brought to Dover for their delight. The Queen could not agree.
"That coast is a very bad one,"she wrote. 3 She had been there and found it
"very rough and even dangerous."She added,
"The Queen must say she thinks small lodgings far preferable."This was one of the rare occasions when Colonel Elphinstone, usually devoted and obedient, protested to his mistress.
"It is fortunate that Prince Arthur takes an interest in collecting fossils,"he wrote. 4 Otherwise it would be difficult to find outdoor amusement for him as his thoughts, all the time, turned to bows of the Vivid.
The problems of grown sons and daughters were not all. The Queen still had a family circle at home, with Princess Louise in her nineteenth year, Princess Beatrice aged ten, and Prince Leopold, the only delicate child of her marriage. The Queen watched over them, day by day, and their devotion contributed to her scant private happiness. But there was one problem, the intellectual liveliness of her daughter in Darmstadt, that was fortunately beyond the Queen's understanding. Princess Alice had already shocked her mother by taking up medical studies and anatomy. But the Queen did not seem to realize what it meant when her carefully nurtured daughter made a friend of David Frederick Strauss, who troubled the smug German scholars with his advanced thinking. Princess Alice listened to him reading his lectures on Voltaire and allowed him to dedicate them to her, 5 a gesture that would have vexed the Queen more than the study of anatomy had she known the brave originality of Strauss's mind.
IN FEBRUARY, 1868, Lord Derby was overwhelmed by gout and forced to resign. The Queen's secretary went to Mr. Disraeli, heir to the Tory leadership, and found him "very cordial and most practical in all he said; going straight to the point and showing a most sincere desire to do nothing that could look presumptuous on his part, or unhandsome towards Lord Derby. "1 Mr. Disraeli's first letter to the Queen, as Prime Minister, was more poetical than "practical." He said that he could
"only offer devotion"and that it would be his
"delight and duty"to make the affairs of government as easy as possible for her. He wrote,
"Your Majesty's life has been passed in constant communion with great men, and the knowledge and management of important transactions. Even if Your Majesty were not gifted with those great abilities,which all now acknowledge, this rare and choice experience must giveYour Majesty an advantage in judgment, which few living persons,and probably no living Prince, can rival. "