perity than with the old poetry of the fields and hamlets, but monarchy still inspired a flash of recognition; she was still more than a figure‐ head, especially now. Her eldest son stood beside her on the deck of the Faery. On the other side Prince Albert stood, stiff and still. Perhaps for the first time, his wife enjoyed emotions which he could not wholly comprehend. Her white handkerchief waved and waved; then it fell, in her trembling hand.

Prince Albert's reactions were less emotional. He wrote to his brother, "The London people are very military and of course understand everything better than the Government. How, at 1,000 miles distance, a war is to be led successfully by the Government, the Press and the usual gossip in the Clubs, is still to be proved.... The English are remarkably interested in the war against a power whose constitution and foreign politics they detest."


{53}

1854-1855

THERE are many shelves of documents in the government offices and in the archives at Windsor to show the part that the Queen and Prince Albert played during the Crimean War. Their energy was almost as harassing to the Secretary of War as his problems with the Army. "What sort of muskets are there here?" asked the Queen in a letter. "What is the force of artillery left in the country in men and horses? ... What is the Naval Force at home? How much serviceable ammunition is there?"

When there was a proposal that the Nation should observe a "Day of Humiliation" the Queen was indignant. "The selfishness and ambition of one man" had caused the war, not any sins of the British that justified their being humble. Her will and fervour gave her a touch of magnificence.

Queen Victoria wrote to Princess Augusta in October, 1854, "You will understand it when I assure you that I regret exceedingly not to be a man and to be able to fight in the war. My heart bleeds for the many fallen, but I consider that there is no finer death for a man than on the battlefield." Her letters to the King of Prussia were friendly enough, but she could not tolerate his unwillingness to fight with the French, nor sympathize with Bismarck's determination not to

-134-

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