Mayor apologized, and the citizens from Kingston came also, to say they repented their clumsy manners. These incidents naturally fascinated the newspaper men more than the placid story of charm and the pleasure of the crowds who gathered to see the Prince go by. If there was fault, it was not on the Prince's part, for he faced the cheering and the eccentric demonstrations with equal amiability. This wish to please, and to be pleased, did not desert him for a moment, even at Niagara Falls where the acrobat, Blondin, entertained him by crossing the rapids on a tight rope, first with a wheelbarrow and then on stilts. Blondin then offered to wheel the Prince across the tight rope from Canada to the United States. Youth was willing, but General Bruce and the Duke of Newcastle were at hand; so the heir to the throne entered the States, by the respectable way, on September 20. There was a feat, almost as remarkable as that of Blondin, attempted at the frontier, by order of Queen Victoria. She insisted that her son should become Baron Renfrew while in the United States, and be treated as a private person on an educational tour. The Americans would not heed such a foolish incognito, and during the rest of the journey education was neglected in favour of dalliance, and the name Baron Renfrew was not mentioned again.


{75}

1860

Two days after their son crossed the border into the United States Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort left England for Coburg. Both the Sovereign and the heir to the throne were therefore away from the kingdom at the same time. This last visit of the Prince Consort to his old home began in grief, for his stepmother died while he was on the way. They came to the beloved valley in the evening and were met by "Ernst and Fritz in very deep mourning." When they drove to the palace they found even the Queen's grandson, little Prince William, with black bows all over his white dress. But he was "so good" and the Queen was "so happy" to see her Prussian grandson for the first time.

The Prince Consort gathered up the fragments of the past once more, but they gave him little pleasure. The first time he walked with the Queen to the Rosenau, "across fields, along a pretty little

-178-

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