Queen Victoria eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 326 pages of information about Queen Victoria.
her most extraordinary character.”  Sometimes the delightful routine of domestic existence had to be interrupted.  It was necessary to exchange Windsor for Buckingham Palace, to open Parliament, or to interview official personages, or, occasionally, to entertain foreign visitors at the Castle.  Then the quiet Court put on a sudden magnificence, and sovereigns from over the seas—­Louis Philippe, or the King of Prussia, or the King of Saxony—­found at Windsor an entertainment that was indeed a royal one.  Few spectacles in Europe, it was agreed, produced an effect so imposing as the great Waterloo banqueting hall, crowded with guests in sparkling diamonds and blazing uniforms, the long walls hung with the stately portraits of heroes, and the tables loaded with the gorgeous gold plate of the kings of England.  But, in that wealth of splendour, the most imposing spectacle of all was the Queen.  The little hausfrau, who had spent the day before walking out with her children, inspecting her livestock, practicing shakes at the piano, and filling up her journal with adoring descriptions of her husband, suddenly shone forth, without art, without effort, by a spontaneous and natural transition, the very culmination of Majesty.  The Tsar of Russia himself was deeply impressed.  Victoria on her side viewed with secret awe the tremendous Nicholas.  “A great event and a great compliment his visit certainly is,” she told her uncle, “and the people here are extremely flattered at it.  He is certainly a very striking man; still very handsome.  His profile is beautiful and his manners most dignified and graceful; extremely civil—­quite alarmingly so, as he is so full of attentions and politeness.  But the expression of the eyes is formidable and unlike anything I ever saw before.”  She and Albert and “the good King of Saxony,” who happened to be there at the same time, and whom, she said, “we like much—­he is so unassuming-” drew together like tame villatic fowl in the presence of that awful eagle.  When he was gone, they compared notes about his face, his unhappiness, and his despotic power over millions.  Well!  She for her part could not help pitying him, and she thanked God she was Queen of England.

When the time came for returning some of these visits, the royal pair set forth in their yacht, much to Victoria’s satisfaction.  “I do love a ship!” she exclaimed, ran up and down ladders with the greatest agility, and cracked jokes with the sailors.  The Prince was more aloof.  They visited Louis Philippe at the Chateau d’Eu; they visited King Leopold in Brussels.  It happened that a still more remarkable Englishwoman was in the Belgian capital, but she was not remarked; and Queen Victoria passed unknowing before the steady gaze of one of the mistresses in M. Heger’s pensionnat.  “A little stout, vivacious lady, very plainly dressed—­not much dignity or pretension about her,” was Charlotte

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Queen Victoria from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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