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74

QUEEN VICTORIA

all, have something within her which squared ill*) with the easy vision of a well-conducted heroine in an edifyirig storybook. The purest intentions and the justest desires? No doubt; but was that all? To those who watched closely, for instance, there might be something ominous in the curious contour of that little mouth. When, after her first Council, she crossed the ante-room and found her mother waiting for her, she said: 'And now, Mamma, am I really and truly Queen?' 'You 'see, my dear, that it is so'. 'Then, dear Mamma, I hope you will grant me the first request I make to you, as Queen. Let me be by myself for an hour'. For an hour she remained in solitude. Then she reappeared, and gave a significant order: her bed was to be moved out of her mother's room. It was the doom of the Duchess of Kent. The long years of waiting were over at last; the moment of a lifetime had come; her daughter was Queen of Engeland; and that very moment brought her own annihilation. She found herself, absolutely and irretrievably, shut off from every vestige of influence, of confidence, of power. She was surrounded, indeed, by all the outward signs of respect and consideration; but that made the inward truth of her position only the more intolerable. Through the mingled formalities of Court etiquette and filial duty, she could never penetrate to Victoria. She was unable to conceal her disappointment and her rage. 'II n'ya plus d'avenirpourmoi, 'she exclaimed to Madame de Lieven *); 'je ne suis plus rien. 'For eighteen years, she said, this child had been the sole object of her existence, of her thoughts, her hopes, and now—no! she would not be comforted, she had lost everything, she was to the last degree unhappy. Sailing, so gallantly and so pertinaciously,

1. to square with: to agree with.

2. Madame de Lieven, the wife of the Russian Ambassador, took an active part in the polltics of those days.

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