good. It was the influence which surrounded and dominated the Queen, equipping her more and more for the lonely years ahead.
In November, Lord Melbourne died. The Queen wrote in her journal,
"Truly and sincerely do I deplore the loss of one who was a most kind and disinterested friend of mine, and most sincerely attached to me. ... I thought much and talked much of him all day."Her last letter
"had been a great comfort and relief to him"in his pathetic loneliness. But even her old friend had become the symbol of years she wished to forget. She wrote to King Leopold,
"God knows! I never wish that time back again!"
THE relationship between sovereigns and their heirs provides one of the saddest themes in the history of monarchy. Few dynasties of any race, Christian or heretic, have been free of examples of this curious, bitter animosity which separates royal parents and their eldest children. The animosity may come from the unnatural weight of responsibility which kings hand on to their sons, and the consequent anxiety lest the heir should fail to live up to his inheritance. It may also be engendered by the extraordinary jealousy that so often exists among royal persons for whom privilege, precedence, and popularity are major compensations for the isolation and lack of private joys which they must suffer. There is also the unnatural disadvantage the royal child must endure; that his parent is his monarch. He must see his father and mother treated as exalted beings by a nation and, in the next moment, fling his arms about their necks, in search of love and confidence.
Windsor Castle might have taught Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of this peril. They might have gone to a room in the castle upon the wall of which, in the twelfth century, Henry II was said to have
"caused to be painted"an
"olde eagle with its body and eyes being scratched by four younger birds,"in melancholy protest against his sons who, he said,
"cease not to pursue my death."Or they might have recalled the bitterness with which George II described his son as the
"greatest ass and the greatest liar and the greatest canaille and the greatest beast in the whole world."Times and human nature had changed. Also, Prince Albert Edward was too gracious in heart and too warm