THE Queen's prestige and popularity had for the last few years been steadily on the increase. Her very animated quarrels with her Government had been mainly based on their faint-heartedness, their tepidity in the interests of the Empire, and this chimed in with the growing imperialism of the nation. The fall of Khartoum had been felt to be a national disgrace, and it was known how deep the Queen's indignation had been. Her attitude towards the Home Rule Bill had been equally uncompromising; it had been an attack on the integrity of her Realm, and she was beginning to take shape in the minds of the vast majority of her subjects as the incarnation of England and Empire.
Then there was a very large class whom the publication of the Queen's two Highland Journals had profoundly affected. The sale had been enormous, and to thousands of homes that august figure of the Queen Empress, crowned and sceptred and pavilioned in aloof magnificence, had become suddenly human; she visited her cottagers, she sketched, she went for picnics on the hill-side, she found it exceedingly difficult to boil the kettle, funerals had a fascination for her as for them, and she had told them all about this home-life of hers as if chatting to them personally. The mass of the nation had always been vastly loyal to her: on her rare appearances, during the period of eclipse, such as the Thanksgiving service for the recovery of the Prince