talk of abandoning Ladysmith, but the Queen protested, as if she dreaded a second Khartoum. It was incredible but true that the forces of the great Empire were being held back by one small republic which had the moral support of almost every government in Europe.
"All will come right,"pleaded the Queen, when doleful ministers came to her. Her old hands were never still. When she was not at her desk, she knitted woollen comforters and caps, and became angry when she was told they had been given to officers and not to the men.
The year died with need for drastic military changes and little hope of imminent victory. Lord Roberts was appointed commander-in-chief, with Lord Kitchener as his chief of staff. But all through December the cabinet was despondent, and the despondency spread to Windsor, only to be dispelled. When Mr. Balfour talked to the Queen of reverses and compromise, she took off her spectacles and said,
"Please understand that there is no one depressed in this house. We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist."
They were great words of courage. (In 1939 they were printed on a million cards and hung in pubs and houses throughout Britain with the name, "QueenVictoria," beneath them. A generation that had not known her, quickened its courage during the bombing raids, on the fearlessness of her words.)
Mr. Balfour went back to London, proud of the Queen's reprimand, and said it was
"splendid"to pass from the
"clamorous croakers in clubs and newspapers into the presence of this little old lady, alone among her women at Windsor, and hear her sweep all their vaticinations into nothingness with a nod. "
THE Prince of Wales celebrated his fifty-eighth birthday in November, 1899. He was a mature man and a grandfather. His mother had reigned, with her principles, in a tower of isolation from the realities of life; the Prince belonged to those realities and to the clash of actual experience. He was associated with philanthropy, education, health reforms, social welfare, society, and modern pleasures. No prince had ever approached the throne with so much knowledge of the life of the average man. The shades of Tranby Croft and other young