Charles Dilke stood up in the House of Commons to move the enquiry into the Queen's financial affairs, he was howled down. Mr. Gladstone opposed the motion and it was rejected by 276 votes to 2.
IN DECEMBER, when the Prince of Wales was thought to be dying, Lady Augusta Stanley wrote,1 "How it touches one to read of the poor dear Queen sitting holding the P. of W.'s hand. ... I quite long to see Her thus, Her best self, by being taken out of herself — taken out of Doctors and maladies (I mean her own) and nerves and fighting off what Her own righteous conscience tells Her would be right." Five days later Lady Augusta wrote,2 " O indeed may the Prince rise to all we should wish, with all that is in Him of good."
The only way by which the Prince could rise to what was wished was through occupation, and when he recovered Mr. Gladstone stole in upon opportunity. He tried to induce the Queen to trust and employ her son. About this time Lady Augusta spoke to the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, father and mother-in-law of Princess Louise. She wrote to her sister afterwards, "They lamented Gladstone's not understanding the Queen — I have no doubt he is 'gauche' but I must say I honour him for pressing her duty on her — And Oh! that she should at this moment resent it! Poor poor dear!"
Neither the gaucheness nor the resentment diminished when Mr. Gladstone sent the Queen a memorandum of thirty-five hundred words, suggesting plans for the Prince's future. The way the arguments were presented showed how true it was that Mr. Gladstone did not understand his Sovereign. There was a hint of the word "must" in the plans for greater access to state papers, and pressure of the old argument for an official residence for the Prince in Ireland. Mr. Gladstone might have turned back and recalled, with profit, Queen Elizabeth's answer,
"The word 'must' is not to be used to princes."
The Queen did not even answer the long and frightening letter. But her secretary wrote and plainly told Mr. Gladstone that his mistress disagreed with every one of the thirty-five hundred words he had written. The Queen had no corner in stubbornness. Back came a further "plan of life" for the Prince of Wales, with six new arguments in