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Queen Victoria by E. Gordon Browne

Produced by Ron Swanson

[Frontispiece: QUEEN VICTORIA]

QUEEN VICTORIA

_BY_ E. GORDON BROWNE, M.A.

_WITH TWELVE FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS_

LONDON GEORGE G. HARRAP & COMPANY 2 & 3 PORTSMOUTH STREET KINGSWAY W.C. MCMXV

_Turnbull & Spears, Printers, Edinburgh, Great Britain_

_Contents_

CHAPTER I. A LOOK BACK II. CHILDHOOD DAYS III. EARLY YEARS IV. HUSBAND AND WIFE V. FAMILY LIFE VI. STRIFE VII. THE CHILDREN OF ENGLAND VIII. MINISTERING WOMEN IX. BALMORAL X. THE GREAT EXHIBITION XI. ALBERT THE GOOD XII. FRIENDS AND ADVISERS XIII. QUEEN AND EMPIRE XIV. STRESS AND STRAIN XV. VICTORIA THE GREAT

_Illustrations_

QUEEN VICTORIA THE QUEEN'S FIRST COUNCIL AT KENSINGTON PALACE KENSINGTON PALACE THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF KENT THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE QUEEN'S ACCESSION PRINCE ALBERT BUCKINGHAM PALACE FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE QUEEN VICTORIA IN THE HIGHLANDS THE ALBERT MEMORIAL SIR ROBERT PEEL, LORD MELBOURNE, AND BENJAMIN DISRAELI THE SECRET OF ENGLAND'S GREATNESS THE VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM

CHAPTER I: _A Look Back_

In the old legend of Rip Van Winkle with which the American writer Washington Irving has made us so familiar, the ne'er-do-weel Rip wanders off into the Kaatskill Mountains with his dog and gun in order to escape from his wife's scolding tongue. Here he meets the spectre crew of Captain Hudson, and, after partaking of their hospitality, falls into a deep sleep which lasts for twenty years. The latter part of the story describes the changes which he finds on his return to his native village: nearly all the old, familiar faces are gone; manners, dress, and speech are all changed. He feels like a stranger in a strange land.

Now, it is a good thing sometimes to take a look back, to try to count over the changes for good or for evil which have taken place in this country of ours; to try to understand clearly why the reign of a great Queen should have left its mark upon our history in such a way that men speak of the Victorian Age as one of the greatest ages that have ever been.

If an Elizabethan had been asked whether he considered the Queen of England a great woman or not, he would undoubtedly have answered "Yes," and given very good reasons for his answer. It was not for nothing that the English almost worshipped their Queen in "those spacious times of great Elizabeth." Edmund Spenser, one of the world's great poets, hymned her as "fayre Elisa" and "the flowre of Virgins":

Helpe me to blaze Her worthy praise; Which, in her sexe doth all excell!

Throughout her long reign, courtiers, statesmen, soldiers, and people all united in serving her gladly and to the best of their powers.

Yet she could at times prove herself to be hard, cruel, and vindictive; she was mean, even miserly, when money was wanted for men or ships; she was excessively vain, loved dress and finery, and was often proud almost beyond bearing.


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