And there sat Grandmama not idol -- like at all,
not a bit frightening, smiling a kind smile,
almost as shy as us children.'
IN HER LATER YEARS the Queen much enjoyed the company of young children. One of her ladies, Marie Mallet, described how delighted she appeared to be when her fetching little son, Victor Mallet, was presented to her, and pleased in particular by the interest he took in a portrait by Landseer of Eos, Prince Albert's favourite greyhound. The boy himself, who greeted her with a confident 'Good morning, Queen', was 'charmed at once by her beaming smile and great gentleness of voice and manner', and highly pleased with a miniature landau drawn by a pair of grey horses which she gave him as a present. On a later occasion she 'laughed till she cried' when the boy, by then three years old, having made a very low bow on entering the room, went up to kiss her hand, produced a little black and white toy pig and announced, 'Look at this pig. I have brought it all the way from London to see you.' 1
Although she never outgrew her distaste for the whole concept and process of childbirth, the Queen endeavoured when she could to be present at the birth of her grandchildren, holding the hands of the mothers-to-be, murmuring words of sympathy and encouragement, and stroking their arms for hours on end. She nursed the babies on her knee when they were ill; and when they were a little older she allowed them into her room to play, preferably one at a time. 'Dear little things,' she said. 'I like to see them so at home with me.' She loved 'to hear their little feet & merry voices' when they came to stay with her. 'I must tell