cited to arrive home, so that we can get on with it. I wonder what happens next?"
Christmas and New Year's Day passed quietly at Osborne. The only considerable anxiety of the moment was the fate of the Sudanese expedition. Late in January news came of Lord Wolseley's success at the battle of Abu Klea and the Queen telegraphed her congratulations, direct to the general and not through the War Office. Again there was conflict between Whitehall and the palace. Lord Hartington wrote from the War Office, asking the Queen's secretary if it was her
"desire to adopt the same course on other, similar occasions which might occur."He said he could not
"help thinking that it would on the whole be most convenient that any message from the Queen should be sent through the Secretary of State."The Queen considered Lord Hartington's letter
"very officious and impertinent in tone."She complained to her secretary,
"The Queen has the right to telegraph congratulations and enquiries to any one, and won't stand dictation. She won't be a machine. But the Liberals always wish to make her feel THAT, and she won't accept it."11
A few weeks later the Queen passed through London, on the way from Osborne to Windsor, and heard talk of the possible fall of the government. She took this satisfying hope with her to the castle where she waited, lamenting the
"want of decision and firmness in the Government" and expressing, in a letter to Mr. Gladstone, her great "anxiety for the future. "12
PRINCE BISMARCK was in complete agreement with Queen Victoria as to the merits of Mr. Gladstone and said in the Reichstag that the
"loquacious futility of Downing Street rendered negotiations with it intolerable. "1 He was so anxious to see the end of the Liberal government in Britain that he sent an agent to the military attaché in Berlin, asking him to tell Lord Salisbury that
"he, Bismarck, had found it impossible to carry on business with Gladstone's government. They never knew their own mind or case, and at times they would not even answer his letters. He therefore hoped Lord Salisbury would take office, and if he did so he would try to establish better relations with England, as he wanted Great Britain to be a greater force in thecouncils of Europe than she was at the time. "