Upon the completion of Sir Robert Martin's five-volume biography of Prince Albert—a fourteen-year project—Queen Victoria thanked the author but characteristically acknowledged her awareness of more mixed emotions: "She feels too a sadness that it should be finished." I recognize her feeling as my own much shorter and more modest project comes to an end. The queen has been great company. Hospitable libraries and curious librarians have helped me uncover odd and dusty parts of her history: at Stony Brook, Yale, Cornell, the New York Public Library, the Boston Public Library, the Sydney Public Library, the New York Botanical Gardens, the British Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Yale Center for British Art, the Harry Ransom Collection at the University of Texas, the White Plains Public Library, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Library of Congress, and the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle.
Fifteen years ago I gave my first paper on Queen Victoria to a spirited gathering of colleagues at the Northeast Victorian Studies Association, many of whom have lingered for the finale. Without Margaret Homans's ideas for a collaborative venture and our exchanges over the years, my ideas might slowly be turning to mist. The