CHAPTER VI

THE King of the Belgians and Queen Louise, not having come to the Coronation, paid the Queen a visit in September at Windsor. It must have been painfully clear to him how completely Lord Melbourne had supplanted him as adviser in all things pertaining to the State and how he had encroached on her affection. She began to look on Uncle Leopold for the first time with critical instead of adoring eyes, and the Journal exhibits a very distinct touch of frost. She went out riding one day with the two, but Uncle left them, and her horse, missing his usual companion, shied and threw her. She did not explicitly blame Uncle, but that was why it happened. She was not hurt, but as she sat between them at dinner that night, "Uncle talked much and praised me for my feat of falling!" But Lord Melbourne twice asked her "most kindly and anxiously: 'Are you really not the worse?'" He wanted to be reassured that she had not been hurt, whereas Uncle Leopold spoke of her fall as a feat, a circus trick, rather amusing. No more need be said. Next night, Sir George Villiers, British Minister at Madrid, came to dine and afterwards she and Melbourne were looking at an album together. There were some Spanish drawings in it, and Sir George and Uncle talked for a long time about Spain "and Lord Melbourne and I listened, and occasionally joined in." Then Uncle began to give advice on Imperial affairs, for he had not quite grasped that in his niece's estimation he no longer existed at all as Controller, through

-74-

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  • Chapter II 15
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