of Berlin der alte Jude carried all before him.  He returned to England in triumph, and assured the delighted Victoria that she would very soon be, if she was not already, the “Dictatress of Europe.”

But soon there was an unexpected reverse.  At the General Election of 1880 the country, mistrustful of the forward policy of the Conservatives, and carried away by Mr. Gladstone’s oratory, returned the Liberals to power.  Victoria was horrified, but within a year she was to be yet more nearly hit.  The grand romance had come to its conclusion.  Lord Beaconsfield, worn out with age and maladies, but moving still, an assiduous mummy, from dinner-party to dinner-party, suddenly moved no longer.  When she knew that the end was inevitable, she seemed, by a pathetic instinct, to divest herself of her royalty, and to shrink, with hushed gentleness, beside him, a woman and nothing more.  “I send some Osborne primroses,” she wrote to him with touching simplicity, “and I meant to pay you a little visit this week, but I thought it better you should be quite quiet and not speak.  And I beg you will be very good and obey the doctors.”  She would see him, she said, “when we, come back from Osborne, which won’t be long.”  “Everyone is so distressed at your not being well,” she added; and she was, “Ever yours very aff’ly V.R.I.”  When the royal letter was given him, the strange old comedian, stretched on his bed of death, poised it in his hand, appeared to consider deeply, and then whispered to those about him, “This ought to be read to me by a Privy Councillor.”

CHAPTER IX.  OLD AGE

I

Meanwhile in Victoria’s private life many changes and developments had taken place.  With the marriages of her elder children her family circle widened; grandchildren appeared; and a multitude of new domestic interests sprang up.  The death of King Leopold in 1865 had removed the predominant figure of the older generation, and the functions he had performed as the centre and adviser of a large group of relatives in Germany and in England devolved upon Victoria.  These functions she discharged with unremitting industry, carrying on an enormous correspondence, and following with

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