hundred million Eastern people on assuming the direct government over them," the proclamation should "breathe feelings of generosity, benevolence and religious toleration." The tempered draft was returned to England.

Brandenburg then gave them a short season of quiet. Princess Victoria played duets with her father in the evening and they looked at albums together. When the Queen retired to her room she wrote in her journal that her daughter seemed "low and nervous." "God knows, I felt the same," she added. "I cannot be with her at that very critical moment, when every other mother goes to her child."

The Prince Consort was still lost in chronic gloom and when they were leaving he found that the parting "was very painful." There was one joy when they arrived back at Osborne. Prince Alfred was on the wharf in his midshipman's jacket and cap. Their sailor son had passed an examination after months on a training ship; he had solved mathematical problems "almost without a fault," and he had done his translations without a dictionary. Here was some compensation for the distressing reports from White Lodge where the heir to the throne could not be forced to realize the charms of mathematics or the excitement of fundamental principles. On the rare occasions when Prince Albert Edward was allowed to dine out and meet people, they liked him. Disraeli, who had once accused him of "chitter chatter," sat next to him one night and thought him "intelligent, informed, and with a singularly sweet manner." But this social grace did not deceive his new governor, Colonel Bruce, who was informed and cultivated, but also exacting. He complained that his pupil was "prone to listlessness and frivolous disputes."

The Prince Consort turned from the sad reports of the heir to the merits of his second son. He was so delighted by the examination papers that he sent them to the Prime Minister. Lord Derby pleased the proud father by replying that he was grateful Her Majesty's ministers had to pass no such examination. He said that it would increase the difficulty of framing an administration.


{67}

1858

THERE is a theme of mistrust through all the Prince Consort's responses to the friendliness of Napoleon III. His German roots, or his instincts,

-161-

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