over the training of his son. Otherwise he was caught up in the mechanism of his own virtues, and the mechanism was already making him into an old man. Each time he turned from one document, another was waiting for him. One day it was a report on workhouses, in which he noted that the greater number of inmates were old domestic servants. Here was one more opportunity for improvement. Wearily, but conscientiously, he sat up late over a plan. He thought servants should be protected from the caprice of a single master who might give them a bad reference. A meeting was held, the Prince spoke, servants were directed to the benefits of annuity schemes and their conditions of living were improved. Prince Albert turned to the next task. All was virtue, dullness, and sorrow over the wickedness of the world. Galahad, who had once dreamed in the Thuringian forest, had become a good, tired, aging man.


{38}

1849

A DESCENDANT of Prince Albert wrote in 1938,

" ... my Grandfather's virtues during his lifetime were somewhat overpowering but have to‐ day been recognized for what they were: a superior, if somewhat heavily Teutonic intelligence combined to an admirable sense of duty which never allowed him to complain about being misunderstood. But when Death called, he gladly followed that call. It is lonely to be overperfect and unrelentingly virtuous! "
1

One turns from this continuous theme of humourless duty in the lives of Queen Victoria and the Prince, searching for some relief. There was one relaxation they encouraged and enjoyed, the theatre. No sovereign of the past two hundred and fifty years did more than Queen Victoria for the art of acting or took such real interest in the integrity of the theatre. During her married life and her widowhood, players were continually asked to Windsor Castle (where Shakespeare had produced The Merry Wives of Windsor for Queen Elizabeth) and the performers who entertained the Queen varied in their gifts from the acting of Rachel to the eccentricities of Tom Thumb.

In 1849, Queen Victoria wrote 2 to the King of Prussia,

" Chevalier Bunsen has been helping us in an attempt to revive and elevate the English drama which has greatly deteriorated through lack of support by Society. We are having a number of performances of classical plays in a small, specially constructed theatre in the Castle, and are collectingwhat still remains of the older art."

-109-

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