Three years later she was married to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg, a most excellent men, who made it his whole business to help her in all her duties as sovereign of the great country, without putting himself forward. Nothing ever has been more beautiful than the way those two behaved to one another; she never forgetting that he was her husband and she only his wife, and he always remembering that she was really the queen, and that he had no power at all. He had a clear head and good judgment that everyone trusted to, and yet he always kept himself in the background, that the queen might have all the credit of whatever was done.
He took much pains to get all that was good and beautiful encouraged, and to turn people’s minds to doing things not only in the quickest and cheapest, but in the best and most beautiful way possible. One of these plans that he carried out was to set up what he called an International Exhibition, namely—a great building, to which every country was invited to send specimens of all its arts and manufactures. It was called the World’s Fair. The house was of glass, and was a beautiful thing in itself. It was opened on the 1st of May, 1851; and, though there have been many great International Exhibitions since, not one has come up to the first.
People talked as if the World’s Fair was to make all nations friends; but it is not showing off their laces and their silks, their ironwork and brass, their pictures and statues, that can keep them at peace; and, only two years after the Great Exhibition, a great war broke out in Europe—only a year after the great Duke of Wellington had died, full of years and honors.
The only country in Europe that is not Christian is Turkey; and the Russians have always greatly wished to conquer Turkey, and join it on to their great empire. The Turks have been getting less powerful for a long time past, and finding it harder to govern the country; and one day the Emperor of Russia asked the English ambassador, Sir Hamilton Seymour, if he did not think the Turkish power a very sick man who would soon be dead. Sir Hamilton Seymour knew what this meant; and he knew the English did not think it right that the Russians should drive out the Sultan of Turkey—even though he is not a Christian; so he made the emperor understand that if the sick man did die, it would not be for want of doctors.
Neither the English nor the French could bear that the Russians should get so much power as they would have, if they gained all the countries down to the Mediterranean Sea; so, as soon as ever the Russians began to attack the Turks, the English and French armies were sent to defend them; and they found the best way of doing this was to go and fight the Russians in their own country, namely—the Crimea, the peninsula which hangs as it were, down into the Black Sea. So, in the autumn of the year 1854, the English and French armies, under Lord Raglan and