frankness. Mr. Gladstone said that the Queen received him with the
"perfect courtesy"from which
"she never deviates."
"I must be frank with you, Mr. Gladstone,"the Queen said, as she told him of the pain his Midlothian speeches had caused her. He did not deny that he had used "very strong language," but said that all violence and bitterness belonged
"to the past. "8
After the audience Mr. Gladstone wrote in his diary:
With regard to the freedom of language I had admitted, she said with some good-natured archness,"But you will have to bear the consequences,"to which I entirely assented. She seemed to me, if I may so say,"natural under effort."All things considered, I was much pleased. I ended by kissing Her Majesty's hand. 9
LORD GRANVILLE wrote1 to the Queen's secretary of the new government as being "like bread sauce — made up of two substantial elements." The extreme Radicals — the "few pepper corns"—perhaps gave "a little flavour," but they did not "affect the character of the food." Queen Victoria was nevertheless depressed; she was obliged to accept the very men she swore would never be in her government. Sir Charles Dilke, who had belittled her in the Commons, was Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs. In this minor part she would not have to meet him, but she shrewdly tied his hands by asking him to admit in writing the grave errors of the past and to promise good behaviour in the future. When she had read the letter, she made a copy before returning it to Lord Granville. There was also Mr. Chamberlain, once the trumpet of Republicanism, now President of the Board of Trade. The Queen had to try to accept Mr. Gladstone's assurance that he was "very pleasing and refined in feelings and manner. "2
The Queen began the dreaded five years of Mr. Gladstone's administration with an attempt at friendliness. They could talk over home affairs without any considerable friction, but on almost every point concerning Europe or the Empire, Sovereign and minister disagreed. The Queen was much too practical to comprehend the aims of a man who said,
" I do believe that the Almighty has employed me for His purposes. "