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86

QUEEN VICTORIA

story of the great people of the eighteenth century. Then there would be business—a despatch perhaps from Lord Durham in Canada, which Lord M. would read. But first he must explain a little. 'He said that I must know that Canada originally belonged to the French, and was only ceded to the English in 1760, when it was taken in an expedition under Wolfe; "a very daring enterprise," he said. Canada was then entirely

French, and the British only came afterwards Lord M.

explained this very clearly (and much better than I have done) and said a good deal more about it. He then read me Durham's despatch, which is a very long one and took him more than 1/2 an hour to read. Lord M. read it beautifully with that fine soft voice of his, and with so much expression, so that it is needless to say I was much interested by it.' And then the talk would take a more personal turn. Lord M. would describe his boyhood, and she would learn that lie wore his hair long, as all boys then did, till he was 17; (how handsome he must have looked!).' Or she would find out about his queer tastes and habits—how he never carried a watch, which seemed quite extraordinary.' ' " I always ask the servant what o'clock it is, and then he tells me what he likes," said Lord M.' Or, as the rooks wheeled about round the trees, 'in a manner which indicated rain', he would say that he could sit looking at them for an hour, and was quite

surprised at my disliking them Lord M. said "The rooks

are my delight."'

The day's routine, whether in London or at Windsor, was almost invariable. The morning was devoted to business and Lord M. In the afternoon the whole Court went out riding. The Queen, in her velvet riding-habit and a top-hat with a veil draped about the brim, headed the cavalcade; and Lord M. rode beside her. The lively troup went fast and far, to the extreme exhilaration of Her Majesty. Back in the Palace again,

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