the Queen in his arms. He led her into the sitting room where the " little canary bird which she was so fond of," was singing.
Lady Augusta Bruce found 2 the Prince, "so tender and kind, and full of loving affection." She watched him moving about the gloomy rooms of Frogmore. "Well our beloved one knew his heart," wrote Lady Augusta. "Could you have seen his tears, could you see his sorrow now — his fondness for the Queen. Oh! may God bless them in their children and reward them. ... I never saw such tact as his. Oh! he is one in millions — well might She love him as She did. I was so struck with his appreciation of Her. It was so true, and for One who is supposed to place intellect and reasoning powers above all, so remarkable."
In June the Queen had recovered and she was able to read some of her mother's letters and diaries. Among them she found a little book in which the Duchess had written her thoughts when the Duke of Kent died. "Such love and affection!" the Queen wrote. "I hardly knew it was to that extent."
But even this personal grief was to bring its public injuries. A rumour spread through Britain and far into Europe that the Queen had lost her reason. "I cannot understand how these horrid, vile rumours about her mental state could arise," the Prince Consort wrote. "People here and on the Continent are much occupied with these rumours. They have annoyed me tremendously, as I know what the consequences might be. She herself is perfectly unaware of all this scandal. " 3
ON APRIL 15 the Prince Consort wrote to Baron Stockmar, "Home politics have quite gone to sleep." He was at Osborne with the Queen, sharing his time between the gardens, in reminding Prussia that she "must first be morally master of Germany" before she could "lift up her head in Europe," and, most unusual self-indulgence, reading some novels. They included George Eliot Mill on the Floss and Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White, which he thought "most interesting and exciting." The Queen was sorting her mother's papers, among which she found "little books" with accounts of her own "babyhood." "They