Tuesday, January 13, 2009

13May1864, Good-byes are Sad Matters

WINDSOR, Friday, May 13th, 1864.
—Very fine and warm. My old boys Spencer and Arthur [FN: Then at Eton.] came to see me ; Nevy, not being well, could not, alas ! I had only a little time with them, but it was very nice. I went to St. George's : wonder whether or when I shall go to church there again. Saw Mrs. Wellesley afterwards for a minute. Wrote, wrote, wrote. My Fred sent me a dear little scratch, though we only parted yesterday at 4¼. And he has got one from me. I don't know when we shall next write to each other. The Prss. of Wales came at 1½ and we received her at the door. After luncheon the Queen sent for me to say good-bye, and I hope I shall never forget what passed. She came towards me with a beautiful Indian shawl and a jewel-case in her hands : kissed me, and gave them to me with many kind words about her regret that I was going, and her good wishes for me. She kissed me again and again, saying she thought and felt the more for me because I had no mother. The ornament she gave me was a beautiful amethyst locket bordered with pearls ; on it a little diamond cross. [FN: Alas ! stolen many years after (Note in original).] Speaking of the cross, she said, "It is an emblem of what I have to bear day after day," and added something which I cannot bear to put down here in words, but which sunk deep into my heart. I thanked her as well as I was able ; kissed her dear hand many times, and began to cry ! how could one help it ? I didn't wish to help it ; but went up to my room, and had it out. Then came good-byes to the Princesses, with whom was the Prss. of Wales playing a duet with Prss. Helena. All spoke kindly and said good-bye ; and 0 dear ! good-byes are sad matters.
. . . Now I have come home from a great family dinner and party at Devonshire House, to which I went with Papa : Gladstones and Talbots, and Grauntecoque [FN: I.e. "Granny" and "Aunt Coque," who lived together.] also coming. (N.B.—I must mention somewhere that Uncle W. has kicked up a gt dust by declaring in the House in favour of universal suffrage ! ! ! out-Brighting Bright. F., I grieve to say, is delighted.) This sounds very formidable ; but, except a few qualms, I didn't find it so. Everybody was very kind ; and perhaps I don't mind anything when Fred is with me.

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