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after evening, talking with infinite politeness, to a schoolgirl, bolt upright, amid the silence and the rigidity of Court etiquette!


On her side, Victoria was instantaneously fascinated by Lord Melbourne. The good report of Stockmar had no doubt prepared the way; Lehzen was wisely propitiated *); and the first favourable impression was never afterwards belied. She found him perfect; and perfect in her sight he remained. Her absolute and unconcealed adoration was very natural; what innocent young creature could have resisted, in any circumstances, the charm and the devotion of such a man? But, in her situation, there was a special influence which gave a peculiar glow to all she feit. After years of emptiness and dullness and suppression, she had come suddenly, in the heyday of youth, into freedom and power. She was mistress of herself, of great domains and palaces; she was Queen of England. Responsibilities and difficulties she might have, no doubt, and in heavy measure; but one feeling dominated and absorbed all others-the feeling of joy. Everything pleased her. She was in high spirits from morning till night. Mr. Creevey *), grown old now, and very near his end, catching a ghmpse of her at Brighton, was much amused, in his sharp fashion, by the ingenuous gaiety of 'little Vic.'-'A more homely little being you never beheld, when she is at her ease and she is evidently dying to be always more so. She laughs in real earnest, opening her mouth as wide as it can go, showing not very pretty gums....She eats quite as heartily as she laughs, I think I may say she gobbles8).... She blushes and

1. to propitiate: to win the favour of.

2. Thomas Creevey M. P.; the quotation in the text is taken from his Diary, which was published after his death.

3. to gobble: to eat greedily.