IN MARCH, 1884, Prince Leopold died, at Cannes, from the breaking of a blood-vessel in his head.
"I am a poor, desolate old woman,"wrote the Queen.
" ... my cup of sorrow overflows!"But there was no self‐ pity as in earlier years.
"I am profoundly shattered and crushed,"she wrote1 to the Empress Augusta,
"but all the same I was able to take part in everything, to receive the dear remains at the station and follow them to the Albert Chapel. ... I am not ill but very exhausted and very sad."There was no shunning of duty and company, no shutting herself from the world, in which she was now so busy. She wrote,
"In spite of all my efforts I cannot prevent my Government from committing the grossest acts of folly. "2
During the dissension over the Franchise Bill, in 1884, the last defences of politeness were broken between the Queen and Mr. Gladstone. The bill was to add 2,000,000 voters to the existing roll of 3,000,‐ ooo. This time, the fiercest hostility was between the Commons and the Lords, who rejected the bill during the first session. The Lords were so violently attacked in the House of Commons and in the cabinet, that the Queen protested,
"Mr. Gladstone has great power over his Cabinet and he should exert it for the benefit of peace."For the first time, Mr. Gladstone was impolite to his Sovereign. He replied that he had neither the
"time nor the eyesight"to
"make himself acquainted by careful perusal with all the speeches of his colleagues. "3 In another letter he wrote that he had
"no general jurisdiction over the speeches of members of the Cabinet"and
"no right to prescribe their tone and colour."The Queen did not agree, and answered that the
"Prime Minister has and ought to have that power. "4
When Parliament met again towards the close of the year, the rickety career of the Franchise Bill ended in compromise. It was the Queen's will that drew the contestants together and forced them into reconciliation. It was her insistent cry,
"Country before party,"that inspired or forced them to decision. The result was a shower of astonishing compliments. Even Mr. Gladstone thanked her for her
"wise, gracious, and steady exercise of influence."Lord Salisbury expressed his
"humble and earnest gratitude for her powerful intervention,"