Queen feel that the Deeside was her home. One day, the anniversary of the Prince Consort's birth, the Queen was out riding and on the way home Grant led her pony to the memorial cairn, saying,
"I thought you would like to be here to-day, on his birthday."
The relationship between the Queen and John Brown survived its critics, and when the Queen was older, Brown proved his devotion by saving her life, when a miscreant faced her, with a petition and a pistol, outside Buckingham Palace.
The opinion of those who knew the Queen was that the relationship with Brown was wholly innocent but that it would have been expedient if she had moderated it. Her reply to this would no doubt have been the reply she made to the Minister who used the word " expediency ": that it was "a word I neither wish to hear again nor to understand."
IN OCTOBER Lord Palmerston died, "in the plenitude of his political and intellectual power ... plucky and Palmerston to the last moment." This was Lord Clarendon's record of the passing of the great, autocratic "Pilgerstein," who had caused the Queen so much unhappiness. She wrote1 kindly of his death, reminding her Uncle Leopold that Palmerston had lived eighty-one years, from the giddy epoch of the Georges, into her own sedate time. "Poor Lord Palmerston. It is very striking, and is another link with the past — the happy past — which is gone, and in many ways he is a great loss. He had many valuable qualities. ... " At this point her honesty overwhelmed her and she added, " ... though many bad ones." Then she was wholly frank.
"But I never liked him, or could ever the least respect him, nor could I forget his conduct on certain occasions to my Angel. He was very vindictive, and personal feelings influenced his political acts very much. Still, he is a great loss."She said that there would be
"troubles and worries"and added, with half-sincerity,
"I sometimes wish I could throw everything up and retire into private life."
The Queen did not retire, but sat at her desk, as usual. Lord Russell became Prime Minister again, in his seventy-fourth year.
" ... These politicians never refuse,"was King Leopold's comment. Otherwise the ministry was not drastically changed, but the Queen watched the