of them catch on a bracket of candles and burst into flame. The fire rose to the ceiling and the festivities had to be abandoned until the blaze was subdued. Prince Albert lived among people who took omens very seriously. The gloom over his future increased. Queen Victoria wrote that her "good old" Prime Minister would dine with them three or four times a week, almost always on Sundays. But these Sabbath dinners were to be very quiet. "It is not reckoned right here for me to give dinners on Sunday," she said. And he must remember that the Court was still in mourning. The wide black edges would be taken off her letter paper for two or three days, in honour of the wedding, but they would be resumed. Every message from England seemed designed to depress him; during the ten days he failed to write to the Queen, Prince Albert was attending the funeral of his own youth.
When he took up his pen again, he wrote affectionately,
"How often are my thoughts with you? The hours I was privileged to pass with you in your dear little room are the radiant points of my life and I cannot even yet clearly picture to myself that I am to be indeed so happy as to be always near you, always your protector. "He did not tell the Queen that he loved her.
Then came the day of farewell. The people of Gotha waved handkerchiefs to him, little boys climbed the trees and shouted good wishes. On the last day the Prince's grandmother followed him to the door, clutching his hand and sobbing, "My angel Albert." The carriage sped over the cold ground towards Brussels, and the Prince looked back once. He saw his grandmother waving to him; then she disappeared. She had fallen back into the arms of her attendants crying,
" Albert, Albert,"the wet handkerchief still hanging from her hand.
WHEN Prince Albert arrived in Brussels, on the way to England, King Leopold was distressed because his nephew was still "much irritated" by what had happened in the British House of Commons.
"He does not care about the money,"the King wrote to Queen Victoria,
"but he is much shocked and exasperated by the disrespect of the thing."The King noted that Prince Albert was "pretty full of grievances" and wrote to the Queen,
" Albert is quick, not obstinate in conversation, and open to conviction if good arguments are brought forward.When he thinks himself right he only wishes to have it proved thathe misunderstands the case, to give it up without ill-humour. He isnot inclined to be sulky, but I think that he may be rendered a littlemelancholy if he thinks himself unfairly or unjustly treated. "